Apple iPhone 8 deals explained
By Phil Wilkinson-Jones | Sunday, March 15th 2020
In this guide
If you’re searching for a new phone, the iPhone 8 is worth considering. It was launched in September 2017 and has a host of high-end features, but because there have been a couple of Apple phone releases since then, the price of the iPhone 8 has come down quite a bit.
So if you want a good Apple smartphone without the eye-watering price tag that an iPhone usually comes with, the iPhone 8 could be for you. Here, we’ll take a look at the phone’s features, what to look out for in a mobile deal, the providers you’ll be able to choose from and the phones we consider to be reasonable iPhone 8 alternatives.
Why buy an iPhone 8?
Apple phones are known for being full of great features and for keeping their value pretty well, even after the end of a two-year contract. The price of the iPhone 8 drops with the launch of every new model, which may be enough to get your interested, but what features are we talking about exactly? Let’s take a look.
- All-glass design – The iPhone 8 has a glass front and back, joined together by an aerospace-grade aluminium band. It comes in space grey, silver and gold finishes.
- Water and dust resistant – The phone is rated IP67, which means it’s water resistant up to a depth of one metre for up to 30 minutes.
- Wireless charging – The iPhone 8’s glass back allows for it to be charged wirelessly. It is compatible with all Qi-standard wireless chargers.
- Screen – It has a 4.7-inch retina HD display and has 3D Touch, the technology that senses how hard you are pressing on the screen, giving you more ways to interact with your phone. It also has True Tone technology, which adjusts the white balance on your screen to match the light around you so you can see the display no matter what your environment.
- Camera – On the back, there’s a 12MP camera with 5x digital zoom, optical image stabilisation, LED True Tone flash, autofocus, exposure control, burst mode, timer mode and photo geotagging. On the front there’s a 7MP camera for Facetime and selfies, capable of 1080p HD video recording with wide colour capture and retina flash.
- Battery – According to Apple, the iPhone 8’s batter lasts about as long as the iPhone 7’s battery, if that’s any help to you. You can get a 50% charge in about 30 minutes with an 18W adapter and a full battery will give you up to 14 hours talk time or 12 hours internet use.
- Operating system – The iPhone 8 runs on iOS 12 but will be compatible with iOS 13 when it’s launched later this year.
- Accessibility – Accessibility features on the iPhone 8 include a screen reader called VoiceOver, zoom and magnification, reading support features like Speak Screen, and Siri shortcuts that cue multi-action commands through one simple phrase. You can also get Bluetooth-enabled hardware such as joysticks to control your iPhone, if you find that easier, and Made for iPhone hearing aids that work with your phone.
How to get a good deal on an iPhone 8
If you’ve decided that the iPhone 8 is the one for you, what else should be looking for when it comes to choosing a pay monthly mobile deal?
- Contract length – Most pay monthly mobile contracts last 24 months, but there are some variations around. Sky Mobile has a 30-month contract that lets you swap your phone after 24 months, Virgin Mobile offers a choice of 24 or 36 months and O2 lets you choose your contract length – anything from three to 36 months.
- Data – There are unlimited plans around from the likes of Three and giffgaff, so you can literally get as much data as you need. But if you want to keep the price down, you’re better off going for a more modest allowance and making the most of your wifi at home and wifi hotspots when you’re out and about.
- Texts and calls – Most mobile deals come with unlimited texts and calls but it’s always worth checking to make sure, and to take a look at what numbers you can call without being charged extra.
- Upfront cost – Some providers, like Virgin, don’t charge any upfront fees. Others, such as O2, let you pay more upfront to bring down the monthly cost. Most have a set amount you need to pay upfront depending on the data plan you choose.
- Free gifts – Keep an eye out for free gifts, often offered by the likes of BT Mobile, EE and others. Gifts include headphones, other tech such as tablets, and cashback in the form of giftcards.
Which providers offer iPhone 8 deals?
- BT Mobile – BT Mobile, which uses the EE network, has a number of plans available for the iPhone 8, all of which require no upfront fee, last 24 months and come with a BT reward card of varying amounts. Larger data plans also come with free BT Sport for mobile.
- EE – EE’s Smart Plans allow you to choose a ‘Swappable Benefit’ and change this every month if you wish. These benefits include a music data pass, video data pass, BT Sport for mobile and additional inclusive roaming locations including the USA and Australia.
- giffgaff – giffgaff’s phones all come unlocked and you can choose to buy outright or pay monthly, which comes with further options for initial payment, how many months you want the contract over and which 30-day SIM deal you want. giffgaff runs on the O2 network.
- iD Mobile – iPhone 8 deals on iD Mobile, which uses Three’s network, come with a standard upfront cost no matter what data plan you choose and they’re all on 24-month contracts. All plans also come with data rollover and bill capping.
- O2 – O2 lets you choose how much you want to pay upfront, how many months you’d like your plan to last and how much data you want. All of this informs the monthly cost. All plans come with membership to O2’s rewards scheme, O2 Priority.
- Sky Mobile – Sky Mobile, which uses the O2 network, has 24-month plans that let you upgrade every 12 months (upgrading triggers a new 24-month contract) and 30-month plans that let you upgrade every 24 months. Unused data is kept for three years and you can use it whenever you like.
- Tesco Mobile – Tesco Mobile, which runs on O2, lets you choose whether you pay an upfront cost and choose your contract length (you can choose 12, 18, 24, 30 or 36 months). You can change your data plan up or down each month and earn Clubcard points.
- Three – Three has a range of iPhone 8 plans, most with an upfront cost, and you can choose to add tech such as Beats headphones and Apple Airpods. It offers an unlimited data plan and most of its contracts include Go Binge, which gives you data-free use of apps such as Netflix and Apple Music.
- Virgin Mobile – None of Virgin’s plans have an upfront cost and you can choose either a 24 or 36-month contract, then switch between data plans each month. All plans come with data rollover and data-free messaging on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Twitter.
- Vodafone – The upfront fee stays the same with most of Vodafone’s iPhone 8 plans. They all include a free trial of SecureNet and Red Entertainment plans give you a choice of subscriptions – choose from Amazon Prime Video, Spotify, a NOW TV Entertainment pass and Sky Sports Mobile TV.
SIM-free iPhone 8 deals
Only one of the major mobile providers will sell you an unlocked iPhone 8 and that’s giffgaff. It does come with a SIM and a 30-day plan but you can cancel at any time and because it’s unlocked you can switch to whatever network you like.
Alternatively, there are plenty of online and high street retailers that will sell you a SIM-free phone, such as Amazon and John Lewis. Either way, you’ll then need to get yourself either a SIM-only deal or go pay as you go.
Refurbished iPhone 8 phones
EE, O2 and Vodafone all offer refurbished smartphones, so it’s worth checking whether they have any ‘good as new’ iPhone 8 handsets in stock, as you can often save yourself a few quid on the cost of a phone if you’re willing to put up with a few signs of previous use.
What phones are similar to the iPhone 8?
If you’re not entirely sold on the iPhone 8, or would just like to check out a few similar models, these are the phones we reckon are worth a look.
- iPhone 7 – It’s only a year older than the iPhone 8, has most of the same features including a 4.7-inch retina HD display, 12MP camera and 3D Touch technology, and yet is available for a significant amount less. If having the very latest Apple phone isn’t important to you, the iPhone 7 is worth considering.
- Samsung Galaxy S9 – Like the iPhone 8, the Galaxy S9 is no longer its manufacturer’s flagship phone but is still packed with high-end features. The S9 is bigger than the iPhone 8, with a 5.8-inch screen, and has a 12MP camera, 8MP selfie camera and runs on Android.
- Google Pixel 3 – The third iteration of Google’s flagship handset features a 12.2MP camera, a 5.5-inch screen and the Google Assistant. Like the iPhone 8, it can be charged wirelessly and Google will even sell you a Pixel Stand, which allows you to stand your phone up while it charges.
- OnePlus 6 – Nowhere near as easy to get hold of as the newer OnePlus 7, the older model is cheaper if you can find it and still packs loads of good features. It boasts a 16MP+20MP dual camera with image stabilisation, an all-glass body and OnePlus says you can get a day’s charge in half an hour.
Frequently asked questions
What SIM card do you need for an iPhone 8?
Like all iPhones (from iPhone 5 and later), the iPhone 8 uses a nano SIM card. That’s the smallest of the three types you get with a triple SIM.
Does the iPhone 8 have a headphone jack?
No, Apple dropped the headphone jack with the launch of the iPhone 7 and has not included it on any of its flagship phones since (the iPhone SE does have a headphone jack). You’ll find that your iPhone 8 comes with a headphone adapter for the phone’s Lightning connector.
Can I keep my mobile number?
Most providers will allow you to keep your mobile number when you switch to them. Just make sure to get a PAC code from your existing provider then follow your new provider’s instructions as to what to do with it. Actually porting the number from one network to another should only take a couple of days.
What’s the best deal on an iPhone 8?
What constitutes the best deal is different for each individual – and the deals on offer change all the time, so keep an eye on this page to see the latest iPhone 8 deals. As for the best mobile network provider, you can find our opinion in our guide.
Is the iPhone 8 any good?
The iPhone 8 isn’t the best Apple handset on the market, but it’s a top-end phone packed with great features.
What’s the difference between the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus?
The iPhone 8 Plus is a bigger version of the iPhone 8, with a 5.5-inch retina HD display compared to the iPhone 8’s 4.7-inch screen. The iPhone 8 Plus also has duel 12MP wide-angle and telephoto cameras as opposed to the iPhone 8’s single 12MP camera, and it has a longer battery life.