Here's what the red iPhone 8 looks like in real life

We go hands-on with the new black-on-red iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.

Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
Expertise VR and AR | Gaming | Metaverse technologies | Wearable tech | Tablets Credentials
  • Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Scott Stein
2 min read
Sarah Tew/CNET

How red is red? The new "Product Red" iPhone 8 and 8 Plus won't arrive until this Friday, but I was able to get a sneak peek earlier Tuesday in New York. And I brought along last year's Product Red iPhone 7 Plus to compare. And believe it or not, there is a difference.

I don't really get excited about phone colors, truly. But some people do. And the Product Red phone does give some money to a good cause. So, here's what the new red phones are like in person.

First off, the new red iPhone 8 and 8 Plus models have black fronts, as opposed to the white on the previous models. But the whole feel is a little more dramatic this time. The red on the back is darker, too, depending on the angle, and the glossy touch makes it look even more slick than it does in the photo. Black on red just works a lot better than white on red (for me at least: this is subjective). I'd probably pick this color over black, white or gold.

Hands-on with Apple's new red iPhone 8 and 8 Plus

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And this year's red color is different, too. It's darker, more like blood red, and glossy because of the glass back. The aluminum back of the 2017 iPhone 7 Plus looks brighter by comparison.

There is no red iPhone X, reasons unknown. But there's a red leather folio case, which looks nice and is brick red in tone. But that pricey case -- it's $99, £99 or AU$145 -- already came in a brighter shade called berry red. The same goes for the iPhone X silicone case ($39, £39 or AU$59), which already came in red raspberry and rose red.

red IPhone 8 Plus
Enlarge Image
red IPhone 8 Plus

The glass back of the 2018 models (iPhone 8 Plus, bottom right) is glossier than last year's aluminum backed models (iPhone 7 Plus, upper left), and the new one is more of a deep blood red.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Of course, those other shades of red don't support charity, which is the whole point here. Buying the Product Red products sends a portion of the profits to the Global Fund, which funds programs that combat HIV, AIDS and other diseases in Sub-Saharan Africa. According to Apple, the company has donated $160 million since partnering with the Fund in 2006, and is the Fund's largest corporate donor.

The Product Red iPhone 8 starts at $699, £699 or AU$1,079, while the iPhone 8 Plus starts at $799, £799 or AU$1,299 -- the same price as the space gray, gold and white colors. The new red iPhones and accessories can be preordered now for delivery on Friday, April 13.

iPhone 8 review: The status quo upgrade

iPhone 8 Plus review: iPhone X power in a friendly, familiar package