This is the iPhone X. It’s Apples best iPhone ever, and it’s the biggest redesign we’ve ever seen. It’s also the most expensive, but not just the most expensive iPhone that’s been released so far, it’s really the most expensive smartphone you can buy right now. That’s nothing new from Apple, the original iPhone was outrageously expensive and Apple products in general are priced at a premium. But with the original iPhone, the price might have been justified because it was a product the world had never seen before. We’ve been using iPhones in one form or another for more than 10 years now, and there are also countless other smartphones on the market that are just as capable and sometimes even more capable than this phone. So what separates this device from all the rest and are there any justifiable reasons you should be giving Apple over 1000 bucks for it?
I think we’re all happy to finally see Apple catch up to everyone else in the design department. The iPhone X with its edge to edge 5.8 inch display looks like it can compete with any other smartphone now and that’s not something we could have said with the iPhone 7 or iPhone 8, because those devices in comparison to anything else always looked dated. The iPhone X really is a breath of fresh air for Apple users and it’s been a long time coming. The glass and stainless steel construction give the phone an extremely premium feel and I think it’s really the perfect size in the hand. Apple also finally ventured into the OLED space with their display, and I think they did a really nice job. I personally am not a huge fan of Apple’s True Tone, I think it’s overly aggressive on this device in particularly, but the display by itself looks fantastic overall in any conditions. As far as the notch goes, yes it’s there, and you really can’t miss it. But it’s something I’ve sort of forgotten about in my time using the phone. You can probably debate whether or not it was absolutely necessary to have the notch, they could have just as easily done what Samsung or lg do and keep a little bit of a full top bezel for all those essentials, but it’s just not as big of a deal as people made it out to be.
IOS 11 has been weirdly unreliable really across all of Apple’s devices which is uncharacteristic of Apple. I mean people are still dealing with that autocorrect bug that changes the letter I to an A with a symbol and Apple’s response was basically “fix it yourself”. Fortunately, on my iPhone X, everything has been smooth sailing and I shouldn’t have to say this but the iPhone X is the fastest, snappiest, most well optimized iOS experience alongside the iPhone 8 since both devices share the exact same internals. Should Apple have maybe done something in the specs to set the iPhone X apart? Perhaps, but there’s only so much IOS can do. You’re just not going to ever do anything that really stresses this phone, especially since Apple controls both the hardware and the software, it’s really well optimized and it’s a great user experience where everything performs flawlessly. With the iPhone X though, Apple introduced sort of a new way to interact with the phone since it doesn’t have an actual home button. I don’t think it’s necessarily right to say that the gesture controls require some “getting used to” because that sort of suggests that it takes a while to feel comfortable with them. That just wasn’t the case for me, after a few minutes with the phone everything felt fine and I was swiping away without any issues. For some users, the gestures are a learning curve, launching multitasking for example won’t be a perfect execution every time, but just like the notch, the new gestures are just not that big of a deal.
The other major change Apple made with the user experience was killing off touchID and introducing FaceID. Now, generally speaking, FaceID works as it was intended. It’s super simple to setup, it just requires 2 scans of your face which takes not even 20 seconds. And the first few times you glance at the iPhone and swipe to unlock, you’ll immediately notice how quick it can be. But in real world use, you’ll quickly discover FaceId’s limitations. When the phone is resting on a table, you can’t exactly glance over at it to see the notification you just got. You can tap to wake the phone up, but your notifications are hidden until FaceID does its thing. In my time using this device, I just always felt obligated almost to the point of inconvenience to have to pick up the phone and give it my full attention in order to see what I needed to see, and that’s sort of been my struggle with FaceID. And while Apple has said it’ll still recognize you in the dark, or with glasses and sunglasses and hats, a lot of people have found that it doesn’t always work in the dark, and it doesn’t always work with all sunglasses, or different types of hat, and we’ve even seen FACEID compromised by identical twins and also by brothers who weren’t identical. FaceID for me has sort of been my biggest struggle in really liking the iPhone X. It’s not better than TouchID, and it has limitations and it’s difficult for me to accept limitations and inconveniences on a device that costs this much. FaceID will probably get better over time, but for now it’s just not perfect.
The cameras on the iPhone X are very capable, but just like the internal specs, the rear camera are something we saw already from the iPhone 8, aside from a little different glass and OIS on the telephotos lens, you’re getting the exact same thing. I have a dedicated video full of image and video samples from the iPhone X if you want a more in depth look at what this device can do, but just know that images look great in any lighting condition and the ability to shoot 4K at 60fps and slow Mo video in 1080p at 240fps, that’s just something that’s not available on any other smartphone and is only just able starting to launch with standalone cameras. While the rear cameras are sort of old new, the front camera gains portrait mode for selfies and this has unfortunately been hit or miss. When you get the lightning just right, sometimes the pictures look really good, but other times especially around hair, edges get blurry where they shouldn’t be and if you’re not in the perfect lightning, it just won’t work at all. Apple has some work to do with portrait mode to catch up to Google on their Pixel devices.
Probably the biggest new feature across the entire device though has to be Animojis. Ok no, I have not used these even once, they’re a gimmick but I have to give credit where credit is due, the concept and tech behind how these work unlocks a lot of potential to more useful applications in the future. But for now, we’ll be stuck with people making music videos with animal heads.
As far as the rest of the smartphone feature checklist, the iPhone X can tick off all the boxes. The glass back allows for wireless charging, finally, and you can even get quick charging now…for an additional $75, because..Apple. The battery on this device for me lasts a full day and then some and with Qi chargers popping up more and more now that the iPhones support it, there won’t be a lot of battery anxiety. The dual speakers on the device sound excellent, even better than the iPhone 7 or iPhone 8 for some reason, and it’s still IP67 water and dust resistant.
I think as far as the design and features, this is the most complete, most jam packed Apple devices we’ve ever gotten and it can easily compare and compete with any other smartphone on the market now. But there’s still the matter of the price. It’s really really difficult to justify spending over $1000 on a smartphone. There are so many devices out there that do just as much, for less money. Even the iPhone 8 is $300 less. This phone is for a very specific group of people. It’s for those of us who love Apple, who’ve had an iPhone for years and years and want the best iPhone Apples ever made. And it’s for people who have the means to spend so much on something like this. If you want an iPhone X, and you have the money to spend, you’re not going to be disappointed with this phone at all. But if $1000 on something like this is out of the question, there are so many other smartphones out there that are just as good for less.