iPhone X Review

iPhone X Review

Author Nikhil Kanamarla

 Apple website image displaying the front and back of the phone. Image from www.apple.com.

Apple website image displaying the front and back of the phone. Image from www.apple.com.

The iPhone hasn’t received a serious update in a few years, many would say since the iPhone 6. The iPhone X represents a major departure from the phone Americans have gotten used to over the past few years. The X brings a new display and with it a fundamentally new way of interacting with a smartphone. I have been using this phone for a few months and I have developed a mixed opinion on this beautiful slab of glass.

When I first picked up the iPhone X, I was quite impressed with the design. The X has durable glass on the front and back of the phone with a stainless steel rim. The new iPhone has the best design of any iPhone in recent years. The new glass back enables chi (industry standard) wireless charging, but it still collects fingerprints relatively quickly. Moving to the front of the phone, the home button has been replaced by the notch and an edge to edge screen. The notch contains a series of sensors that enable Face ID, which is a fast, reliable, and safe successor to Touch ID.

 

 Apple Keynote presentation displaying the sensors on the notch that enable Face ID. Photo from BGR

Apple Keynote presentation displaying the sensors on the notch that enable Face ID. Photo from BGR

Face ID unlocks the X and authenticates purchases using Apple Pay in almost every angle and lightning condition. However, this new authentication feature also has a slight drawback in the form of the infamous notch. Many have decried the notch as an ugly and intrusive bezel that ruins the user experience. However, the reality tends to be much brighter, and the vast majority of apps have optimized for the new display and I don’t notice the notch in everyday use of the iPhone X. The only instance where the notch becomes an issue is when I watch landscape video on apps like Youtube. When I watch landscape video, I have two options, either I watch the video with black bars on the side or I can zoom in and have a part of the video cut off by the notch.

 

The iPhone X’s stunning 2K HDR (High Dynamic Range) True-Tone OLED 5.8 inch screen that now extends to the edge of the phone more than makes up for the inconvenience of the notch. The size, color-accuracy, and resolution of the screen paired with a larger battery make using the phone much more immersive for much longer. I usually go to sleep at 11 PM with around 25% remaining after a 16 hour day of using the phone.

 Gif displaying the home screen gesture. Photo from www.mashable.com.

Gif displaying the home screen gesture. Photo from www.mashable.com.

However, the edge to edge screen also means the removal of the home button and a new way of navigating the iPhone X. To get around iOS, the X utilizes intuitive gestures to manipulate the translucent bottom bar which allows the user to navigate to the homescreen, switch apps, access notifications and toggle control center. However, the control center and the notification panel have similar gestures which take some time to learn. The new control center in iOS 11 allows users to customize and pick the features that they like, such as quick access to the camera.

 Apple website image displaying the iPhone X’s vertical camera. Photo from the Apple Website

Apple website image displaying the iPhone X’s vertical camera. Photo from the Apple Website

The iPhone X camera brings notable improvements that make my photography dramatically better. The X has a new sensor and dual optical image stabilization on the 12 megapixel rear cameras (wide angle and telephoto). The new iPhone also brings portrait mode on both the rear and front-facing cameras. I have put up several photos taken from the X on my Instagram (nk_developer), if you would like to judge for yourself. Overall, the new camera system is a notable improvement from my old iPhone 6s. This is all powered by the new processor, the Apple A11 Bionic, which remains as the most powerful processor put into a smartphone. The A11 Bionic has about the same amount of power of the 12 inch Macbook and will keep the phone running quickly for years.

 The Apple website homepage that introduces the iPhone X. Image from Apple Website.

The Apple website homepage that introduces the iPhone X. Image from Apple Website.

I would argue that this generation of iPhones is still superior to the Galaxy S9 because of the software comes in the form of a version of Android called TouchWiz. TouchWiz adds a layer of Samsung bloatware to Android and includes many terrible Samsung apps that waste storage space on the phone. Because of these customizations, Samsung phones tend to receive software updates 6 months after Google releases an Android update. Since Samsung doesn’t make the core of Android, the TouchWiz layer tends to worsen ram and battery management over time. Apple’s vertical integration allows their products to be more reliable over time. How many people use Samsung Galaxy S5 devices and how many people still use iPhone 6s? The iPhones of this year also outperform the second generation Google Pixel 2 because of the numerous hardware flaws with the phone and the stale design.

Overall, the iPhone X is a beautiful, brilliant and expensive piece of technology. The X advances the future of the smartphone (at least for the next few years). Compared to other iPhones, the only major differentiator of the X is the display with Face ID and the gestures that come along with it. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus both have the new design, camera and processor with a much more reasonable price.  In conclusion, I would recommend that most people buy the iPhone 8 or 8 Plus, unless you care about having best, most expensive and futuristic phone on the market.
 

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