It’s been a week now that I’ve had an iPhone X, a review unit provided to me by Apple. As someone who’s been using iPhones from the beginning in 2007, I’ve found the new device to be both futuristic yet familiar. Most importantly, however, is the utter delight I feel when I pick up the iPhone X. There is a “magic” and “fun factor” to the phone that I haven’t felt since getting AirPods last year—in many ways, big and small, iPhone X epitomizes Apple.
Here are some assorted thoughts on iPhone X after a week.
Face ID. Face ID has proven to be the most revelatory aspect of iPhone X so far. It turns out, I’m an edge case. When I was initially setting up the phone, I grew frustrated by Face ID not recognizing me or unlocking my phone. I was convinced Apple had given me a lemon, but that wasn’t the case. I theorized perhaps my problem was due to the strabismus in my left eye, and it appears my hunch was correct. The condition, which means one or more of the eyes isn’t set straight, seems to give the TrueDepth camera system fits. This explains why unlocking iPhone X is so difficult—it isn’t that the technology is faulty; it’s that the camera has trouble telling whether or not I’m looking at the phone.
After some troubleshooting, I’ve determined Face ID works best for me with Require Attention turned off. The success rate when unlocking feels exponentially higher than with Require Attention turned on. So, off it goes.
Size & Weight. I love how iPhone X feels like an iPhone 8 (or 7 or 6) in my hand yet I still get the big display of the Plus model. It’s the best of both worlds. The other thing that’s nice, size-wise, is how much better iPhone X feels in my pocket or against my ear during phone calls. For as much as I loved the Plus for its big screen, I can’t deny the sheer size of the object wasn’t annoying to carry around at times. I adapted, but it was a trade-off nonetheless. Hence why I’m so smitten with iPhone X’s size: I don’t have to compromise with it.
The Screen. The iPhone X’s OLED screen is the best I’ve ever seen, on any device. Colors are vibrant and text is razor-sharp. And True Tone is great too. It’s the most accessible screen I’ve ever seen. I think Apple did the right thing in embracing “the notch,” and developers are better off embracing it as well. It doesn’t bother me one bit; in fact, I actually like how it looks.
Home Gestures. It hasn’t taken me long to acclimate to the lack of a Home button on iPhone X. I have no problems unlocking, exiting an app, or launching the multitasking view. Going back to my girlfriend’s iPhone SE or her mom’s 7 now feels decidedly archaic. Even using my 10.5” iPad Pro feels weird because it has a button.
Wireless Charging. My review kit from Apple included the Belkin charging mat, and I love using the thing. I’ve seen other reviewers complain of the iPhone X buzzing off the pad and not charge, but I’ve not encountered that myself. I also have no trouble finding the right spot to place the phone to charge it. Maybe I’m lucky? In any case, I think some in the Apple community are underestimating the benefits of wireless charging. I’ve heard and read a lot of people say it isn’t easier than using Lightning, but that sentiment overlooks the accessibility gains. In the same way AirPods saved me from the tedium of plugging in EarPods, the Belkin charging mat saves me from plugging in the Lightning cable. Especially on my jet black 7 Plus, the finish was so dark that I had trouble finding the port because I couldn’t see it. Add that with the fine-motor gymnastics I sometimes needed to perform to plug in the cable, and it’s obvious why I’m so bullish on wireless charging. It’s not only convenient—it makes charging my phone more accessible too.
Silver Versus Space Gray. I’ll be honest: I’m not a fan of the space gray iPhone X. It isn’t that it looks bad, but the color seems “washed out” to me. I much prefer the silver model, as the back is almost a pearly kind of white. The stainless steel ring is stunning as well. The iPhone X screams high-end—it’s easily the nicest iPhone since the 5/5S. The craftsmanship is exquisite. It looks and feels like the future of the smartphone.