With the hotly-anticipated iPhone X finally hitting the market, everyone wants to know just how good Apple's latest creation is. While the Apple-faithful will no doubt be lining up in droves to get their hands on the phone as soon as humanly possible, those of us still waiting to pull the trigger can only look to the internet to see if the fabulous new flagship from Cupertino is worth your hard-earned money.
It has a big screen, but a small body.
The first thing you'll notice when you hold the iPhone X in your hands is the amazing attention to detail. The organic full-screen display is an absolute sight to behold, almost flowing like water as it goes through the different screens and apps on the phone. And despite the large, beautiful display, the actual phone is smaller than the iPhone 7 Plus and the iPhone 8 Plus, with a very easy-to-hold curvature that fits your hand like a glove. The phone weighs 174 g, giving it some heft and that feel of quality. The stainless steel frame coupled with the glass front and back panels complete the look of a phone whose design will likely spark dozens of imitators in the near future.
So how good is the display?
Just one look at the iPhone X and everyone knows that it's unlike any other iPhone before it, simply because of how large the display is. Although the cutout at the top with the speaker and camera is strikingly unusual, the actual 5.8-inch display with a 2,436 x 1,125-pixel resolution looks amazing, with a very high contrast ratio and a very natural tone, not too bright or too warm, nor is it too cold. With full HDR support, images and videos really pop out on the screen and make viewing a very pleasurable experience.
The larger display means no home button.
While the display is definitely magnificent, you do have to sacrifice a few things for that luscious screen. The most obvious casualty is the home button, which traditionally is found at the bottom of the screen. Because the large display takes up the full face of the phone, the home button has been done away with, and this can cause problems for users who have spent years using the home button.
Without the button, bringing up the menu is done by swiping up from the upper part of the bottom bezel. It may take a little repetition to build up the muscle memory to make it second nature, but once done you may find the new menu more useful than the old home button. Swiping the bar to the left and right easily allows you to switch apps, an invaluable feature for those keen on doing a lot of multitasking.
If you're used to using Siri, you'll also need to adjust to having to press and hold down a button on the right side of the phone, to invoke Apple's iconic assistant. This is a bit counter-intuitive, as most people will expect this to turn the phone off. Instead, to turn off the phone you'll need to hold the volume button and the power button at the same time for a few seconds, and the phone will then turn off. Pressing these two buttons together quickly will instead initiate a screenshot of whatever's on your display at the time.
Face ID is great and feels fast and natural.
Another consequence of removing the home button means that there is no longer a place for the fingerprint scanner. Apple initially introduced and popularized the fingerprint scanner with the iPhone 5s, and having it on the home button was a staple design choice in the smartphone world for years.
Without a place for a fingerprint scanner, Apple opted instead to move from Touch ID to Face ID, and the results are promising. The iPhone X uses a TrueDepth camera to accurately model your face in 3D, instead of a two-dimensional image. Because of this, the phone can't be fooled with images or pictures and needs an actual face to even begin the unlock sequence.
You will need to enroll yourself in Face ID, which is done by twirling your face twice around the nose while looking at the iPhone. Once registered the accuracy is quite good, and the phone isn't fazed by masks, glasses, hats, and if you have a beard or mustache you can even shave or grow a new one, and the phone still knows it's you. The authentication speed is really fast as well and works even in dark places.
While some people will no doubt miss Touch ID, there's no doubt that Apple did a great job with the implementation of Face ID. Android facial recognition applications did not quite reach the level of ease and polish that Apple's new Face ID affords, and as people get used to using it, it'll become second nature in no time. We're willing to wager that many smartphones brands will begin looking for ways to emulate the Face ID experience in the coming months and years.
The iPhone X is a really amazing piece of engineering, and while the loss of the home button may serve to be a jarring experience for many, people will no doubt adapt quickly to the new usability design and come away with a feeling that the iPhone X is something fresh, new, and yet packed with new features that make using the phone a joy. The new swiping gestures, the removal of the home button, the great implementation of Face ID and other great new features are sure to wow any Apple fan, and might even get non-iPhone users to take a look at this marvel of modern engineering.
We'll have more on the iPhone X in the near future, as we get more time with the newly-released phone. Be sure to tune in again for more on Apple's new flagship.