iPhone X Review: iPhone 5s Upgrader’s Perspective – One Month Later

I was one of the lucky people to be able to pre-order an iPhone X for launch day (3rd November 2017) and after a month’s usage, I now feel is the right time to put out my review of the iPhone X, which includes some extra details potentially not seen elsewhere on the internet.

The iPhone X is as I use it, one of the biggest if not the biggest jump since the original iPhone.

Since I have never done a review like this before, I’m going to divide it like many other review publications into categories, then answer common question circling around the internet and wrap up with a score for each category and overall total, then state who I recommend this for. The categories will be:

  • Design
  • Display
  • Performance/Graphics
  • Software
  • Camera
  • Battery Life

Design:

iphone-x-select-2017

When you spend almost AU$1600 on a smartphone, it has to feel a lot better than a AU$500 device, and it most certainly does.

The very first two things I thought of when I took my iPhone X out of the box for the first time was that a) it has a good premium heft to it without being too heavy like a Plus model iPhone, and b) the glass on the back is a lot grippier than I expected the glass backing to be.

The weight is definitely something I had to get use to, to a degree, but even in this past week, I don’t even think about the weight of the device as much since I first got it, because I’ve gotten so use to it.

Now before I go any further into the design, I will say that I find with most phones users today, you either fall into the camp of a) no screen protector or case needed because that’s the job of the manufacturer to make a durable phone, or b) can’t leave the home without a case and a screen protector because you don’t want to pay expensive fees for repairs.

I fall into the later camp, so as soon as I realised I’d be getting my iPhone X on launch day, I went on eBay immediately and ordered a case that protects 360 degrees of the phone. This means it protects the front, back sides, buttons, speaker grills and the infamous notch.

When I keep referring to the “notch” during this review, I’m referring to what is properly called by Apple the “TrueDepth Camera System”, which is required for Face ID, Animojis and Portrait Selfie Mode alongside the usual front camera and earpiece.

The reason I got a case that protects the notch, was because of how much this phone costs, and that I did not want to break it quickly, especially considering I’m not normally use to a larger form factor and heavier device compared to my iPhone 5s which I upgraded from.

The camera also does protrude out of the back of the phone, but the case I got goes beyond the camera by 0.3mm, which is enough to stop it rocking when taping on the phone on a flat surface. It does slightly if you tap in the top left corner but nothing major.

The first couple of unique things I will add in this review are not issues with the phone itself, but rather caused by the case itself that I got.

Watching video in landscape with this black case over the notch, does make the notch a tad more noticeable when trying to watch videos, but not overly distracting. More on this later.

The notch is used for Face ID and one issue that this case caused for Face ID was some failed readings, likely due to the case attracting dust inside each hole required for all visible components of the notch to see through. With dust gathering inside the holes of the case over the notch, it was causing some failed readings for the device. Speaking of which let’s talk about Face ID.

“I prefer Face ID to Touch ID.” – Neil H, 2017.

When using Touch ID for all of these years I found that I must of had to put in my passcode anywhere from 33-50% of the time, but since getting my iPhone X, I have had to enter a passcode about 15-20 times out of the probably thousands of unlock attempts since using the phone.

When I setup the phone, I had a 3 day growth and when I shave it, it still worked but sometimes in areas with not perfect lighting, it didn’t always work immediately, but it eventually did.

After a couple of weeks, I did a rescan of my face for Face ID when clean shaved and it has been working a bit better since then.

I also attempted to grow a moustache during “Movember” and when I shaved it and the majority of my beard at the start of December, Face ID was no better or worse than before.

Top Tip: If you grow a beard and shave somewhat frequently, scan your face when cleanly shaved. If you have a full beard and never shave, this shouldn’t be an issue for you. Reason being that Apple’s machine learning algorithm will learn your face over time as you grow your beard so should get better at recognising your face (in theory).

The speed of Face ID I would say is a hair faster than the original Touch ID on my iPhone 5s, but I doubt it’s anywhere near as fast as 2nd generation Touch ID which can be found in the 6s/7/8/Plus and latest iPad Pros. Especially since I can swipe up to unlock it generally recognises my face as fast as I would swipe up to unlock, but I have been in the habit of raising to wake, wait for the padlock then swipe up to unlock. Over time, I’ll probably be less inclined to wait and just swipe up no matter what.

Phil Schiller did say on stage that the chance a random person can use their face to unlock your phone was one in a million, vs. one in 50,000 for Touch ID, I can understand it being a hair slower than before but it’s statistically 20x more secure, so I think it’s a fair trade-off.

Face ID does not work in all scenarios. Many have argued it does not work in bed when lying on your side and I would argue it does and doesn’t. If the side of your face is really deep into your pillow then no it won’t work, but it also doesn’t work if your eyes are half shut, if you have “Attention Awareness” turned on in settings. Not having “Attention Awareness” turned on, means it probably unlocks a few milliseconds faster, but it also would be a lot less secure. If I had to guess that if with Attention Awareness turned on requires 30,000 points from the dot projector to recognise your face, not having the feature turned on probably requires 20,000 points, but I have no insider knowledge, so it’s a guess.

Overall, I am happy with Face ID because I probably have to put a passcode in once every couple of days, but with my 5s particularly with somewhat-oily skin, I had to put in a passcode 15-30 times a day. So just looking at that statistic along, I love Face ID!

Another point is that for Face ID to get a scan it has to be at a suitable distance away from your face for it to work. I found not all the time, but I tend to hold my phone further away than it requires (maybe because I’m not use to the larger screen), so I have to sometimes tilt my phone down then raise it again to wake again closer to my face, but I’m sure I’ll get use to this more over time.

And finally for Face ID, if it’s on a table and you want to unlock it, you do have to move your head over the top of the phone, with say your chin in-line with the bottom of the phone.

Back to the design of the iPhone X, I only like devices with a black front bezel and as you can tell, the Space Gray and White versions of the iPhone X (at least available at launch) both have black fronts.

In the end I opted for the Space Gray model because a) I thought it would look more slick which it certainly does and b) the silver stainless steel edges on the white model could likely show more scratches with a lot of use, like my iPod Touch did back in the day. #throwback

I was also worried going with the black stainless steel that in the dark it would be harder to find the lightning port to plug in to charge, but this never became an issue for me.

To wrap up this section on design, I’ll focus on the purpose and approach with the notch.

For obvious reasons, I would love if the notch was not there, but I do not find it that big of an issue. In portrait mode while surfing the web, reading the latest tweets, messaging people etc., I do not look at the notch anymore than I looked at the top bezel on my iPhone 5s. Sometimes when I’m watching videos I rarely say to myself “oh yeah the notch is there”, but it is never a in a hated/angry manner. I will explain my thoughts on the software approach with the notch in the software section, but before that, let’s talk about the Super Retina Display.

Display:

iphone-8-render-7-and-7s-800x525
iPhone X Display (middle) vs. 8 (left) and 8 Plus (right)

The “Super Retina Display” (which sounds like a display for a Nintendo handheld), is absolutely amazing.

One of the main reasons I waited out for the iPhone X, if not the main reason I waited, was this more bezel-less design.

I LOVE THIS BEZEL-LESS DESIGN!

The screen to body ratio is very similar to a lot of other devices, but the device is definitely shorter if not also slightly smaller in volume than the regular S8. If you got rid of the notch then the screen to body ratio would have to be at least 90% (currently 83%), which is a lot better than the thick black bezels on my iPhone 5s which was 61% screen to body.

Using the S8 briefly after quite a few weeks, made me feel like the S8 is quite a bit narrower, mainly due to the curved side edges.

Another reason I waited for the iPhone X was the OLED Display.

Before I go further, I can see Android fanboys reading this saying “Samsung has had that for years and years now! Apple is so far behind the times!

I know all of that just like you and I completely agree. However, Samsung and a lot of other Android manufacturers don’t sell as many of their highest end smartphones as Apple, but all budget and flagship devices combined is what makes Android manufacturers (particularly Samsung) stand out compared to Apple when it comes to marketshare.

I have been fortunate to compare the iPhone X OLED Display with the Samsung AMOLED Display on the Galaxy S8 and I honestly prefer the iPhone’s display, because the colours look less saturated and more realistic, which is honestly what I prefer in a display. I like to describe the S8’s screen as punchy.

I tend to have the mindset of “If you put lipstick on a pig, it’s still a pig!“. I’d rather see a pig without lipstick.

One of the major benefits of an OLED Display is it saving battery life when black pixels are shown. This is particularly important when watching 16:9 videos with black bars on either side of it. The blacks are really deep and love the million to one contrast ratio.

Before getting the iPhone X, I thought I’d just have a black wallpaper so it blends in with the notch, black case and get most battery life out of the device, but it did look a tad boring, if not very old iPod-ish. #2ndthrowback

I like to change wallpapers from time to time, but I have been using predominantly the black wallpaper with Rainbow Apple Logo colours going upwards on an angle on the screen, to get that balance of blacks and colour, but now starting to favour the live wallpapers Apple added in iOS 11.2. More on battery life later.

This is also my first device with 3D Touch and I do use it rarely, for when I remember to use it. My most common use case for it is 3D Pressing on Settings App Icon and tapping on Battery to view my usage quicker. Use to have a widget on far left screen but now it’s no longer needed. But overall, I’m glad I didn’t upgrade to the 6s/Plus just to get 3D Touch.

Whilst on the topic of 3D Touch, I find the Taptic Engine 2nd Generation in this device to be absolutely brilliant. I’ve noticed a lot of apps use it subtly when displaying menus etc. and I’ve even incorporated it into some of my apps.

Also in addition to my case, I put a tempered glass screen protector on the front that goes around the notch, and I can still see the screen well outdoors. The display from memory has 600 nits~, but some devices like newer Samsung flagships have 1000 nits and so does my Apple Watch Series 2, but I honestly see a marginal if not no difference looking at my phone or at my watch in direct sunlight from a read ability point of view.

Performance / Graphics:

Apple-A11-Bionic-System-on-Chip

The A11 Bionic chip is RIDICULOUSLY FAST!

I think we are almost at that point where adding more processing power to a smartphone or tablet beyond the A11 Bionic is more to power newer features better such as for a faster Face ID or recognising multiple faces with Face ID, but it’s not going to make much more difference in terms of app loading etc. This is also related to software optimization which is in the next section.

I’m not so much of a fan of Geekbench scores compared to app loading speed tests, but in theory my iPhone X has 3/4 of the grunt of my MacBook Pro Retina Late 2013. That statistic along absolutely blows my mind that Apple’s chip design team can pack this much power into such a small package.

The processing power that the A11 Bionic has, got me seriously thinking that Apple should make an ARM version of a future version of macOS and put it and the A11 Bionic chip or future ones into a 12inch MacBook design or even a 13inch MacBook Pro Retina, which currently only have a dual core CPU.

Now, because of the processing power this phone has, I can get to the home screen of a game such as Subway Surfers now in 4 seconds, instead of 25 seconds before on my 5s. A similar dramatic difference for Super Mario Run (and yes I paid for it when half-price).

The iPhone X is a lot faster than my 5s but when it comes to heat, it is a tad more noticeable that the A11 Bionic is working a hell of a lot. Heat never gets to the point of being untouchable, but does get to the stage of bit beyond being noticeable. This is only if I have a few apps in multitasking and playing a graphic intensive game at the time.

Software:

I knew going into the iPhone X’s experience, that it was all reliant on gestures.

I am a big fan of gestures, but only if they make sense and people know when to do them. One of my favourites is the swipe from the left edge to go back in apps that you segued to and back to previous webpages, and this idea has been fully exploited in the iPhone X.

With no home button, I didn’t find it jarring at all but after a few days use, I knew that it was probably because of the gestures, that this is the reason a lot might want to opt for the iPhone 8/Plus or hold onto their current phone, more from a steep learning curve for non-tech savvy users.

It probably took me a couple of hours to get use to the swipe gestures on this phone to not starting tapping at the bottom middle of the phone thinking a home button was there. For the vast majority of people that are not tech-minded, I reckon it would take a couple of days. I even went back to my 5s briefly and it felt dated (despite the what I will now call reluctantly, tiny screen).

The gestures are now as follows:

  • Swipe up from bottom to go home.
  • Swipe up from bottom and hold for multitasking. Tap and hold on an app then press red minus buttons to close or swipe up to close.
  • Swipe down from top right for Control Centre.
  • Swipe down from top left for Notification Centre/Lock Screen.
  • Swipe down on bottom home bar to trigger reachability.
  • Press and hold side button for Siri.
  • Double tap side button for Apple Pay.
  • Swipe left and right on the bottom home bar to switch between apps you have opened.

I find myself accessing the Notification Centre/Lock Screen less often with this phone because it is harder to reach, so I’m more likely to skip looking at it when single handling the phone, which isn’t a big deal. Also because of the case that I’m using which protects the notch, it’s hard to trigger Notification Centre/Lock Screen by swiping down from the notch, so I have to do it from the top left corner.

You can tell that Apple took the approach of embracing the notch to make their phone stand out compared to previous phones. This was the case with the home button but now that is gone, the notch is the equivalent differential feature to tell it apart in public front on (ignoring vertical cameras on back).

Other tech reviewers are labelling this new UX approach to navigating the phone as more of a beta product. I’m not trying to defend Apple or myself spending the money I did on the phone, but I think it’s far from a beta product, it’s just not the best implementation in every-way.

There are only two changes I would make in a future release (e.g. iOS 12).

  • One would be combining Control Centre into multitasking, to be consistent with the iOS 11 on iPad implementation.
  • The other would be to allow swipe up to dismiss apps in multitasking without needing to press and hold on one first, even if it’s a toggle in settings you have to opt-in for. I can understand why Apple has done what they’ve done by default.

I agree with some other tech websites out there, including CNET’s Apple Byte with Scott Stein and Brian Tong agreeing that this is the most fragmented experience, Apple has had from an iOS navigation perspective.

For example, if you flick your finger up from the bottom of the screen, on each of the following you’d get the respective responses:

  • All iPhones, except X: Control Centre
  • iPad with iOS 11: Multitasking with Control Centre and/or Dock
  • iPhone X: Home Screen

If anything is going to happen, I reckon iPad’s this year are more of a stop-gap solution until they bring out a home buttonless iPad next year, which will adopt the same navigation as the iPhone X. The original iPhone navigation method I reckon will likely stay around long term, but they will significantly reduce the number of models they offer, with the home button to maybe 2 at most and keep those updated frequently, with at least the latest processors etc. Maybe keep an iPhone SE style phone and iPhone 8 (Not Plus) style phone available.

One of the big reasons that triggered me to upgrade to the iPhone X this year and not wait any longer, besides being the type of phone I was waiting for, was the lag on my 5s.

I follow Chris Pirillo quite frequently and for those that don’t know, he has been slagging the iPhone’s performance recently as having frame drops below 60FPS, mainly for the software not being optimized.

I can certainly understand what he is saying, but if you have been using an iPhone 5s for months, which at times drop to like 15-20FPS, then using a device that is 60FPS, is amazing.

To me at least, it seems like there is at least 55FPS more than 95% of the time while using the phone, and has probably improved beyond that since installing iOS 11.2.

Replying to a tweet by Rene Ritchie from iMore, I was able to clarify before getting my iPhone X that the touch response rate is more like 120Hz, which means the screen should be 2x more responsive than previous phones, even if the content on the screen is still only updating at 60Hz. I completely agree with him. It’s the next best thing to a full ProMotion display (which I hear is harder to execute with an OLED Display), but I expect Apple to get this within the next couple of years on their latest phones.

Another thing to add is that a lot of people have been saying on the internet that iOS 11 is the buggiest release Apple has ever released, but I’d beg the differ.

On my iPhone X, I have literally only had these few issues:

  • Incredibly rarely some frame drops.
  • Updating apps some times results in top result on updates screen in App Store to have a shadow that is constantly spinning in a circle.
  • Portrait Lighting photos have not been perfect but equally not that bad.
  • Artwork missing for some songs download for offline listening from Apple Music.
  • Spacing issue incredibly rarely for some app icons in updates section of App Store.
  • With Smart Invert turned on, with a black wallpaper on the lock screen, the padlock for Face ID is also black. Doesn’t seem very smart!
  • A couple of times the status bar on the home screen disappeared but reappeared after opening a couple of apps.

A lot of them seem to have been fixed/improved in iOS 11.2.

Being an app developer, I realize that any software that you put out there will not be perfect, but the aim is to make it as close to perfect as possible in every single way.

Another thing that bothered me initially but I have gotten use to over the past month is the battery percentage missing to the right of the notch. I do think Apple could however add maybe a single tap feature in this area to switch between all toggles it needs to show. E.g. tap to show battery percentage, or tap to show orientation lock, VPN symbol and Do Not Disturb symbol. I just feel the redesigned status bar can be a bit more interactive, especially if it’s showing less information and it’d work in all apps.

It seems that a lot of other devices running iOS 11 are getting issues compared to the iPhone X, including the iPhone 8/Plus. I’m likely going to save my thoughts for a later post(s) regarding what Apple should be doing with their software in the next few years and I’m currently leaning towards quite a different angle to my previous posts.

Camera:

I am not a massive camera user, but I will give you my thoughts on what I got out of the camera.

Photos do look incredibly realistic, the 12MP count seems like the right balance for quality vs. storage size.

I love how the iPhone X can do 4K Video Recording at 60FPS, so as a video camera it’s very future-proof. I tested it and really liked the result but haven’t had a proper use for recording in 4K@60FPS yet.

I tested Portrait mode and it does work 80% of the time and Portrait Lighting mode didn’t work even half the time. I know it’s in beta like Portrait mode was last year, so I expect this to get better over time. Other results like the Pixel 2 do this sort of feature with software and the results look incredibly sharp, almost to the point of being unrealistic/fake, but do look bold.

I’m finding the Optical Image Stabilization is helping me take better photos, since I don’t have incredibly steady hands.

It’s not camera related, but another feature I like in iOS 11 with screenshots is the ability to crop the screenshot straight away and share it easily. I had a real world example of this the other day and it felt great how much quicker of a process it is, and tempts me to use this sort of feature more often, where appropriate.

Back to the cameras, overall I am really impressed by the camera for someone who takes the occasional photo and the front facing camera is dramatically improved compared to the 1.2MP one on the 5s.

Battery Life:

When it comes to battery life itself, I am beyond impressed.

On my iPhone 5s before upgrading, I was leaving my phone in Low Power Mode all day and held around 80% of it’s original charge after 4 years use. I was getting between 4 and 5 hours of screen on time daily.

Going to the iPhone X and applying the same settings (without Low Power Mode until at 20% left), I’m getting now more like 9-10 hours of screen on time (S.O.T.) daily consistently.

Even if I don’t do anywhere near 9-10 hours of S.O.T. in a single day, it’s projected based on my usage to fall in that range. One day I got 10.5hrs and another day I could of got 11 hours usage, screen on time.

The battery is essentially twice the size of my 5s, but with larger displays with more pixels, more components requiring power all the time like Face ID and raise to wake, it’s become clear that when Apple uses a smaller size chip, such as the now 10nm process for the A11 Bionic chip (vs. 28nm in my 5s), that the power savings in the chips size reduction is used by other components added to the phone, rather than extending the battery life itself. Making a battery last longer is likely due to software optimizations and the size of the battery itself.

The biggest gripe I have with the battery is that Apple did not include a fast charger in the box.

I did some tests with my phone and said the following in a previous tweet:

from dead in 30mins charged to 43% with the iPad 12W charger. If a $69 (29W) MacBook Charger + $35 (1M) Lightning to USB-C Cable (both Apple Retail Store prices) = $104 expense to charge from 0% to just over 50% in 30mins, the cost to benefit doesn’t make sense.

And now a few weeks after tweeting that, I still don’t understand why you would spend that kind of money for that barely any quicker charge. You’d think 12W vs 29W would result in a 2.4x faster charge, but the only way it would be more justifiable is if you got a USB C Charger that has one port for USB PD (USB Power Delivery) and multiple other regular USB ports built in, such as one offered by Anker a lot of Tech YouTuber’s a pushing lately

It all seems to come down to how often you would be using the fast charging feature to determine if it’s worth it for you. If you’d use it daily, then yes it’s probably worth it, but for someone like me who goes to bed with between 20% and 50% charge on a typical day, I don’t see the need for it, just for my iPhone X. If I had an iPad as well that supports fast charging, then it could very well become more justifiable.

Another couple of quick points I want to add, is that Apple could of even included an iPad 12W Charger in the box instead of the 5W adapter which both sell for AU$29, but the other point I want to highlight is that I reckon the battery does not last quite as long when it is charged by a 12W adapter. I normally charge via a USB Port in my power-board in my room and is close to the 5W charger in terms of wattage output and that’s how I get ridiculously good battery life charging over night. With the 12W adapter, I’d be lucky to get more than 7 hours of screen on time. So when it comes to faster charging, it comes down to the scenario you are in, but if possible, I would always go for the slow-long charge.

I have not got a wireless charger to test with my device, but will be likely be getting one off eBay for about 1/3rd the cost of a retail unit. Looking forward to an upright wireless charger next to my bed so I can tap my phone screen with it’s “Tap to Wake” feature (which has really grown on me) to view the time and battery level, while it’s charging.

My conclusion for the battery is that, “this is probably the best a lithium-ion smartphone’s battery is going to get“, until we can charge our phones via true wireless charging like how we connect to Wi-Fi or via a new form of battery technology. Recent rumours suggest Samsung is working on a graphene battery that will charge 5x faster than lithium-ion batteries, but I would not want to be an early adopter of such a major jump in battery technology (capacity not charging), especially from Samsung given their issues with the Note 7, which I do feel bad for it happening to them.

FAQ’s:

I thought it’d be best to address a lot of questions that I am seeing appearing on the internet regarding this phone, before giving my final conclusion.

Does the notch bother you in portrait mode?

Not at all. I do look at it rarely depending on what I am doing on my phone at the time, but I don’t look at it any more than the top of my iPhone 5s, with it’s thick bezels.

If you are someone that can’t get your mind off the notch rather than the content you are loading on your phone, then you are going to look at the notch more than me.

Does the notch bother you in landscape mode?

Only slightly.

In apps like YouTube I can pinch to zoom to full screen or just watch with black bars on the left and right and that is all fine for me to watch.

The notch while watching videos in landscape can be a bit distracting because of the case I have on it, but ultimately I think it comes down to the content you are watching. If you are really engaged in the content you are watching and suspended in disbelief, the notch is less noticeable.

Also since you can crop videos to have vertical borders to left and right of video, it also while watching videos in the dark (on low brightness) makes it impossible to see the notch. It would look disgusting if the notch was white.

I’m going to have to buy the 256GB model as 64GB won’t be enough?

Maybe for some, but not all.

I got the 64GB model, mainly from a cost perspective.

My 5s which I’ve had for 4 years with 64GB was just over half full, and my iPhone X now is using a few more GB than that, but I’ve stored about 8GB of video on my phone to playback with Infuse Pro.

I’m now at that point, where I say the majority of people should get a new smartphone with at least 64GB of storage, unless you only have a couple of apps on your phone and primarily do just web browsing, SMS and calls.

How many times have you put in a passcode vs. using Face ID?

Probably 15-20 times out of the thousands of login attempts. Most of those 15-20 are scenarios like when waking up and my eyes are half shut or dust gathered in the case covering over the notch. If I didn’t have the dust issue, I’d imagine that number would be more like 3-5.

How are apps going for being updated to support iPhone X?

Surprisingly well.

You also check out all of my latest apps including the recently released second version of Shopping Australia, which has been optimized to work on the iPhone X.

All of my apps I have worked on recently have worked on the iPhone X out of the box, but not perfectly everywhere, so I probably had to spend a couple of hours fixing little things for each app separately to run perfectly on the new hardware.

Out of all of the apps that I use on a regular basis, only 6 out of 20-30 I use regularly have not been updated, including:

  • Speedtest
  • iTunes Connect
  • Telstra 24×7
  • Downdetector
  • Google Analytics
  • Alarm Clock App

I’m expecting updates for all of these except the last one, in the next month or two.

The black bars that appear when an app is not designed for the iPhone X is not really an issue for me in the short term, unless it’s a game that could take benefit of the full screen.

Do you like the new gesture navigation system?

Yes I do. It’s not perfect, but it’s really great.

Have you gone to use another phone and swipe on it when you are suppose to tap a home button on-screen or off-screen?

Yep, plenty of times!

Will the home bar always be visible on the screen?

I think Apple will likely in iOS 12, allow you to get rid of the home bar, because people will be more accustomed to the new navigation system by then, which removing it will increase the screen space in height for actual content. Almost definitely will be an opt-in option in settings, I reckon.

Do you watch more videos with black bars on either side or full screen?

Honestly, if I have the choice it’s probably 50% of each mode. Depends on the content I’m watching. If it’s something like an Unbox Therapy video where he’s sitting at the table, I’d be more inclined to zoom in because I know the space well that he is filming in, since when you zoom in, you lose a bit off the top and bottom of the video.

If I’m watching something for the first time with a lot going on in the background, then I may be more inclined to favour the black bars.

Do you use Animoji’s?

I will admit I played around with some of the Animojis and they can be quite fun, but I’ve only ever sent a couple to my sister on her Galaxy S4 to see if it would work and it just makes it a short video file with sound, sent by MMS.

What are your thoughts on the iPhone X keyboard having a large gap at the bottom?

I actually really like it.

Having the screen that far up on the phone’s screen makes it more similar to older iPhones if you still had a home button, and better for getting a good grip on the phone as you type.

If Apple allows you to hide the home bar in iOS 12, I’d imagine the keyboard will go down slightly.

I do question if there is something Apple could do with that large gap at the bottom, besides switching keyboards. Even if it’s something like frequently used emojis, it would be a better use of space (obviously opt-in for it).

How do the speakers sound?

With the iPhone 8/Plus and presumably X, they say the speakers are now 20% louder, but most tech reviewers have said they are more clearer than the iPhone 7/Plus’s stereo speakers.

I’m more inclined to agree that they are very clear and love the stereo sound. It’s not as noticeable that sound goes to one ear and the other, but when you cover one speaker it’s a bit more noticeable.

In terms of the speakers as a whole compared to my 5s, it’s more like a 300% improvement.

How is life without a headphone jack?

Not that bad to speak the truth.

I do have a cassette to 3.5mm adapter (yes I’m old school) in my car and I put the lightning to 3.5mm adapter that came with my phone in the car and that solves the only major scenario I have for using the old headphone port.

I have only once whilst sitting at my desk grabbed a set of EarPods for it to have a 3.5mm adapter, so I put it in my MacBook Pro instead and listened to music through that.

I also find the Lightning EarPods and anything connected with the Lightning to 3.5mm adapter to be a bit punchier and have less static, but not all static is gone.

Not having the headphone jack has got me started to think more about what Bluetooth headphones I should invest in, but I’d probably think about this long term as not in a rush for any.

Are you using your iPad less since you got the iPhone X?

I actually am using my iPad a bit less.

On my iPad, I primarily use it for web browsing, watching YouTube and other videos alongside testing apps, so if I do update my iPad down the line, it’d likely be to get the best hardware possibly with the smallest storage size.

In the span of a week, I probably use my iPad 4-5 times a week, whereas before I was using it at least twice a day.

I guess another reason I’ve been using it less is the less reliable Wi-Fi on my iPad Air running iOS 11. Updating my iPad to iOS 11.2 has made the Wi-Fi so far a lot more stable, but we’ll see long term. I’ve never had a single Wi-Fi issue with my X.

Did you get the infamous A [?] or the “I.T.” autocorrect bugs?

No, I got neither of them.

Did you have the calculator lag bug?

Yes, this was the only widespread bug that I got reported recently. Can confirm no matter how fast you try to replicate the bug on iOS 11.2, it will work correctly, every time!

Is the iPhone X worth it?

Let’s go to the conclusion for that.

Conclusion:

Being my first review, I’m not 100% sure what scoring structure to go for, but I figured I take the 6 core elements of the phone I reviewed above and score each out of 10 and calculate a final percentage, all based on my use case.

Design: 10/10 – Cannot fault the design and build quality of the device. It is the perfect combination of materials, size, being able to use with a single hand and pocket-ability.

Display: 10/10 – Easily the best display I have personally seen on a smartphone.

Performance/Graphics: 10/10 – Incredibly powerful device. Feels even faster after installing iOS 11.2.

Camera: 9/10 – Portrait modes need some work and needs better toggles like changing picture or video resolution inside the camera app itself. All can be fixed in software updates, but scored on what it is today.

Software: 8/10 – Great additions in iOS 11, just needs some more things added (like Always On Display, Dark Mode API etc.), changed (like Control Centre in Multitasking screen) and polished (like fixing all the bugs everyone is reporting).

Battery Life: 10/10 – I’m getting more than enough battery life compared to before. It is easily the best battery you can get on a smartphone today!

Total: 57/60 or 95%

I guess the next question you’d be thinking after seeing my score is, should I buy the iPhone X over any other phone?

Not necessarily. Don’t get me wrong the X is expensive, but I could justify the cost of it more so than others because of being an app developer and having had my last smartphone for 4 years and haven’t owned a “large screen” smartphone.

This design of iPhone will obviously get cheaper over time, with current rumours saying there will be a 6.1inch LCD Display, 5.8inch OLED Display and 6.5inch OLED Display all coming in late 2018, which I don’t agree with the first one for it’s size alone, but we shall see.

Another point that I’ve referred to multiple times throughout this review is with the case I chose protecting the notch at the top. I’m not sure if it’s just the specific case I picked, but I DO NOT recommend getting a case that covers over the notch itself. Face ID would work a lot better if you got one that didn’t cover the notch.

Ultimately, it comes down to what phone you are upgrading from and too and your current financial situation as to if it makes sense to get it. If you are someone who is struggling to manage your bills, I would strongly hesitate getting the iPhone X or just upgrading to any new smartphone, but if all is well, it can make more sense to upgrade to it, especially now that supply as now just about caught up with demand.

If you would be upgrading from each of the following, my thoughts are as follows:

  • iPhone 8/Plus: Why would you buy that then get the X. Waste of money.
  • iPhone 7/Plus: Waste of money, as not enough change. Probably upgrade next year if you want the 6.5inch model or if you can financially afford to do so then.
  • iPhone 6s/Plus: Only if you can financially afford to do it easily.
  • iPhone 6/Plus: If you are starting to have issues such as lag and can afford to upgrade, then upgrade.
  • iPhone 5s or Older: If you can afford and justify the upgrade, definitely upgrade.

If you liked this review and want to see more in the future, you know what to do, like and share this post on WordPress and on Twitter and follow me on Twitter @neilh_apps for hopefully more reviews and follow up posts to this in the future.

Advertisements