What’s new pussycat?
Once I’d got the phone out if the box, one of the first things I noticed was that the iPhone X is smaller than the 7 Plus. However, the screen is still bigger. That’s obviously been achieved by removing the home button and utilising the space at the top of the screen. Visually, I think that works really well, but it will take some Apps a while to catch up and make the most of the extra screen space. Although, I’ve noticed some have already updated this morning.
The resolution of the OLED screen is outstanding, the sharpness of text on the screen gives a print-like quality. I also tried a quick experiment with the quality of the screen which supports HDR. I streamed Stranger Things on Netflix on the 7 Plus and X and paused on some colour-rich scenes. You can really appreciate the difference in colour range. The screen is also using true tone, so the screen warmth, the “colour” of the white, i.e. from cold-blue to warmer-red, adjusts to that of the room. No doubt about it, the quality of the iPhone X screen is phenomenal, but I’ve invested in a good quality case to protect it. And bought AppleCare!
I’m a bit of a sucker for beautiful packaging and whilst there was nothing too different about the iPhone X box from the outside, there were some very neat pieces of tiny cardboard and paper engineering which have replaced some of the plastic wrapping – good to see!
Quick Start – at last!
Back in the day, if you can remember sitting with your new Nokia and reentering all your contacts manually, you’ll be glad to hear that Apple has come up with a really neat feature to make setting up your new iPhone X super-easy. Quick Start asks you to get your existing device, either your MacBook or iPhone and bring it close to your new phone. And that’s it, just accept the request to migrate your phone and you’re done.
My only frustration with the setup is that I used two-factor authentication for so many Apps and so I needed to ensure that I’d enabled 2FA on the apps on my new phone, before wiping my old phone. Otherwise, you could easily find yourself locked out of a whole load of apps. Something to bear in mind.
It’s probably the one feature everyone’s been talking about, perhaps because of the technical glitch during the keynote. But I’m pleased to report that Face ID absolutely rocks! It’s not something that Apple developed themselves, they actually went out and purchased Prime Sense, the company that Xbox has been using for a few years for their Kinect tech, but it’s a fantastic piece of innovation and I can see it becoming the standard for a whole variety of devices in future. You do need to bring the phone up to your face though and it doesn’t work if you’ve got the phone on its side (landscape).
The lack of home button doesn’t seem to be an issue. In fact, I quickly got to grips with “swiping up”. And because you’re unlocking with Face ID you’re actually straight onto the home screen and ready to go. I think people will get to grips with this straight away.
On the back of the iPhone X, there are two 12-megapixel cameras (now vertical, with the flash in between the two cameras), which is a step up from the non-stabilised lens on the 8 Plus. I’ve not had much opportunity to use the camera at the moment, but I’ve already noticed it’s much better in low light. I have been trying the portrait and video mode out on the kids and the dog. What’s impressive is the image stabilisation, especially when shooting 4K video. And it’s great to be able to select and use filters there and then without popping off to Instagram.
Using the phone over the weekend, one of the more popular features with the kids has of course been the infamous Animoji. Who wouldn’t be charmed by turning themselves into a grinning/frowning/laughing panda/fox/piglet and insulting their siblings? One thing the kids discovered is that it can’t yet track sticking your tongue. Although it won’t stop you trying.
There’s been a load of commentary about the cost of the iPhone X and whether it’s worth the money. For me, this new phone feels like we’re getting a real insight into the future. Yes, it’s definitely a faster phone, the screen is amazing and it looks stunning. But you’re still running iOS 11, so apart from Animoji it’s going to feel a lot like iPhone 8 until app developers start to adapt.
What does feel a little bit cheapskate is that despite paying over £1000 for a phone, Apple has chosen to include the old-style wired headphones. Sure, they include the adapter, but of course, if you want to charge the phone whilst listening to music, you’ll need a wireless charger too. In my opinion, if you’re paying this much for a phone, then you’d expect to get the AirPods included. Perhaps Apple thought the numbers didn’t stack up, but it seems like a missed opportunity to increase adoption of AirPods. And it’s a bit like buying a brand new Audi and finding it’s got a CD player rather than CarPlay.
What’s my verdict?
My long-term love affair with Apple is no secret, so if you’re looking for a slightly less biased opinion, I’d head over to 9to5 Mac for their very comprehensive first-look review. A couple of weeks ago we had an iPhone 8 and 8 Plus on loan from Three, as we were running a Blogger workshop on the phones their Islington Discovery Store. The phones were great, but for me, the iPhone X is a tantalising taste of more exciting things to come from Apple. And at the end of the day, as Dr Logic, I just couldn’t not buy it!