Meet the New iPhone X: A Hands-on Review

People say that the iPhone X is the phone that Apple has been working on for ten years, as long as the Apple iPhone has existed.

And consumers certainly appear to feel that it is something special, too. Pre-orders for the iPhone X were a sensational success as if users want to order one now, they will have to wait for more than a month for it to arrive.

But what is it exactly that is getting the public’s imagination fired up? It is not the inside of the phone, which is considerably the same as the iPhone 8. It also has the same processor, the superbly fast A11 Bionic (with six cores!). And the cameras are only slightly improved on the iPhone X, featuring better image stabilisation.

No, it is not any of those things mentioned. It is actually the new design which is the first notable change to the iPhone’s look after three years. The iPhone 8 looks similarly like the iPhone 6. However, the iPhone X is something else.

Using an iPhone X for a day, not long enough to actually get under its skin, but long enough to inform readers of at least one thing – it is the best iPhone that Apple has ever created.

The screen

Apple claims that the iPhone X is all screen. However, that is something of an exaggeration as there is still a thin black bezel around its edge.

Nevertheless, despite the fact that the phone is quite smaller than the iPhone 8 Plus, it has a bigger screen. And what a screen it really is – a brilliant 5.8in OLED display that Apple dubs as Super Retina.

Gradual upgrades to screens do not really interest buyers that much as they can hardly ever distinguish the difference with their eyes. However, this is different.

Users can immediately notice the difference – the contrast, the detail, and the depth in the black. It actually does pop. However, of course, the ‘all-screen’ display means that there is no room for a ’Home’ button.

How to get Home?

Removing the only button that the iPhone has had on its front face ever since day one might be a risk as the Home button’s functions are essential to the experience, and every iPhone user has a muscle memory that instructs them to press the home button in order to get back to the phone’s app selection screen. However, that is all gone in the iPhone X.

The Home button did two important functions with regards to getting into your phone in the first place. One tap took users to the iPhone’s home screen. However, the integrated fingerprint sensor also unlocked the phone.

These functions have been replaced by Apple with two new features: the Face ID to unlock and a number of gestures to navigate.

Face ID

The first thing to say about the Face ID is that the feature works perfectly and without error.

The phone uses the complex hardware that is built into the notch that is located at the top of the screen. There is a camera in there, but there is also a whole lot more such as an infrared sensor, a dot projector, and a flood illuminator. These functions work together to allow depth sensing in images that make the Face ID (and the Portrait mode on the front as well as the back sensor) work, even in the dark.

It is easy to set up (two passes at scanning the user’s face). It is easy to say that it is hardly slower than the Touch ID. However, there is not much in it, and once the novelty of the feature wears off, which it does really quickly, users may begin to forget that it is there, just like what users did with the fingerprint sensor of older iPhones.

The gesture used to return home (also, to leave the lock screen) is to swipe up from the bottom of the screen.

Users will remain occasionally, but only momentarily, confused when they open the phone. And a swipe up will quickly become as ingrained in my muscle memory as using the Home button.

Apple also claims that the Face ID is more secure than Touch ID as the possibility of a random person picking up your phone and unlocking it with face ID are 1 in 1,000,000, as opposed to 1 in 50,000 with Touch ID, even though the sources of this figures remain unverified.

Face ID will also unlock all the functions that are currently fulfilled by Touch ID in third-party apps and developers have no extra work to do.

Gestures

This brings us to the other new thing that is introduced with the iPhone X – some of the things that users used to do with the Home button are now fulfilled with swipes on the screen.

You already know that users have to swipe up to go to home. However, users also used to swipe up to bring up the control centre but with the iPhone X, that happens when users swipe down from the top right of the screen.

Swiping up and holding activates the multitasking app switcher (which used to be activated when users double-tapped the Home button). And there is also a little horizontal stripe that is seen across the bottom of every app which users can swipe to switch between different apps.

To activate Siri, users can long-press on the sleep/wake button that is located on the right side of the phone.

That might seem to be a little bit more complicated than it actually is. However, it all makes sense in the using.

Users may be required to retrain their muscle memory as there is bound to be when you have been doing one thing day in and day out and are now required to do something else. However, that retraining will not take long. Looking for new ways of doing things is Apple’s way, and usually, there is not much of a learning curve. In this case, users are getting the ‘all-screen’ display in return for learning those new modes of doing things. And the bigger screen in the smaller phone. It’s all worth it.

Animoji

Animoji is a fun feature that is made possible by the True Depth camera on the iPhone. Essentially, these are a series of face-like Emojis that users can invoke in the Messages app. As users talk and move their facial features, the on-screen character imitates everything that the users do. Users can take snapshots of the facial expressions (which can be quite strange), create stickers out of them, or record short video clips, which can then be shared with other people. It is likely the thing that users will do most on the first day of owning the iPhone X.

Conclusion

So, the iPhone X has everything that the iPhone 8 can do, and more. It has the great design, the powerful processors, the wireless charging, the sensational camera, and, of course, the iOS on which it is all built. However, the iPhone X boasts of the incredible True Depth camera that makes Portrait mode and Face ID possible, a simply fabulous screen, and a smaller size with a much larger screen making it a winner and the best iPhone yet.