iPhone X – My Experience So Far

Is it worth it?

A £999 phone, madness right? Well no, not if you consider a few things.

I used to upgrade my iPhone every two years on a mobile provider contract basis. In 2014 I switched to buying an unlocked iPhone outright. An iPhone 6 then cost me £619.00.

I squeezed out 3 years of use from that device. In fact it still works absolutely fine running iOS 11.1 but naturally, by now, I wanted to upgrade for more power, a better camera, etc.

To replace my 6, my requirements were split between;

  • iPhone 8 64GB : £699.00 (desired form factor / size)
  • iPhone 8 Plus 64GB : £799.00 (better dual camera system)
  • iPhone X 64GB : £999.00 (desired form factor / better camera)

Essentially the iPhone X fit my requirements precisely, but jacked the cost up by either; £300.00 sans the better camera -or- £200.00 with a better camera, larger form factor, and bigger battery.

So considering this purchase will likely be a 3 year cycle, is paying an extra £100 ish a year worth the extra cost? Honestly, sure the cost is high, but for me I like the form factor and dislike massive phones.

Feature wise, the differentiating features over a regular iPhone 8 are; the ‘edge-to-edge’ OLED display; Face ID; new overall design, i.e, glass back, steel bands; and slightly larger battery.

The UI / UX

Many have argued Apple has made a users’ life more difficult by “complicating” and “fragmenting” their product line with the introduction of the new screen and removal of the Home button.

After a few hours with the device, the lack of Home button was of no concern, in fact it’s a far more fluid experience and the concerns melt away fast. Swiping up rather than clicking / double clicking a Home button is really nice.

In terms of fragmentation, this is just another transitional phase. It’s clear that, in the not too distant  future, all iOS devices will be unified with these type of screens and Face ID.

My one major gripe, both before using the X and now owning one, was the awkward way you have to invoke the Control Centre.

I feel Apple compromised user experience here, I mean the whole point of of the Control Centre is to easily action very useful things quickly with a simple swipe up with one hand from the bottom of the screen.

I wrote about an idea that’s floating about to quickly get to the Control Centre using 3D Touch which I’d like to see as a Settings option. Some others are suggesting the Control Centre and App Switcher should be unified, a bit like the iPad UI.

A video was doing the rounds a couple of months ago showing a video hidden in an iOS 11 beta showing this idea, so Apple clearly considered it, perhaps it will return?

There’s certainly a huge amount of debate going on surrounding this point, so time will tell how Apple choose to ‘fix’ this user experience bugbear.

  • iPhone X – Form Factor
    iPhone X – Form Factor
  • iOS Control Centre
    iOS Control Centre
  • Face ID
    Face ID

The Notch

I really don’t mind this. Sure, it would be aesthetically nicer to have the screen truly run edge-to -edge unimpeded, but that will always require some form of forehead at the top.

In terms of watching short films and video clips on an notch laden full screen, it does look a bit odd. I prefer the native view (black bars either side) as full screen will always crop-in a bit.

One nice thing I did notice: because of the extra horizontal space, the 2:35:1 cinema style aspect ratio gets framed perfectly and looks great on the iPhone X.

If you have an iPhone X here’s an example of this aspect ratio in action. It’s also a lovely little film entirely shot on the iPhone X.

Does Face ID work well?

For me 95% of the time it works flawlessly. Occasionally it will fail at an obscure angle, or with a hand covering part of the face, yawning, etc. But effectively, I pick the device up, swipe up and it’s immediately unlocked – that fast.

I have to say, this feature was always a draw to me. Touch ID is good, but there are occasions where it failed due to a build up of grease on the button, or recently showered hands, etc. Although saying that I was using an iPhone 6 for last three years and my MBP Touch ID seems much improved.

For me, Face ID works in the dark. Obviously, the screen brightens up your face, but if you cover the screen with some dark fabric leaving the notch exposed, it still recognises your face.

Overall I love the ease-of-use Face ID brings and it’s clear this technology is going to get better. In the future it will certainly offer some exciting new functionality and no doubt play a role in Apple’s AR endeavours and surely likely appear on the front of future iPhones for 3D depth sensing apps.

Animoji is gimmicky, but a pretty cool demo of this face recognition technology in action. And it’s fun to mess about with while the novelty is fresh.

Image quality

The camera system, as I expected, is great.

I’m testing various things which I’ll chuck on Instagram.

iPhone X Summary

Yes the iPhone X is expensive, but many high-end smart phones are in the region of £800.00.

The extra you pay for an iPhone X for me is worth the money. My main gripe is the Control Centre, but I’m certain this will be addressed in a future iOS .dot release.

I hope you found this useful if you’re considering an iPhone X.


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