My few minutes of hands-on experience with the iPhone X at the Apple reveal on Tuesday is hardly sufficient to review the new phone, but I can say that it looks good, feels good in the hand and that it’s easy to get to the home screen, despite the lack of a home button.
I didn’t take the time to enroll my face into its face recognition software but I watched as the Apple employee showing me the phone quickly unlocked it by glancing at the screen. He had better luck than Apple VP Craig Federighi who was unable to unlock the phone with his face the first time he tried to demonstrate it on stage.
I liked the “Super Retina Display,” but you wouldn’t notice the improvement unless you were holding it side by side with an older iPhone, and even then it would be almost inconsequential. To my spectacle-enabled eyes, just about all of today’s smartphone screens look great.
One thing I did appreciate was the 5.8 inch display on a phone about the size of the 5.5 inch model, thanks to Apple finally getting rid of those bulky bezels on top and bottom. The phone has a nearly edge-to-edge display.
Some die-hard iPhone users might miss the home button but most Android users have long lived without a physical home button. I actually like the way the iPhone X lets you access the home screen from anywhere by simply swiping up.
My brief experience with the phone wasn’t sufficient to test the power of its beefed up “A11 bionic” processor but I did get to see how both the front and rear facing cameras can easily change lighting conditions on your subject — which will be useful for us amature photographers seeking some relatively high-end images.
Less useful, but perhaps fun for many, is the ability to create animated emojis that respond to your facial expressions in real time, or virtual masks that cover your face but don’t hide your facial expressions. Personally, I don’t think I’ll find that feature all the compelling, but I’m impressed that the phone’s processor and GPU have enough processing power to make it happen.
I didn’t get to try out the phone’s beefed-up support for augmented reality but I love that it’s optimized to allow developers to create apps that let you superimpose computer generated images over real-world scenes. At first that will mostly be used for gaming — Apple demonstrated superimposing an ominous creature harassing players during a real basketball game — but I’m looking forward to some practical applications in training, education, medicine and tourism.
Obviously I can’t verify Apple’s promise that the iPhone X runs two hours longer than the iPhone 7, but I hope that’s true. Of all the features I can imagine adding to a phone, longer battery life (much longer if possible) would be at the top of my list.
Like the iPhone 7, none of the new iPhones have a headphone jack. Personally, I like the flexibility of a standard jack because, despite the plethora of wireless headphones and speakers, there are plenty of speakers, headphones, car stereos and other audio devices that require one. Fortunately there is an adapter and one nice side-benefit of wireless charging is that you can now charge these new phones without having to plug an adapter into the same Lightning port used by the standard Apple earbuds.
But should you buy one? I’m tempted to not tell you the price but instead the cliche, “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.” But here goes.
The phone starts at $999 for a 64GB version and up to $1,149 for 256GB. But if you’re looking for an excuse, it’s “only” $200 more than an iPhone 8 Plus, so anyone thinking of buying that mainstream phone might be able to rationalize spending an extra $200 for the iPhone X.
Admittedly, that extra $200 doesn’t buy you much in terms of extra functionality, but if you get one early enough you’ll get a lot of admiring glances from friends and colleagues — I’d get nothing but sneers from my family for spending that much — and the pleasure of having the coolest phone on the planet, at least for now.
If you’re looking for even more justification, consider how much you use your phone. Many use their phones more than their cars and it’s not uncommon to spend thousands more on a car just because you like its looks or prefer how it feels. You get my drift. There are lots of things we can do with our money and — if you can afford it — paying a little more for luxury isn’t necessarily out of the question.
Having said that, it’s important to remember that there are plenty of great smartphones on the market that aren’t made by Apple. I’ve reviewed phones that cost less than $400 that I would be happy to own. For $200 you can get a decent Android phone or a used iPhone 6 that someone spent $650 for when it came out three years ago.
Putting aside all these arguments, the fact is that lots of people are going to want the iPhone X and I expect the initial demand to exceed the supply.
Published at Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:02:20 +0000