Apple iPhone X, hands on review

by Dan Claxton | smartphones | 7th November

“He’s been!”, shouts my wife from downstairs. No, not the big man with the red suit and white beard, but the next best thing…the DPD delivery driver! The frantic page refreshing the week before paid off, and I managed to bag one of the first batch of Apple’s finest. The iPhone X (pronounced ten) is the biggest design overhaul since the iPhone 4, and 10 years on from the release of the original iPhone, Apple have made some bold design and technology changes.

Time to get hands on with the Lowdown.

DISPLAY
The first obvious change, that screen! The bezels have been ditched and the home button dropped to make way for an all new 5.8inch ‘OLED’ display, which is technically bigger than the iPhone 8 Plus but within a footprint closer to the iPhone 8 – and boy does it look good! The addition of HDR and increased pixel density in the iPhone X’s screen, labelled the ‘Super Retina Display’, makes the latest shows on Netflix look amazing and a lot more immersive. TrueTone technology enables the screen to adapt to different lighting situations to ensure you always get natural looking colours. As if that wasn’t enough, the stainless steel surround blends to the back of the iPhone X, which is now made from glass and feels fantastic to hold, really giving it that premium touch.
FACE ID

There is a small ‘notch’ at the very top of the screen which houses some seriously impressive tech. Oh yes, with the home button removed Touch ID is no longer, make way for Face ID! With a combination of TrueDepth cameras, infra-red lasers and infra-red scanners, your face is detected, and in a split second, ‘voila’ your phone is unlocked. At first, I was a little dubious as to how this would stand up next to the tried and tested Touch ID that has been around since the iPhone 5s, but I have to say the reliability of Face ID has surpassed my expectations. (Also, I quite enjoyed trying on a load of silly hats and glasses to see if it still recognised me).
Beyond the unlock function, Face ID makes buying apps and contactless payments much easier, all you need to do is look at your phone (which most people do every chance they get anyway!)

AND (drumroll please…), the new face detection technology is needed for the iPhone X’s most important new feature…Animojis!! Ok, maybe not the most important, but definitely the most fun! You can now send a short video/audio message with your face becoming an emoji such as a monkey, dog and or talking poop (everyone’s dream)!

CAMERAS
The vertically mounted 12mp dual lens camera gives photo quality of the highest standard as we have come to expect from Apple. With the two camera lenses working together (first introduced on the iPhone 7 plus), you can now zoom in further without pixelation or loss of quality. The front facing 7mp FaceTime HD camera captures images really nicely, and will produce the best selfies yet! Both front and rear cameras make use of the new ‘Portrait mode’, where you can focus on a subject by blurring the background or add studio lighting. This is sometimes a bit hit and miss, but it is still in the Beta phase and any kinks should be ironed out shortly.
BATTERY
Apple claims to have improved battery life by 2 hours over the iPhone 7, and I’m inclined to believe them. By 9pm last night, I still had 68% percent remaining after a normal day’s use (e.g., texts, calls, emails…lots of Animojis). The glass back now makes the iPhone X capable of wireless charging, and combined with the Belkin Qi Wireless Charging Pad I have enjoyed the convenience of charging with no wires in the way!
SOUND

With stereo speakers mounted inside the iPhone X the sound quality is nice and clear. I probably wouldn’t recommend you using it for a house party, but a quick episode of Stranger Things or a viral video of a dog on a skateboard will sound just fine! With the headphone port well and truly laid to rest, you can use the lighting earbuds included with the iPhone X, your own earphones with the mini-jack adapter (also provided in the box), or take a leap and treat yourself to some Bluetooth cans! For optimum enjoyment and convenience, Bluetooth is definitely the way forward and I will be posting a wireless headphone / earphone buying guide soon to help you decide which might be right for you! In the meantime, here are the ones that I’m currently using (and they are all excellent):

BOSE SOUNDSPORT WIRELESS IN-EAR HEADPHONES

BOSE SOUNDLINK ON-EAR WIRELESS HEADPHONES

BEATS BY DRE, SOLO 3 WIRELESS ON-EAR HEADPHONES

POWERBEATS 3, BEATS BY DRE

PRICE

All this technology and premium design comes at a cost. The 64gb model coming in at £999 and the 256gb at £1149, which makes them the most expensive iPhones to date. I opted for the 256gb model, as I thought the extra bit of cash for a lot more storage was worth it, but 64gb will also be plenty big enough and welcomed by people still juggling with only 16gb’s!
Is it worth it? I would have to say it is. The iPhone X is a showcase for how an expensive luxury phone should look and feel. Face ID is the future of phone technology, the full screen display is gorgeous, and the whole thing just works as an Apple product should.

I’m off to send some more Animojis! Peace out!

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