Hi! I’m Jeff Fiddler. I manage the curriculum here at App Academy for all of our products. As the first person in the office to have an iPhone X, our Senior Editor decided I should provide my assessment after the first couple of weeks of heavy use.
Be warned: This is my first ever public review of a product attached to my name. All the other ones I’ll admit to are usually written through my ultra-secret Yelp account.
0. That Donut
While waiting in line to pick up my new iPhone X the first day it was available, the Apple staff gave me a maple-glazed old fashioned donut. I was not expecting this. The few folks in front of me declined because, I think, they didn’t want to be first to open the box. I had no such qualms and bravely opened it. Once the precedent was set, many others followed, wisely.
That donut was dense, sweet, and delicious. The best donut I think I have had in years. Thanks Apple.
1. The Screen is Huge and Stunning
After using this thing for about two weeks I am still blown away. It is bright and vibrant. It spans edge-to-edge beautifully. The colors are incredibly vibrant. Honestly, I’m not really sure where we go from here, besides removing the notch. Photos have a vibrancy and realness that is simply unprecedented.
I grew used to the new screen very quickly. I realize this anytime my wife shoves her phone in my face to make me look at a picture of a hedgehog. I grab her phone, an iPhone 8 in rose gold. The screen feels small and in some way off-putting. I don’t tell her this, of course. Hopefully she won’t read this.
2. Face Recognition
I didn’t really expect this feature to matter that much to me. I was pretty used to my iPhone recognizing me quickly through TouchID. But to my surprise, this seemingly frivolous marketing device works just as reliably and quickly as the old security feature worked in the past. But I am finding myself delighted by it, even though it’s not perfect.
One aspect that really works for me is that it only unlocks when I am actually looking at the screen. I have tested this repeatedly by looking away and moving only my eyes to the phone to watch it unlock. This fact really makes the phone seem like it’s paying attention to me. It is literally tuning-in to my body language to make sure I’m attentive. This aspect makes me feel subtly more connected to my phone than I expected. Impressive.
The imperfection I alluded to earlier is that I have experienced it failing to recognize me. This usually happens when I am laying on my side and my face is smushed in a pillow. Seems reasonable. I forgive you, iPhone.
3. No Home Button, New Gestures
Learning is hard. I slightly dreaded having to develop the new muscle memory that would be needed to show the home screen and switch between apps. But I’ve found that the new gestures are actually super intuitive and useful. When I do use an iPhone that has a home button,I still try and use the gestures in vain.
After two weeks, I can confidently say that I do not miss the home button in the slightest. The Apple engineers have come up with wonderfully simple alternatives.
4. The Full Size
It feels identical to my iPhone 7 in my pocket. I’d started to desire some more screen real estate, but didn’t want to carry a phablet around. Luckily the iPhone X has me covered because there is very little physical space besides the screen. The phone still feels like a reasonably-sized smartphone. It’s the best of both worlds.
5. The Camera
Yes, the camera is amazing. I loved the camera on my iPhone 7 and this one seems to be better in every way. The Portrait Mode is fantastic! The results it produces are incredibly impressive. The 2x optical zoom is also helpful to when I’m picking out spiders in the backyard from my living room.
Things I Don’t Like
1. It Costs a Thousand Dollars (!)
Yeah, it does. That’s a lot. That’s a plane ride and two nights in a decent hotel. That’s a hundred slices of avocado toast. That’s a real luxury item in your pocket.
Having an iPhone X makes a statement about my commitment to my personal technology. While the Apple Upgrade program made it an easy choice, only a few more dollars per month for the lease, it still feels…different? I find myself wondering if it’s worth it. I’m making a statement I am not sure I want to make. I am stating that I can and will spend as much as necessary, as much as possible, to have the fanciest flashiest thing that is available. What does this mean about me? What does this make me? Have I changed? Who am I? Hey Siri, can you help me figure this out?
2. The Notch
Part of the screen on top is black and full of science. I felt compelled to put this on here because I guess the screen would be even more impressive without it, but honestly it doesn’t ruffle my feathers too much. They put a clock on one side and signal strength and battery life indicators on the other. I don’t mind it, really. Maybe I’m too nice?