What is even better is that the iPhone X is as slim as the Pluses, and despite its stainless steel edges and glass back, it isn’t as slippery as I had expected it to be.
Apple has finally done it. For years now, the company has not been the first at anything, while releasing update after update of the iPhone with no real changes to talk about. In stark contrast and direct competition, there’s Samsung, which took its Galaxy Note 8 from that thick bezelled look to its current sleek avatar in curved glass and 18.5:9 aspect ratio display. That is, till Apple launched the iPhone X.
And I believe the company timed it just right, commemorating the 10th anniversary of the iPhone with a new design and features that Apple pegs as the future of smartphones. Doubtless, redesigning something that works could make a bad gamble, but if Apple hadn’t taken up this mammoth challenge, it might have soon become extinct too!
Hailed as possibly the biggest design move by Apple since it launched the first iPhone in 2007, at first glance, the iPhone X seems to take inspiration from the current trend of 18:9 display. On a closer look, however, what I noticed that the design changes were actually quite significant. Firstly, we get a larger screen than the iPhone Plus but at a much reduced form factor, which doesn’t make the device unwieldy in your hand. What is even better is that the iPhone X is as slim as the Pluses, and despite its stainless steel edges and glass back, it isn’t as slippery as I had expected it to be.
Coming to the infamous notch, which the recent Samsung ad could resist acknowledging, this could be the one design decision that could be a dividing factor among users. I really don’t mind the notch at all because it doesn’t interfere with anything. In any case, that half centimeter at the top of all smartphones doesn’t do anything apart from give information about the battery level, carrier and so on, which the iPhone X does too. The problem might arise for some people if they are reading in the landscape mode or watching a video in the “fit to aspect ratio” mode. The notch could also be an inconvenience for avid gamers who like the landscape mode for gaming. Whether this was an oversight or just a design flaw, for me it hasn’t really been anything more than a minor inconvenience and definitely not a deal-breaker.
And, rumour has it that the notch is here to stay, and that Apple will use this design at for another generation of its devices. One can only hope that the electronics giant has a brainwave of sorts and developers begin to accommodate the notch in their app design.
Moving on a notch (sorry, it was too tempting), I simply love the display. Apple definitely made the right decision with an OLED display that is totally bezel-less, given that the overall colour tone, black levels and the difference in sharpness is easily noticeable. Add to this the higher screen resolution, and any text-heavy app looks better than any other device the competition has come up with so far.
Then there is the True Tone feature, which is a default setting that adds warmth to the display’s colour tone, based on the ambient lighting. In fact, with the True Tone setting enabled, I don’t even need to go in to Night Shift mode unless the circumstances were dire!
Regardless of what Android lovers have to say, I believe the home button on iPhones for navigation was a stroke of genius, given its multi-functionality. So, when Apple decided to do away with the home button on the iPhone X, you can imagine my consternation. It has raised a lot of eyebrows, apart from mine, but what I have discovered is that the swiping works quite well. The only drawback is that it is much more hard work than just pressing a button.
Don’t get me wrong, Apple had done a brilliant job with the swiping up to access the home screen. And it works every time, for numerous apps and circumstances that I have tried it for. But when I said “hard work” earlier, I meant that it isn’t as convenient as a physical button. The funny thing was that I got so used to swiping up, when I tried to use the iPhone 7, I had stop myself from doing that and get used to the home button once again!
However, I have to mention here is that the swiping gesture isn’t 100% flawless when swiping between apps, nowhere close to the double click of the home button to access the app carousel. What you have to do with the iPhone X is swipe from the bottom up and then hold your finger in the middle of the display, so accuracy is more a hit and miss situation. Plus, if you have multiple apps open at the same time, there is a lot of swiping involved!
Another significant navigation change in the new device is the Control Centre. For this, you now need to swipe downwards from the top right. This isn’t the most convenient thing to do for me, especially given that smartphone users everywhere are more used to swiping upwards, which we still have to continue to do so for other iOS devices.
No doubt about this. The cameras on Apple’s newest iPhone version are excellent. None of the other phone cameras I have ever tested have given me such clear and crisp images, while being able to retain just the right colour tone.
The iPhone X has a 12 megapixel vertical dual camera setup, which is based on the same principles as the iPhone 8 Plus’ horizontal dual camera array. The second lens is very useful with its optical zoom function. In addition, Apple has included some fantastic features, with its new depth sensing technology. For instance, you get new options in the Portrait mode, such as studio light mode that highlights the subject in the foreground while making the background go totally dark. You can also play with colour tones and contrast for a whole new experience in taking portrait shots.
What Apple has been able to do is take a leap ahead of the competition, which has been working on camera quality and features like low light photography, noise reduction and image sharpness. The iPhone X, on the other hand, produces amazing image, breathing life into photographs by maintaining the natural colour tone.
The most fun part is the addition of extra features for live images, such as long exposure and boomerang. This is definitely something that will please social media buffs, especially those who love to upload on Instagram.
Coming to the front camera, this 7 megapixel camera does a good job in the Portrait mode, all thanks to its new Face ID sensor.
When we broach the topic of facial recognition, Apple has faced quite a lot of flak with its Face ID being fooled with 3D printed masks and the fact that it might not work with children, twins and family members. This meant that Face ID came nowhere close to the security offered by Touch ID. However, there is no Touch ID feature on the iPhone X. So, if you want a phone that can be locked, go straight past Face ID and use a passcode instead. But if you choose to regress to passcodes, you will miss out on what could possibly be the most convenient feature Apple offers on this device.
With the iPhone X Face ID feature, you merely need to look at the phone to unlock it. This is actually a significant advantage, especially when it comes to unlocking secure apps, such as Paytm, App Store, etc., which would otherwise need Touch ID. Once you’ve used this Face ID feature, you won’t want to go back to using a fingerprint sensor. I didn’t.
Again, I have to mention the drawback here, which has come in the form of unlocking speed. Compare it to the iPhone 8, for instance, which can be unlocked even while you are taking the device out of your pocket if you just hold the phone with your thumb on the home button. In the iPhone X, you need to use the Face ID and swipe up at the same time, which is obviously slower than the iPhone 8.
I would actually have loved for Apple to have retained Touch ID too, although the company might have decided against it, keeping the aesthetics of the design in mind.
Yes, it has its flaws, but overall, iPhone X does not disappoint. Whether you look at its appearance, cameras, battery life or functionality, this smartphone is way ahead of the competition.
The problem is that it is the most expensive iPhone yet, at a starting price of ₹89,000. Given the range of smartphones available today, one shouldn’t have to invest that heavily. Plus, if you were to buy the iPhone 8 instead, you wouldn’t be missing out on all that much, while paying much less, despite the iPhone 8 also being in quite a high price bracket.
But when you are a fan, such logic doesn’t really apply. The verdict is that the iPhone X is likely to do very well in the Indian market. So, if you are willing to spend close to a lakh on a mobile device, you shouldn’t look any further than Apple’s latest offering. Not only does it have amazing functionality, you can show it off with pride for a long time, or at least till Apple decides to release its next version!