4 Month iPhone X Review
iPhone X Review (4 months)
As with most Apple fanatics, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the new flagship cell phone from the tech giant. In the past, I always waited at least two versions before purchasing an upgrade to the phone I was carrying around in my pocket. Even then, I waited a bit longer until all the kinks were worked out by waiting a few months after said version came out. With the iPhone X, I willingly jumped aboard the “I have to have it NOW” train for the first time and pre-ordered the phone waiting about 4 weeks for it to be delivered to my house. After having the phone for 4 months now, I feel comfortable posting a comprehensive review of the iPhone X based on my personal experiences. My hope is that even with all the hundreds of reviews, mine offers some genuine and organic feedback on this piece of technology.
Overall, I will say that based on my past iPhones (5S, 6S), the battery life of the iPhone X has lived up to my expectations and Apple’s claims. Only once did I need to perform a hard reset due to some background app bleeding my battery. But once the reset was done, my phone was back to lasting roughly 2-3 days under normal usage. I realize that I’ve only had the phone for 4 months and am very cognizant of the dreaded “Battery-Gate” and Apple admittedly slowing down older phones to preserve battery life. However, as of the writing of this article, the battery is performing to spec.
The wireless charging feature was new to me upon purchasing my iPhone X. I will say that after consistently using it, I’m sold. The ability to use a simple rubber pad on my desk or nightstand to charge my phone is pretty slick and convenient. The other lesser known advantage of using a wireless charging pad is that the charging time is much faster than using the tiny brick that comes in the packaging. The charger in the box puts out a mere 5W of charging power. The result is a rather slow charging process especially if you run your phone down to less than 10% each time. I bought a Mophie Wireless Charging Base that supports the rapid Qi charging protocol and puts out 7.5W of charging power. The result is a blazing fast charging time. It should be noted that the by-product of the iPhone X having wireless charging capabilities is that the back of the phone is constructed of glass. Hence, breakable. Later in this article, I’ll give some advice on how to best protect your phone but still maintaining the sleekness which is partly why you bought this phone. Another option that has been well documented is to use the larger brick that comes with your iPad. That larger brick churns out 12W of charging power versus 5W. This option will also charge your phone much faster if a charging pad isn’t in your future.
With the iPhone X, the loss of the Home button was something that took a bit to get used to. After owning two iterations of the iPhone for roughly 6 years, letting go of the Home button was as uncomfortable as saying bye to the 3.5mm headphone jack. Both of which I had to do at the same time. Talk about cold turkey! Once my iPhone X was delivered, I spent an inordinate amount of time reading countless articles and watching endless videos of how the new gestures work. Not to mention figuring out a way to let go of my beloved 3.5mm headphone jack. If you have been thinking about upgrading to the iPhone X and losing the Home button is a factor, don’t let it keep you from this phone. I found that after spending some time learning the gestures, its actually more intuitive than the home button. Swiping in certain directions has become second nature in a very short amount of time and I found it to be easier than having to hit the Home button. So much so, that when I use my iPad, I find myself swiping out of habit. Additionally, you can do more with less movements using the correct gestures. While I don’t use all of them, I found the ones I do use make the phone easier to use than past versions. New owners should definitely check out the plethora of videos on how to best use the programmed gestures and in short order, you’ll find your own “style” of using your phone as I did.
Ah yes.. the dreaded NOTCH-GATE that captivated a nation. All I have to say is three words… Don’t sweat it! Pretty much every app out there has now released updates that compensate for the top notch of the iPhone X. Additionally, I found that watching YouTube videos, streaming Netflix, etc is pretty normal. Yes, the notch can get be a small distraction at times but I honestly don’t give it much more than a second of synaptic effort. For those that have a serious personal issue with the notch, there are apps that will essentially reconfigure the screen to make the notch disappear. So, like losing the Home button, if this is keeping you from upgrading your phone, its not that big of a deal…in my humble opinion.
3.5MM HEADPHONE JACK:
Ok, I’ve touched on losing the Home Button and the nasty notch. When it comes to the losing the headphone jack, this probably irritated me the most. I have several models of ear buds and headphones that I use either at the gym or when I travel. As I travel extensively throughout the US and overseas, my playlists are what keeps my sanity in check when traversing on foot what equates to small cities that are called airports. Having to use one port to both charge my phone and listen to my tunes was the hardest adjustment I had to make. After 4 months with my phone, I think I feel comfortable in saying I wish Apple didn’t wipe out this convenient feature. Even with my MacBook Pro, losing all the ports wasn’t a big deal to me. But still having the headphone jack on my laptop is something I’ve appreciated. So I was being forced to use dongles to keep using my then current inventory of earbuds and headphones. Instead, I bit the bullet and bought a set of Bose QC35’s and Dr. Dre Powerbeats3 with Bluetooth. After getting over the initial sticker shock of buying these items to take full advantage of my iPhone X, I actually enjoy cutting the cord. The freedom to walk away from my device to get another cup of coffee is kind of liberating. I still catch myself bringing my phone out of habit but more and more, I have learned to start appreciating the freedom of no cords. The only issue I really have is that when using Bluetooth headphones for watching videos, there tends to be some latency problems. In layman’s terms, there can be a slight delay in the audio so it goes out of sync with the video. That gets annoying pretty fast. With playlists though, no worries since its just audio. So… ork in progress!
SCREEN RESOLUTION/REAL ESTATE:
One of most glaring differences I noticed straight out of the box was the screen resolution and clarity. I was pretty blown away by how vibrant and well saturated the colors were on the display. As a photographer, I appreciate a screen that showcases colors, saturation and vibrance accurately. This phone did not disappoint. Another thing I noticed was how much more screen real estate I have than my 6S but with only a minor increase in size. You’ll never see me own a Plus version of any Apple phone due to the fact that I appreciate portability and sleekness of design. The iPhone X gives me a considerable amount of screen to enjoy photos, movies, etc but with only a small increase in overall size of the phone.
After spending over $1200 (128GB Ver) on this phone, one of the first concerns was properly protecting it from damage. Luckily, I had experience owning iPhones in the past and finding products that help protect an expensive device from cracks and other damage. After several impulse buys for my previous iPhones, I learned that bulky cases such as OtterBoxes don’t really work for me. I’m not knocking OtterBoxes at all. They serve a great purpose and provide some of the best protection for your phone. My issue again, the bulkiness. When I bought my iPhone X, I wanted it not only for the performance and display, but the sleekness of design. So how do I balance good protection without defeating the designers vision? I found that using a good quality screen protector with a slim case that covers the back was my best option. The case shouldn’t interfere with the wireless charging capabilities as well. After much trial and error, the two products I have used with success is the Zagg HD Glass Screen Protector and the Apple Leather Case. These two products gave me adequate protection but still afforded me to enjoy the sleekness of the design. Of course there are a multitude of products out there that will do pretty much the same job for varying differences in price. But for me, these two fit the bill.
Ok, I’m a photographer. I’ve spent a substantial amount of money on professional quality DSLRs, lenses, lighting, and so forth. So I will say with complete confidence that the iPhone X camera will not replace professional quality DSLRs and lenses anytime soon. That said, I am very impressed at the quality of photographs and video this phone produces. In particular, I was moderately impressed with the “Portrait” mode that puts the focus on your subject by blurring out the background. This is called “bokeh.” I didn’t care much some of the other modes such as stage light, studio light, etc. The natural light mode in portrait performed the best for things like selfies or taking pictures where you want the focus to be totally on your subject. But the other modes seemed more gimmicky than realistic.
The video the iPhone X takes is pretty remarkable. I shoot short videos in 4K mode and while it takes up a lot of space, holy cow! The quality is pretty remarkable. Another feature I enjoyed was being able to do some light editing in-phone. Cutting, splicing, etc was pretty easy and helps me upload my videos directly to my social media accounts pretty fast. Since time is money and both can get pretty scarce, that really helps me stay connected.
Another feature that has really grown on me is the Face ID. I know that some early reports weren’t impressed with it and questioned the overall security of Face ID. But after 4 months with my phone, I’ve really grown to like it over the Touch ID. Mostly because its…just…easy! I look at my phone and it unlocks, makes purchases or unlocks an app I want to use. Over time, the Face ID algorithm learned my face pretty accurately. The only issue I had was when I wear polarized sunglasses. My completely unscientific hypothesis is that the polarization of the lenses somehow obstructs the view of my eyes so the Face ID defaults to entering my passcode. With other glasses, hats, scarfs, etc, the phone works without issue.
64GB VS 128GB:
When it comes to space, this will clearly be an individual choice based on what you use your phone for. As a photographer, I chose to go with the 128GB version. That said, after transferring all my music, photos, vids, apps, etc, I’m still only at about 35GB of used space. 128GB might be considered a little overkill, but I chose the extra space so I don’t have to worry about getting an alert that I’m almost out of memory. And as storing a lot of things in the cloud becomes easier and more affordable, the 64GB version might suit you just fine. My recommendation is if you’re already using the cloud to store a lot of your data, the 64GB version should suit you find. If you also don’t take a lot of photos or videos, the lower space model should suffice. That said, If you prefer to store most or all of your data on the phone and/or take a ton of photos and video, spring for the 128GB version.
Four months into my Apple flagship phone experience, I have to say that I’ve been pretty happy with my choice. The phone pretty much works as advertised, has a ton of features, and is intuitive to use. The battery life performs as advertised, the camera is a marked improvement over my older phones and I’ve enjoyed the wireless charging feature. The screen resolution is pretty legit and I’ve enjoyed the ease of Face ID. The drawbacks are losing the headphone jack and ensuring you have adequate protection since the body of the phone is glass, hence, more fragile. But with an investment in good protection products and a little careful attention to not dropping it, you should enjoy the sleekness of the design. The final drawback is yes, the price. A whopping $1000 for the base model. But as the iPhone X continues to sell into 2018, the price will eventually come down. Yes there are Android alternatives to the iPhone X that are cheaper. But after owning several Android based phones in the past, I’ve come to enjoy the ease of use of my Apple products. So much so that a couple of years ago, I fully converted to Apple for all my devices. This was by choice with a lot of research. Having an iMac, MacBook Pro, iPad and iPhone that all work together seamlessly has really saved me time and stress. And since they all work under the same operating system, I don’t have to buy extra software or apps to connect to each of my devices. The iPhone X has been a great addition to my list of devices that just help make my life a little easier!