The iPhone X (pronounced “iPhone 10”) launched on Friday last week and I was lucky enough to get mine on Friday morning. I’ve been using it extensively since then and have been testing its innovative features.
While I have been extremely pleased with my purchase, I want you to know which features may make the iPhone X the best phone for you. And which may not…
Face ID is the new login feature, available only on the iPhone X, that uses your face as your passcode to unlock your phone.
Face ID instantly became my favorite feature of the iPhone X. The way it works is so smooth that you forget you’re logging in. In fact, Face ID feels as unobtrusive as not having a passcode locking your phone. At one point, I thought to myself, “I need to set a passcode.” Then I remembered I was using Face ID.
No more login failures when I’m coming out of the shower with wet hands. My curdled fingerprints no longer are a barrier to entry into my iPhone.
Face ID is seamless and works under nearly any conditions. It has recognized me in the dark, while I was wearing glasses and while I was wearing sunglasses. It knows me with or without makeup (and doesn’t seem to judge…). It doesn’t seem to struggle with these changes to my appearance.
I paired my phone with my face quickly and easily during the set up process for the phone. Pairing Face ID is much faster than registering your fingerprints with Touch ID. You scan your face twice and you’re done.
After that, my phone has recognized me every time I look at it.
When I use my iPad Pro and have to use Touch ID, well that quickly shows me how I’ve become spoiled by Face ID. Now Touch ID seems downright primitive.
I have tried fooling Face ID with others’ faces, but so far my iPhone has not been outsmarted.
But Face ID can be fooled, especially by identical triplets. See, Wall Street Journal, iPhone X Review: How We Tested (and Tricked) FaceID.
I also like how Face ID works with other apps, such as iTunes and Apple Pay, to authenticate your identity. You get a confirmation screen to make sure that you don’t inadvertently authorize a purchase just by looking at your phone.
Face ID requires that you be looking at your phone to unlock it, with a feature called “Attention Awareness.” This helps prevent someone from unlocking your phone by pointing it at you when you’re not looking, such as when you’re sleeping.
I found this not to be intrusive because I tend to be looking at my phone when I want to use it.
If you would prefer not to have to look at your phone to unlock it using Face ID, then you can turn Attention Awareness off in Settings:
Settings => General => Accessibility => Face ID & Attention.
Face ID conveys benefits beyond unlocking your phone. The iPhone X knows when you’re looking at it, through Attention Awareness.
Because of this, it can dim the screen a few seconds after you look away and turn off the phone a few seconds later to preserve battery life.
Speaking of battery life, the iPhone X excels in this area as well. The stated battery life is two hours longer than the iPhone 7.
Earlier this week, I was caught away from a charger much longer than I had anticipated. I was at an appointment that kept me waiting for hours. What should have taken an hour or two ended up taking four hours.
Because I was kept waiting, I was on my phone constantly. I checked mail, social media, this site, and more. I played videos, played games and looked through photos. Hey, I was trying to avoid sheer boredom…
Through that extended time of heavy use, the iPhone X performed like a champ and I didn’t come close to running out of a charge. I still had about 40% battery left by the time I got home at the end of the day.
That would not have happened with any other iPhone I’ve used.
If you’re a fan of emojis, GIFs, and Bitmojis, you like creative ways to share your message.
Animojis are a uniquely creative way to share your message because they use your face, expressions and voice in an animated way. It’s pretty cool to see yourself as a cartoon in the shape of 12 characters, such as a dog, chicken, robot, monkey, panda bear or (my favorite) rainbow unicorn.
You can send Animojis in iMessage to your friends, even those who use Android phones. Of course, you should use these sparingly with friends who will enjoy the fun.
You can even enjoy Animoji Karaoke in your spare time…
The camera on the iPhone Plus is the best Apple has ever made. I’m not a photographer, but have enjoyed using the camera to take amazing shots.
To see photos I’ve taken with the iPhone X, check out my Flickr album:
Inductive charging is another feature that has quickly spoiled me. Instead of plugging my phone into a lightning cable, I can lay my iPhone X on an inductive charger to charge it.
While plugging a phone into a cable may not seem difficult, it can be a challenge at night in the dark when you’re half asleep or your partner is sleeping. Laying the phone on a charger is so much easier!
No Home Button
It seems like a small thing, and it is, but having no home button on the iPhone X is freeing. I can touch anywhere on the screen and have the same effect. No need to home in on the Home button. I can be imprecise, which means I need less focus on what I’m doing.
That’s a plus in my mind.
I thought I would miss having a home button, but my mind adapted quickly. I only have mistakenly tried to press a home button once and that was the first day. Since then I haven’t missed it at all.
The screen shows a bar at the bottom to help remind you to swipe up if you want to go back to the home screen.
Having no home button means learning new swiping gestures to make thing happen. Fortunately, these gestures are intuitive and easily learned.
Swiping up from the bottom of the screen to go to the home screen is a natural gesture, and an easy switch from tapping a home button.
They also are incredibly fluid, without hesitation or stuttering.
At first, I didn’t know how these gestures worked, but a quick search let me know how to do things such as close apps.
This video from Apple shows how the new gestures work:
Instant Access to Flashlight and Camera
The lock screen of the iPhone X has two shortcuts in the bottom corners: camera and flashlight. You can access these instantly by pressing and holding them, which makes using them very handy.
It would be great if you could change these shortcuts to apps of your choices, similar to the ability to customize Control Center now.
The screen on the iPhone X is not only bigger, it’s better. This is the first iPhone to use OLED with True Tone technology. The colors are brighter and more vivid. The difference is noticeable.
Because the iPhone X eliminates the bezel frame, the screen stretches edge to edge, making the experience immersive for those apps that take advantage of the size.
Notch Not a Problem
To accommodate the advanced front-facing camera of the iPhone X that allows for Face ID, a black notch is in the top center of the screen.
Much has been made of the notch being disruptive, but I find it a handy guide. To learn information such as battery life percentage, you need to swipe down from the upper right corner to open Control Center. (This is a change from previous phones where you swipe up to access Control Center.)
If you swipe from the top center or right of the screen, notifications open. Without the notch, it would be easy to mistake opening Control Center vs. notifications.
This happens to me sometimes when I have the phone turned 90° to landscape mode. I will swipe from the top and mistakenly see notifications when I want to open Control Center. That makes me miss the notch!
As much as I am enjoying the iPhone X, I still want more.
As much screen as the iPhone X has, its width is noticeably less than the iPhone 7 Plus that I was using. The increase in screen size from 5.5″ to 5.8″ comes from the length of the screen, not the width.
I noticed the difference immediately and thought the text size had been reduced, even though all of my settings transferred over from my iPhone X.
Apps Catching Up
The iPhone X has not even been out a week, so many apps have not yet been updated to accommodate its features.
Apps Haven’t Caught Up to iPhone X Screen Size
Dozens of apps that I use have had updates to adapt to the iPhone X. Each day I get notices about updates to apps that are being updated.
But when an app doesn’t use the full screen of the iPhone X, the display can be jarring.
One of the most surprising apps that doesn’t make good use of the entire screen is Apple’s Photos app. The photos don’t cover the entire screen, Instead, white bars appear at the top and bottom of the photos. You can zoom in on a photo to have it cover the entire screen.
Google Photos is similar and shows black bars at the top and bottom of the photos. As with the Apple Photos app, you can zoom to enlarge photos to the entire screen with Google Photos. Same with YouTube.
I find myself zooming in to take advantage of the immersive screen, but I’d rather these apps open with a full-screen view.
Apps Haven’t Caught Up with Face ID
Logging in with Face ID is sublime, so when an app doesn’t accept Face ID, it suggests that you use Touch ID. Well, there isn’t Touch ID on the iPhone X so then you must then enter a password, which you may or may not remember.
Less Information on the Screen
Because of the need for the notch, less information is displayed at the top of the iPhone X screen. You don’t get to see whether Do Not Disturb is turned on, the battery percentage, or whether you have rotation lock turned on.
Most of this information I don’t need readily, but battery percentage is information that I miss. Yes, I can swipe down from the left to open Control Center and see this information, but that’s an extra step I’d rather not take.
HD Front Camera
The iPhone X has the best front-facing camera of any iPhone, which allows for HD selfies and portrait lighting.
Not everyone is a fan of this feature though:
me using the iphone x camera for the first time pic.twitter.com/VqFVV2kXy5
— nico lort (@lordnicolass) November 6, 2017
Count me among those with facial imperfections who would prefer a less precise lens…
Apple has a new set up system where you put your new iPhone next to your old iPhone to transfer data, settings, passwords, apps and more. Your new iPhone should closely mirror your old phone, saving you time and effort in setting up your new phone.
But that set up didn’t work for me. While my new iPhone X instructed me to start the transfer process, my old iPhone 7 Plus didn’t acknowledge that this process was happening. Maybe it was jealous of being replaced in my heart with the new phone.
Instead, I backed up my iPhone 7 Plus to iTunes on my computer and then restored the backup to my iPhone X.
Except that didn’t go smoothly either.
My iPhone 7 Plus had been updated to iOS 11.1, but my iPhone X came with iOS 11.02. So I had to update the operating system on my iPhone X before I could restore it from the backup.
I ran into a problem with the next step too. My carrier, AT&T, was overloaded, so the first few tries failed. But eventually it went through. You probably won’t have this problem if you aren’t trying to register your phone on launch day, which you aren’t if you’re reading this now…(And you are reading this now, aren’t you?)
Even with these hiccups, setting up my new phone took about 35 minutes. If the process had gone more smoothly with the side-by-side transfer working, I believe the setup would have taken under 10 minutes.
The iPhone X has many features that make it a truly innovative phone. Face ID will positively spoil you. The new gestures will quickly become second nature.
I have truly enjoyed using this phone. The hurdles I expected to face, such as a steep learning curve for the new gestures, didn’t exist, though I did face other hurdles.
Whether the iPhone X is worth the significant investment of $999 (64GB) or $1149 (256GB), only you can determine.
But if you’re looking for the latest and greatest iPhone and are willing to invest the money, the iPhone X is a fantastic choice.
What do you think of the new features of the iPhone X? Which features do you find the most compelling? Are there features that make you less likely to want an iPhone X?
Share your thoughts in the Comments section below!