Why choose the iPhone X?
When Apple launches any new product the whole world pays attention. So, when it announced the iPhone X in September 2017, we all sat up and listened. Let’s take a look at the supercool features that set this mobile phone apart from the rest.
- Face ID
- Super Retina HD OLED screen display
- TrueDepth camera technology
- Wireless charging
- Glass design – front and back
The launch of the iPhone X deliberately coincided with the 10th anniversary of the fabled iPhone (X representing the number 10 in Roman numerals). The Cupertino-based tech giant took some risks with the latest design of its flagship product. Without doubt, one of the biggest gambles was replacing fingerprint-scanning touch ID with facial recognition. Reviews, to date, suggest this is one gamble that definitely paid off.
Incredibly easy to set up (the iPhone X encourages you to put your face into view when you switch it on), you just turn your head from side to side a couple of times and you’re good to go. As long as the iPhone X can see your eyes, nose and mouth you’ll be able to unlock your handset. It really is that simple.
Until now this technology has been deemed quite clunky and led to some negative reviews for Apple’s competitors when they introduced it. Apple’s version has been tested to death and all the results conclude that its version is light years ahead of the rest and pretty much flawless. Whatever the environment; a darkened room, low lighting conditions or if you’re walking down a street, all you need to do is look directly at the screen and your iPhone X will unlock.
Sensors within the new front-facing TrueDepth Camera system (more on this later) capture the unique geometry of your face and compare it with data held within the phone’s A11 bionic chip. Once there’s a match, your phone unlocks. You can wear a hat, grow a beard or wear some glasses and it will still unlock.
The only real issue with Face ID is the fact you have to actually raise the handset up to your face, whereas with touch ID you could have it on top of a desk or table and just touch the Home button without picking it up. That’s just being a bit picky (and rather lazy).
By using the TrueDepth camera that powers the Face ID feature and your own face, you can create talking emojis. This is one of those novelty features that Apple introduces that you might only use a handful of times, but there’s no doubt it’s a lot of fun. You can basically be one of many popular avatars, from a talking piece of poo to a mythical unicorn. What will blow you away is not so much the animation but rather the accuracy of the facial mapping.
The TrueDepth camera analyses more than 50 different muscle movements in order to mirror your expressions. This is another facet, which was so creatively displayed in the TV advert, which Apple absolutely nailed with the iPhone X.
Super Retina HD OLED screen display
The iPhone X was Apple’s first handset with an OLED (organic light-emitting diode) screen display and it was, at the time, the best screen ever fitted to an iPhone. The all-round quality, colour and sharpness were huge steps forward on a 5.8-inch screen that fills pretty much all the space at the front of the phone.
OLED technology creates much greater depth of colour, therefore, everything you look at, from websites to apps and photos, looks so much better than any earlier iPhone you may have used. This technology has been used (and created) by Samsung since the first version of the Galaxy handset, however, Apple did suggest the delay was so it could fine-tune the technology in order to create the quality its customers expect from an iPhone.
Two fairly major concessions were made for this introduction. First, after ten years of loyal service, the home button at the bottom of the phone was retired. Now you simply swipe up from the bottom of the phone to bring up the home screen, a slight adjustment from hitting the home button, but something you should get used to fairly quickly.
The second concession was the introduction of the ‘notch’. The notch resides at the top of the screen and is basically a black strip cut-out from the screen display that houses the earpiece speaker, selfie camera and various sensors for the TrueDepth camera system that facilitates facial recognition. Apple deemed the notch a necessary evil in order to bring its customers such cutting-edge technology. Other than viewing full-screen videos, you’ll probably not even notice it’s there most of the time.
The iPhone X has a dual-camera system similar to the version available on the iPhone 8 Plus but with both back-facing cameras arranged vertically and with strong 12-megapixel sensors. The rear cameras are also fitted with optical image stabilisation (OIS) – useful for those of us with a shaky hand.
The front-facing TrueDepth camera has 7-megapixel sensors and, when the phone was initially released, regarded as one of the best selfie-taking cameras available on the market. As the name suggests, the camera is primed for sensing depth, hence why its technology is used for the Face ID feature and why it can create such stunning images.
The portrait mode, available with the TrueDepth technology, offers a whole host of editing options allowing you to change the background colour, lighting and you can even edit yourself out of the picture altogether. All in all, the camera on the iPhone X was a strong upgrade on previous handsets with lots of fun new features producing photos teeming with rich detail and colours.
The iPhone X comes with integrated wireless charging. You’ll need to purchase a Qi-certified (Qi is pronounced ‘chee’) charging mat to use this facility at home. All you need to do is place the charging mat on a flat surface top and place your iPhone on the mat with the display facing upwards. If you’re out and about and find your handset on the dreaded red line, a number of food and restaurant chains such as McDonalds and Starbucks have started rolling out charging pads across their stores. Swedish furniture giant, Ikea, has a range of home furniture with Qi charging points built into them.
Wireless charging works by using magnetic induction through the glass back on the handset. To get better performance it’s usually recommended to remove any casing during charging. The one drawback, though, is the necessity to leave your handset alone during wireless charging. You can’t pick your phone up and use it, unlike when it is charging through a USB cable, because, obviously, it will stop charging.
Glass design – front and back
The screen fills almost the entire front of the handset (apart from the notch), there is no home button and both the front and back are covered in glass, bound by a stainless steel rim. The rounded corners feel as though Apple has paid homage to the original iPhone 3G, which was a nice touch on its 10th birthday.
Although it has been out a while now, the iPhone X still comes with a hefty price tag and, reassuringly, it feels like a strong, solidly built handset, which is also water resistant up to depths of one metre (IP67 rated). At 174g it’s the same weight as the latest iPhone 13, and at 143.6mm long it’s slightly smaller than the iPhone 13.
The glass covering looks great; however, no matter how durable Apple says it is, glass is still glass and it can break when dropped on a hard surface. It can also pick up any and all types of residue from your fingers so some kind of casing or screen protector would be highly recommended.