The Apple iPhone X is a year old, but still a capable device.
It's possible to get great deals and discounts on the phone right now, as we come closer to the launch of the iPhone XR.
However, it is still an expensive device. But if price isn't a concern, just go ahead and get yourself one.
The crème of Apple adopters look forward to the iPhone of 2018 – iPhone XS, XS Max, and the more pocket-friendly XR. Mere mortals who’d rather not tap into their precious savings to shell out rupees one lakh or more look to older iPhones. Although officially at three-quarters of a lakh, it’s still not a cheap option. But it’s an opportunity to get much of the technology that Apple is pitching in the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max that we’re looking forward to. After using the iPhone X as my primary device since November 2017, here’s my long-term review.
A summary of the phone
If you follow iPhones closely, you would already know the features it offers. If you’re not entirely familiar, you can read them here. The iPhone X was the first iPhone to get rid of the Home button, and offer you a rather seamless screen. Unfortunately, in order to get rid of that Home button, it brought in a new feature for authentication (read irritant to some). With a unique design feature, which the world refers to as the notch, your facial features are scanned each time you unlock the phone.
There’s some cool technology, which you’d have read about by now that scans your face using infrared. An IR projector blasts your face with a dot grid to mark the contours of your face, assess depth and identify and authenticate you as the legitimate owner of the device. That’s true secure authentication, rather than pattern recognition as found on most Android phones supporting face unlock currently.
I’d like to call it true Star Trek-grade tech. Since the other phones currently allowing face unlock use the front camera to match a pre-stored image of you, there’s a remote possibility that someone could get lucky by presenting a similar image to the phone and gaining access. However remote that possibility may be, it’s still a looming threat.
The iPhone without the Home button
I’ve emphasised on the absence of the Home button on purpose. Since the biggest hurdle from the front is off, Apple can now simply focus on further optimizing the notch to reduce it over time. Either way, in its current form, the iPhone X serves as the base of the direction in which Apple’s smartphone business is heading. That’s clearly evident with this year’s iPhones, with all three devices not sporting Touch ID ( its fingerprint scanner) this year.
Talking about the experience I have had with the iPhone X over the past year, I’d say it continues to be as cool as it was when I first discovered it in November 2017. That’s 11 months of use, which is sufficient to form an opinion, and identify any apparent gaps or flaws. The best advantage is the trust and confidence while purchasing apps on the App Store. Since Apple implements secure authentication, you don’t really have to remember myriad passwords for each application.
Since Apple’s own password manager iCloud Keychain does a seamless job and works with Face ID, buying an app or banking authentication (if your bank’s app supports it) is as simple as glancing at your iPhone. I’ve used Axis Bank, HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank. And from my experience, ICICI Bank effectively implements this feature. If your current banking app supports Touch ID, then it will seamlessly integrate with Face ID as well.
What works for the iPhone X
As you’d have figured out by now, the doing away with the Home button is a big deal. And the resultant seamlessness on the display is a huge win. The earlier generation iPhones – even last year’s iPhone 8 and 8 Plus – have a ridiculous chin at the bottom (if I may refer to it as such). That’s unused display real estate. Space that could be put to more creative use. I’d rather stop obsessing with Face ID now. You have probably got the message I’m trying share.
Watch: Apple iPhone XS and XS Max Hands on
Apart from Face ID, the performance of the iPhone X is stellar even today. Apple has never sold its products based on specifications. Unlike Android smartphones, which you deliberate based on specifications such as RAM, storage, SoC, display and so on, much like when you’re buying vegetables in a market looking for the brightest, crispest, finest products, Apple has always emphasized on experience. Truth be told, the company had slacked off for a year. There were glitches in the software, much of which has been ironed out with iOS 12.
There are Android flagships that you could consider all the time. They’d offer you much more muscle in specs compared to what the iPhone does, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. If you have mixed reactions towards what Apple offers, then it’s a long debate by itself. If you’ve never experienced iOS or an iPhone before, it might make sense to try one out at a retail store before you buy the product.
But if you know about iPhones and the finer details of iOS and the experience it offers, then the iPhone X manages to hit a unique sweet spot between innovative features and price. Moreover, the current ongoing festive sales online make it a very attractive buy. You still have the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and even the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus for a more pocket friendly price tag. But none of them will offer you the convenience and future-looking experience that the iPhone X offers.
Sorry again, but that seamless authentication I was talking about a while ago, that holds true on Safari browser as well. Simply tap on the username and the relevant fields get populated once you show yourself to the front of the iPhone X. This isn’t such a big deal, you might think. And you’re right to quite an extent, especially once you factor in the price of the device. But considering that we thumb-type on our smartphones, it’s counter-intuitive to change our grip, move one thumb to the chin of the smartphone and then resume operations once again. Even if the fingerprint scanner is on the front, device weight and size warrants you to move your grip. It’s just simply not convenient. The result, even after prolonged use, your palms ache less.
What goes against the iPhone X
As ever, even after a year later, it’s still an expensive phone. But be assured, irritants such as lagging, heating and disappointing restarts don’t bother you as long as you stick to credible apps by focused developers that ensure you have updates periodically. Any deal you can get your hands on, will only reinforce the eventual recommendation to opt for an iPhone X.
Price aside, there’s not much that goes against the iPhone X. A good price, makes it an even stronger recommendation. And that speaks for the tech packaged in the phone. It’s obvious when the competing world tries to ape the feature, right?
To buy or not to buy?
If the price tag isn’t a concern, just go ahead and get yourself one. If you’re curious about what it offers, and how it feels, just ask a friend who owns one to let you get a feel. Or better still, walk into a store and check out the demo while it lasts. And then, by all means pick one for yourself online with the aggressive deals during the festive season.
Since the iPhone X offers a better display experience than the iPhone 8 Plus, the joy of gaming in your favorite game gets better. If you have played games on the iPhone 7 or 8 or even their larger counterparts, that experience gets richer with better display and audio capabilities in the iPhone X. It manages to capture your attention much more closely that the older iPhones, and is closer to what this year’s iPhones offer. So you’d not miss out on anything at all, with the phone promising to stay relevant for at least a couple more years, if not more.