So it’s been around 6 months that I had been rocking the Galaxy S8 Plus and I was paused, thinking this is where Samsung takes over from Apple. Apart from brilliant build quality, they nailed the performance too, then screen quality and camera were always a hit with those. Then I switched to the iPhone X and oh how wrong I was with my perception! My belief in the Apple ecosystem and their perfection was reincarnated as I adopted the iPhone X into my life. Read more to find what I feel about the iPhone X with the in-depth review.
So, when Tim Cook unveiled the iPhone X at the Apple event, many complained about the design and the long-standing boring look of iOS with their regular grid of icons and Android fans kept waging a war with points to lack of customization and less freedom for users.
The notch was a hit topic as in first look the phone looks dysfunctional and felt as if a last-minute desperate attempt was made to go bezel-less. It looked weird unfinished and totally not Apple-like. Many were not ready to get over it. Reviewers showed the hate and the world was going upside down.
Then came the hate for continuing the tradition of no headphone jack. This is so 2016 but people are still grieving about it. All the articles and media did form a bias in my head too against the iPhone X until I laid my hands on it.
One thing that I have missed while being on the S8 is the constant rendering of 60 FPS on any app whenever wherever. Every time I opened Facebook I had to give it some time to render everything so that when I scroll, I don’t have a stutter. On the X, it glides like magic. Every app, every single time gave me tones of satisfaction as there was not a single hiccup anywhere. You open Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, google plus, outlook, hangouts and much more at the same time and nothing slows it down. How awesome is that?
One of the apps that I use a lot is Skype for business and let me tell you that it’s not one of the good apps in the marketplace and definitely kills my Android. This app heats up the phone, kills the battery and disconnects conference calls suddenly without any reason and takes forever to log on. But with the integration of the call screen API of iOS with Skype, this app works like a breeze on the iPhone X. Same is also for Outlook and its integration with Skype for business on the iPhone X. Funny thing is that the entire Google suite of apps perform way better on the iPhone X than it’s Android counterparts.
Gestures and Face ID
Ya, sure many would feel that it is a learning curve for getting used to the gestures. But hey, why would you wanna have the same controls and experience when you’re paying a $1000 for it? It’s only fair and right if you want to be excited and spend some time with your phone as you get used to the new gestures and UI. And no it’s not difficult. In fact, it’s much better and feels more natural.
It takes less effort than ever before. The swipe up to return to home screen, swipe midway and right to open multitasking, swipe down from right to get control center and then from center to see notifications. Everything is available to you through swipes. There are no buttons to hunt for and more so, the form factor of the phone makes it reachable by one hand. Every corner is accessible. You can appreciate the form factor when there is no larger variant available. The Galaxy S8 gives you the same reachability but I was skeptical to take a small phone when I had the option of S8 plus at the same time.
Face ID, well that took in a lot of skepticism as people claimed that they were not the first to have face unlock. Well yes, Apple is not the first but then again, Apple’s game has been to perfect existing technologies and make them mainstream. Face ID did just that.
Only by using it, you’d be able to figure out the convenience it adds. It’s not just an unlocking feature but it adds a lot more value. Face ID is used every time you log into a website or an app that needs a credential. Replaces every password that you have to type in. Touch ID did that for you but it still had a gesture for you to tap the home button. Now all you have to do is look at the screen which you are anyway doing since you opened the page or the app that you need to login to.
It identifies your face and you’re in! The seamless use of Face ID across all login terminals makes it a charm to use out of the box. And Face ID works effortlessly. It actually took me more time to place the fingerprint sensors on the Galaxy S8 plus than to just look at the screen to get my phone unlocked.
The Forsaken Notch
I agree completely that this may not be one of the best design choices. But the fact is that the more you use the phone, the less visible the notch gets. The phone glides through everything you do and excels so good that you don’t find the time to visit the notch and fill yourself up with hate. Plus, more and more apps are using the notch to its advantage.
Like for example the Maps app, whenever had an ongoing transit did show a red bar on the top which seemed odd. You had to tap on the bar to get back to maps. But now it’s only the top left corner that shows the time has now a background bubble in red, that shows the maps app is running in the background. This looks very neat and I dig it.
The same stands for any phone call. (Skype, FaceTime, Whatsapp, phone etc). So my point is that no, the notch is not an annoying in your face blatant piece of blackness. It’s a different UI experience which may not be conventional but definitely not a disaster.
Camera and AR
So the camera for the iPhone X is the same as that of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. It gives you the same great shots in both low light and well-lit scenarios. I personally like the Camera software since it’s easy to pull up, doesn’t have a lag and usually takes great pictures without tinkering with any settings. The rear shooter is a dual OIS enabled lenses with one being a telephoto lens and the other being a regular one. Both take some great pictures as they both have optical image stabilization.
You can walk into a photography competition and do your part by just an iPhone camera. Cameras these days have gone to such levels. The only qualm that I’d be having is with the tone of the pictures. You get a warm tone to the pictures by default and that cannot be changed in the software. Also, the HDR processing is fast but not accurate. After using the Pixel phones or even the Pixel Camera App on other Androids with the HDR+ enabled, the lack of intelligent processing for HDR might pinch you. But for those who are coming from low-end Androids or previous iPhones, this is the best camera you would see on a smartphone.
The 4K 60 FPS recording capability is definitely impressive but then they have a special kind of encoding that is not supported by third-party devices. you would have to re-encode that. It took me some effort to export a 4K 60 FPS video file and play it outside of the iPhone X.
Photo Samples :
Augmented Reality is something that we’ve been hearing a lot since a while. Many have made broken attempts at AR and even games came out that somewhat took AR for a spin, like the Pokemon Go app.
The problem with those was that they weren’t really good at positioning the object in the real world and keep it there. You move the camera and they somewhat moved too. The realism was too little. Then came Apple with ARkit that magically improved the phone’s capability to position a 3D object in the real world with utmost precision. And this is where the iPhone X shines.
The rear camera works amazingly well with games like Warhammer and the apps like Ikea Place. It definitely fooled many when I sent screen recordings of a new couch in my apartment that was just a 3D based render in the living room. The odds of this actually happening is second to none.
iPhone X front-facing camera also works really good with Animoji and Clips. Clips place you in a cartoonish high contrast scene and let you move around with the background changing the way you move. This is possible by the array of sensors on the notch. The AR apps and games do heat up the phone though and definitely hog a lot of battery. But it is sometimes cool to use it. Mainstream usage may be a bit away as the software continues to optimize with less battery overhead. But this sure does look promising.
The last I’d like to focus is the display. Yes, its OLED and yes it’s a higher resolution and yes it’s got a true tone and a wider color gamut. But if you’re coming from a Samsung phone, then you’d be a little less excited. It definitely is a great display but then the S8’s and the Note 8’s are beyond comparison.
Another problem I felt from time and again, coming from a big phone like the S8 plus or the Note 8 is that the screen feels particularly small when the apps are not optimized for the iPhone X. Most of the Google Apps are not optimized at all, so I end up seeing a letterbox type screen every time I open Google Maps or Gmail which I would get, using the iPhone 8 and not the 8 Plus.
I would definitely feel better using the whole 5.8-inch screen on any app. But I guess give it some time for the developers to adapt and we would be good. The Youtube videos when maxed out on screen do have the cutout on the left side. It doesn’t bother me but then there might be many whom it may. Photos and Videos look good but I’d say I’ve seen better on the Super AMOLED Galaxy screens.
What else can I say, this is a great phone with amazing optimization, awesome form factor where everything is within your arm’s reach. You get a decent battery and a really good camera. As much as I would’ve missed big screen phones, I am surprised to say that no I didn’t miss the other phones much. I get a decent display size except for a few apps. The added perks of Face ID, AR does make up for some of the negatives. Oh and if you want to see the awesome HDR+ work on your iPhone X, try the app called Pro Camera, it’s worth the money.
Did you like my review of the iPhone X? Will you recommend it to a friend? Let us know in the comments section below!