One week with the iPhone X: is it worth the upgrade?
I’ve spent a week now with the iPhone X. As I approach the end of my return window, I have to start weighing my options. I need to decide if the iPhone X is worth the premium over the iPhone 8/8 plus, or if I should just stick with my iPhone 7 Plus for another year.
I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time with the new phone, both playing with the new features, as well as demoing it to all my family and friends. I’ve become accustomed to both the pros, as well as the cons of Apple’s latest handset.
As I tend to do, I chronicled my thoughts on my time with the iPhone X into a video.
I decided the best tactic was to start with a few of my grumbles about the iPhone X before going into the what I loved about it, and finish up with my ultimate decision.
Minor grumbles & disappointments
The biggest thing that drove my crazy with the iPhone X was the apps that still have yet to be updated for the gorgeous new display.
If you remember, when the first plus sized iPhone’s came out, it took some developers almost years to update their apps. I was hopeful that this time would be different, and luckily many developers have made the transition.
There are still quite a few holdouts though (ahem!). Even some new games, like South Park: Phone Destroyer, don’t support it. There are large black bars on the sides. It really kills the experience on the phone. Hopefully, developers get going and more and more update roll out. Once they do, the results are pretty stunning as evidenced by Alto’s Adventure.
It for sure isn’t as seamless reaching to the top corner to access Control Center over the bottom. It is taking some getting used to, but I really wish they’d have found a natural gesture that was more in reach.
I love the new Home gesture over the Home button. It is more seamless, and feels more natural. The biggest qualm though is when you go into certain apps. When you had the physical button, it didn’t change location. So if you jumped into an app that was meant to be viewed in landscape mode accidentally, you still tapped the same button in the same place.
What I’ve run into, is launching an app (on purpose or on accident) that launches in landscape mode. Then I try to go back to the Home screen, but the Home gesture no longer works. You have to swipe up from the side of the phone instead.
It’s a niche situation, but something I’ve run into multiple times and found to be a bit cumbersome.
First generation quirks
There are also the usual rounds of quirks that pop-up in what is ostensibly a first generation product.
We’ve seen issues with the display not working in cold weather, and others that have awkward green bars.
We also have features that aren’t even yet fully baked. Portrait Lighting and wireless charging for example. The former is still in beta, and the latter is quite slow. Apple will be making to improvements in both, but I bet we see even more substantial improvements by the second generation of an iPhone X.
Everything I’m loving
The OLED display
As soon as I turned on the my X, I immediately thought that this display could be the killer feature. It looks absolutely gorgeous. Apple has always had some phenomenal displays, but the combination of the edge-to-edge design, OLED 1,000,000 contrast ratio, and the increased pixel density really helps it stand out.
I pulled up a few photos on both my iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone 7 Plus. The latter two look largely similar, but there was a substantial difference on the X.
The blacks blended perfectly into the (somewhat large) bezel surrounding the phone. Colors look more balanced, as well as more vibrant. I saw some significant banding on the other devices that was not present on the X.
Watching movies, and looking at photos is a great experience, and I don’t even mind the notch encroaching in on the display. After the first day or so, it has gone largely unnoticed.
The cameras are all around improved. I am really happy with the low light performance I’ve experienced. Portrait mode is also a lot less grainy thanks in part to the hardware accelerated noise-reduction, and the wider ƒ/2.4 aperture of the tele lens.
The front facing camera isn’t as useful for me as I don’t take too many selfies. I love portrait mode, so for someone who takes selfies, I’m sure this is a big upgrade.
The front facing camera does enable other things than just photos. For instance, Animoji. Something many people shrugged off, I actually really like. More so, my family and girlfriend do as well. In fact, many that were expecting to pick up an iPhone 8, have instead ordered the iPhone X solely for this feature.
I will admit, they are pretty fun. And for some reason, I can’t stop being entertained by the Animoji karaoke videos.
I had a rough first couple days with Face ID, but since then it has grown significantly on me.
A couple of gripes I had with Touch ID was that I’m in the kitchen a lot. I love to cook and bake. This made it difficult to unlock my phone, let alone wake it up.
Face ID allows my to tap my screen to wake it up, and just look at it to unlock. This is faster, and easier than Touch ID ever was.
That said, there are times when Face ID has failed me for sure. I have to make sure I lean over the phone a bit more than I’m used to doing. In bed it was also failing when my face was half covered in a pillow. Turns out, when I hold the phone a slight bit further away, it was able to recognize my face, even though it was partially obscured.
These are just learning curves, and I expect it to be a vast improvement over Touch ID.
I’ve made my decision
After a week’s worth of use, I feel comfortable in my decision. I find the iPhone X to be the best phone for me. While I like features that the iPhone X and the iPhone 8 share (wireless charging, cameras, faster speeds), the biggest standouts for me is Face ID and the new display.
It really makes it feel like I’m using an entirely new phone for the first time in years.
The iPhone 8 is a solid phone, but it isn’t a big enough upgrade to warrant the money. If I was left to choosing between keeping my iPhone 7 Plus, and upgrading to the 8 Plus, I’d just keep the 7. It would be the first time in many years that I wouldn’t upgrade.
Jony Ive says the iPhone X will be able to do things a year from now that it can’t do now. Statements like that get me excited for the future of the iPhone and where it will be going.
I’ve decided to keep my iPhone X, but my decision doesn’t necessarily reflect everyone. Give us a shout in the comment below and let us know if you will be upgrading, not upgrading, and to which iPhone. Is the X worth it to you?
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