The iPhone X is the phone we’ve been willing Apple to make, partly so that we’ve got something new to write about, but also so those who look forward to the arrival of a new iPhone actually have something to get excited about.
‘New Phone Day’ is one of the highlights in many people’s years, and the iPhone X is worthy of the excitement.
Apple has got things almost entirely right with the iPhone X, taking all it’s learned from its past handsets and fusing them together to make a device that’s like nothing else the brand has ever produced.
The first thing you’ll notice about the new iPhone is hard to miss: the new screen blazes into your eyes the second you pick up the handset.
The 5.8-inch OLED display is, quite simply, the best thing Apple has ever crammed into an iPhone, or it was, until the iPhone XS arrived. It’s leaps ahead of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus for so many reasons: the sharpness, the quality, the fact that it fills the whole front of the phone, and the color reproduction.
It’s also using a new, longer, screen, but while it looks larger than the iPhone 8 Plus’ 5.5-inch display on paper, it’s only marginally bigger in terms of actual screen real estate – it’s just stretched upwards, so it’s taller, not wider.
Unlock using your Face
Face ID – Apple’s facial recognition system that replaces the fingerprint-scanning Touch ID – is simple to set up, with the iPhone X encouraging you to put your face into view at the start; spin your head around a couple of times and you’re ready to go.
That’s all you need to do in order to be able to unlock your phone with your face, and as long as the iPhone X can see your eyes, nose and mouth you’ll be able to get into your handset easily.
And we really do mean easily – Face ID has far, far exceeded our expectations for the new biometric technology. We’ve used facial recognition on other phones many times, and it’s been erratic and, well, terrible.
Best in Class Camera
Before we get too far into the performance of the rear camera, let’s talk about the front-facing TrueDepth camera, which is a 7MP affair but with some smart capabilities to make the iPhone one of the best selfie-taking cameras on the market.
The camera, as the name suggests, can sense depth incredibly well, so the new Portrait mode – debuted on the iPhone 8 Plus – can be used with the front-facing camera to take excellent selfies.
Not only will this blur the background, you can also use the Portrait options to change the lighting of the scene, or cut yourself out of the picture altogether and place yourself on a black background.
The lighting alterations, adding things like contoured lighting to your visage, don’t really add a huge amount, and some of the ‘stage lighting’ pictures that cut you out of the image don’t always trace the edges of your head and body perfectly.
New OS to rule them all
While the iPhone X launched with iOS 11, it’s now been updated to iOS 12 (or iOS 12.1.4 to be precise). This added things like grouped notifications, personalized Memoji, additional Animoji and emoji, Siri Shortcuts, Group FaceTime, Screen time reports and a whole lot more.
It’ll update again in late 2019 to iOS 13, which will bring with it features like a Dark Mode and a new Find My Device app, but for now if you’re using an iPhone X you’ll be using iOS 12.