X Observations From 24 Hours With An iPhone X

Contrary to popular belief, I have no official affiliation with Apple.  I do, however, use their products almost exclusively.

iPhones are the only phones I’ve had (personally, not for work) since the first one was released in 2007.  Since the first iPhone, I’ve upgraded every two years and had the 3GS, 4S, 6S Plus and, as of about 24 hours ago to the minute, an iPhone X.

Having used the most expensive iPhone ever made, I thought I’d share my first observations.

  1. Apple sells its flagship phone as being “entirely screen”.  It isn’t.  Ignoring the Infamous Notch that houses all the sensors, cameras etc, it still has a bezel, it’s just pretty small.  However, put a case on the phone and that “bezel” gets a lot bigger.  I think the closet anyone will ever be able to get to “all screen” is Samsung’s curved efforts.
  2. Having used an iPhone 6S Plus for over two years, the iPhone X feels small despite being nearly entirely screen. Even with the text size all the way down, messages feel more cramped because the screen isn’t as wide as I’m used to.  The unit itself is obviously smaller than the Plus and does certainly feel more like a phone than its predecessor in my life.
  3. Some apps still don’t know how to use the entire screen.  No doubt an update will be coming to most of them (not least because Apple doesn’t allow developers to camouflage the notch) but the screen feels even smaller with two thick black strips framing it at the top and bottom.
  4. Not mentioning the notch specifically would be remiss.  However, you don’t notice it.  When you look at your phone screen (any phone screen) you generally focus somewhere in the middle, at the content, rather than at the top, where it’s just black plastic.
  5. Setting up a new iPhone used to be easy.  Indeed, it probably still is if you realise that Apple doesn’t back up the apps on your phone to iTunes.  So unless you have automatic downloads turned on on your Mac or PC, you have to download all your apps again.  Fine if you have super fast broadband, not so much if your connection is slow and inconsistent and you need to pause all the downloads you don’t want to prioritise the ones you do before you can use the thing.
  6. FaceID is easy, and hasn’t failed once since it was set up.  I watched someone unlock a Samsung with facial recognition and they held their phone up to eye level before it worked.  FaceID required you just to look at your phone and so quick that the look and swipe up can be done without a pause.  The phone has to be a normal distance from your noggin for it to work.
  7. On the subject of using your face, Animojis (iOS maps your face to an emoji, copying your facial expressions and recording the sounds you make) are fun, but they’re the iPhone X’s equivalent of being able to send your heartbeat to your loved one on the first Apple Watch.  In other words, you won’t be using them in a few days once you’re over recording your favourite songs being sung by a smiling pile of poo.
  8. No home button isn’t a big inconvenience – it’s just been replaced by swiping up most of the time.  If you need to press what would have been the home button, it has been replaced by a volume button, of which there are two you can take your pick from.  This actually makes the iPhone X far more one handed than its predecessors.
  9. I miss being able to see battery percentage.  The battery appears to be as good / bad as anything else I’ve used, but with the time, signal strength, location services usage symbol and all that jazz crammed in to the ears by the notch, there’s no space for the actual percentage of battery life which I would rather have over an icon any day.  Perhaps an update can add that back in because swiping in to the control centre to see the remaining battery life is a pain.
  10. Twenty four hours in, the iPhone X is just another iPhone.  iOS has evolved over the decade, but every time I’ve upgraded my iPhones I’ve been excited about a better battery and a bit of extra functionality.  Then it turns in to another device by which to send messages and go on the internet when you’re out and about.  In other words, the excitement disappears.  That’s not to say I wouldn’t recommend it (I still find iPhones far more intuitive than anything running Android) but, to be honest, when you break down what you want to use a mobile phone for, is anything really ground breaking any more?


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