- The first iPhone X reviews are in, and they’re highly positive.
- Reviewers have praised the £999/$999 phone’s camera and design.
- But there are some issues with how apps look on the new screen.
It’s just a few days until the iPhone X goes on sale, and the first reviews are starting to pour in.
And there’s good news for Apple, and potential buyers: They’re highly positive so far.
The iPhone X is Apple’s tenth anniversary device, and the biggest shake-up to the iPhone line in years. It has a radical redesign with an almost edge-to-edge screen, “Face ID” facial recognition to unlock the device, augmented reality features — and a hefty $999/£999 (or more) pricetag, the most most Apple has ever charged for a phone.
So is it worth it? Here’s what some of the big reviewers are saying.
Apple took a gamble on facial recognition tech
One of the biggest questions was around Face ID: Would it actually work? Could it be fooled? How would it measure up to lightning-fast fingerprint scanners? TechCrunch’s Matthew Panzarino took the iPhone X to Disneyland and came away positive about the facial-recognition tech, writing:
“Face ID works really well. First, it’s incredibly easy to set up. You choose to enable it and then rotate your nose around the points of a clock twice. That’s it. Second, it worked the vast majority of times I tried it, it never once unlocked using a picture of myself or another person’s face and the failure rate seemed to be about the same as Touch ID — aka almost never. As hoped, it’s definitely faster than the first generation of Touch ID, though perhaps slightly slower than the second gen.”
That said, The Verge’s Nilay Patel encounted some difficulties with Face ID in bright sunlight:
“I took a walk outside our NYC office in bright sunlight, and FaceID definitely had issues recognizing my face consistently while I was moving until I went into shade or brought the phone much closer to my face than usual. I also went to the deli across the street, which has a wide variety of lights inside, including a bunch of overhead florescent strips, and FaceID also got significantly more inconsistent … for now I’d say FaceID definitely works well enough to replace TouchID, but not so well that you won’t run into the occasional need to try again.”
Another hot topic: The notch. It’s the weird cutout bit at the top of the screen, which houses the camera and other sensors. When the iPhone X was first announced, some people thought it looked hideous, while others didn’t see the problem.
Here at Business Insider, Steve Kovach has been testing out the iPhone X, and his impressions in-person are positive:
“I don’t mind the notch. In fact, I kind of like it, and I think it blends in nicely to the rest of the phone’s software interface. The sides of the notch display the time, battery status, and WiFi and cell signals. By default, photos and video don’t bleed into the notch unless you double-tap them for a zoomed-in view. You barely notice the notch in most cases, and it looks especially nice when scrolling through apps like Twitter and Facebook.”
It’s pricey — real pricey
BuzzFeed’s Nicole Nguyen, meanwhile, highlighted the heavy price point, but said that — for some people — it will be worth it:
“I’ve been living with the iPhone X for a week, and I’ll say right off the bat: This phone isn’t for everyone … The X (technically pronounced “ten,” but call it whatever you want) is really only for people who use the *heck* out of their phones. I’m talking about a ton of photo-taking, video-shooting, social media performative exhibiting, gaming, web browsing, etc. This is a device for a power user, not a casual smartphoner who texts and uploads an Instagram every once in awhile. The iPhone 7 or 8 (or, hell, even iPhone SE) are totally sufficient for those folks.
And iMore’s Rene Ritchie is positively effusive about the new device:
“So far it’s the most fun I’ve had with any gadget since the original iPhone. I’m not being hyperbolic here. There are shortcomings. There are things I’d love to see changed. But I can’t stop using it. The new display is beyond gorgeous. HDR is glorious. Fluid navigation gestures are sublime. Face ID is so fast I’m forgetting I have a passcode. Attention aware interactivity is the bomb.”
What about the camera?
A quality camera is an essential part of any high-end smartphone these days, and the iPhone X hasn’t disappointed reviewers. Over at Mashable, Lance Ulanoff said the X’s shooter outperforms the iPhone 8 (released just weeks ago), and is comparable to many dedicated non-phone cameras:
“The iPhone X rear dual camera is the best camera I’ve used on a smartphone. It takes excellent wide and 2x optical zoom photos in a wide variety of conditions. However, increasingly, the playing field is leveling out as Samsung lowers the color saturation to a more real-world vibe, Portrait Mode become more common, and upstarts like Google prove they can learn from everyone else and start off strong. No one will be disappointed with the iPhone X’s photographic capabilities, but be prepared to get in more than one argument about which smartphone has the best camera. I still prefer Apple’s, though.”
Some third-party apps are proving problematic. The X’s change in screen shape has left some apps looking distinctly odd. This, in time, will be fixable — but for now it marrs the experience a little, as BI’s Steve Kovach wrote:
“Many of my apps haven’t been redesigned for the new screen size, so they show up with thick black bars on the top and bottom to mimic the same aspect ratio you’d get on a regular iPhone screen. It looks like a lot of wasted space.
“Other apps have been refitted for the iPhone X screen, but have made a bunch of funky design choices. For example, some have large chunks of unused space at the bottom near the home bar. And I saw at least one app that showed the home bar bleeding into the menu icons at the bottom of the screen.”
All in all: It’s a definite thumbs up for the iPhone X.
It’s not perfect, and the truly exorbitant pricetag will understandably be a dealbreaker for many. But for Apple fans who can afford it, it doesn’t sound like they’ll end up disappointed.