There was a time when Apple released an iPhone with a new look every two years. When the iPhone 6 came out, the company decided to slow down a little. IPhone 6s came out, a year later iPhone 7 appeared, this year iPhone 8 . All of them have the same appearance with minor variations. As a result, the line of iPhone devices began to look too conservative compared to its competitors. Refined and premium, but still conservative.
This year, buyers will receive what they asked for - a bold new iPhone design, albeit extremely expensive at a price of 79,990 rubles. Apple claims the iPhone X is more than just the new look of the old device. She wants to begin a new chapter in the history of the iPhone, so the changes should be not only in appearance, but also in the basics of interacting with the device. New appearance, noticeable changes when working with iOS - all this sounds intriguing, but there are many other points that may surprise or even upset.
You are reading a translation of the review from the phoneArena.com portal, the original material was published on November 8, 2017.
Risk and novelty often go hand in hand. As mentioned above, the iPhone has become conservative and it was time to end. Not everything turned out perfectly, which will be discussed below.
Design and Cutout
An obvious innovation is the 5.8-inch bezel-less screen. It covers the entire front of the device, only thin frames surround it. However, this is not all. Other surprises await us.
Looking at the screen, the look gets to the top, where there is a cutout. He bit off a part of the display, so it is both a curse and a blessing. Since the screen occupied the entire front, there was no space left for the Touch ID fingerprint scanner in the Home button. How to unlock iPhone and ensure security? Inside the cutout are a camera and sensors for three-dimensional face recognition . It was because of them that the cohesive seamless appearance of the device was ruined.
Thanks to this cutout, the iPhone X cannot be confused with anything, unlike some other modern and future frameless smartphones that are similar to each other. This, along with the Face ID facial scanner, is the only good thing that can be said about the cutout. It does not look too nice, spoiling the impression of a futuristic looking smartphone. If not for the notch, the appearance of the iPhone X could be called the apotheosis of smartphone design.
But it is and you can not forget about it in everyday interaction with the device. The negative effect on the appearance of the product is significant, but its effect on interaction with the device is even worse.
In terms of materials and finishes, the iPhone X resembles the Galaxy S8. Glass is used both front and rear, which connects to a polished metal frame. Samsung uses aluminum, while Apple opted for high quality stainless steel. The Apple smartphone feels great in the hand, but it lacks color options. Galaxy S8 is available in six colors, while the iPhone is only in dark gray and light gray. The latter is a more interesting solution.
iPhone X and Galaxy S8
iPhone X is beautiful, but the neckline does not allow him to be called a work of art. It has a utilitarian design in a modern premium package. Despite the fact that the Galaxy S8 was released half a year ago, the iPhone X is perceived as a device that was released out of necessity to reduce the gap from the competitor.
Before us is the first iPhone with an OLED screen, the diagonal is 5.8 inches. Apple calls it Super Retina Display. OLED technology does not work like traditional LCD displays, it has pros and cons.
- Contrast and color saturation
- Angled view for high brightness
- Reducing response time eliminates motion blur
- When viewing at an angle, color accuracy is reduced
- There is a burnout effect
A couple of contradictions surround the first OLED screen on the iPhone: a burnout effect and a blue tint. We will not discuss fading here, as there is hope that Apple has taken care to ensure good screen condition throughout the device’s life cycle.
As for the blue hue, the screen is well balanced and produces realistic colors. Like all OLED displays, it suffers from color shift; when you look at it at an angle, a blue tint appears. The OLED screens on Samsung Galaxy devices have always behaved the same way, but here the Samsung-made screen is used, so there is nothing to be surprised. The iPhone X's screen looks more like last year’s Galaxy S screens, the Galaxy S8 is less prone to this color shift. The problem is not so great as to spoil the impression of working with the device.
The screen has a resolution of 1125 x 2436. It is longer compared to the screen of the iPhone 8 , but only slightly wider. Because of this, the iPhone 8 Plus with a 5.5-inch diagonal and a standard aspect ratio of 16: 9 still has the maximum area among all iPhone models.
iPhone 8, iPhone X, and iPhone 8 Plus
iPhone X is good because the screen is large, and the device itself is not very, but there is a catch. This is the same cutout. You can not ignore it, you are distracting from viewing. An even bigger problem is that most third-party applications are not optimized to use the entire screen space. This should change in the future, but for now, viewing is frustrating, because most often there are black bars at the edges of the image, whether it’s video or games. Applications without optimization in landscape mode look the worst because there are stripes not only on the left and right, but also on the bottom for a useless horizontal line that reminds you of the availability of a gesture to return to the home screen.
Most popular apps like Facebook, Instagram or games like Super Mario Run have been updated to fit this screen. The rest of the content shows black bars, including such common applications as Gmail, Google maps, etc. Another problem in interacting with your favorite applications and games after optimizing them. For example, YouTube. By default, a video starts with a lot of wasted space, which is why the whole point of an elongated large screen is lost. You can use your fingers to expand the video to the maximum, after which a notch and rounded corners fall into view . The video viewing form is very strange.
It seems that the developers of the YouTube application have not yet found a way to deal with the eccentric screen of the iPhone X. Can others find this method? Or let Apple decide how to get rid of this cutout in future versions of the iPhone.
Thus, the new screen is beautiful, the advantages of OLED technology outweigh the cons. 5.8 inches is a great size, but having a cut-out often means not being able to make full use of the screen space in videos, games and applications.
After many unexpected disappointments, we can finally talk about what we did right. This is the new Face ID biometric authorization system. It replaces the Touch ID fingerprint scanner, which worked almost perfectly, for which he was loved by everyone. For this reason, Face ID's expectations are high both in terms of reliability and convenience. In addition, the quality of the recognition system should justify the presence of an unpleasant notch.
Using Face ID is extremely simple, the setup takes place during the initial setup of the smartphone itself. Using sophisticated technology, the iPhone scans your face, creates a detailed three-dimensional face map, which is then safely stored inside the chip on the smartphone and even Apple itself does not have access to this information. The device can recognize the user even at an angle, it is not necessary to look straight up at the camera for a successful login.
Facial recognition is far from being the first to be used, as Samsung had previously used iris scanning in its flagships . We can say that this scan and facial recognition at Samsung did not meet the highest standards of reliability and convenience. Systems either worked poorly or did not work at all. Face ID acts differently, becoming the main authorization method for everyday use of the smartphone and almost without disappointing.
Face ID so far has flaws, but not too large. You must take a smartphone and it will automatically activate, you can also click on the screen for this. Then recognition takes place and you need to perform a gesture to open the home screen. Theoretically, this should happen in less than a second and almost imperceptibly, as usually happens.
Face ID allows you to pick up your smartphone, make a gesture on the screen up and get to the home screen, barely looking at the device. This works without any problems, in most cases. Touch ID is still a more reliable method, but facial recognition got very close to it.
Sometimes authorization does not occur if you look at the camera from the wrong angle or from the wrong distance. When recognition does not work, the smartphone does not offer to try again at the same time. You have to enter a pin code or go back and try again. Sometimes it takes extra half a second to recognize, which can be annoying, especially if you're in a hurry. However, it is worth getting used to the system and such cases will occur less and less. Face ID can be called an excellent product of the first generation and in the future you can count on improving quality.
In the end, let's say that Apple was able to create the first reliable and convenient facial recognition system for smartphones. It works almost flawlessly in any light. This can happen even in a dark room, the camera will recognize you and let you into the device. It is not yet possible to say that facial recognition is superior to Touch ID.
iOS 11 and new gestures
How to navigate the operating system without the Home button? Pretty simple. Instead of pressing the Home button, you need to make a gesture from the bottom up on the screen. After that, the home screen will open. This gesture on other iPhones opens the control center, so you have to relearn.
iPhone X does not work quite like other models. Here, the control center opens after a gesture down from the upper right corner of the screen. A gesture down from the center or upper left corner opens the notification panel. On the lock screen, there are two additional shortcuts with 3D Touch support for the flashlight and camera. The gesture on the left of the lock screen also opens the camera, as on other iPhones. Why assign two options to one action and why there is no flashlight shortcut on the iPhone 7 or 8, which also has 3D Touch support, is unknown.
Without the Home button, access to the multitasking viewing mode has also changed. You need to again make a gesture up from the bottom, but this time hold your finger in the middle in the center of the screen. You can quickly switch between applications by gesturing left and right along the bottom edge of the screen. There is also a new Reachability gesture: you need to drag your finger across the bottom section of the screen. Imagine here a list of applications, the bottom row of icons on the home screen. You need to make a gesture at about half the height of the application dock if you intend to use this feature.
The rest of the iOS 11 system is familiar, having received a number of new rather mediocre wallpapers and an absurd blocking sound. Despite these features, iOS 11 continues to be a premium mobile operating system with unrivaled performance, visual accuracy, and functionality. This includes the updated App Store with curators, which better than usual helps to search for applications and games. There is support for advanced technologies, such as augmented reality , including applications Apple Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Photos, iMovie, GarageBand.
A unique feature of the iPhone X is the animoji that work in the iMessage application. A TrueDepth camera is used to capture the expression of your face and select three-dimensional characters based on it. You can use this to record small videos and send them to other users.
You need to get used to the user interface of the iPhone X due to new gestures. When this happens, working with a smartphone will become simple and straightforward.
iPhone X has a dual rear camera with a resolution of 12 megapixels, where the second camera is used for 2x zoom. When taking photos, there is nothing unusual here, the camera is the same as on other iPhone devices, plus portrait mode and studio lighting effects. One new shooting mode was the bokeh effect on the front camera. Unfortunately, the results are far from ideal.
IPhone X photo quality is consistently excellent. Sometimes there are problems with difficulties with lighting, but in most cases the image is excellent.
Photos come out crisp, saturated, and sometimes even too much, but the most interesting thing happens with portraiture. Here, this mode is quite reliable, rarely in the pictures you can find flaws.
If you take pictures in the evening, the results will also be of high quality. We can say that this is one of the best cameras among all modern smartphones. However, if we talk about low light, Galaxy Note 8 and S8 continue to be leaders due to higher sharpness and clarity.
The photos on the front camera also come out great, it offers a balance between the subject and the background. It’s better to take a normal shot, because portrait is not quite ready yet. Compared to portrait mode, the rear camera has artifacts in front, and it takes a couple of seconds to process and save. It seems that the front camera is unable to produce perfect photos with bokeh effect.
iPhone X was the first smartphone to record 4K video at a speed of 60 frames / s. In this mode, the picture quality is excellent and it displays smoothly, but there is reason to use the 1080p format. This is Cinematic video stabilization, which works at this resolution and at 720p. The image here is extremely smooth, shaking completely absent. When shooting at 4K, too large files are obtained. A file for one and a half minutes 4K 60fps weighs 1.2 GB, while one and a half minutes 1080p 30fps takes 200 MB.
As a result, the camera is excellent and can take great photos and videos under different conditions. Auxiliary zoom is also useful, portrait shooting makes photos even more beautiful. The latter does not apply to the front camera, where portrait shooting does not yet meet Apple's high standards.
You can’t say much about the speed of the iPhone X. Like the iPhone 8, it is the fastest modern smartphone. Everything works without hesitation, quickly and smoothly.
This happens thanks to the Apple A11 Bionic processor, as in the two iPhone 8 devices. In addition to the central processor, a powerful graphics chip is used. This makes the iPhone X one of the best gaming smartphones, although the new Razer Phone can argue with that.
The smartphone is available with two volumes of flash memory, 64 GB and 256 GB.
The size of the iPhone X is not much larger than the iPhone 8. At the same time, its screen is much larger. What good could this mean for the duration of the job? It uses an innovative L-shaped battery instead of a standard rectangular one. This has increased capacity compared to the iPhone 8.
iPhone X works much longer compared to iPhone 7. The duration of the work with the screen on in the tests was 8 hours 41 minutes versus 7 hours 46 minutes. iPhone 8 works 8 hours 37 minutes, but it has a smaller screen. The iPhone X competes on equal terms with the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, and also slightly surpasses the Galaxy S8 and S8 +. iPhone 8 Plus continues to be a leader.
Wireless charging supported by Qi standard is supported. There is no support for fast wireless charging, but it is promised in the future.
Due to the usual standard USB adapter, the device is charged from zero to 100% in 3 hours 9 minutes. This is much slower than the competition. Samsung Galaxy S8 charges in 1 hour 40 minutes using a standard adapter. Despite the high price, you need to buy an additional adapter and cable.
Everyone is already accustomed to the traditional iPhone devices, which work and are updated from time to time, offer a slightly higher performance, camera, screen, small changes in appearance. iPhone X does not fit into this picture. Here, an unexpected plot twist awaits us and we have to take a fresh look at the device. The transition from the classic version of the iPhone to the modern can not be called smooth.
The gesture-based interface is easy to understand, working with the device is quite simple and natural. Even the Face ID recognition system works surprisingly smoothly, making you forget about the lack of Touch ID.
Two problems are the lack of application optimization and cut-out. Most games and applications on the new screen can be fully enjoyed only when they are updated for this aspect ratio. Until then, you have to admire the black stripes and lines to open the home screen.
As for the cut-out, it closes the image on the screen, even in those applications that have received optimization. Like it or not, this black neckline will always be present. Over time, you have to learn to ignore it.