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iPhone X Review: Apple’s First OLED, Face ID Powered iPhone – First Impressions

A first look at the iPhone X

iPhone X straight from the unboxing is a show-off. The biggest change is the OLED edge-to-edge screen, which the lucky few who’ve held it say is probably the most stunning smartphone screen they’ve ever seen.

The iPhone X is a big screen in a compact form, the device itself is only slightly bigger than the standard iPhone 8, its screen is roughly the same size as that of the iPhone 8 Plus, what more can you ask?

iPhone X
iPhone X

When you take into account its “Super Retina” capabilities, that screen will persistently reassure ifans that spending their hard earned money for an iPhone X is a great choice.

I found the display a noticeable, and greatly pleasurable, an advance over my iPhone 7 plus, whether watching Netflix, streaming a live video, or simply swiping through Instagram or sending a tweet. Let’s dive into it…

iPhone X Design & Feel

Apple’s new edge-to-edge display on the iPhone X means you’re getting a larger screen in a smaller package, at least compared to the iPhone 8 Plus. If you take a look at the dimensions, you’ll see that the display, measured diagonally, comes to 5.8 inches. That’s actually bigger than the height of the device itself, which comes in at 5.65 inches.


iPhone X
iPhone X


Other than the notch, the rest of the phone sort of melts into the background. Apple wanted to build a device that made you feel like you’re holding software in the palm of your hand, and the iPhone X is a strong step in that direction.

So far, what’s been most notable about the iPhone X isn’t how different it is from the models that came before it, but how soon all of the changes start to feel normal. Tim Cook has made clear that the X is the future of Apple’s smartphones, but the future doesn’t feel strange at all but innovative.

The most obvious standout feature of the iPhone X is the OLED screen. The edge-to-edge display is copied from past Android devices like the Samsung Galaxy S8, but the lack of originality hasn’t stopped Apple from manufacturing a beautiful piece of hardware.

A stunning OLED Screen

The iPhone X’s OLED display is called the Super Retina Display and measures 5.8 inches, with a resolution of 2,436 × 1,125 pixels.

iPhone X
iPhone X

Apple says it rectifies the problems with brightness and color accuracy that have sometimes affected OLED screens in the past, and that it features Dolby Vision and HDR10 for stunning high-contrast video playback.

The iPhone X also boasts TrueTone dynamic white-balance adjustment, a feature of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro and the new iPhone 8 models.

Hidden inside the notch placed at the top of the iPhone X is a significant number of new camera parts and sensors that do more than just transpose your face onto an emoji or scan it (Face ID) to unlock your phone.

The front-facing camera module now contains an infrared camera, flood illuminator, proximity scanner, ambient light sensor, speaker, microphone, 7-megapixel camera, and a dot projector.

iPhone X
iPhone X

All of that together combines into what Apple calls its TrueDepth camera, used for Animoji, Face ID, and a number of cool camera tricks. Pretty impressive when you look at the size of the notch.


iPhone X Best Features

The iPhone X’s 5.8-inch OLED screen is the biggest on an iPhone to date, and the first Apple handset to use OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Display) technology versus the LED/LCD in all previous iPhone models. In addition to better energy efficiency, OLED screens offer much better contrast and true black colors.

Face ID

The Touch ID is replaced with another big change, Face ID. Face ID may feel like a setback, and there’s validity to that view.

Nobody yet knows how secure the Face ID will be, or whether it will come close to the efficiency of Touch ID and fingerprint reading.

It’s also evident that if Apple could have built a fingerprint sensor underneath the glass of the iPhone X’s OLED display, that it probably would have.

iPhone X’s ability to map your face, recognize it, and use that information intelligently is exciting for sure and there’s also a chance it will move beyond unlocking your phone, just as Touch ID became central to mobile payments on the iPhone.

Face ID works with glasses on, glasses off, contact lenses, even with some sunglasses according to some testers, I will see that after I spend a few more days testing the device.

No Home button

The Home Button found on all previous iPhones, and the fingerprint sensor, Touch ID, have been removed.

A number of new gestures take the place of the old home button. The iPhone X remaps familiar gestures completely.

  • Swiping down from the corner now gives you Control Center, instead of swiping up.
  • Swiping up is the new “home button.”
  • Swiping up and holding brings up all open apps.
  • And another new trick: swiping left or right on the opaque bar below all apps, flips between apps for quick multitasking.


iPhone X Price

The only aspect of the iPhone X perhaps more noticeable than its display its the price. Apple has set the starting cost for the very first time, at over $1,000 (£1000), when you factor in taxes or the 256GB storage configuration.

The device is even more expensive outside the US — customers in Italy, Russia, and Poland, for instance, will all have to pay around $1,600 for a 256GB version of the iPhone X.

iPhone X, Is it worth it?

Many current apps aren’t yet optimized for the iPhone X and some issues might arise. These outdated apps end up filling the same space as on an iPhone 8, leaving a white space. This will get fixed for some apps over time, but it’s a reminder that the extra screen room here might not end up meeting your needs, until or unless the apps are optimized.

Like the iPhone 8 Plus, the iPhone X has a dual rear camera with both wide-angle and telephoto lenses. But X has two changes: A larger aperture (f/2.4 vs. f/2.8) on the telephoto lens, and optical image stabilization on both lenses (rather than just one on the 8 Plus), which should make for better-lit, less blurry zoomed-in shots at night or in lower lighting.

iPhone X
iPhone X

Portrait Lighting is officially in beta on both the iPhone’s rear and front cameras, and my experiences with it confirmed Apple isn’t finished perfecting the software that makes it work.

Animojis are exactly what they sound like: animated emojis. They’re also Apple’s showcase for the fancy TrueDepth camera, which maps your facial expressions onto monkeys, aliens, foxes and even a pile of poop.


Final Thoughts

The good stuff

It’s a good-feeling phone with a nice, large screen. The upgrade to Face ID and the removal of the home button feel like changes that some might be fine with, and others will find unnecessary.

The negative stuff

The iPhone 7 or iPhone 8 models start at $549 and $699 respectively and are great for people who just want a good phone that works right out of the box.

The iPhone X will set you back $1000 if you don’t have an extra $300 to spare it can be a big jump for some people and that’s a downside. I hope the notch-effect will slowly fade away but for me is a downside as well.