One week with the iPhone X! My impressions (Part II)

On my last post, I talked about my initial impressions of using the iPhone X. I talked about the screen, the phone size, the overall build, the famous notch (love it or hate it, it is gonna be there) and the flagship feature, FaceID.

Battery

Battery life is great. However, I do feel that the plus size models of the iPhone (like the iPhone 7 plus and iPhone 8 plus) offer slightly longer battery life than the iPhone X. It is not a game breaker, it can still do wonderful things without draining battery too much too fast. The phone can still last the entire day without needing a recharge. However I still feel that battery life on the new iPhone X is slightly shorter than I am used to. Perhaps this could all boil down to the OLED screen. When the OLED screen is bright and pushes out white or bright colours, power consumptions on the OLED screen can be quite high. There have been videos on YouTube showing that if you minimize bright coloured pixels like white, blue or green, the battery life of the iPhone can clearly be extended by a significant margin. So it’s not surprising that the main feature of the phone, the OLED screen, could potentially be a hard feature that consumes the most battery. Certain apps have night mode options, which I will enable it without hesitation to save some battery life.

App switching is quick and responsive

App switching requires new gestures, now that the phone has no home button. You simply swipe up and stay there for a fraction of a section to cycle through the app that are current open and running, or simply swipe up and flick right to switch app back and forth. Appe switching is fast, not just the action of swiping but the fact that the app immediately ‘wakes up’ and responds to your touch the moment it is active on your screen. It is near instantaneous to the point that I now switch app incessantly, without feeling the frustration of waiting for the app to refresh, load or respond to my touch the moment is becomes the active app. Clearly the blazing fast processor that is in the current iPhone X is fast enough for that task at hand.

Overall, I am loving the iPhone X. Sure, it is crazy expensive and it is definitely not for everyone. But coming from an Apple fan, Apple has clearly rejuvenate their smartphone lineup with an exciting new design and new technology that is perfect in everyway, especially when it is supposed to be a 10-year anniversary phone. 10 years is not a very longĀ  time in tech terms but the improvements made from the software and hardware point of view where Apple’s smartphones are concerned are measured by leaps and bounds. Who knows what smartphones would look like in the next 10 years?

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One week with the iPhone X! My impressions!

The last time I talked about how the purchase of the iPhone X was purely on impulse. It wasn’t a planned purchase, especially on something that costs a whopping S$1888 for the 256GB model of the iPhone X. I somehow got lucky that there was an in-store pickup option available when I was just fooling around on the Apple online store. Sensing that I had a very narrow window of opportunity before somebody else online snatches those precious few iPhone Xs available in the wild after the initial launch, I placed my fingerprint on the TouchID and my fate was irrevocably sealed. I had just surrendered my precious S$1888 to Apple in exchange for their latest flagship phone. The next morning, I head down to the Apple Store at Orchard and within 15 minutes, the iPhone X was in my hand. The order was placed on a Saturday, a week and one day after the official launch of the phone.

 

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So here are my general first impressions.

The Build

With an all glass build, this new iPhone X is sleek and sexy. Apple is the master of craftsmanship, especially on an industrial scale. It is no surprise that the company does not skimp on manufacturing, ensuring that every little detail is accounted and well thought out with the end user in mind. For example, at the back of the phone, there is just one word; iPhone. There is no longer any logo or safety symbols that is made mandatory to be there for all electronic devices. Apple has gone great lengths to ensure that the back of the phone is pristine and minimalistic, maintaining the perception, that this is a super high-end product.

Sure, there have been numerous criticism about the phone’s overal fragility, especially when deciding upon glass to cover the entire phone, but a good quality iPhone case would mitigate that problem.

As far as fingerprint magnets are concerned, yes, with such a smooth material like glass being used, naturally it is a fingerprint magnet. However, the adoption of stainless steel surrounding the phone has given it added strength it the previously used aluminium from the older models. The glass is surprisingly scratch resistant.

The screen

Without getting all too technical about the screen and the resolution, (you can read those on the official website) one thing is for sure; it is gorgeous. The moment you look at it, you can immediately notice a rather large visual upgrade from the usual LCD panels that we are so used to in older models of the iPhone. The OLED display certainly catches your attention. It is noticeably visible that it is overall brighter, colours punchier (but not overly saturated like the Samsung Galaxy model of phones) and very accurate. The bezel-less design have the effect of drawing you in, capturing every ounce of attention away from everything else until you are fully immersed in the screen. It is that good. For something that you interact with most of the time where smartphones are concerns, Apple certainly did not skimp on the visuals department, going all out to ensure that it has the best display ever on a smartphone, in all measures.

The notch

Upon using it for the first time, the next thing you notice is the notch. It looked… weird at first, but after a while, you get used to it. It is not very wide as some would suggest. It is noticeable, but definitely not an eyesore for me. Personally, I feel that the notch serves two function; product differentiation and the allowance of FaceID components (among other things within the notch). In a crowded marketplace of smartphones from different manufacturers all designing a bezel-less phone, Apple has attempted to differentiate itself from its competition, by making its flagship bezel-less phone look different. Knowing that the notch is there, and seeing it instantaneously informs a consumer that this is an iPhone X. And none other. The notch is also necessary to house all the high tech components that make up FaceID. Watching videos could potentially be a problem for some, but for me, I dont really watch videos at great lengths on my iPhone, so I can’t really comment on that aspect with regards to the presence of the notch.

FaceID

When Apple introduced FaceID for the first time, a lot of people were quite intrigued. TouchID was excellent (and will remain an excellent form of a secure biometric ID for years to come) Apple has refined TouchID to the point where it became seemless and invisible. We don’t think about it anymore. It is just there. Place your finger on the Home Button and in a fraction of a second, upon recognition, it unlocks your phone instantaneously. So why change it?

According to Apple, with FaceID, using your face as a form of identification is more secure than your fingerprint. The chances of a random stranger (other than your very similar looking evil twin, which can fool FaceID) unlocking your phone using their face is much lower than a fingerprint.

Using your face as a form of ID is not new. Samsung has it’s own retina scan feature. So Apple isn’t the first to market with such ID system implemented on a smartphone. What Apple did (and did well) was to implemented it and get it right. In my personal use of FaceID, it worked 98% of the time. The other 2% was when I wasn’t looking at my phone, or it was at an odd angle that the phone couldn’t find my face, or it is just held too near or too far from my face. It is fast enough for me not to notice that my face is being scanned before unlocking my phone. Touch ID is still a tiny sliver faster than FaceID, although I am confident that through software enhancements and future hardware iteration in future models, Touch ID will improve by leaps and bounds, making it more accurate, more responsive and more secure.

The only downside I can think about it using FaceID (aside from the fact that it is a tiny bit slower than TouchID) is that now, you gotta pay attention to the phone and make an effort at looking at it to unlock. Notifications gets pinged to you all day long and if your phone is flat on the table and you need to unlock your phone or read those notifications, you really need lift up your phone, face it in front of you and look at it to unlock. You can still unlock your phone while it is flat on the table, but from my experience you kinda have to lean forward more towards the screen before it can find your face and unlock it for you.

The advantage of FaceID is the added privacy feature of hiding the contents of your notifications, and revealing them as you unlock your phone. This ensures that only the correct pair of eyes and face are actually looking at the phone before revealing it’s contents. A neat feature to have.

There are a few other positive and negative impressions which I will write in my next posting. So long!

 

Introducing the iPhone X

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This is an impulse buy.

I do not need this phone.

My current iPhone 7 plus served me well for the past year and continued to serve me well till today. Last night, I went to the Apple online store and realised that in-store pickups were available. I immediately pounced on the opportunity to secure myself a 256GB space gray iPhone X. I headed to the Orchard Apple Store the next morning and within 10 minutes inside the store, the phone was in my hands.

It’s S$1888. That is insane. I just bought a S$1888 phone. Even deducting the resale value of my current iPhone 7 Plus (S$550) I am still paying more than S$1300 for a new phone. That is still insane. I don’t know what got me into clicking the ‘buy’ button. There is just something about Apple’s product that just mesmerises me. It could be the screen, the edge to edge display, the faceID, I don’t know, but I am feeling a hint of buyers remorse. Sure the phone is great looking, but do I really need it?

To hell with it. I have already bought it, unboxed it and set up my phone. There is no going back. Guess I will have to brace myself for the credit card bill next month. Thank God for the 13th month bonus!

And… Darn you Apple for making such gorgeous products!

 

 

Dark Rage v.2 is complete

My PC upgarde is complete. Featuring an all new LED RGB RAM sticks and an EVGA 1080ti. This is Dark Rage v.2. My previous graphics card, the EVGA 1070 will be sold to a friend of mine, who is building his own gaming pc this weekend. I have offered to assist in building his rig after we get the parts at Sim Lim.

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Isn’t she a beauty?

I have decided not to do further upgrades, like the CPU and motherboard. Despite the recent official announcements by Intel on their upcoming launch of Coffeelake CPUs, I feel that the upgrade (at this moment in time) of motherboard and CPU would be a waste of money. This is because I predict that the performance increase in real world usage (primarily in gaming) would be so minimal, that it would not justify getting a brand new processor, AND a whole new motherboard. It is quite unfortunate that despite the fact that Intel is launching Coffeelake using the same LGA socket, prevous z170 and z270 motherboards are not supported. Thus, I would need to buy a whole new motherboard just to use these CPU. If it was possible, I might have considered just upgrading my CPU, while using my current motherboard.

I guess I just have to wait what AMD has to offer down the line, now that Intel has shown its hand.

Dark Rage upgrade in progress

Dark Rage, my current gaming rig is well underway. Recently I bought a new pair of RAMs from G.skill, the G.skill Trident LED RGB 16GB RAM. I bought the 3000mhz version from Newegg, and within days, it arrived at my doorstep. Installing it was easy but tricky at times because I didn’t have enough room in the case to align the new ones in. I had to go blind and hoped that the RAMs aligned perfectly. I simply remove the old RAMs (incidentally also from G.skill but the Ripjaws series, in red) and then snap the new ones in.

Then it was time to switch the PC on. Good lord the LED RGB strips lining the entire length of the RAMs was bright, colourful and glorious! One thing that stood out was how bright these individual LED diodes can emit! I could literally switch off the NZXT Hue+ LED strips lined along the edge of my case and the light from the RAM is enough to softly illuminate the PC’s internals. Overall, it was gorgeous! Why didn’t I make the plunge earlier?

The decision to upgrade my PC’s RAMs was a purely for aesthetic reasons. My old RAMs were working fine, but I decided to upgrade them to add more bling to my build. The RAMs were not cheap. RAM prices have spiked in recent months. In fact, the old RAM costs 140 bucks at the moment I bought it last year. These new ones came in at about 240 bucks. We are talking about a 100 dollar price premium over last year’s price. However there are exceptions. For one, its LED RGB, so naturally, these RAMs that I bought would definitely cost more. Secondly, the new ones are running at 3000mhz rather than 2400mhz from the old ones. So the price difference between these two pair of RAMs are not purely attributed to the global supply shortage of RAMs chips, but also having premium features not found on the old one.

Not that it matters much buying a 3000hmz RAMs, since my current motherboard can only support at RAM speeds of up to 2133hmz. I bought the faster RAMs because I initially wanted to upgrade my CPU and motherboard as well to a Ryzen system. But at the very last minute, I decided to wait out on my purchase and wait for Ryzen Zen 2 CPU architecture to launch (sometime in the second half of 2018). I have a lot of thought of whether it would be worth upgrading my CPU now but decided against it. My current i5 6500 CPU still have the muscle to perform admirably when it comes primarily in gaming. And since my rig is a gaming rig first and foremost, I don’t really need an 8 core/ 16 thread CPU just yet. I’ll let the Ryzen series chips mature a little bit more before making the plunge.

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So RAM upgrades have been completed, CPU and motherboard upgrades are put on hold. I’m only left with my graphics card.

A friend of mine decided to buy my EVGA GTX 1070 FTW card for $450. I was not warm to the idea at first since I had to plans to upgrade them. But after much consideration, I was like; why the hell not? I am in the process of upgrading my rig. And since I have decided not to upgrade my CPU and motherboard (since real-life performance improvement would not immediately be felt) I thought that upgrading the GPU might be a better choice. The performance upgrades would be substantial, and at this point of time, there have been no plans for Nvidia to release a new line of GPU anytime soon. A GTX 1080ti would be a sweet upgrade. A sweet but overkill upgrade, since I only game at 1440p. My current 1070 can do the job just fine at 60fps ultra settings. Maybe not just everything at ultra, especially in current and potential future games. So to get ahead of the curve, 1080ti would be a great investment. Now I don’t have to worry about not being able to play any games at ultra settings 60fps. I know a 1080ti would devour everything I throw at it.

 

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My EVGA GTX 1080ti FTW3 is on the way. Due to arrive on Monday, I am very excited for the moment to arrive where I will be installing the new graphics card in my rig.

After this final installation, my gaming rig upgrade will be complete and it will be Dark Rage V2.

Satechi mat & mate (by fulldesign)

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The Satechi mat & mate is a very elegant desk mat that would serve as a perfect companion to any minimalistic desk setup. It is a rather large deskmat, measuring 24″ by 14″. It is also the last piece of accessory that I bought on Amazon, before declaring my new gaming desk setup complete.

This deskmat is actually the third iteration of the deskmat to be released by Satechi. The new version is now waterproof and if I am not mistaken, slightly heavier and denser than the previous version. Having the mat waterproof means that water will not seep into the mat and potentially damaging the material over time. You can also be assured that any sweat or grime from your arms as a result of using the mat that might accumulate over time can be wiped off fairly easily. The denser and more premium feel of the mat allows the mat to lay completely flat on the table. There were issues with the previous version where occasionally, the edges of the mat would curl up, making it difficult to lay completely flat. This time however, since it’s much heavier, the edges now lay completely flat.

The great thing I like about the mat is that it can also be used as a mousepad. Because the mat is rather large, you can place a keyboard and the mouse on the mousepad together. This results in a really clean and minimal look on my new gaming desk setup, as I do not have to deal with any extra mousepad accessory that may look out of place with the keyboard. Having them together on a single mat, while at the same time being able to use as mousepad adds great practicality and functionality to and already great looking mat.

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As you can see the image above, there is ample space to put both your keyboard and mouse together. I really love this mat. Doesn’t look too gaming setup, but rather, it looks more professional and subdued.