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.
So here are my general first impressions.
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.
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.
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.
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!