iPhone X: Some Early Impressions

There is no shortage of iPhone X reviews. There is no shortage of reviews of the iPhone X reviews. And there’s definitely no shortage of reviews of the iPhone X reviewers. I am going to skip all that and instead share my experience and first impressions of having the phone I will call X (not 10) for just over a day.

Size: As you all know, I had injured my hands due to overuse of the “plus” sized devices and switched to the iPhone SE. I love the SE as it has everything I need, even if the screen feels a little small at times. The X is a great middle ground between nearly perfect SE and Plus devices. It is sized just right: I can hold it in one hand, move my fingers around without stretching them and, most importantly, I can enjoy a bigger screen. The weight, too, is almost perfect. For me, the size alone is worth the price of the upgrade.

Screen: The bigger edge-to-edge screen is just fantastic — it makes reading articles or watching live sports a joy. Reading Kindle, Apple News, Pocket and Reader is a great experience. And my photos look great on the new Super OLED screen. The colors are so amazing that next to it, the 8+ looks downright dowdy. My SE screen looks dull and boring. Yeah, the screen is magically good. I don’t even want to look at my iPad Pro 10.5 anymore. Yeah, I am drooling.

Face ID: I don’t know what people are complaining about, but for me Face ID setup was a breeze and it works pretty well for pretty much everything, from unlocking the phone to opening 1Password for bringing up those complicated passwords. Could it be faster? Sure, but it’s still pretty cool that you can unlock your phone by just looking at it. It does struggle late into the night when the room is completely dark. I think the Apple Pay — Face ID integration leaves a lot to be desired. I have struggled with that a little bit, but it is the only thing I can complain about.

Home Button, RIP: Apple is still doing what it does best – addition through subtraction. It’s only been a few hours and I have already forgotten that there used to be a home button. Sure, I stumbled a little bit during the initial phases, but within a few hours I am at ease using the plethora of new gestures you need to learn to get the most out of this new device without resorting to a home button. If there is something to complain about, it’s that you need to learn a lot of new things to make the X work. But give me a few days and I will be a natural.

Photos & Camera: I have saved the best for the last. For me the real power of the iPhone is it’s function as a camera and as a device to show your photos to others. The X excels at both. My older photos in my SmugMug app look so much more astounding on the new screen, which puts every other iPhone screen to shame. I can’t wait to edit my photos on the X using a newer version of my favorite app, Darkroom. The camera(s) are fantastic — so much so I will do a separate blog post on those features.

The bottom line: the iPhone X is how the rest of the iPhones will look in 12-18 months. It is a prototype of the future models, and a perfect showcase of Apple’s power as a hardware company. From chips to materials to improved interactions, it is what you don’t see that makes the X a great phone.

I can’t wait for my device to show up, sometime after Christmas… if I’m lucky. If you got yours today, drop me a note and tell me what you think!

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