Our deep dive after one week with the most anticipated iPhone ever
Is the iPhone X, the most buzzed gadget launch ever? Probably. Like most iPhones this buzz is in phases – the pre-launch rumours, the launch event and then the frenzy when the phone actually hits the stores. That mass frenzy was less evident during the 7 last year and even quieter when the 8 debuted in September.
I was at the flagship 5th Avenue store in NYC on launch day. One of the Apple customer associates admitted it was a quiet day by Apple launch standards. All that has changed with the X, the lines were back and most outlets have run out of stock worldwide. It’s understandable, this is a new frontier for the iPhone but is it a smartphone like no other? And beyond all that hype, does the X justify the 6 figure price tag. Read on:
The form factor: it’s one thing to see all the videos and images of this device and another to hold it in in your hand. Apple’s flawless design language plays out all over again in a phone that is all glass and remarkably comfortable for one-handed navigation. Just like all other Apple devices, the hardware ‘melts into the background’ making for an immersive experience.
The display: everything looks good on the 5.8-inch display (2436 x 1125 pixels / 458 PPI). It’s not just a massive step up from any iPhone you’ve ever known but one of the most gorgeous out there. The top corners (right and left) – aka horns flank a bunch of sensors (located on the top of the display) and also cram tidbits of information. The sensors are enclosed in the ‘notch’ that is an odd design choice; tough to ignore especially while you catch videos on the go.
The home key gets a boot: For years, iPhone users hit the home key almost anytime they were in doubt. The new form factor and the disappearing bezels have also made the home key vanish. No more home key and no more TouchID to unlock your device. It’s probably the biggest change in the X and requires users to come to terms with a new set of swipe gestures for navigation. That can take some getting used too and yet it’s fun. Face ID trolls might have invaded the Internet but it works remarkably well. It might seem like a simple solution but it needs Apple’s TrueDepth Camera that projects and analyses more than 30,000 invisible dots to create a precise depth map of your face.
The cameras: Brilliant. Enough said. Two 12MP dual cams (both with OIS) team up to produce terrific images in almost any lighting scenario. Some of the tweaks included an improved telephoto camera, with f/2.4 aperture and a whole new bag of tricks, including a new colour filter. There’s a marked improvement in lowlight and the 7MP Selfie cam is ready for Portrait images that we loved with the rear cam of the 7 Plus.
Battery: will you need battery back-up – battery packs and covers, for the X? Very likely. That’s the one area where the X somewhat disappoints especially if you’re a power user. You might be able to survive a full day if you don’t push your device (non-stop camera usage, videos or incessant calls) though.
So, worth the price tag?: $999/1149 (or) Rs 89,000/1,02,000 (for the 64/256 GB versions) is clearly a lot of money for a smartphone. Gadget users or Apple fans have never needed to rationalise these price tags and the X is certainly not going to change that. The X represents a big leap for the iPhone and for the way we engage with our smartphones. Apple’s seamless blend of hardware (the A11 Bionic Chip keeps things robust) and software (iOS 11) coupled with a bunch of big improvements – camera, display, FaceID makes this a compelling proposition. And then there are the little things, like Animojis.