The most im­por­tant phone since the orig­i­nal iPhone? Per­haps. Ap­ple says this paves the way for the next gen­er­a­tion of smart­phones, and it’s not wrong

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Edge-to-edge OLED screen, epic cam­eras and gor­geous styling. Is this the iPhone to usher in the next 10 years of smart­phones?

The iPhone X is the first of a new breed of iPhones, ac­cord­ing to Ap­ple. That’s clear just by look­ing at it – there’s no Home but­ton, which isn’t just to ac­com­mo­date the edge-toedge screen. Get­ting rid of one of the iPhone’s few un­changed con­trols since its launch ten years ago is a state­ment. It seems small, but it has a knock-on ef­fect, and when we first started us­ing the X, we won­dered if we were ready for an all-ges­ture con­trol scheme.

The first thing that’s quite sur­pris­ing when you take the phone out of the box is just how small it is, espe­cially com­ing to it from re­views of the Note 8 and iPhone 8 Plus – both su­perb hand­sets, but big. Of course, it’s not the iPhone X dis­play that’s small, but the body of the phone. It feels a lot more like the iPhone 8 than the 8 Plus, but its 5.8-inch dis­play is around the same size as the Plus’.

The ma­te­ri­als used make the phone feel su­per-pre­mium, even if the glass rear is a bit of a fin­ger­print mag­net. The new glass-backed de­sign means

that you can set the iPhone X down on a wire­less charg­ing pad and it’ll in­stantly start suck­ing up juice. It’s the univer­sal ‘Qi’ stan­dard as well, so you won’t need a spe­cial Ap­ple wire­less charger for this to work. Ap­ple has the power to make tech­nolo­gies main­stream be­cause of its abil­ity to con­vince part­ners that ‘now is the time’ to adopt. In­te­grat­ing the Qi wire­less stan­dard at this stage is a phe­nom­e­nal boost to wire­less charg­ing, even if oth­ers have been do­ing it for ages.

You can charge the hand­set up in around two hours nor­mally, but con­nect­ing a USB-C to Light­ning ca­ble to a USB-C MacBook charger will give you fast charg­ing, up to 50 per cent in about half an hour. You can al­most watch the bat­tery per­cent­age tick over as you charge (frus­trat­ingly you can no longer see the bat­tery per­cent­age in the sta­tus bar on the X – in­stead, you need to pull down the Con­trol Cen­tre).

We love the stain­less-steel edge espe­cially. The so-called ‘notch’ at the top of the screen is far from in­tru­sive and houses plenty of nec­es­sary tech for Face ID. How­ever, there is a bit of an is­sue with some apps not ren­der­ing them­selves cor­rectly around the notch, while some apps – Sa­fari no­tably – just use bars to make the screen a more con­ven­tional shape. Ex­pect these quirks to get ironed out.

One touch

The sec­ond thing that’s sur­pris­ing is the first time you swipe up from the bot­tom of the dis­play to go to the Home screen in iOS 11. It should feel weird, but we found it didn’t. Other re­view­ers said it took them days to get used to the lack of Home but­ton, but we re­ally weren’t trou­bled by it. Okay, we reached for a non-ex­is­tent Home but­ton a cou­ple of times, but the move to ges­tures felt re­ally nat­u­ral.

We found our­selves sig­nif­i­cantly more per­turbed by other con­trol changes – swip­ing down from the top right to get to the Con­trol Cen­tre is fine, but our thumb didn’t quite stretch that far, so we needed two hands, or to jockey the hand­set slightly into po­si­tion. Ap­ple’s ‘Plus’ size Reach­a­bil­ity fea­ture to en­able you to pull down stuff at the top of the screen is no longer on by de­fault, but it is there if you want it.

The side but­ton is overused for fea­tures now there is no Home but­ton. As well as putting your phone to sleep, it’s now co-opted for Siri (long press) and Ap­ple Pay (two short presses). This works okay, but not bril­liantly. To avoid ac­ci­den­tal locks, you should switch to us­ing ‘Hey Siri’ to in­voke Ap­ple’s as­sis­tant with your voice - we sus­pect that’s Ap­ple’s in­ten­tion, any­way.

Face time

One thing that isn’t com­plex is Face ID. You set it up dur­ing the ini­tial iPhone con­fig­u­ra­tion and then, er, that’s it. Fif­teen min­utes af­ter we started to use the phone we re­alised we’d locked it sev­eral times (as we took pho­to­graphs and played around with the side but­ton con­trols) but we had just swiped up to open the phone each time, with­out a thought.

It sud­denly dawns on you that your face has in­deed un­locked the phone.

The all-black iPhone looks beau­ti­ful, but we’re par­tial to sil­ver stain­less steel fin­ish of the white model – it still has an all-black front

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