It’s the hand­set the world has been talk­ing about – and de­mand for the new iPhone X is fierce. But with a steep start­ing price of €1,179 is it the right call? Tech­nol­ogy Ed­i­tor Adrian Weck­ler has had ex­clu­sive use of the new model – and de­liv­ers his defin

Irish Independent - Business Week - - TECHNOLOGY -

BY SOME dis­tance, the iPhone X is big­gest tech launch of the year, if not in the last five years. With a new allscreen de­sign, Ap­ple has thrown cau­tion to the wind, jet­ti­son­ing the home but­ton and in­tro­duc­ing fa­cial recog­ni­tion tech­nol­ogy as a se­cu­rity and screen-un­lock­ing fea­ture. It is also test­ing the mar­ket’s pock­ets as never be­fore, with a steep start­ing price of €1,179.

This is the hand­set that the world has been talk­ing about since it was un­veiled in Septem­ber. Be­cause of the com­plex­ity of its de­sign and con­struc­tion, it’s only be­ing re­leased for sale now. We’ve been try­ing out its fa­cial recog­ni­tion, its cam­eras, its new app-switcher mech­a­nism and its new mes­sag­ing an­i­moji.

So is this the great­est phone ever made? And can it jus­tify the un­prece­dent­edly high start­ing price?

I’ll start with a fac­tor I don’t usu­ally pay much at­ten­tion to: the un­box­ing. Per­haps it’s be­cause the unit I got has sparkling stain­less steel on its rims, but this is the first time since the iPhone 4 – and, be­fore that, the orig­i­nal iPhone – that I’ve gen­uinely been taken aback by the con­struc­tion qual­ity of a new iPhone. This is ul­tra-pre­mium stuff.

Mind you, for this kind of price it would want to be. In­deed, for €1,179 (or €1,349 for the 256GB ver­sion I’m test­ing), the iPhone X re­ally could do with some sort of killer fea­ture to make it worth it.

As it hap­pens, it has two fea­tures that con­tend for this, along with a num­ber of other sup­port­ing as­sets (such as ex­tra cam­era power and phys­i­cal ma­te­ri­als).

Those are Face ID and a new edge-toedge dis­play that in­creases the size of the screen with­out mak­ing the hand­set big­ger.

The ob­vi­ous first fea­ture is that “su­per retina” screen. The way that it stretches al­most to­tally from cor­ner to cor­ner is a first for Ap­ple and an er­gonomic game changer for those who like big screens but dis­like hav­ing ex­tra big phones to ac­com­mo­date those screens.

The deal here is that the dis­play is 5.8 inches, mak­ing the screen longer (but slim­mer) than the iPhone 8 Plus’s 5.5-inch dis­play. (Al­though watch out if you crack or smash this iPhone’s screen – Ap­ple is say­ing it will cost con­sid­er­ably more to re­place it, be­cause of its new de­sign.)

Be­cause it’s edge-to-edge with no ap­pre­cia­ble bezel, the over­all de­vice is sig­nif­i­cantly smaller than an iPhone 8 Plus. In fact, it’s much closer in size to a reg­u­lar iPhone, de­spite its screen be­ing longer. This is ob­vi­ously a great ad­van­tage for pock­ets, as well as over­stretched thumbs.

As an er­gonomic up­grade, it works. Hav­ing al­ready be­gun to get used to the smaller de­vice size, it’s al­ready hard to see me go­ing back to a larger form fac­tor.

It’s not a per­fect cov­er­age area, how­ever. The screen has had to take into ac­count all of the front-fac­ing cam­eras and sen­sors for Face ID. These are clus­tered to­gether in , which are gath­er­ers to­gether in its ‘notch’. This in­ter­rupts the flow of the screen more than a lit­tle, al­though the time and bat­tery sym­bols sit on each side of the notch.

I’ve only had the phone for a short time, so I’m not sure whether the ‘notch’ will bug me af­ter a while, but I’m def­i­nitely con­scious of it at the mo­ment. This is es­pe­cially so as some apps (like Face­book

The new an­i­moji’s are fun and will be pop­u­lar with teenagers, but the cost may be pro­hib­i­tive for younger buy­ers

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