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
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