Apple iphone X A thousand-pound phone or just grand larceny?
The iphone X is pronounced ‘iphone 10’, and costs £999 – yes, nine hundred and ninety-nine pounds. To protect your investment, Apple has made it entirely out of glass. The front is glass. The back is glass. There’s a bit of metal in between, but that won’t help if you drop it on the floor. It’s not fully waterproof, either – just splash-resistant.
Apple charges £286 to replace the screen. Any other damage, including a cracked back, costs £556, if it can be fixed at all. Alternatively, when you buy your iphone X you can pay an extra £199 for Applecare+, which reduces these costs to £25 and £79. Or you can sign up for Apple’s iphone Upgrade Programme, which gives you interest-free credit for 20 months, free Applecare+, and the option to upgrade to next year’s iphone. It’s better value, but you have to go to an Apple store for a credit check.
This doesn’t feel like £1,000 of phone. The screen doesn’t go right to the edges like Samsung’s, and although it’s great that there’s no border at the bottom, there’s a weird notch at the top, where the camera, speaker and Truedepth augmented reality sensors live. It’s not quite as slim as an iphone 8 Plus, yet the similar dual-camera sticks out a mile. The telephoto lens is a bit better in the X, and its optical stabilisation improves on one of the best ever phone cameras – but it’s still not great in low light. The front camera is very good, too, and now has its own Portrait (blurred background) mode thanks to Truedepth, but it doesn’t work reliably. We liked the ‘animoji’ cartoon characters that lip-sync your voice.
Apple’s first OLED screen looks fantastic, and the tall, narrow shape is easy to hold and slip in a bag or pocket. There’s bags of processing power. The basic 64GB of storage is probably enough (and it can’t be expanded), while the face- ecognition system, which replaces fingerprint reading, is less annoying than we feared, if rather awkward when using Apple Pay. However, the battery lasted just nine hours and 22 minutes in our video playback test. Overall, this is just a good phone, not a sell-your-grandmother phone. Apple has hinted that more Truedepth cleverness will enhance it later. Well, OK. We’ll wait, and start saving.
VERDICT: If you have an arm and a leg that you don’t really need, this is a good phone, albeit a rather fragile one. Otherwise, forget it
ALTERNATIVE: Samsung Galaxy Note 8 £785 Deep discounting is making Samsung’s top phones look attractive, and this huge one no longer catches fire
A good-looking if fragile phone, but is it really worth £999?
Google’s Home and Home Mini smart speakers compete directly with Echo. Apple is working on a similar box for Siri, called Homepod (pictured), but it has been delayed until next year. Each of these devices can deliver news, sports results, weather forecasts and so on, as well as travel directions, which you can forward to apps on your phone. You can even order an Uber taxi or a pizza, and Alexa makes it particularly easy to buy from Amazon through the device, which may be of interest if you subscribe to Prime for free delivery. You can protect this feature with a PIN so your kids or your parrot can’t activate it. Google, on the other hand, is better at understanding random questions. Alexa’s strength is in its extensive support for smart lightbulbs and other home automation products, and the Plus takes this even further. We’ll have to see if Google and Apple catch up.