Apple’s new smartphone is undoubtedly a big change, particularly when you consider the variations on a theme that have dictated the design and functionality of their previous iterations. Each generation of the iPhone has been little more than a subtle improvement on the previous version, whilst still retaining the core features of the hardware.

The iPhone X however features some rather drastic changes, from the removal of the previously ever-present ‘home’ button to the much larger screen (and that rather polarising notch at the top). But are these changes for the better? Or should Apple have stuck to their tried-and-tested formula? We spent a few days with the iPhone X to give you our first impressions:

Face ID works well … most of the time.

The removal of the home button means you can no longer unlock the phone with your thumbprint, instead using your face to prove your identity. Apple says it’s far safer and much more difficult (or even impossible) to hack, which may well be true, but it takes a little getting used to. Generally, Face ID works well, it unlocked immediately most of the time I looked at my phone, but there were a few instances where it simply didn’t work, and didn’t explain why.

Trying to see how good it was at recognising you in various situations, we tried it in the rain (worked 9 times out of ten), wearing headphones (worked every time) and wearing a variety of Ray-Ban glasses and sunglasses. It was fine with the glasses, but both the Wayfarers and Aviators we tried threw the Face ID system more than half the time.

One thing I did really like was that Face ID works with your notifications, hiding the content of messages and emails until the phone recognises that it’s you looking at it. Once it’s happy you’re the one reading, it will expand and show you the full message content.

Size and screen are excellent

The size of the phone has been met with some criticism, but frankly we thought it was perfect. It’s big enough to feel immersive and give you an excellent screen to watch videos and view photos, but small enough to hold comfortably in your hand. I think they’ve done an excellent job here and the 5.8 inch screen feels like exactly the right size.

Speaking of the screen, the OLED used on the phone is phenomenal – things look crisp and clear and the definition is amazing. Their decision to change to an OLED screen was a concern (particularly given the discoloration problems you get with some of the Google Pixel displays), but in the short time we used the phone we found the screen to be fantastic.

Overall

We really do think the new iPhone is an excellent piece of kit, and far and away the best smartphone available on the current market. Whether or not it’s worth breaking the £1,000 barrier remains a personal choice, but if you do choose to fork out for the latest piece of Apple tech we’re confident you’ll be happy using the phone on a regular basis.

November 16, 2017

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