We just got a quick chance to hold the iPhone X, Apple’s new flagship phone arriving later this year.
The thing that a lot of people want to talk about with the iPhone X is its $999 price, but when you have the phone in your hand, the price is the last thing you’re thinking about. The only thing that really matters about the X is its screen, which stretches all the way across the front of the phone. The 5.8-inch OLED screen is what Apple calls a “Super Retina Display” with 1125 x 2436 pixels of resolution, making it the highest density screen on any iPhone. It’s super sharp to look at and punchy and vibrant as you’d expect from an OLED screen. It has all of Apple’s signature tech too, including 3D Touch and True Tone.
The screen is the star of the show
That screen dictates everything about the iPhone X design, including its lack of a home button. This will probably be one of the most controversial things about the phone among iPhone users, but Apple has done a lot of work to make iOS feel natural without a home button.
Waking up the screen with just a tap makes sense, as does swiping up from the bottom of the screen to unlock it or return to the home screen. But without a home button, there’s no place for a fingerprint scanner, so Apple came up with a way to unlock the phone with your face. An array of sensors tucked into a notch at the top of the screen scans your face and unlocks the phone if it sees you. Apple calls this system FaceID and using it feels natural and quicker than the face unlocking methods used on other smartphones. Apple says the system learns your face, even if you’re wearing glasses, a hat, or change your hairstyle. And importantly, it says the system can’t be fooled by a photograph of you.
The front camera is more important than the rear one
This camera system powers a whole bunch of stuff, including new animated emoji that react to your face and filters in Snapchat. I think a lot of people are going to be using this a lot. They’ll also probably use the new Portrait Mode and Portrait Lighting that are now supported on the front camera. We’ve reached the point where the front camera on the iPhone is now more important than the rear one.
The rear camera on the iPhone X hasn’t been ignored, though, and it’s better than the one you can get on the pedestrian iPhone 8. It’s dual-lens, but with a brighter telephoto lens that has OIS just like the wide angle camera.
The back of the phone is less unique than the front — it’s the same glass and metal sandwich as the iPhone 8, with dust and water resistance and wireless charging.
Apple says the iPhone X lasts two hours longer than the iPhone 8 between charges, and of course claims its A11 Bionic chip is faster than ever. But we’ll have to wait until we’re able to review it to put those claims to the test.
The iPhone X doesn’t arrive until November, and based on what we’ve seen in our brief impressions, it’s going to be quite popular when it does. Even if it does cost a thousand dollars.
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