5 best and worst features of the iPhone X
Appleâs new iPhone X, unveiled on Tuesday with an edge-to-edge OLED display and a $999 price tag, is bound to shake up the high-end smartphone market in unforeseen ways. We donât know how it will impact Appleâs overall sales, or whether it will set off a kind of mobile arms race to see which phone maker can outdo the other in the upper premium price point.
Itâs already dividing both diehard Apple fans and longtime iOS detractors over the very idea of a phone costing into the four digits. More than any device before it, the X is testing both the value we put on smartphones and consumersâ willingness to pay for the best Apple to has offer.
The iPhone X doesnât go up for preorder until October 27th, so you have quite a while to think over a potential purchase and decide whether the iPhone X is worth the extra cash over the equally powerful iPhone 8, which differs in only a few key areas from its bezel-less counterpart. (Of course, thereâs also the now more affordable iPhone 7, which starts at a reasonable $549.)
The easiest way to dissect the decision is to do a bit of cost-benefit analysis, starting with what the iPhone X appears to do better than less pricey Apple models:
The edge-to-edge OLED screen is gorgeous
The most obvious standout feature o f the iPhone X is the OLED screen, which the lucky few whoâve held it say is probably the most stunning smartphone screen theyâve ever seen. The edge-to-edge display is copied from past Android devices, starting more or less with the Xiaomi Mi Mix last year and making its way to global mainstream prominence in the Samsung Galaxy S8 back in April. But the lack of originality hasnât stopped Apple from manufacturing a beautiful piece of hardware.
There are some weird quirks to contend with, like the controversial rectangular ânotchâ cut-out at the top of the screen, where Apple has stored a bevy of camera and sensor parts to perform tasks like Face ID and Animoji recordings. But Appleâs proprietary advantages include the coloration and brightness-adjusting True Tone display tech and a new Super Retina moniker that means the iPhone X sports a 2436 x 1125 resolution at 458 ppi across 5.8 inches of real estate. Itâs also Appleâs first smartphone to come HDR-ready. All this adds up to an impressive display that is clearly the top differentiator between the iPhone X and the iPhone 8. Whether itâs worth the extra $200 or so is a harder call.
The front-facing camera is more powerful
Hidden inside the small notch cutout at the top of the iPhone X is a significant number of new camera parts and sensors that do more than just transpose your face onto an emoji cat or scan it to unlock your phone. The front-facing camera module now contains an infrared camera, flood illuminator, proximity scanner, ambient light sensor, speaker, microphone, 7-megapixel camera, and dot projector. All of that together combines into what Apple calls its TrueDepth camera, used for Animoji, Face ID, and a number of cool camera tricks.
TrueDepth is what makes the iPhone Xâs front-facing camera capable of performing the aperture-reduction trick in its Portrait mode, a feature just a year ago restricted to the back camera of only the iPhone 7 Plus. It also makes the front-facing camera capable of Appleâs new Portrait Mode effects, which lets you replicate more professional flash lighting. These wonât make too big a difference to most of us, unless you happen to be an obsessive selfie taker whoâs been clamoring for DSLR-quality capabilities. But having the most cutting-edge mobile photography features at your fingertips could be a big draw to a sizable segment of the iPhone-using population, and a good reason to upgrade to the X.