By Komron ARIPOV
What piece of aluminum, glass and silicon with no home button costs $999? That’s right, the incredibly hyped and the most speculated phone that has been recently released – The iPhone X. The ten (not the “ex”), is what Apple wants to be not just another phone, but a marker of a new generation of phones. That’s a lot to manage. Following such reasoning, there are a lot of new features and changes both inside and outside the phone.
Quite frankly, the iPhone X has gotten mixed reviews: some taunting the device, and some hating it, and the others in between the two extremes. The Verge’s review teaser said, “Works in progress can still be great”, while Forbes titled their review “Tim Cook's Rushed Vision of Your Awkward Future”. Generally, journalists were dissatisfied with Apple’s choice of sending the device right before the public gets it, therefore pressurizing magazines to write very quick reviews that will set the tone for the months to come. Many articles promised full and more complete reviews in a couple of days. So, what’s so special about this device?
Events have passed, people have changed, but you couldn’t say the same things about Apple’s 4-year-old phone design… until now. The overhaul can be compared to that of the iPhone 5 and the iPhone 6, but this time even more so. The new bezel-less display, with a notch at the top however, uses the new Super Retina technology replacing the now outdated LCD technology. Apple has claimed that the reason they did not switch technologies earlier, was due to problems with the new AMOLED screens: although they have a better contrast ratio, are thinner, lighter and more flexible, they also are prone to screen burn-ins and have a reduced brightness. They are also claiming that they have incorporated the best of the two worlds into one screen, but time will have to show if they are correct.
The back of the phone has gone a little back in time, particularly to the iPhone 4, and been furnished with some glass, making way for wireless charging. One thing we know for sure – this phone is going to be a HUGE fingerprint magnet. The camera bulge is still there, some saying it’s actually larger on the X, than on the previous iPhones.
Now we have gotten to the good part. Apple’s chip game has been always ahead, since it’s the same company making the chips, unlike the 3rd-party approach Android manufacturers have. The A11 Bionic, is a total beast, with geekbench scores going twice (!) as high as previous iPhones and even trumping the computing power of some of Apple’s laptops. If you are looking for a future proofed device – look no further. The sheer power of this thing is what allows the iPhone to recognize real faces apart from photos (more on that later).
Nothing extraordinarily new in this department, but a couple of things to look at. Apple knows Google is ahead in the software game, so it decided to make something similar of their own: Portrait Lighting.
This mode allows for users to select different types of studio lightning to be applied to their faces. With the help of the chip, the front facing camera can now also take photos with blurred backgrounds, otherwise known as “bokeh”; however many reviewers reported this function to be a little bit shaky. The camera at the back also got an upgrade: now the telephoto lens is also stabilized allowing for more clearer shots with the phone. Overall, a nice small upgrade to an already good camera.
THE FACE ID
I have now stepped into the danger zone, where many magazines have dissenting opinions. Apple, in order to make a bezel-less display, had to pay it’s price: getting rid of the Home button. This leads us to the untimely death of the fingerprint scanner, and although there were many speculations about Apple incorporating a new type of scanner beneath the display, this technology is in it’s very early stages of development, which is probably the reason it wasn’t included.
Behold, the new way of unlocking your iPhone X: your face. Yet another bold movement from Apple (like getting rid of the headphone jacket) has the internet in a debate. I’m not going to take sides, rather speculate. Maybe Apple didn’t prove to us, consumers, how well this face unlock works, it has definitely banks on its side. Apple Pay, a contactless payment system used to utilize fingerprint scanners to validate purchases, and Apple had to prove banks it is secure enough to do so, and it has done the same thing once again. In their keynote presentation, they have spent a great deal of time emphasizing Face ID’s security: it can’t be faked by twins, photos can’t be used to unlock it, and no, your girlfriend can’t unlock your phone while you are sleeping, as it requires opened eyes and attention to the screen.
owever, in the live demonstration of this feature, Craig Federighi fails (!) to unlock the phone in the first two attempts, and has to switch the device. People who have gotten early access units claim that Face ID works well, but the fail rate is higher than it should be. We shall see what is true as more reviews start to pour in.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The iPhone X is a beautiful phone with a solid design, new features and a top-notch chipset, but at a very steep price of $999. Will you enjoy using this phone? Yes, and there is no question about that. Is it the best phone on the market? Arguably, but it is one of the most recently released ones. Are you going to like paying one grand for a slab of metal? That is up to you to decide.
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