– The iPhone X is the most expensive iPhone ever. It has the biggest screen, smallest bezels, and it is the first iPhone to drop the home button. But the question is, is it worth it? It all starts with the design. From the rear it looks very similar to the iPhone 8. You’re getting an all-glass back for the first time since the iPhone 4 days. The X comes in two colors, silver and space gray. The silver is basically just white with a silver chassis where the space gray swaps out the rear glass for a very dark gray color and a dark metal band. It really does look and feel premium.There’s a solidness and heft to the design that just wasn’t there on the iPhone 6 and 7. However, there’s a price to pay for that. Unlike a metal back which might just get scratched or dented, no matter how strong Apple claims this glass is, it can absolutely be cracked if you drop it. One of the upsides to switching to glass for the rear panel is the addition of wireless charging. In a very un-Apple-like move, this supports the Qi standard that has been around on android phones for years, meaning that you should just be able to drop the X on a cheap wireless charging pad and it’ll work no problem. You also get the small added benefit of being able to fast charge the X via a USB-C to Lightning cable too. Now, the silver phone is especially prone to scratching as they moved from aluminum to stainless steel.This is a harder material that gives the phone its expensive feel, but like the old iPods, expect it to scuff easily. Thankfully, like the iPhone 7, you’ve got IP67 water resistance. Now, this isn’t full waterproofing, but your shiny new $1,000 iPhone should have no problem getting a little wet or even totally submerged for a minute. Like always, the design looks great but you should probably get a case. Flip the phone over though, and you’ll see the biggest change this year: the display. Put the X side by side with the 8+ and the lack of bezels really does make the phone look like a much more modern flagship.It looks similar to the Galaxy Note 8. It lacks the curved edges but has nearly no bezels otherwise except for the notch. After using the phone for a few days, it doesn’t really bother me. When you’re using the phone in portrait mode, it basically just means that you get a little bit of extra vertical screen real estate with stuff like battery and time on the edges. When watching video, you have a couple options. For
standard 16:9 content, the true blacks of the OLED panel make things look a lot like a normal iPhone. But for example, on YouTube you can pinch to zoom it to full screen.You crop a little of the frame and sometimes the notch looks a bit off, but it’s a good way of taking full advantage of the display. Now, not all apps support the X yet. A lot will display with black bars on top and bottom. Thanks to OLED, the blacks are properly black so that mostly means it just looks like you’re using an iPhone 7. That display though really is something. The change from IPS to OLED means that you’re getting far better contrast. That black is actually black here. I know I keep saying it, but it really does make a huge difference. The screen looks so much more contrasty. The color is pleasant as well.It’s nicely calibrated and the screen gets impressively bright. My only real issue is that there is a bit of color shifting when you look at it off axis, but it’s fairly minor and the rest of the advantages of OLED definitely outweigh it. The iPhone X also gives you support for HDR 10 and Dolby Vision. Watching Stranger Things: Two on the X looks phenomenal. The brightness and contrast really does make content pop. In fact, we’re shooting this video in HDR. If you’re watching on an HDR TV with something like a Chromecast Ultra or even some smartphones like the Galaxy S8, you should be able to see the difference. Audio is also impressive on the X. It has a pair of speakers, one front-firing that doubles as the speakerphone, and the other on bottom. It’s not quite as loud and crisp as dedicated stereo speakers on the Pixel 2, but it blows away basically any other flagship out there right now. Combine that with the great screen and you have one of the best mobile video experiences, period.Something interesting is that the iPhone X touch layer refreshes at 120 Hertz. The screen itself is still 60 Hertz, which can’t match the level of smoothness of something like the Razer Phone or iPad Pro, but that faster touch layer does make the phone feel a lot more responsive. With the new screen comes arguably the biggest change to the iPhone in the last 10 years. No more home button. One on hand, it’s what gives the iPhone it’s most recognizable shape, but in 2017 it’s looking awfully out of date. Instead of the home button, the X relies on a series of gestures to navigate the phone. Swiping up has replaced the home button and
the gesture area doubles as a quick swipe to move between apps.After a couple of days, to me this feels like a very natural evolution. iOS already uses so many gestures to navigate that once you drop the button and totally commit, it speeds up moving around the entire interface. There are some trade offs though. Some button combos have changed. For example, you now hold the power button to trigger Siri and you can screenshot by holding power and volume up. The biggest trade off is that there’s no longer touch ID. Instead, the iPhone X introduces Face ID. This is a big reason why the notch is as big as it is. You’re essentially getting a Kinect that has been miniaturized into the top of a phone. I will absolutely admit that before I tried the X, I had my doubts about Face ID. But it actually works. After a quick set-up, it works basically as advertised. Tap the screen and in the time it takes for you to swipe up to unlock, Face ID scans your face and unlocks the phone. It’s not perfect. You do need to be looking at the phone for it to work, but I was impressed with just how versatile it is.Your results might vary, but I basically have no major complaints with Face ID. It feels like I just don’t have a passcode. This take also makes Animoji possible. Look, these are just fun, okay? This works as an iMessage app that scans your face and translates it into a talking emoji. It does a really good job of even capturing small facial motions and lets you do karaoke. So, you know. One area that’s basically the same between the iPhone 8 and X is performance. Both phones give you the Apple A11 Bionic, which is hands-down the fastest chip you can get in a phone today. This translates into a phone that feels like you just can’t trip it up. Not matter how much I multitask, it just doesn’t break a sweat. Animations stay locked at 60 frames per second, and because you have those new gestures, it feels lightning fast to move between apps. While this isn’t exclusive to the X, this power does come in handy for games. Of course, standard titles like Minecraft run here no problem, but you also have some pretty fun AR games. The iPhone X brings a pair of 12 megapixel cameras, one wide angle and one telephoto.This is the same basic setup as on the 8 Plus and it works well here. Apple has cranked up saturation in this generation and it makes images look a lot more punchy, which while maybe not quite technically
accurate does make for a better looking photo. There’s a good amount of detail but what’s really impressive is the dynamic range. HDR is on by default and there have been a few shots where I legitimately couldn’t believe how much range the X was able to keep in one picture. The telephoto camera on the 7 Plus came in handy for me a fair bit, but it’s a lot better on the X. It still isn’t quite as sharp as the main shooter, but it now has image stabilization which makes a big difference, especially in low light. The A11 chip inside does quite a bit to analyze each shot and make adjustments based on that. Now, while the days of the iPhone having far and away the best camera on a smartphone are over, you really won’t be disappointed with what you get out of the X.Portrait mode makes a return here and it’s solid. If you look closely, you can see where the camera doesn’t perfectly cut you out of the background sometimes but for the most part it does a good job. You can now also take portrait selfies. These rely on good light with pretty optimal conditions, but when done right they can really make the front-facing camera look a lot more expensive. The problem is that while decent in a vacuum, I really prefer the way that the Pixel 2 handles these, which you guys can check out in my full comparison.Portrait mode is handled well on the iPhone X, but there’s room for improvement. As a guy who shoots a bit of video, I have to say, the iPhone X is about as good as a smartphone gets right now. It shoots 4K at 24, 30, or 60 frames per second and I have absolutely no complaints about the quality. Stabilization is terrific, color is nicely saturated, dynamic range is good, and the auto-focus and exposure generally do a great job. You also get solid 1080p 240 frames per second slow motion options as well as the still impressive built-in time lapse mode. Put it all together and it is hard to be disappointed with the iPhone X camera. And that really is the story of this phone. While battery life isn’t quite as good as on the 8 Plus, it’s still significantly better than previous iPhones and for me it was really no problem to make it through a full day of use. When Apple announced a $1,000 price tag for the iPhone X, they pretty much threw down the gauntlet. If this phone wasn’t incredible, there was no way that it would be worth it.But it kind of is. (light upbeat electronic music) .