My iPhone X Review



I know, it’s just a phone. But in the same way that Lyra, the heroine of ‘His Dark Materials’ has a daemon always at her side, phones have become our inseparable equivalent.  I have a very few bits of tech I keep up to date, but this is one.

It’s already a cliche, but the iPhone X is a genuine game-changer, although at first it’s not obvious why. There’s no home button, nothing but a big screen with a slightly compromising panel at the top to allow for fitting the the camera lenses. Losing the headphone jack last year was a bit of a gamble but was ultimately a great idea, so long as you don’t use Apple’s awful bluetooth pods, which fall out of your ears (I already lost mine).

New methods of navigating and unlocking the phone have come in. Facial recognition takes seconds to set up and seems to work fine, but the real changes begin deeper in. First, colour and image are far above the last iPhone. The OLED display is amazing, and the screen is bigger without affecting the overall size. I switched from a larger phone back to a small one for a while because the damned thing didn’t fit in my jeans (I don’t often wear jackets).

The X has a slight black bezel but it’s really all screen. You could watch a movie on this because it has HDR playback, but personally I’d rather read a book (Today, ‘The Three Friends’ by Norman Collins, if you must know). There have been complaints about the double-tap for Apple Pay but really, it’s not exactly complex to master.

Do I need to mention animojis? Talking animal heads with your voice? Thought not. They’re rubbish aimed at young users, although if I was texting Nigel Farage just for the fun of insulting him, I might use the unicorn as a Brexit analogy.

Here’s a big change. It’s the first iPhone you can use with one hand, thanks to the home button being replaced with a swipe-up gesture. It’ s an instinctive action that makes it so easy to open any app quickly, with the cavil that closing apps is slightly less obvious. However, all of the features feel instinctive. If you don’t know how to do something, try the obvious and it usually works. Result? You spend less time thinking about how to use it.

It’s a powerful phone, packing a lot more tech than, say, Voyager had on board. For those who care, it has an A11 Bionic chip running in tandem with 3GB of RAM. You can do AR gaming (overlaying images on the real world) but I’m mostly using language, news and AI apps. There’s a real weight and grippability here, plus contact charging if you want to splash out on peripherals. It’s the first phone I’ve used where a cover feels integral. I chose the brown leather because it will scuff up nicely.

The camera takes this whole thing to a new level, both from behind and front, which has something called a TrueDepth camera which in portrait mode blurs the background. And the f/2.4 aperture and optical image stabilization on the zoom takes better low-light photos. Here’s a shot I took last night in natural light. The over-complex photoshopping controls allow for plenty of post-shot tampering if that’s your thing.


If you’re an Android user there are few innovations here to excite you, but Apple does them very well, integrating them into a single superb package that makes this less a phone than a hardworking all-purpose tool. It’s expensive (not much different to what I got for my old car) but I’m already getting more use out of it than I did from owning a gas-guzzling vehicle.

6 comments on “My iPhone X Review”

  1. Jan says:

    Wot the hell is an A11 Bionic chip? I got the updated Nokia for Christmas and because i had unwittingly saved my new contacts to “phone” instead of ‘sim” I have to toddle off to a Vodaphone shop to get the pars swopped over. I suppose your new smart phone gizmo would fly to the shop and fly home all updated.

    Suppose the real point is this super phone isn’t a phone at all its your tiny carry with you computer. It’s really odd how mobys started out as carry phones and messaging devices and now have evolved into something else entirely. Did I ever tell you about once missing a bus(the 183 from Golders Green to Pinners as it goes) we got caught in a horrendous traffic jam rush hour + roadworks on the way home but everyone bar me and an elderly Asian lady just got occupied with their smart phones. Me and this lady kept looking at each other and shakng our heads and rolling eyes heavenwards it was like being on a bus full of pod people. Just this lady, me and hopefully the driver in the real world everyone else somewhere else. Maybe somewhere bettet

  2. Jo W says:

    Very interesting post about the new ‘phone today. Can you also make a call on it? 😉
    Wishing you and Peter a very happy 2018! Lovely tree btw.

  3. Brooke says:

    At Christmas dinner (7 hour eat-um-up) as punishment for my sins, I was seated between the leading Apple sales person for our region and the lead tech/gadget writer for our local newspaper (trashy rag!), both decked out with Apple watches. While we talked about family, world events, history, symphony programs, opera, sports, best book, etc. these two nattered on about the X monster. I love my hosts and couldn’t be rude…but I can here so…BOOOO, HISSSSS to this post.

  4. Brit Ray says:

    Thanks for the great review. Also enjoyed your essay about David Hurn. My recent version of the iPhone does remarkably well for my art photography, but it seems I have 10,000 pictures on it, so I probably should get the upgrade before this one crashes. Then I can think of it as my little daemon.(Reminds me to get PP’s latest.) I never could figure out how to use those Blue Tooth things that are littering up a drawer, along so many chords that don’t seem to fit anything. I laughed at the comments above — “A bus full of pod people” and “can you also make a call on it.” You bring out the best in people.

    Just read an earlier entry about NY vs. London. LOL .I’m a native New Yorker. Impressed by politeness and graciousness of Brits on my few trips to London. But, of course, I don’t notice anything amiss with New Yorkers. I usually have great conversations with cab drivers, in particular. I do lament the loss of individual shops. Last year, I had my picture taken with Santa at Macys. Still feels nice and old timey, with the wonderful wooden escalators. I live outside Philadelphia now, but I’d rather be in NY. Still go in often for the art museums, Central Park, and to see family and friends. (I grew up in Washington Heights before it was taken over by druggies. We were right on the Hudson, and, yes, it could get cold. But I loved it. } What I know of London, I love, too. How lucky we are to benefit from Arthur’s incredible erudition about the many layers of its history. And his familiarity with and appreciation for its offbeat characters. it’s fascinating the way his mind works. There’s no one like Arthur Bryant. I’m glad you’re taking such good care of him.

  5. Helen Martin says:

    I’m with Jo. All I want my phone to do is take and make calls and since I give the number to almost no one it’s mostly making calls in emergencies. Which I can’t make it do. Does yours come with an instruction book? I thought not. Instinctual indeed.

  6. Ian Luck says:

    I’m amused at the use of the word ‘Bionic’. Does it mean that there is a biological element to the chip? ‘Bionic’ is an old fashioned word, on par with ‘Martian’. ‘Bionic’ to me means a guy in a red tracksuit being filmed in slo-mo to give the impression he’s running at sixty miles per hour. Cutting edge in 1974/5, but nowadays? Unless someone too young to have read Martin Caidin’s ‘Cyborg’ novel, or never seen ‘The Six Million Dollar Man’ TV show, saw the word ‘Bionic’ and had a brainwave.

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