This is still a review in progress. I received the review unit of the Apple iPhone X (pronounced as 10) only on Monday, and here's what I think after using it for a day.
Unlike the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus that look pretty much like their predecessors and the ones before them, the iPhone X marks the first major redesign in three years.
Available in space grey and silver (the version tested), both the front and back of the iPhone X are made of glass that Apple claims to be the most durable yet in a smartphone. A stainless steel band separating the glass is said to be of surgical grade and it wraps around and reinforces the iPhone X.
This is the first time an iPhone is using an organic light-emitting diode (Oled) panel. The iPhone X features a 5.8-inch Oled Super Retina HD display that covers almost its entire front. The 2,436 x 1,125-pixel display looks absolutely gorgeous and super sharp.
Like I noted during a brief hands-on session in Cupertino this September, the stainless steel sides make the iPhone X feel very much like the first iPhone - which I still own - that was launched 10 years ago.
Despite its larger display, the iPhone X feels smaller and lighter than the recently launched iPhone 8 Plus. The smaller size means better one-hand operation and it fits into my jeans pocket much better than my iPhone 7 Plus.
The Touch ID, or Home button, is gone. Instead, the iPhone X uses a front-facing TrueDepth camera system that comprises a dot projector, infrared camera, flood illuminator and a front-facing camera, to map and recognise a user's face. You use this face recognition, or Face ID, technology to unlock the phone.
Starting price of the Apple iPhone X, available this Friday from 8am at Apple's Orchard Road store and at other Apple resellers.
Registering my face on the iPhone X was pretty quick. Two quick scans of my face by rotating my head slowly in a circular fashion, and my face was registered. You can only register one face to one iPhone X.
Once done, every time I lift the iPhone X to my face, the phone unlocks almost instantaneously. And I just need to swipe up from the display's bottom to get to the Home screen. I tried different scenarios with Face ID, such as holding the phone at a lower position, using the phone in the dark, having my sunglasses on, putting on a cap and adding some fake "Santa Claus beard". And it worked every time.
But Face ID seems to have a slight delay of around 1 sec in dim lighting conditions. And no, it did not work when I used a picture of myself, closed my eyes, cupped my mouth and put my face really close (around 5cm) to the phone.
The TrueDepth camera also enables animated emoji, or Animoji, that you can create and send to your friends in iMessage. It captures and analyses over 50 different facial muscle movements to animate those expressions in a dozen different Animojis, including a panda, unicorn and of course poo.
It records your voice as well, so your friends get the full experience of voice and expressions. But each Animoji lasts at most 10sec. And while you can save the Animoji and send it to your friends in WhatsApp or Telegram, you have to first send it to someone on iMessage to do so. Hopefully, in the future, one can save an Animoji to the camera roll.
Perhaps, the one big drawback of iPhone X is having to relearn all the gestures that iPhone users have in their muscle memory to operate an iPhone.
For example, you need to swipe up from the display's bottom to return Home. As a result, to access Control Centre, you no longer swipe up but swipe down from the top-right edge of the display. For multitasking, you have to swipe up from the display's bottom and pause around the middle of the screen to activate the app switcher.
That said, I found myself getting used to these new gestures within 10 minutes of using the iPhone X.
The Apple iPhone X (from $1,648) will be available this Friday from 8am at Apple's Orchard Road store and at other Apple resellers.
Stay tuned for the full review in next Wednesday's Digital in The Straits Times.