Early iPhone X impressions: Face ID ‘pretty much’ works

By

FaceID
Face ID requires a bit of getting used to.
Photo: Apple

The embargo hasn’t yet lifted on the official iPhone X reviews, but Steven Levy — a journalist who was also among the first people to get his hands on an original iPhone one decade ago — has published an article, revealing his initial thoughts.

The verdict? That, despite one or two minor quibbles, this could well be the iPhone that you’ve been dreaming of, although Face ID isn’t a totally seamless password system, and requires a bit of getting used to.

Apple’s new form factor

Levy’s review praises the Super Retina OLED display for its ability to offer an iPhone 8 Plus screen size on an iPhone 8 form factor. That’s good news, Levy says, for anyone who like the iPhone Plus models, but feels like they’re “holding a frying pan to [their] cheek” when they use it.

He does, however, point out a minor design quibble, which he suggests wouldn’t necessarily have made it past Steve Jobs’ perfectionist tendencies:

“Covering the entire surface of the phone with the screen has consequences. There’s no getting around the fact that some of the sensors, camera lenses, microphones and speakers need to be forward facing; Apple addresses that by lining them up on a blacked-out notch on the top of the screen—kind of the Area 51 of the new iPhone. (Conspiracy theorists note: When you take a screenshot, The Notch disappears!) It’s an aesthetic setback (what would Steve Jobs have said?), but you get used to it, like watching a play when someone with big hair is off-center in the row ahead of you—a tiny distraction in your peripheral vision that you eventually get past.”

It just “pretty much” works

Levy also says that Face ID “pretty much” works. He was unable to fool it into unlocking for another person, or even a head shot photo of himself. However, it didn’t always immediately recognize his own face, due to what Apple claims was his tendency to not make direct eye contact with the camera.

“How it has dealt with my own real-life face is another matter. There have been times when, despite a clear view of my face, the iPhone X has ghosted me … Eventually I devised a strategy. When waking my iPhone I think of it as De Niro’s mirror in Taxi Driver. You talkin’ to me? Well, I’m the only one here! I then see if the little lock icon on the screen has released its latch … [O]nce I got the hang of it, I found I could dial down the De Niro and get it to unlock more naturally, though I am still mystified that sometimes it goes straight to where I left off and other times asks me to swipe up.”

In addition, Levy gives props to the camera lens and battery, while praising features like ARKit and even reserving a few compliments for the Animojis. He describes wireless charging technology as “most useless now” (due to preference, not technology issues), but says that could change when, “charging pads sprout on tabletops in every restaurant and surfaces in every conference room.”

You can check out the full article here. Are you planning to get an iPhone X? Let us know your comments below.