A month with iPhone X can’t cool our lust

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iPhone X laying down
Is the iPhone X still a joy after a month of use?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

It’s been about a month since the release of the iPhone X and I’ve been using it every day as my daily driver. We’ve already reviewed it, and even pointed out its flaws, but I wanted to do a follow-up video to cover everything that’s changed for me personally and all the discoveries I’ve made using Apple’s latest flagship.

Check out the video below.

iPhone X: Best design since iPhone 4

iPhone X design
The iPhone X is the most premium-feeling, and best-looking, phone since the 4.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

I’m not going to spend much time talking about iPhone X’s design. I’ve said most of what I wanted to say already in previous posts and videos. To sum it up: It looks great. And it feels really premium — it’s probably the best-feeling phone since the iPhone 4.

The size is something I’ve not actually touched on much, but it should be mentioned. I think this form factor is right in the sweet spot. The Plus models are a little too big for me; I’ve always been happier with the smaller models, whether it’s the iPhone SE or 7 and 8. However, I have been pining for Apple’s dual-camera system and a larger screen in a more compact form factor.

The iPhone X delivers all that — and that’s the main selling point for the phone, in my opinion.

iPhone X’s beautiful display

I absolutely love the iPhone X’s OLED screen. It looks awesome with its wide color gamut. The blacks are … well … super-black. It’s beautifully clear in bright, direct sunlight. The screen looks nice and crisp thanks to a 458 ppi count, without the need to be digitally sharpened.

I’m still being blown away by this screen — especially when I’m lying in bed and should be asleep, but instead I’m watching a gorgeous video on an awesome display. It still wows me one month in.

It’s easily the best display Apple’s ever made. It’s actually manufactured by Samsung, but the tech is all Apple’s. And I’d argue that it’s the best smartphone display overall this year.

The iPhone X’s taller, “notched” display means developers must reconfigure their apps to fit properly. Many apps have already adapted and are making use of the extra screen real estate.

Some still need a little work (such as Facebook, which displays a few visual glitches). Then there are some apps that simply aren’t optimized at all yet, so you see the regular version of the app, surrounded by black bars … which I guess is a win for the notch haters.

The edge-to-edge display means learning a few new iPhone X gestures, which take the place of the Home button. These felt super-weird and clunky at first, but within the first two days or so, my muscle memory built up enough that these became second nature.

In fact, every time I pick up my fiancee’s iPhone 8 Plus now, it feels primitive. I try unlocking it by swiping up, going home by swiping down and trying to access Control Center by the top right. (That’s the worst gesture, I think. While the form factor is perfect, I still struggle to reach that top corner to quickly access the calculator or torch. So that’s the main issue I have with the gestures.)

Face ID and cameras for days

iPhone X camera
Optical image stabilization makes the iPhone X perfect for low-light photography.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Face ID is one of the biggest feature of the iPhone X. For me it’s working perfectly. It unlocks my phone almost immediately; it feels almost like the days before I had a passcode on my iPhone, where I just swiped to unlock.

Face ID isn’t 100 percent perfect, but I’d say I’m entering my passcode as often as I was with Touch ID. Plus it’s perfect for winter, because unlike Touch ID, it works even when you’re wearing gloves. Face ID is also great for verifying app downloads and approving Apple Pay payments, although sometimes I forget the iPhone X needs to see my face. On those few occasions, I’ve had to bring the phone back from the payment terminal to look at me, which can sometimes look a little strange to the cashier if they have no idea what I’m doing.

The excellent iPhone X camera is one of the things I was most excited about, and it has not disappointed. Both lenses are now optically stabilized, which means shots are buttery-smooth when filming. Optical image stabilization also helps with low-light performance.

iPhone X also offers Portrait Mode, one of my favorite features of the iPhone 7 Plus and 8 Plus. Now that I’ve got it, I’ve been using it at every chance I get.

The iPhone X’s 7-megapixel front-facing camera also has Portrait Mode now, thanks to the depth-sensing tech built-in for Face ID, although it’s not amazing. It really seems to dislike ears and such, but Apple could improve this with software updates in the future. We have to remember it’s still in beta.

iPhone X battery and performance

iPhone wireless charging
Qi charging is handy, but it’s not the quickest.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Since I’ve had the iPhone X, it has pretty much lived in cases. I’m usually one for being able to live without a case on my phone, but with my iPhone 7, that tactic didn’t fare too well so I’ve been a little smarter this time around.

The iPhone X does feel amazing in the hand when it’s naked, but all of that glass and shiny stainless steel won’t look quite as sleek with cracks and scuffs. And with it costing $1,000 at a minimum, I’m not going to be testing how tough it is anytime soon. (Plenty of other YouTubers have done that if you’re interested, but make sure you subscribe to our channel, where we’ve got plenty of case reviews incoming.)

The iPhone X battery life proves pretty surprising. It is by no means a modern miracle — I still need to charge it each and every night — but I can easily get a full day of use, whereas with my iPhone 7, I couldn’t live without Apple’s Smart Battery Case.

There’s also the ability to charge the iPhone X wirelessly, as you can with the 8 and 8 Plus. At the moment I only have the cheapest wireless charging dock I could find, and it lives on my desk. I throw the iPhone X on there if I’m working late into the night and it gets an extra boost. It’s not the quickest way to charge, but if you want to see a video roundup of the best Qi wireless charging docks put head-to-head, let me know in the comments below.

When it comes to speed and performance, I always find this hard to judge, because it takes time for app developers to take advantage of the latest hardware. As you’d expect, however, iPhone X is blazing fast. It boasts almost identical specifications to iPhone 8, but with an extra 1GB of RAM.

iPhone X at one month: The best iPhone yet

iPhone X standing
The iPhone X is my favorite phone to date.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Another thing I’ve noticed about the iPhone X in the past month or so is the loudness of the speakers. They’re about 25 percent louder than on previous models, and I’m often amazed at the audio quality. I lie on the couch on a YouTube deep-dive and the sound, more often than not, seems to fill the room around me. It almost feels like surround sound. Of course, this is when I’m holding the phone pretty close to my face, but it’s still super-impressive.

Finally, there’s the iPhone X price tag. It’s $1,000. That’s a big figure to swallow, and I do think the phone is overpriced, especially when you look at how much it costs Apple to manufacture an iPhone X.

I’m not going to get into how ethical the price is, as I’m sure that’ll just start a war in the comments, but I can say I don’t regret putting that amount of money down for this phone. It’s by far my favorite iPhone ever in terms of design and functionality, even with its awkward new gestures.

Well that’s my experience of the iPhone X over the last month, but let me know your thoughts on the iPhone X in the comments below. Have you been using one? Do you think it’s worth the hefty price tag?

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  • Duel

    Only thing what i really wanted was dual cam system in compact size, the camera and portrait mode is absolutely amazing, finally i can enjoy this feature and take my mobile photography to next level. Couldn’t be happier with spending this money.

    • Bespin

      How many portraits do you take duel to justify spending $1500?

  • Bespin

    Glad you are happy with the most expensive rounded rectangle, parents must be proud

  • Emmanuel Lemor

    Best phone on the market iPhone or not.

    Unlike some people I don’t need a phone with more than 64gb, actually I have at least 25gig free and will for a while…

    I came from a iPhone 5s and I love the phone. Now just have to wait for my all-wood case to arrive!