10 things I love about iPhone X

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iPhone X looks like a bezel-free flatscreen TV
The iPhone X makes older phones look as dated as a cathode ray tube TV.
Photo: Cult of Mac/Stephen Smith

Earlier this week my colleague Killian Bell published 10 things he hates about his iPhone X.

Like some of our readers, I was shocked. Hates? How could he find one thing to hate, let alone 10?

I can’t think of anything to hate about the X. On the contrary, there are lots of things to love. Here are 10 things I love about the iPhone X.

iPhone X size
iPhone X is the perfect size. Not too big, not too small.
Photo: Cult of Mac/Stephen Smith

iPhone X is the perfect size

Coming from an iPhone 7 Plus, I initially thought the iPhone X was too small. But it’s smaller size has really grown on me. It’s not unwieldy. It’s easier to reach the farthest corners of the screen (more on this below) and easier to slip into a pocket. Where I felt the Plus in my back pocket, I don’t with the X. (That said, I’m intrigued by the prospect of the ginormous iPhone XL rumored to be coming next year.)

iPhone X looks like a bezel-free flatscreen TV
The iPhone X makes older phones look as dated as cathode ray tube TVs.
Photo: Cult of Mac/Stephen Smith

iPhone X makes previous iPhones look dated

See above. Once you see this comparison, you cannot unsee it. Whereas the X looks like a modern bezel-less flatscreen TV, old iPhones look like old CRT TVs.

iPhone X is tougher than it looks

Despite fears the X would shatter like a brittle Xmas ornament if dropped, it doesn’t. I’ve dropped mine a handful of times, and it hasn’t shattered yet. OK, it’s mostly been dropped on hardwood floors. The one time I dropped it on concrete, it was inside a leather folio case. The front flap opened as it fell and it landed face down. I thought for sure it was doomed and was truly surprised that it was fine. I think it’s tougher than most people fear. Note, we’ve yet to see widespread reports of shattered Xs.

iPhone X charging
Battery life is a non-issue with the X.
Photo: Cult of Mac/Stephen Smith

iPhone X battery life is impressive

Battery life is outstanding. Every day, despite all-day usage, I go to sleep with remaining charge, sometimes 50 or 60 percent. I can go a day-and-a-half without charging. It recharges lickety-split. With fast-charge, it gets to 50 percent in just 30 minutes. Battery life is not an issue.

Face ID is the best thing ever

It’s a cliche, but Face ID is truly a game changer. It’s fast, super reliable and seamless. Security just disappears. I pick up the phone and it unlocks immediately as I swipe to go to the home screen. Rarely do I type passwords anymore. My password managers (Dashlane and 1Password) autofill passwords on websites and in apps after authenticating my ugly mug. I’ve seen complaints Face ID is flaky and unreliable, but for me it works 95% of the time. Something that was a pain has just disappeared. Apple’s magic at its best.

iPhone X Control Center
The Control Center is not too hard to reach.
Photo: Cult of Mac/Stephen Smith

It’s not too difficult to access Control Center

The myriad complaints that Control Center is too hard to access just aren’t true. Swiping down from the upper right-hand corner is not a problem for me. No, I don’t have freaky-long fingers. I do, however, sometimes have to adjust my grip. But it’s dead easy to slide the phone down your palm, stop the bottom with your pinkie and swipe down with your thumb. Not a problem!

iPhone X Notch
The notch is an asset: it’s distinctive.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

I like the notch

I’m currently testing out a wood stick-on case from Toast with a cutout around the notch. It immediately tells me the orientation of the phone when I pick it up, like the old home button used to. I honestly haven’t noticed the notch at all in daily interactions. I like it because its distinctive. It adds character.

Gestures are easy and immediately intuitive

The X’s gesture controls are immediately obvious and easy to use. At first, yes, I did have to stop and think. Occasionally my thumb involuntarily hit the screen where the old home button used to be. But the muscle memory soon faded, and very quickly gestures were thoroughly instinctive and natural. Again, it’s something that just disappeared.

iPhone X camera
iPhone X takes great photos.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

iPhone X’s cameras are exceptional

Now in its eleventh generation, the iPhone’s cameras have been great for a while. But the addition of optical image stabilization to both rear lenses and great depth sensing for 3D effects like Portrait mode mean shaky, blurry photos are a thing of the past. It’s easier than ever to take truly striking pro‑quality photos.

View of San Francisco from Belvedere
iPhone X makes it easier than ever to get nice photos.
Photo: Cult of Mac/Leander Kahney

Apple Pay with Face ID is great

It’s somewhat perverse to like spending more money with my iPhone, but Apple Pay with Face ID is dangerously easy to use. Whether at a pay terminal or on the web, it’s easier than ever to part with my money. (Pro tip: authenticate your face before you reach the sale terminal)

Also worth mentioning

Ten things to love are just too few. I also dig wireless charging; the bonkers-fast A11 Bionic chip (with a neural engine capable of up to 600 f***ing billion operations a second!); and the lovely OLED screen. So bright and beautiful.

Criticisms I agree with

But wait! It’s not all roses. There are four little bothersome things:

  • The hefty $1,000+ price tag
  • The iPhone X status bar indicators can’t be customized
  • Reachability is difficult to master
  • It’s too easy to take accidental screenshots by simultaneously hitting the volume up button and the power button. (But there is a fix)
  • That’s about it

The iPhone X is the best phone Apple has made, and it’s the best on the market by a wide margin. It’s best-in-class in every dimension: design, materials, cameras, screen, CPU, battery, operating system and integration (Apple Watch, AirPods, etc).

There’s nothing in the Android world that can match it, even the well-review Pixel 2 from Google.

It just can’t be touched.