Living with the iPhone X- Week 1 Grab Bag

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It has now been more than a week since my iPhone X showed up. After some initial hiccups getting the backup from my iPhone 7 Plus restored, it has been pretty smooth sailing. It has been reliable and I haven’t seen any issues with the screen, Face ID, or even the problem related to sensitivity to temperature shifts. I’ve spent time taking about gestures, testing Face ID, and taking pictures up to this point. Today I want to touch on a few random thoughts and observations I’ve had on the X over the course of the week.

Non Plussed

One thing I have struggled with a bit this week is the slight narrowing of the X’s screen in comparison to the Plus. While they are similar sizes, the iPhone X has a 18.5:9 aspect ratio, compared to the slightly wider Plus with its more traditional 16:9. When you have large thumbs and type a lot of messages and texts, even a small size difference shows up. I definitely notice that there is a little less room anytime I use the keyboard. I have to say, I also miss the better landscape keyboard and the fact that the Home Screen interface could rotate to landscape on the Plus. I am still looking forward to a Plus-size version of the X, hopefully next year.

All That Glitters

Just before the announcement of the iPhones 8 and X, a report surfaced that the Gold version of the X had been scrapped at the last minute to help in production. According to this rumor, it was difficult to make and would have caused even more issues producing at the scale Apple needs.

As I think about this now that we’ve seen the device and many of us have had the chance to use and hold it, I have to wonder if any flavor of Gold will ever come to the iPhone X. As you can see in the picture below, the Gold color on the back of the iPhone 8 is tempered due to the glass back.

The primary pop of color comes from the device’s gold-colored aluminum frame.

With the sides of the iPhone X being stainless steel, the coloring process becomes a little more difficult. Apple has proven that they can make black finishes that work very well on stainless steel with both the X and the Apple Watch, but will they be able to make Gold work at iPhone scales? Bear in mind that they haven’t offered a Gold version of the stainless Apple Watch, either.

Also remember that this is the same Apple that shelved the white iPhone 4 for almost a full year because they couldn’t get the color to work properly with the front-facing camera and light sensors. Gold has been my favorite color for iOS devices since it came to the lineup with the iPhone 5S, so I would love to have a Gold iPhone X. However, I have my doubts that we will every see one. I think its exclusion may go beyond just keeping production numbers on track.

Speak Up for the Speakers

I rarely use the speakers on my phone for much beyond notifications and the occasional speakerphone call. Since I got my hands on a pair of AirPods, I just haven’t had much need for playing any media with the on-board speakers. However, after reading a few comments in reviews and on Twitter praising them, I spent a little time listening to some music and podcasts with them today. I have to say that I am pretty impressed.

While they aren’t going to make audiophiles happy, they are actually quite acceptable in a pinch to take in a few tunes at your desk at work or at your bedside in a hotel room (one of my old uses for on-board speakers). The things that stood out to me are the presence of enough mid range and bass to balance out the sound, and that they are clear enough that they don’t screw up the experience. That couldn’t be said of most previous iPhones, or most other smartphones in general. I appreciate the face that Apple improved this detail of the X, even if most users will never really notice.

Battery Life

I was a little leery of the iPhone X’s battery life after how shaky the first two to three days were. I know why that is, and I know that you can’t draw conclusions about how battery life will be based on them. However, they left me wondering just how much battery life would improve after things settled down, and whether it would be close to what I got on the iPhone 7 Plus.

I reported that the battery life had improved quite a bit earlier this week, and I can now say that this has continued to be the case since then. The iPhone X’s battery capacity is just a tad larger than an iPhone 8 Plus, and this week it acted like it. I still wonder how the battery will wear over time, because the iPhone X is likely putting more demands on the battery with its 120 hz touch response rate and Face ID. However, at least for now, it is turning in more than a demanding full work day consistently.

In fact, I spent all week working in a building where signal issues are a real problem. Anytime the cell radios are forced to search for signal it’s a big battery drain. However, I made it home with somewhere between 35% and 50% at the end of work. Considering that I worked late most of the week, this is pretty solid battery life. I hope to see this performance continue.

That’s it for week one. I’ll touch on a few more topics in the coming week, such as the screen, fast charging, and the front camera. Until then, if you have any comments or suggestions, let me know in the Comments section below, on Flipboard, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter @iPadInsightBlog.

James Rogers

I am a Christian husband and father of 3 living in the Southeastern US. I have worked as a programmer and project manager in the Commercial and Industrial Automation industry for over 19 years, so I am hands on with technology almost every day. However, my passion in technology is for mobile devices, specifically Apple's iOS and iPadOS hardware and software. My favorite is still the iPad.

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