The Independent reviews Apple’s iPhone X: ‘This feels like the future’

“It’s the most anticipated smartphone in years, and its success will be important for Apple. I was one of just a few journalists to be given a chance to spend the last nine days getting to grips with the new iPhone X,” David Phelan writes for The Independent. “Face ID: This is one of the key features on the new phone and it’s a winner… Is it 100 per cent reliable? No, but it’s pretty close. The only times it didn’t recognise me were when it was lying flat on the table and I was leaning in too close. It needs to see your eyes, nose and mouth to work.”

“It feels slightly magical and utterly personal. The frustrating thing when demonstrating the unlock is that it doesn’t work for anyone else, so nobody gets to feel just how intimate it is,” Phelan writes. “It’s also very advanced: if the phone rings and it sees you’re looking at the screen, the iPhone thoughtfully lowers the ring volume – after all, you’ve spotted the phone’s ringing, right?”

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“TrueDepth Camera system: This is what powers Face ID, and takes up a wide, if shallow, swathe at the top of the display. It’s referred to by some as ‘the notch,'” Phelan writes. “it’s a design which has been divisive because it’s a bite out of the display. At first, it’s something that really dominates what you see. It takes a chunk out of the Home screen, for instance, which has consequences for the information revealed in the top line of the display, of which more in a moment. Your eye is really drawn to it when you’re viewing a photo on the screen and you zoom in… And then, you suddenly realise after a few days’ use, you barely notice it.”

“The iPhone X is fast, responsive and highly effective. Mostly, new phones are iterative upgrades to last year’s model,” Phelan writes. “But this? This feels like the future.”

Much more in the full review here.

MacDailyNews Take: Strong are the reviews for Apple’s iPhone X.

David Pogue reviews Apple’s iPhone X: ‘The best thing is its size’ – October 31, 2017
Forbes reviews Apple’s iPhone X: Opulent, gorgeous, classy; the best iPhone yet – October 31, 2017
CNBC reviews Apple’s iPhone X: ‘The best smartphone on the market’ – October 31, 2017


  1. David Phelan seems rather delighted to be the only UK journalist to get an advance opportunity to review iPhone X. Not so long ago, that would most likely have been Charles Arthur at The Guardian, but now he has gone and his replacement, Samuel Gibbs, is obsessed with talking down Apple products at every opportunity, The Guardian has been sidelined and today had to resort to writing a review based on the consensus of what others have written about it.

  2. alanaudio is 100% accurate in his assessment. Added to which while the Guarduian tech crew display all the boring snark and nihilistic nothingness that has grown so popular in tech writing, Phelan is both a decent chap and a bloody good writer!

    1. Since writing my previous comment, I did something which I generally try to avoid and that’s to read an article by Samuel Gibbs. Entirely predictably, his compilation of the reviews is a handy compilation of everybody else’s negative comments.

      Headline – “Face ID works well but notch irritates some.”
      Sub headline – “… some flaws in both design and software have been noted”

      Extracted from Levy’s review, Wired “There have been times when, despite a clear view of my face, the iPhone X has ghosted me. (Apple tells me that perhaps I wasn’t making what the iPhone X considers eye contact. I wouldn’t want it to turn on every time my face was within camera range, would I?)”
      { Isn’t that exactly how it’s designed to operate? AlanAudio }

      Extracted from Phelan’s review, Independent – “Is it 100% reliable? No, but it’s pretty close. The only times it didn’t recognise me were when it was lying flat on the table and I was leaning in too close. It needs to see your eyes, nose and mouth to work.”
      { Again, isn’t that how it’s supposed to work? AlanAudio }

      From Phelan again – “Apple said there was considerable work on off-axis colour, that is, how the colours look while you’re viewing the screen from an extreme angle. I’d say there is a bluish cast evident as you angle the phone away from you, though this is a characteristic of OLED.”

      From Patel, The Verge – “There’s a tiny sharp ridge between the glass back and the chrome frame that I feel every time I pick up the phone. That chrome frame seems destined to get scratched and dinged, as every chrome Apple product tends to do.”
      { Just remind me how many Apple products are chromed? – AlanAudio }

      More from Patel – “Apps that haven’t been updated for the iPhone X run in what you might call “software bezel” mode: huge black borders at the top and bottom that basically mimic the iPhone 8. And a lot of apps aren’t updated yet: Google Maps and Calendar, Slack, the Delta app, Spotify, and more all run with software bezels.”
      { Surely these are criticisms of app developers not having updated their apps yet? – AlanAudio }

      Ulanoff, Mashable – “There is one way to fool Face ID, though, and Apple has already acknowledged this: identical twins. I tried it, so I know. It’s one reminder that, while facial recognition is super convenient, it’s not perfect.”
      { This was predicted ahead of time and Apple subsequently acknowledged it. If humans can be fooled by identical twins apart, then why would you expect an iPhone not to be fooled ? – AlanAudio }

      Nguyen, Buzzfeed – “There were … more software bugs than usual in a review unit. Most of the bugs were fairly minor, so I’m not too concerned. But something to keep an eye out for.”

      To give you an idea of how reliable Samuel Gibbs is, his recent review of the Google Pixel 2 XL gave it five stars on Oct 17th. Then on Oct 27th, he had to run a story with the headline “Pixel 2 XL screen burn ‘should not affect day-to-day user experience’ “. Just imagine the field day he would have had if iPhones had been sent for review suffering from screen burns or clicking noises.

      Not so long ago, Charles Arthur of The Guardian was a respected VIP attendee at all of Apple’s major launches. His replacement now has to fill column space by rehashing other people’s impressions while waiting to get his hands on an iPhone X by buying one once they become generally available. I’ve got funny feeling that once again we won’t be seeing a five star review from him.

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