“Face ID is awesome. I disabled my fingerprint sensor on the Note 8 to see whether Samsung’s iris scanner (which approaches the same security level as Face ID) could compete, and it just couldn’t. And while Samsung’s Face Recognition feature is indeed faster than iris scanning, it’s also much less secure,” Daniel Bader writes for Android Central. “The reliability has been close to perfect for me; whether indoors or in bright sun, the screen turns on as I take it out of my pocket, or I tap it once to turn on the display, lift it slightly towards me, and it unlocks. I’ve gotten into the habit of turning on the screen and swiping in one motion, and only a handful of times it hasn’t caught up with me. Face ID also has the added benefit of working when I’m wearing gloves which, as I’ve recently discovered in a spate of cold Canadian days, is very helpful. Neither of Samsung’s facial biometric solutions works reliably enough outside for my liking. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to make the S8 and Note 8’s combination of biometrics work for me over the past months. Neither iris scanning nor face recognition is consistent enough for me to use by themselves (and remember, you can only use one at a time), and the fingerprint sensor is very poorly placed.”
Bader writes, “Apple nailed biometrics on the iPhone X, and Android manufacturers are going to have to think about whether they can and should try to compete, or just stick to the tried-and-tested rear or side fingerprint sensor, which is working well for them so far.”
MacDailyNews Take: And continue to forego things like iPhone X’s protected notifications (the iPhone X knows when its owner is looking at it and it therefore conceals/reveals information accordingly), selfie portrait mode, animoji, and future features dependent on Apple’s TrueDepth system. Gaming, perhaps? For just one suggestion out of myriad possibilities.
And, the stupid rear fingerprint sensor is working well for what, exactly? Unintentionally smearing your fingers all over your camera lens?
“I really do like the overall design of the phone… the stainless steel frame (shiny and chrome on my silver unit) looks expensive and feels distinctive,” Bader writes. “The iPhone X is also substantial — kind of like the Essential Phone in that regard. It’s 174 grams, some 19g heavier than the Galaxy S8, and nearly identical to the much-larger S8+. Apple knows how to build a solid phone — it’s been doing so for years — but the industrial design here doesn’t feel worlds ahead of, say, Samsung or HTC. It’s a luxury product that looks and costs the part, but doesn’t feel considerably more so than the similarly-priced (and unapologetically aluminum) Galaxy Note 8.”
“What is does offer is a ‘Plus’ set of features in a standard-sized body. I’d love to see Samsung offer a dual camera on its smaller Galaxy S9 flagship next year, because that size — the iPhone X, Galaxy S8, Essential Phone — hits the sweet spot for media consumption and one-handed use,” Bader writes. “OLED is a big point of discussion right now, but the reality is that there’s nothing particularly special about the iPhone’s Samsung-made OLED screen… Blue shift is a thing, though not nearly to the same extent as the Pixel 2 XL, and even though the iPhone X’s 2436 x 1125 pixel display is some 57 ppi denser than the iPhone 8 Plus’s, you’re still dealing with all the inherent properties, good or bad, of OLED. I like the screen and think it’s probably among the best out there right now, but it’s also Apple playing catch-up in a big way.”
MacDailyNews Take: That is incorrect. DisplayMate’s Dr. Raymond M. Soneira explains why here: Apple’s iPhone X has the most color accurate display we’ve ever measured; it is visually indistinguishable from perfect.
Apple individually calibrates every single iPhone X unit before it leaves the factory. And Apple’s OLED iPhone X’s feature TrueTone. Those are two big reasons, among others, why Apple’s iPhone X displays are particularly special vs. other Samsung-made OLED screens.
“Apple’s version of an OLED screen is manufactured by Samsung, but is not an off-the-shelf Samsung part. It’s a custom-built, diamond-pattern OLED array that was built to Apple specifications and driven by an Apple display driver. This screen is not comparable to screens found in Samsung devices on a variety of levels.” – TechCrunch, October 31, 2017
“The notch, on the other hand, is interesting. A lot of early reviewers said that it ‘disappeared’ into the experience of using the phone, but there I have to disagree. I see the notch, and am occasionally distracted by it, but here’s what I’ve found: when an optimized Phone X app understands how to work within the confines of the notch, it’s great,” Bader writes. “There are still far too many apps that either haven’t been optimized properly, and are therefore pillar-boxed, or haven’t had enough time to really embrace the UX changes the iPhone X necessitates. Instagram, for instance, asks you to swipe up from the bottom to open a link in Stories — I’ve given up trying that move because it takes me home every time. Even with its quirks, the notch is relatively innocuous in portrait mode. Switch to landscape, though, and nearly every situation looks odd. Safari doesn’t wrap the design around the notch, which makes sense, while some games and video apps just ignore it altogether, so a portion of the content just isn’t there. It’s inevitable that Apple will try to shrink the notch area until it disappears altogether, but until then we’re stuck with a landscape experience that is truly problematic.”
MacDailyNews Take: Agreed. The notch is a poor design decision on Apple’s part. It is an inelegant kludge. You can also have our iPhone X units, notches and all, when you pry them out of our cold, dead hands.
“Haptics don’t get a tremendous amount of attention, but they should: Apple’s Taptic Engine is awesome, and should be fiercely emulated by every Android manufacturer. LG did a good job with the V30 — its haptics are precise, subtle and extremely satisfying,” Bader writes. “Given that Android uses haptics for so much of its OS-wide interaction, I’d love to see a company like Samsung spend more time on this.”
MacDailyNews Take: Apple pays attention to the details like no other company. They’ve been doing so for over four decades.
Bader writes, “I’m pleased that Apple managed to fit a second stabilization module inside the iPhone X’s secondary camera, because telephoto shots benefit from the additional gyro data, but it’s clear to me, despite what DxOMark says about the phone’s still photo fidelity, that it can’t compete with the Pixel 2 for sheer delightful output.”
MacDailyNews Take: Bader then proceeds to put up a photo comparison, each with different framing, that proves nothing except that delightful output is wholly subjective and easily filtered regardless. Despite what expert testing reveals, Bader obviously finds delight in images captured with an overly warm cast due to inferior, off-the-rack image processing.
“As I found with the Note 8’s secondary telephoto lens, I appreciate its presence, but rarely use it,” Bader writes. “That it’s stabilized, with a slightly wider ƒ/2.4 aperture, should help with the occasional video I shoot — the fact that the iPhone X can deliver 4K video at 60fps is one of the few standout features of the A11 Bionic chip, which is close to twice as fast as Qualcomm’s flagship platform these days — but I haven’t noticed an appreciable boost in quality over the iPhone 8 Plus.”
MacDailyNews Take: Just because you claim not to shoot video, doesn’t make the capability any less important. You haven’t noticed an appreciable boost in quality over the iPhone 8 Plus because each have the same A11 Bionic chips and high quality camera systems. Whether or not Bader noticed an appreciable boost in quality over Android phones goes screamingly unsaid.
“I find Apple’s descriptions of iPhone battery life to be confusing at best and frustrating at worst,” Bader writes. “I’ve learned that despite claiming ‘up to 12 hours’ of internet use on both the iPhone 8 and X, and 13 hours on the iPhone 8 Plus, the iPhone X falls somewhere in the middle of those legacy designs. I usually get to sleep with 10-15% battery left, which is what I’d have remaining from a Galaxy S8, and slightly less than from the Pixel 2. In other words, larger Android flagships still wipe the floor with the iPhone X for longevity, but I’ve yet to find an Android phone other than, say, the Huawei Mate 9, that can compete with the iPhone 8 Plus.”
“iOS still feels like a static mess in some ways, full of stolid, uncaring icons, red badges shouting at me to clear them, and a home screen completely unwilling to work with my aesthetic sensibilities,” Bader writes. “But it’s also, like, so fast. Android could only dream of maintaining the touch responsiveness and consistent frames per second that iOS so effortlessly achieves. You may think your Galaxy or Pixel is buttery smooth, but compare it to the flawless movement of the iPhone X home gesture and you’ll be quickly humbled.”
MacDailyNews Take: In other words, another standout feature of the A11 Bionic chip and a testament to Apple’s – and only Apple’s – ability to marry custom software with custom hardware and the unique, unmatched advantages that owning the whole widget can deliver.
“Those apps, too, are still better. I want to believe, now that we’re in 2017 and not 2012, that developers care as deeply about feature parity on Android, but they don’t: the best indie apps still don’t come to Android (although one can argue, and I’d agree in some cases, that the indie app scene is extremely vibrant on Android — just in a way that doesn’t make them much money); games arrive months late, if at all; and beloved products, especially camera-based networks like Instagram and Snapchat, lack specific features or optimizations that drive me crazy,” Bader writes. “…Android apps play second fiddle to their iOS counterparts.”
MacDailyNews Take: This much is patently obvious and therefore undeniable.
“Apple deserves a lot of credit here, too. Android creation is known to be more cumbersome, both in app development due to Java, and in maintenance thanks to the sheer number of devices in use, but Apple has built an extraordinary ecosystem of dedicated developers,” Bader writes. “Apple’s curation services are pretty great, too, especially with iOS 11: I always feel like there are great new apps to check out in the App store, but with Google Play I never know what the algorithm is going to feed me.”
“After spending any length of time with iOS, a few things really stand out to me: notifications are still much better on Android; the typing experience is more enjoyable on Android; using Android is much more flexible; and the variety of Android hardware is breathtaking,” Bader writes. “Typing, too, is considerably more enjoyable on most Android phones, mainly due to Gboard, which (ironically) started out as a third-party iOS app and brought its best features to its own mobile OS. Gboard’s autocorrect is smart and reliable and its performance is near-perfect even on older hardware. And like Android itself, you can modify it to look and act the way you want. Apple added a bunch of that stuff to QuickType in iOS 10 and 11, but I always prefer to peck out long-form emails on my Pixel than my iPhone X.”
MacDailyNews Take: Both sound like cases of an Android user not understanding fully and/or not expending the modicum of effort it takes to properly set up Notifications and iOS keyboard(s). The tools are there (as Bader admits with his QuickType comment). Don’t blame Apple if you can’t be bothered to learn how to use them.
“I also love spending time with new Android phones, from the no-nonsense metal chassis of the $229 Moto G5 Plus to the mesmerizing light shifts of the Solar Red HTC U11,” Bader writes. “Apple deserves a lot of credit not just for pushing the envelope of smartphone hardware innovation — look at iFixit‘s teardown of the iPhone X to see just how elegantly the whole interior is laid out — but for creating an ecosystem where, once you’re in, you don’t want to leave.”
Read more in the full review here.
MacDailyNews Take: After reading the entire review, what’s really telling is that in order to even attempt to compete with Apple’s iPhone X, the Android proponent is forced to proffer a collection of Android phones (one with a good camera, another one with a decent display, another one with good battery life, another with a “mesmerizing” finish, etcetera).
Nobody in their right mind would cart around a basketful of fake iPhones in order to poorly approximate everything an iPhone X can do. Of course, anyone who settles for DOG-SLOW, IP-infringing knockoffs of Apple’s revolutionary product that’ve been cobbled together by South Korean dishwasher makers (or worse) is certainly not in their right mind.
Note that there is no mention of privacy or security, to name just two notable omissions, in Android Central‘s review. That’s also very telling. They probably don’t even think about privacy or security. How could you and still consign yourselves to Android devices?
It takes a special kind of stupid to choose a poorly traced copy of the Mona Lisa over the real thing, especially when they cost pretty much the same.
ZDNet reviews Apple’s iPhone X: The best smartphone – November 13, 2017
ZDNet’s Miller: After 10 days with Apple’s iPhone X, it’s clear its the best smartphone. Period. – November 13, 2017
Michael Gartenberg: iPhone X is the best smartphone you can buy today, and likely tomorrow; Apple is now a full generation ahead of their competitors – November 10, 2017
T3 reviews Apple’s iPhone X: Brilliant, five stars, 2017’s best smartphone – November 8, 2017
DisplayMate: Apple’s iPhone X has the most color accurate display we’ve ever measured; it is visually indistinguishable from perfect – November 8, 2017
Ars Technica reviews iPhone X: Easy to recommend if you want a glimpse at the future – November 3, 2017
iMore reviews iPhone X: The best damn product Apple has ever made – November 2, 2017
TechCrunch reviews Apple’s iPhone X: ‘Like using the future of smartphones, today’ – November 1, 2017
Tim Bajarin’s first impression of Apple’s iPhone X: Face ID worked flawlessly – November 1, 2017
The Verge reviews Apple’s iPhone X: Clearly the best iPhone ever made, despite being marred by its ugly notch – November 1, 2017
Above Avalon’s first impressions of Apple’s iPhone X: ‘An entirely new iPhone experience’ – October 31, 2017
The Independent reviews Apple’s iPhone X: ‘This feels like the future’ – October 31, 2017
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