- When Apple announced the iPhone 7, without a headphone jack, it was the closest I’ve ever come to leaving iPhone for Android.
- Apple’s big event convinced me to get an iPhone X, the $US999 top-of-the-line iPhone, and it rules: The camera is amazing, the screen is gorgeous, and the performance is killer.
- Some quibbles: It’s harder to use one-handed than any iPhone before it, and the FaceID facial recognition system isn’t quite fast enough or reliable enough yet.
- Getting rid of the headphone jack is still lame.
When Apple first unveiled the iPhone 7, with all its headphone jack-less “courage,” I admit I was disappointed. Miffed. Upset, even. For the first time ever, I considered ditching iPhone and going to Android.
But I gave in to Apple’s marketing magic, enticed by its promises of the future of the smartphone. Despite my misgivings, I traded in my trusty iPhone 6s for the shiny, new iPhone X, the all-new, all-screen $US999 beast of a phone. I suppose I could have gotten an 8 or an 8 Plus, but, you know. Go big, or go home.
And boy howdy, am I ever glad I did. This thing is great.
(Even if it doesn’t have the headphone jack. And even if there are good arguments for going the other way.)
Like many others, I found that the new iOS 11 made my iPhone 6s a living nightmare — a slow, buggy mess with atrocious battery life. It’s pretty clear that, in many ways, iOS 11 was designed with the X in mind: It’s fast and smooth. And while the lack of a home button is disorienting, the new gestures are slick and quick to learn.
I can’t say enough nice things about the camera, either. Going from the iPhone 6s to the iPhone X feels like jumping with both feet into the future. Features like Portrait Mode are weirdly addictive, and it’s somehow got me snapping even more pictures of my dog than ever before.
So yeah, in short, believe the hype. The iPhone X is very likely the best iPhone to date. However, coming from the iPhone 6s, which I adored, I have some quibbles.
The iPhone X has a nice screen. In fact, it’s the biggest and highest-resolution screen of any iPhone to date. I feel like I’m missing something, though, because while the screen size is nice, I find it to be equal parts blessing and curse.
It’s a lot harder to use with one hand, and Apple’s changes to the Reachability feature are frustrating. Instead of a light double-tap on the home button to activate Reachability, you need to drag your finger just so on the bottom of the screen. If you do it, the entire screen slides down, as before. It’s wonkier and less reliable to activate, though.
And Face ID, the new facial-recognition security system, just isn’t 100% there yet. Even on the older iPhone 6s, the Touch ID fingerprint reader was fast and reliable. Meanwhile, Face ID struggles in direct sunlight, in my experience. And even when FaceID works as promised, it’s way slower than Touch ID. Face ID has promise, but it needs work.
Ultimately, I guess I decided to stick with iPhone because I’m invested in the Apple ecosystem — I even have Apple’s Beats Solo3 wireless headphones, which I have come to adore, and which work best on an iPhone. It turns out that Apple really is onto something with AirPods, its homemade W1 Bluetooth chip, and its big bet on wireless audio.
Still, the lack of a headphone jack in the iPhone X remains a bummer: While I love my wireless headphones, I rely on a stereo cable to listen to my phone’s music in the car. The included dongle helps, but the realisation that I couldn’t charge and play music at the same time was weirdly disorienting.
If you can get over that little speedbump, though, the iPhone X is absolutely worth ditching the headphone jack over. Besides, with Apple betting big on both wireless audio and wireless charging, it seems like a future without any kind of jacks at all is weirdly imminent.
Still, that day is a long way away. In the mean time, I will absolutely lose the headphone dongle at least once. But it will be worth it.
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