A caveat: Apple gave most reviewers less than 24 hours to kick the tires on the iPhone X, so many of the initial reviews are first-blush impressions rather than in-depth analyses.
Apple has touted iPhone X (pronounced “ten”) as the most radical change in the smartphone family in years. The iPhone X has a nearly full edge-to-edge 5.8-inch screen and in a major change does away with the physical “home” button — using the new Face ID facial-recognition feature to unlock the device. The device is priced at $999 for 64 gigabytes of storage, and $1,149 for a model with 256 GB.
Last week, Apple claimed demand for the iPhone X was off the charts was “off the charts,” although that came after multiple reports that the tech giant had slashed production of the smartphone by as much as half. The iPhone X officially goes on sale in stores on Friday, Nov. 3, after the pre-order inventory sold out.
The Verge’s Nilay Patel called the iPhone X “clearly the best iPhone ever made.”
“It’s thin, it’s powerful, it has ambitious ideas about what cameras on phones can be used for, and it pushes the design language of phones into a strange new place,” he wrote in his review. However, while the iPhone X is a big forward in terms of hardware, “it runs iOS 11 just the same as other recent iPhones, and you won’t really be missing out on anything except Animoji” — which uses facial-recognition features to let you send animated emoji in messages.
TechCrunch’s Matthew Panzarino was one of the few reviewers who had more than a day to play with it, and he tested out the iPhone X on a trip to Disneyland. He said the device has “some rough edges here and there,” citing the notch at the top of the phone — which includes the front-facing camera and sensors, which obscures the screen — and he said the screen has some color issues at “extreme viewing angles.”
“But overall Apple bet enormously big on a bunch of technologies all at once on the iPhone X and it delivered almost across the board,” Panzarino wrote. “It really is like using the future of smartphones, today.”
The glass iPhone X “feels like a fancy phone the moment you pick it up, though whether it is fancy enough to justify spending a grand will be up to the beholder — and your budget,” USA Today’s Ed Baig wrote. He praised the large, “beautiful” screen but he didn’t like the notch, either: “Though I reckon I’ll get used to it, I found the notch a bit distracting, especially when viewing a web page in widescreen mode. It is a small blemish on an otherwise stylish device.”
Reviewers also praised the iPhone X’s camera. “The iPhone X rear dual camera is the best camera I’ve used on a smartphone,” Mashable’s Lance Ulanoff wrote. He also gushed over the 2436-by-1125-pixel screen: “You have never seen such bright, touchable colors or inky blacks on an iPhone handset, nor have you ever seen an iPhone screen hug the virtually bezel-less edge and corners of a device the way the iPhone X does.”
For the most part, the iPhone X’s Face ID feature worked as advertised, according to the early reviews. The Verge’s Patel found the feature inconsistent in certain lighting conditions. But USA Today’s Baig wrote that Face ID worked even in the dark, using infrared sensors, and also recognized him when he “wore a funky hat, sunglasses or both simultaneously.”
Tech journalist Steven Levy, writing for Wired, said the potential for iPhone X may ultimately be in yet-to-be-developed apps that take advantage of its AR, facial recognition and high-resolution cameras.
“Those who shell out the cash for this device will enjoy their screen and battery life today,” Levy wrote. “But the real payoff of the iPhone X might come when we figure out what it can do tomorrow.”