Apple First Impression Geek Reviews

A Weekend with the iPhone X

Thursday night I picked up my iPhone X from Digits in Marina Mall. They’d given me early access to buy one so that I could review it on the blog, but they made me promise that I wouldn’t turn it on until Friday morning 8AM. Apple is pretty strict with these things so I understood their concern. I know someone who had gotten an iPhone X a few days earlier, and when they turned it on, Apple sent the authorized reseller he had gotten the phone from a warning that they had 2 hours to shut it down or else. I wasn’t in a rush, I didn’t mind waiting till the next morning to play with the iPhone X, I was just glad I had my hands on one and didn’t have to wait in any line to get it.

I’m not the kind of person that upgrades phones every year, I was actually using an iPhone 6S until last week and was perfectly fine with it until my company handed me an iPhone 8. The iPhone X is the first iPhone in years that I’ve really wanted, and after using it over the weekend, here are my first impressions:

No Home Button
The iPhone X no longer has a home button and I was worried it would take time to get used to the new swipe up to go home gesture. But, I got used to it within the first few minutes of using the phone. To me it feels natural and so much slicker and faster than clicking down on the home button. So goodbye home button, you won’t be missed.

Face ID
This is probably my favorite feature in the iPhone X. It just works. The best way to describe it is that it’s as if your phone doesn’t have a passcode. To unlock your phone, you pick it up and then you swipe up to go home. Super simple, super fast. If for some reason your phone doesn’t wake up when you pick it up, you just tap the screen to wake it up and then swipe up. Again super fast. But Face ID has other advantages than just using it to log into your phone. When I get to a website that asks me to log in with my username and password, the phone checks my face and when it recognizes me automatically fills in my username and password. Another cool feature of Face ID is with notifications. When you get say a whatsapp message on your phone, you won’t see a preview. Pick up the phone and Face ID will recognize you and then show you a preview of the whatsapp messages [Example]. That’s a really smart feature because it means you can leave your phone out in the open and not worry about anyone reading your notification previews, but it also means you yourself can still read those previews. If you’re also wondering, Face ID works under different lighting so if you’re in complete darkness or out under bright sunlight, Face ID will still be able to read your face. Face ID was still able to read my face even though I had sun glasses on and even when my face was half stuffed deeply into my pillow.

The Screen
It’s huge and I’m loving it so far mostly because the blacks are so black. One of the biggest advantages of OLED screens (which is what the iPhone X uses) is the blacks are pure black. That’s because unlike LCD’s, to get the color black on an OLED screen it shuts off the pixels that are supposed to be black. So black is parts of the screen not lit up. Am I making sense? Imagine a room with no windows and one light bulb, to turn the room black you just turn off the bulb. No light = complete darkness = black. The “notch” on top of the screen isn’t annoying at all by the way, in fact I barely notice it. I mean its there, but it doesn’t hinder the experience of using the phone in any way. For those of you who are also concerned that not all apps are yet adapted to take full advantage of the iPhone X, from all the apps I use I think only 2 or 3 still display a black border on top and the bottom of the screen. The rest of my apps all display full screen and so it’s not really a big issue, and whatever apps don’t display in full screen I’m expecting them to by their next update.

Wireless Charging
I picked up a Belkin Qi charger from Xcite for around KD6 and have it on my bedside table. I noticed compared to the iPhone 8 the iPhone X has a larger wireless charging sweet spot. With the iPhone 8 it wouldn’t always start charging when I placed it on the charger but I haven’t had that issue with the iPhone X. If like me you use a magnetic mount for the phone it can still work with wireless charging. I have the metal plate sandwiched between my silicone cover and the phone, but I moved the plate all the way to the bottom of the phone and turned it sideways. That way the center of the phone is clear and the metal plate won’t interfere with charging.

Size vs iPhone 8
The iPhone 8 and X are virtually the same size. The iPhone X is slightly taller and thicker but too minor to even notice.

The Camera
Finally the camera, probably the most important aspect of the phone for me. I was always jealous of iPhone Plus owners since they had two lenses on their phones, the regular wide one and a more zoomed in one. Other than the added advantage of being able to zoom in closer to a subject (while maintaining the image quality), having two lenses allowed Apple to create the “portrait mode” feature in which it blurs the background making it look like it was shot with a DSLR. The iPhone Plus is too big a phone for me so I never considered getting it, but the iPhone X has the same camera system as the plus, with more features like a brighter aperture (f/2.4 vs f/2.8) and optical image stabilisation for both lenses not just the wide one. I haven’t really taken that many shots with it, just a few of my brothers cats and some of my friends and so far I really am loving the portrait mode.

So yeah as you can tell, I’m really loving the iPhone X so far. Although it was a big chunk of change to spend on just a phone, I think its worth it. If you’re looking to pick one up, Digits sold out their stock on launch, but are getting another shipment in around a weeks time. They currently have a waiting list so you can go and reserve a phone. The prices of the 64GB version is KD353 and the 256GB version KD405. A friend also just picked up a phone from Zain this morning but I think you have to sign up to a plan or something to get it (i.e. don’t think you can just straight up buy it from them).

66 replies on “A Weekend with the iPhone X”

I wish they could figure out a way to integrate Touch ID into the screen of the device. I can’t see myself having to look at the phone and then swipe up to unlock, its actually a much slower way to unlock your phone when compared to how snappy Touch ID is. I hope that the next iteration would have integrated Touch ID support built in to the screen.

Great phone, but not for the price though. I hope this was just a one time thing though, if they release a $1,000 phone next year, I am opting out of the Apple ecosystem for good, but if this is a “concept” phone like the Galaxy Note Edge was a few years ago, I’ll definitely be looking forward to next years iPhone.

“I can’t see myself having to look at the phone and then swipe up to unlock, its actually a much slower way to unlock your phone when compared to how snappy Touch ID is.”

You actually look at the phone anyway when you use the touch ID except now just by looking at your phone it unlocks. They’ve actually reduced the steps for you.

In real world use its as if your phone doesn’t have a password lock. So I can’t see myself ever going back to touch ID which now seems old fashioned so I highly doubt Apple will go back to it. I think Face ID is gonna get implemented in the macbook pro for sure as well. You open the laptop and it recognizes u and unlocks, that would be amazing. Face ID is just so much better and quicker than touch ID.

For sure, but you haven’t used Face ID so how are you already judging it as being inferior to touch id?

They’ve eliminated the need for you to have to verify who you are by having you scan your finger print. Now the phone just knows who you are all the time without you needing to do anything.

So since you no longer have to tell it who you are, what purpose would Touch ID serve?

I’ve used the Face ID equivalent on Samsung’s Note 8 and I wasn’t impressed, even though its faster. 🙂

And I’m sure Face ID on the iPhone is more refined, but hey, its just my opinion. 🙂

I need some input, how easy is it to unlock your phone while driving. Like the touch id is easy because I dont need to take my eyes off the road, but how does this work?

I picked one myself. I have mixed feelings. Indeed the face id seems a nice thing but having my face linked to everything is a bit overwhelming. I guess this is the new thing we have to deal with like when they linked our fingers to everything. The rest. Having an iPhone 8 I was not happy at all the way ios11 was behaving. Now having the x I can see why. Ios11 is meant to be for the X

Some apps need improving. And I’m happy cause this size fit in my pockets . 🙂

“Having an iPhone 8 I was not happy at all the way iOS 11 was behaving. Now having the X I can see why. iOS 11 is meant to be for the X”

How is this exactly? Has the software been optimized (and if yes, in what way?).

Has the battery life improved for iOS 11 vis-a-vis iPhone 7 or 8?

My biggest pet peeve with iOS 11 is how they made the toggles irrelevant. Now you cant deactivate Wifi or BT via swipe up and tap. It only disconnects from the active network. To completely deactivate wifi and BT (and thus save battery life), you need to go the longer route via Settings.

How much battery do you save by completely deactivating wifi vs disconnecting your wifi connection? exactly, thats why apple did it this way. you’re not gonna save anything more by completely disabling it. its just one of those myths like if you close down all your apps by force you’ll save battery.

From my experience battery life between 8 and 10 is same. between 8 and my 6s its huge but i’ve had that phone for 2 years so makes sense.

“If for some reason your phone doesn’t wake up when you pick it up, you just tap the screen to wake it up and then swipe up”

My bad, I didn’t see the “if”

Is that size comparison with an i8 or i8+?

And also, what are the major differences between this and the i8? Because AFAIK, the i8 has also ditched touchID and has all the camera features of the iX. I’m about to get an i8…

iPhone 8 has touch ID, and does not have the dual camera like the X

However, everything else internally is almost the same

As a admitted Android fan, I found myself strangely drawn to the iPhone X and picked it up as Ooredoo has a great offer on launch day (cheaper than everyone else + unlimited everything).

First impressions:

– white / silver one hides fingerprints better than my black version. Not really an issue since I always have a cover, but for those brave ones who carry their phones naked, its worth a mention.

– The screen on the iPhone X is actually a Samsung OLED panel, except its calibrated extremely well by Apple so it doesn’t have those cartoonish bright colors that Samsung panels are known for. Mark already mentioned how dark the blacks are, but one minor side effect is that it takes less battery as the screen is off. Hint: set your standby wallpaper to solid black.

– Face ID – trust me, if you think Samsung had it, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Its almost as good as Windows Hello (except its much faster as the cameras are closer to your face than on a laptop). The Face ID part is amazing, the missing home button, I am still getting used to it. Still trying to find an equivalent to my favorite “double tap to reach the first page” shortcut. Somethings are extra annoying now. For example, before you could double tap to bring up the background apps, and swipe to dismiss them. Now, swipe up and hold, then press down to get the minus sign, then you can dismiss them. Just another thing to get used to.

Another problem I have is that I am so used my Pixel having the fingerprint scanner on the back that I instinctively try to reach for before realizing I have to swipe up.

– I think Apple really hit the sweet spot in terms of device size. I’m like Goldilocks with this one. Just right.

As a developer I always have devices from both camps for testing and development, and always Android has been my primary phone.

This time around, I think it may just be Apple that has my primary SIM. At least for now, till I get hold of my Pixel 2 upgrade device.

Oh, before I forget – one really excellent change to the device is that when you buy something from the store, you have to double tap the right button and then face id yourself to authorize the purchase.

It too me a second to realize it was asking me to double tap the button (and not the screen).

It makes it sure that you are deliberately authorizing the purchase because face id it just too face.

Quite literally – if you blink, you’ll miss it.

So far my only issue is trying to find a case that offers some form of protection (the Apple ones are really horrible for protection, great for looks). I found an Otterbox at Chips that’s doing its job, except it doesn’t work with the iPhone dock that I use at my desk.

I’ve been using the apple silicone case for years, only cracked my screen once with it and that’s cause my screen hit a rock face down. 99% of the time the simple silicone sleeve protects your phone from hard falls.

The offer was 35 KD / 37 KD per month. Unlimited everything. I just checked and the price went up to 45 / 47 to match Zain and others.

ok lets talk about digits who got some people on social media making false claim that they had ample supply of phones at launch which wasn’t true and only had 30 devices at each location.
they sell the leather cover for 27kd and the silicon cover for 22kd which again is a rip off i don’t want to say how much apple sells it but alpha store is MUCH cheaper
i hope you don’t delete my post

Chipstore is the cheapest I know with 19.500 for the leather and 16 KD for the silicone.

Apple store (US) pricing is 15 for leather and 12 for the silicone, so not too bad.

I went there and the only had 2 leather and four silicone left but none were in a color I fancied so I got the otterbox black one.

Hi Mark,

There’s someone out there who COPIED your review on the iphone X. It is almost 99% similar to your review.


Its more like what it might look like is i translate multiple times to other language and back to english… ‘confront ID’/’household button’..jeez talk about cheap plagiarism

So I have an S8+ with a broken glass that also has the screen itself damaged. I bought extra warranty for the glass, so I’m entitled to either free glass replacement or 75% of the phones price at time of purchase if they screen is beyond repair, so that’s about 200 KD.

Should I get a another S8+
Note 8
Pixel 2
Pixel 2 XL
Something else

not interested in iPhone.

All are strong choices. You may want to add LG V30 to the mix. Not yet released, but should be in the same price range, and it has quad-DAC amp for music, and that wide-angle lens is unique.

I just realized i need a phone that can carry 2 sims, so I think that pretty much sums things up. The LG has always been an attractive phone but usually hindered by it’s software.

I would recommend Pixel 2 (unless you really need a large screen) from all those you listed.

Note 8 only makes sense if you are a previous Note user and are tied to the stylus; otherwise its just an overpriced S8+

Unfortunately you are one of those few that need a dual SIM which leaves you squarely in the Samsung camp.

If it wasn’t for their crazy software bloat I would have no reservations with Samsung (previous Samsung Note 7 user here); but whenever I use my wife’s S8 it frustrates me to no end. Bixby, give me a break.

“If it wasn’t for their crazy software bloat I would have no reservations with Samsung”

Couldn’t agree more. Shitsung’s bloatware has kept me away from them for the longest time, even though the camera is pretty stellar.

Thankfully, Google had Huawei build the last Nexus (brilliant camera!) and since I prefer the stock Android experience, it was a no-brainer.

+1 for the Pixel. Or you could consider the Huawei 10 as well.

Yeah I went big screen a while ago, and can’t go small XD

I agree Samsung software is shit, and I’m really on the stock camp when it comes to software. But, Samsung software has changed a lot since the touchwiz shit. In anycase, I’ve been using Nova launcher which means you don’t need to see Samsungs launcher at all, plus most of the stupid software can be uninstalled/disable or hidden, it’s just a bit of cleaning needed at first, even the Bixby button can be disable now.

so yeah since I need two sims I think my best option here is Note 8, since it has more RAM and dual cameras. I have tried carrying two phones, and it just didn’t work for me.

Isn’t Pixel 2 a single-SIM phone?
Picking up my Note 8 today – an upgrade from LG G6, which was upgraded from S7 Edge.
What Samsung software are we talking about? I normally rearrange everything so that I have my most common apps on the 1st screen, and I forget about everything else.

wow just found out i can quickly swap between apps by swiping left or right at the bottom of the screen!

3) Quickly switch between apps.
My favorite new interface trick is swiping across the bottom of the screen to quickly switch between apps. It functions a lot like Command-Tab on your Mac and iPad Pro, and I’m already using it many times a day. It’s useful when switching between camera settings or to switch back and forth between Camera and Notes when making references.

Retailers are raking in the moolah with their crazy markups, selling the 256 GB for nearly 500KD.
As they say, make hay while the sun shines.

digits is getting more stock this week and they’ve got a list you can put your name on. first come first serve as well but if you’re not in a rush this could be a good way of getting the X at retail price.

I saw the queue in Avenues last Friday. It was like a Zombie walk. Yeah, I will definitely pick it up, but only when the dust settles down.
It’s not a life and death situation…yet.

“I know someone who had gotten an iPhone X a few days earlier, and when they turned it on, Apple sent the authorized reseller he had gotten the phone from a warning that they had 2 hours to shut it down or else”

Or else what?
I dont understand why does it make any difference if you turned it on once you got or on friday after 8AM? I mean it made sense if they told you dont open it or unbox it until friday (so no one sees you with it before the official release date) but not turn it on lol.

Because as an authorized reseller you can’t sell the iphones before the launch date. So if I turned my iphone before the launch date then Apple would know and they would get in trouble. Not sure why you can’t understand that…

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