iPhone X
Picture taken with iPhone X.
The animoji from iPhone X.
iPhone X

WHEN Apple launched the iPhone X at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino in September, the company hailed it as the smartphone of the future because of the innovative features such as Face ID, full screen display, doing away with the home button, the animoji, the TrueDepth camera and a whole new way of navigating the device.

It looks like Apple has redesigned the entire phone to mark the 10th anniversary of the iPhone.

When iPhone X was announced, it was clear that Apple wanted users to have a whole new experience in using a smartphone. Hence, the hardware design and a new generation of app technologies like augmented reality and TrueDepth camera system are optimised.

Apple has always been bold when it comes to its phone design throughout the years, but the X really has a “wow” factor that can make heads turn.

The full screen OLED display which covers the whole surface of the glass gives a gorgeous HDR display, and with a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, it is so far the best display Apple has put in its iPhone.

The all-glass front and back features the most durable glass ever in a smartphone, while the highly polished, surgical-grade stainless steel band seamlessly wraps around and reinforces the body.

Apple uses a seven-layer colour process on the X which results in precise colour hues and opacity on the glass finish. A reflective optical layer enhances the rich colours, making the design as elegant as it is durable, while maintaining water- and dust-resistance.

Weighing just 174g, it feels surprisingly solid and premium in the hand. Despite a smaller body, the X has the largest display, at 5.8 inch, compared to the 8 Plus (5.5 inch) and iPhone 8 (4.7 inch).

This gives a better viewing capability, especially if you’re watching movies and viewing photos or even surfing the Web.

This is where the iPhone X differs from other smartphones in the market. Apple has done away with functions such as the home button. Accessing and navigating the phone also takes on a new level.

One of the most talked-about features of the iPhone X is the Face ID facial recognition, which replaces the fingerprint sensor and Touch ID. I bet many have been wondering if this really works in real life. Yes, it does, and surprisingly it works really well.

Even in total darkness, the facial recognition works, such as when picking up the phone by the bedside in the middle of the night.

I just look at the phone, and voila, it unlocks itself. For this to work, Apple uses the new front-facing TrueDepth camera, which has an infrared camera, flood illuminator, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, speaker, microphone, seven-megapixel traditional camera, and dot projector which projects up to 30,000 infrared points on your face during a scan, made possible with the phone’s Apple’s A11 Bionic chip with Neural Engine.

The system also adapts to physical changes in your appearance over time, so users need not worry if there are slight changes in face over time. This results in a very unique ID of the user’s phone which is very unlikely to be duplicated.

For security reasons and privacy of users, all the Face ID data is scanned, processed and stored in the phone, not in cloud or servers.

The use of the TrueDepth front-facing camera system has also opened up new possibilities like the animojis, which is something refreshing and fun to have. Instead of just still emojis, you can send messages on social media in the form of cute emojis that mirror your facial expressions with your voice.

There are 12 built-in animojis in the phone in the form of cute panda, puppy, alien, monkey, rabbit, fox, etc. You can also send animoji as a sticker and save the animoji you previously sent to your camera roll from within Messages as a .MOV file.

The iPhone X, like the 8 and 8 Plus, has wireless charging based on the Qi standard. It can be charged by being placed on an inductive charging pad, such as Mophie, Belkin and Incipio.

Photography is big for Apple and the iPhone X is equipped with better camera capabilities. Apple has also repositioned its dual-camera at the back. Instead of occupying the horizontal position like the 7 Plus’/8 Plus, the X’s dual camera is positioned vertically.

While it may look like a mere cosmetic change, it does have its purpose as Apple moves more into augmented reality and how the ARKit apps will perform where most of the apps are in landscape position.

The front camera is the seven-megapixel TrueDepth camera that features wide colour capture, auto image stabilisation and precise exposure control. It also has a Portrait feature for selfies with a depth-of-field effect.

It’s interesting to note that the Portrait mode with Portrait Lighting available on both the front and rear cameras brings dramatic studio lighting effects to iPhone and allows customers to capture stunning portraits with a shallow depth-of-field effect in five different lighting styles.

So your selfies will look better with options of natural, studio, contour, stage and stage light mono features.

The phone’s dual 12-megapixel rear camera system now comes with dual optical image stabilisation. The f/1.8 aperture on the wide-angle camera joins an improved f/2.4 aperture on the telephoto camera for better photos and videos.

Pictures coming out of the camera are slightly better than the iPhone 8, with slightly sharper images and richer colour. The low-light performance has a slight improvement over the 8.

The cameras on iPhone X are custom tuned for the ultimate AR experience. Each camera is individually calibrated, with new gyroscopes and accelerometers for accurate motion tracking.

The new camera also delivers the highest quality video capture ever in a smartphone, with better video stabilisation, 4K video up to 60fps and 1080p slo-mo up to 240fps. The Apple-designed video encoder provides real-time image and motion analysis for optimal quality video.

The AR apps are empowering the iPhone X with capabilities not available before in a smartphone. The A11 Bionic CPU handles image tracking, scene recognition and the GPU enables incredible graphics at 60fps, while the image signal processor does real-time lighting estimation.

This has given new life to games where players can be part of the games and play it from different angles.

Apps like MeasureKit and Ikea Place take advantage of the TrueDepth camera and the rear cameras to create games and apps offering fantastically immersive and fluid experiences that go far beyond the screen.

In MeasureKit, for example, you can measure different things in the world using your iPhone’s camera, while Ikea Place lets you experience and experiment Ikea products in any space in true scale, such as a home, office, school or studio, before you decide to buy them.

I find the AR feature interesting and it offers a lot of potential in the real world, especially in education and entertainment.

The iPhone X comes in two finishes, silver or space grey, with an option of 64GB or 256GB models starting at RM5,149 to RM5,899.

If you’re looking for a premium phone with new innovative X factors, like the Face ID, animoji, TrueDepth camera, etc. look no further.

Verdict: 5/5

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