Yesterday, Apple announced three new iPhones. The iPhone XS in regular and "Max" size, and the iPhone XR that comes in at a few hundred cheaper and gets by with an LCD instead of OLED and a single camera instead of the dual cameras. Naturally, I must upgrade my perfectly good iPhone X to one of these new models because reasons.
Actually, I bought an iPhone 8+ on the iPhone upgrade program last year when they came out because I foolishly told myself I wouldn't get the X until the second year of the design. I naturally also immediately bought the iPhone X. Basically this left me with an 8+ I really might as well trade in (My girlfriend has been using it since I got the iPhone X) and an iPhone X I bought outright last year that I could upgrade my girlfriend to.
So back to the new phones. The iPhone XS and XS Max (yeah, that's actually what a team of highly paid marketing people decided to call it. For real.) are the only ones I'm considering since the XR is kind of a downgrade from the X in a lot of ways. Now to decide between the 5.8" XS and the 6.5" XS Max (jesus that's a bad name)
My first instinct was to try the new form factor, it's all new and shiny and look how huge that screen is! So I go to do the pre-approval for the upgrade program. Except it won't work. Turns out, you have to do the pre-approval on the phone you're currently making payments on. In this case, my girlfriend's iPhone 8+. Fine, we'll go ahead and switch phones.
So I make it home, we both do new icloud backups, I unpair my watch, wipe both phones and I hand her my iPhone X and pop my sim card in the iPhone 8+
I. Fucking. Hate it.
The 8+ form factor is WAY too big after carrying an iPhone X for a year. It's unwieldy as hell. How the hell did I ever hold this massive ass thing and make phone calls on it? It hurts my hands to grip it's so damn wide. It barely fits in the big pockets of my work clothes and has no chance of fitting, much less staying in, the pockets of the clothes I wear when not at work. I can't reach the top of the screen even WITH the huge bezels of the iPhone 8+. I keep pressing the side of the phone where my finger naturally lands only to find that the sleep/wake button I'm looking for is over an inch higher. Also, though this isn't really the phone's fault, I keep staring at it expecting to unlock and I keep swiping up from the bottom expecting it to go home and it's making me feel retarded.
I had a 6S+ and a 7+ before and loved them at the time, but the form factor of the 5.8" edge to edge iPhone X has totally ruined the larger phones for me. They just don't fit my hand and I guess I'm not willing to compromise for the larger screen anymore because I've never felt the iPhone X screen was too small.
In all fairness, I DO carry a 10.5" iPad Pro with me everywhere, so basically everything other than short text conversations, phone calls, and photography gets done on the iPad anyway. If I didn't have or didn't use my iPad and I sat on the couch and read reddit or something on my phone, I might feel differently, but for my use case, I decided to go with the iPhone XS 5.8" and I don't think I'll be disappointed. I'll report back in a week or so.
When pictures of the iPhone X first came out, I really didn’t understand why apple was “embracing the notch”, I thought it would look much cleaner to just have a black status bar across the top making the notch indistinguisable from the screen. Turns out I was wrong. Verizon just updated their app and it includes optimization for iPhone X. It looks like they went with the “Hide the Notch” method:
While it does look “cleaner” I guess, it also just looks kinda boring. Compare that to Waze’s “embrace the notch” app:
It doesn’t feel like the notch is in the way of the content, it just feels like you’re getting extra screen on the sides of the notch. It feels like a bonus more than it does a compromise.
I wanted to try out a built in wireless charger, but I didn’t particularly want to cut a hole in my desk or anything, so I started looking online at IKEA for a cheap little table to mess around with. To my surprise, they actually sell wireless charging units made to go into a surface. I ended up buying a RALLEN wireless charging pad and the cheapest table they had, which ended up being a LACK side table. I also picked up a FIXA hole saw kit, and already had a Milwaukee drill. Total cost including the saw set was about $28 after tax.
I threw the table together, it basically just amounts to screwing the legs in, and took it all out on my front porch because I didn’t want a living room full of saw dust.
The RALLEN charger allows you to mount it a few different ways. It comes with a trim ring but using it is optional. I opted to use it because this is a super cheap table and I thought there might be a little of bit of roughness around the hole. I would leave it out in good solid wood for a smaller overall footprint. If you’re using the trim ring, use the biggest hole saw in the kit. I believe mounting it without uses the next size down.
I went with what I felt was the most natural placement. The side with the hole will be close to the end of the couch, so if you drop your arm down you land about where the charging pad is. Cutting the hole was super easy, this table is made of thin particle board. Yes, that paper is the filler inside of it, lol.
From there, you separate the charger from the trim ring, drop the trim ring in, route the cord through it, then push the charging pad down into the trim ring. There’s pretty much no way to screw this up. Just push the thing down until it’s fully seated.
I have some pretty serious cable management to do over there, but now there’s a table by my couch that will charge both mine and Daisy’s phone just by setting it on the table. I might start looking at doing this to a nicer table soon, but for now, and for the money, I’m pretty damn happy with it.
Super minimalist. Offers basically no drop protection, but will keep it from getting scratched. Also makes the phone much easier to hold on to.
So, I posted last week that I ordered an iPhone X. I got an estimated delivery date of 12/12 to 12/17. A few days later that got bumped up to 12/1. Well, I woke up at around 6am Saturday morning (Thank you 11 month old Ava) and checked the Apple Store app. I had read the previous night that stores were going to have stock available for in store pickup starting at 6am, so I gave it a shot. To my surprise, the Apple Store at Saddle Creek had the model I wanted (Verizon, White, 256gb) in stock for pickup that day. I cancelled my online preorder and placed a new order for in store pickup Saturday. By a few minutes after noon I was walking out with my new phone. So how is it? Overall, very good.
Design And Build Quality
The phone feels really solidly built, which isn’t really all that much of a surprise, most Apple products are. The size is about perfect for me. I was a long time member of #plusclub, but I’ve actually been kinda thinking about going with something smaller ever since I bought an LTE IPad Pro this summer to replace my 12” macbook. The iPad is basically with me everywhere I go, so I no longer feel the need to have a super large battery and screen in my phone. If I’m stuck somewhere and I’m going to break out Netflix or something, I’m going to do it on the iPad no matter how big my phone’s screen is.
The X seems like the perfect companion to something like the iPad Pro. Like the 4.7” iPhones it’s small and easy to pocket, but thanks to the edge to edge display you get a screen more in line with a plus model. Everyone is already talking about the possibility of an “X Plus” next year, and while I generally like larger phones, or at least thought I did, using the X for just one day so far is enough to make me seriously reconsider wanting a larger phone. I really do feel like it’s the perfect size, and I’ve never said that about an IPhone before.
Screen and FaceID
FaceID seems to be the thing that everyone was most worried about. So far for me, it’s been effectively flawless. It’s actually less intrusive than TouchID in that one day in, I’ve already started to forget it’s even a thing most of the time. Effectively, I just pick up my phone and it’s unlocked. It’s only failed a handful of times, like when my face was half on a pillow.
The screen so far has been awesome too, I’ve used OLED screens before so I had a pretty good idea of what to expect, but this looks to me to be a really good OLED display. Color shift at off angles is minimal and colors seem accurate and bright. I haven’t used it in the sun much because I’ve had the cold that will never end, but it seems very bright even in direct sunlight in my admittedly very limited usage.
Animoji is a lot of fun, I don’t care what anyone says.
Battery life seems to be good, and should be good based on the battery size and processor. I haven’t used it enough to really test, but it feels on par with my 7+.
Like I said before, the size is really, really nice, at least to my smallish hands. Between the grippier glass back and the more easily gripped (read: reduced) width, I’m actually considering not using a case. Also I bought AppleCare+, so I’m a little braver.
Camera seems very good, I took this picture today:
I obviously haven’t had this phone long enough to do a comprehensive review, but so far I am super pleased with it. I’ll post updates as I find new things or run into any issues, but so far it’s been a very positive experience and definitely feels like a truly new iPhone for the first time in quite a few years.
Edit: I realized after posting this that I didn't mention "The Notch" at all, I had completely forgotten it was supposed to be a huge issue. I guess that pretty much says all that needs to be said about The Notch. One day in and I forgot it was a thing. I will say it would probably be annoying if you're a big video consumer on your phone. As I mentioned above I tend to use my iPad for that. In normal phone use for texting, twitter, facebook, weather, camera, etc it's 100% not an issue.