∞ First Look: iPhone X

I’ve had my iPhone X from Apple for less than a day, so it would be irresponsible of me to call this a review—instead I’ll give you my first impressions of a few of the main features, and then follow-up with more details later this week or next.

The “Notch”

Let’s get this out of the way right now. There will be so much written about the notch at the top of the iPhone X, we’ll all be sick of it. I said from the time I attended the iPhone launch event that the notch didn’t really bother me—it still doesn’t.

If you focus on the notch, then sure, you will see and it could even bother you. However, I focus on what’s on the screen, not on the notch. Perhaps that’s why it doesn’t bother me—I don’t really know it’s there.

It’s not like the notch is in the way of what you’re trying to do on the iPhone. It’s not stuck in the middle of the display, so for me, it doesn’t factor into my usage of the device.

We could talk all day about the aesthetics of the notch, but if it’s not in the way of what I’m trying to accomplish on my device, then it doesn’t matter to me.

iPhone

I think what surprised me the most about the iPhone X when I took it out of the box is that I thought the physical design would be bigger. I guess I didn’t spend much time comparing it with the iPhone 8 Plus during the launch event.

However, when you turn it on, the iPhone X is all screen. It doesn’t have the big top and bottom of the iPhone Plus models—it’s just screen. It’s beautiful.

The iPhone 8 has a 4.7-inch screen; the iPhone 8 Plus a 5.5-inch screen and the iPhone X a 5.8-inch screen.

The display

Wow, this display. A 5.8‑inch Super Retina OLED screen that is truly incredible.

The iPhone X display is a true High Dynamic Range (HDR) display, so you can watch Dolby Vision movies and view HDR photos, all in the way they were meant to be seen. This iPhone also features True Tone, which subtly adjusts the screens display to match the surrounding ambient light, even as you change rooms. I’m a big fan of True Tone on my iPad and have raved about this technology in the past.

For everyday use, the screen is brilliant in every app that I used it with. The OLED panel actually folds underneath the edges of the phone and Apple uses what it calls subpixel anti-aliasing to make sure the edges are smooth, and everything you view is at its best.

Face ID

This is the feature I was waiting to see. Face ID is the future for Apple and with the previous success of Touch ID, Face ID had a lot to live up to. We have used out fingerprint to login to our iPhone and authorize apps for years—it just worked. Anything less than that would be a huge step backward for Apple and us as consumers.

Well, I have good news—it works. Really good.

Setting up Face ID is really easy to setup. In fact, it’s quicker than setting up Touch ID on previous iPhones. When you first start up your iPhone X, it will prompt you to setup Face ID—you just point the camera at your face and roll your head in a circle. You do that a second time and it’s done.

Face ID worked more than 99 percent of the time for me. I can’t really figure out why it didn’t work those few times, but once I tried again on those occasions, it unlocked right away. I have the iPhone X set to require my attention, so if it notices I’m not looking at the phone, it won’t unlock. Perhaps I wasn’t looking at the iPhone when I was unlocking it, I’m not sure.

When you raise the iPhone up to your face, you can start to swipe up on the bottom of the screen at the same time—eventually, you’ll get the timing right and it just unlocks and goes to your homepage. It’s pretty quick.

I also wear reading glass now, but I didn’t use them when I setup Face ID. However, I often wear them when using my iPhone or my computer, but that didn’t seem to fool Face ID.

I tried using Face ID in the dark as well—it worked really well. This was actually one of my main concerns for Face ID because we are often in low-light or dark conditions, whether we’re at home or out on the town for a night.

For me, Face ID has to work everywhere I am and so far it’s working just fine.

According to Apple, the probability that someone else could unlock your iPhone with Face ID is 1 in 1,000,000. Of course, that changes with twins, siblings that look the same, and children under 13 because their features are not fully developed. If you are in this situation, you can always use a passcode.

Face ID can’t be fooled by pictures because it uses depth information when it analyzes your face. It also can’t be fooled by masks because it uses an anti-spoofing neural network. In case you wondering, your Face ID data is encrypted and stored on your device in the Secure Enclave. It never leaves your device and is not

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