Every once in awhile, there is a game changer in technology. A tech release that alters the way we do things forevermore and heralds the start of a new age of technology. Once, it was the fax machine that delighted and astounded people; then email made faxes obsolete; then smartphones arrived and altered the way we interact with the internet forever.
These dawning moments where everything changes are rare, but it’s clear that Apple are hoping the iPhone X will be a technological product that changes everything once more. The X — which is intended to be pronounced as “ten”, as in the Roman numeral, but let’s be realistic and acknowledge most of us are reading it as “ex” — was announced to much fanfare, and it’s clear that Apple think they’re onto a winner.
Are they, though?
The Odd Timing
It’s impossible to talk about the iPhone X without acknowledging the rather odd timing of the announcement; right before the iPhone 8 was due to launch. As a result of this timing, the 8 has experienced some of the slowest sales of a new iPhone to date– Apple have effectively gazumped themselves. They clearly think the X is worth it.
The iPhone X is priced nearly 40 percent more expensive than its closest rival, so one might hope there’s a huge difference, something truly groundbreaking. Whether or not that’s the case is… debatable.
The Big Change
The biggest innovation of the iPhone X is the end of the “home” button. Once a core feature of smartphones, the X has eliminated this staple and as a result is able to offer a corner-to-corner display. The screen-to-body ratio for the X is 82.9%, which dwarfs the 8’s 65.6%. This difference is staggering, and will make a huge difference to users who use their phone to watch videos and play games– the extra space is much appreciated.
Not only is the screen bigger on the X, but it’s also better. The pixel density and resolution is the best ever seen on an iPhone; a total of 458ppi again puts the iPhone 8 (which has 326ppi) into shade. However, how noticeable this difference will be to the average user is, again, debatable. The screen for the iPhone 8 is still fantastic and vastly improved on older models, so the choice should be made largely depending on how much you use your phone to watch full-screen videos.
One might expect that the larger screen of the iPhone X means it is far physically larger than the iPhone 8, but the difference is minimal, and the weights are very similar. The iPhone X is one of the most compact smartphones of all time as a result.
On The Inside
Moving on from that potential game changer of the screen, what about the performance? The truth is that the iPhone X and iPhone 8 perform almost identically. The X has extra RAM, but it needs it to power the new screen and functionality. As the iPhone 8 has a smaller screen and single lens camera — so is less RAM-thirsty — the end result is that the two phones have little between them in terms of performance.
So what of the other flagship; Face ID, the ability to unlock your phone with nothing more than your face? It might not be quite as revolutionary as Apple would have you believe. The technology is good, but reviews suggest that it’s far from infallible, and you’re going to need to remember the backup PIN regardless. The iPhone 8 still uses Touch ID, where you can unlock the phone with a fingerprint rather than your face.
Most of us use our smartphones as our primary cameras these days, and both the X and the 8 have plenty to offer in this area. The X features a dual-lens 12 megapixel telephoto lens with a 2x optical zoom, meaning your photographs should be better than ever. The 8 just can’t keep up with this tech; it has a standalone 12 megapixel camera, meaning that the X will perform far better in low-light or low-visibility situations. If you take a lot of photos, this is a difference you will notice, and just shades the X ahead.
Ultimately, the choice for most people will be the price. The X is so much more expensive than the 8, and indeed when compared to other phones– you can view other mobile phones here to see how severe the price discrepancy is.
However, if you watch a lot of videos and you want the best camera, then the X is an excellent choice– even if it’s not quite the game-changer that Apple might think it is.