Display quality and performance
Early third-party benchmark tests of the iPhone X have been unanimously positive. In fact, Displaymate, which runs exhaustive tests on phone displays, says the iPhone X has the best display it has ever tested.
Our own tests echo Displaymate’s findings. The iPhone X’s 2,046 x 1,125-pixel OLED screen is sharp, it’s incredibly colour accurate and it’s bright, too. Plus, there are no problems with viewing angles and odd-looking colours (Google Pixel 2 XL, we’re looking at you).
As for speed and responsiveness, well that’s unimpeachable as well. The iPhone X uses the new Apple A11 Bionic chip to power it along and this, coupled with 3GB of RAM, produces very similar benchmark results to the iPhone 8 Plus.
Basically, alongside its less siblings, the iPhone X is the fastest phone on the market – trouncing everything else on the market in both processing and graphics performance.
More important than all-out speed is battery life and although we’ve only had the phone a few days, it is possible to draw some early conclusions on this. The first is that it doesn’t last very long during video playback.
In our battery benchmark, which involves playing a video on loop in flight mode until the battery dies, the X lasted a mere 9 hours 22 minutes, which is a disappointing result, certainly when compared with Android rivals. The iPhone 8 Plus with its larger battery lasted far longer at 13 hours 54 minutes, while Samsung’s Galaxy S8 lasted 16 hours 45 minutes.
That’s not to say the phone won’t last you a day in real-world use – that depends on how you use it – but it’s safe to say that it won’t last as long as the iPhone 8 Plus or Galaxy S8.
The iPhone X doesn’t feel like an iPhone at all, and that’s not a criticism. It feels luxurious, sturdy and as expensive as its high price tag.
Overall, we still think the Samsung Galaxy S8 is a better phone, but for those who prefer Apple’s operating system, the iPhone X subtly adds some of the better Android-style features without compromising the less cluttered iOS environment.
Some of the physical design changes that move it closer to Samsung don’t excite us as much. After just two days we were feeling nostalgic for our iPhone Plus with its familiar larger keyboard, for example.
That said, there are enough innovations and differences here to make a buyer seriously consider upgrading from the iPhone 7 or earlier – or there would be if it weren’t for that sky-high price.
With prices starting at $1,579 for the 64GB model or $1,829 with 256GB, this is a phone that’s almost as expensive as a MacBook. That compares to $1,079 for the 64GB iPhone 8, $1,229 for the 64GB iPhone 8 Plus, and $1,199 for the Samsung Galaxy S8 (which is being discounted to $999 until 16 November).
The iPhone X is pricey on a plan too, with the cheapest 2GB two-year contract (from Virgin) costing $92 per month, compared to $69 for the equivalent iPhone 8 plan, $75 for the iPhone 8 Plus and $68 for the Galaxy S8.
Tim Cook recently said that this high price was justified given just how much tech is inside the device, but it’s still hard to stomach. In short, while the performance, display and the camera combine to make this Apple’s best ever phone, it isn’t significantly better than its rivals to warrant the huge jump in price.
If you’re desperate to buy a new iPhone, do yourself a favour and check out the iPhone 8 Plus first. You might not be getting the latest and greatest Apple has to offer, but you’ll be saving plenty of cash, getting a phone that’s nearly as good, and one that – according to SquareTrade – is a lot less breakable, too.