I recently went down to my local Apple (AAPL 1.62%) store to test out the company's new flagship iPhone, the iPhone X. The device is Apple's most advanced iPhone and its most expensive device. The iPhone X starts at $999 for the variant with 64 GB of storage and goes to $1,149 for the version with 256 GB of storage.
It's not cheap, but fortunately Apple offers a wide range of iPhones at more affordable price points, including this year's iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. Here are three things I liked about the iPhone X based on my time with it.
It looks gorgeous
The iPhone X simply looks stunning. The device, like its lower-cost variations, has a glass back that I think looks far more premium than the aluminum backs of Apple's last several generations of iPhones.
What really makes the iPhone X stand out visually, though, is the stainless-steel band. This puts the iPhone X's appearance in a league of its own compared to the other iPhones that Apple has up for sale (iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, iPhone 7, iPhone 8).
The only thing that bothered me is that the iPhone X isn't available in the same gold color that the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus come in. This is likely due to issues with the manufacturing process required to get the stainless-steel band to match the color of the gold-colored back, so there's good reason for Apple to have not released a gold iPhone X.
Perhaps Apple could introduce a gold color option for the iPhone X as part of a midcycle refresh?
The OLED display is nice (with a catch)
The iPhone X uses an organic light emitting diode (OLED) display. OLED displays offer some significant advantages over liquid crystal displays (LCDs), such as much higher contrast ratios and faster pixel response times.
The display on the iPhone X delivers on the traditional advantages of OLEDs, which were immediately noticeable. Additionally, the display seemed about as sharp as the display on the iPhone 8 Plus -- and much sharper than the display on the iPhone 8.
Unfortunately, there is a catch. OLED displays inherently suffer from color shifts when they're viewed off-axis, and the display on the iPhone X isn't immune.
Longer term, it makes sense for Apple to invest in improving its OLED displays, as the nature of the technology should allow Apple to ultimately deliver experiences that'd be hard to do with traditional LCDs (such as high-refresh rate displays and potentially curved displays).
What home button?
I'll admit that I was a little skeptical when the reports first came in claiming that Apple planned to do away with the home button on the iPhone X. It was common knowledge that Apple was moving to a full-face display, so a physical home button wasn't in the cards, but there had been some speculation that Apple would opt to include a software-based virtual home button on the iPhone X.
That didn't happen. Apple rethought the user interface of the iPhone X to rely on gestures. Instead of pressing on a home button to go home, one needs to simply swipe up on the iPhone X.
Without a home button, Apple had to redo how multitasking is done as well. On older iPhones, one would double-press the home button to be taken to the app switching menu. On the iPhone X, one must swipe about halfway up the display and then stop.
It didn't take long for me to get used to these gestures -- they seemed quite natural after just a few minutes.
Apple's user interface team deserves kudos for successfully reinventing the tried-and-true iPhone user interface with the iPhone X, and I really look forward to seeing how it evolves with future iPhones and versions of iOS.