7 Reasons to Buy the iPhone X, and 4 Reasons to Skip
The iPhone X is Apple's most exciting flagship ever, with a futuristic design, a new way to unlock your phone and an edge-to-edge OLED screen that's truly drool-worthy. But at $999, this is far from an impulse buy.
If you're wondering whether you should buy the iPhone X, or go with the cheaper iPhone 8 or even an Android phone, we'll break down the pros and cons to help you decide.
1. It looks and feels like the future
While the iPhone 8 technically has a new design with a super-strong glass on the front and back, and a fresh new gold option, the iPhone X is almost all screen up front. That gives you a big 5.8-inch screen in a body that's not much larger than the 4.7-inch iPhone 8.
There's no home button, but that's the point. The iPhone X is designed to be minimalist; you just swipe up to go back to the home screen, and swipe and hold briefly to show all open apps. The stainless steel band adds a touch of luxurious class, as do the seamless rounded corners.
2. Face ID works well
The iPhone X has a new way to unlock your phone using its TrueDepth camera and new Face IDfeature. All you need to do is simply look at the iPhone X and swipe up on the screen to log in. In addition, Face ID works for authenticating mobile payments. Based on our tests, Touch ID is a bit faster, but Face ID works even when you have sweaty or messy fingers. And, based on our tests, it works in the dark and in bright sunlight.
3. OLED Display is jaw-dropping
Apple claims that its 5.8-inch Super Retina Display offers more realistic colors than the competition, and our in-depth screen comparison with the Galaxy Note 8 and Pixel 2 XL backs up that claim. The iPhone X's OLED panel is also brighter and offers wider viewing angles. The screen supports HDR content, too.
4. Portrait Mode is up front, with new Lighting effects
The iPhone X's front TrueDepth camera lets you achieve the same compelling bokeh (blur) effect on backgrounds when shooting portraits as you get with the dual rear cameras. And whether you get that shot with the front or back shooter, you can apply nifty Portrait Lighting effects either before you shoot or after. Choices include Stage Light (which completely removes the background), Contour and others.
Even better, Apple is opening up the Portrait Mode to third-party developers, so you'll be able to drop your face into all sorts of backgrounds. Enlight Photofox is just one app that's jumping on the TrueDepth bandwagon.
5. It's blazing fast for AR and More
This is not a feature that's unique to the iPhone X, but its new A11 Bionic chip promises 70 percent faster performance via its four high-efficiency cores and 25 percent better performance via its two high-performance cores. What can you do with all this might? Sure, the benchmarks are impressive, but the most exciting advancement is a boost in augmented-reality performance. In games like Warhammer 40,000: Freeblade, you can place robots right on the table in front of you and have them battle it out.
6. Dual cameras take superior pictures
Apple has seriously stepped up its camera game with the iPhone X. It offers not just a bigger and faster sensor, but photos have more true-to-life colors, better details in the shadows and improved texture. The telephoto lens in particular shines on the iPhone X, as it offers optical image stabilization for better low-light photos and videos. The iPhone 8 has OIS on only the wide-angle lens.
In our camera shootout with the Pixel 2, the iPhone X delivered better zoom photos (thanks to its optical zoom) and more natural-looking portraits, but Google's phone performed better in low light.
7. Animoji are fun
Some may file this under "frivolous," but I can see lots of iPhone X owners (and their kids) getting hooked on the new Animoji feature on the iPhone X. Thanks to the TrueDepth camera up front, you can turn yourself into one of 12 characters, including a monkey, an alien or a unicorn. Your expressions will be mirrored on the Animoji, and you can record short clips of your animated self (using your voice) to send to others via iMessage.
1. It's very pricey
Starting at $999, the iPhone X is one of the most expensive phones ever, surpassing even the premium Galaxy Note 8 ($930 to $960). When you break it down per month, you're talking about $33.34 per month if you're on AT&T, compared to $23.34 for the iPhone 8. That's a $10 difference. The iPhone 8 Plus is $26.67 per month on that carrier. Compare all of the iPhone X plan options here across multiple carriers.
2. Fast charging costs extra
This one is a head-scratcher. Although the iPhone X is capable of fast wired charging, you'll need to pay extra for a Apple USB-C Power Adapter (about $49). It costs another $25 for a USB-C to Lightning cable. Really? Wireless fast charging is another option, but you'll need to make sure it outputs at 7.5 watts.
3. There's a learning curve
Because Apple has ditched the Home button on the iPhone X, there's a new way to interact with this flagship. For instance, you swipe up to go back to the home screen, and swipe down from the top right to see Control Center. You also close apps differently on the iPhone X and even power off the handset differently. You'll need to give it at least a week to really get the hang of it.
4. The iPhone 8 Plus looks very good
While it's not as slick as the iPhone X, the iPhone 8sports improved dual cameras, a speedy A11 Bionic processor and wireless charging, just like Apple's super-premium flagship. The iPhone 8 Plus also costs $200 less. What the iPhone 8 lacks versus the iPhone X is the more sophisticated TrueDepth camera up front, the sharper and slightly bigger OLED screen and the X's more compact size.