r0k's informal iPhone X review

Discussion in 'iOS / iPhone' started by r0k, Nov 22, 2017.

  1. r0k

    r0k Dazed

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    I ordered my iPhone 10 (X) on October 27 at about 9am eastern or about 6 hours after ordering went live at midnight pacific time. The delivery estimate showed Dec 7-16 so I threw it out of my mind and focused on other things like training for the New York marathon and midterm exams. After the marathon, I got pretty sick. It turns out I had a Upper Respiratory Infection (URI) and it hung on for 2 weeks. During this time I did very little running and a lot of staying up all night trying to figure out how to stop coughing and blowing my nose. One afternoon, I was feeling well enough to go out so I went over to the local Apple Store to talk to someone at the Genius Bar about how I could cram 80GB of stuff that was on my iPhone 7 onto my new 64 GB iPhone X. Since 50 GB of that was photos and I had iCloud Photo Library turned on, it was all backed up so all I had to do was turn off my old phone and turn on my new one and everything would come back. That 50 GB of photos would not all be forcefed to my new phone but it would rather come down as thumbnails.

    The very next day, I got an email that my order status had gone from "processing" where you can still cancel it to "preparing for shipment." This meant I could expect my phone well before the original promise date and sure enough, when I checked online the date had improved from Dec 7-16 to Dec 1-8. A day or so later I checked UPS tracking and my phone had left Foxconn and was awaiting US Customs clearance in China. The date had improved again and was now 11/24.

    Over the next couple of days, the date went to unknown while the phone awaited clearance. Then I saw the phone had a scan in Anchorage, AK but the date was still showing unknown. Clearly the phone was going to beat the Friday estimate and would likely arrive Tuesday 11/21. About half a day later the site updated again and showed the phone would arrive Monday 11/20 2-4pm. I paid UPS's $8 fee for a guaranteed 2 hour delivery window and they showed up on time.

    I started by calling AppleCare from my landline. I wanted to go through the setup with them on the phone because even though the Genuis Bar told me everything would be just fine, I didn't want to take any chances. The support guy stayed on the phone with me while I turned on the new phone, with the old phone still powered on. The new phone woke up and failed to get on Verizon's network. At his suggestion, I selected "try again" and this time it succeeded. I now got a phone call on my new phone. I always get calls at inopportune times. I answered and told them I was busy and hung up so we could finish the setup. Basically all I had to do was log in to iCloud and let the phone bring down all my stuff. This took less than an hour. All my apps were still showing as plain white icons but at least they were going to download over the next few hours so I followed his instructions to take my sim out of my old iPhone 7, wipe the phone and pack it up for trade in.

    I was up and running very quickly. All my contacts were there. I remember my very first Apple device experience when I got a "free" iPod Touch when I bought my son a Macbook Pro in 2009 when he went away to college. All my contacts were on the thing before I left the Apple Store. The same was true with my iPhone X. All my contacts were on the phone within minutes of logging in to iCloud. I had skipped setting up FaceID because I expected it to take a long time like training TouchID. Not so. Setting up FaceID takes a minute or two. Now I was able to unlock my phone by looking at it. I headed out the door to go to class and once I got on the campus wifi and signed in, all my apps started showing up again. Before class was over, I had all my apps back on my phone except the ones I rarely use and those had little cloud icons next to them so I could tap them to download if I ever wanted to use them. I checked and all my photos were there as well. All were there as thumbnails and I went and viewed the ones that are favorites to force the full res versions to be downloaded to my phone. I went from 80 GB of 128 GB used to 30 GB of 64 GB used and as far as I could tell nothing was missing. The cloud allowed me to save the extra money it would have cost to buy the 256 GB version of the iPhone X.

    The main reason I switched to iPhone X was to get rid of TouchID. I have a love-hate relationship with TouchID because it doesn't work well in the rain. This was not a relevant topic until Apple started making water resistant iPhones and now I care about being able to unlock the thing and use it during a long run in a downpour when my fingers are all crinkly from being wet. Last night I went for a run in the rain in downtown Rochester. They put christmas lights on all the downtown buildings for about a mile and it is impressive to look at. At first it was raining quite hard as I drove to the run and I was worried that it would be a real soaker. By the time we went out to run, it had mostly stopped raining but there was still a fine mist. I got in with the lead group of younger runners who were doing a brisk pace because I wanted to strain my system to see if I could bring on bronchial spasms by running too hard. To my great relief, I did almost 5 miles at a sub 9 minute pace without any respiratory symptoms at all. Just as the doctor had told me, I really was getting over the URI I came down with at the New York marathon.

    Sadly FaceID failed a couple of times in really dark places. I really wish Apple would allow us to assign the camera to a hardware button. They have double tap the sleep wake button for Apple Pay but they don't allow the user to reassign double tap to camera. I did try a long press and I said "Siri, take a picture" The camera app opened so at least that works. I was also able to unlock my phone with the passcode and get to the camera that way. There is a way to get to the camera from the lock screen. You have to hold the camera icon. Holding an icon is something that is incredibly hard to do during a 20+ mile run. Either my hands are too sweaty for the touchscreen to work properly or I'm running at such a pace that stopping to hold an icon throws off my pace and my heart rate. Lastly, pressing and holding the sleep/wake button might not do either because I don't know how well Siri would be able to recognize my voice in the middle of a marathon at a place like Hurricane Point. A hardware button is really the right choice for this situation.

    One down side to the notch is I don't get a numerical battery percentage display. I really don't like a picture. I'd rather have a number. I found out I can swipe down from the top right to open control center and a percentage comes up. I guess that will have to do.

    Another reason I bought the iPhone X is my tired old eyes. I want a "plus" size screen but I don't want to lug around a "plus" size phone. I took a picture at Best Buy of an Iphone X, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone 8 side by side. The text on the iPhone 8 is tiny. The text on the iPhone 8 plus is larger and more readable and the text on the iPhone X is closer to that of the iPhone 8 Plus than the iPhone 8. Everything is larger and easier to see. I love the screen. When I went to the Apple Store the other day, I looked at the iPhone 8's and they now look "old" to me because they have such massive 1/2 inch bezels above and below the display and large bezels to the left and right of the display as well. This iPhone 8 and previous industrial design is a throwback to the original iPhone design and others like Samsung have raised the bar. Iphone displays had been outclassed... until iPhone X.

    Using the iPhone X was an easy adaptation for me. I didn't realize how tired I was of the Home Button until it was gone. The line at the bottom of the screen annoys some users but for me it is a visual aid to remind me a swipe from the bottom closes the current app. Perhaps they will take the line away in future releases of iOS but for now as a new iPhone X user, I like having it there. I wonder if Steve Jobs would have blocked the release of iPhone X with the notch. I have to admit it looks awkward but I can only imagine that getting the faceID sensors to work "through" a display would have taken a few more years of development. I wouldn't want to wait that long for increased display to phone body ratio. Good choice, Apple!

    I've read the iPhone X is very fragile and repair of a cracked back can cost over $500. Yikes! I bought the Apple leather case, which is the same style case I had for my iPhone 7. I'm quite happy with it. I thought about a Zagg invisible shield or other screen protector but I haven't done anything about it yet.

    I used my phone with my in-vehicle Apple CarPlay radio and it worked as flawlessly as my iPhone 7 did.

    I picked up a Samsung wireless charger for $30 at Microcenter and my phone went from 70 to 78 percent charge in half an hour just sitting there. I'm glad Apple finally has wireless charging. I thought about "fast" charging but I think I won't be needing it. If I have wireless chargers in places in the house where I sit to work, I should have a phone that is almost always topped off. I'm sure my next car will have a wireless charging pad as well. For now, I don't mind plugging in the car because I want to use CarPlay anyway. Of course wifi CarPlay is coming one of these days but very few cars get software updates to keep up with the newest Apple features.

    I had to resize these images to get Brighthand to accept them. Here are the iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone 8 side by side all showing the same web site. I'd much rather read the text on the X or 8 Plus than the text on the 8 (which is the same size as the iPhone 7 I was coming from). My first iThing was an iPod touch which was not much more resolution than a Blackberry or Palm Treo. :eek:
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    Here is a photo of Rochester at night taken during my run. I'm very happy with the camera on the iPhone X at night...
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    Here is a photo of my shrimp burrito lunch. I'm very happy with the camera on the iPhone X indoors...
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    Last edited: Nov 22, 2017
  2. jigwashere

    jigwashere Life is a circus!

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    Looks like a delicious burrito!
     
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  3. lelisa13p

    lelisa13p Your Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    Good post! :thumbsup: 1) Rochester looks lovely at nite, all dressed up and 2) Your lunch is making me drool and I'm not even hungry right now. :vbsmile:
     
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  4. Masterchief

    Masterchief Superfluous Moderator Super Moderator

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    Good stuff r0K. Thanks for the insight. If you could add any features to the X to make it 'more revolutionary', what would you add?
     
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  5. r0k

    r0k Dazed

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    Apple isn't nearly as stingy with features as Palm once was but wireless charging is an example of a feature where Apple dragged their feet for a long time. One thing I'd like to see is improved Siri performance. I broke down and purchased two Amazon speakers this year. I have found Alexa to be flawless in recognizing what I say. Siri, not so much.

    I do wish Apple would allow users to reassign buttons. I'd much rather have double click of the wake button to bring up the camera than to bring up Apple Pay. I can bring up Apple Pay without touching anything by placing my phone near a terminal when I'm shopping. In my opinion, because there is a way to bring up Apple Pay without a button press, it's a wasted button assignment and not allowing end users to reassign it makes it that much worse. We can shut it off, why can't we assign it to the app of our choosing?

    I would prefer having a phone that's not so fragile. I wouldn't mind if the back was plastic as long as I didn't have to worry about dropping my phone leading to a $500+ repair. Of course, I'd like to have the headphone jack back as well. Taking the headphone jack away was not a big win for anybody but people trying to sell dongles. At least I can listen with lightning headphones while charging wirelessly but that's not a solution that works for walking around. I must admit that music is an afterthought for me for iPhone. My first iThing was an iPod Touch. I didn't get it as a music player. I got it as an ereader and I installed Amazon Kindle software on the thing right away. I read Lord of the Rings on an iPod Touch to prove to myself it was a viable ereader. I've been using my iPhones, my iPads and an Amazon Kindle paperwhite for reading ever since.

    I prefer paper books just like I prefer a DSLR camera to an iPhone. But just like the best camera in the world is the one you have in your pocket when you see bigfoot, the best book in the world is the one you can pull out and read in the doctor's office when you find yourself with an unexpected wait.

    I have my phone set to wake when I raise it and ignore screen touches when it's off. I did this because I found myself hanging up on phone calls when putting the phone back in my pocket during a call. Since I have a bluetooth earpiece, I don't like having my phone in my hands during a call but putting it away when "touch to wake" turned on can lead to unexpected behavior. This was one advantage of a home button. Perhaps Apple could modify this setting to ignore screen touches during a call. This way I could put my phone away without worrying about it waking up the screen when all I'm trying to do is put it away. I have a new Garmin watch. It has two sets of settings for notifications. I can get notifications for "calls only" during a run and all notifications when I'm not running. This morning, before I discovered this setting, my watch pestered me to go to an appointment while I was out running. And I do mean pestered. I only ran 6 miles but I bet I saw over 10 popups a mile reminding me to be somewhere else. Technology can be wonderful but when it's misbehaving, it can really be awful. Garmin figured this out and allowed me to mute this nonsense for the next time I'm out running. I wonder how long it will take Apple to figure out that "touch to wake" is a bad idea during a phone call?
     

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