There are times when you have to overcome your own perceptions and built-in biases, to set aside what you know and love, and to accept change. After using the Apple iPhone X for two weeks, relying on the new phone for my daily work routine, snapping photos, unlocking with the facial recognition features, and using one to track all of my social media activity, it became quite clear: The iPhone X is the best gadget I've ever tested. (And, you should know, I've tested thousands of them over a 16-year period.) I'll make my case here for what makes it so outstanding, and you might disagree with some of the findings, but the first step is to explain why I had to unlearn a few well-established habits first.

As you may know, our brains fall into  a predictable pattern of behavior. Trust me, it's a good thing. Driving a car is the best example--few of us think about where to press with our feet to accelerate or brake, or to flip the turn signal indicator.

Since the iPhone has always had a Home button, and the power button has always been on the side of the phone (it now activates Siri), I had to test the new iPhone X for a good two weeks before I really decided if the new interface paradigm--namely, the lack of a Home button and a high-end front-facing camera--makes sense. In fact, in my initial coverage of the iPhone X, I wasn't entirely sure if the changes would work for me, especially since I've become so used to how an iPhone normally works. 

Since then, I've realized there is no other option if we want an end-to-end display. You can summarize what makes the iPhone X so compelling in two simple words: it has a brilliant screen. Sitting on my desk right now, I have multiple phones--the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, the Samsung Note 8, the i Phone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, and an older Samsung Galaxy Edge. I've been comparing them all against each other for several weeks, but the one that consistently rose above the rest in terms of screen quality was always the iPhone X. For those who are keeping track, yes the screen is made by Samsung, no that doesn't change my perception of the interface or quality. It's a combination of several factors--the amazing front-facing camera, the quick face detection, the rear-facing camera, the way iOS 11 works on the iPhone X, and the color and clarity that makes it the clear winner. You can argue that other phones have great screens and cameras, but they lack the fluidity of iOS 11 and the quick responsiveness and reliability of the hardware. Android is great, but it is not as easy to use or as quick as the iPhone X interface for most normal, daily tasks.

That's what makes the iPhone X such a smart buy, even for $999. It's not just the best smartphone, either. I'll explain why there are a few "gotchas" here and there in a moment (the aura from this glowing review isn't as bright as you think), but my overall impression after two weeks is that this is the best gadget ever made, period. It "just works" in that the phone made me more productive during the week. Netflix movies looked amazing. Every photo popped on the OLED screen in a way that makes you do a double-take. Showing the phone to several people during the two weeks, they all noted almost immediately that the screen and the photos (especially selfies) looked better than any other phone.

I knew when I started swiping up on other smartphones and an iPad that the interface paradigm was working. There's no other option. A home button on any device takes up space on the display. And, even the infamous "notch" didn't bother me after a while. How else do you have a high-quality front-facing camera for selfies and facial recognition?

Unlocking the phone became smooth and easy, too. I ended up deciding I didn't miss the fingerprint reader after all. My only slight complaint here is that, sitting on a table, you have to lean forward and look at the phone to unlock, but that's a minor issue. (Ask me again when I've done that lean forward maneuver a thousand times if it's annoying--maybe it will be.) Some swipes on the iPhone X are not as fluid, especially when you try to see which apps are open or to close them. Yet, overall, it became second nature. My other ding here is that I ended up not liking the fact that you can't just hold down the power button to see the power off slider, and accessing Siri is a little weird now. Yet, even then--I rarely ever turn off my phone anyway, and I tend to access Siri by voice.

What else is left to say? All of the other specs like battery life (all day), app availability, wireless charging, and many other features match up note for note with  the iPhone 8 and Android models. The iPhone X is the future of smartphones thanks to the display and the OS. It's not perfect, and there will be many tweaks to the interface in years to come.

For now, there's no better way to stay productive and connected in business.

Published on: Nov 27, 2017