It’s a question iPhone owners grapple with every year: Should I upgrade? This year, the question is a little more complicated than usual. Apple introduced three new devices: the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X—and many of the big upgrades, like wireless charging, are very enticing.
I didn’t plan to upgrade. I planned to go back to my iPhone 7 after using an iPhone X review unit. The smaller device has served me well over the past several months, so I saw no reason to part with it. But after using the iPhone X for two weeks, I plan to make the switch permanent.
We’ll have our review of the iPhone X to you very soon. Until then, I’ve come up with a few things I miss dearly about Apple’s latest flagship, from the TrueTone display to Animoji.
The most obvious thing to love about the iPhone X is the 5.8-inch AMOLED display, which is an absolute pleasure to look at. Not that the iPhone 7’s screen is horrible. But there’s a clear difference in quality—and the size difference is obviously vast.
I’m also missing Apple’s TrueTone technology, which uses an ambient light sensor to adjust the white balance. Not having it on the iPhone 7, everything suddenly looks much cooler, to the point where it looks like there’s a filter over the screen. TrueTone truly does make a difference in everyday use.
It wasn’t just the display. When I first started to use the iPhone X, the learning curve surprised me. Typically, you can pick an iPhone up and immediately know how to use it. The iPhone X is a little more complicated because it lacks a home button.
But after using the device for a few days, the gestures started to seem more natural. I was more confident swiping between apps and conjuring the multitasking screen. And I absolutely loved using tap to wake, which is one of those small features that makes a huge difference. It meant I didn’t have to pick the device up every time I checked the time.
The new gestures go hand-in-hand with Face ID, Apple’s new biometric technology. In my experience, it worked as well as Touch ID, though it’s not quite as flexible. What I mean by that is with Touch ID, you could unlock the device in your pocket or at a weird angle. Face ID requires more precision in order for it to work.
But I ultimately had no issue making the transition, and in fact I’ve come to prefer Face ID over a fingerprint sensor. When the iPhone X was introduced, Jony Ive argued that gestures and Face ID are more natural than mechanical buttons. At the time, I thought it was just another pretentious excuse. But he’s right.
Swiping through iOS using gestures feel like this is how it should have been from the start, and it’s a starkly different experience going back to the iPhone 7. I should note, however, that invoking Control Center on the iPhone 7 is way better, no question.
Finally, I came to appreciate Animoji, a dorky but charming feature that turns iPhone owners into cartoons. It wasn’t something I used everyday, but it was a feature that was endlessly entertaining. I became helpless against the charm of the animated poop emoji.
There are other things I miss, such as the iPhone X’s slimmer bezels, wireless charging, and more polished design. Put it this way: my iPhone 7 has lost its allure. It’s still plenty fast and takes excellent pictures. But the difference in quality, fit, and finish is very apparent.
The iPhone X’s price will be a tough pill to swallow. But, like millions of other iPhone X owners, I’m willing to pay it because of what the device offers. Apple says the iPhone X is the future of its mobile lineup, and I tend to agree. Perhaps that’s why using the iPhone 7, a device that came out last year, suddenly feels so ancient.
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