Hands on with Apple’s iPhone X, iPhone 8 and Watch Series 3

Hands on with Apple’s iPhone X, iPhone 8 and Watch Series 3

Android users will no doubt mock the iPhone X, pointing to the bezel-less design of the Samsung Galaxy S8 to say Apple is playing catching up. But the iPhone X feels very different in the hand to those Android flagships.

The S8 curves away at the sides to feel impossibly thin, but with those curves comes the odd mis-tap and strange behaviour from holding the edge of the glass. Apple has gone for a more traditional flat glass design, like the LG G6, which is a win for usability over looks.

he screen itself is gorgeous, easily the best iPhone screen so far. Apple have given it the cringeworthy name of Super Retina, to describe an OLED display that features the company’s True Tone technology.

True Tone, which has been in Apple’s iPad Pros for the last two years, adapts the screen’s white balance to the lighting around you. It’s great to see this technology come to the iPhone, and it makes the display one of the best on the market.
t’s interesting how much Apple has embraced the “notch”, the little cut out at the top of the glass that holds the selfie camera and Face ID technology. This weird patch of display-less black is always there, looking back at you, on the lock screen, on the home screen, inside Apple’s apps. It’s most obvious on the white background apps like Messages, but even videos in landscape play around the notch. It sure gives the iPhone X a distinct look, and it will take some getting used to.

The edge of the iPhone X has polished chrome sides, reminiscent of an old iPod, and makes the phone feel nice and grippy in the hand. And the silver model is absolutely beautiful, that’s the one to order.

Like the Galaxy S8, the iPhone X has face unlock, but after my short time with the iPhone X, I’m comfortable saying Apple’s implementation is superior.

Samsung’s face unlock can be tricked with a photo, which is why Samsung held on to the fingerprint reader and Iris Scanner as its true “secure” unlocking methods. And despite the security flaws in the S8, I found face unlocking on that phone to be a waste of time. It failed to recognise me wearing glasses, and would fail for unknown reasons every other time beyond that.
Apple is claiming Face ID is even more secure than a fingerprint reader, and fast enough to replace my beloved Touch ID.

Apple is using 3D facial scanning — much like Windows Hello, found in high-end Windows Laptops — but this is the first time we’ve seen the technology small enough to fit into a phone.

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are more incremental upgrades over the 7 series. The design looks identical to Apple’s previous few iPhones, with a few small differences. Apple has returned to a glass front and back design, the first time since the iPhone 4S, and it makes the phone far less slippery in the hand. This could be the first iPhone in a long time I’d feel comfortable using without a case.

The screen is much better than that of the 7. The iPhone 8 also features True Tone technology and a wider colour gamut. The displays looks slightly brighter than my iPhone 7, but it’s hard to make a firm judgement in such a controlled environment.

The cameras in the iPhone 8 are also improved from the 7, but again, it’s hard to put them to the test in Apple’s demo area.

The new Apple Watch Series 3 looks identical to the previous Apple Watches, save for a red dot on the crown. That in itself is a pretty neat trick, considering the Watch now has its own network connectivity, so you can make calls and stream music directly to the Watch.

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