The iPhone X is Apple’s most important – and most expensive – new smartphone in four years, bringing with it a significant change to the design, dumping the home button to usher in a full-screen experience. Thankfully, Apple nailed it.
After four years of the company recycling the design of the iPhone 6, the iPhone X is a breath of fresh air. The beautiful OLED screen takes up pretty much the whole front of the device. It’s one of the best displays I’ve ever seen on a smartphone, and while it’s not quite as bezel free at the sides as Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Note 8 devices, it’s a giant leap forward for Apple.
Two concessions were made for the all-screen design. The most obvious is that there is no home button, axed after a decade of service. You might miss it if you have muscle memory from mashing the button every two minutes, but I don’t. There’s also no Touch ID fingerprint scanner, as it has been replaced with Face ID facial recognition technology – more on that later.
To get back to the home screen you swipe up from a line at the very bottom of the screen, which feels much more fluid and engaging than hitting a button. You’re meant to swipe up and hold to get to the stack of recently used apps, but I found it quicker and more reliable to use the BlackBerry OS 10-esque swipe up and right (or left) gesture.
The second concession is equally controversial – the so-called notch. At the top of the screen there’s a cutout in the display that houses the earpiece speaker, the selfie camera and various sensors for the TrueDepth camera system that facilitates Face ID. Those bits have to be there somewhere; most manufacturers just have a piece of the phone’s body extend left to right, squaring off the screen, which I think is a better compromise.
It’s something people will either straight-up hate, or simply not notice most of the time. My money is on the latter, even though it does look a little bit stupid when watching full-screen video.