Why I Returned the iPhone X
November 10, 2017 — by Per Christensson
I feel like I broke up with a girl because someone better came along. A few days later, I missed my ex and realized my mistake. Fortunately, my ex hadn't moved on and was willing to take me back. I said goodbye to the iPhone X today and am happily reunited with my iPhone 7. ❤️
Before I explain why I didn't like the iPhone X, let me first say it is an amazing phone. Even my 7 might understand its allure. The X is easily the fastest iPhone I have used. The apps open rapidly and the scrolling is silky smooth. The resolution of the OLED screen is amazing and it has better contrast than any of my previous iPhones. The X's built-in speakers are noticeably louder and produce a fuller sound than those in the 7.
Face ID, introduced with the iPhone X, is incredible. It works in the dark and when I'm wearing sunglasses. I can be looking directly at the phone or at an angle and it still works. More importantly, it doesn't work when anyone else uses it. Face ID is an amazing technological achievement.
So why did I return the iPhone X?
There were a few things that bothered by about the iPhone X, which got more annoying over the course of the week.
1. The Notch
Let's start with that black notch at the top of the screen. It didn't annoy me as much as I thought it might, but it still did. The black bar looks fine on the home screen, but in certain apps like Mail and Safari, it looks strange. I would share a screenshot to show you what I mean, but fortunately, screenshots (taken by pressing Sleep + Volume Up) don't include the notch.
Notably, the screen is wider (longer) than a 16x9 display, so the notch does not cover standard videos. Below is a StarCraft video playing on YouTube as an example. Notice the black bars on each side of the screenshot.
2. No Touch ID
Face ID is amazing, but it's not always practical. When I'm working, my phone is almost always on my desk behind my keyboard. If I want to check something on my phone, I just tap the home button to log in. I don't even have to move my phone. With the iPhone X, I have to pick it up or lean over awkwardly and look at my phone. If I don't lean over enough, Face ID fails and I have to log in with my passcode. Call this a first world problem, but it's annoying when I do this several times a day.
3. No Home Button
This is different than no Touch ID. Since there is no home button on the iPhone X, you now have to swipe up from the bottom of the screen to go home from an app. In some apps, like Snapchat and Instagram, there is a button at the bottom of the screen, which I accidentally pressed a few times while trying to go home. Fortunately I didn't like anything by accident on Facebook, but I figured it was only a matter of time. I tried to get used to swiping to go home, but after four days, I still didn't like it.
4. The Weight
The iPhone X is a clunky phone. This caught me by surprise. While it's only slightly larger than the iPhone 7, it is significantly heavier. It felt like a brick when I was holding it. I tried to get used to the weight over the past few days, but the more I tried, the more I missed my 7. A transition from the 7 Plus to the X would be much easier. But I like a sleek phone and the X is not sleek.
- Amazing camera with portrait mode
- Bright high resolution display
- Powerful and clear built-in speakers
- Face ID works amazingly well
- No Touch ID
- No home button
- Notch on the top of the display
I've owned an iPhone since the first day the first iPhone was released. This would have been my seventh one. I felt sad as I returned the X to my local Apple Store, though I must say the store employees could not have been more friendly and helpful with the return process. I'll miss the X's dual camera (especially Portrait mode) and the built-in speaker, but that's about it.
▶ The fact that I lost all my Apple Watch activity data from the day I transitioned to the X made me a little less sad to return the phone. It abruptly ended my ~300 day stand streak and there was nothing I could do about it. I recommend syncing your Apple Watch with your new phone in the morning because even when you sync the watch with your most recent backup, you still lose all your activity data for that day. It happened again today when I reverted to the 7.
I hope I am part of a small minority of people who decide to return the X. If lots of other people feel the same way about the iPhone X, it could be a big blow to Apple. For now, I'm back with my ex (not the X) and things are good. Plus, she's slimmer and better looking. I've already told her that a few times.