I am in San Jose at the moment, recovering from a mad day of covering the 12th September 2017 Apple keynote at Apple's HQ, Apple Park. And since I am still jet-lagged and awake at 2.30am, I thought I would write my thoughts on the iPhone 8 series vs the iPhone X.
I am sure you by now, you have seen or read about the Apple keynote, and questions are flying around.
Questions like, where is iPhone 9?
Dunno man, maybe 9 sounded too much like Dog in Cantonese. Microsoft Windows also skipped 9 and went from 8 to 10, to be fair. Poor number 9. Nobody likes 9.
Or questions like, how many kidneys do I need to afford the iPhone X 256GB?
To be fair, the prices out there are without contract, so you are forking out S$1,888 for the iPhone X up front unless you don't plan to get it from the telcos.
Also, do remember that this is for a 256GB model. When the top-of-the-line 256GB model of the iPhone 7 Plus came out in 2016, it wasn't cheap either, selling at SGD1,588 without contract.
And finally questions like, is the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus good enough or should I wait for the X?
That is a the golden question, isn't it?
The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are fine phones, and they are a significant upgrade from the iPhone 7 series (wireless charging being one of them). They are essentially the matured second-gen models of the 7 and 7 Plus, and you should see the 8 series as such.
If you own a 6 series or 6s series, the 8 series is a nice jump.
But the iPhone X. It is not a jump. It is a leap in iPhone design.
Besides Face ID, I am looking forward to the X because of the gorgeous Super Retina screen that displays HDR. The entire phone is all screen. And because of that, it has a bigger screen but smaller body than the 8 Plus.
The 8 series HD Retina screen is an LCD IPS screen while the X screen is the latest OLED screen. The OLED screen of the X has darker blacks and better resolution and colour. I've seen it in person and that screen, oh so nice.
My only gripe is the little notch where the TrueDepth camera is. When you watch a movie at full screen, you have that little notch there blocking it a little. I hope Apple has a mode that lets me shrink my movie screen to just below the notch. (Update: The TrueDepth camera will not get in the way when watching a movie in regular aspect ratio, so you'll be fine. Only when you go full-screen and wrap the movie to the edge of the screen does the notch block part of your movie.)
Also, the cameras of the X are BOTH optically stabilized too. On the 8 series, only the Wide angle one is.
The tele lens of the X is f2.4, slightly better than the f2.8 aperture of the tele lens of the 8 Plus and 7 Plus series.
Face ID is very cool tech too. I know other smartphones have had Face Recognition before, the implementation of it isn't as sophisticated as the iPhone X's. It recognizes you with or without your glasses, or if change your hair.
It won't unlock if someone uses your face while you're sleeping (because your eyes need to be open). Though I cannot say if Face ID will be thrown off if you go for drastic plastic surgery.
Face ID isn't fooled by a photo of you. And, this is important, it doesn't send your facial info to any servers out there.
The entire facial recognition is done in-device. Apple went through a whole lot of trouble to design a neural engine — the A11 Bionic chip, and additional software, to do keep the Face ID processing within the iPhone X instead of handing it off to a cloud. So no, Apple doesn't store a copy of your face on their servers.
Because of that TrueDepth camera on the X that Face ID uses, you will also be able to do Portrait mode with BOTH the back and the front cameras. The 8 series can only do Portrait mode with the main camera. With the X, your selfies will be macam got bokeh.
Portrait Lighting, the advanced version of Portrait mode, will also work on both cameras of the X. Meaning your selfies can also have dramatic lighting.
The Animojis are very fun to do too. Only the X can currently send Animojis because it needs the TrueDepth selfie camera to read your face. I'm so going to send my wife messages with the talking chicken.
Finally, battery life. The X has a longer battery life (partly because of the OLED screen). It is rated at 2 hours more than an iPhone 7. Assuming the 8 series is about the same battery life as the 7 series, that makes the X the battery life king. And who doesn't like more battery life?
So there you go. My early thoughts on the iPhone 8 vs the iPhone X debate. I like the entire new lineup but if you ask me, is the X exciting to me? Yes, it is.
The X had me at Hello, I can read your face.
Related: Kim Huat's take on the new iPhone 8, 8 Plus and iPhone X.
(Photos are all mine, don't take without asking.)