My first day with an Apple iPhone X

OPINION: In the early hours of this morning my other half was in bed with first a pig, then a monkey and finally a unicorn. They were all sending him love messages full of snorts, hoots, neighs and winks. (Does a unicorn neigh?)

He wasn't very appreciative, as you can imagine, but I was 'working'. I was testing out the new features of the iPhone X, which I've had for the past 24 hours.

Yes, I'm starting this review with the new feature that will likely seal the deal for many iPhone enthusiasts. It's the Animoji, the feature that lets you send silly faces and short clips of your emotions to friends using the phone's face sensors. iMessage has been good. This is another level.

Of course, there's a far more serious reason for the face sensors called Face ID. It unlocks your phone by recognising your face. That's not all; it also lets you sign into some apps and pay for purchases.

In fact, the whole iPhone X experience is built around Face ID, which maps some 30,000 points on your face. Once I'd scanned my face, which took a couple of seconds of rotating my head, I was able to unlock the phone.

Various disguises, including my daughter's witch's hat and wig from Halloween, didn't trick the phone. Apparently, I could even grow a beard and it would still work. Now that would be interesting. Unlocking my phone with my face in the dark this morning was also pretty cool. It works nine times out of 10. At the moment I'm still getting used to how close to hold it to my face. What's good is the info is only stored on the phone's A11 Bionic chip.

The iPhone X's OLED display is huge yet it's still a handy pocket size.
The iPhone X's OLED display is huge yet it's still a handy pocket size. Photo credit: Supplied

The weirdest thing to get handle on is the lack of home button. It's gone. Instead, there's a new system of navigation gestures. You need to swipe up from the bottom to get the home screen. I keep forgetting it's not there and I've been holding my thumb really weirdly to swipe up. This will take some getting used to but I do like it.

Taking the home button away means there are new combinations you need to remember. For example, you turn off the phone by holding either side of the volume buttons and the sleep button for several seconds and then sliding to power down.

The iPhone X is rather beautiful to look at and I love the size. I've never been a fan of big phones because they don't fit some pockets, but the iPhone X is small with a huge 5.8" OLED display instead. The only issue is that it might take a while for some apps to catch up. Those haven't been updated have huge black borders, and those that have in some cases still have a notch on the side of the screen.

The display is very sharp and vibrant with Apple's True Tone system which automatically adjusts colour temperature to ambient light. Photos are displayed in a wider colour gamut and there's Dolby Vision HDR support.

The glass front and back make the phone attractive as well as functional. The iPhone X (like the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus) can now charge wirelessly. About time too, although I have to be honest I still plug them in.

The phone's camera is a deal breaker for many people. I'm the world's worst photo taker so I'll leave it to the experts to decide what they think, but it's worth noting that both the 12 megapixel telephoto and wide angle lenses have optical image stabilisation and the front camera can take portrait mode selfies. Hooray! I can look normal in photos now.

At $1,799 for the 64GB and $2099 for 256GB, the iPhone X is definitely not a purchase for the faint-hearted.

Not that Apple is likely to mind. When pre-orders started they crashed the websites of the various telcos. It goes on sale in NZ tomorrow.

In my humble opinion? If you like Apple phones and you're ready for an upgrade for the latest and greatest, you will absolutely love this one. Just try to ignore the hole being burnt in your pocket.