My boyfriend recently traded his iPhone 7 in for an iPhone X, having been enticed by a deal from Verizon, and it went exactly as I predicted: He became utterly frustrated with Face ID, and yet inexplicably unwilling to switch back.
I had already written off getting one for myself, having seen a similar thing happen with friends and family. Initial excitement inevitably turned into irritation — because of Face ID or another 'update' that seemed like a step in the wrong direction — and that irritation turned into resentment that they now had to pay off an exorbitant bill. Then came acceptance ... or submission, perhaps.
So, I decided to use an iPhone for a few weeks, and then switch back to my iPhone 7, just to see what it was about the iPhone X that reels people in so much that, even if their experience turns sour, they have trouble going back to their old iPhone.
Here are my retrospective thoughts on the iPhone X, the smartphone people have trouble giving up on, despite its more frustrating features:
Let's start with the obvious: The camera could sway me. I knew what the specs were going into it, but it took a weekend with beautiful weather to convince me how much better (and more fun) the iPhone X's camera is than the iPhone 7's.
At first I attributed the entire iPhone X loyalty anomaly to the camera alone, but my boyfriend — whose photo roll has more work receipts than landscapes — got me thinking that there's probably more to it than the portrait-mode capability and a dual-lens camera.
The screen size and the slim bezels make the display really beautiful. Going back to my iPhone 7, I found myself holding the phone just a little closer to my face when I was emailing or reading, and the colors were less brilliant.
My eyes were able to adjust to this after a day or two, but right off the bat it was a noticeable difference — enough to deter someone trying their old iPhone after using the iPhone X for some time.
My favorite feature, which actually involves Face ID, was its ability to reveal notifications for my eyes only. On the iPhone X, "Show Previews When Unlocked" means the notification appears sans preview, and then reveals it when you unlock the screen with your face — no hands necessary.
This meant my messages were safe from wandering eyes, but I didn't have to use my hands if I got a notification while my hands were busy — this was especially helpful while I was cooking.