Second impressions

Having a case on the iPhone X is essential, both for feeling secure and for knowing which side is which. With no bezels, no home button and glass on both sides, it’s not easy to know how to orient the thing just pulling out of your pocket. Setting aside, of course, the fact that it’s glass on both sides and dense and heavy and will smash into a bajillion pieces if dropped. The flip side, of course, is any case makes it even thicker and wider, and it was already too thick and too wide. As with the iPhone 6 before it, I chose Apple’s own leather case, because it’s not too thick and slides out of the pocket more easily than silicone.

And unless you live in the Fog Belt, you don’t need a jacket in the Bay Area before Nov 1. So the timing was perfect. But I don’t know what I’m going to do after Valentines Day, because this is a purse or jacket device. I don’t think it’s gonna work out too good in the front pocket. Just have to learn to live with it. It’s also a two-handed phone; there is simply no way to use this thing one-handed in the non-dominant hand. At least some of the controls are migrating to the bottom half so that it’s easier to use (although the two top swipes for notifications and controls are a royal PITA, they move down with the accessibility double tap) but there are still applications that don’t work quite right with the modified screen shape (looking at you, Insta).

Speaking of, I spent years clamoring for a percentage counter on the battery, but in a way I’m glad it’s not there just because maybe I won’t obsess over it quite so much. The placement of what’s in the “horns” of the display makes good sense for now, but something about the clock looks a little off. Once you get past that, though, there’s no getting around it: the screen is gorgeous. I don’t know how I’ll ever go back to non-AMOLED; the sharpness and contrast are that much further beyond the Retina display of the SE as it was beyond the 3G. And the size really hits home with every app opened, esp once they are upgraded to meet the standard. There’s still something almost fake about it, though: when the screen is lit up white and you can see the notch and the rounded corners, it looks more than ever like something someone else might have mocked up as a future iPhone design. That’s not necessarily a compliment. It will still take some getting used to.

I did go out and buy a USB-C to Lightning cable for use with my MacBook Pro charger. In a pinch, I’ll be able to jet this thing from 20% to 80% battery in a little over a half hour. Allegedly. I don’t know how good for the battery that sort of thing is, but then, I don’t know when I’ll be able to test wireless charging anytime soon (I’m not buying a mat, my car apparently doesn’t support quite this flavor of Qi, and I haven’t heard of a single Starbucks upgraded to support Qi yet, sooooo who knows).

But so far, I haven’t run back to the SE, or pulled out the iPad, or taken the Kindle to bed to read. Four days in, one-thing-to-rule-them-all is broadly feasible. We’ll see how it holds up once I start seriously torture-testing the battery life. Or taking it on a plane again. Or trying to get by all day in the city. Come to think of it, I really need to be getting on with my life. Of which.

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