Apple has three new iPhones this year: the iPhone X, the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus.

While all of them run on iOS and have identical hardware inside, only one of them feels genuinely new and that is the iPhone X.

It has a fresh new “all-screen” design (with a notch!), it has a new gesture-driven interface, and it has Face ID. And its price starts at $1,000.

How does it feel using it in comparison with the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus? Are there any differences in actual performance, camera quality and battery life? We’ve spent the last few days living with these three iPhones to find out.

Design

Big screen, compact body and a stunning design on the iPhone X almost made us forget the notch. The 8 and 8 Plus feel a bit boring.

For years now, we’ve had the small iPhone and the “plus” model, an oversized 5.5” phone bigger than most other big phones. What was sorely missing was a mid-sized option, a model with a larger screen, but one that does not feel too big to carry around in a pocket. The iPhone X fits that spot perfectly. And its size might be one of the biggest advantages of a device that you carry with you every day.


Here is the actual physical sizes of all three:

  • iPhone 8: 5.45 x 2.65 x 0.29 inches (138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mm)
  • iPhone X: 6.24 x 3.07 x 0.30 inches (143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm)
  • iPhone 8 Plus: 6.24 x 3.07 x 0.30 inches (158.4 x 78.1 x 7.5 mm)

The iPhone 8 Plus is also the heaviest of them all. It weighs 7.13 oz (202 g), which makes it less comfortable to carry in a pocket. The iPhone X weighs a more reasonable 6.14 oz (174 g), while the iPhone 8 is the lightest and most comfortable to carry in a pocket at 5.22 oz (148 g).

Another interesting change in the iPhone X is that it has a super-sized lock button on the right side. We find this very convenient: it’s easier to find and press, and is just more convenient for a button that you press tens or hundreds of times each day.

We also like the shiny stainless steel frame of the iPhone X, a distinct element over the matte aluminum finish on the 8 and the 8 Plus. All phones have a stylish glass back, but you only have two colors - gray and silver/white for the X, while the 8 and 8 Plus also have a stylish gold finish.

All three new iPhones carry IP67 water and dust protection rating. There is no difference in the level of water protection between them: all can withstand immersion in up to 3-feet deep water for as long as 30 minutes.

Of course, the biggest difference between these three iPhones is the display: the “all-screen” iPhone X is a stark contrast to the big bezels on the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus (but more on that later).

Apple iPhone X

Apple iPhone X

Dimensions

5.65 x 2.79 x 0.3 inches

143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm

Weight

6.14 oz (174 g)

Apple iPhone 8

Apple iPhone 8

Dimensions

5.45 x 2.65 x 0.29 inches

138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mm

Weight

5.22 oz (148 g)

Apple iPhone 8 Plus

Apple iPhone 8 Plus

Dimensions

6.24 x 3.07 x 0.3 inches

158.4 x 78.1 x 7.5 mm

Weight

7.13 oz (202 g)

Apple iPhone X

Apple iPhone X

Dimensions

5.65 x 2.79 x 0.3 inches

143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm

Weight

6.14 oz (174 g)

Apple iPhone 8

Apple iPhone 8

Dimensions

5.45 x 2.65 x 0.29 inches

138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mm

Weight

5.22 oz (148 g)

Apple iPhone 8 Plus

Apple iPhone 8 Plus

Dimensions

6.24 x 3.07 x 0.3 inches

158.4 x 78.1 x 7.5 mm

Weight

7.13 oz (202 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page



Face ID vs Touch ID



Since it’s all screen on the front, there is no home button on the iPhone X and there is no Touch ID fingerprint scanner either. Instead, to securely unlock your phone, you have Face ID, a brand new system that scans your face and recognizes if it’s you or not.

How does Face ID work?

Face ID is a system completely integrated in the front camera panel, the so called notch. In it is more than just a camera for selfies, but also an infrared light and a dot projector. Here is how it works: you lift up your phone and the camera looks for a face (if it’s dark, the IR light flashes to let the camera see in the dark). If the camera detects a face, the dot projector projects some 30,000 dots onto your face, creating a complete 3D map of your face. The result of this 3D scan is sent to a secure chip on the iPhone (the scan of your face is never sent online) where it is compared to the face that you have already registered. If there is a match, a tiny icon on the iPhone X lockscreen unlocks and you just swipe up from the bottom to unlock the phone. This all happens in a split second: the idea is that you just lift up the phone and swipe up, you don’t need to wait to see the lock icon unlock, it all should happen in the background. If your face is not recognized, you will feel a slight vibration and after about a second, you will get to type your PIN code to log in.


Apple say Face ID is much more secure than the older Touch ID fingerprint recognition system. The chances of cracking Face ID are 1 in a million versus 1 in 50,000 for Touch ID, according to Apple. And since Face ID uses a 3D scan, you cannot just show the phone a photo of its owner and fool it into unlocking. However, we have already seen cybersecurity firm Bkav create a $150 mask that can successfully fool Face ID, so as any system, this one is not perfect either.

We have also compared Face ID vs Touch ID speeds. And while Face ID is impressively accurate for a brand new security system, we feel like Touch ID works more often and unlocks the iPhone a bit faster.

Display

OLED shows the finest colors, it looks stunning. But we need more time to know whether it will suffer from burn-in. iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have reliable and great-looking LCD screens.


The iPhone X is the first bezel-less screen in an iPhone and the first one using OLED technology instead of the traditional LCD used on all other iPhones, including the 8 and the 8 Plus.

First, let’s make one thing clear: the iPhone X has a 5.8-inch screen, but its actual area is smaller than the 5.5-inch iPhone 8 Plus. The reason for this is the different aspect ratio: the 8 Plus has a traditional 16:9 orientation, while the X features a taller, 2.17:1 proportion. You can read a detailed explanation of this here.

In real life, this means that when you watch videos on the iPhone 8 Plus, you will be able to see a lot more than on the X. In longer lists or web pages, though, the new iPhone X is able to show more content.

What about the smallest of them all, the iPhone 8? It has a 4.7-inch 16:9 LCD screen that shows less information than both others. However, if you deal with apps that are not yet optimized for the iPhone X and still show up in 16:9 orientation with black bars on the top and bottom, you have about the same screen space on the X and the iPhone 8.

Here is a detailed look at which screen fits more content in real life!

What about colors?


What you don’t find in a spec table is how well screens show color. The iPhone X with its new OLED screen has a few advantages over the 8 and 8 Plus: it has more vibrant colors, deeper blacks and better contrast, all combining together for more impressive visual qualities, albeit not by a huge margin. Its screen is also noticeably brighter and more visible outdoors. But it also has a few downsides: if you tilt the phone you will notice a slight shift in colors towards the blue gamut. This is not a huge issue as it is on the Google Pixel 2 XL, but it’s more noticeable than on the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. Then, there is one other possible issue: burn-in.

What is burn-in?


Burn-in is an issue that affects OLED displays. Since OLED screens illuminate every single pixel individually, if you do show bright colors in one area, the pixels there can “burn out”. This means that if you leave a black-and-white checkerboard as the wallpapers on the iPhone X for a few weeks, and then change the image to something else, those white squares will “burn in” and will be slightly visible all the time! Apple says it has taken pre-cautions, but admits that no OLED display is immune to burn-in issues. How long does it take until burn-in appears? We see no traces of burn-in on our iPhone so far and no other reports about it, so we hope for the best.

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus with their LCD screens do not suffer from such issues.

Interface

iOS 11 with and without gestures.

For the first time in years, Apple is criticized for iOS 11 coming with some performance issues. This, however, applies to older iPhones, while the newest iPhone X, 8 and 8 Plus run about as buttery smoothly as in the past. Apple is working on fixing issues for older iPhones, but you won’t see any slow-downs with its newest iPhones.

All three iPhones run iOS 11, but the big difference is in the way you navigate around: you use the home button on the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, while on the iPhone X you have new gestures for everything. Here is a quick run-down of the gestures you need to know about:

  • Swipe up from the bottom to go to the home screen
  • Swipe up from the bottom and pause halfway for Multitasking
  • Long press a card in the Multitasking view and then swipe it up or press the little red button to force close an app. Tap anywhere on the bottom part to go back to the home screen
  • Swipe left or right on the bottom part (the home indicator line) to quickly switch between most recent apps
  • Swipe down from the top right corner (“ear”) for Control Center
  • Swipe down from any other place at the top for Notification Center

It took us a couple of days to get used to this navigation, but it feels reliable and fluid, and it does not waste any screen space for on-screen keys (like Android does), so gestures do seem like a great solution for an “all-screen” phone like the iPhone X.

Do we miss the home button? Not much, quite honestly. This is all because Apple has implemented the gestures in iPhone X well enough and they work reliably.

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47 Comments

6. NickHill

Posts: 388; Member since: May 07, 2016

And the iPhone wins.

11. disatrousrainbow

Posts: 65; Member since: Oct 24, 2015

Okay, time to get these comments back on track. I went Pixel, Pixel 2, iPhone 8, and now iPhone X this year and here are my thoughts. If you don't care about having an all-screen phone, you're OS-agnostic, and you just want a phone, go with the Pixel 2 or iPhone 8. You'll save yourself a lot of money and you won't be missing out. If you want a device that makes you feel like you're in an exclusive club on the cutting edge of technology in the same way only a small number of devices have in the past have (think original iPhone, Palm Pre, HTC Evo 4G) then get the iPhone X.

15. blackhawksnip3r

Posts: 2; Member since: May 31, 2011

The negativity is so done... Stop hating and just move on. If you dont like a phone then keep your negative comments to yourself. As far as the pride and dignity... If thats how you really feel then you must be one of those people you refer to... Having an opinion and being allowed to purchase whatever device or electronic is your right. Its called free will... Like what you like and stop encroaching on other peoples choices. I have had an iPhone for the past 2 years and was android since the beginning. I didn't buy it because its an iPhone or because of some trend. I'm actually a repair tech and had never owned an iDevice in my life... the 6S Plus was my first. I do miss the customization options android offered but I'd much rather have the reliability and stability that iOS offers. I'll probably never go back to android because the eco-system is too good how well the products work together such as my iPad and phone. Android doesnt do that. But irregardless of how i feel i don't shame or speak down to android users... trolls belong in caves..

31. dufis

Posts: 79; Member since: Jun 27, 2014

i like iphone 8 not x

35. ColinW

Posts: 412; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

All three are flawed so I would not recommend any. The 8 has an outdated design, too small a screen and is not flagship standard, the 8+ also has an outdated design and is far too big and heavy. The X attempts to put the failings of these two right, but does not succeed as is still is clearly work-in-progress.

38. darkkjedii

Posts: 31322; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

X all the way. No way would I get the 8 over the X.

40. JohnR

Posts: 158; Member since: Sep 08, 2017

8 screen won’t burn in.

41. darkkjedii

Posts: 31322; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Well duhhh...it's LCD.

47. Vorst

Posts: 2; Member since: Nov 20, 2017

I have used the iPhone 8 plus for 6 weeks. I switched to iPhone X and I'm know on my 3rd day of use. So far that is my conclusion (I need more time to get a correct iPhone X experience). But what battery live is concerned, there is no comparison. The iPhone 8+ battery is unbelievable. In some cases I still had 65% battery at the end of the day with moderate use. Even by using hotspot, 2 hours conference calls with speaker on and others calls, emails, web browsing and still had 30% left before going to bed. Now that I have iphone X, the last 2 days battery went out just before going to bed. I never had this with the iphone 8+. I didn't do that super heavy stuff during the day yet (like using google maps for 2 hours in car without battery charge and other stuff). The iphone X has great stuff, phase ID is the future, believe me. The OLED screen is better, the speaker sound is in pair with the iphone 8+ (I used one of my friends S8 for speaker phone, this is so bad in comparison with the new iPhones). But although the iPhone 8+ is more unpleasant in your hand, because of it size. The iPhone 8+ has the also a good LCD screen, super speedy and incredible battery live. It never lets you down in heavy use. I keep the iphone X for another week but if the battery performance doesn't improve (sometimes it takes a few charge cycles to get the optimal performance) I go back to the 8+. , but for now battery performance give me peace of mind when I'm traveling. It will be a hard decision to leave the iphone X face ID technology behind and having a smaller device, but if you ever tasted that 8+ battery live, you never want anything less.

49. path45th

Posts: 407; Member since: Sep 11, 2016

I opted for an iPhone 8plus 64 GB Which was 950 dollars in my country - after taxes. No regrets. I have never regretted any of the iPhones or other Apple devices so far. I tried once a Samsung s5 and I got bored within a week mostly due to Android. The phone itself was great but it would be better if run iOS or having all those free Apple apps like pages or iMovie.

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