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Review: iPhone X is great, but Pixel 2 shows how to turn it up a notch




In late October millions of people, including myself, stayed up at on a Thursday night/Friday morning to preorder the iPhone X. It's the usual story when new iPhone's preorder floodgates open up. That was my first preordering experience with Apple and it was fine. Many others had a few issues. I stayed up for the first time because this was the first time, in a long time, that Apple has made major changes to iPhone. What I had in my pocket at the time was an iPhone 7 Plus. I had the iPhone 6S Plus and the first generation Google Pixel before it. After purchasing and using the iPhone X for little over 3 months and switch back to a Pixel 2, I wanted to write about what I liked, what I didn't like, and why I switched back to Android with the Pixel 2.

Photo by Radovan Pa┼íka on Unsplash

The Hardware -- The Good

The iPhone X is sexy af. Yea, you read that correctly. From when I first opened the box and when I first placed it in my hands, it felt like I was putting a Rolex on my wrist. Though it may not have been as expensive as a Rolex, it's $1,000 price tag dressed this smartphone up to be luxurious. The glass back, stainless steel frame, and the lack of buttons on the front display reminded me just how much money I spent on this. 

Before receiving the phone, I did what most consumers did. I did a little research on the phone as it was making it's way to my front door. What I found is that there were polarizing thoughts on the "notch". Many YouTubers that received review units mentioned this before the masses could have it in theirs. The top of the phone that expresses what Apple calls, the sensor housing is what I'm referring to. The tech industry has adopted the moniker, "notch". Personally, there were times where I forgot about it and then there were times where the notch was highly perceptible. That happened mainly when watching videos and in apps with bright backgrounds. Other than that, the display on the iPhone X is big and beautiful. Watching videos, looking at photos, and reading graphic novels on this display was a great experience. 

The phone has an ingress protection (IP) rating of 67. Which means iPhone X is built to protect against the effects of immersion of dust and water to depth between 15 cm and 1 meter. I only took advantage of this when I got in the jacuzzi at my local gym. It's ok. Great that we have that feature now, but I rarely took advantage of it. 


I took some pretty good shots with iPhone X while hiking. I wouldn't consider myself a photographer, but I know how to use the tools in the camera app on iPhone pretty well. Apple marketed Portrait mode on iPhone X to be a feature that is lightyears ahead of the competition of smartphone cameras. Basically toating DSLR quality depth of field quality. That means photos can blur or darken the background of the central focus in the photo. I think the camera quality itself is fine. For most people it's ok, but it's nothing really to brag about since Google and Samsung both have phones that run circles around this camera.



The Software -- The Bad

Ok, there's only one thing that's good about iOS, the software running on iPhones. iMessage. iMessage is still the best messaging app in a pool of many messaging apps out there today. It's so easy to use with some of its rich features. With iMessage being the stock messaging app that comes on every iPhone, it allows you to share photos and videos without distortion, see if your message was delivered and read, as well as play interactive games all within the chat with the use of an Apple ID. When you get a group chat going in iMessage, it's addicting. It's habitual to unlock your iPhone to see those blue bubbles populate in your messaging thread. It was for me until shortcomings got in the way. 

Some of those shortcomings came with iOS as a whole. First, there was the autocorrect bug that was going around that would change the letter “i” to the letter “A” and a symbol. Then there's the Portrait Mode in the camera. It's a hit or miss, but I mainly place it in the miss column for a few reasons. For one, it's not even the best in its class. The Pixel 2 beats it by a long shot. Also, it's frustrating getting the feature to work. You have to get the phone at the perfect length and in the perfect lighting to use it. And even when you do take the picture, sometimes it doesn't work so you have to start the process all over again. It's a mess. You can sort of see that in the photos taken above. 

Lastly, the functionality of iOS is a mess too. With the lack of a home button on the iPhone X, you get new gesture features to operate the phone.  Going back, going back in an app, and going home are three completely different things. Clicking a link in one app could open an app that you don't want to use. Also, a lot of the times, the keyboard just decides to not work at times. One of the biggest reasons I switched back to Android is because I can choose what clicking on a link does. For example, let's say someone sends me a link in iMessage and I have the Google Chrome app installed on my phone. When I click on the link, I'm instantly taken to Safari, though I clearly have Google Chrome installed. It's a mess and prehistoric. Nevertheless, there's a full list of iOS 11 bugs floating out on the interwebs.

Why Pixel 2?


Once you break away from the peer pressure of your friend's and family's aggravation towards you becoming a green chat bubble in their messages app and (god-forbid) choose a smartphone that you actually like for things that you care about; you'll see that the grass is greener on the other side. Pixel 2 easily has the best camera features: photo and video. There's also a massively shared photo and video album that has been passed around to show off Pixel 2s amazing photo quality. 

 

 

The best smart assistant features with Google Assistant -- Siri is abysmal and just needs to either retire or step her game up. Using anything Google related is just more intuitive on Android and battery life and software stability has been straight up better on my Pixel 2. I also would like to mention I got offered $950 to sell my iPhone X and I went with it. Pixel 2 checks all of the good boxes that I stated above from the iPhone X without the shortcomings of the bad. Sure there isn't an absolutely flawless phone, but Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have inched closer to that line as an everyday phone that does all of the things that it's supposed to do. Now to wait and see if Google Allo or Android Messages takes off. 



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