Apple iPhone X review

GSMArena team, 08 November 2017.

Display

The Apple iPhone X's most anticipated feature is, of course, the 5.8" AMOLED screen with HDR video support and 1125 x 2436px resolution. The resulting pixel density is 458ppi - a flagship one for sure.

The screen has a rather unusual ratio of 19.5:9, taller even than Samsung's 18.5:9.

Looking at the AMOLED under a microscope revealed a very familiar Diamond PenTile matrix, the same we know from a bunch of Galaxies.

Apple iPhone X review

But before we continue with our screen tests, let's address the elephant in the room - the screen size. Apple claims the X has a 5.8" screen... except it's not what you may imagine this to be. You can see on the official site that the 5.8" measurement is for a rectangular screen while the X has rounded corners. But that's a minor quibble; the bigger issue is that there's a cutout at the top of the screen, which limits the usable area.

Apple iPhone X review

In fact, ignoring the top portion leaves a screen that's just about 18.5:9 in aspect ratio. If you were to show 16:9 content on it - the traditional widescreen format that all TV shows and YouTube videos use - you're left with what is effectively a 4.96" screen. That's obviously bigger than the iPhone 8's but way smaller than the iPhone 8 Plus display.

Finally, if we do some math for the entire screen surface area, we'd end up with the fact that the iPhone 8 Plus has a marginally larger surface area than the iPhone X.

In short, the iPhone X offers a screen that's theoretically almost 5.8" big, but in reality, it's as big as that of the 8 Plus, though content will have to fit with margins which make it feel more like the screen on the iPhone 8.

This aside, Apple's new AMOLED screen has HDR video support and is capable of True Tone adjustments. That's an automatic white balance correction enabled by a new six-channel ambient light sensor. Once turned on, the True Tone algorithm will correct the white balance according to the ambient light and thus make the picture more comfortable and easier on the eyes. That's completely different from the blue-light filter called Night Shift.

Apple promises a maximum brightness of 625 nits, and 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio. We measured 679 nits of brightness with the slider at the far right, which is even more than promised and quite possibly the brightest OLED screen we've seen.

Display test 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Apple iPhone X 0 679
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 0.41 573 1398
Apple iPhone 7 Plus (max auto) 0.50 681 1362
Samsung Galaxy S8 0 440
Samsung Galaxy S8 Max auto 0 618
LG V30 0.002 414 207000
LG V30 (Max Auto) 0.032 616 19250
Nokia 8 0.382 703 1840
OnePlus 5 0 435
Huawei Mate 10 Pro (normal) 0 422
Huawei Mate 10 Pro (vivid) 0 440
Huawei Mate 10 Pro (max auto vivid) 0 623
Apple iPhone 8 (Standard) 0.399 566 1419
Apple iPhone 8 (Max Auto) 0.468 640 1368
Apple iPhone 8 Plus (Standard) 0.392 530 1352
Apple iPhone 8 Plus (Max Auto) 0.471 621 1318

The Apple iPhone X aced our sunlight legibility test and posted an excellent contrast ratio beating all other phones including all Samsung phones with AMOLED screens.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Apple iPhone X
    5.013
  • Samsung Galaxy S8
    4.768
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    4.658
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+
    4.615
  • Motorola Moto Z2 Play
    4.459
  • Oppo R11
    4.454
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
    4.439
  • OnePlus 3
    4.424
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    4.376
  • HTC One A9
    4.274
  • Samsung Galaxy Note7
    4.247
  • Samsung Galaxy A3
    4.241
  • Nokia 8
    4.239
  • Google Pixel 2 XL
    4.234
  • OnePlus 3T
    4.232
  • Google Pixel XL
    4.164
  • ZTE Axon 7
    4.154
  • Samsung Galaxy Note8
    4.148
  • Meizu Pro 7 Plus
    4.147
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017)
    4.124
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    4.124
  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro (normal)
    4.096
  • Samsung Galaxy Note5
    4.09
  • Google Pixel 2
    4.023
  • LG V30
    4.022
  • Huawei Nexus 6P
    4.019
  • OnePlus X
    3.983
  • Vivo Xplay5 Elite
    3.983
  • Apple iPhone 7
    3.964
  • Oppo R7s
    3.964
  • Apple iPhone 8 (True Tone)
    3.957
  • Huawei P9 Plus
    3.956
  • Meizu Pro 6 Plus
    3.935
  • Lenovo Moto Z
    3.931
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)
    3.918
  • OnePlus 5
    3.914
  • Samsung Galaxy C5
    3.911
  • Samsung Galaxy C7
    3.896
  • Samsung Galaxy A5
    3.895
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 outdoor
    3.879
  • Samsung Galaxy J2 outdoor
    3.873
  • Samsung Galaxy A8
    3.859
  • Sony Xperia XZs
    3.818
  • Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016)
    3.817
  • Motorola Moto X (2014)
    3.816
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017)
    3.812
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)
    3.804
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016) outdoor mode
    3.802
  • Xiaomi Redmi Pro
    3.798
  • LG V20 Max auto
    3.798
  • Sony Xperia XZ
    3.795
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)
    3.789
  • Apple iPhone 6s
    3.783
  • Meizu Pro 5
    3.781
  • Microsoft Lumia 650
    3.772
  • Xiaomi Mi 6
    3.767
  • Sony Xperia XZ1
    3.765
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016)
    3.756
  • Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact
    3.729
  • Apple iPhone 8 Plus (True Tone)
    3.725
  • Oppo F1 Plus
    3.709
  • Vivo X5Pro
    3.706
  • Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017)
    3.688
  • Apple iPhone SE
    3.681
  • Huawei Mate 9
    3.68
  • Samsung Galaxy A7
    3.679
  • Meizu PRO 6
    3.659
  • BlackBerry Priv
    3.645
  • Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra
    3.597
  • Apple iPhone 7 Plus
    3.588
  • LG G6
    3.556
  • Apple iPhone 6s Plus
    3.53
  • Motorola Moto Z Play
    3.526
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) outdoor mode
    3.523
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016)
    3.523
  • Acer Jade Primo
    3.521
  • Microsoft Lumia 950
    3.512
  • Oppo R7 Plus
    3.499
  • nubia Z11
    3.466
  • Huawei P10 Plus
    3.456
  • HTC U Ultra
    3.453
  • Samsung Galaxy J7
    3.422
  • Meizu MX5
    3.416
  • LG V20
    3.402
  • Huawei P10
    3.379
  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016)
    3.378
  • Oppo R9s
    3.352
  • Honor 8 Pro
    3.341
  • Oppo R7
    3.32
  • Lenovo P2
    3.316
  • Honor 9
    3.289
  • Xiaomi Mi 5s
    3.276
  • Nokia 5
    3.261
  • Nokia 6 (Chinese version)
    3.244
  • Nokia 6 (Global version)
    3.238
  • Samsung Galaxy J2
    3.235
  • Sony Xperia X Performance
    3.234
  • Xiaomi Mi Note 2
    3.228
  • Motorola Moto X Play
    3.222
  • Oppo F3 Plus
    3.218
  • Huawei Mate 9 Pro
    3.206
  • Huawei P9
    3.195
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix 2
    3.19
  • ZTE Nubia Z17
    3.159
  • Lenovo Vibe Shot
    3.113
  • Motorola Moto X Force
    3.105
  • LG Nexus 5X
    3.092
  • HTC U11
    3.089
  • Huawei Mate S
    3.073
  • Microsoft Lumia 640 XL
    3.065
  • Sony Xperia XA1
    3.012
  • Sony Xperia L1
    2.994
  • Huawei P10 Lite
    2.974
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.97
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    2.95
  • Huawei Mate 8
    2.949
  • Xiaomi Redmi 4
    2.92
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3S
    2.913
  • Sony Xperia XA Ultra
    2.906
  • LG G5
    2.905
  • HTC One S
    2.901
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3s Prime
    2.893
  • Xiaomi Mi 5s Plus
    2.884
  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium (sRGB)
    2.877
  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium
    2.877
  • Sony Xperia Z5
    2.876
  • Nokia 3
    2.871
  • Microsoft Lumia 550
    2.851
  • Lenovo Moto M
    2.813
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3 Pro
    2.803
  • Sony Xperia Z5 compact
    2.784
  • Meizu MX6
    2.751
  • LG V10
    2.744
  • Huawei Mate 10 (normal)
    2.742
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3
    2.735
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (S625)
    2.714
  • Meizu M5
    2.71
  • Sony Xperia M5
    2.69
  • Xiaomi Mi A1
    2.689
  • Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime
    2.679
  • Huawei P9 Lite
    2.679
  • Vivo V3Max
    2.659
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix
    2.658
  • Doogee Mix
    2.642
  • Xiaomi Mi 4i
    2.641
  • Xiaomi Redmi 4a
    2.635
  • Xiaomi Mi 5X (Standard)
    2.616
  • Sony Xperia XA
    2.609
  • Motorola Moto G4 Plus (max auto)
    2.582
  • Motorola Moto G4 Plus
    2.582
  • Meizu M5s
    2.58
  • Xiaomi Mi 4c
    2.574
  • LeEco Le Max 2
    2.567
  • Microsoft Lumia 640
    2.563
  • Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
    2.563
  • Xiaomi Mi Max 2
    2.561
  • Motorola Moto G 4G
    2.546
  • Lenovo Moto G4
    2.544
  • Lenovo K6 Note
    2.544
  • Oppo F1
    2.528
  • Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
    2.525
  • Huawei Honor 7 Lite / Honor 5c
    2.506
  • Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
    2.503
  • Oppo F1s
    2.481
  • Motorola Moto G
    2.477
  • Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus
    2.473
  • Huawei G8
    2.471
  • Huawei nova
    2.467
  • Lenovo Vibe K5
    2.459
  • Meizu m3 max
    2.447
  • Xiaomi Mi 5X (Auto)
    2.417
  • HTC 10 evo
    2.407
  • Huawei Honor 7
    2.406
  • Sony Xperia E5
    2.386
  • ZUK Z1 by Lenovo
    2.382
  • HTC 10
    2.378
  • Oppo F3
    2.376
  • vivo V5 Plus
    2.371
  • Meizu m1 note
    2.362
  • Huawei nova plus
    2.329
  • Razer Phone
    2.328
  • HTC One E9+
    2.305
  • Alcatel One Touch Hero
    2.272
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    2.269
  • Lenovo Vibe K4 Note
    2.254
  • Sony Xperia C5 Ultra
    2.253
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (MediaTek)
    2.249
  • Sony Xperia C4 Dual
    2.235
  • Xiaomi Mi Note
    2.234
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    2.233
  • LG Nexus 5
    2.228
  • Huawei P8
    2.196
  • Meizu M5 Note
    2.189
  • Huawei Honor 6
    2.169
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 2
    2.166
  • OnePlus Two
    2.165
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • LG Aka
    2.145
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (X20)
    2.145
  • Archos 50 Diamond
    2.134
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note
    2.119
  • Xiaomi Mi 4S
    2.095
  • Acer Liquid X2
    2.084
  • Huawei P8lite
    2.078
  • vivo V5
    2.059
  • Moto G 3rd gen max manual
    2.026
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    2.001
  • Xiaomi Mi Max
    1.996
  • Sony Xperia E4g
    1.972
  • OnePlus One
    1.961
  • Meizu m3 note
    1.923
  • Meizu m2 note
    1.892
  • BlackBerry Leap
    1.892
  • HTC Butterfly
    1.873
  • Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
    1.772
  • ZTE Nubia Z9 mini
    1.759
  • Sony Xperia U
    1.758
  • Asus Zenfone Selfie
    1.68
  • Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
    1.675
  • ZTE Nubia Z9
    1.659
  • Jolla Jolla
    1.605
  • Motorola Moto E
    1.545
  • Sony Xperia M
    1.473
  • Sony Xperia L
    1.351
  • Xiaomi Redmi 2
    1.311
  • HTC Desire C
    1.3
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Sony Xperia E
    1.215

As far as the iPhone X screen color accuracy is concerned, the screen offered one of the best in the business with an average DeltaE of 1.9 and a maximum deviation of 2.9. Few phones are as good or better than this (the iPhone 8 Plus being one of those). But the amazing thing is that the display gets to keep such level of accuracy even when you start lowering the brightness all the way down to 1.9 nits.

Battery life

The iPhone X is equipped with a non-removable Li-Po 2,716 mAh battery - about the same capacity as the iPhone 8 Plus. The Low-Power mode, which you can enable manually, should prolong your iPhone X battery life once the charge drops below 20%.

The iPhone X ships with a sluggish 5V/1A wall charger which will replenish only 20% of a dead battery in a 30-min charging session.

We also tested the iPhone X on a Qi-compatible Samsung wireless fast charger - it recharged 17% in 30 mins.

The phone supports fast charging through USB-C power delivery, you just need to buy the proper cable (USB-C-to-Lightning, $25), and use a compatible charger from a MacBook, Pixel 2, or even a USB-C port on a Mac or PC. This way you will be able to charge 45% of an empty battery in half an hour.

Perhaps the best way to get better charging speeds on the new iPhones remains using a 12W iPad charger. It's quite more reasonably priced than the 29W MacBook charger and it already comes with a Lighting cable included. It's only marginally slower than the MacBook charger because the iPhone can only charge with 15W of power at most.

Charging hurdles aside, the iPhone X posted balanced scores across the board - it can do about 19 hours of 3G calls, 9 and a half hours of web browsing on a single charge, or you can watch videos for about 12 hours. The standby endurance turned out above average and thus the very good endurance rating of 74 hours isn't a surprise.

The X scored similar scores in the 3G call and standby tests as the iPhone 8 Plus but lagged about 3 hours behind the 8 Plus in video playback and web browsing. This means the AMOLED screen is more power hungry than the LCD unit on the iPhone 8 Plus.

Apple iPhone X review

Our endurance rating denotes how long a single battery charge will last you if you use the Apple iPhone X for an hour each of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily. We've established this usage pattern so our battery results are comparable across devices in the most common day-to-day tasks. The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you're interested in the nitty-gritties. You can also check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we've tested will compare under your own typical use.

Connectivity

The Apple iPhone X support LTE Cat. 12 (up to 600Mbps down, 150Mbps up) and covers an impressively wide range of LTE bands. Regular 2G and 3G connectivity is all duly covered as well with a multitude of supported network bands.

The iPhone X also supports the latest Voice over LTE (VoLTE), HD Voice and Wi-Fi calling protocols, but those are carrier-dependent features.

Naturally, the latest Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5 standards are supported as well.

There is also support for NFC and thanks to iOS 11's new Core NFC API, the reader's functionality works for NFC tag reading besides Apple Pay. The iPhone X supports reading any NDEF formatted tag but only within an app, which can read and take action. This last requirement makes us doubtful whether this also means the iPhones will now be able to make use of the NFC-assisted pairing to various wireless peripherals and accessories, which Android users have been enjoying for ages. Unfortunately, we didn't have one handy to try it out, but we'll update this section when we grab hold of more info.

The iPhone X uses a proprietary Lightning connector for wired data transfers, charging, and audio. There is limited USB Host support - you can attach some certified accessories or access your digital camera storage via proprietary adapters sold separately. You can pair a Bluetooth keyboard with the phone should you need this peripheral.

There is no 3.5mm audio jack on board the phone, but you can use the provided Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter to continue using your favorite pair of wired headphones with the iPhone. Or go for wireless headphones.