As 2017’s two biggest smartphones stalk each other around the ring, circling endlessly waiting for the other to strike, it’s time for you – the consumer – to decide which one to back.
Fortunately my trusty guide will help you do just that with five cherry picked reasons to buy the iPhone X over the Pixel 2 XL. If you want to hear the other side of the debate, check out my breakdown of why the Pixel 2 XL is the better option.
Never ending screen
I’m not one to be so pernickety usually (OK, I am), but connecting the display directly to the frame – sans bezel – is quite the sight.
It’s strikingly different to Google’s flagship. And any device that still flirts with the bezel design ethos, however minimal, looks a bit, well, old hat. The iPhone X and Samsung’s Galaxy S8 look like the future, whereas the Pixel 2 XL looks like a….. phone.
The screen to body ratio is higher on the iPhone X too (82.9% to 76.4%), but has a lower ppi (pixels per inch) density than the Pixel 2. Not to mention pressure sensitivity (which adds more functionality) and HDR, both of which the Pixel 2 XL’s display lacks.
Not just any AR, Apple AR
I don’t really buy into the gimmicks that are typically bundled with smartphones these days, including AR. It’s something I’ve steadfastly refused to be excited about since I first played with the Sony Xperia’s AR ‘tricks’ all of those years ago.
But, but, it might be different this time around. Apple is backing AR in a big way (Tim Cook called the technology “profound”), and I suspect – as is the way with Apple – that it will do it properly and give us something creative.
If Apple is good at anything it’s two things, getting businesses on board with its technology and making said technology accessible to the everyday user. Those, consequently, are the two biggest hurdles for AR and Apple has – or is showing signs of – tackling both.
The IKEA partnership is a great example of this – Apple has shacked up with a huge chain and made a potentially confusing and gimmicky concept accessible and genuinely useful. Expect a lot more of this in the months to come.
No more buyers remorse….maybe
An internet connected device that holds all of your personal information and also maps and scans your face? Ha ha thanks, but no thanks.
This is how I react to any minor shift in technology that lightly brushes up against my privacy boundary. And it’s the correct response. But if we set aside the VERY REAL AND CONCERNING privacy issues around facial recognition technology (hint: you can’t), then there are some interesting potential uses here.
Firstly, unlocking your phone is only one useage. Mobile payments is another, but also future AI integration. For example, Face ID, coupled with AI, could also expand its feature repertoire to recognising facial expressions and providing content accordingly.
Imagine Face ID on your iPhone X refusing to pay out for an item at the till because it can see the regret in your face, and the buyers remorse bubbling up behind your eyes. That’s a phone we all need.
Something better than wireless charging
As is the case with AR, Apple’s first foray into wireless charging might reinvigorate the technology. Of course wireless charging has been around for Android handsets for yonks, but it will be interesting to see if Apple takes its trademark considered approach to developing the technology as it does with everything else.
The main issues with wireless charging are a) there’s still a wire involved and b) it can be quite slow. Apple may well have something special up its sleeve for when it launches its home-brand wireless base charger next year.
Cultural capital….for people that care about it
Like a diamond that will be worthless in 12 months, the iPhone X’s stock is likely to be limited and, therefore, rare.
Whilst this might not really be a compelling reason to buy it (if you’re lucky enough to actually buy one), let’s not pretend that the prestige of owning an Apple product isn’t 90% of why people buy them. Lie to others, never lie to yourself.
Given the speciality of the iPhone X in particular, and its limited stock, the cultural capital of owning one will probably make you leader of your Very Sad Clan. That or you can sell it make some serious bucks.
Things to consider
Remember when I subtly mentioned concerns about Face ID? Well that is something to consider. As we casually handover ever more personal information, we should pause and decide if a feature is worth it or necessary. Apple, for its part, has sought to assuage these privacy concerns about Face ID with a fairly lengthy white paper detailing how Face ID is safe (one of the core privacy features is that Face ID only captures a partial image of your face). I recommend you read it here.
There’s also the cost. The iPhone X, at $1000, is $150 more expensive than the Pixel 2 XL, which is a serious contender and may even have a better camera. Of course, none of this will matter when Samsung finally launches its ‘Galaxy X’ next year….
Jay McGregor is the editor-in-chief of a new documentary publication called Point. He also reports for The Guardian, TechRadar, BBC Radio and others. Follow on YouTube: youtube.com/pointreport