5 Reasons Why the iPhone X is (Still) the Best Phone

There's been a lot of debate over exactly how successful the iPhone X has been since its launch last year. On the one hand, it was one of the best-selling smartphones in December 2017 worldwide, according to data tracked by Kantar Worldpanel. And yet other reports point to Apple slashing production in half for the early part of this year, citing sluggish sales. So is it a hit or a flop?

Based on Apple's fiscal first-quarter results, the company's overall iPhone sales are flat year over year, but the iPhone X has been a standout. "iPhone X surpassed our expectations and has been our top-selling iPhone every week since it shipped in November,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO in a press release.

Turns out, the most important question isn't how the iPhone X has sold, at least not for smartphone shoppers. A more critical concern is whether Apple makes the best phone and whether you should buy it. And the answers are "yes" and "yes." Here's why.

1. The Best Display

It's ironic that chief Apple rival Samsung makes the OLED panel for the iPhone X. But based on our testing and side-by-side screen comparisons with other phones, Apple's 5.8-inch Super Retina screen on the iPhone X is tops.

The colors are vibrant but also highly accurate, and the display looks brighter and offers wider viewing angles than the other top flagships.

2. Top-notch cameras

In our camera face-off between the iPhone X and  the Pixel 2, Google's phone was neck and neck with Apple's flagship and actually beat it in low light. But the dual rear cameras on the iPhone X offer more natural-looking portraits and its colors were truer and brighter in some cases.

At least for now, the iPhone X is our top camera phone. Check back once the Galaxy S9 ships.

3. Face ID beats fingerprints

It's nice that phone makers are working to integrate the fingerprint reader into the screen, but what happens when you have crumb, sweat or grease on your fingers? You're going to run into the same issues that plague today's sensors. With the iPhone X's Face ID, you just stare at your phone and swipe up. And it looks like it's going to take a while for other companies to catch up to Apple's TrueDepth camera and machine-learning techniques.

iPhone X
iPhone X

4. It's the Fastest Phone

Granted, the same A11 Bionic chip powers the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, but I'd rather pair the blazing speed of this processor with a much better looking display and design.

On both real-world tests and synthetic benchmarks, the iPhone X is miles ahead of all Android phones. And even though the Snapdragon 845 chip should close the gap when it starts appearing in new phones, leaked results point to Apple having a comfortable lead for a while.

5. Good quality control

With the exception of one prominent early bug that prevented users from operating the iPhone X in cold weather (which Apple has since  addressed with an update), there hasn't been many major complaints about Apple's flagship. Compare that to a handset like the Pixel 2, which seemingly had a new bug discovered every week in the first couple months after launch. As Vlad Savov writes for The Verge, "The absence of outrage and complaint about the iPhone X, especially in our present era where taking offense seems like the best way to be heard, is in itself a huge accomplishment for Apple."

To be fair, iOS 11 has had its fair share of problems, including security issues. But Apple has been responsive with timely updates.

Bottom Line

At $999, the iPhone X is definitely not for everyone. And it's also not perfect. With the absence of a home button, the gestures take some getting used to. And the notch at the top of the display can be an eyesore when you're using apps with a white background. But overall, Apple deserves credit for crafting a 10th-anniversary device that continues to live up to the hype.

Credit: Shaun Lucas/Tom's Guide

Mark Spoonauer

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.

  • sancho.zarraluqui
    who's paying you guys to write all this BS?
  • bjscomputer8225
    Try again the phone doesn't come with Windows 10 plus you are paying apple for the rest of your life..when I purchase a phone I would like all the specs up front especially when they cost $1000....give it up...Cheers
  • shawndugout13
    Lol...I can't stop laughing to reply??
  • elfhaven13
    Alright now, a couple of weeks ago you were singing the praises of the Samsung Galaxy S8+ or the Samsung Galaxy S8 Note so I'm confused now that it's all about iPhone again? I'm just going to go ahead and get the Samsung Galaxy S8 Note or the plus.
  • mig6220
    So the screen is better in Apple~because it's brighter? Isn't that just a matter of software? Couldn't Samsung sent a patch (or oreo) that makes it so bright, it blocks out the sun, (and burn out in 3 seconds?)
    Sammy always ran deeper and richer-apple "truer". Sounds like personal preference being made to sound like fact.
    Unlike actual resolution, which is measurably higher in the Samsung's, and not mentioned in this article.
    And will the X be the best when it's throttled back in a year (ands every year after), and you're forced to buy an $80 battery? Hmm....
  • mig6220
    does face recognition beat retina scanning, which works with "crumbs and sweat on the fingers", with sunglasses on, and in absolute darkness? Will Samsung's gigabit compatibility continue to dominate in download speeds over apple as the tech continues to evolve?
  • sosborne563
    " other reports point to Apple slashing production in half for the early part of this year, citing sluggish sales."
    Dude, it's Feb. 1, the early part of the year was was like a few weeks ago and this was only reported on the news just last week.
  • otter_sd
    So what is the 2nd (or 3rd) best phones, you know, for those to whom $999 is not realistic for a phone, i.e., the 99% group?
  • paulmambono5
    Hey ... don't believe everything you read, see or hear in today's world
  • avshmu
    Who needs:
    Customization options, advanced notifications, administrative tools, home-screen widgets, app overlays, on-screen multitasking, instant app switching, windowed apps, in-screen gestures, default app assignments, ability to change launchers (with themes and arrange-able screens), shared apps, respectable assistant, virtual reality, key mapping, removable storage, unlocked NFC, Standard Qi fast charging, to name a few...
    For that premium price you also get the following features eliminated:
    Live wallpapers, secured folders, 3.5mm jack, Always On Display and notification LED with a 'signature' unibrow (notch sound a bit better) and get a huge, ugly camera bulge at the back as a bonus.
    Almost forgot: instead of a secure Iris scanning which is widely known for its high accuracy, and utilized by most security agencies, you settle on an unproven, face recognition (that even Apple admits has serious limitations).
    Worth every penny.
    Well, my mom's caregiver is fine with that. LOL.