November 18, 2018
It was seven years ago when I opened the box to my brand-new iPhone 4S. It was a magical moment, full of wonder and awe, at a time when smartphones were really starting to become capable little machines with the capacity to enhance our lives and hold our attention at ransom. This was the first time I had ever bought a brand-new iPhone, and by any definition you could have called me an Apple fanboy. I was soon obsessed with jailbreaking and tinkering with these devices. It quickly became known around my school that if you needed a phone unlocked or a screen fixed, I was your guy.
However, it didn’t take long for iOS to feel kind of dull, even with all the customizations that jailbreaking brought. Not six months after buying that iPhone, I would go on to trade it for a Samsung Galaxy Nexus and enter the world of rooting and loading custom ROMs, only sometimes checking in to see what iOS was up to. I personally was not a fan of the limitations put in place by Apple on a device that I owned. Considering myself a “power user” (read: nerd) at the time, I found the limitless potential of Android refreshing.
Now don’t get me wrong. Though I’ve had my qualms with Apple for years, I’ve always found their operating systems to be intuitive and honestly designed with the user in mind. Over the years I have watched from the outside as Apple slowly started to figure out what exactly its users wanted. To believe that Apple is still at the forefront of innovation would be disingenuous. Instead, they have shifted their strategy to one of patience, taking the time to let others make mistakes first while slowly perfecting the technology and releasing it once mature. Examples of this include Apple Pay, Touch ID, Face ID, wireless charging, dual cameras, and the list goes on. A lot of features were blatantly stolen from Android and the Jailbreak community, none of which I have a problem with, but feel it should be mentioned.
I’ve been an Android user for quite a while now, but even with all the customization options, I still found myself becoming bored with the platform. I couldn’t help but wonder if I could go back to an iPhone now that the platform has matured. Even with the iPhone XS flaws, such as the notch, no fingerprint scanner, and lack of headphone jack, I couldn’t avert my gaze. I decided to take a chance and buy the new iPhone. What started as a mild curiosity has blossomed into full-on infatuation. I love how slick this phone is. Ditching the home button has proven (to me at least) to be the last piece of the puzzle to iOS’s fluidity. Gestures work great, Face ID surprisingly works very well (even in the dark), and my battery life is fantastic. I have very little to complain about with the phone itself. What annoyed me the most is that, this time, the phone didn’t come with a headphone jack-to-lightning adapter. For how much this phone costs, there’s no excuse not to include an adapter besides greed.
To be honest, there’s not a whole lot, or anything really, that this phone does that any new Android flagship can’t. However, everything it does do, it does extremely well. Every little detail has been thought of and polished. The OLED panel is beautiful, the 120hz Touch Sample Rate is snappy, and the Dolby Atmos speakers are something I didn’t know I needed, but are absolutely incredible, and not just for a smartphone either.
Is the new iPhone worth $999? To me it isn’t, and I actually didn’t pay that much for it. When the phone first launched, Sprint had a killer deal making the iPhone XS free on lease with eligible trade in that I took advantage of.
All in all, the phone is going to cost me less than $500 when I pay it off. If you have an aging iPhone, or if you have an Android and are thinking of switching to the dark side, I’d recommend holding out for a good deal if you can. If the price doesn’t deter you (most phones will require a 30-year mortgage soon anyway), keep the iPhone XS on your radar. If you are looking for something that works well right out of the box and don’t need to be bothered by a bunch of unnecessary options, this could very well be the phone for you.