iPhone Xs: My Thoughts So Far

Do you remember when Steve Jobs introduced the original iPhone? I do. It was such an exciting time to be a part of the technological world. New innovations. Pushing the bar forward on the cell phone world. I mean, the best phone I had owned up until that point was a Motorola RAZR. Remember those?

I remember wanting an iPhone so badly. It just wasn’t in my budget or best interests to get one then. Thankfully though, I eventually became part of the iPhone family with the iPhone 3GS, and I’ve never looked back.

A lot has changed in the years since the introduction of that first iPhone. Smart phones are ubiquitous. They are everywhere. It kind of feels like they are a dime a dozen, doesn’t it?

So what’s so special about the new iPhone XS? What makes it worth the investment? Here are a few of the things that have stuck out to me in the couple of months since I have owned one.

The Build

The first thing I noticed when I got the iPhone XS was that it was heavy. Not in a “Oh-my-gosh-this-is-going-to-be-burdonsome” kind of way, but more like “Oh-thank-goodness-this-phone-doesn’t-feel-like-I-would-break-it-just-by-holding-it.”

This phone just feels solid. As a web and app developer I get to play with a lot of different devices from a lot of different companies. None of them feel like this one does. It has a weight to it that I don’t think I’ve felt in a long time, even from an iPhone.

Another big plus is its water resistance. I don’t often make it a practice to dump my phone in the pool or stand out in the rain while using it, but it’s nice to know that if I did any of those things that my phone wouldn’t be in a rice bath for the next week. There is just something about having peace of mind when it comes to stuff like this, right?

I’ve also noticed that the battery is better than the iPhone 8 I previously owned. I have yet to have a day where I have had to put my phone on low power mode or frantically find a charger because I didn’t think that it was going to make it until the end of the day. For me and the way I use this phone, all-day battery life seems to be a reality.

I want to admit up front that there are a couple things that I still find off about the build of this phone. The notch, for starters. I know they needed to find places for all those cameras and sensors, but notching out the screen, really? The other thing is the fact that the rear camera still doesn’t sit flush with the phone. It’s just bugs me that when I set my phone down it doesn’t sit flat. But in my opinion, neither of these things take away from how well-built this phone is.

The Screen

This is literally my favorite part of this phone. The screen is just gorgeous. I think I probably said “Just look at this screen!” to my wife about 20 times right after I got it.

The OLED Super Retina display blows away what I previously had on my iPhone 8. There is no comparison. The edge-to-edge screen is bright and super sharp. Games, movies, even just regular apps feel so much better. I seriously wish the TV in my living room looked this good.

Face ID

I was super skeptical about Apple removing the home button at first. I was even more skeptical about using my face to unlock my phone. I thought using my fingerprint was already probably too much of a privacy thing, and here they’ve gone and removed that ability and want me to use my face? Now instead of just my thumb, any bad guys who want into my phone are going to want my whole face. Remember this conversation between Loki and Hawkeye in The Avengers?

Loki: “What did it show you, Agent Barton?”

Hawkeye: ”My next target.”

Loki: “Tell me what you need.”

Hawkeye: ”I need a distraction. And an eyeball.”

Yeah, it kind of feels like that. 😂

Now let’s jump back to reality. No one wants what is on my phone (or my face), and I absolutely love Face ID. It’s easy to set up, super convenient, and pretty fast to use. I wish I could open every app with it.

Also, I don’t miss the home button at all.

Because Mountain DewBecause Mountain Dew

Portrait Mode

I know it’s not technically new, but it’s new to me and to the base model phone. It’s really fun to play with. Whenever I can I’m pointing my camera at my wife or children or random Mountain Dew bottles and testing it out. What’s not to love about automated (and adjustable!) blurred background effects to bring out your subject? I’m definitely not a photographer by any means, but I’m really enjoying this feature.


Overall I really, really like this new phone. It’s built really well, the screen is fantastic, and it’s got some great built in advancements in the way of Face ID and Portrait Mode.

I didn’t even mention all the new things that iOS 12 brings to the table including Screen Time, Notification Stacks, Memoji, and Siri Shortcuts, just to name a few.

I’d definitely say that if you’re in the market for a new iPhone, this one is worth the purchase. But again, this definitely is an investment. At $999 it’s more expensive than the brand new base model Mac mini. So keep that price and how long you plan to keep it in mind when upgrading.

November 16, 2018tech