Can I ditch my DSLR for an iPhone X?

I’ve written on and off about my experiences with the iPhone X and how it’s the one iPhone I’ve struggled to get used to. If you remember my one main draw to the iPhone X was the camera, it’s amazing. I loved having portrait available on a smaller device and made use of the zoom all of the time, I missed having it. I tried a plus again but ultimately missed the X. Long story short I’m writing this post up on an X and have some thoughts to share about how it’s affecting my photography habits.

I’d gotten used to travelling with my Canon 70D everywhere, it was in the car or at my side on most day trips. The main downsides was carrying it around, back issues mean I’m sensitive to the load I’m carrying and even though the 70D isn’t the heaviest camera Canon do it’s still DSLR sized. This got me thinking could the iPhone X replace my DSLR for my day trips?

It would considerably reduce the weight of what I carried and give me most of the shots I’d be after for these family trips and when I’m out and about walking.

Well, the good news is the iPhone X has been great at replacing my Canon. The only times I can now see me carrying it is when I go to air shows. There’s no way an iPhone can complete with it and a 400MM lens.

I’ll keep posting on how I’m getting on but these are the sort of day shots I mean that I’d take on my Canon.

Should you buy Apple Care + for the HomePod?

With any Apple purchase I have to have that internal dialogue of “Do I really need Apple Care +?”. On something like an iPad Pro or iPhone X the answer is an obvious YES but on a device that lives at home what should you do?

I chose YES and I feel that if like me you fit this criteria then it’ll be a yes also

  • Do you intend to move it around your home?, I’ll be moving it between my office and kitchen
  • Do you have kids?
  • Do you have pets?

If you answer yes to any of these then I feel that Apple Care + is a must buy. Especially when Apple are charging over £250 for a replacement.

Is SIRI any good on the HomePod?

I’m in a love hate relationship with SIRI. Up until I got the HomePod I’d all but stopped using it on my iPhone, frustrated at the limitations and lack of seemingly being able to understand me. It was another story in the car though, with CarPlay I was using it all the time to get traffic, play music and deal with my messages. It was like it had a split personality.

Roll onto February 2018 and with the release of HomePod I’ve been pretty impressed with how well it’s been working for me.

First off the microphones in the HomePod are crazy good. I can pretty much talk as quietly as possible (like talking to someone next to me) and I’m picked up. I can even be in another room and I’ll be listened to perfectly.

My uses so far

  • What’s the weather like?
  • How’s the weather looking tomorrow?
  • Set a timer for X minutes
  • Play me some music
  • Remind me to…

Where I’m limited so far

  • What’s on my calendar tomorrow?
  • What’s my next appointment?

So, it has some limitations but the good news is these can be fixed in software. The hardware is solid and I’m totally happy with it.

So, in a nutshell

  • Microphones are amazing
  • SIRI has me covered for the basics
  • I’m hoping for more abilities via software, expecting this to be in September with the release of iOS 12

Apple HomePod initial thoughts

I’ve been using a Sonos Play 1 in my office for a year or so and when HomePod was launched I’d written it off. I was skeptical that it would sound better and be a useful piece of technology to bring into my life.

I know in this day and age you aren’t allowed to change your mind on ANYTHING but in reality you do change opinions and I did on the HomePod.

I tried one in store but was curious to test at home because the stores are so noisy. I decided to get one in to “review” with a view to return within the 15 days.

Well I’m pleased to report it won’t be going back, it’s settled in our kitchen and has turned out to be very useful.

First off it sounds great, the Sonos sounds muddy and bass heavy in comparison. The HomePod provides clarity to the music I’ve not heard before and really does live up to the hype.

Siri has been a mixed bag but on the whole fine for my uses. Setting a timer (you can currently only have one), asking about the weather and controlling music has all been great.

So I’m only a couple of days in at this point but so far I’m sold. Trying not to think about getting another one for the office…

Using an iPhone 6s in 2018

After playing with the iPhone X for a month I decided it wasn’t for me, so I switched back to my iPhone 6S. I am looking at maybe getting a 7 Plus but for now wanted to see if I could still use it with the latest iOS. It’s also strangely relaxing not being on the latest and greatest hardware, it feels less fragile and somewhat comforting. For reference before my X I’d used a 7 since launch, until I got the X in November 2017.

Overall performance

I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how good this phone runs iOS. It doesn’t feel any slower than the iPhone 7 I’d used previously. I notice some lag using a few third party apps, most noticeably Instagram but iOS is pretty slick. Apple core apps run fine and navigating iOS is a good experience. It’s not what I was expecting to see. From everything I’d read I was expecting to be throwing it out of the window within a day but I’m really happy with it. Nothing I’m seeing so far would put me off recommending using a 6S on iOS 11. I know Apple gets a lot of stick about the quality of their software but credit where credit is due I have to give it to Apple on this one, well done.

Battery

In short, I need a replacement. I feel I have to keep it on charge to get through the day. Overnight it drains about 30% doing nothing. I’ve yet to get my £29 battery replacement but I think its time I booked my phone in for a battery change. I hate using the battery percentage indicator but for now I’m going to be leaving it on.

Camera

Coming from a 7 the 6S camera is fine, coming from an X I miss the zoom. Portrait mode has been hit or miss (and my DSLR does better) but having the option to tap to optical zoom is the feature I miss the most. I don’t take selfies so no opinion on the front facing.

Home button

Coming from the X its kind of nice having a home button back. Where I like it the most is being able to tap it to see the lock screen without it trying to unlock. Given it’s a physical button on the 6S coming from the 7 it does feel like I’m having to press it down harder than I would normally. I prefer the lack of home button as on the 7 and 8.

App switching

Gestures were nice on the X but I really didn’t care for how you closed apps. Getting to app switcher also seemed liked it was slower. Now being able to hard press on the side to bring up app switching then simply swiping apps up to close is more intuitive for me. It’s a habit I’ve developed and the main use of 3D Touch I use. I’m glad to have this back.The iPhone X gesture model needs a lot of work. Control Centre feels in the wrong place and closing apps are my worst offenders.

Headphone jack

I use AirPods most of the day but having an option to charge and use my expensive over the year headphones is nice I have to admit.

Screen

I don’t miss the OLED on the X. In fact I experienced eye strain using it. The technology used means the screen flickers, I must be sensitive to it. I see the benefits of the larger display and it’s one of the main reasons I’m considering getting a Plus.

Am I going to continue?

Yes, for now. I think I’ll ultimately switch to the 7 or 8 Plus to get the better camera though. I’m looking at used prices and I actually feel pretty good that I’m keeping an older device going rather than buying new.

I’m in no rush to move on from the 6S for now, I’ll enjoy not fretting over my X and battling with myself on the ethical choice of spending over £1000 on an iPhone.

iPhone battery replacement experience

I popped into the Apple store yesterday for a battery replacement, here’s my experience.

I also had a screen issue so my case might be a little different, who knows.

Apple are running a diagnostic and my battery came up as ok. I was then given the choice to replace it or not.

So, expect your iPhone to be tested but even if it passes you’ll be able to get it changed.

iPhone 7 vs iPhone X

Having spent some time with both my current jet black iPhone 7 and the new iPhone X I wanted to share some thoughts on the differences I’m noticing day to day.

  • Size: The iPhone 7 seems almost too small to me now, amazing how nice the X size is for my hands
  • In hand feel: I’d always loved the feel of my jet black model but in the hand the X is less slippery
  • iOS: Using 3D Touch to app switch is more natural for me and control Center much easier to access on the iPhone 7
  • Weight: iPhone X isn’t heavy but the lighter iPhone 7 is nicer to pocket
  • TouchID: Is quicker for me, unlocking as it comes out of my pocket
  • Charging: I miss Qi charging

Just a few thoughts on going back to last years model.

iPhone X features I miss

I’m so conflicted about the iPhone X, now I’m back on the iPhone 7 I’m finding I actually miss a few features that I didn’t think I would.

  • Screen: I feel a bit boxed in now on my 4.7″ screen. You do tend to only focus on the middle portion but being able to see all my calendar entries on one page etc was a good feature. I also miss full screen YouTube and Netflix viewing.
  • Zoom on the camera: I didn’t quite realise how much I used the 2 x optical zoom day to day.
  • Extra keyboard space: Got to be honest, I’m feeling a little cramped on my iPhone 7 keyboard. I’m adjusting ok and is definitely a first world problem but I’m getting cramp. I’m actually finding my RSI is getting worse now I’m on a slightly narrower iPhone.
  • Qi charging: I’ve been using the Anker Qi charger next to our entertainment system and didn’t realise how convenient it was. With my iPhone 7 I’m running out of juice halfway through the day mainly because I’m out of the habit already of plugging it in somewhere.

Maybe I’ll revisit in a month or so but this year is one of the most conflicted I’ve been about an iPhone purchase in the 10 years since it was introduced.

Is the iPhone X camera worth the cost of entry?

As part of me trying out the iPhone X for 6 weeks I spent a lot of time testing the camera.

For me, getting the best camera available to me was the number 1 driver. I love taking photos on my iPhone and had previously enjoyed portrait mode in my brief time with the 7 Plus.

I’ve found the camera on the X to be on par with the 7 Plus.

  • Low light on par with my 7 (in my testing)
  • Portrait mode continues to impress me and I miss it on my 7, nowhere near my Canon 70D though
  • I don’t take selfies…

I ultimately chose to use my Canon more and save myself £1400 for now.

If you don’t own a DSLR and want to invest in having the best phone camera you can get (within the Apple ecosystem) then the iPhone X is going to be a good buy.