Here’s What the Reviewers are Saying About iPhone X Facial Recognition

Posted on October 31, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in iOS with 113 Comments

Here's What the Reviewers are Saying About iPhone Facial Recognition

OK, the “all-screen” iPhone X has a huge notch and very obvious bezels eating into its on-screen real estate. But the biggest potential issue for the device involves another Apple design compromise: Its reliance on facial recognition rather than the trusted and reliable Touch ID sensor.

I don’t have a formal relationship with Apple—I’m too “truthy” for them—so we’ll have to collectively turn to the tech bloggers who did get early access to the iPhone X. And while their opinions of the devices are generally very positive—of course they are, that’s why they got the iPhone X from Apple—let’s just focus on what they found using Face ID, Apple’s facial recognition technology. Which used to be Kinect. Whatever.

A few selections.

CNET

According to CNET reviewer Scott Stein, Face ID works “pretty well.”

Face ID worked well in early tests.

Unlocking isn’t automatic. Instead, the phone “readies for unlock” when it recognizes my face. So I look at the iPhone, and then a lock icon at the top unlocks. But the iPhone still needs my finger-swipe to finish the unlock. It’s fast, but that extra step means it’s not instantaneous. Face ID did recognize me most of the time but sometimes, every once in a while, it didn’t.

Face ID worked perfectly in almost completely dark room, too, lit only by the iPhone’s screen. (It uses infrared).

Bottom line: Face ID is “more resilient” than he expected.

TechCrunch

Matthew Panzarino has this to say for TechCrunch:

My threshold for “success” [is] whether Face ID works as well or better than first-generation Touch ID.

Wait. What? Shouldn’t it be whether it works better than Touch ID on the iPhone 8?

I didn’t expect it to nail the speed of the second-gen sensor, which is incredibly fast. As long as it landed between the two I would be happy.

Wow. This is what Apple fandom looks like, folks.

Face ID works really well … It worked the vast majority of times I tried it … and the failure rate seemed to be about the same as Touch ID — aka almost never. As hoped, it’s definitely faster than the first generation of Touch ID, though perhaps slightly slower than the second gen.

Bottom line: You can’t trust this review, obviously.

The Verge

Nilay Patel—who I really like, by the way—offers maybe the most realistic review I’ve seen so far.

Face ID: It works, mostly

The bad news is that sometimes it doesn’t, and you will definitely have to adjust the way you think about using your phone to get it to a place where it mostly works great.

In my early tests, Face ID worked well indoors.

[But] you also can’t be too casual about it: I had a lot of problems pulling the iPhone X out of my pocket and having it fail to unlock until Apple clarified that Face ID works best at a distance of 25 to 50 centimeters away from your face, or about 10 to 20 inches. That’s closer than I usually hold my phone when I pull it out of my pocket to check something, which means I had to actively think about holding the iPhone X closer to my face than every other phone I’ve ever used. “You’re holding it wrong” is a joke until it isn’t, and you can definitely hold the iPhone X wrong.

Go outside in bright sunlight, which contains a lot of infrared light, or under crappy florescent lights, which interfere with IR, and Face ID starts to get a little inconsistent.

Face ID definitely had issues recognizing my face consistently while I was moving until I went into shade or brought the phone much closer to my face than usual … Recent Apple products have tended to demand people adapt to them instead of being adapted to people, and it was hard not to think about that as I stood in the sunlight, waving a thousand-dollar phone ever closer to my face.

Bottom line: Face ID is a mixed bag.

WIRED

Veteran Apple fan Steven Levy reviewed the iPhone X for Wired:

Does it work? Pretty much.

There have been times when, despite a clear view of my face, the iPhone X has ghosted me. (Apple tells me that perhaps I wasn’t making what the iPhone X considers eye contact. I wouldn’t want it to turn on every time my face was within camera range, would I?)

I really liked Apple Pay with iPhone X—having to double-click on the side button and then use Face ID was a clearer way to do transactions.

Bottom line: Despite the issues and a crazy amount of time spent describing the poop animoji and his workarounds, he gives Apple a pass. You should give this guy a pass.

A few thoughts

There are some serious trust issues here, but then that’s always been the issue on the Apple side of the fence. Reviewers are just fans who give Apple a pass when they don’t deserve it. I’ll keep looking at reviews, but so far I think it boils down to preconceived notions. If you support Apple, you’ll deal with the issues. If you don’t, you are not buying this phone anyway.

It’s too bad that it’s like this, frankly. But there you go. And if you’re going to read just one review, read the one at The Verge.

 

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Comments (113)

113 responses to “Here’s What the Reviewers are Saying About iPhone X Facial Recognition”

  1. Avatar

    johnh3

    I suppose this is what I expected. Mixed results. I guess thats why they put out iPhone 8 as a plan B for customers who prefeer the fingerprintsensor.

    • Avatar

      Martin Pelletier

      In reply to johnh3:

      And they will still sell million of phones.

      • Avatar

        rameshthanikodi

        In reply to MartinusV2:

        they will sell millions because technology 'journalists' aren't calling out the flaws in their reviews. FaceID is not as good as TouchID - why is it so difficult to just say it? Why say things like "you will definitely have to adjust the way you think about using your phone" about the clear regression? Why is it so difficult to say that the notch results in less usable screen space and a smaller screen-to-body ratio than competitors? Why is no one cautioning that third-party apps will take a while to update to the weird new real estate? Why is it so difficult to say that animojis are not the marquee feature despite the cool tech?


        For all of the people that got the review units early, it's clear Apple has cornered the media and have got them by the balls.

    • Avatar

      Wizzwith

      In reply to johnh3:

      Well it really was a brilliant strategy to do it this way, putting out the 2 phones.  Only the rabid fans will get the $1000+ X, while the average consumer sticks with the tried and true.  They know their loyal fan base won't complain about anything and sing praises no matter what, then they have time to iron out the kinks before transitioning it down to the mainstream.  The iPhone X is really the equivalent of iOS's Windows 8 - hidden gestures and all - but they will probably do it w/out any of the same kickback.  

      • Avatar

        MutualCore

        In reply to Wizzwith:

        iPhone X with hidden gestures but has all the apps, Apple Pay and a million accessories. Windows 8 came out in Nov 2012 with nothing.

        • Avatar

          skane2600

          In reply to MutualCore:

          I agree that there's a lack of apps for WP, but you seem to be comparing a $1000 2017 smartphone with 2012 Windows Phones that probably cost less than half. The original iPhone didn't support third-party apps at all, so the first Windows 8 Phone had apps earlier in its timeline than the iPhone did (and of course, MS had third-party apps available for their smartphones years before the iPhone was released). But these facts aren't relevant to today's situation.

  2. Avatar

    wright_is

    It sounds like it has the same failings as the Lumia 950/950XL had... Not really surprising, considering the X is probably using a newer generation of the sensor in the 950...

    • Avatar

      crfonseca

      In reply to wright_is:

      Well, it does use completely different technology, since it does face recognition while the Lumias do retina recognition.

      But yeah, all the issues identified by Nilay Patel are pretty much all the issues I have with my Lumia 950. But to me the biggest issue is that you have to take out your phone and put it in front of your face in a rather thoughtful and accurate way otherwise it might just not work.

      And let's not mention all the other cases Windows Hello doesn't work, and neither does FaceID, like when you have the phone laying on your desk and want to check that notification that just came up. With TouchId you can just tap the sensor, since it's conveniently located on the front of the phone, glance at the notification and go back to what you were doing. With both the Lumia 950/950XL and the iPhone X you now have to pick up your phone, stick it in front of your face so it unlocks and only then can you check the notification. Even phones with the fingerprint sensor on the back work better because, unless they're humongous, you can easily reach for the sensor when you pick them up, and unlock them in the time it takes to move to the front of your face.

      And this isn't an issue Apple can fix. It's just how the system works.

      And that is why Windows Hello is awesome in laptops but mostly useless in phones.

  3. Avatar

    IanYates82

    I read the Verge review and came away with the same notion that it was at least trying to be honest about the product.

    We'll just have to wait for more reviews.


    When I switched from an S6 to an S8 I thought the fingerprint on the back would be annoying. After a couple of days it was actually pretty good, and now, when I do turn on my old phone occasionally, I find it actually annoying that it's at the bottom.


    We get used to things I suppose... And if you've spent hundreds of dollars on something, you're not going to want to fault yourself by looking at the products flaws since that can reflect on your own decision-making ability. Fans gonna be fans :)

  4. Avatar

    Brett Barbier

    The first generation TouchID was faster than entering a PIN, so most folks thought it was fast. Then they made the second generation a lot faster, making the first version seem slow. I think somewhere between the first and second generation, with the same accuracy, would be just fine (if I was looking to buy a $1,000+ phone, which I'm not).


    BTW, if you are having issues with TouchID being less than great with accuracy, go back into the Settings for it, and you can add more training data to it. Once you have the TouchID & Passcode section open, simply place your finger on the Home button and remove it, shifting your finger position and angle around a bit each time. Train it when your finger is a little dry, damp, etc. You'll see the fingerprint name glow when it recognizes the fingerprint you use.


  5. Avatar

    leonzandman

    Iiiiiinteresting that the reviewer that appears to have experienced the most problems with Face ID has a dark skin color. Brings back some fine Kinect memories...

  6. Avatar

    Wolf

    Paul, have you actually used Apple's face ID? This article reads like you're reviewing the reviewers, and we are cautioned to only believe the reviews that match your pre-conceived expectations. It's a shame if that's all you're doing.

    • Avatar

      jwpear

      In reply to Wolf:

      Yes, that's pretty much what he's doing--and that's not a bad thing. In fact, he says: "I’m too “truthy” for them—so we’ll have to collectively turn to the tech bloggers who did get early access to the iPhone X". I didn't read this article as Paul stating he had, or pretending to have, reviewed the iPhone X.


      In the absence of an actual device to review himself, this is Paul providing his thoughts on those that have reviewed it and their conclusions. Paul's thoughts are just a data point. You are free to read those reviews and form your own opinion. If anything, his perspective is entertaining--to me at least. I also appreciate the critical review of the reviewers.


      I personally think facial recognition is just not the right approach for this type of device. I also think touch will come back, so I'm going to patiently wait to replace my iPhone 6.

  7. Avatar

    Darmok N Jalad

    I don’t have a formal relationship with Apple—I’m too “truthy” for them...”

    Considering the articles written about the iPhone 8/X so far, which even included a fake news repost from Bloomberg that wasn’t even updated after Apple responded, I’m curious how you define “truthy.” From what I can tell, you’ve not even laid eyes on one of these devices, yet I’m seeing plenty of conclusions. So who is the shill here? Either you can’t stand the attention Apple captures, or you just ride their wave with click bait. So far, I’ve seen little truth and lots of rant. That’s fine, but let’s call it what it is.

    • Avatar

      GT Tecolotecreek

      In reply to Darmok N Jalad:

      Wow you beat me to my response. No update for the false report, and let's not forget in the same article this Thurrott turd, And with Apple unable to get in-screen fingerprint detection working in time for the launch, the firm went with plan B: Facial recognition. Apple has (again) publicly stated that was never the plan and they were all in on Face ID. The really funny part is Paul is having a hissy because the reviews are showing Face ID actually works as advertised much to his dismay. You would think he could man up and recognize maybe this is the next step in the evolution of of these devices and it's a good thing. I don't think that will happen until Pixel 3 releases a similar capability and then it will be a giant leap forward over Apple.

      At least Brad's articles are more accurate and objective.


    • Avatar

      wocowboy

      In reply to Darmok N Jalad:

      I agree. Paul's Premium article started off by saying that "everyone" has rejected the notch. Everyone, really? From what I have read, yes there are those pundits who don't care for it, but there are also others who don't mind it at all. I am not a pundit, but the notch doesn't bother me one bit, and I do not consider it "huge". As you say, Paul has not used an iPhone X, so he has absolutely no personal experience with which to comment on how well it does or does not work, just his own personal bias which has been clearly laid out in recent articles on the site. Paul has also said he has no plans to buy an iPhone X, so based on all this, I place no value yet on anything he has to say about it.

      • Avatar

        William Kempf

        In reply to wocowboy:


        Apple Faithful, including the likes of Daring Fireball, have stated publicly that they dislike the notch. Does that mean literally "everyone" dislikes it? Obviously not. However, you can still "generally" say that "everyone" dislikes it.

        • Avatar

          PincasX

          In reply to William_Kempf:

          Here is what John Gruber of Daring Fireball had to say about the notch after having hands on time with the phone; "I don’t really notice the notch while using it."


          It takes a lot of contortion to get from that statement to "you can still 'generally' say that 'everyone' dislikes it"



  8. Avatar

    truerock

    The Verge review is fake. No one holds their iPhone more than 20 inches from their face. The reviewer is lying. Most people can't even reach out further than 20 inches.


    ************************


    OK... I'll retract my remarks. Apparently the reviewer is far-sighted. He holds the iPhone down at his waist - and, therefore he could get it further than 20 inches from his face. Still, a very bizarre and unnatural way to use a smart phone. I don't think he would fall into the category of "a normal person". This is like what you see when someone in their 60s is using a smart phone - holding it out at arms length because they have lost their close-vision when they got old.


    ************************


    Reading other reviews... I think I'm seeing that face-id doesn't work from an angle. So, if you have your face pointed forward, and the iPhone is down near your waist pointed up at your face... it might not work.


    Obviously Apple could build this type of situation easily into face-id - they just didn't encounter it in their testing - I assume. Perhaps you need to hold the phone in the orientation you are going to use it when you setup face-id. For Apple to support multiple angle-orientations might require more compute power then currently available in the iPhone X

    • Avatar

      ym73

      In reply to truerock:

      " He holds the iPhone down at his waist" . "Still, a very bizarre and unnatural way to use a smart phone." I don't know about you but most time I see someone using a smartphone while standing up, they are looking down and the phone is somewhere around the stomach area. The only time a hold a phone closer is when I use it seated at a table. So, using the phone while looking down is a normal use case. However, I will agree that normally the stomach is less than 20 inches away from the face.

  9. Avatar

    pmckean

    For crying out loud.


    Let's apply Occam's Razor:


    Either the vast majority of professional writers on tech blogs are Apple shills, biased in favour of the brand and eager to please their Cupertino masters or... it's just a very good product.


    That doesn't mean it's the best phone out there. I seem to remember that recent reviews for the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Google Pixel 2 were also excellent, but has the iPhone not done enough in ten years to convince tech aficionados that it's an extremely appealing and functional package?


    The iPhone being good doesn't negate the excellence of Android or Windows. Sometimes, I think people are so keen to see Apple fail that they are eager to magnify every hint of a flaw. The overall consensus from the numerous reviews I have read today is that FaceID works as well as TouchID (and in some ways it is more convenient - passcodes and payments, for instance) and that the controversial 'notch' fades into insignificance after a few hours of use.


    Yes, I'm going to get one. I'm lucky in that my company will pay, but if they weren't, I would probably still order it - a thousand dollars doesn't seem like a disproportionate investment for a product I will use every day for two years.


    • Avatar

      ym73

      In reply to pmckean:

      They might not be Apple shills but they are very eager to get review units since Apple article drive clicks. So, they will temper any negative comments so that Apple won't get angry with them. I noticed in some of these blogs, when they do have something very negative that they have to mention, they will bury it in the middle of the article surrounded by positive statements. By the way, there is no doubt it is a very good product. However, the two biggest features are the edge to edge screen and face ID. The edge to edge screen created the big notch for the sensors which many people don't like . Face ID definitely has issues and isn't better than touch ID. I had face ID on my old Lumia 950XL. I'm sure that apple's version is much faster since the processors are much faster now. However, many of the issues I've experienced on that device obviously haven't been resolved with Apple's take on the technology. The biggest issue has always been that it doesn't work well if the phone isn't right in front of your face. It always had issues when looking down on the phone. These reviews seem to show that that is still a problem.

    • Avatar

      MikeGalos

      In reply to pmckean:

      "the vast majority of professional writers on tech blogs are Apple shills, biased in favour of the brand and eager to please their Cupertino masters"


      Got it right in the first half sentence. You probably should have just stopped there.

    • Avatar

      skane2600

      In reply to pmckean:

      The question is whether Apple is selective about which reviewers get early access to new devices based on their prior reviews. Clearly the iPhone's popularity drives more articles about them which means more ad revenue and more free advertising for Apple.

      • Avatar

        Jorge Garcia

        In reply to skane2600:

        Precisely. Some people like - Leo Laporte - who don't pull punches get rewarded with second-class status from Apple. He is established and independent enough to take it, but the other corps don't want to ever be on Apple's s***list, and I'm sure they tell their reviewers to pull a punch or two.

  10. Avatar

    North of 49th

    Interesting…  I have a Surface Pro 2017 and Windows Hello nails the unlock consistently. The only time I’ve had it reject was during sunset. The window I was facing had the sun hitting me directly. I’m indoors when I use the Surface, but now that Apple is bringing this IR face technology to a phone I’ll be interested in seeing real world feedback from someone using the phone in day to day usage for a month - like how you test your laptops Paul.

    I’ve got to believe that there are Android makers lining up with this technology for their 2018 release schedule (much like removing the headphone jack) so as much as people believe this is an Apple thing, I think it is only a matter of time before this technology is everywhere.

    • Avatar

      jwpear

      In reply to North of 49th:

      I've seen the same as you. It fails most often on my Surface Pro 4 or Dell Inspiron when I'm near windows with bright outdoor light coming in. Have to retrain for those situations. Phones are definitely going to be used in much more diverse conditions than a laptop or tablet, so it is going to be interesting to see how well this works for day to day usage. Like you, I think it is going to take several months for true verdict. I'm not putting a lot of faith in these quick reviews.

    • Avatar

      wright_is

      In reply to North of 49th:

      I used it on my old phone and it wasn't very reliable. It is the same (previous generation) technology used in the X and it had problems with glasses and being used outside. It sounds like at least the latter scenario hasn't been reliably dealt with.

  11. Avatar

    nbplopes

    Hi Paul,


    I agree that the initial review on The Verge looks like the most balanced amongst this set.


    But we arrive to different conclusions:


    "The iPhone X is clearly the best iPhone ever made. It’s thin, it’s powerful, it has ambitious ideas about what cameras on phones can be used for, and it pushes the design language of phones into a strange new place. It is a huge step forward in terms of phone hardware, and it has the notch to show for it. If you’re one of the many people who preordered this thing, I think you’ll be happy, although you’ll be going on the journey of figuring out when and how Face ID works best with everyone else. "


    Money aside in my book they also give Apple a pass ... at least for now.


    The conclusion I arrive is that Face ID mostly works in such a small package. It easy to set up, its is fast to unlock, but sometimes it does not. Considering that it is a feature that will be used everyday all the time, I'm apprehensive that the glitches if not solved with fast updates, in time it will become irritating and cut the flow. This is not a place to be. But to be honest, I would need to have an iPhone X to ascertain if it works for me, but its too much money for me to find out if does or not. This is my main hurdle with Apple increased rampage in pricing.


    I can say that it is much better than Kinect Face ID, mostly it did not work, it was not easy to setup, so on and so forth. Insipite of the problems Apple is leading Face ID on smartphones. But it does not really matter for me as a user.


    But in the so call fan base and non fan based, the obsession with the Notch seams quite common, as it were something of bad design. People with no expertise in design, no experience with the phone, already concluding that is bad months before release. I'm probably one of the few "geeks" that never saw the problem, nether considered it bad design.


    What I saw its a bezel that flows into the screen to give space for the camera. Giving it a shape that its for the first time in the main stream smartphone not edge to edge rectangular. The advantage is that the iPhone X its probably the smartphone that has a display that covers the front the most in the market, giving the users and developers more real-estate for the UI and interaction. Just compare the S8 or the Note 8 display contours with the iPhone X and you will see what I mean. This change of display shape will of course require developers to adapt their apps to take the most of it. But once they do, I feel that in the end of the day will give the all thing an organic feeling, rather, than a bezel separated from the display instead of intertwined with it.


    Some have pointed that the "Nodge" takes space out of videos and so on. Well, I you maximize any video on Galaxy S8 or Samsung you guys know that it cuts part of the video right, considering that the aspect ration of the display is not the same has the video. The lesson might be ... people get used to it.


    Apple is the first company to fully get rid of the home button, the bar entirely. I mean, others have gotten rid of the physical home button and its bat, but have put a digital counter part. The most elegant solution I saw was on the Samsung S8 and Note 8, where the home button bar in spite of being there, its background is translucid, melting into whatever app is on display. But Apple totally go rid of it, giving developer more effective display real state for their apps, replacing it with a gesture language. The risk would be if the gesture language felt unnatural ... Still according to reviews, that is precisely what its not happening. people get used to it very very quickly, actually improving the phone operation, a more satisfying interaction. The geek in me feels that this is amazing, something that look risky and complex, they came up with a simples solution ... an example of total mastery.


    This post is getting too long, we I have not touched what I think about AR on this device considering the report ...


    So when Apple says "Its the future of smartphones" ... just looking at the above, how apps will change to take advantage of the real state, how the interaction language changes to get rid of the standard home button, the AR capabilities ... how far off is that from todays the facto standards? Not much, but probably just enough to make a change.


    Will I buy the iPhone X? Probably not. The price, combined with a non flawless feature that its to be used constantly keeps me away from it. But Apple now gives users smartphone options that go from 320 euros (on shops) to 1300 euros. All of them benefit from 100% integration between all iOS and Mac OS devices. From GSM phone calls and SMS, passing shared password keychain (a permanent 1Password) up to Airplay (Audio and Video broadcast), so on and so forth.


    "THE IPHONE X BASICALLY LOOKS LIKE A LIVING 3D RENDER" - The Verge


    I always felt that with Apple you get what you see in the commercials. Sometimes more. Mind you, I choose well, I did not buy the cylinder neither I bought the 2016 MacBook Pro models. I did not liked what I saw. But this speaks why I trust for now the company for personal usage than any other. Yes, AR emojis might look a silly and frivolous use case, I for one would not buy something for it, but they do deliver it. I prefer that than the pumping that other do around futuristic stuff and deliver a frustrating experience of it ... in the end changing almost nothing if not for the content in my wallet and a brief moment of novelty.


    Cheers,


    PS: Yes I bought an Apple Watch 3, and had to return it due to display issues after a month. Waiting for a replacement. Just to say, that Apple its not exempt from hardware problems. In the 8 years, its the second time I had to return a devices because of hardware problems. Would I still give them a pass on quality? Oh yes, not so much on pricing today. It used to be both.

    • Avatar

      Terje Skjærpe

      In reply to nbplopes:
      If you with Kinect face ID mean the facial recognition built into most (all?) Surface machines; I have to disagree strongly. I am presently mostly using a Studio, and the face recognition works like magic. When I am sitting down in front of the machine, I am logged on before I reach my seat. In the beginning, it asked to do a rescan once - could have been because of my glasses, but other than that, it is working extremely well.


  12. Avatar

    Justin Hubbard

    Dude you are the Donald Trump of technology. Anything that doesn’t fit your preconceived narrative is “fake news”. You’re trying to paint all Apple reviewers as bias and that the only person who can possibly be right is you since you do things fairly. That’s called delusion


    Just stop. You’re making a fool of your self. Every Apple keynote and every Apple product release makes you weep with jealously. If you don’t like Apple don’t buy it. Go buy Microsoft phones (oh wait!) and be happy. Sorry the company you write about makes products that no one gives two shits about except it’s faithful nerds.

    • Avatar

      PincasX

      In reply to Justin_Hubbard:

      You must be new. This is Paul's schtick, he uses over the top hyperbole, doesn't really fact check, selectively quotes and has no concern about hypocrisy. It's a great strategy for a site that is attempting make money on ads and needs clicks. In the end his audience ends up being emotionally charged fanboys of one flavor or another or people that want to see what wacky thing Paul and cheerleaders will say next. Get some popcorn and enjoy the show. My guess is that he is going to obsesses on the iPhone X thing through the holiday season since supply constrains and popularity will keep it on people's minds and that makes for great clickbait headlines. We might get some relief when the HomePod comes out and he has to interrupt his iPhone X chick little act to try to rain on that parade.

    • Avatar

      ym73

      In reply to Justin_Hubbard:

      Did you try reading the reviews? I read the wired review. Here are some quotes. "And now there’s that awkward moment when I expect the iPad to unlock itself when the camera looks at my face." The guy had the new phone since Tuesday. So, in a weeks time he became so used to this feature he expects all devices to work this way? I call BS on this. It takes more than a week to form a habit like this.


      "There have been times when, despite a clear view of my face, the iPhone X has ghosted me. (Apple tells me that perhaps I wasn’t making what the iPhone X considers eye contact. I wouldn’t want it to turn on every time my face was within camera range, would I?" I wouldn't want it turn on every time my face is within camera range? Of course you would. Why else are you holding the phone right in front of your face? I already knew face ID would work this way because I was an owner of a Lumia 950XL and this is exactly how facial ID worked on that phone. You had to get the phone a certain distance from your face and look straight ahead. This was a bit of a pain because it didn't work well when looking down on a phone, like when you are trying to unlock your phone in a meeting without notifying everyone you are using your phone. Touch ID is definitely superior to face ID in ease of use.


      "And I really liked Apple Pay with iPhone X—having to double-click on the side button and then use Face ID was a clearer way to do transactions." The previous method was to place your phone on the card reader and then place your finger on the touch ID. Since when are extra steps a clearer way of doing anything?


      The reviewer seems to ignore that things like edge to edge screens, augmented reality, and wireless charging have been around for some time now. He thinks it's these things that make the iphone X more than just an iteration. I see it as apple playing catchup. However, he is right that now that apple has adapted these features, we will see developers make more apps to take advantage of this and we might start seeing wireless charges embedded in furniture so that we can charge a phone by just placing it on a restaurant table.

  13. Avatar

    Win74ever

    Paul's mocking is the best.

  14. Avatar

    davidwh

    Every once in a while I find something worth reading when I’m surfing the internet. Bravo… thanks for creating real content here…

  15. Avatar

    Melissacheryl34

    I am so frustrated by the inconsistency of the facial recognition on my iphone X. It's inconsistent under ALL circumstances: lights at work, angles from the car docking station, in sunlight, in the close to dark of the bedroom, with changes in hairstyles day to day and make up application. I HATE how inconsistent it is, it is incredibly disappointing. I regret not returning this phone within the allotted time and going back to my iphone 8 plus. Every update I'm hopeful there will be something to fix these issues...but nothing. What an annoyance and a waste. It's bad news when a user wants to go back to the previous.

  16. Avatar

    rahuldigital

    I had chance to use iPhone X and Face ID just like Touch ID works fine. Let's move on.

  17. Avatar

    rahuldigital

    I had chance to use iPhone X and Face ID just like Touch ID works fine. Let's move on.

  18. Avatar

    seo

    Seo Company and Seo Services In Rewari, Website for Car Dealer, Website for Automobile Store Website Development, Website Development ... Are you looking for web designing company in Rewari , India with real style and visual appeal? We have the skills and commitment to make that a reality.

  19. Avatar

    Stooks

    Got my X at 8am this morning. Face ID works as well as touch ID on my iPhone 7, as in 99% of the time and fast.


    Coming off of the fantastic quarter Apple just had, I see the X being a huge boost to their first quarter. The hater in Paul won't like this.

    • Avatar

      PincasX

      In reply to Stooks:

      You clearly missed the memo from Paul and his more exuberant followers. They had pre-planned for this eventuality and decided that people that bought the X would lie because they didn’t want to admit to spending that much money on a product that doesn’t work. And with fantastic piece of circular reasoning your experience had been disproven. Now, please stop challenging people’s narrow world view. It gets them all worked up and agitated and takes forever to calm them down and they are all still worked up becaue of Apple’s latest quarterly result.

  20. Avatar

    red.radar

    Apple posted good quarterly results and people queuing for the X.


    Guess people didn’t get the memo

  21. Avatar

    dstrauss

    Well, considering the depth and breadth of Windows Mobile phone offerings these days, seems like stones and glass houses should be the watch words.


    I would have preferred they put Touch ID in the Apple logo on the back, but like the rest of the iPhone universe I'll have to learn to "hold it right." Still, it's not the gymnastically impossible reach to the fingerprint reader on the back of my son's Galaxy Note 8...

  22. Avatar

    red.radar

    I just love the irony that Apple buys the company that worked on the Kinect and integrates the technology into their phone and it seems to work well. This is after Microsoft abandons the tech instead of licensing it or using it to improve Windows Hello.


    Somehow it speaks volumously that Apple can take disgarded Microsoft technology and make it work. Shows better technical chops, and better vision.



  23. Avatar

    red.radar

    I thought Nilay Patel critique was pretty damming. But, not enough to make me think the technology is fundamentally flawed. maybe need to wait for Iphone XI or just go back to the days before touch id and enter the pass code. .... the humanity .


    the walled garden has turned into the prision yard. Too much sunk cost in the echo system of choice to let a bad phone release to get people to switch. Most will adapt and move on with life. Iphone X will be wildly successful and just like the headphone jack people will get over the notch.








  24. Avatar

    glenn8878

    TouchID doesn’t always work, but still, I love TouchID. It beats using the passcode all the time, but I still use passcode. So I do expect similar results with FaceID because technology has never not worked 100%, but Apple is the lone company to actually follow through with reliable new technology. Why did Apple not keep TouchID with FaceID? Perhaps because you won’t be using TouchID when FaceID fails. You’ll be directed to use your passcode. FaceID is a game changer for Apple, but so is the new bezel-less OLED screen. I perceive the product to be a leapfrog in new technology to the mass audience. MASS AUDIENCE.

  25. Avatar

    Bob Shutts

    Yes to those who point out you have not so much as picked up one of these devises. I visit this site less and less.

    • Avatar

      PanamaVet

      In reply to Bob_Shutts:


      Bob, Paul has studied phone technology for years and authored how-to books on technology.


      Bob, apparently you have not picked up one of Paul's books or you would better understand and appreciate what he has to say.


      BTW, I learned this year that Apple does not support Aptx HD Bluetooth audio on the iPhone. They do on the iPad. I have to turn off Bluetooth on my iPhone 6 and attach an Etekcity Bluetooth transmitter/receiver ($30) to the headphone jack to hear HD audio on my Bluetooth headphones.


      Review that and say goodbye to your free iPhone.


      I also cannot replace the battery or insert a memory card into a phone that costs $1,200 more than my current plan.


      The iPhone is greedily expensive when you include the features it does not have.



    • Avatar

      ym73

      In reply to Bob_Shutts:

      It's been a known fact that apple only gives out preview units to bloggers who tend to give them positive reviews. Those bloggers have to pretty much skim over any glaringly negative issues if they want to continue getting preview units. Since iphone news still gets a lot of clicks, you know that you will never see really negative news coming from the initial reviews.


      Paul just gave a brief synopsis of the the initial reviews. You can read them yourself. I read a couple and it's pretty easy to see that see that face ID is far from perfect or superior to touch ID.

  26. Avatar

    the_risner

    I keep finding more and more reasons to like my old iPhone 6s Plus.


    When Patel describes waving around a thousand-dollar phone trying to get it to work ... well, that's REALLY telling, isn't it?

  27. Avatar

    Tony Barrett

    Apple fans will love it even if it doesn't work properly - and from early reports it doesn't. They'll take it whatever, because if you've paid £1000 or more for a phone, you don't want to look like a jerk do you!


    I'm just waiting for those dumb videos to appear on Youtube, with owners trying all manor of different scenarios to try and make it fail, or alternatively, seeing people waving a phone in front of their faces saying 'unlock you bas***d'.

  28. Avatar

    Wizzwith

    I don't really think the question is if FaceID will literally "work" or not - I'm sure it'll work just fine; we have plenty of prior proof of that from Windows Hello and Kinect (though more elementary) before that.  The question is really: is the process you have to go through to use it as convenient as a finger scan?  Answer there is probably no in most cases.  You now have to hold the phone a certain distance and angle and look at it directly instead of just naturally touching a scanner.  Not as simple or convenient. 

    • Avatar

      macguy59

      In reply to Wizzwith:

      I've seen video of someone holding their 7Plus in hand and the X in the other. TouchID does get you to the Home screen about a second (or less) faster so not much of a difference. Where I think you'll see the biggest difference in time is Apple Pay. With TouchID I can have wallet up and authenticated before it leaves my pocket. Not so with FaceID

    • Avatar

      William Kempf

      In reply to Wizzwith:


      Maybe. Windows Hello is very simple and convenient... but my experience there is with a computer/laptop that is always positioned in the same way when I use it. A mobile phone may be different. To me, the bigger reason to prefer touch id is the intent. When you touch a sensor you almost assuredly MEANT to unlock, while the phone can "see" your face in many situations where you didn't intend to unlock it.

      • Avatar

        ym73

        In reply to William_Kempf:

        I disagree there. I don't believe the phone will unlock just by seeing your face. You have to look at the phone. So, the only accidental unlocks will happen if you are playing around with the phone but didn't actually want to unlock it. In most scenarios, if you are looking at your phone, you want it unlocked.


        Now with kinect, I have had the experience that it would recognize me just by me walking by it. I didn't have to look at it. I have 2 xboxes at home and it would log me off when I walked by the second xbox on the way to the kitchen. This was not the behavior I desired.

  29. Avatar

    bfarkas

    Favorite part of the Verge review is that he admits it is a work in progress and asking for what people want to know as he updates it. He acknowledges that it is impossible to properly review such a device in the time frame he was given, while others simply ran through things once, claimed it worked perfect and moved on.



  30. Avatar

    rameshthanikodi

    Steven's article at WIRED is absolutely bonkers. I actually had to control myself from closing my browser tab as I was tried to sift through all of the fanboy gushing. Within the first paragraph there were lines like "I pulled it out of my pocket and gave it a dewy-eyed glance to wake it from slumber" and "After expressing proper admiration for its bright screen and svelte bezels". Those are ACTUAL lines from the FIRST paragraph. It reads like some kind of futuristic erotica. It's fucking unbearable.


  31. Avatar

    JacobTheDev

    > My threshold for “success” [is] whether Face ID works as well or better than first-generation Touch ID.


    I think the logic with this is that it's a first generation technology, and thus shouldn't be held to too high of a standard. That being said, I tend to agree with you, Paul, that if it's not as good as it's equivalent predecessor, it's not up-to-snuff.

  32. Avatar

    jjaegers

    The exclusion of the finger print sensor is a huge mistake... put it on the back like everyone else does... I haven't used a rear finger print sensor that wasn't fantastic on an android phone (granted I don't use Samsung devices)... but having to hold the phone up and look at it directly within a certain distance, and then swipe to unlock is just a terrible downgrade. I can pull my current phone out of my pocket with my finger on the FPS and it is unlocked before I get it to my face. I can't imagine anyone would rather use FaceID to make a contactless payment... staring into your phone at a register swiping up to unlock and then tapping to pay seems like a total PITA... I guess they are banking on you buying the $350 apple watch if you own and iPhone X... that should make contactless payments easier. FaceID seems like it is there to solve a problem that doesn't exist. I can see Windows Hello... your sitting in front of your computer using it... I can even see XBOX One doing this with Kinect... your sitting in the room playing and it finds your face... having to hold a device up to your face to unlock it is just terrible... and what about people who use their phone in a car mount? Do they now need to lean over to gaze into their phone in the just the right way to unlock it while driving?

  33. Avatar

    torsampo

    When do we get to read about the first car accident caused by someone trying to Face ID unlock their phone while driving?

    • Avatar

      Jason Peter

      In reply to torsampo:


      Right. Because thats much more distracting than reading a text message, etc, that people typically do while driving.

      I'd imagine the rules for the X would be the same as any other iPhone - use them in hands-off mode, or don't use them at all. TouchID is not a panacea for solving driver attention issues, or reason for ignoring common sense.


      But lets all work hard at searching for Facetime ID non-issues. Because we are obviously short on those... /sarcasm



      • Avatar

        wright_is

        In reply to Jason_P:

        Yeah, I just leave my phone in the bag and use the BT connection to play media when in the car.

      • Avatar

        torsampo

        In reply to Jason_P:

        It would be nice to expect common sense but we all know how often that gets used. I am just curious about the ways in which FaceID will be less convenient than TouchID. This isn't just about Apple really, but about this kind of technology at all (at these early stages) on a mobile device. My guess is that it was premature of Apple to include only FaceID and kill TouchID.

    • Avatar

      cheetahdriver

      In reply to torsampo:

      This actually was something I was wondering with the FaceID (and one of the reasons I may go with the 8 since my 7plus is about stomped flat on the battery side). I have a holder for using Google Maps on the phone while driving. I even have left and right thumbs in the fingerprint for doing this. Now FaceID, and I have to move my face down to the phone or pull it out of the holder?


      • Avatar

        torsampo

        In reply to cheetahdriver:


        I don't know if iOS has a feature similar to smart lock in Android, where you can prevent the phone from locking if certain criteria are met, such as connection to your car's bluetooth. This feature has saved me a lot of trouble. If iOS does something similar then the car issue is moot, but the point still stands, that is still seems to me that fingerprint scanning is still going to be a lot more convenient than face scanning in overall usage simply because of the required alignment between face and phone. If Apple can get the phone to recognize you reliably and securely at multiple angles, that might be a real advance.

        • Avatar

          wright_is

          In reply to torsampo:

          The problem is, even if you have handsfree in your car, a lot of people will still put the phone to their ear to talk to people! Let alone the idiots who try and read / write messages. The lock is fine, if it cannot be bypassed, but usually it is a soft-setting that can be enabled and disabled.

          Sensible people will enable it, most morons will ensure it is disabled...

  34. Avatar

    Angusmatheson

    Shouldn’t the standard be whether it works better than Microsoft’s phone or Googles phone facial recognition? If you want an iPhone with a finger print ready buy an 8 (or a 7, or 6s, or a 5SE). If you really care about facial recognition you can either buy an iPhone X or a windows phone or turn on Trusted Face on an android phone. That is the comparison that is interesting and haven’t yet seen.

  35. Avatar

    Nic

    > I really liked Apple Pay with iPhone X—having to double-click on the side button and then use Face ID was a clearer way to do transactions.


    I can't speak for the iPhone way of doing things, but would expect it to be similar to the Android method that I use with my OnePlus. Tap the phone with your thumb on the fingerprint sensor and the payment is done. This method seems quite cumbersome in relation.

  36. Avatar

    SDreamer

    If it works just as well as the first gen TouchID sensor, then I think that's good. You have to remember at that time TouchID came about, many many PCs had fingerprint readers that were the swiping type. After TouchID, we went over to the rest your finger type. This is in effect of what Apple is doing. That's why that Techcrunch article makes sense, this is first generation FaceID hardware from Apple. Yes FaceID type biometrics have been around, but there hasn't been one so easy to use as Apple. If it's a little better than the experience we had with TouchID gen 1, how much more when this becomes FaceID gen 2. How will other's benefit from this as well. Without this coming out, we'd still have crummy experiences that are gimmicky like what happened with the Galaxy S8 and Lumia 950. It was cool that those had them, but they were optional, and were just plain horrible. FaceID on the X seems to be much more reliable, and so much more consumer friendly because Apple was the one who did it really. We can just take it for what it is now, and bash it, but in the end Apple will release the next iteration of it, and it will be better just like they did with TouchID.

    • Avatar

      Wizzwith

      In reply to SDreamer:

      The facial login on the Lumia 950/XL (and HP X3) is actually a good indication that the same should work fine on the iPhone X after 2-3(?) more years of development.  It did it's job very well on the 950 in many respects, it was just too dang slow.  If you had the patience to use it properly it worked (even through mirrored sunglasses which is kinda remarkable) but was still slow enough to be annoying.  At least it was secure - they probably erred too far on the secure side of it and made it more finicky than it needed to be.  The same can't be said of the Android implementation which just used 2-D pictures which were completely insecure and gave the whole thing a bad rep. 

  37. Avatar

    Winner

    What I'm going to think when I see iPhones with a notch in the field:

    "there's another person who values status over $$ and functionality"

  38. Avatar

    matsan

    I must say I miss a review by John Gruber - when did he fall from grace?

  39. Avatar

    Winner

    I think I'd rather have the Pixel 2 XL with a bit of blue shift on the screen, than a phone with a notch where the unlock works "most of the time" and when it works you need to look at it AND then swipe it.

    I can have my Nexus phone already unlocked before I look at it when I pull it out of my pocket with my finger touching the rear sensor.

  40. Avatar

    Skolvikings

    I've used the Touch ID now on two different iPhones. My current one being the iPhone 7+. For me personally, I'd say I get maybe an 80% success rate getting my iPhone to unlock. For the 20% of the times that don't work, I'm going to say about 75% of those succeed after a second or third attempt. Sometimes, it just won't work. Maybe because the home button is dirty. Maybe my finger is wet. Or whatever. I'm actually thinking that in my case, the Face ID might be better. Then again, I'm unwilling to find out by spending $1150 on first generation tech.

  41. Avatar

    Chris_Kez

    I can only laugh at this whole circus. Folks, go outside and get some fresh air.

  42. Avatar

    obarthelemy

    Apple's conditions for early access to review iPhones and the attendant pageviews is: "be nice". Those "reviewers" are toeing the line and doing free PR.

  43. Avatar

    Delmont

    Pau needs to create a "Comedy Channel" on his web page for anything Apple.

  44. Avatar

    Wizzwith

    It is amazing the free help Apple never stops getting from the "press" and it's fans.  Saw a "review" this morning which had the words I knew would be all over the place: "it feels like the future!"  LOL!  Let me paraphrase a few choice tidbits (this was via dpreview). 

    "amazing opportunity" to review (oh Apple is so gracious!);

    impressions after "just a couple hours using" (plenty of time!); 

    "impressions were extremely positive... writes time and again that the iPhone X "felt like the future." (bingo!)

    "Just like the first iPhone helped us see the future we couldn’t quite put into words, so does the X. It’s more than just an incremental upgrade from the previous versions. With the iPhone X you can feel the future again in the smartphone."  (yeah you can't put it into words cause you are full of crap.  It IS an incremental upgrade, with a bunch of awkward usability changes (I guess that's the revolutionary part?))

    • Avatar

      Jorge Garcia

      In reply to Wizzwith:

      Good point. The one thing I'll say about the X is that the "deck of cards" app closing and switching interface does seem like the "future"...except it really isn't, either...as it was pretty much ripped off from the Palm Pre and WebOS of years ago :)

      • Avatar

        nbplopes

        In reply to JG1170:


        The deck of cards for app switching its pretty much standard on any phone today.


        Palm Pre and WebOS was amazing for the time. Its unfortunate what happened to the company. Apple stole the show by coming up first with the iPhone. Palm looked like it was desperately catching up, already in financial trouble. but it was actually innovating. I'm sured the designers were hired ...


        This is the thing. innovation flows ...

  45. Avatar

    bulls96

    Its amazing to me how much these reviewers are willing to give APple a pass for the Face ID failures. SPecially given a high price point. You really need this to work perfectly since its the only way of unlocking this expensive phone.


    If it was another company's product, they probably would have already said "It doesn't work".

  46. Avatar

    dhallman

    So it works just like the Lumias from 2 years ago. Great Innovation.

    • Avatar

      PincasX

      In reply to dhallman:

      The Lumias’ biggest innovation was in producing the next generation of Amiga fan. Now we get to sit through a decade of listing to people blather on about how despite being largely derivative their failed favorite phone had that one feature before everyone else. Let me be the first to congratulate you on having facial recognition first and your wise choose of a dead end platform.

      • Avatar

        dhallman

        In reply to PincasX: That was not my point. Apple says they do not want to be first with introducing features - they want to be best. 2 years later you still have to hold the camera too close to your face and the reliability - especially in daylight - sounds the same as it was in the beginning. But thanks for so thoughtfully calling me out on my decisions. What a great mind you have there. Stellar argument. Or maybe I won't just toss an 18 month old phone that works well until it dies. And when I do, I may still stick with Windows. What's it to you?


        • Avatar

          PincasX

          In reply to dhallman:

          Hmmm... You offered your opinion in a public space, clearly you felt it was important enough to hear and now you have your knickers in a twist because someone pointed out how inane it was. It cracks me up how Paul and his cheerleaders are so thin skinned and insecure about your product choices that you have defend them so loudly and criticize anything that doesn't conform to it. As for reliability, neither of us have seen a comparison between the two phones. I don't think there will ever be an actual reliability test comparing to the two because no one really has a Lumia to test against. Anyway, you are simply reading what you want to hear into the reviews. Don't get me wrong, the Amiga crowd was unintentionally hilarious, thankfully the Lumia crowd is gleefully following in those footsteps. I look forward to your future posts.

          • Avatar

            dhallman

            In reply to PincasX: The point is you did not get my opinion from this post alone. In fact many of us have said how bad 'Windows Hello' is on Lumia. Too slow, too inaccurate, to fussy with distance, too unreliable outside. You assumed my post was pro Lumia. It was not. I have had Windows Hello turned off on my phone for over a year. My amazement is that Apple would want to jump on board if it has not improved. You are correct - it may prove to be better than we expect. Or it could be improved with future updates. But with reviews like these, I don't see much hope. But again, thank you for policing these posts and keeping us on track. You clearly think more of your opinion than I do of mine.
    • Avatar

      Winner

      In reply to dhallman:

      With expensive and hard to produce hardware.

  47. Avatar

    oliver91

    facial recognition is very good technology indeed. I got my new iPhone x from dollar general store and got 100$ gift card too by filling dgcustomerfirst com survey.

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