Unboxing The First Apple iPhone X Unit In the Philippines, First Impressions and Realizations

Last Friday night - November 3, 2017 - at the Manila Bulletin HQ in Intramuros, Manila, I got the chance to unbox the first ever Apple iPhone X unit here in the Philippines - thanks to our good friends from MB Tech News and Smart Communications.

To specific, I'd like to thank Ms. Abbie Real of Smart Social Media Team, Mr. Art Samaniego, Tech Editor of Manila Bulletin, and their respective teams for this opportunity, which I'll always remember and treasure.

As I've shared on Facebook, this experience was certainly one of the most memorable things I've done this year -- if not in my entire career as a tech blogger. I'm so glad that it went the way it did -- because, frankly, it could have ended differently for me.

To be honest, five days ago, when Ms. Abbie invited me to do the live unboxing of #SmartiPhoneX with Sir Art via MB's Facebook broadcast, I had second thoughts gracing it as I was still recovering from my most recent skin allergy attack and both of my hands were still molting or changing skin. I didn't want Smart or Manila Bulletin to have a hard time shooting photos or videos of the phone while I'm holding it.

Manila Bulletin Tech News
Removing the protective sticker on the Apple iPhone X with AJ and Sir Art.

I'm hindsight, I'm glad that I bravely said "Yes" despite my hesitations and worries -- because the handset and whole experience turned out to be absolutely amazing. I can only hope that the photographers and cameramen didn't find it awfully hard to shoot from angles that somehow hid my shedding skin.

Until this moment, I'm still pinching myself that I got to unbox the first ever unit of the 10th Anniversary Apple iPhone here in the Philippines. I'm so grateful and I am humbled. This wouldn't have happened without these great people's trust.

Apple iPhone X Box

First Impressions About The Apple iPhone X

After the live unboxing, I had quick interview session with AJ (the show's host) and Sir Art where they asked me what I thought about the Apple iPhone X.

I said that - previously - just from looking at photos and videos of the handset, I thought the 10th generation iPhone was nothing special. Heck, I even wrote a blog entry on all the features of the iPhone X that had been done before by other brands -- to suggest that Apple is already becoming way too 'unoriginal' in this product category.


"But having played with an actual unit and seeing all of those features together in just one device, I now think that the Apple iPhone X is certainly worth checking out. Holding it in the flesh makes a big difference to one's opinions about this model," I told Sir Art.

I'll reserve my initial and full reviews after I get more time taking the Apple iPhone X for a spin.


But before I share of my initial realizations about the Apple iPhone X, let me give a quick rundown of all stuff you'll find inside its box.

Lifting the lid, you'll be greeted by a paper sleeve containing the user manual, warranty information, SIM card tray ejector pin, and the two Apple stickers. Underneath the sleeve, the Apple iPhone X sits with a sticker around its body that protects it during shipment. Below the handset, there's the travel charger, Earpods, 3.5mm audio jack to Lightning port adapter, and the Lightning Cable.

I know. The retail package is exactly the same as that of iPhones of the past. Given the very hefty price of this phone, you'd expect it to ship with free Airpods but that's just not the case.

I would like to give credit to Alixel Cheng for three photos that I used in this entry.

Even the packaging design is almost exactly like that of iPhones of old. It's a plain white box with an image of the iPhone X on top of the lid, Apple logo on either ends, and the word "iPhone" printed on both faces. Inside, there are compartments for the above-mentioned accessories.


Alright! Now let's move on to the Ten Things That I Realized After Playing With The Apple iPhone X For 2 Hours.

1. Despite having a massive 5.8-inch OLED display that's even larger than Apple iPhone 8 Plus' screen, the iPhone X's dimensions and weight are closer to that of the iPhone 8, which only has a 4.7-inch panel. I remember one of my friends who was present at the unboxing telling me: "The iPhone X might be too small for me. I like the larger footprint of the 'Plus' series." To each his own, I guess.

2. The All-Screen face with rounded corners and the downward-oriented, protruding Dual Camera module at the back are the two main distinguishing design characteristics of this model. I think those are the two physical traits that will make this model identifiable even when seen from afar.

Apple iPhone X's IP67-Dust-And-Water-Resistant, Glass-Metal-Glass Build is right up there with the best of them. For me, it's one of the best-looking smartphone released in 2017 along with Samsung Galaxy S8 and Note8.

3. Apple iPhone X is only available in two colors: Silver (which I have in these photos) and Slate Grey (both with Stainless Steel mid-frame). Having seen the Apple iPhone 8 in Gold, which looks downright gorgeous, I wish the iPhone X also came in that hue.

4. Sir Art also showed us the Apple iPhone 8 Plus from MB's collection so I had the chance to play with its camera too. Comparing photos that I snapped using that model versus the ones I took using the iPhone X, I think both devices' dual rear camera modules are largely - if not entirely - identical.

5. 256GB Apple iPhone 8 Plus sells for $949 USD while 256GB Apple iPhone X goes for $1,149 USD. If you ask me, if you're going to spend more than $900 USD on an iPhone, then you might as well go for the iconic 10th Anniversary model. But that's just me.


6. The Apple iPhone X camera's Portrait Mode is the best I've personally seen so far. The background blurring behind subjects is cleaner and more seamless compared to what you can get from other smartphones - out in the Philippines - that can deliver this effect. Based on reviews I've seen online, Google Pixel 2 is currently the phone to beat in this department but since the Philippines is not a key market for that device, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X - for me - are the ones that Pinoy consumers should look at if they love good bokeh. Heck, even the front-facing camera for selfies delivers top-notch shallow depth of field effect.


7. I had fun enrolling my face for Face ID biometrics during set-up. The experience - which involved moving your face as if you're writing letter O with your nose - felt new and refreshing. Apple is good at these things. The process certainly makes you feel more 'connected' with the handset.

8. Prior to this unboxing, I watched a video on Youtube showing two pairs of identical twins successfully fooling Face ID on the iPhone X. Honestly, the clip made me question just how reliable this security feature is. But then, I realized that they aren't really all that many identical twins out there. Plus, according to Apple, Face ID is far more secure compared to Fingeprint Scanner; It's like 1:1,000,000 vs 1:50,000 chances of someone having the same face or fingerprint as you.


9. Face ID unlocking is super fast. You won't even have to hold the iPhone X up to your face. It works almost as soon as your eyes see the notch. Surprisingly enough, I didn't find it annoying or hard to use. In fact, it's intuitive.

10. There are a handful of new swipe gesture and button combinations to learn and get used to. Swiping up from the bottom of the screen brings you to the homescreen. Swiping up and stopping in the middle launches the multitasking panel. Swiping down from the upper right corner brings up the easy-access connectivity buttons. And you'd have to press the volume up button along with the power button if you want to shut down the phone. Frankly, it takes only a few minutes to get used to them.


BONUS: I had so much fun creating animojis using the True Depth front-facing camera. I used Panda and Unicorn; They're so cute. Will be posting videos soon! I think this is the one feature that many of you guys and girls will find wildly enjoyable on this model. I promise you: You will be playing your animojis again and again -- as the characters are super adorable.

Mark Milan Macanas, Apple iPhone X Philippines
I've been doing this since circa 2008 -- and I'm not yet tired of it: Friends, my traditional TechPinas pose with the iconic 10th Anniversary iPhone, the Apple iPhone X, which will eventually be available via Smart Postpaid as #SmartiPhoneX.

So there you have it! Let me know if you have questions about this handset. Leave them in the comments section below and I'll try to answer them as soon as I can.

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