- The iPhone X is beautiful and exciting.
- The phone has one crucial flaw, however — it's nearly impossible to use with just one hand.
- The difficulty has changed the way I use my phone for the worse, so I'm selling mine.
I still remember the feeling of excitement I had peeling back the protective plastic from the my shiny new iPhone X. What a gorgeous piece of technology.
That feeling didn’t last.
I’m now nearly a month into using the iPhone X, and I’ve slowly realized I unreservedly dislike the device. In fact, I hate using it.
I could rattle off a list of complaints, like how FaceID is inconsistent, the bright chrome the metal casing is scratch-prone, and the price tag is astronomical.
There's a fatal flaw.
But there’s really only one flaw that really matters to me: the phone is impossible for me to use with one hand.
Business Insider/Dennis GreenThough the phone's footprint is only a bit bigger than the one of the iPhone 6, 7, and 8, the bigger screen
The new gestures required by the notch mean there’s no way to look at my notifications with only one hand, or access the control center. Those are pretty essential functions, and it drastically limits the usability of the phone when I’m on the go, or when I only have one hand free.
I've noticed myself actually changing my behavior to try and use the phone, holding it differently and constantly changing my grip by sliding my hand up the back of the device trying to reach the top of the screen with my thumb.
With my hand closer to the top of the device, I feel like I'm going to drop it. That causes me to instinctively bring the phone down and horizontal, parallel to the floor and near my stomach. This puts the phone in an awkward position, forcing me to crane my neck.
The entire top two rows of apps on the home screen are basically inaccessible without this sliding move, and it makes me paranoid I'm going to drop the $1,000 device.
I've also noticed a new habit of bringing in my left hand when I'm using the phone nearly all the time. It rests near the top left corner of the device, tapping back arrows or notifications as needed.
With my previous iPhone, the 6, I was able to use my pinky as a kind of shelf for the phone to sit on as I tapped away, composing text messages, checking email, or changing the songs played on Spotify. The X's size doesn't let that happen.
I've enabled Reachability, Apple's solution for small handedness on larger phones. It doesn't help much. The feature is triggered with a downward swipe on the bottom edge of the screen, which is both an awkward motion and also makes me feel like I'm losing grip on the device. It also adds another step to using anything near the top of the phone.
The fear of dropping the phone comes from the $549 repair bill that comes along with cracking the back glass of the phone. I hate the idea of risking that just trying to see my notifications.
I envied people with the old iPhone.
At first, I thought it was just an adjustment period — not dissimilar to the feeling of melancholy one gets just after getting married. I experienced something similar with my previous phone.
The 6 represented a similar dramatic departure in form factor from previous iPhones, similar to the X's new shape. When I upgraded to the 6 from my iPhone 4S, I was struck with similar doubts about one-handed use, and it took me a while to get used to.
However, my hand did get used to it in a few weeks, and I ended up falling totally in love with the phone. A month later, that same thing did not happen with the X.
I had assumed using the new phone would be basically identical to using my previous phone, but I didn't account for how the larger screen size would drastically affect my ability to use it.
A weird thing happened: I saw people with older iPhone devices and actually envied them. How easy they looked to use, how flawless the TouchID was, the more manageable size. When a friend showed me her new iPhone 8, I felt legitimate pangs of jealousy.
Eventually, I realized the phone would never work for me.
I realized, with an air of sadness, that I needed to get rid of it. The screen and size are just too big to use with one hand. It’s not comfortable, and I don't think it ever will be. And the form factor isn’t big enough to comfortably use two hands all the time.
I've never had an Apple product that refused to bend to my will with such stubbornness. I realized I don't really need to be on the cutting edge of technology with a gorgeous screen and bleeding edge facial recognition — I just need a phone that works for me.
A phone shouldn't be this difficult to use.
A phone should adapt to a user — not the other way around. I have no doubt that the phone would work perfectly for someone with larger hands.
If the iPhone X is the future of the smartphone, I'd rather be left behind. I'll be selling my iPhone X, and invest in the tried-and-true form factor of the iPhone 8 instead.