- Hollis Johnson
- The iPhone X is beautiful and exciting.
- The phone has one crucial flaw, however – it’s nearly impossible to use with one hand.
- The difficulty has changed the way I use my phone for the worse, so I’m selling mine.
I still remember the excitement I felt peeling back the protective plastic from 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 Face ID is inconsistent, the bright chrome on 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 matters to me: The phone is impossible for me to use with one hand.
- Business Insider/Dennis Green
Though the phone is only a bit bigger than the iPhone 6, iPhone 7, and iPhone 8, the bigger screen how dramatically changes how you interact with the device.
The new gestures required by the notch at the top of the phone mean there’s no way to look at my notifications with only one hand or access the control center – and those are essential functions. It drastically limits the usability of the phone when I’m on the go or when I have only one hand free.
I’ve noticed myself changing my behavior to use the phone, holding it differently and constantly adjusting my grip by sliding my hand up the back of the device to reach the top of the screen with my thumb.
With my hand closer to the top of the device, I feel as though I’m going to drop it. That causes me to bring the phone down and horizontal, parallel to the floor and near my stomach, putting it in an awkward position and forcing me to crane my neck.
The 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 could use my pinky as a kind of shelf for the phone to sit on as I tapped away, texting, checking email, or changing songs on Spotify. The X’s size doesn’t let that happen.
I’ve enabled Reachability, Apple’s solution for people with smaller hands using larger phones. It doesn’t help much. You trigger the feature by swiping downward on the bottom edge of the screen – an awkward motion that makes me feel as if I’m losing grip on the device. It also adds another step to use anything near the top of the phone.
The fear of dropping the phone comes from the $549 bill to repair the cracked glass on the phone’s back. 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 unlike the feeling of melancholy one might have just after getting married. I experienced something similar with my previous phone.
Like the X’s new shape, the iPhone 6 represented a dramatic departure in form from previous iPhones. When I upgraded to the 6 from my iPhone 4S, I had similar doubts about one-handed use, and it took me a few weeks to get used to it.
I ended up falling in love with the phone. That same thing did not happen with the X a month into using it.
I had assumed that using the new phone would be identical to using my previous phone, but I didn’t account for the drastic effect of the larger screen.
A weird thing happened: I would envy people I saw with older iPhones – how easy to use they looked, how flawless Touch ID was, how the size was more manageable. 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 the iPhone X. The screen is just too big to use with one hand. It’s not comfortable, and I don’t think it ever will be. And it isn’t big enough to comfortably use two hands all the time.
- Hollis Johnson
I’ve never had an Apple product that refused to bend to my will with such stubbornness. I realized I didn’t need to be on the cutting edge of technology with a phone with a gorgeous screen and 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 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 to invest in the tried-and-true form factor of the iPhone 8 instead.