Since my iPhone X won’t reach me for a couple of weeks (someday I’ll shut up about it, I promise) I’ve got some extra time to reflect on my purchase before it arrives. One of my reflections has been about my choice of color. I purchased a black model but I keep asking myself, should I have bought white?
To understand the consternation we need to talk about some history. Way back in 2011 I bought white iPhone 4s and I loved it. It had a bright white front with a beautiful all-white glass back. It looked sharp and clean and stood out from the other phones on the market. It reminded me of the classic iPod but even cleaner. After the 4s Apple started using aluminum on their iPhones and they were never the same. The model with a bright white front was always paired with silver aluminum and there is pretty much nothing I dislike more than silver aluminum. I find it boring so I’ve opted for the Space Gray models since then, even though I really would prefer them to be black… the lesser of two evils I suppose.
Now that the iPhone 8 and X have glass backs there is an opportunity to resurrect the clean design that I enjoyed on my 4s. In Apple’s initial photos the white models of both the 8 and the X the back looked white sometimes and more gray other times. I decided that it wasn’t the clean white that I wanted so I ordered a black model. When I started reading reviews of the X I noticed something – the white model looked really clean in some photos. Had I misjudged the shade of Apple’s latest devices?
I scoured the internet for photos of actual devices but I found the same inconsistencies – sometimes white, sometimes gray. The only way to verify was to see a device in person. I stopped a Verizon store but the phones were glued to their stands; the only way to see the back was to look under them and there wasn’t enough light to tell. I had an opportunity to visit an Apple Store while I was in Boston this weekend and was able to verify.
With the iPhone X only a few days old there was quite a crowd at the store playing with them. Eventually I waited long enough behind someone for a white model to free up and I was able to make my scientific decision. The iPhone X is definitely more of a concrete color than white. If you hold it in direct light without anything to compare it to, it looks white. But if you tilt it to the side or pop it next to the front bezel of a white iPhone 8, it looks grey and kind of dull. This is not the 4s I was looking for. Buyer’s remorse avoided.
I also noticed that the shade of white differs between the X and the 8 with the X having a lighter more pearlescent shade than the 8. I looked at the black X that I actually ordered and confirmed that it is more of a charcoal or dark cocoa color than pure black, but it’s fine. As a pleasant surprise I realized that the stainless steel band around the black X is actually black like the black stainless Apple Watch, not bright stainless. I like that and it makes the black X a little bit more exciting.