Should the iPhone X Be in Your Future?

A look at whether Apple’s priciest smartphone offers more than a cosmetic upgrade, as well as Android options that can compete.

If you’re an avid iPhone fan, you’ve probably already decided you’re going to upgrade to one of the three new models Apple unveiled last week. The question is: Should it be the iPhone X—the one with the $1,000 price tag? And if you’re an Android user, your question is: Is there anything that competes?

Despite the marketing hoopla surrounding the iPhone X, which will go on sale in November, real estate professionals’ decision to purchase it should be guided by its practical benefits. The less expensive iPhone 8 and 8 Plus were also unveiled alongside the X, which packs 64GB of memory and is the costliest iPhone debut to date. Every new generation of the iPhone incorporates many refinements, including faster processors, brighter displays, and improved battery life. And there are incremental improvements in performance and user experience, from running apps to interacting with the handset.

For your needs, compatibility with software apps, mobile productivity, and camera capabilities matter most. The iPhone 8, with its 4.7-inch display, and the larger 8 Plus, with a 5.5-inch display, bring modest improvements over the iPhone 7 series. Enhancements include a glass and aluminum case and a higher-resolution Retina HD display. The 12-megapixel camera promises more accurate color capture, autofocus in poorly lit settings, and image stabilization when taking photos or 4K video.

Will you be better served with a step up to an iPhone 8 or a leap forward to the X? Apple touts the iPhone X as the future of smartphones. For easier viewing, the redesign includes a high-resolution Super OLED Retina 5.8-inch display, which fills much of the surface of the phone, stretching all the way to its rounded corners. The “home” button and functions are replaced with screen gestures, made possible by iOS 11, the latest version of the operating system. The X also has two new cameras, including a dual 12MP rear camera system for capturing both wide-angle and telephoto pictures and videos. For enhanced security, the new front-facing 7MP True Depth camera powers one of the phone’s breakthroughs: Face ID. The camera maps and stores a model of the owner’s facial features, and the phone uses this information to verify the user before unlocking the phone.

But Apple’s products aren’t the only new-generation smartphones that promise to make your mobile business operate more smoothly. Whether your phone runs iOS or Android, any smartphone designed for the latest version of the operating system takes full advantage of available software. Across the board, advances in smartphone cameras and imaging software deliver better photos and sharper videos, even when shooting indoors.

The tools you employ are also a reflection of your brand, and your choice in smartphone is part of that image. If you promote yourself as a tech-savvy agent, you need to be carrying one of the latest models. Anything less suggests you’re behind the times. For Apple loyalists, the choices are limited. But Android users have more freedom, though matching your phone to your personal preferences entails different considerations. There are simply more vendors and variations in Android smartphones. Here are the most notable ones.

  • Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8: The eagerly awaited replacement for last year’s ill-fated but popular Galaxy Note 7, the Note 8 has a 6.3-inch touchscreen and an S-Pen interface that make this “phablet”—a hybrid phone and tablet—a versatile tool for capturing notes and communicating away from your desk. The Note 8 also features a dual 12MP camera system, which can capture both a close-up shot and wide-angle photo simultaneously for highlighting features of a home or room.
  • Motorola’s Moto X4: Just unveiled, this smartphone may appeal to those looking for something smaller and less expensive without sacrificing functionality.
  • Google’s Pixel: Google will soon add a new model to its Pixel smartphones, designed and built for its web-based apps and tools.
  • LG’s V30: For those who value the camera as a key feature, this smartphone is worth a look. It has a 16MP rear camera with a glass f/1.6 lens and a companion 13MP wide-angle camera for gathering more light, accurate colors, and sharper images, even when shooting or recording in poorly lit rooms.
  • There are also noteworthy Android phones to consider from vendors who may not be as familiar to you. The OnePlus 5 runs a refined version of Android—OxygenOS—and includes both 20MP and 16MP rear cameras. The Essential Phone, designed by the creator of the Android operating system, has a dual camera system with an optional 360-degree camera for immersive, navigable videos.

If you decide it’s time to upgrade your smartphone, you’ve got plenty of good options. If you decide to wait, you can look forward to a varied selection next year. As a professional whose smartphone may be the essential tool, you can always make the strongest argument for outfitting yourself with one of the current best in class.