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Here’s how you can get your hands on the iPhone X

The iPhone X[1] has been revealed at long last, but you’ll have to wait well more than a month before you’re able to get one in your hands. While Apple’s futuristic flagship was announced[2] at its special event on September 12, the device won’t be available for pre-order until October 27, and won’t ship to customers until a week later on November 3. It won’t be cheap.

The base model of the iPhone X with 64GB of storage starts at a whopping £1,000. The 256GB variant will go for an extra £150. You only get two color options — Silver and Space Gray — with no hue resembling gold anywhere to be found.

On top of that, AppleCare+[3] is pricey — it’ll cost £199, which is quite a bit more than the £129 price offered for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. With AppleCare+, you’ll get two years of coverage for manufacturer defects and battery life issues, as well as two incidents of accidental damage. Prices for other damages remain the same — £29 for a screen replacement, and £99 for more serious issues.

Thankfully, all four major carriers are also issuing special discounts and promotions to earn your business. In this guide, we take a look at all the deals out there to make Apple’s latest and greatest a bit kinder to your wallet. If the iPhone X is out of your budget, take a look at our iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus[4] buying guide to see if they might be a better fit.

How to buy an unlocked iPhone X

Apple is allowing its most loyal customers a chance to get a head start[5] on the paperwork needed to trade in their old iPhones.

As was the case with the pre-orders of the iPhone 8, members of Apple’s upgrade program[6] will be able to submit their loan paperwork early, and in the case of the iPhone X, you can do so starting on October 23. In addition, users will be able to mail in their old iPhones to make the upgrade process a bit easier. Through Apple’s upgrade plan, the 64GB iPhone X will cost £49.91 per month, while the 256GB version will come at a cool £56.16 per month.

For those unfamiliar with the iPhone upgrade plan, it’s basically a 24-month payment plan for an unlocked phone. It’s convenient for iPhone lovers, because it allows them to upgrade to a new phone every 12 months, at which point the 24-month payments will start over. Apple typically makes unlocked models of its phones available shortly after they launch on wireless carriers, and we expect the same for the iPhone X.

If you want to buy the device with no commitment, this is the way to go. Apple also offers its own financing, so you aren’t required to pay all up front. Do note, there’s no mention of an unlocked, SIM-free model on the Apple website yet.

How to buy on T-Mobile

T-Mobile’s pricing for the iPhone X is exactly the same as Apple’s — the handset starts at £1,000.

You’ll have to fork over £280 as a down payment on the 64GB model, at which point the phone will cost you £30 each month thereafter for two years. If you want the 256GB model, it’ll be £430 up front, with the same monthly cost. There is one way to save, potentially. T-Mobile[7] will issue you up to £300 toward your iPhone X if you trade in your iPhone 6 or newer in “good condition.” This deal also applies to the new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus[8].

The savings will be issued in 24 monthly bill credits, so you’ll receive them in installments over the life of the device as you pay it off. If you’re planning on getting the iPhone X’s successor next year, you may be interested in T-Mobile’s yearly upgrade program. Pay off half the cost of your iPhone X, and the carrier will allow you to upgrade to next year’s model free and clear.

Customers who pre-order through T-Mobile are automatically eligible, and it applies to iPhone 8 and 8 Plus[9] buyers as well.

How to buy on AT&T

AT&T has confirmed that it will be selling the iPhone X, and pre-orders begin on October 27 with availability starting November 3[10]. Overall pricing[11] is the same as you’ll find elsewhere, though the month-to-month cost differs depending on the plan you choose. Under AT&T Next, you can expect to pay £33.34 every month for a 64GB model, and £38.34 for a 256GB one.

If you want to be on the yearly upgrade path, AT&T Every Year increases those installments to £41.67 and £47.92, respectively.

How to buy on Sprint

Sprint’s CEO Marcelo Claure confirmed in a series of tweets[12] that the network will carry the iPhone X. Customers will be able to pre-order starting October 27 at 12:01 a.m. PDT, and pricing will be the same as Apple’s.

The carrier hasn’t offered up any promotions yet, but we expect to know more in the coming weeks. Like T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T, Sprint runs a program where you can upgrade to a new iPhone after completing a year’s worth of payments on your existing device.

How to buy on Verizon

Verizon will offer the iPhone X at the same time as the rest of the industry, though we haven’t received word on promotions yet. Again, you have the option of upgrading to the next new model for no added cost once you’ve paid off 50 percent of the iPhone X.

Update: Added information on how Apple’s upgrade program applies to the iPhone X.

Editor’s Recommendations

References

  1. ^ iPhone X (www.digitaltrends.com)
  2. ^ announced (www.apple.com)
  3. ^ AppleCare+ (www.apple.com)
  4. ^ iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus (www.digitaltrends.com)
  5. ^ head start (www.engadget.com)
  6. ^ Apple’s upgrade program (www.digitaltrends.com)
  7. ^ T-Mobile (newsroom.t-mobile.com)
  8. ^ iPhone 8 and 8 Plus (www.digitaltrends.com)
  9. ^ iPhone 8 and 8 Plus (www.digitaltrends.com)
  10. ^ October 27 with availability starting November 3 (www.apple.com)
  11. ^ pricing (about.att.com)
  12. ^ tweets (twitter.com)

I went to buy a Pixel 2. Verizon tried to sell me a Galaxy S8

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that’s taken over our lives.

A fine camera with a mediocre phone attached?

Josh Miller/CNET

You might watch a launch event and decide you must have that new phone. You might read a review — they’re very good on CNET[1], you know — and hope you’ll be influenced. Many people, though, walk into stores and are willing to be swayed.

I’m one of them. I want to touch the phone, play with it and listen to a salesperson’s patter. So on Friday, I went to a Verizon store in Marin County, California, to see how Google’s new Pixel 2 phones are being sold.

And, hopefully, to be persuaded. I’m still on an iPhone 6. Recently, I tried to be swayed toward an iPhone 8[2].

Sadly, the Apple store left me rigid. Could I be moved by Verizon, which after all is Google’s exclusive partner for the Pixel 2[3]? I walked into the store and there was a sign on the door announcing the new phone.

A flock of the phones were perched at the very front. A salesman saw me handling the Pixel 2. His first words: “We’re out of the XL.”

He was, of course, referring to the Pixel 2’s larger sibling, the Pixel 2 XL[4]. There was a display model within reach. His approach didn’t seem like the finest way to get me interested in the device they actually had in stock, and my somewhat bemused expression didn’t appear to clue him into this.

As I returned to examining the Pixel 2, he sidled over and explained that I couldn’t get an XL within 20 miles of the store. Undeterred, I showed him my iPhone 6 and asked why I should upgrade to a Pixel 2. “Well, the camera’s better,” he said.

This, oddly, was exactly the same response I’d gotten in the Apple store when looking at an iPhone 8. Has it really come to people buying phones for the camera, rather than for anything phone-y? That’s what it seems.

His next attempt at persuasion surprised me: “And if you look at the back, it won’t scratch.” This was curious; on Friday morning I’d watched a torture test that concluded the back was extremely prone to scratching[5]. And, for that matter, bending.

“So what is this? Plastic?” I asked, gently stroking the back. “Yeah, I think so,” he replied. (It’s actually metal with “a premium hybrid coating.”) I was beginning to get the impression that the salesman wasn’t enamored of this phone.

Which seemed odd, as Verizon is clearly pushing it in its first week. “To be honest, the Galaxy S8 is better,” he said. “With the Pixel, you don’t get the bloatware that you do on the Samsung, but the Samsung’s just cooler and has a much better screen.” To my own eyes, the Pixel 2 did seem a little cheap.

It wasn’t distressing. It just looked a little ordinary. I don’t think any phone has beaten the Galaxy S7 Edge[6] for sheer pulchritude.

“So I guess you have a Galaxy S8?” I asked. “No, iPhone 6S,” he replied. This was an answer I’d heard from a lot of real people when I traveled California asking about the iPhone X[7].

The 6 and 6S were phones that satisfied. “But if I wanted an Android, I’d get an S8,” he admitted. Really?

Even over the 2 XL? I recalled that in her review[8] of the device, my CNET colleague Lynn La had said its thinner bezels and rounded corners make it look less frumpy than the regular old Pixel 2. And it apparently has an excellent camera as well.

I picked up the display model and it was, indeed, marginally more attractive. The salesman, though, still seemed unmoved. He explained he had no idea when the store would have them again and insisted Galaxies were simply better.

He then added that very few people even contemplate the idea of switching from iPhone to Android or the other way. So many are set in their ecosystems, he said, that it’s one side or the other. It’s hard to be persuaded when a salesman has told you clearly that he’s not persuaded himself.

I appreciated his honesty. We got to talking about iPhones, the fact that he gets no discount on the phones, and his concern that the iPhone X is too expensive (for the 256GB version, it’s £1,149). “What about the iPhone 8?” I asked.

“We’re sold out,” he said. “Really?” “But I’ve got no idea who bought them.

On launch day, we didn’t have many people in here.” This was one salesman in one store on a single day. It may well be that others have more dexterous ways of selling the Pixel 2, though in her review of that device, my colleague La also concluded[9] that the biggest sales point of the phone was its camera.

Still, I walked away wondering what a phone has to do to be uncontrollably enticing. Perhaps we’re past that. Then again, there is the iPhone X, I suppose.

We’ll see.

CNET en Espa?ol[10]: Get all your tech news and reviews in Spanish.

Does the Mac still matter?[11] Apple execs explain why the MacBook Pro was over four years in the making, and why we should care.

References

  1. ^ very good on CNET (www.cnet.com)
  2. ^ tried to be swayed toward an iPhone 8 (www.cnet.com)
  3. ^ exclusive partner for the Pixel 2 (www.cnet.com)
  4. ^ Pixel 2 XL (www.cnet.com)
  5. ^ extremely prone to scratching (www.cnet.com)
  6. ^ Galaxy S7 Edge (www.cnet.com)
  7. ^ when I traveled California asking about the iPhone X (www.cnet.com)
  8. ^ review (www.cnet.com)
  9. ^ also concluded (www.cnet.com)
  10. ^ CNET en Espa?ol (www.cnet.com)
  11. ^ Does the Mac still matter? (www.cnet.com)

KEF’s R300 speaker is a knockout – CNET

KEF is one of the few speaker brands that never lets me down, and they offer a wide range of models with innovative engineering and great sound. KEF’s LS50 was the Audiophiliac Speaker of the Year[1] in 2012, and it’s still in production with a healthy worldwide following.

The KEF R300 speakers

KEF

The R300[2] I’m reviewing today is the LS50’s bigger brother, and it’s part of KEF’s R Series[3] which includes a smaller bookshelf model, the R100, and a range of tower speakers and home-theater models. There’s an undeniable ease to the sound, the R300 doesn’t shout “detail” or “resolution,” but the clarity is there.

It’s just easier on the ear, it’s closer to the way live, unamplified music sounds in real life. While listening to a friend playing acoustic guitar in their apartment, I never once thought the sound was hyper-detailed or high-resolution; the R300’s sound is similarly un-hyped. The treble is pure, no aggressive bite or glare coming from the R300, that’s for sure.

Now Playing: Watch this: KEF’s Q350 speakers pack a punch

Eddie is one of my more insightful audiophile pals and he’s obsessed with “tone;” he wants his music to sound tonally authentic.

Eddie has a good point: audio systems might sound good overall, but don’t always get the tone right. The R300 absolutely nails it, especially with vocals — whether I’m listening to Frank Sinatra or Bob Dylan, the sound is remarkably natural and present. New Orleans legend Dr.

John’s solo piano recordings also sounded tonally right, especially in the lower registers. His percussive touch, and hard-hitting style had plenty of impact.

The complete KEF R Series

KEF

My review samples are finished in brilliant Piano white, but Piano black and real wood veneer finishes in rosewood and walnut are also available. I love the R300’s clean lines, but if you’d rather not look at the naked drivers the R300 comes with cloth grilles.

It’s a fairly large bookshelf speaker, the R300 measures 15.2 by 8.3 by 13.6 inches (385 by 210 by 345mm), and weighs a solid feeling 24.6 pounds (12.6 kg). You won’t find too many three-way speakers in the R300’s relatively compact size; the driver complement includes a 6.5-inch (165mm) aluminum woofer, and a Uni-Q concentric[4] 5-inch (125mm) magnesium-aluminum midrange driver, with a 1-inch (25mm) aluminum dome tweeter. The Uni-Q’s mission isn’t merely space saving — this point source driver produces remarkably accurate, precisely focused stereo imaging.

Impedance is rated at 8 ohms, but it drops down to as low as 3.2 ohms, so for best sound make sure to pair the R300 with amplifiers that can handle low impedance speakers. The cabinet has a rear bass port, and a set of beautifully finished bi-wire speaker connectors. The KEF R300, left, and LS50 right

Steve Guttenberg/CNET

I have a pair of KEF LS50 speakers on hand for direct comparison and not surprisingly, the two speakers sound similar, but the R300 is weightier, fuller and delivers more low-end power.

Dynamics pack a bigger punch with Led Zeppelin’s “Presence” album; returning to the LS50 I miss the R300s’ oomph. Johnny Cash’s big baritone voice was fully intact and plastered a big fat smile on my face. That kind of authenticity is rare in speakers the R300’s size and cost, and even the KEF LS50, good as it is, forfeited some of Cash’s presence.

Returning to the R300 restored it. Big band recordings like John Beasley’s terrific “Monk’estra” album swung like crazy, the R300 has the power to spare. Still, the LS50 sounds awfully nice and is well suited to small listening rooms.

The R300 fares better in larger spaces, but it’s still a relatively small speaker, so it lacks the bottom-end muscle of a well-designed tower speaker.

As always, careful speaker-room matching should be part of the speaker-buying decision process.

The KEF R300[5] sells for £1,800, ?1,000 or AU£2,795 per pair.

References

  1. ^ Audiophiliac Speaker of the Year (www.cnet.com)
  2. ^ The R300 (www.kefdirect.com)
  3. ^ KEF’s R Series (us.kef.com)
  4. ^ Uni-Q concentric (us.kef.com)
  5. ^ KEF R300 (www.kefdirect.com)

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