Apple iPhone X vs a $10 Etch-A-Sketch

Alex Kidman 13 September 2017

iphone-x

Not everyone will be able to afford the new iPhone, after all.

Here at finder.com.au, we pride ourselves on the fact that we compare everything.

Want comparative information on credit cards? Here you go. How about insurance? We've got you covered, whether you want health insurance, travel insurance, car insurance or even pet insurance. Looking to compare energy providers? Got you covered again.

I think you get the idea. Naturally, we also compare all the latest and best mobile phones and mobile plans, and right now, there's nothing more heavily hyped and anticipated than the Apple iPhone X, announced just this morning.

Apple is busy on its hype train for the Apple iPhone X, but it's a phone well worth comparing. So we've done just that. We've already compared it against the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, against Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 and against the Samsung Galaxy S8, and against a raft of Android competitors including the Sony Xperia XZ Premium, LG V30, OnePlus 5, HTC U11 and Google Pixel. We've even compared whether you should upgrade to the iPhone X from last year's iPhone 7.

But we like to think that we compare everything, and we also like to have fun with it while we're on the job.

Not everyone is going to be able to afford the iPhone X's rather serious asking price, and this got me thinking. How well does an iPhone X compare to a discount store Etch-A-Sketch?

It should be noted at the outset that Etch-A-Sketch is a trademark of Spinmaster, and a properly branded one will typically cost you a bit more than $10. I'm thinking here of your generic knock-off version from a discount store, although the comparison would be equally apt for the real deal as well.

DeviceApple iPhone XBargain Store Etch-A-Sketch
Display size5.8inTypically 6in
Resolution2436x1125Countable with fingers
PPI458ppiRoughly 12ppi
ProcessorApple A11 BIONICNone
RAMTBCNone, unless you draw a sheep with it
Storage64GB/256GBFragile solid state storage
Operating systemiOS 11None
Front camera7MPNot yet found
Back camera12/12MPNot present
BatteryTBCNot required
Dimensions143.6x70.9x7.7mmTypically around 23x22x3cm
Weight174gLess than 100g
Price$1,579/$1,829$10-$40 depending on authenticity

eas_shutterstock_738

Apple iPhone X vs a $10 Etch-A-Sketch: Processor

The Apple iPhone X runs on Apple's latest and most powerful processor, the Apple A11 BIONIC, featuring 6 64-bit cores, built on a 10nm process. We're yet to comprehensively benchmark the iPhone X, but Apple claims impressive performance gains over previous iPhone generations, as well as the added benefits of a dedicated inbuilt GPU for AR and gaming purposes.

As for the Etch-A-Sketch, it doesn't really have a processor to speak of, unless the shaking of your hand counts as clock cycles in some twisted way. That being said, it's a very tried and true processor approach that hasn't changed since the very first Etch-A-Sketch. Clearly, it's a processor that can stand the test of time, whereas it's likely that the iPhone X won't get any iOS upgrades within about 4 or 5 years.

iphone-x

Apple iPhone X vs a $10 Etch-A-Sketch: Storage

Apple will sell the iPhone X in 64GB and 256GB storage varieties, and like iPhones that preceded it, that's a fixed storage quantity with no microSD card expansion. It's still a solid quantity for apps and photos, although if you want a lot of downloaded video on the iPhone X, the 256GB model is advised.

The Etch-A-Sketch also uses solid state storage, which is quite cutting edge when you consider its technology dates from the 1950s. However, the age of the technology does introduce significant limitations, because it features what we can only call "fragile solid state storage". Even the smallest bump can radically change its storage parameters, and consistent shaking will lead to a complete factory reset with no user warning. Etch-A-Sketch provides no backup facility for its products, either.

eis_n_738

Apple iPhone X vs a $10 Etch-A-Sketch: Camera

Apple stacks the iPhone X with dual vertically mounted lenses at the rear, as well as a significantly upgraded front facing camera array that enables the new "FaceID" features, as well as the fun Animoji characters. Improved low light sensitivity and Apple's new Portrait Lighting feature should put it in the top tier of smartphone cameras, and that's a tough field in 2017.

Some would argue that the Etch-A-Sketch doesn't actually have a camera to speak of, but we're not so certain. Sure, we haven't actually been able to find the shutter button just yet, but how else do you explain these wonderful pictures?

Clearly, it's best suited for those who like their photography monochromatic, but we're going to keep searching until we find it.

Apple iPhone X vs a $10 Etch-A-Sketch: Battery

Apple is rather cagey around the specifics of the battery in the iPhone X, noting only in its keynote that the iPhone X will manage 2 hours more battery life than the iPhone 7 did. Which on the surface sounds like a fine claim, except that the iPhone 7 had pretty poor battery life for a premium handset. There's the very real prospect that the iPhone X might not outpace the lower cost iPhone 8 Plus in the battery stakes if 2 hours more than the iPhone 7 is all it can manage. We'll have to wait until we can comprehensively test the iPhone X's battery power to get to the bottom of that mystery.

Meanwhile, the Etch-A-Sketch has a battery that can only be described as "magical", presuming Apple hasn't trademarked that term just yet.

Seriously, this thing just keeps going and going and going with no flashing battery alerts or dimmed screen at any time at all. That's probably for the best, because, like the camera shutter button, I can't seem to find where to plug it in.

iphone-x-3

Apple iPhone X vs a $10 Etch-A-Sketch: Early verdict

As smartphones go, the Apple iPhone X does appear to outperform the Etch-A-Sketch on every metric except battery life, so if you want a 4G-capable iOS device in the premium price range, it's probably going to do more for you. You will pay more, however, because while knock-off Etch-A-Sketch style devices can be had for around $10, the lowest cost iPhone X costs $1,579 for the 64GB variant and the 256GB model sells for $1,829.

That kind of money could, logically speaking, buy you around 182 knock-off Etch-A-Sketches, although what you do with them is up to you.

Latest mobile phones headlines


Follow us for all the latest mobile phone news and deals


Image: Shutterstock

Get the best deal on your mobile phone

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, read the PDS or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.
Ask a question