After a disappointing 2018 which saw Apple record its biggest decline in iPhone sales for the first time in three years, Apple's legions of fans have been eagerly awaiting the release of the iPhone 11 to see how it fares in the ultra competitive smartphone arms race.
Although many insiders continue to predict more substantial changes (such as 5G and the possible return of Touch ID) with the 2020 iPhone lineup, based on our initial impressions and the reviews that have surfaced thus far, the iPhone 11 may be a good enough upgrade even if it lacks some of the key features anticipated in the lead up to launch.
If you’re oooing or ahhing whether to upgrade or are simply curious about this year’s iPhone lineup, you’ve come to the right place.
cameras on point
Apple has always prided itself on having a best in class camera setup for its phones. In recent times the Google Pixel Series, Huawei P-Series and the Samsung Galaxy S and Note series have stolen the spotlight, bringing high class imaging technology and well rounded photography features.
While the iPhone XS and XR photo performance is nothing to sneeze at, they both felt a tad underwhelming in terms of their overall photo taking prowess.
Although they're not first out of the gate with some of these features, the extra lens versatility makes it a joy to use and the cameras on the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro are easily the best camera setup Apple has squeezed into one of their smartphones to date.
Here are some key camera features:
- The iPhone 11 sports a dual-lens 12-megapixel ultra-wide and wide camera, with the ultra-wide lens offering an aperture of f/2.4 and 120 degree field of view and the wide lens featuring an aperture of f/1.8.
- The iPhone 11 Pro models have a triple-lens 12-megapixel setup, with the same two lenses as the iPhone 11, along with a telephoto lens providing an aperture of f/2.0
- All models include an updated front-facing camera that is also a 12-megapixel sensor (up from 7-megapixels) with improved Face ID that is supposedly up to 30% faster than the previous models.
- An improved Portrait mode (which can now be used for more than just people), new Portrait Lighting effects, the next generation Smart HDR and the highly anticipated Night Mode.
- Extended dynamic range for video recording up to 4K at 24 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps.
- The iPhone 11 has 2x optical zoom out*, digital zoom up to 5x.
- iPhone 11 Pro models have 2x optical zoom in, 2x optical zoom out* and 10x digital zoom.
*The optical zoom out feature refers to the ultra-wide angle lens, that allows you to get more coverage in your shots.
There is also the ability to record 120 fps slo-mo video that Apple is marketing as "slofies" which is more of a novelty than being of any real use but I guess it's good for the gram?
we love night mode
Both the iPhone 11 and the iPhone 11 Pro include a new Night Mode feature, designed to capture superior photos in low light settings.
Yes, Google did it first, with Huawei quickly following in their footsteps, but Apple’s Night Mode is definitely a contender in this space. Night Mode is activated in dark settings and automatically sets the right exposure time (and some processing magic) to capture the optimal shot.
The feature, which can be seen above, means you’ll no longer have to bust out the flash to capture glorious foodie pics when you’re out for dinner at a nice restaurant #winning
At first glance the iPhone 11 doesn't convey significant physical change to last years' model, however, it's the rear design where things get interesting.
In the build up to its release most people were quick to point out the change in design regarding the rear camera setup for the iPhone 11 and how ugly leaked renders appeared.
Both the iPhone 11 and the Pro models come with a new "stovetop" camera module bump, but it does not look as ugly as first thought (those who suffer from trypophobia might disagree) and definitely feels like an upgraded camera setup to its predecessor.
The iPhone 11 comes with a 6.1 inch LCD screen (which Apple calls its Liquid Retina Display), a glossy glass look on the back of the device and an anodized aluminum frame that aligns closely to last year's XR model, with the core difference to the Pro model being the dual-camera setup with each lens raised slightly up from the frosted glass camera square.
The colour options for this year are black, white, yellow, (PRODUCT) RED and the two new additions which Apple say are green and purple but are definitely more of mint and lilac.
The iPhone 11 Pro comes with a 5.8 inch screen for the Pro and 6.3 inch screen for the Pro Max version and a new upgraded OLED display (which Apple has dubbed its Super Retina XDR Display). Both come with a matte glass finish on the back, stainless steel frame and a triple-camera setup on a glossy glass camera square.
The matte back definitely gives the iPhone a new feel in hand and a fresh look to its predecessor. There's an additional new colour with the Pro models with the introduction of "Midnight Green" joining Space Grey, Silver and Gold.
Apple has also made some minor tweaks with the "iPhone" brand name being removed and the Apple logo becoming more centred on the back of the device.
longer lasting battery life
The iPhone 11 battery capacity has been bumped up across all models this year:
- iPhone 11 at 3,110 mAh which Apple claims lasts up to 1 hour longer than the iPhone XR.
- iPhone 11 Pro at 3,046 mAh which Apple claims lasts up to 4 hours compared to the iPhone XS.
- iPhone 11 Pro Max having a huge 3,969 mAh which Apple claims lasts up to 5 hours compared to the iPhone XS Max.
Reviewers have had favourable results with their battery life across all the iPhone 11 models while testing, easily lasting a day of use without having to recharge.
The removal of 3D Touch has definitely helped provide extra space for the increased battery capacity and while the iPhone 11 range is slightly heavier, the trade-off with better battery life is most welcome.
The iPhone 11 is the iPhone the majority of users should consider moving to if you’re in the market for an upgrade. It includes many of the features the more expensive iPhone 11 Pro has without feeling like you're missing out on any key features, plus it comes in more colour options than the Pro models.
Although the regular model misses out on telephoto zoom lens and a punchier OLED display, it's still an excellent choice for those upgrading from iPhone 6, 7, 8 or even the iPhone XR, especially with its lower price and ultra-wide lens capability.
If the display of the phone matters and you have a little bit more to spend, than you're more likely to go for the iPhone 11 Pro or Pro Max. The iPhone 11 Pro models offer a more premium feel and the better OLED display.
If you're deciding whether to upgrade from the iPhone X or XS models then you should probably factor how important phone photography is to your usage, as the inclusion of the ultra-wide lens and night mode is reason enough to upgrade.
Pricing starts at $1,199 for the iPhone 11 64GB and, $1,749 and $1,899 for the 64GB version of the iPhone Pro and Pro Max respectively. While we're huge fans of the Pro and Pro Max, the value isn't as strong as the regular iPhone 11 which offers incredible bang for your buck.