Apple iPhone 11
The iPhone 11 is the lower-cost option for Apple’s thirteenth generation offering. Whilst it lacks the camera and processing power of the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, it manages to pack most of their new features into a cheaper package.
- First-rate performance
- Excellent camera
- Very good battery life
- Attractive colour options
- Less impressive screen
- Design is nothing new
- No headphone adaptor or fast charger included
The Apple iPhone 11: In more detail
Apple’s iPhone 11 is the successor to the popular iPhone XR. Its design is almost unchanged but its internal specs have seen an upgrade, with a better camera, better battery life and a more powerful chipset - the same chipset you’ll find in the iPhone 11 Pro. In fact, most reviewers agree the iPhone 11 matches the Pro model in all the most important areas - but for around £300 less. Engadget and The Verge both thought the iPhone 11 would be the best choice of iPhone for most people. Trusted Reviews said there wouldn’t be ‘much you’re missing out on by not getting the Pro model’, and TechRadar called it ‘the one to go for if you want a good value new iPhone’.
Apple has addressed the iPhone XR’s lack of a second rear camera and added a 12MP ultra-wide sensor. It’s also improved the main sensor and upgraded the front camera to a 12MP sensor with a wider field of view in landscape. There’s a new night mode and an improved Smart HDR mode, which ensures different elements in a photo are exposed correctly and evenly, and improves dynamic range.
Engadget thought the main camera was a ‘solid performer’, with lots of detail, rich colours and impressive low-light photography. The Verge found the ultra-wide camera useful for landscape photography and shooting in tight spaces, but thought it took ‘far worse’ photos than the main lens due to being smaller and slower.
The Guardian thought photos taken in good light were ‘some of the best on a smartphone’ and that the ultra-wide camera was ‘arguably the best in its class’, but was disappointed by the lack of an optical zoom. TechRadar thought the camera was the phone’s standout feature and was most impressed by its night mode, saying it brought ‘brightness and clarity to impossibly dark scenes’.
The iPhone 11 has a very similar design to its predecessor, the iPhone XR. It has the same glass and aluminium body, and is the same size and weight. It has the same rounded corners at the edge of the screen, and the same thick bezels.
The biggest difference is on the rear: although it has the same glass back panel, it has a new large, square camera bump in the top left corner to house the new dual camera setup. The iPhone logo has also moved down, and the word ‘iPhone’ has gone.
Apple claims that the glass covering the front and back of the phone is ‘the toughest glass on a smartphone’. It has also upped the water resistance to an IP68 rating. There’s a new range of colour options, with some more muted, pastel tones: it’s available in black, white, mint green, red, pale yellow and lilac.
The iPhone 11 has a 6.1-inch LCD display. Both Digital Trends and Trusted Reviews thought the screen was the phone’s least impressive feature. It’s not OLED, like most of its competitors and the Pro model, which means it’s less vibrant and rich, and has poorer contrast.
It also has a fairly low resolution, at 1,792 x 828 - although this is unlikely to be noticeable unless you look very closely.
Reviewers generally agreed that while it didn’t match up to the competition, it was still perfectly acceptable. Trusted Reviews called it ‘a bright and colour-rich display that comes in at the perfect size’, while TechRadar called it a ‘decent display’ and found it ‘clear, bright and easy to see’.
All of Apple’s new phones are powered by the same A13 Bionic chipset, so the iPhone 11 effectively offers the same level of power as its more expensive siblings, the Pro and Pro Max. This is coupled with 4GB of RAM, and there are 64GB, 128GB and 256GB storage options.
The A13 is Apple’s most powerful processor yet, and the consensus among reviewers was that this was reflected in the phone’s performance - The Verge called the iPhone 11’s performance ‘plenty fast’, while The Guardian said it would ‘handle everything you are likely to do, and then some’. Engadget found it was ‘marginally faster at day-to-day tasks’ than the XR, and Face ID and augmented reality apps operated faster and more smoothly.
One of the highlights of the iPhone 11 is its battery life. Apple claims it lasts all day - and this appears to be true.
TechRadar found it easily lasted a full day and on a low-use day lasted 27 hours, calling it ‘one of the longest-lasting iPhones we’d seen, if not the longest lasting’. Digital Trends found it reached 15% by 10pm after a day of normal usage, and with very heavy usage reached 15% by 5pm. Trusted Reviews found it comfortably made it through the day even with heavy use, and had slightly better battery life than the iPhone XR.
The phone has fast charging capability, which Apple claims will give you 50% charge in half an hour - however, the fast charger isn’t included in the box.