In this review, we’re going to look at all of the iPhone 11’s features, and compare how it stacks up against the previous generation of iPhones, the latest smartphones from its main rival Samsung, and how the standard iPhone 11 compares to the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max.
iPhone 11: In a Nutshell
In this section we’ll provide a short overview of the iPhone 11. If you want to know details about the iPhone 11’s main features, then continue onto the main part of the review below.
The iPhone 11, as you’d expect from Apple and their reputation for delivering top notch smartphone technology, is a brilliant handset. From a consumer perspective, probably the best thing about it is that it builds on the features of its previous generation smartphones, but costs less than they did.
As we saw in our own Samsung Galaxy S20 review, we’re usually being asked to part with more of our cash for the next generation smartphone and the latest upgrades and features, so for Apple to deliver the iPhone 11 at the price it does is a massive tick in the box already.
The iPhone 11’s screen comes in at 6.1-inches, the phone itself feels like a premium product when you’re holding it in your hand, and it comes in a wide variety of colours to help you really make a statement with the appearance of your handset.
Perhaps the best feature on the iPhone 11 in terms of upgrades is the improved camera capabilities. The iPhone 11 features dual 12MP cameras on the rear allowing you to take wide and ultra-wide snaps, which are great for taking amazing photographs but are built onto the phone rather than into it, so if you like a perfectly flat handset the aesthetics of this one may put you off.
Night mode is another impressive feature that will help you to take exceptional pictures even in the darkest locations, while portrait mode is ideal for bringing the subject of your shots into perfect focus.
In terms of design, the iPhone 11 looks similar to its predecessor, and while Apple is getting better with its screen to phone size ratio, the edges around the screen are still noticeable and can make the phone appear less attractive than on some other manufacturer’s handsets where the front of the device is almost 100% screen display.
The display itself is bright and powerful, is very responsive, performs well even in bright sunlight, and video plays in high quality, although if you look at the iPhone 11 Pro it is noticeably better on that handset in comparison.
While the battery power on the previous generation of iPhones was impressive, the iPhone 11 is an even further improvement, with Apple claiming you’ll get an extra hour’s life out of this handset with typical use, but if you need to manage your usage it’ll easily last for longer. One downside is that fast charging isn’t supported, so if you do need to charge your handset to 100% you’re looking at around three hours to do so, although you can keep your phone loaded with plenty of juice when out and about with Apple’s vast range of charging accessories.
Performance wise, the iPhone 11 remains close to the top of the market, with a powerful processor making it easy to flip in and out of apps or keep multiple things running at once while you multitask. If there is a downside to this handset’s performance it’s the time it takes the camera to prepare itself, and you could easily find yourself caught short in those moments where you only have a few seconds to capture the perfect image and need to grab your phone from your pocket.
Overall though, Apple has once again delivered a handset that you can trust and will be able to get at least a few years productive use out of, and at a lower cost than the previous generation it’s a winner on the price front. If you want more power then opt for the iPhone 11 Pro or iPhone 11 Pro Max, but if you don’t need the higher specifications those models offer you, you won’t go wrong with the standard model.
How Much Does the iPhone 11 Cost?
The cost of your iPhone 11 will differ depending on a number of factors, including whether you pay monthly, your mobile network provider and any deals they offer, whether you buy direct or from a third party, and the internal storage option you go for.
The lowest price you will be able to buy the iPhone 11 for from direct from Apple is £729, with the iPhone Pro costing £1,049 and the iPhone Pro Max £1,149.
What’s New in the iPhone 11?
The first thing many of us want to know what thinking about investing in a new smartphone is what we’re getting for our money in the shape of new features and functions. We’re often helped by manufacturers’ launch events where they make a big deal about how they’ve improved their handsets from the last time they asked you for your money 12 months ago.
What’s new in the iPhone 11?
Upon launching the iPhone 11, Apple didn’t actually make a big deal about this one, but it’s something that’s a potential game changer in the long-term.
For now, the U1 chip will make things like AirDrop more effective thanks to its ultrawideband technology.
However, this technology can potentially be used in your smartphone to do even more, such as unlocking your car, turning on or waking up your laptop or other devices when you enter a room, or activating other smart home features. If you lose your phone around the house, it’ll even help you to pinpoint exactly where it is, although you’ll need to move the sofa cushions to retrieve it yourself!
Corning Gorilla Glass 6
Corning Gorilla Glass being used to protect smartphone displays and even to cover the back of handsets isn’t anything new. Corning has provided the glass for every iPhone since the first back in 2007, while Apple has invested nearly half a million dollars in the business since 2017. Corning Gorilla Glass 6 can even be found on other phones released in 2019, including the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus.
However, Corning has produced a custom version of Gorilla Glass 6 for the iPhone 11 collection. While details of what this customisation covers have not been made public, we’d imagine it’s an even tougher version of the glass, which Corning already says can survive being dropped onto a hard surface from a height of one metre without cracking.
Improved Photography Detail
The biggest upgrade many users will likely notice within their regular smartphone usage is the quality of the camera and the improved detail they will enjoy in their shots using the iPhone 11.
In addition to the dual 12MP cameras themselves being an improvement, the cameras on the iPhone 11 are more sensitive to light than on the previous generation handsets. While this helps bring this handset’s night mode feature into its own, it also means that daylight shots will come in brighter and better detail, too.
iPhone 11 vs iPhone XR vs iPhone XS Comparison
Now that we’ve covered a snapshot of the iPhone 11 and looked at some of its most exciting new features, let’s see how it stacks up against the iPhone XR and iPhone XS, the previous generation of iPhones that succeeded the now discontinued iPhone X in 2018.
|iPhone 11||iPhone XR||iPhone XS|
|Available Colours||Black Green Yellow Purple Red White||Black White Blue Yellow Red Coral||Black White Gold|
|Display||Liquid Retina IPS Gorilla Glass||Liquid Retina IPS Gorilla Glass||Super Retina Gorilla Glass|
|Rear Facing Cameras||Dual lens 12MP wide and ultrawide lens||Single lens 12MP wide lens||Dual lens 12MP wide and telephoto lens|
|Front Facing Cameras||Single lens 12MP wide lens||Single lens 7MP wide lens||Single lens 7MP wide lens|
|Internal Storage||64GB, 128GB, 256GB||64GB, 128GB||64GB, 256GB, 512GB|
*Price at launch, is available cheaper now.
The things that stand out on the iPhone 11 are the things we’ve looked at so far. In comparison to both the iPhone XR and especially the iPhone XS, the iPhone 11 delivers better rear and front facing cameras, far better battery performance, and higher or equivalent levels of RAM at a cheaper price.
While both the iPhone XR and iPhone XS are typically available at around £200 cheaper than their launch prices, we’d still opt for the iPhone 11 if you’re looking to upgrade from an older iPhone model or are switching back or to iPhone for the first time.
iPhone 11 vs Samsung Galaxy S20 Comparison
Whether you’re considering which smartphone to buy next, it’s time for an upgrade on your current model, or you’re thinking about changing manufacturer and operating system, it’s worth considering how the iPhone 11 performs against flagship handsets from other manufacturers.
We know the iPhone 11 is much better than the preceding generation iPhone, but how does it perform against the Samsung Galaxy S20, the latest collection of handsets from its main rival in the smartphone market? The table below compares the standard editions of the iPhone 11 and the Samsung Galaxy S20.
We have compared all versions of the iPhone 11 in the next section of this review, while you can view a comparison of all versions of the Samsung Galaxy S20 here.
|iPhone 11||Galaxy S20|
|Available Colours||Black Green Yellow Purple Red White||Cosmic Grey Cloud Blue Cloud Pink|
|Display||Liquid Retina IPS Gorilla Glass||Samsung Infinity-O Gorilla Glass 6|
|Rear Facing Cameras||Dual lens 12MP ultrawide lens||Triple lens 64MP high resolution camera 3x hybrid optical zoom 30x super resolution digital zoom|
|Front Facing Cameras||Single lens 12MP wide lens||Single lens 10MP wide lens|
|Internal Storage||64GB, 128GB, 256GB||128GB|
|Price||£729||£799 (4G) £899 (5G)|
While the iPhone 11 is a far better bet than the iPhone XR and iPhone XS, it falls short of the Samsung Galaxy S20 in terms of camera specs, RAM, and battery power. Samsung has also stolen a march on Apple by offering 5G with the Galaxy S20, with the iPhone not currently offering 5G connectivity, although we expect the next generation iPhone to both offer 5G as well as something different and specific that Apple will say makes their 5G better and quicker than Samsung’s.
The Samsung Galaxy S20’s higher spec models also look like a better bet than the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro Max, although if you’re driven by price then at £70 cheaper to buy outright, and potentially a cheaper monthly contract from your mobile network, the iPhone 11 is still a more than good enough smartphone to have in your pocket.
Comparing Different Versions of the iPhone 11
In addition to the standard iPhone 11 model, Apple has also released an iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max.
The below table highlights the differences across these handsets.
|iPhone 11||iPhone 11 Pro||iPhone 11 Pro Max|
|Available Colours||Black Green Yellow Purple Red White||Midnight Green Space Grey Silver Gold||Midnight Green Space Grey Silver Gold|
|Display||Liquid Retina IPS Gorilla Glass||Super Retina XDR Gorilla Glass||Super Retina XDR Gorilla Glass|
|Rear Facing Cameras||Dual lens 12MP wide and ultrawide lens||Triple lens 12MP wide, ultrawide, and telephoto lens||Triple lens 12MP wide, ultrawide, and telephoto lens|
|Front Facing Cameras||Single lens 12MP wide lens||Single lens 12MP wide lens||Single lens 12MP wide lens|
|Internal Storage||64GB, 128GB, 256GB||64GB, 256GB, 512GB||64GB, 256GB, 512GB|
As we can see, the main differences with the higher spec versions are the addition of an extra rear facing lens, a slightly different display, and a larger internal storage option, while the battery power of the iPhone Pro Max is more than 25% better than on the standard model.
Now that we’ve compared the full iPhone 11 collection, let’s look specifically at the standard iPhone 11 and what you’ll find if you make this your next smartphone.
iPhone 11 Design
The iPhone 11 looks very similar in appearance to the iPhone XR. From the front, they look identical, but on the rear of the handset there are a number of noticeable differences.
First up is the camera. The new camera on the iPhone 11 sticks out from the rear of the handset, which may spoil the aesthetic appeal of the handset for some, while the famous Apple logo has been moved down and the word “iPhone” has been removed completely, which is a first.
As is standard with iPhones, the handset is built encased in glass and aluminium, and Apple still makes its smartphones feel like you’re holding a premium product. Apple has kept the lightning connector for charging for the iPhone 11, but with Samsung moving to USB-C ports to enable faster charging we expect Apple to do the same in the future.
iPhone 11 Display
The iPhone 11 has a 6.1-inch LCD display. While it isn’t as high spec as the Pro and Pro Max models, it’s still a very good display, although those who like a high-resolution smartphone screen might be disappointed with the standard model, which tops out at 1792 x 828. While still very much a HD screen offering a top-quality viewing experience, it lags behind the resolution available on the Samsung Galaxy S20 standard model. In contrast, the iPhone 11 Pro offers 2436 x 1125.
As we mentioned earlier, one let down on iPhones in general remains the border around the screen, with Apple keeping plenty of space for the camera and its facial recognition technology.
Despite these potential drawbacks, the screen display itself is still a high performer, excelling in bright sunlight if you need it to, although naturally you’ll get more out of the Pro or Pro Max models which have better technology in their displays.
However, whether you’re gaming, watching Netflix, or streaming video from social media, the iPhone 11 display does the job.
iPhone 11 Camera
The new camera on the iPhone 11 is undoubtedly the standout feature, as it always will be when it’s the main addition or development on a next generation smartphone.
As we’ve mentioned already, the rear facing cameras are now built onto the phone rather than built into it. Although not the most aesthetically pleasing feature, it is a necessary one for all the additional technology that Apple have included in what is a significant camera upgrade. All the phones in the iPhone 11 range feature the same look, although with the Pro and Pro Max models the camera has three lenses rather than two.
From a user perspective, long-time iPhone users will notice the ultra-wide functionality, with the iPhone 11 set up to help you get more of what you’re looking at into your picture without the need to zoom out.
Speaking of zooming out, the new lenses and the light sensitivity of the camera on the iPhone 11 means you’ll generally get darker photos if you’re zoomed out, so either shoot zoomed out pictures only in bright sunlight or use night mode, even during the day, to get the most light into your pictures and capture all of the beautiful scenery you’re looking at. If you don’t zoom out and are taking a “standard” photo, your phone will also take a photo with the wide lens, which you can then access and edit to include more of the wide shot if you wish.
The new night mode is a game changer for the iPhone, which has consistently performed below competitor’s devices when it comes to taking low-light shots. In addition to the camera technology, the iPhone 11 also features advanced AI that will detect low light settings and give you shots that are much brighter than your surroundings. All you need to do is keep your phone steady for a few seconds, your phone will take numerous photos, then merge all these together to give you the best possible outcome from your shot. If you have a tripod to secure your phone, you can extend the capture time to as long as 30 seconds, although unless you’re looking to take detailed photos of the night sky the standard handful of seconds is more than enough to get an amazing shot.
Given how night mode works, you won’t get the same quality of picture if there are lots of moving parts in the frame, but overall this feature finally puts the iPhone on par with the likes of Samsung and Huawei, who have long innovated night mode alongside other camera features in their smartphones.
Another useful new feature added to the iPhone 11’s camera is that holding the shutter button will now record video until you let go, rather than taking burst mode photos, although burst mode is still available if you wish to use this. If you love capturing videos either for yourself or to share on social media this is another potential game changer that will make your content creation much easier.
For longer videos, the iPhone 11 offers 4K recording at 60 frames per second, while there’s a cool video editing suite that will enable you to add a variety of effects to your videos and make them “Instagram worthy” without needing to export to iMovie or another video editor.
What is Deep Fusion?
The Deep Fusion feature is designed to optimise your shots even further. This function tells your iPhone to take nine shots before you actually press the shutter button, with your handset then using the data from these shots to optimise the photo you actually took.
Portrait Mode Improvements
With a dual rear camera for the first time, portrait mode shots are far better on the iPhone 11, with some added features to help you bring even more focus and quality to your portrait photographs.
iPhone 11 Software
The iPhone 11 marks the debut of iOS 13, which itself brings many of the functions and features of your smartphone that we’ve looked at throughout this review so far.
One of the best features of the new OS is the addition of mini notifications. These are interactive pop-ups that help you take action from notifications if, for example, your phone is in silent mode. It’s a small feature but one that will help improve your experience of using your iPhone 11 as well as make you more productive if you’re reliant on your phone for scheduling and managing your day in general.
Another improvement brought to the iPhone 11 is in the form of much better FaceID unlocking, allowing you to unlock your phone with a glance, and is something that long-time Apple users will recognise as a big upgrade on this function in previous handsets. Additional new features include swipe typing and the use of “memoji” stickers when sending messages or creating social media posts.
Away from iOS 13, all the iPhone 11 models are fitted with Apple’s own A13 Bionic chipset, while all models are powered by 4GB of RAM. While you might not notice this power when using your phone for day to day tasks, if you’re big on mobile gaming or typically have a lot of apps open at one time then you’ll definitely feel the power of this smartphone.
iPhone 11 Battery Life
While Apple does not meet the level of Samsung and Huawei when it comes to battery life, the iPhone 11 does improve on the iPhone XR and is definitely Apple’s best effort to date in terms of battery capacity and function.
You’ll easily get through a whole day on a full charge of the iPhone 11, while if you’re not able to charge your battery then low level, essential use of your phone should get you through 24 hours and potentially even longer with little trouble. As usual, in the settings you can optimise the battery and look up where your phone is consuming the most juice and change your usage habits accordingly if you need to.
While the iPhone 11 doesn’t feature fast charging as a built in function, you can buy a more powerful charger – the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max come with 18W chargers as standard – and use this to charge your standard iPhone 11 without doing any damage to the power unit. In addition, the iPhone 11 does support wireless charging, so a charging pad to take with you on your travels is definitely a worthwhile purchase.
iPhone 11 Pros and Cons
We’ve looked at everything you need to know about the iPhone 11. Let’s now answer the ultimate question: is it worth buying?
The iPhone 11 is Worth Buying, If…..
You’re looking for a great iPhone that provides value for money. We’re not saying that a starting price of £729 for an iPhone is cheap in itself, but remember that it’s cheaper than the iPhone XR and XS while providing far more in terms of tech, functions, and features.
The iPhone 11 is also worth buying if you’re a loyal iPhone user and intend to stay with Apple, and want the latest generation handset with the best battery life on offer from Apple, although the iPhone 11 Pro Max will give you the best performance in this context. That’s not saying the iPhone 11 is a poor performer in comparison, it’s far from it and will keep you going all day as we explored in our battery review.
Finally, if you always look for a great camera in your phone, then the iPhone 11 is again great value, with the price you’ll pay for the phone giving you quality not far behind the more expensive iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max models. If you want an iPhone 11 and you’re primarily motivated by the camera quality, save your money and stick to the standard model.
The iPhone 11 Isn’t Worth Buying, If…..
You’re passionate about having a powerful iPhone or you see yourself as a power user of smartphones. In terms of day to day use, the layman wouldn’t notice much difference between the standard iPhone 11 and the iPhone 11 Pro Max, but if you love high spec and are on your phone for large periods of the day for work and play, you’ll be better off with the Pro Max.
Despite the iPhone 11 range delivering the best battery life and performance seen in an iPhone, if you’re not passionate or loyal about iPhones or feel strongly about having the best performing battery life when choosing a smartphone, you’ll be better served looking at a Samsung or Huawei handset.
Another potential drawback of the iPhone 11 is that the standard model offers maximum storage of 256GB. If you typically find yourself deleting apps and content to clear room on your handset, or you prefer to keep photos and videos on your phone rather than uploading them to the cloud, then the iPhone 11 Pro or Pro Max can give you up to 512GB of internal storage, while Samsung and Huawei smartphones have expandable storage via their microSD slots.
Summing up the iPhone 11
Overall, the iPhone 11 range delivers exactly what we’d expect from Apple. A premium product that looks and feels like it in your hand, while delivering a significant range of updates in its latest hardware and operating system. As a better handset that the previous generation and at a lower price than the iPhone XR and XS were at launch, it’s difficult to argue that Apple aren’t giving value to users in this handset.
If you’re a loyal Apple tech and iPhone user, then it’s definitely worth upgrading to this handset. However, if you’re between brands, or have specific features that you look for when choosing a smartphone, you’re likely to find a better camera, battery, or display from a Samsung or Huawei handset.