The iPhone 11 makes the XR a success and, despite its flaws, becomes the new default iPhone for most people.
By now, you must have read several iPhone 11 reviews calling it “the best iPhone for most people”. This is both true and sad. The iPhone 11 is actually “only” the iPhone for most people because the price of the Pro model is very high, especially in markets like India. Therefore, by default iPhone 11 becomes the best new iPhone, knowing well that you’re actually settling for the second best iPhone.
Apple wants you to love the iPhone 11 with its flaws too. The good thing is that there are drawbacks this time compared to last year’s iPhone XR. While you still get an LCD display instead of OLED, the camera has been upgraded so that you will get a dual camera setup right now. Everything else about the iPhone 11 is great, if you liked the iPhone XR.
What makes the iPhone 11 more attractive is that it has been launched at a slightly more “affordable” price than the XR. It starts at Rs 64,900 in India, which is still at a high level, but is affordable as per Apple standards. Oh, and color. The iPhone 11 also comes in some attractive new colors.
iPhone 11 design
Talking about the design of iPhone XR from iPhone 11, Apple has not changed anything. It has the same form factor and weight as its predecessor. This is also true between the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max in terms of size, which I think is perfect. With a 6.1-inch display, the iPhone 11 is, in my opinion, the best hands-on experience where it is neither too compact nor too heavy.
The iPhone 11 gets the same wide rung on the “toughest glass yet” front and back. Hardness aside, it is still glass. And the glass will scratch over time. Apple has introduced some new colors to make the iPhone 11 a new look. It comes in six colors – Black, Green, Red, Purple, White and Yellow. Colors like Chale Green and Purple Grape are easily favorites this year and are the first to be sold in India.
The frame is made of 100 percent recycled aluminum, which is great. It is sleeker and has a matte feel compared to the shiny back. Speaking of the back, the biggest visual change you’ll see is the camera module now in a square-shaped cutout on the top left corner. On the iPhone 11, the square has a matte finish cut from a piece of glass similar to the rest of the rear. On the Pro model, the square is shiny while the rest of the panel has a matte finish.
It certainly takes some time to be used in square cutouts with two large circular camera sensors. I can still get used to it on the iPhone 11, but the Pro model will bring out Trypophobia in you.
The iPhone 11 features stereo speakers using earpieces and a bottom speaker. Don’t expect a headphone jack or dongle in the box here. You get a pair of earpods with a Lightning port connector and a hilarious slow 5W charger in the box. The iPhone 11 supports single physical nano SIM card and additional e-SIM.
iphone 11 display
Apple wants you to compromise on the LCD display on the iPhone 11. This is the only thing the company knows that the phone will be different from the Pro model. So for Rs 65,000, you are getting an LCD display at a time where OLED displays can be cheaply available on phones up to Rs 10,000. You also have to compromise for 1792×828 resolution.
But if you’re not worried about the OLED vs LCD fight and if you’re not pixel-peeping, the LCD display with 1080p resolution will be fine. One thing is certain, it is a good LCD display with good brightness levels. I found the performance to be cooler than the XR, which provides a warmer tone. In this regard, I found the iPhone XR’s display to be slightly more attractive with a better and natural looking skin tone. Your opinion may vary depending on how you like the temperature of your display.
The iPhone 11 lacks HDR support on the Pro model. The brightness can be up to 625 nits, which is decent but again lower than the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max. Although this resolution is less than 1080p, the video and text will still look sharp unless you are close to the screen.
iphone 11 camera
From here on, the iPhone 11 gradually becomes better than the XR. We start with cameras as this is the biggest upgrade you’ll notice first. The iPhone 11 gets a dual 12-megapixel camera at the back along with a standard wide camera and ultra wide-angle camera. The TrueDepth front camera has also been upgraded from 7MP to 12MP.
In addition to adding a secondary camera, Apple has also introduced night mode. Instead of presenting as a separate mode, the camera sensor automatically switches on detecting low light levels. Whenever you are in a low light environment, you will see a half moon sign on the top left corner next to the flash icon. The camera will automatically decide how long the shutter speed should be slowed down with the ability to manually adjust.
Depending on how dark the atmosphere is, you can increase the shutter time to 10 seconds or turn it off. The interface is very intuitive and intuitive as you would expect. Apple may be late to join the game, but it makes its entry with finesse.
With Night Mode, photography on the iPhone actually reaches a new level. The difference between the XR and the iPhone 11 is staggering in low light. Photos look great, clear with good color reproduction and low noise levels. At times, night photography on the iPhone 11 can look more natural than the Huawei P30 Pro or Pixel 3. Night mode on the iPhone 11 only works for regular cameras and not when using wide-angle sensors.
You cannot complain about the iPhone 11 camera during daylight photography. Apple continues to offer some of the most natural looking photos in broad daylight. The sensor captures bright images with excellent dynamic range and contrast. There is also good association between regular wide-angle camera and ultra wide-angle lens, which is great to see.
With the upgraded selfie camera, the iPhone 11 can take faster and faster selfies in daylight. The TrueDepth camera can also take some sweet portrait shots in multiple modes such as studio lights and stage lights. Apple has also added the ability to record 4K video up to 60 fps using the front camera, which is fantastic.
Apple continues to hold the fort when it comes to video recording. The iPhone 11 (and Pro model) are easily some of the best phones for videography. All cameras on the iPhone 11, including the front camera, can now record in 4K resolution at 60 fps with extended dynamic range, which is insane. Videos recorded using the main camera are extremely smooth and stable, and at this point the use of a hand held stabilizer will only ruin the experience. Not only do videos look sharp and cinematic, but the recorded audio will look sharp and clear.
The latest iOS 13 beta update lets you switch framert within the camera app, so users won’t have to go into settings to do it. I did not install the beta update during the review, but I have heard that this feature works very well and it also shows that Apple is finally listening to its users.
iPhone 11 Display and Software
The A13 Bionic is a 7nm-based processor that Apple claims gives the fastest CPU and GPU performance in a smartphone. There is no denying that everything from launching and running an iPhone 11 social media app to playing a game feels extremely fast and smooth like butter. This is a processor that can actually take on heavier computing than just running day-to-day tasks.
Out of the box, you won’t see much difference between the performance of the iPhone 11 and the XR. Both the A12 Bionic and A13 Bionic are incredibly fast and efficient processors, which will really pay off a few years down the line.
iPhone 13 onboard iOS 13 is out of the box and you will need to update the phone to a more stable iOS 13.1.2 during setup. Apple’s latest operating system brings a system-wide dark mode, which looks great on LCD iPhones too. Sadly, dark mode’s advantage over battery life will actually be seen on OLED iPhones.
iOS 13.1.2 has been a smooth and mess-free experience for the most part. Stapled Apple apps like Apple Music, Reminders, and Mail get a facelift, while you also get features like swipeable keyboards and improved privacy features. Apple has also introduced ‘Sign in to Apple’, which makes it easy to securely log into some apps by pairing your Apple ID with Face ID or Touch ID.
IOS 13 is faster than expected on the iPhone 11, but I’m quite happy that it also improves the speed of the iPhone XR. App load times and Face ID are now much faster, and the UI will generally feel smooth and lag-free during use.
The iPhone 11 provides spatial audio support through Dolby Atmos. Although it is not always easy to understand the sound experience through the phone’s speaker, the iPhone 11 tries its best to deliver the kind of crisp, high dynamic range you’d expect.
iphone 11 battery
The iPhone XR had a terrible battery life that consistently delivered 6-7 hours of screen time. Even after a year, the XR’s battery remains solid, despite the battery’s health dropping to 95 percent. The reason I refer to XR (again) is because the iPhone 11 is just the same. It has a stellar battery life, which is expected to remain that way for at least a year.
During the review period, the iPhone 11 managed to deliver a full day of battery life after heavy usage, which included watching a lot of videos, using cameras extensively, and a lot of social media browsing. When used above average, the iPhone 11 will easily take you one-and-a-half days before charging.
The box comes with a 5W charger in 2019, which is malleable. Fortunately, the phone supports 18W fast charging, just like the Pro model, and getting a 10W charger or higher output will charge the device much faster.
Should you buy an iPhone 11?
The iPhone 11 comes with some obvious spoilers. Yes, this is the iPhone to buy for most consumers. Yes, this is not the right iPhone and it comes with some flashing flaws. But if you can ignore them, the iPhone 11 is as good as it gets. The biggest improvement comes from the cameras, and if you’re coming from an older iPhone, it’s only worth the upgrade.
Add in a stellar battery life and a blazing fast display, and you have almost everything that makes an iPhone experience. Dropping the initial price of the iPhone 11, Apple would believe that it is an affordable iPhone, although it is not really. But this is the only iPhone that comes close to value for money in the new lineup.
For iPhone XR users, I would not recommend upgrading to iPhone 11 yet. You can wait around 6 months and expect prices to drop in India, or wait for the iPhone 12 to come out, which should offer more substantial upgrades in terms of hardware and performance.