Apple iPhone 11 review: The best $700 iPhone Apple has ever made

The first time you hear the names of Apple’s new iPhones – the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro max – you may have some questions. Where’s the iPhone X. ? And what does the iPhone Pro … Pro do? What happened to last year XS and XS max ? This year’s new phones are polished sequels (literally and figuratively) of the three we got last year. For some people the iPhone 11 just has to be better than the XS . And that’s it. However, for others, it’s nice to know where Apple stands in the larger landscape of phones. There are wild 5G speeds on the horizon, plus bizarre and expensive foldable phones like Samsung Galaxy Fold . And then there’s the more expensive $ 799 (£ 669, AU $ 1,049) Google Pixel 4 that makes the iPhone 11 look even cheaper for $ 699.

Read more: iPhone SE 2020 Review

Apple did a great job with new features. including some serious camera enhancements like Night Mode for taking photos in dimly lit situations, and Deep Fusion, a new way for the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro to process photos taken in situations where the lighting is bright enough to be seen by you, but nothing more than being outside on a sunny day.

Read: iPhone 11 vs. iPhone 11 Pro: Important differences when making a purchase decision

But there’s a good reason the company named its more expensive and fancier phones “Pro” this year: Price. Apple is targeting the $ 699 iPhone 11 as the phone for most people, just like the iPhone XR ($ 599 at Apple) last year.

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While the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max (left and top) have three 12-megapixel cameras, the iPhone 11 (right) only has two.

 

Sarah Tew / Tips Clear

Essentially, the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro are 85% exactly the same phone. If you want a specialized telephoto camera with 2x optical zoom, different size options, a better screen, and a better finish, pay 30% more. That’s not to say that the $ 999 iPhone 11 Pro and the $ 1,099 11 Pro Max aren’t great phones. It’s just that the iPhone 11 actually is the good. For this reason, Apple’s “Value” phone with its wonderful cameras, its solid construction (which has withstood the drop and water tests by Tips Clear) and iOS 13.2, the iPhone 11, received the Tips Clear Editors’ Choice Award.

Editor’s Note, March 30 : Five Months Later Apple Launched iPhone 11 and 11 Pro The phones are still some of the best you can buy today. In February, the Galaxy S20 launched at a starting price of $ 999. Technically, it’s the cheapest phone in Samsung’s current generation. Compared to the Galaxy S20, the iPhone 11 is an absolute bargain . The original review, posted on September 17th, follows below.

Still starting at 64 GB

The $ 699 iPhone 11 model has 64GB of storage, which is probably fine for many people – and it’s a $ 50 drop in price from last year’s base iPhone XR. 128GB for $ 749 is likely to make more sense if you’re recording a video, and 256GB for $ 849 should only be considered if you’re recording a lot of video. The Pro phones offer a 512GB tier that you only need if you are making a living in 4K. See the table at the end of this review for full pricing details, including UK and Australian prices.

Colors: iPhone 11 is the fun phone

Whatever the reason, Apple is still making the cheaper iPhone 11, which comes in fun colors. There are two new colors, green and purple, that are more like mint green and lavender. These new pastel colors replace the blue and coral options from last year.

I have the green iPhone 11. Its color is pleasant and the color of the aluminum case is much more seamless with the glass color. The glossy glass bottom feels the same as last year’s XR. This also applies to the rest of the phone – with the exception of the dual cameras, which are lifted from the back and placed in a frosted glass camera square.

In contrast, all iPhone 11 Pro models have metallic hues: silver, space gray, gold, and a midnight military green. The three cameras look more industrial (maybe imposing). The rear glass is matte instead of glossy. They are made of steel instead of aluminum. And the pro phones feel a lot denser. You pack bigger batteries and the steel adds weight.

I like that the iPhone 11 follows in the footsteps of the iPhone XR and is again the mid-size phone with a 6.1-inch screen – compared to the two iPhone Pro models at 5.8-inches and 6.5-inches. I’ve come to prefer the smaller iPhone 11 Pro, like the iPhone XS last year.

Cameras

In the past few years, Apple has made impressive strides in camera quality, but so have many other phone manufacturers such as Samsung, Huawei, and Google. The arms race with the camera is something hardcore photographers study carefully, but I would say it is way beyond what most people need. The iPhone 11 cameras are some of the best for photos and videos you can buy today.

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The iPhone 11 can switch between a wide-angle and an ultra-wide-angle lens. The iPhone 11 Pro can do the same thing, but it also offers a telephoto camera to get closer to your subject.

 

Sarah Tew / Tips Clear

The 11 features a new ultra-wide-angle camera, a night mode for shots in low light, Deep Fusion processing for better indoor shots, faster autofocus and, overall, sharper images with more accurate color reproduction. To take a closer look at the differences between this year’s iPhone and last year’s iPhone, check out our iPhone Camera Comparison Between the iPhone 11 with Deep Fusion and the iPhone XR . The ultrawide offers a radical change of perspective that can be dizzyingly unique. This isn’t going to be your preferred camera, but it’s just a great thing.

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This platter of scallops really takes center stage when photographed with the iPhone 11 ultra wide angle camera.

 

Patrick Holland / Tips Clear

Night mode is an important feature that allows Apple to take advantage of similar features from Google, Huawei, and Samsung. And so far, Apple’s version is impressive.

A shot of Brooklyn Bridge Park at night that pops colors. More saturated colors are part of the mood of Night Mode.

 

Scott Stein / Tips Clear

Night mode, how it works and when it doesn’t

Like the Google Pixel 4, Huawei P30 Pro, and Samsung Galaxy Note 10, taking surprising photos in low light seems to be in the computer wheelhouse of every phone manufacturer right now. The Apple version brightens photos, captures less noise and does this automatically. When you open the default camera app, the phone determines when it’s dark enough to switch to night mode. There is currently no manual way to trigger the mode.

Night mode uses adaptive bracketing and takes a number of photos, some with a slower shutter speed and some with a shorter one. The iPhone then fuses all of the photos together to reduce motion blur and lighten shadows. When I took handheld night mode shots, the sequence took about 3 to 5 seconds. When I put the iPhone on a tripod, I was given a 10-second time and was even able to manually overwrite it for a 28-second night mode recording.

I took a picture of a tree in my back yard that was in complete darkness. Below is one shot with the iPhone 11 in night mode and another shot with the iPhone XS from last year.

The HDR-like feel of the photos retains some of the nighttime effects, but at other times the photos can look like a day. Night mode can be deactivated by tapping the symbol and switching off the timer. So far, however, this has been an improvement in almost all cases.

It’s not a perfect tool: faces can blur, details can be lost. Still, I’m excited. The night mode effects work the same on the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro, but the Pro also has a telephoto camera that they can use.

However, you cannot use night mode in ultra wide angle mode. This camera looks much darker and also has no optical image stabilization. This applies to all this year’s models.

Frame the shots correctly and the ultra-wide angle camera can do fun things.

 

Scott Stein / Tips Clear

Ultra wide angle = drama camera

The latest camera has an ultra-wide 13mm lens that is just plain fun. If the main camera is like a business suit and the “telephoto” lens is a sporty blazer, the ultrawide is like a Hawaiian shirt. It’s obviously different and really changes the way you shoot. It won’t be great in every situation, but it can be equally practical, like taking photos in smaller spaces, and artistic, to add drama to an everyday scene.

Apple balanced the distortion so that there is a little bit (what you want for that ultra wide look), but it’s not terrible. I immediately found angles on my subjects that made them look larger than life. Best of all, you can use the ultrawide lens when you record videos. In fact, you can switch between cameras while recording. Apple even used a cool zoom effect to transition between lenses.

Without a doubt, it can make for breathtaking shots. Ultrawide cameras are another new trend in phone cameras. Apple promises some additional benefits here. IPhone 11 has an improved ultra-wide portrait mode that works with close-ups of your pets and other things. All phones have an expanded view finder that now shows a preview of the outside of the shot images so you know when to use the ultrawide lens.

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The ultrawide camera works for photos and videos.

 

Patrick Holland / Tips Clear

A funky extra also captures some ultra-wide camera data in a quick take video if you hold down the camera button in the camera app. It seems to attract people who may not be in the frame. So far this mode hasn’t worked for me.

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