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Apple iPhone 11 Review: Still an iPhone for Everyone?

Apple iPhone 11 review Still an iPhone for everyone

At launch, the iPhone 11 was predicted to be Apple’s most popular iPhone of its then-flagship series, and for a good reason. It was the follow-up to Apple’s iPhone XR, which was unsurprisingly one of its most successful phones of 2019. By offering all the essential features people want with few compromises, the cheaper phone of the 11 series would always prove to be a tempting device.

After a few years in the market, the iPhone 11 faces much tougher competition from other brands and newer options like the iPhone 12 and 13.

In light of these releases, does it make sense to buy the iPhone 11 in 2022?

Our quick Apple iPhone 11 Review

We loved Apple's iPhone XR when it launched in 2018; and it was a great device, and the iPhone 11 is built on that excellence.

It makes a few compromises over the iPhone 11 Pro models – the finish isn’t as premium, the screen isn’t as impressive, and the camera lacks a few features – but the Overall, the iPhone 11 is a great device that offers the most tech and price appeal among the 2019 iPhones.

The iPhone 11 offers an impressive battery, processor, camera performance, and a smooth software experience. It’s also the latest in Apple’s rounded line of phones, so that you might prefer its design to newer iPhones.

Looking at the market years after launch, it’s completely understandable that buyers are tempted to put their money elsewhere. OnePlus and other manufacturers offer phones with sharper, more vivid displays and more versatile triple and quad camera systems for a similar price. But in the most critical aspects, the iPhone 11 still does a great job.

Pros

  • Nice design with new colors
  • Excellent results from the dual rear camera
  • Awesome Night Mode
  • Fantastic autonomy
  • Excellent performance
  • Seamless iOS experience
  • Good sound capabilities
  • Good price.

Cons

  • No fast charger in the box
  • HDR on screen not available
  • 5G support supported

A familiar design

  • 150.9 x 75.8 x 8.3mm, 194g
  • Water and dust resistant (IP68)
  • New camera design
  • Two new colors: green and purple

The Apple iPhone 11 is virtually identical in design to its iPhone XR predecessor. In fact, from the front, you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference between the two models, as both offer the same notched screens and the exact measurements and weight.

If you know your colors, you will spot the new model. The iPhone 11 is still available in black, white, yellow, and Product(RED) like the iPhone XR, but all colors are more muted. There’s also a new green (mint) – our test unit – and purple (it’s lilac), compared to the XR’s blue and coral options, both of which are more pastel in their approach and prettier.

A familiar design

The iPhone 11’s chassis is aluminum – color-matched to the back – still glass. Still, there’s IP68 water and dust resistance, plus a dual-camera system in a somewhat polarizing camera body. You will either love it or hate it. We’ve gotten used to it – and you will, too – and it’s relatively pleasing to the eye compared to many big black rectangles on other devices.

The glass on the back is challenging, too, and while the proud camera body seems like an addition at first glance, it isn’t. Instead, it’s part of the same single sheet of glass on the back, with the camera section of a frosted matte on the iPhone 11 to further distinguish it from the rest of the glossy back – the opposite of what’s offered on the iPhone 11 Pro.

A familiar design1

Side by side, the iPhone 11 Pro is the more premium device. The stainless steel chassis and matte glass rear of the Pro models are genuinely beautiful in the flesh – especially in the green and gold colors – but that’s only something you’ll notice (or desire) if you take them. Stand next to each other. In solidarity, the iPhone 11 is a beautiful device.

Moving the Apple logo to the center and removing the iPhone wording results in a sleeker design compared to the iPhone XR. The thin, curved edges of the iPhone are now associated with making the iPhone 11 fun to hold – and comfortable despite its size. Lay the iPhone 11 on a table or desk, and you’ll still get the camera section shake, but no more than you’d get with the iPhone XR or any other flagship smartphone – many of which have camera bumps.

Apple iPhone 11 review
Apple iPhone 11 review

As for ports and buttons, everything is like on the iPhone XR. The volume buttons are on the left edge with the mute button, while the Siri/wake button is on the right with the SIM tray. The Lightning port is centralized at the bottom of the device, flanked by speakers on either side and no, there’s no 3.5mm headphone jack – as there has been since the iPhone 7 . Unfortunately, the 3.5mm adapter is no longer included in the box. Still, neither was it for the iPhone XR.

Same screen

  • 6.1-inch Liquid Retina
  • 1792 x 828 resolution, 326ppi
  • No HDR
  • Haptic touch

The Apple iPhone 11 has a 6.1-inch Liquid Retina display – an LCD if you strip away the Apple parlance – and is what anyone with an iPhone 6, 7, or 8 model will be—accustomed, but bigger.

LCDs aren’t generally as vibrant or impressive as OLED panels, and that’s also the case with the iPhone 11 – the iPhone 11 Pro is sharper, its colors are punchier, and its blacks are blacker – but you won’t necessarily notice this difference unless you look at the two models directly next to each other.

Apple iPhone 11 review Same screen

The iPhone 11 has a screen that will more than satisfy most users. Its resolution isn’t quite as sharp as the iPhone 11 Pro or Samsung Galaxy S20, for example, nor does it offer mobile HDR compatibility like those other devices. However, the iPhone 11 still provides a decent screen with sufficient brightness and more realistic colors than the Pro models and other OLED smartphones.

The omission of HDR on the iPhone 11 means that while it tries to deliver an HDR-like experience for compatible content, it’s not the real deal. Smart HDR images aren’t as vibrant on screen as they are on the iPhone 11 Pro, and you don’t see as much detail on a dark TV show or movie available in HDR as on the iPhone 11 Pro – but it’s also one of the few compromises the iPhone 11 makes over the Pro models.

Viewing angles are good, images and text are crisp, while the iPhone 11 supports a P3 wide color gamut and True Tone technology. True Tone is a feature Apple introduced with the iPhone 8 models, automatically adjusting the display to its surroundings when turned on – and it can make quite a difference.

Haptic Touch is also onboard the iPhone 11, like the iPhone 11 Pro models. Apple introduced the technology on the iPhone XR and replaced the 3D Touch feature present on previous iPhones since the 6S. 

Like the MacBook’s trackpad, Haptic Touch works by tricking you into thinking you’re moving something even when you’re not, allowing you to long-press certain onscreen apps, like the torch or settings.

From the Control Center, but it won’t offer shortcuts to most apps as 3D Touch did.

Since the release of the iPhone 11, Apple has made great strides on the display front, adding 120Hz refresh rates to the iPhone 13 Pro, so if you want the best display on an Apple device, this pattern is now quite far behind the pace.

 

Photography at the heart of the camera

  • Dual 12MP ultra-wide (f/2.4) and main (f/1.8) cameras
  • 12MP TrueDepth front camera
  • Night mode, OIS, portrait mode, portrait lighting (six effects)
  • 4K 60fps video front and back

The most prominent standout feature of the Apple iPhone 11 is the camera functionality – and we don’t just mean because of its new Marmite case. There are now two lenses on the rear – regular and ultra-wide – and new software features like Night Mode, marking the most significant difference between 2019’s device and the iPhone XR.

One of the biggest criticisms of previous iPhones was the low-light photography capabilities – or lack thereof. Competing devices like Google’s Pixel 3 and Huawei’s P30 Pro performed significantly better than earlier iPhones in terms of night shots. Still, the iPhone 11 models tried to rectify that, and they do a damn good job after our experience.

Photography at the heart of the camera

Apple’s Night Mode automatically detects when you’re trying to take a photo in a low-light environment and adjusts things accordingly. You can’t activate the mode – as is the case with Pixel’s Night Sight – and you can’t change the image afterward – a feature we’d like to see appear in the future as the ability to adjust the depth on a portrait photo.

Instead, the iPhone 11 detects when you take a photo in low light and how much you move the camera, with a small symbol appearing in the top left corner when night mode is activated. Below the image on your screen, you’ll see a slider showing a specific number of seconds and the option to swipe night mode to turn it off.

The number of seconds available on the slider depends on various factors. Still, the iPhone 11 will know if you’re using a tripod, for example, and give you a much more prolonged exposure to produce better results.

According to our tests, the night mode works very well, and the results are excellent, especially when compared to images taken without the night mode, but you have to stay very calm. Sometimes you’ll get very artistic shots if you move, while you’ll get blurry images.

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The iPhone 11 results are excellent in good lighting conditions, with great detail, vivid colors, and minimal noise. The ultra-wide-angle is brilliant, offering a lot more in the photo, and the more comprehensive selfie camera is brilliant for group selfies.

Portrait Lighting offers six effects, but the blurred background isn’t always perfect like most smartphones, but it’s a marked improvement over previous models. Photos of cats with a blurred background – who doesn’t want that?

One of the notable new features is the front-facing camera, which has proven its worth by improving Face ID – including the angle at which it works. It’s possible to unlock your device when it’s lying flat on a table, so you don’t need to lift it anymore, although you need to be reasonably close for this to work.

You don’t need to be directly above the iPhone 11, but your eyes must be aligned with the bottom of the device for it to unlock. It’s still much better than before.

As always, it’s possible to point and shoot and get a pretty decent result with the iPhone 11, but there are also multiple hidden tweaks in the Slo-Mo, Video, Photo, and Portrait sections. It is accessed by swiping up from the panel below the image viewer.

It is where you’ll find the option to switch from a 4:3 image to an ultra-wide-angle 16:9 image, for example. You’ll also find timer and filter settings and settings for portrait effects and depth effects. 

When you launch the camera on the iPhone 11 models, the interface lets you see the gray areas and the ultra-wide lens point of view if you switch between lenses, which is done by tapping on the 1x icon on the image itself. It’s simple and intuitive, which makes it easy to use.

Once you know the hidden settings and how to access them, you’ll get used to the new interface in no time, but it’s more complicated than before. It’s still a digital camera, but there’s a lot more to discover.

When it comes to video, new features are also available. It supports up to 4K 60fps and a new mode called Cinematic Video Stabilization for smoother videos. Its performance and features are more than enough for most people, and the iPhone still produces some of the best-looking, most oiled videos you can find on a smartphone.

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The thing is, the camera performance of the iPhone 11 might not be the best of an Apple phone, especially given its age. However, it will still satisfy most casual users, which will get great photos and videos without tweaking anything.

Battery hardware and performance

  • A13 Bionic processor
  • 64/256/512 GB storage options

Power and battery are one area where the iPhone 11 proves to be more than worth its weight in gold. Apple launched the iPhone 11 with the A13 Bionic, the same hardware found in the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, making it just as capable as more expensive phones.

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In terms of performance, the iPhone 11 is a dream to use. Even with months of delay, games load quickly, apps are fast with no lag, the device doesn’t get too hot, and everything zaps nicely as you’d expect from a flagship device. There’s no 5G connectivity, which we didn’t expect from Apple this year, but it would have been nice to have that option. That said, the lack of 5G support isn’t a massive issue at the moment – it’s more of a future problem for those planning to keep this device around for several years when 5G becomes much more widely available.

The battery performance of the iPhone 11 is exceptional. Naturally, the battery life depends a lot on how you use it and what you’re doing – watch a few movies at high volume, and you’ll find it drains faster – but during the time we’ve had and tested the iPhone 11 and its many features, we finished each day with more than 40%.

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We’re confident that the iPhone 11 will hold up day and night for most people, even for heavy users, which isn’t too bad considering some of the competition’s other flagship devices struggle to hold up. At the end of a working day. Charging is done via Lightning, and although the iPhone 11 is fast charging compatible, the 18W rapid charger does not come in the box like the iPhone 11 Pro models. It is also compatible with wireless charging.

When it comes to sound, Apple has introduced a Spatial Audio feature on the iPhone 11 models, which creates a virtual soundstage to make you think the sound is coming out of the screen rather than just the end of the phone. That’s quite impressive in action. You also get Dolby Atmos support, and whichever option you use, this is a tremendous sounding phone, whichever option you use.

Conclusion of Apple iPhone 11 Review

The Apple iPhone 11 still offers excellent battery, processor, and camera performance, alongside a super smooth software experience. The newer ones have great features, and they’re fantastic devices if you can afford them, but the iPhone 11 is still an iPhone for the masses that delivers on all fronts for a great price compared to the Pro and other flagship devices that exist.

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