The iPhone 11 Pro is an iPhone for power users, it takes everything that iPhone 11 is, and turns it to the Max. It’s the successor to the iPhone XS, but Apple isn’t painting it as the default iPhone anymore. it’s the iPhone for serious people who want to do very serious things on their very serious looking phones. Reviewers have released their thoughts on the device, and now we have a bit of a grasp of how good the iPhone 11 Pro family is.

Display

Let’s start with the display. It’s the thing that any iPhone user will be interacting with the most, and Apple has upgraded it over the previous generation version. The iPhone 11 Pros come with Apple’s new Super Retina XDR displays which are super-great but have been said to look similar to their last few displays. That’s not a bad thing, it’s a super high-resolution OLED display with deep inky blacks and high PPI that’s equipped with Apple’s true tone.

Engadget comments that “You’d expect displays with such grandiose names to pack some noticeable improvements, but, you’d be wrong. The screens Apple used here are beautiful — I just wouldn’t say they’re noticeably better than the ones we already had.”

On the other hand, Pocket-Lint finds the changes to be visibly and immediately obvious upon comparison, going on to say: “That OLED display is as lovely as it sounds. Colours are bold and crisp, whether it’s watching a movie, playing games, or viewing back your photos, and it’s both fast and responsive. The improvements are so good that you can easily see the difference when viewed next to the iPhone XS Max.” Once again, both displays are really good, but if you have an XS, it won’t be an incentive to update.

There’s no more 3D Touch on the iPhone, but it wasn’t missed by reviewers.

Design

The iPhone’s design is…well…it’s an iPhone. There aren’t any waterdrop notches or screen holes or pop up cameras or sliders or bending or melting or flexing displays of any kind. It’s just an iPhone, same as the last one that shipped last year, which was the same as the one that shipped the year before that. If you liked it then, you’ll still like it now. if you hated it then, you’ll still hate it now. The main change for users is the addition of the new dark green colour and the third camera lens on the back.

“It’s not hard to see why Apple had to do something like this — had it left out the hump, the three cameras would’ve jutted out pretty significantly,” Engadget says, “That probably wouldn’t be great for stability when the iPhone Pro is laying flat on a surface, and indeed, the Pros don’t wobble as much as the XS models do. Since Apple officially comment on why it wanted the hump, though, I can only speculate. In any case, we’re stuck with it.”

Wired Magazine feels a bit stronger about Apple’s dubious design decision. “This three-lens camera on the back of the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro looks as though it was borne out of the nest egg of an alien ship.” That it does. As OEMs like Samsung and Huawei have prettied up their multi-camera layouts, Apple’s looks odd in comparison. However, it’s an iPhone, so it can afford to look a little weird.

Camera

The iPhone’s camera bump might he hideous, but it drags Apple’s iPhone cameras into competition with the Pixel and Huawei P30 Pro cameras — and it wins –for the most part.  The biggest change software wise is the Night Mode, a feature that lets users take decent photos in weak to near dark lighting.

“Apple’s new Night Mode finally enables the latest batch of iPhones to contend with Google and Huawei’s benchmark low-light camera performance,” Tom’s Guide says. “The iPhone 11 Pro’s camera is so stunning in the dark, that if you own one, your friends will assuredly designate you as the group’s official photographer. They’ll insist you take every shot.”

Apple’s Smart HDR algorithm was much improved, allowing the firm to boost its photography prowess to the level of today’s top camera phones. The Verge said “[The] iPhone 11 Pro cameras are an enormous improvement over the XS, and they beat the Pixel and Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10 Plus in most of our side-by-side comparisons. In fact, I think the iPhone 11 Pro is the best smartphone camera on the market right now.”
Wired Magazine is a bit more tempered. Google’s Pixel cameras are still pretty good, and the iPhone 11 Pros sometimes fell behind them.
“When pitted against other leading smartphones, the iPhone 11 Pro Max wasn’t always the standout. The Google Pixel 3, a less expensive and soon-to-be-outdated phone, took better, crisper photos of a floral arrangement in a very dark bar. An iPhone 11 Pro Max photo of my friend Kayla, captured in a dark sushi restaurant, showed a lot of detail in easy-to-miss spots like her hands, or the slight wrinkles of her shirt. But Kayla, a video producer, and I both agreed that the colour and temperature of the photo was off, whereas the Pixel 3’s photo was more true-to-life.”

Hardware-wise, the new iPhone adds ultra-wide lens and telephoto lens allow for wider shots and better portrait mode shots, but the true gap comes in video capture. The iPhone is reported to be the best phone for video capture, leaving its rivals in the dust.

“Unlike most similarly priced flagships that can deliver only the highest frame rates and resolutions from a phone’s primary camera, the Pro devices can capture 4K-resolution video at 60 frames per second from any one of their its rear lenses. What’s more, even while you’re shooting with one camera, your iPhone is priming the exposure levels and white balance of the other two sensors in the background, so that the transition from perspective to perspective is seamless,” Tom’s Guide says. “The result is, quite simply, the finest video-recording experience I’ve ever enjoyed on a phone. Watching our sample video depicting a stroll through Bryant Park, the iPhone 11 Pro handles on-the-fly changes in lighting, lens switching and stabilization so much better than the quadruple-lens Galaxy Note 10 Plus. The difference in zooming in and out is especially jarring; on the iPhone, the transition is fast yet smooth, whereas the Note’s is jerky and instantaneous. Additionally, Samsung’s phablet clearly sustains a few hiccups at the outset of the video, dropping a handful of frames somewhat embarrassingly mere moments after I begin rolling.”

Apple’s iPhone has always taken really good video, and now it’s pulled ahead so far it’s almost not even a contest anymore.

Performance and Battery Life

The iPhone continues to blow away the competition with the A13 Bionic, but these improvements are beginning to feel frivolous. There’s a point at which the speed increases no longer translate meaningfully for users, and I think we’re kind of there for the iPhone.

“The processor is faster, but in use doesn’t feel like by a huge amount – Apple claims it is 20 per cent faster than the A12 Bionic, “Pocket-Lint agreed. “That’s not to say it’s slow, but game loading times for example against the iPhone XS don’t feel like they’ve moved forward drastically. That’s pretty much the trend across mobile devices at the moment – the reported gains don’t always change the experience for day-to-day tasks, because everything is fast anyway.”

Meanwhile, the battery life of the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max are far better than the 11 and X series of phones. Apple says you’ll get 4 – 5 hours more, and reviewers are finding that to be the case.

“Apple’s rough estimates include 18 or 20 hours of local video playback, 11 or 12 hours of streaming video playback, and 65 or 80 hours of wireless audio playback for iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max respectively,” iMore said, “Now, of course, those battery life claims are just numbers and these are brand new phones with brand new batteries, so they’re going to hit pretty close to that right now. To make sure though, I took them on the absolute most savage test run I could — Pokémon GO Community Day. Hours and hours of screen-on, GPS firing, data churning, processor burning… and all of them had over half their power left by the time we evolved the last special move at the last minute of the event.”

“Battery life is something to watch over time, but the early, unscientific indicators are extremely positive,” USAToday said, “Now, while I haven’t done any formal battery benchmarking, I did informally monitor the battery indicator in the upper right corner of the display on both the 11 and the 11 Max Pro that I tested, and I wasn’t lacking for juice or end up desperately searching for an outlet all day and well into the evening, even after watching a full-length Hollywood movie on a cross-country flight.”

Overall

The iPhone 11 Pro is a powerful iPhone that’s the best Apple has to offer. It’s also an expensive iPhone that starts at over a £1000 for the lowest configuration. With that amount, I could pick me up a Galaxy Note 10 with 8GB of RAM and buy a Pixel 3a XL for my other hand. It’s that expensive. If you have a modern iPhone like the X or XS, you could feasibly hold out for another generation or so. The day has passed since users had to buy new iPhones to have a usable experience(A thing that applies for older Android phones as well.) Apple’s iOS 13 will also deliver a fresh coat of paint to the older iPhones. If you have an iPhone 7 or newer, you’re probably fine. Your wallet and the planet will thank you for it.

Buzzfeed and TechCrunch also have iPhone 11 Pro reviews for dog-owners and people who love Disney Land respectively.

Comments