iPhone 11 review round-up: The iPhone for everyone who just wants an iPhone

September 17, 2019

The iPhone 11 is due for release this week, and most review outlets have delivered their thoughts on this and its expensive sibling. The TL:DR, this is a good phone, and the price is part of that point. Starting from $699, the iPhone 11 brings all the iPhone goodies to a lower price point than the XR.


The iPhone 11 comes with a 6.1-inch Liquid Retina HD display which isn’t nearly as good as the higher resolution ones found on the iPhone XS and 11 Pro family of devices. It’s nothing to write home about — so most reviewers didn’t.
“You probably won’t notice a real difference when using the phone day-to-day but place these devices side by side and things become more obvious with the Pro’s screen offering a brighter and more vivid experience,” The Express said. “The thicker bezel which surrounds this screen means you don’t get the same viewing experience found on its more expensive sibling”
TechRadar’s reviewer similarly glossed over it, “That display is bright enough and responds well under the finger, with bright sunlight performance good and the overall movie and video streaming playback strong – although not in the same league as the OLED-toting iPhone 11 Pro range. ”
The iPhone 11’s display is pretty bright though, and you’ll be able to use it in sunlight. There’s no 3D Touch present here, so all four users and the five who just remembered it existed will be disappointed.


The nicest thing about the new iPhone 11 is the array of colours that it offers. Unlike the very serious iPhone 11 Pro for very serious people who hate fun and eat coffee flavoured ice-cream, the iPhone 11 exudes it with its choice of colours. Alongside the standard black and white, you’ll also get pastel yellow, lavender and mint green colours.
“The iPhone I’ve been carrying for the past six days is the seafoam green color. I personally would go for the purple, but all of the lighter colours make it easy to spot the phone when fishing it out of your Mary Poppins bag,” Wired’s reviewer said.

“The iPhone 11 is basically an S update to last year’s very popular iPhone XR. From the front, it looks exactly the same. It has the same design, the same 6.1-inch 720p LCD with fancy rounded corners, the same giant bezels, and the same aluminum body,” The Verge noted.“That design has been made slightly better: the water resistance is a little better, and Apple says the glass on front and back is a little stronger. The camera bump on the back is now milled right into the glass, which is kind of neat, but it’s still a camera bump. The whole design remains a little surfboard-y, and it’s definitely not small.”
The iPhone 11 gains a new camera on the back, necessitating a new camera bump that’ss less like the subtle one of the iPhone XS and more like the Nokia 1020 style OEMS have been adopting lately. It’s divisive, meme-able and looks kinda weird. But this is Apple, it can take a little weird.
As for the front, it still has the notch and looks like an iPhone. Love it or hate it, Apple doesn’t really seem to care.


If you really, really, care about the camera — the iPhone 11 Pro is where you should look. That said, the iPhone 11 is no slouch in that regards. That camera bump I told you about adds a second ultra-wide camera, and it helps the experience along.
“The new ultra-wide angle lens is a lot of fun and can capture more people, or more of a scene, in a picture. When you don’t need that, there’s the regular wide-angle lens. And, since there are two cameras this year, I was finally able to take portrait pictures of my dog and other objects, not just humans like on last year’s iPhone XR. ” CNBC’s reviewer said.
The iPhone 11 also inherit software features like an improved Smart HDR and Night Mode as well. TechRadar finds the Night Mode on the new iPhone 11 to be astounding and top of the line.
“The results are startling, elevating Apple to the level of Huawei, Samsung and Google when it comes to taking low-light and night photos – and in some ways enabling it to surpass its rivals. Night mode can make photos shot at 1am look as if they were taken in late afternoon, and if you can get your subjects to remain still, you’ll take great snaps.”

The iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max have better cameras. £400 better? Not all reviewers think so.
“Ultimately, the iPhone 11 Pros offer a better camera experience because that third telephoto sensor gives them more flexibility,” Engadget says, “The standard iPhone 11 gets very close, though, and I don’t think the average user will feel like they’re missing out.”


The iPhone 11 comes with the Apple A13 Bionic and iOS 13 to power a familiar speedy experience. It’s faster than the A12 processor in the previous generation of iPhones, but nothing you’ll really feel in real-time use.
“Apple leapfrogged to the front of mobile silicon when they went 64-bit back with the A7. Competitors like Samsung, Huawei, and especially Qualcomm are upping their collective games, but what Apple’s able to achieve, at the power they’re able to achieve it, still seems lightyears ahead,” iMore says, “And yes, it’s ridiculously OP, or over powered, for what most of us are doing with our phones today. But that kind of headroom means the iPhone 11 should be able to easily handle whatever you throw at it tomorrow, next year, and three to five years from now as well.”
There’s a lot more focus on performance in the iPhone 11 Pro round-up, sp you can check that out. The overall sentiment here is that the iPhone 11 is super-fast, super-smooth, and feels improved in all the right places.
The one bottle-neck here is iOS 13. While Apple’s new software update comes with new bells and whistles including the long-awaited dark mode, it’s not very stable at the moment, the Verge reviewers say that it has been “pretty buggy on all [our] iPhone review units so far.”
Apple is shipping iOS 13.1 at the end of September, so hopefully, much of the bugginess would be resolved by then.

Reviewer Conclusions

The Express says the “iPhone 11 isn’t the most exciting upgrade, but the improvements are in all the areas they need to be – and are almost guaranteed to ensure Apple has a hit on their hands.” Apple’s iPhone XR was the best selling 2019 smartphone by some metrics, and Apple iterating on it means that it’s likely to keep that position with the new 11.
Wired has similar sentiments. This is “a phone that’s impressive [but] there’s nothing about the iPhone 11 that’s particularly innovative. Its display uses last-generation LCD technology, and it has the same refresh rate as early iPhones. It doesn’t have an in-display fingerprint sensor. It doesn’t support 5G networks. It can be charged wirelessly, but the back of the phone itself doesn’t function as a Qi-enabled charge pad. And when it comes to the iPhone 11’s camera, particularly when compared to the shooter in the Pixel, it really feels like the phone is playing catch-up.”
Cheap versions of phones are becoming the things to get. Once weak throwaways like Samsung’s S4 Minis, the ‘cheap’ version of flagships have been repositioned as the default — the distilled essence of their expensive siblings. The Pixel 3A, Galaxy S10E, Huawei P30 all embrace this philosophy, and Apple’s come around to it as well.
The default iPhone is now the cheapest one, the most colourful one, and the most appealing one.

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