Apple iPhone 11 Review

Apple iPhone 11 Review
Apple’s new iPhone 11 is, for all intents and purposes, an iPhone XR on steroids. It reiterates the simple formula that made the iPhone XR hugely popular – delivering great performance while being an affordable entry into the Apple ecosystem. It’s also faster, more colorful, and equipped with a versatile dual-camera setup. But does all of this make the iPhone 11 an instabuy?

Design



If you’re coming from an iPhone XR, you will feel right at home. Aside from the redesigned camera module and the new color options, the new iPhone 11 and the XR from last year are basically identical in terms of design. I really dig the new, more subtle pastel paint jobs, especially the purple and green ones. The camera bump on the rear is very similar to the ones on the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max in terms of size and shape and is a very distinct design feature of the iPhone 11.

A somewhat overlooked feature is the improved water resistance rating on the iPhone 11. The phone is now IP68 certified. For better or for worse, the iPhone 11 is just as solid as the iPhone XR. It’s still that hefty device that’s neither light nor compact. I am used to big phones, but during my time with the iPhone 11, I certainly bemoaned its size and wished for a more compact entry-level iPhone.

Apple iPhone 11

Apple iPhone 11

Dimensions

5.94 x 2.98 x 0.33 inches

150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3 mm

Weight

6.84 oz (194 g)

Apple iPhone 11 Pro

Apple iPhone 11 Pro

Dimensions

5.67 x 2.81 x 0.32 inches

144 x 71.4 x 8.1 mm

Weight

6.63 oz (188 g)

Apple iPhone XR

Apple iPhone XR

Dimensions

5.94 x 2.98 x 0.33 inches

150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3 mm

Weight

6.84 oz (194 g)

Apple iPhone 8

Apple iPhone 8

Dimensions

5.45 x 2.65 x 0.29 inches

138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mm

Weight

5.22 oz (148 g)

Apple iPhone 11

Apple iPhone 11

Dimensions

5.94 x 2.98 x 0.33 inches

150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3 mm

Weight

6.84 oz (194 g)

Apple iPhone 11 Pro

Apple iPhone 11 Pro

Dimensions

5.67 x 2.81 x 0.32 inches

144 x 71.4 x 8.1 mm

Weight

6.63 oz (188 g)

Apple iPhone XR

Apple iPhone XR

Dimensions

5.94 x 2.98 x 0.33 inches

150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3 mm

Weight

6.84 oz (194 g)

Apple iPhone 8

Apple iPhone 8

Dimensions

5.45 x 2.65 x 0.29 inches

138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mm

Weight

5.22 oz (148 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page


Display



The display of the iPhone 11 is pretty similar to the one on the iPhone XR: you get the same 6.1-inch Liquid Retina display with a resolution of 828 by 1792 pixels, with all the good and bad that comes along. The display is quite accurate and has great minimum and maximum brightness levels, not to mention that it displays P3 wide color and supports Apple’s TrueTone tech. But... in my opinion, it leaves a lot to be desired, and I’m not talking only about its relatively modest resolution.

This display simply can’t match the contrast levels and vibrancy of an OLED panel. It also produces a slight motion blur, as other LCDs usually exhibit. And it might be just me, but I feel the display is the weakest aspect of this phone. It simply looks bland, and while I don’t hate it, I would have definitely appreciated an OLED display in its place.



Performance



On paper, the iPhone 11 is surely a winner. It comes with the same A13 Bionic chip that powers the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, as well as with 4GB of RAM (an improvement over the XR’s 3GB). You get 64GB of storage in the base version, but the iPhone 11 also comes in 128 and 256GB of storage.

The iPhone 11 is a pretty snappy phone. I never had any issues with the overall performance of the device. However, despite the hardware improvements, I can’t really say there’s a tangible difference in comparison with the iPhone XR – both phones are very fast, and even though the new iPhone 11 can hold up a couple of more apps in its memory, it doesn’t feel overwhelmingly faster than the iPhone XR. That’s not really an issue considering the iPhone XR was already a very snappy phone.

AnTuTu is a multi-layered, comprehensive mobile benchmark app that assesses various aspects of a device, including CPU, GPU, RAM, I/O, and UX performance. A higher score means an overall faster device.

Higher is better
Apple iPhone 11
435295
Apple iPhone 11 Pro
458830
Samsung Galaxy S10
329546
Google Pixel 3
213926


Interface and functionality



Needless to say, iOS 13 on the iPhone 11 would feel familiar to long-time iOS users. One of its top features is Dark Mode which replaces white UI elements with dark ones to reduce eye strain. This also saves battery on iPhones with OLED screens, but since the iPhone 11 has an LCD one, that benefit isn’t present. And personally, I’m not a fan of how dark themes look on LCD screens which are never completely black.

Face ID is better on the iPhone 11 – it is faster and has a wider field of view. I hardly ever had any issues with Face ID. Actually, I love how reliable and fast it is. It is more intuitive and definitely easier to use than other biometric functionalities like in-display fingerprint scanners. I’m curious to find out how it would compare against the next-gen face unlock feature on the upcoming Pixel 4.

Camera



The ultra wide-angle camera is the most intriguing new feature on the iPhone 11. I has a 12MP sensor and an F2.4 aperture, whereas the main 12MP shooter comes with an F1.8 lens. Only the main cam has OIS, but the ultra wide-angle doesn’t really need one.

The camera interface has seen some changes as a result of the addition of the ultra wide-angle camera and the new Night Mode. Previously, iPhones had multiple buttons at the top of the camera app, allowing you to easily access the camera timer, various filters, the flash toggle, and more. Now, you only get buttons for the flash and Live Photos, with all the others being tucked away in a swipeable tray. Another change is that while taking photos with the main lens, translucent bars on the side give you an approximate preview of how much more of the scene you’d be able to fit into the frame if you switched to the ultra wide-angle lens.

Image quality


Just like with any other iPhone, the iPhone 11 delivers really consistent image quality. Images turn out well exposed and with enough detail. Colors are typically iPhone-ish – realistic, not obnoxiously vibrant, and definitely leaning towards the warmer spectrum, a signature trait of the iPhone camera. 



Ultra wide-angle camera


The new ultra wide-angle camera is a great new addition to the iPhone. In my humble opinion, it comes across as a much more versatile thing to have than your regular 2X telephoto lens. It’s capable of fitting so much more of the scene in a single frame that it’s easily my new favorite iPhone 11 feature, bar none. Of course, some distortion can be observed in the corners of the frame, but that’s typical for wide-angle lenses. The only downside of the ultra wide-angle camera here is that it doesn’t really support the new Night Mode. That’s a shame, as it’s low-light capabilities are mediocre at best.



Portraits


Portraits turn out fine, a slight improvement over those from last year’s XR. Subject separation is mostly good, but separating long and rogue hairs from more complex backgrounds is still an issue. If you zoom in and carefully explore the portrait images taken with an iPhone 11, you are more than likely to find some imperfections, but for the most part, the portraits taken with the iPhone 11 are usable.



Selfies & selfie portraits


Selfies taken on the iPhone 11 are lovely. Colors turn out excellent and tend to enhance the facial features. I am a fan of the warmer color palette that is an important characteristic of the selfie camera, but just like with the portrait mode of the main camera, selfie portraits often turn out imperfect here as well – subject separation is a problem, more evident when you crank up the artificial aperture setting to produce a more bokehlicious background.



Night Mode & Low-light photos 


When the light goes down, the iPhone 11 would automatically enable its new Night Mode, which takes a slightly longer exposure to capture a brighter low-light photo. Usually, Night Mode would take between 2 and 3 seconds, but if you put the iPhone on a tripod or prop it up against an immovable object, it will be capable of taking even longer exposures of the nightscape.



Video quality


iPhone 11 videos are great. The stabilization is superb, and the quality is excellent. The device can shoot up 4K videos at 60fps, but lower resolutions and framerates are also available if that’s your jam.

Battery life



The iPhone 11 has a very good and consistent battery life. If it is used moderately throughout the day, you can expect to get back home with around 30% of battery left. Of course, your mileage will vary depending on the usage. My day usually consists of a considerable amount of time dedicated to social media, browsing the web, music and video consumption, as well as some light gaming, and I never had to charge the phone through my day. The battery life feels better than the iPhone XR, but not by much.

Charging, on the other hand, is disgracefully slow, at least with the bundled 5W charger. It recharges the iPhone from empty to full in 3 hours and 33 minutes, which is very, very slow. If you want a quicker charging experience, you’ll need to get the faster 18W charger, which Apple sells separately for $29.

Conclusion



The iPhone 11 is indeed a good phone, but it is not quite great. Its display is pretty, but it is not as good-looking as the OLEDs we’ve been spoiled by; its battery life is solid, but it leaves you longing for more; the bundled charger is okay for charging overnight, but it urges you to get the faster one. I have the odd feeling that the iPhone 11 has been subconsciously pushing me towards the more expensive iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max, both of which have better displays, better battery life, and more versatile cameras.

However, for the price, the iPhone 11 is a perfectly good phone – and an excellent entry-level point into the Apple ecosystem. I don’t think it’s a sensible upgrade over the iPhone XR, though – the only real difference is the ultra wide-angle camera. You may not even notice the slightly faster processor or the marginal improvement in battery life in everyday use. Still, the iPhone 11 proves to be a great upgrade for folks with older iPhones, say the iPhone 8 or 7 series.

Pros

  • Snappy performance
  • Versatile dual-camera setup with Night Mode
  • Speakers are LOUD
  • Cool design and colors
  • Face ID is fast and reliable
  • Affordable pricing

Cons

  • Extremely SLOW charger in the box
  • Display leaves a lot to be desired
  • Battery life could be better

PhoneArena Rating:

8.5

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56 Comments

71. deleon629 unregistered

I saw the score... I lol'd before I even saw the comments. There'd be only 2 outcomes: Vi

60. blkkobra

Posts: 45; Member since: Jan 22, 2014

I feel like the reviewer also has a lot to do with the overall score the phones get. There are many different tastes among the authors on this site, apparently. Example, giving an apple fan an Android device to review will naturally result in a lower score than if you give that same device to an Android fan. The reverse is also true. And I think that's what we have when we compare the XR review to that of the 11. The XR was probably reviewed by someone who was more of a fan of Apple, versus this author who may be a bit more neutral or even a bigger fan of Android. The reviews on this site are definitely more opinion based than founded in any real scientific method.

56. yalokiy

Posts: 1163; Member since: Aug 01, 2016

I also don't get how battery life ended up as a CON on this phone. It has other cons, but battery is certainly not one of them.

43. whatev

Posts: 2476; Member since: Oct 28, 2015

Loving that even when PhoneArena mods give in to android trolls they still troll showing what’s their only purpose in life, really high quality people in this comment section :)

32. darkkjedii

Posts: 31816; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

The phone: ok. The chick: SMOOOOOOOOOOOOKIN.

29. shafayatsohail

Posts: 57; Member since: Jan 14, 2016

battery life is already great, I should not be a CON

34. AngelicusMaximus

Posts: 805; Member since: Dec 20, 2017

Agreed. The XR had one of the best battery lives of phones from last year. How is it possible that they increased it, but it's a con now? Standards haven't gone up that much. That doesn't make a ton of sense.

27. mackan84

Posts: 723; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

Ok every other Reviewer says this is the iPhone to get. There is literally a $300 dollar difference to get a iPhone with OLED and 2x zoom. $400 dollar difference if you don’t want to live with 64gb storage

19. scaryytino

Posts: 3; Member since: Jun 03, 2019

It's better than the XR in almost every category (and equal in those that's it's not) but you somehow rated it less than the XR? What is going on with your grading system?

48. Be_Mine unregistered

So, are you suggesting that PA should lower the iPhone XR Rating?

15. Tipus

Posts: 914; Member since: Sep 30, 2016

Peter they will fire you! :)))

14. ZEUS.the.thunder.god

Posts: 1193; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

Now only if we could get an unbiased review like this for the Pro models too.

51. whatev

Posts: 2476; Member since: Oct 28, 2015

So you think that the smartphone with one of the best cameras (if not the best), the best screen, the best processor (the most powerful and fastest), the best battery life and the best user experience should have a lower score so your feelings are not hurt and you don’t feel less secure

13. Alcyone

Posts: 666; Member since: May 10, 2018

Uh oh. Cupertino is not gonna be happy. This is the score the majority of iphones should be getting. Specially considering the overall feature set. Still has a ways to go, imo.

12. baldilocks

Posts: 1562; Member since: Dec 14, 2008

A better phone than the XR it replaces, yet a lower score. This site has become the joke of the phone review world.

20. AngelicusMaximus

Posts: 805; Member since: Dec 20, 2017

I agree with you about the inconsistency of review scores on the site, but you also can't necessarily expect a phone to get a higher or even the same score just because it's better than the previous version. More times than not, a phone improves upon its predecessor, but standards change as well and scores need to be adjusted to reflect that. All that being said, I do think the iPhone 11 brings enough improvements to the table to where it shouldn't have received this much of a drop in score, so either last year's was rated too high or this year's is rated too low in comparison. I guess that's up to the individual.

24. User123456789 unregistered

Because right score for Xr would be 7,3

41. whatev

Posts: 2476; Member since: Oct 28, 2015

They are giving in to android trolls which ultimately are the ones driving clicks in this site, just like youtubers praising android phones but their main devices are apple

11. OneLove123

Posts: 1344; Member since: Aug 28, 2018

Sounds about right

8. inFla

Posts: 242; Member since: Aug 17, 2018

Just as important are customer reviews when they become available. I don't buy until I've seen both.

38. pimpin83z

Posts: 672; Member since: Feb 08, 2019

So you base your purchases on the opinions of others rather than testing it out for yourself?

7. Mreveryphone

Posts: 1887; Member since: Apr 22, 2014

Hell hath frozen over!

5. jellmoo

Posts: 2713; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

What kind of weird subjective anecdotes are these about battery? It "feels" better? Can we get an actual measurement, especially when other sites measure the 11 as having a longer lasting battery than the 11 Pro?

21. Victor.H

Posts: 1129; Member since: May 27, 2011

We are working on a new and much more detailed battery test, but it's not quite ready yet. Preliminary results: iPhone 11 gets 11 hours 40 minutes for browsing and 7:13 hours for video compared to iPhone XR which has 8 hours 30 minutes for browsing and 5:45 hours for video. And compared to iPhone 11 Pro, the iPhone 11 gets slightly better results, but the 11 Pro Max has much higher scores than both those.

28. jellmoo

Posts: 2713; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

Might I suggest an edit then? Readers may look at this review and opt to spend $300 more on an iPhone 11 Pro expecting it to have superior battery life.

42. Victor.H

Posts: 1129; Member since: May 27, 2011

We need a bit more time to finalize the battery test so we can be 100% certain in the results. Thanks for the suggestion!

53. jellmoo

Posts: 2713; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

I totally get that, but I do think this sentence needs to be changed: "I have the odd feeling that the iPhone 11 has been subconsciously pushing me towards the more expensive iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max, both of which have better displays, better battery life, and more versatile cameras." It could mislead casual readers into thinking that buying the iPhone 11 Pro would get them better battery life.

52. TheOracle1

Posts: 2340; Member since: May 04, 2015

You need to create a more comprehensive test that includes talk time because I'm sure you realise that it's a phone after all. At least I think that's what iPhone means.

4. Nokfan1603

Posts: 84; Member since: Mar 13, 2013

Last year, the iPhone XR received a rating of 9.0 with basically the same cons. Of course, that rating was too high. But what I mean to say is that your rating is very inconsistent and therefore not very meaningful.

9. DigitalBoy05

Posts: 280; Member since: Jun 04, 2011

Seriously. Create a thought out formula, show the data, and be consistent.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

iPhone 11
  • Display 6.1 inches
    1792 x 828 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP (Dual camera)
    12 MP front
  • Hardware Apple A13 Bionic, 4GB RAM
  • Storage 64GB, not expandable
  • Battery 3110 mAh
  • OS iOS 13.x

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