The first reviews of the iPhone 11 have arrived! A few American websites published a first impression of the new iPhone for 2019 after a few days with the devices. Please note that this article only concerns the iPhone 11 and not the Pro variant.
The iPhone 11 is similar to the iPhone XR
Anyone who has ever had an iPhone XR in hand will find that the 11 is identical in terms of weight and dimensions. The difference is mainly at the rear, where two cameras form a square block that is integrated into the glass surface. The new camera block in the iPhone 11 is made of frosted glass.
The back of the iPhone 11 Pro is entirely made of frosted glass, but the camera has a smoother glass there again. These inverted materials help to distinguish the two models. Another notable element (besides moving the Apple logo in the middle) is the disappearance of the name “iPhone” on the back.
Excellent Battery Life
Apple promises that the iPhone 11 lasts an hour longer on a complete charge than the iPhone XR. The company achieves this mainly through a more efficient chip because there is no increase in battery capacity. According to Nilay Patel of The Verge, it was not an empty promise. The iPhone 11 easily went with him for a full day and had a good 20% left at the end of the day. Chris Velazco’s experience from Engadget is comparable. He could do more than 17 hours with his iPhone 11 on a typical day.
What is regretted by several reviewers is the presence of the slow charger. Apple supplies its 5-watt USB-A charger which is an utter shame. The iPhone 11 Pro does get a USB-C charger of 18 watts still not on par with the competition.
Night Mode In The Camera Works Great
There was only one camera on the back of the iPhone XR (ƒ/1.8 aperture). The iPhone 11 now has two. The camera has been improved and benefits from the arrival of an ultra-wide-angle lens (ƒ/2.4 aperture with a field of view of 120 degrees). Both the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro has the new night mode. It is a mode that is automatically activated when there is low light. You cannot enable this manually, describes TechCrunch’s, Matthew Panzarino.
The night mode works best on a tripod. If the iPhone 11 detects that you are using a tripod, it chooses a very long exposure time. Shooting freehand is also possible and The Verge was impressed. According to Nilay Patel, the iPhone 11 captures much more details and more natural colors in the dark than the Google Pixel 3. The latter phone was long regarded as the gold standard for night mode.
Matthew Panzarino from TechCrunch is also enthusiastic about this night mode that he regards as perfectly competitive. He praises Apple for keeping the colors balanced, even during night mode. “Google has chosen to make everything clearer and many people will love that. However, it does not approach reality and has a negative effect on visible details, “he writes.
Smart HDR And Wide Angle
In addition to night mode, the reviews describe more improvements to the camera. Smart HDR is making significant progress according to The Verge. On the iPhone XS, this feature tended to erase too many details, flatten colors, and produce a plastic-looking whole, especially on faces. That is better this year, Apple has better retained the balance between shadows and lights. Portrait mode benefits from visible progress, with more natural contrasts on faces, more details, and much better exposure.
Both the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro has the wide-angle camera (focal length of 13mm). According to TechCrunch, it produces satisfactory results, despite the distortions inherent in this mode. That can be seen on the Engadget image below. A number of reviewers regret that there is no optical stabilization on the wide-angle lens. This makes it difficult to photograph in low light or at night. Therefore, the night mode cannot be used on the wide-angle lens.
Improvement In Face ID Not Noticeable
According to Apple, Face ID works 30 percent faster and also works from a larger angle. Many reviewers did not see much difference. According to The Verge and TechCrunch, Face ID is slightly faster, but this is mainly due to optimizations in iOS 13. Patel and Panzarino saw no remarkable progress in terms of viewing angles.
Britta O’Boyle and Stuart Miles from Pocket-Lint, however, describe that it has indeed become easier to unlock the iPhone 11 while it is on the table. “You don’t have to hang your face over the phone, but your eyes have to be in line with the phone,” they wrote.
Performance: fast, without surprises
Neither The Verge nor TechCrunch has written much specifically about the performance of the phones. As far as Engadget and Pocket-Lint are concerned, the iPhone 11 is very fast. Apple’s A13 chip performs in all tasks without a hitch. Pocket-Lint took the opportunity to explain that the iPhone 11 Pro has more RAM than the ‘normal’ 11, but not mention the number.
None of the reviewers has published detailed benchmarks and Apple is silent on the exact speed and amount of RAM.
At The Verge, Nilay Patel summarized his general feeling from the start: “This is one of the simplest reviews I’ve ever had to write: the iPhone 11 is the phone most people who are upgrading to a new iPhone this year should get. It’s an excellent phone, with one of the best cameras I’ve ever seen on a smartphone and terrific battery life.”
Chris Velazco from Engadget agrees. The absence of a third camera and a screen that is less good than that of iPhone 11 Pro does not affect the qualities of the iPhone 11 according to him. “It is the best new iPhone for most people, including me! The Telephoto lens and a slightly better display do not justify the extra $300 for the iPhone 11 Pro”. Pocket-Lint concludes that the iPhone 11 has everything to seduce owners of an older device to upgrade. “Owners of the iPhone XR and iPhone XS, however, should wait until 2020, because of course, it is not a huge step,” concludes the British site.