Apple iPhone 11 review: Beautifully, unapologetically Apple!
Rating:Back in 2013, alongside the iPhone 5S, Apple introduced the iPhone 5C — this handset had all the makings of a commercial success but lacked in areas where it mattered the most — a Touch ID sensor, less than stellar materials, and a lower-end chip. While the handset sold decently in certain markets like India due to its lower-cost price tag, it failed in others as people quickly realized that it did not have enough to make it stand out on its own. After this failed attempt at launching a handset with candy colours, Apple appeared afraid to repeat its mistake.
Five years later, in 2018, Apple announced the iPhone XR, which was its second attempt at a lower-cost handset in plenty of colours; however, this time around, Apple took a long hard look at the current market trends and added little to no compromises here. The iPhone XR, with its multitude of colour options, rapidly became the best-selling iPhone that was released in the 2018 refresh. Although it came with an LCD display, this mattered little to most as it also packed Apple’s Face ID tech as well as a single rear shooter that was on par with multiple camera units found on Android rivals. The iPhone XR had effectively cemented itself as the iPhone to buy if you actually wanted one and the incredible battery life on offer helped it in a way that no other iPhone had.
With the iPhone XR being accepted as a handset that’s worthy of a yearly refresh, Apple has launched its successor by introducing the iPhone 11. And this time around, Apple has doubled down on all the internals and positioned it as a worthy proposition for anyone looking to upgrade.
While the iPhone XR was a cheaper option in comparison with the iPhone XS and was sold for as low as Rs 77K; it was still pretty expensive for what it had to offer. With the newly launched iPhone 11, Apple has rectified this pain point and has priced it extremely competitively at Rs 64,900 for the 64GB version. With this model, Apple has included all the best features of the iPhone 11 Pro and made certain compromises which most won’t care about.
The iPhone 11 features the same screen size as the iPhone XR at 6.1-inches and it makes use of an IPS LCD display with a 326ppi. It also comes with Apple’s latest A13 Bionic chipset and gains an additional camera on the back — a feature that wasn’t found on the iPhone XR. Apple has also fitted a larger battery here and it supports 18W fast charging. And lastly, the iPhone 11 comes with two new colour options — Green and Purple. All this put together makes the handset an interesting choice for those who are upgrading from an older model like the iPhone 6 as you now get Face ID on the cheap.
The flagship iPhone handsets such as the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro come in somewhat subdued colours such as Space Grey, Silver, Gold and the new Midnight Green. If you are one of those who loves a little bit of character or a playful appearance on your iOS device, then the iPhone 11 is the one meant for you. The handset comes in plenty of exciting colour options to choose from, such as Yellow, Product (RED), Green and Purple. The latter ones are brand new colours and they replace the Coral and Blue options that were available with the iPhone XR. If you still happen to love what the iPhone 11 has to offer but want a more professional option, then there is also the Black or White colour that could suit your fancy. In for review, we received the Green iPhone 11 and we have to say that we absolutely love this option. With Apple’s new handset, the brand has gone with pastel colours as opposed to solids and this is a step in the right direction as it adds a more playful appearance that could please the younger generation and also delight those who are young at heart. The Green model is more of a turquoise tone and it is reminiscent of the world-famous Tiffany’s jewellery colours. This not only shows that it is a new fun colour but also classy to those who know about it. The handsets are also water and dust resistant and can be submerged in water at a depth of two metres for up to 30 minutes. This is over and above what the iPhone XR could handle and helps put our minds at ease.
Like the iPhone XR, the 2019 iPhone 11 is positioned between both the OLED flagship models. The handset boasts a 6.1-inch display that’s a bit larger than the iPhone 11 Pro but noticeably smaller than the iPhone 11 Pro. By Apple launching an LCD version of the handset with this screen-size, we see it as being the most popular choice for people who want a handset that’s fairly large but not overbearing like the humongous iPhone 11 Pro. Also, with the iPhone 11, you get ample screen real estate without any compromises as seen on the fairly small iPhone 11 Pro. With Apple launching it at this size, it can fit easily in most pockets, handbags and the like. Also, single-hand usage is taken care of easily due to its somewhat compact form factor.
As mentioned earlier, like the iPhone XR, Apple has used an LCD display which is now referred to as Liquid Retina display. This 6.1-inch display features a lower resolution when compared with its OLED counterparts, but not so much that people would have an issue with it. The bezels on the iPhone 11 are a bit larger in comparison than the OLED models; however, when you make the jump from a handset with a Touch ID, this difference is non-noticeable. Over here, you won’t get the deepest of blacks or the brightest of whites; but you will get a far superior LCD display in comparison with Android rivals and this is a win in itself.
The rear of the handset, like the iPhone 11 Pro, is made up of a single sheet of glass with the major difference being that this model comes with a glossy finish unlike the matte finish found on its costlier siblings. The iPhone is toughened using Corning Gorilla glass and on the rear, we find the square camera bump that houses twin shooters. The sides are constructed using aluminium and this also helps with the handling as it adds a fair bit of friction which allows the handset to not slip easily from the hand. While the iPhone 11 Pro has three 12MP sensors, the iPhone 11 loses the telephoto lens and makes do with an ultra-wide-angle lens and a primary wide-angle lens. To recall, the iPhone XR came with a single 12MP wide-angle lens, so the 2019 model is a major upgrade over its predecessor.
It has been years since Apple has ditched the headphone jack and it appears that they are sticking with this decision here. Also, Apple is still using the Lightning connector for charging as opposed to the much-rumoured USB Type-C port. However, we feel that those who purchase this handset won’t have a problem with this and those who previously owned an iPhone will accept this familiarity.
As far as the packaging goes, Apple is bundling the lightning cable along with lightning earpods. You no longer get the lightning to 3.5mm dongle that used to come bundled with iPhones. Also, unlike the Pro version, the iPhone 11 doesn’t come with an 18W fast charger; instead you get a basic 5W charger in the box. This needs to be purchased separately if you want to experience Apple’s fast charging tech on the iPhone 11.
The iPhone 11 retains most of the internals found in the iPhone 11 Pro and this puts it above and beyond most other smartphones available in the market so far. The iPhone 11 comes loaded with Apple’s latest A13 Bionic SoC that’s built on a 7+nm process and this helps it in being way more powerful than any other iPhone launched prior to this. While those stepping up from a previous generation iPhone XR, iPhone XS or iPhone XS, won’t see any major difference in performance; it is those who are upgrading from an older generation handset that will experience the surge in performance that’s on offer here. While raw performance plays a huge part; it is the power efficiency that’s the chief upgrade seen here.
While it can be categorized by some as an incremental upgrade since it retains the Bionic branding rather than a complete overhaul of the chip. The processor uses the same 7nm+ process and Apple has managed to cram in 8.5 billion transistors which is an increase of 23 per cent over the A12 Bionic. With this chip, Apple has managed to achieve a massive increase in performance as well as power efficiency by making it 20 per cent larger.
Apple’s A12 Bionic chipset has repeatedly trounced Android smartphones with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 SoC when it came to running benchmarks and now since Apple claims that the A13 Bionic is faster, you can expect it to increase the gap with Android handsets running the last year’s Qualcomm flagship chipset. However, what’s even more interesting is that the 64-bit Apple’s A13 Bionic comes with two performance cores clocked at 2.65GHz and four high-efficiency cores clocked at 1.8GHz and they manage to beat Android handsets that use the Snapdragon 855+ processor as well.
While running the Geekbench 5 benchmarking tool, the iPhone 11 recorded a score of 1331 points in the single-core test and 3449 points in the multi-core test. These scores were fractionally less as compared with the iPhone 11 Pro which scored 1336 points in the single-core test and 3447 points in the multi-core test. The iPhone XS, on the other hand, scored a decent 1116 points in the single-core test and 2121 points in the multi-core test. The recently launched Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ using an Exynos 9825 processor has been beaten hands down as it managed a score of just 792 and 2184 in the single-core and multi-core tests. In the same test, the ASUS ROG Phone II produced a score of 772 points in the single-core test and 2557 points in the multi-core test. The OnePlus 7T using the same Snapdragon 855+ chipset as the ASUS ROG Phone II paled in comparison to the iPhone 11 Pro and it scored 777 points and 2813 points in the single-core and multi-core tests. This gives you an idea as to how well Apple has optimised its hardware and with it, you should get peak performances for years to come.
Additionally, the A13 Bionic comes with four GPU cores that are said to be 20 per cent faster and up to 40 per cent more power efficient. While playing high-end games such as Asphalt 9: Legends, Call of Duty and Fortnite the performance was buttery-smooth and although there is a claimed bump in performance over the iPhone XS, it was not visible in the form of frame rates or additional details.
When purchasing an iPhone, there are few things that make you drawn to it — a premium design, a great display, powerful performances and a capable camera. While iPhones of old had some of the best shooters available on smartphones; Apple’s iPhone soon lost its places to the likes of the Google Pixels and Huawei P30 Pros of the world. So, this year, Apple has doubled down on the cameras and paid extra attention to each and every aspect of what it is to be the number one smartphone camera brand in the world. In short, the results are phenomenal.
When purchasing an iPhone 11, you can be sure of the fact that you’re buying one of the best smartphones in the world that has the cameras to match. The 2018 iPhone XR had a fair share of compromises since it came with a single shooter on the rear; although it has to be said that the performance of its camera was pretty spectacular. With that being said, the iPhone XR’s single-lens had its shortcomings and due to this fact, Portrait shots were taken care of by the software. Another limitation here was that it worked only on humans which actually made folks opt for the higher-priced devices if they wanted an all-around camera experience.
Thankfully, Apple has rectified this and those who purchase the iPhone 11 now get two rear cameras. These comprise of a 12MP ultra-wide-angle lens and a 12MP wide-angle lens. The iPhone 11 loses the telephoto lens that’s found on the iPhone 11 Pro and that’s okay as these shooters are extremely capable of handling whatever you throw at them. So, while you don’t have the 2x optical zoom lens here, you get a secondary lens that’s capable of shooting excellent portrait shots which is handy for capturing great Instagram images.
Night Mode off
Night Mode on
Apple has finally added Night Mode in the iPhone 11 and this is capable of capturing stunning low-light photos which even the human eye has difficulty detecting. This feature works the same as the iPhone 11 Pro and makes use of time plus exposure to capture amazing images. This exposure ranges from about 0-seconds to about 9-seconds; although you will definitely need a tripod for the longer timed captures.
The front-facing camera gets an upgrade as well and it is now rated at 12MP which is a step-up from the 7MP sensor found on previous generation iPhones. As usual, image quality is perfect here with colours appearing natural and a fair amount of detail being visible. The front-facing camera is also capable of capturing the badly coined term ‘slofies’ which is a fun and entertaining way of capturing slow-motion selfies. Also, Face ID gets a marked improvement on the iPhone 11 when compared with the iPhone X and unlocking your handset is near-instantaneous.
The iPhone XR had one of the best batteries to ever feature on an iPhone and the iPhone 11 builds upon that. Apple has claimed that the iPhone 11 will offer an hour’s worth of extra use when compared with the iPhone XR and this, on paper, pales in comparison with the 4-5 hours promise found on the Pro models. However, with the iPhone XR renowned for its extensive battery life, you can be sure that the iPhone 11 will last much longer in comparison to any iPhone you are using presently.
During our testing period, even with heavy usage, the iPhone 11 easily survived over a day and this is a testament to how power efficient the handset is. Additionally, the handset comes with Qi wireless charging capabilities and it will work with all Qi-enabled chargers available in the market. So, while it appears that Apple’s AirPower charging mat is dead even before it was born, you can take solace in the fact that the iPhone 11 will work with a number of third-party accessories.
The iPhone 11 starts at Rs 64,900 for the 64GB version and climbs all the way up to Rs 79,900 for the 256GB option. The 128GB version is priced at a respectable amount of Rs 69,900 and for us; this is the pick of the lot. Last year, when Apple launched the iPhone XR, initial reports claimed that the handset wasn’t doing that great; however, a year later it was known that the handset was the key model in driving iPhone sales. This year, the gulf between the iPhone 11 and the iPhone 11 Pro is almost non-existent and by purchasing this model, you can, in no way, go wrong as it comes with the best bits of the higher-end option and compromises that hardly matter when using this as a standalone device without comparing it with the higher-cost OLED variant.
In 2013, when Apple launched the iPhone 5C, it came with a plastic body and felt like a huge compromise over the high spec’d iPhone 5S. In the words of the great Jony Ive, the iPhone 5C was “beautifully, unapologetically plastic.” However, this year, there is no such compromise and it is built of the finest materials and loaded with high-end internals that has performances that leave Android flagships eating its dust. So this year, the iPhone 11 has all the essence of a flagship device and it can be correctly classified as beautifully, unapologetically Apple.