It’s no secret: Apple‘s sales have been down since the beginning of 2019, and the latest addition to the iPhone line is being hailed as its long-awaited savior. The competition has been redefining quality standards at every level, but the iPhone 11 is supposed to give Apple back its shine. It’s supposed to dazzle us as well. We tested it with just one question in mind: does the iPhone 11 Pro have what it takes to save Apple?
Performance and battery life: a new all-time high for Apple, and for the smartphone world
Less energy and more power…
The iPhone XR gave us the A12 Bionic chip. So what’s next? You guessed it, it’s the A13 Bionic chip! What does that mean? Well, basically more efficient power use and better performance for energy-hungry apps like video games. But for everyday use, it’s not that different from the previous generation (iPhone XS, XS Max and XR).
Officially, the iPhone 11 Pro lasts up to 4 hours longer than the iPhone XS before it gives up in exhaustion. In reality, if you’re using it for standard purposes, it lasts for almost two full days. The iPhone XR got the ball rolling, and the iPhone 11 Pro confirms it: Apple is back on track in terms of battery life.
Ergonomics and design: the same old dress as the iPhone X, with a few added grams
Two peas in a pod
If you line up the iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone X, it’s almost impossible to tell the difference from the front. You’ll notice the same old notch that gets in the way when viewing certain content at the top of the screen. But we can forgive Apple for that, because the facial recognition system has never worked so well, on an iPhone or anywhere.
Besides that, the design is still flawless, if not very original. The back of the smartphone now comes in a matte finish, to reduce fingerprints. As for colors, Apple’s going wild this year with an elegant new color, midnight green.
Three eggs, sunny side up
We won’t talk about the look of the rear photo sensors. To each their own, as they say. But we have to point out that the three cameras make the phone pretty unstable when you set it down. Another problem: the triangular spacing of the round sensors in a square module is a real dust trap, and makes cleaning difficult. We’re guessing that’s why Apple made the phone waterproof for up to 30 minutes at a depth of 4 meters. When it gets dirty, you can just give your phone a bath.
Finally, a phone for small hands
What we do like is the screen, which is under 6 inches, making it much easier to use the phone one-handed. So it’s smaller than average, but that doesn’t mean it’s lighter. The iPhone 11 Pro weighs 11 grams more than the iPhone XS, and it’s 0.4 mm thicker.
You’re still missing, Jack
The time may have come to say goodbye to headphone jacks for good, but the iPhone 11 Pro doesn’t even offer a way to plug in earbuds or headphones, or insert a microSD card.
Screen and display: Can’t Touch This
The screen features an OLED display that takes up over 80% of the front with 2436 x 1125 pixel resolution. The best part: increased brightness now makes it easy to check your phone in direct sunlight. And the second best: the new screen uses less power.
Camera and sound: rising to meet the competition
Night mode and ultra wide
In full daylight, results are slightly better than with the iPhone XR. Shots are more precise, but they also seem a little colder. In weak light, quality is also better thanks to automatic activation of the now-famous new feature, “night mode.”
Apple’s second big innovation of the year is of course the ultra wide. It lets you capture vast landscapes without using panorama mode. The new camera can also automatically take two photos at the same time, with the second one using a wider angle. Then you can reframe the photo later to include more elements.
It was the one big complaint about the iPhone XR, and this year they’ve fixed it. The new model offers a very comfortable x4 optic zoom and a slightly less comfortable x10 digital zoom.
The return of portrait mode and slo-mo selfies
Portrait mode, one of the most successful modes to date, is still available for use on human and non-human subjects. There’s also something new for video: “slofie” mode. Now you can take slow motion videos (120 fps) with the front module. We’ll let you decide how useful that info is.
The iPhone 11 Pro’s video quality is incredible, with results that almost look like they were filmed using a camcorder.
Audio quality lags behind
With all these camera innovations, audio seems to have been forgotten. Even with their Dolby Atmos certification and improved spatialization, the speakers tend to overload at full volume. Luckily, you won’t usually need to go higher than 75%.
But what about the planet?
Like our other tests, this one wouldn’t be complete without considering the environmental impact of the iPhone 11 Pro.
You could say that the iPhone 11 Pro is a good kid in a highly polluting market.
Pictures taken with an iPhone 11 Pro