Apple’s newest iPhones—the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max—hit store shelves on Friday, but as is common, Apple has lifted the reviews embargo a few days early so the word can get out about how the new devices handle in the real world. And if the reviews are anything to go by, Apple has another success on its hands despite the iPhone retaining essentially the same basic design for another year.
Reviews have particularly praised the battery life on the new iPhones, which get up to five hours more battery life than last year’s model, the price of the iPhone 11, and the new cameras on both the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro series. The iPhone 11, the successor to the iPhone XR, includes a new dual-lens setup that offers a wide and telephoto lens, while the iPhone 11 Pro series features a triple-lens setup with wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto lenses.
Here’s a sampling of some of the reviews:
The Verge (iPhone 11 Pro series):
But after using an iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max for the past week, I think they’re more than the sum of several lightly updated parts. These are some of the most well-balanced, most capable phones Apple—or anyone—has ever made. They have excellent battery life, processors that should keep them relevant for years to come, absolutely beautiful displays, and a new camera system that generally outperforms every other phone, which should get even better with a promised software update later this fall.
The Verge (iPhone 11):
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. Apple’s also dropped the price by 50 bucks: the iPhone XR started at $749, but the iPhone 11 starts at $699.
This is the best smartphone I’ve ever used, bar none. It was hard to fault last year’s model. Now with a few tweaks, the iPhone 11 Pro is your old phone on steroids. Every inch of this gadget is built for extreme performance. The processor is class-leading, the camera is phenomenal every time you hit the shutter button, and the design feels both fresh and iconic. It’s also a loaded spring, ready to pop with more Apple tricks. App makers are tapping it to increased processing power as we speak. And the camera will soon be improved with Deep Fusion technology, via an update.
Instead of trying to blow our minds with experimental features, Apple is methodically making improvements that make day-to-day use better. It’s not looking to get everybody to throw away their existing iPhones and buy new ones—instead, it just keeps improving the phones a little bit every year so when your old one wears out, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much better the new ones have become.
The iPhone 11’s battery life is very good, partly because its LCD screen sips less power, partly because of the more efficient A13 Bionic chip, and partly because the battery in it is bigger than the battery in last year’s iPhone XR or XS (though it is not bigger than the battery in the iPhone Max models). Last Friday, I unplugged the iPhone 11 at midday when it was fully charged. I am a heavy phone user; I get a lot of notifications, I stream media, I use maps, and I frequently crank up the display’s brightness. By bedtime that night, I still had 56 percent battery life. At 10 am Saturday, I set out to run errands with the phone’s battery at 46 percent and hit the 20 percent “low battery” mark while I was getting ready for dinner that evening.
The iPhone 11 takes almost everything that makes the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max special and squeezes it down into a package that’s $50 less than last year’s cheap model. It’s probably not worth buying if you have an iPhone XR or XS, but for everyone else, it’s the easiest way to get a taste of modern flagship iPhone performance without dropping $1,000.
There’s no doubt iPhone 11 is the Apple smartphone many have been waiting for. It’s one of the fastest phones on the market thanks to the new A13 Bionic processor, which also extends the battery life by an extra hour compared to the iPhone XR—already a battery life king.
The camera upgrade is also a huge step forward with fans now able to shoot images with an ultra-wide lens and the option to add the brilliant bokeh-style blur to more of your images.
However, it’s the Night Mode that really sets the iPhone 11 apart from its predecessor. The setting is an absolute triumph and you’ll be genuinely amazed by how well it works—there’s no question it will change the way you shoot photos when the lights starts to fade.
Let’s get this out of the way right up front: iPhone 11’s Night Mode is great. It works, it compares extremely well to other low-light cameras and the exposure and color rendition is best in class, period.
I have this weird litmus test I put every new phone camera through where I take it on a dark ride, like Winnie the Pooh, to see if I can get any truly sharp usable image. It’s a great test because the black light is usually on, the car is moving and the subject is moving. Up until this point I have succeeded exactly zero times. But the iPhone 11 Pro pulled it off. Not perfect, but pretty incredible all things considered.
The iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro series goes on sale Friday.