ANOTHER year, another new Apple smartphone, but this time it’s better value than ever.
The Sun’s Sean Keach has been testing the £729 iPhone 11 for a week – and reveals why it’s likely to be this year’s top mobile.
iPhone 11 – what is it?
Prices for smartphones (iPhone included) have been creeping up year after year.
But it can’t go on forever, or even one year longer: Apple’s budget entry finally took a price cut with the iPhone 11.
Unlike the £749 iPhone XR before it, the new iPhone 11 costs £729. That’s impressive value given the hardware on offer.
Apple hopes the iPhone 11 will be the catch-all phone that everyday Brits fall in love with. It’s probably not wrong.
iPhone 11 design – what’s new?
Apple’s iPhone design hasn’t changed much since the iPhone 6.
There’s a good reason for that: it’s durable, practical and very popular.
Amazingly, the new iPhone’s dimensions and weight are identical to last year’s iPhone XR.
It’s a great design coup given that battery life has improved, Face ID is faster, and there’s an additional camera on the back. But more on all that later.
Colours are looking great this year, and will probably perk sales up for Apple in a tough year for smartphones generally.
Apple has gone for a more pale, pastel offering.
You’ve got Black, White, Yellow, Red, Purple and Green – the latter two are brand new additions.
I reckon the pair of new paintjobs will prove particularly popular. If only because they make it obvious you’ve got the latest iPhone.
iPhone 11 specs, features and price
Powering the iPhone 11 is Apple’s new A13 Bionic chip.
It’s around 20% faster in terms of processing and graphical heft compared to last year’s chip.
And it promises to handle roughly 1trillion operations per second.
I’m excited for the apps and games that will soon harness this additional power.
Of course your iPhone is plenty fast already.
So you’ll probably be more excited to learn that the A13 chip helps add an additional one hour to the iPhone 11’s battery life per charge.
The screen is a 6.1-inch Liquid Retina display with Apple’s iconic all-screen design.
The notch at the top of the panel is still there. But it doesn’t get in the way, and no one seems to complain about it any more either.
It supports a wide range of colours (though not nearly as many as the iPhone 11 Pro), and has True Tone. That means the display changes brightness and tone based on ambient light, to give you the best viewing experience wherever you are.
Face ID is a little faster (around 30%) this time, but the difference is tricky to grasp.
More importantly, you can unlock the phone at a more extreme angle. It’s great if your phone is flat on a table – and gentle lean forward and you’re in.
Spatial audio is a big feature of the iPhone 11.
When you’re watching a video, the iPhone 11 creates an immersive soundstage that sounds almost three-dimensional. It’s a strange effect that’s hard to describe.
But it works, and impressively so.
iPhone 11 specs – the geeky facts
Here’s what you need to know…
- Dimensions: 150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3mm
- Weight: 194 grams
- Screen: LCD, 6.1 inches
- Display: 828 x 1792 pixels (326 pixels per inch)
- Brightness: 625 nits
- Chipset: A13 Bionic
- OS: iOS 13
- Storage: 64GB
- Main Camera: Dual – 12MP, f/1.8 + 12MP, f/2.4
- Selfie Camera: 12MP, f/2.2
- Unlocking: Face ID
- Battery: 3,110mAh
- Charging: Fast-charge (18W), 50% in 30 minutes
- Colours: Black, Green, Yellow, Purple, Red, White
Lastly, iPhone 11 Pro comes equipped with Apple’s new iOS 13 software.
My favourite addition to iOS 13 is Dark Mode, which re-skins the entire user interface to a black theme.
It means using your iPhone at night (or more useful for me, in the morning) is far easier on the eyes.
There’s also a new Sign In with Apple button that will soon appear on web-pages, giving you a safer alternative to Sign In with Facebook.
And the Maps app has been redesigned to look and work better than before.
Apple has also improved the volume slider so it’s off to the side of the phone, and appears as a thin strip
It’s a welcome change from the bulky volume square that previously blocked the middle of your screen.
iPhone 11 camera – incredible for the price
Finally, Apple has upgraded its standard iPhone model with a dual camera system.
Dual cameras were announced way back in 2016 with the iPhone 7 Plus. Since then, it’s always been reserved for higher-cost models.
Now the iPhone 11 has two cameras (for a relatively low price), bringing loads of new tricks.
Firstly, you now have two types of lens: Wide and Ultra Wide.
Ultra Wide means you can squeeze about four times more scene in to your image.
You can also shoot 4K video in both Wide and Ultra Wide, with “cinematic” video stabilisation to boot.
Perhaps the best new feature is Night Mode, which works using the Wide sensor.
It captures well-lit photos in dark environments, using clever software tricks.
Sometimes flash or no Night Mode at all works better (and the smoothing can be aggressive in some instances), but overall the results are incredible.
This is probably the iPhone 11’s killer feature, because it’s so effective – especially when compared to rival phones.
You get bright images with natural colours and low noise, all without losing the “dark” mood of an image.
Apple has also updated the iPhone 11 so that Portrait Mode now works on pets and objects.
Portrait Mode lets you keep a subject in sharp focus, while blurring the background for a “bokeh” effect.
Sadly, it was only possible to photograph humans using Portrait Mode on the iPhone XR.
That was because having just one lens forced it to use software tricks to identify a person.
Now the two lenses can work together to sense depth, allowing you to snap bokeh-style shots of almost anything using Portrait Mode.
The camera interface has been redesigned to be a little smarter overall.
You can now see the area outside the Wide frame, showing off what you’d see with Ultra Wide mode.
And you can capture video in Photo Mode by holding down on the shutter button. Lock it in by sliding to the right for even easier filming.
Selfies are getting an upgrade too.
The new TrueDepth camera on the front offers a wider field of view for improved mugshots.
And Apple is trying to push the “slowfie” – a slow-motion selfie.
That’s because the selfie cam can now capture slow-mo footage at 120 frames per second.
It’s neat and will be a hit with the Instagram lot, but may give some of us unwanted extra time to despair at the state of our dodgy mugs.
Still, nothing a quick filter can’t fix…
iPhone 11 review verdict – should you buy it?
Apple has listened to fans and finally dropped the price of its entry-level iPhone.
It’s impressive given how much better than iPhone 11 is compared to last year’s iPhone XR.
The camera is substantially better, offering loads more versatility and the mind-blowing Night Mode to boot.
The iPhone 11 looks better, is physically more durable, and comes in a tempting suite of pastel colours.
It’s not the best smartphone out there, obviously. The iPhone 11 Pro is vastly superior, but it also costs about £330 more. Minimum.
For its £729 price tag, the iPhone 11 is arguably the best-value smartphone you can buy today.
Don’t forget: Apple keeps updating your iOS for a long time. So unlike Android phones, this iPhone is likely to get new features and security updates for years to come.
Aside from the lack of 5G, it’s relatively future-proofed too. You’ve got a camera that supports augmented reality and depth-sensing, and a chip equipped with machine learning and neural engines for AI processing.
This phone is a decent upgrade from the iPhone XR. But it’s a staggering bump from anything older than that.
So if you’re mulling an upgrade, you’ll struggle to find a mobile more tempting than the iPhone 11 for the price.
For geeky Apple die-hards, you’ll probably want to invest in the costlier iPhone 11 Pro.
But most buyers will be eyeing up the iPhone 11 – and rightly so.
It’s better value than anything else on the market, with only the Google Pixel 3a coming anywhere close.
The Sun says: The iPhone 11 is typically attractive, and impossibly powerful for its £729 price tag. Apple stays on spectacular form with what will probably be 2019/2020’s most popular smartphone. ★★★★★
Thinking about buying a new blower? Check out our simple guide to the iPhone Upgrade Program.
Already got an iPhone? Check out the best iPhone apps here.
And here are 10 easy tips to boost your phone’s battery life.
Are you tempted by the iPhone 11? Let us know in the comments!
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