When Apple unveiled the iPhone 11 earlier this month, I’ll admit that I wasn’t particularly enticed.
As someone who already owns an iPhone X the new features didn’t seem significant enough for me to drop another $1,649, and in my own buyer’s guide I even wrote that iPhone X/XS users could probably hold out on this release.
After using the iPhone 11 Pro as my daily driver for the past week, however, my thoughts on the matter have changed a little.
Despite looking like an incremental jump on paper, Apple’s newest phone actually offers some subtle (and not so subtle) upgrades that — while not particularly flashy — will greatly improve your day-to-day experience with what is probably your most used electronic device.
Who Needs Power Banks?
The iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max are all equipped with Apple’s new A13 Bionic Chip, and while things like smoother navigation and more responsive Face ID are certainly welcome additions, the increase in battery life is by far the most meaningful upgrade.
According to Apple, the A13’s improved power optimisation — coupled with a larger 3,190 mAh battery — allows the iPhone 11 Pro to last 4 hours longer than the iPhone XS, and in my experience I’ve found that claim to be true.
The phone easily lasts a full day of use, with 40% still remaining at the end of most days.
Charging the iPhone 11 Pro is also faster than ever, thanks to the new fast charger Apple have included in the box. This allows the phone to gain about 1% a minute, and even a quick 15-minute charge should extend your usage by a few hours.
Apple boasts longer battery lives in their phones every year, but in my nine years of using iPhones this is hands down the biggest improvement I’ve seen. Unless you plan on pushing your phone to the absolute limit (Apple Arcade, perhaps?), you’ll never have to worry about running about of juice again.
No Light? No Problem
The less subtle upgrade comes in the form of the iPhone 11 Pro’s camera, which now features three cameras (Ultra Wide, Wide and Telephoto) at 12 megapixels each and a Night Mode that — as the name implies — allows you to take better photos in low-light situations.
Despite the upgrade, however, Apple is still kind of playing catch up in a way — last year’s Huawei Mate 20 Pro already boasted those features, and specs like these have since become commonplace in phones like the P30 Pro, Galaxy Note 10 Plus and Mate 30 Pro.
Phone photography is a lot more than just megapixels and being first to market, though, and a lot of it depends on how companies utilise their hardware.
I’m personally a fan of Apple’s “less is more” approach, which tries its best to keep the scene looking natural in a time when a lot of other phones overdo it with the processing.
So it’s kind of a big deal to see wide-angle shots and low-light photography become a possibility with “Apple-style” photos. The iPhone — while serviceable — has admittedly been lacking in the photography department for a few years now (low-light photos were pretty much unusable), but these additions put the iPhone 11 Pro up there with the best of them.
There are going to be people who will say “These features aren’t anything new — fast charging and wide angle photos have been available on Android phones for years!”
And while that is true, one big difference is that those phones don’t run on iOS. For the most part iPhone users are going to want to continue using iPhones, and in my opinion each year’s improvements should be viewed in the context of Apple’s ecosystem and nothing more.
I’ve already said this in the aforementioned buyer’s guide, but it’s worth saying again: if you own anything below an iPhone X and wonder if the iPhone 11 Pro is a worthy upgrade, the answer is a resounding yes.
The situation for iPhone X/XS users like myself, however, is a little more complicated — those phones still have a lot of mileage left in them, and is a welcome-but-ultimately-inessential increase in battery life (it’s not like the X/XS have any trouble lasting a full day) and better photography worth the price of a mid-range desktop computer?
The answer to that question is up to the individual, and all I can say on the matter is that if you do end up getting the iPhone 11 Pro, you probably won’t regret it. Never having to worry about your battery does offer a certain peace of mind, and wide-angle/low light photography opens up some exciting new possibilities as well.
The bottom line is this: the iPhone 11 Pro is the best iPhone to come out in a long time. There are rumours that next year’s iPhone will see another design refresh, and if that’s the case this generation will be leaving on a very high note.
VP Verdict is a series where we personally try and test out products, services, fads, and apps. Want to suggest something else for us to try? Leave a comment here or send the suggestion into our Facebook page.
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