This is far from a major iPhone upgrade so – spoiler alert – the £729 iPhone 11 compares quite favourably to its more expensive rivals
It’s post-iPhone launch day and we’re going to assume a few things about you. First, you’re looking to upgrade your phone and second, you’ve narrowed it down to one of the three new iPhone 11 models.
Apple’s typically superlative conference blurred the lines somewhat between the three devices so here’s our guide to the main differences between them. Put simply, the £1,049 iPhone 11 Pro is the smallest and lightest of the three, with the key triple camera array that’s the main hardware upgrade for 2019 and a decent improvement in battery life.
The iPhone 11, meanwhile, is considerably cheaper at £729. It misses out on the zoom lens of the Pro, the very hi-res OLED display, some fancy new finishes and the better battery. But otherwise, it’s running on the same processor with most of the same camera and video features.
The iPhone 11 Pro Max? Well, that’s a big, expensive 6.5in phone that’ll set you back £1,149 so for that money, you really need to need the larger display.
The iPhone 11 Pro is the smallest and lightest
Once again, the more affordable iPhone is slightly bigger than the main Pro model, which has a 5.8in display to the iPhone 11’s 6.1in screen. The iPhone 11 Pro weighs a smidge less too, at 188g and 8.1mm thick versus the iPhone 11’s 194g and 8.3mm thick.
The 11 Pro Max is a bit more of a beast with a 6.5in screen and 226g weight, though it is still skinny at 8.1mm thick.
The different models are available in two sets of new colours too. The iPhone 11 comes in white, black, purple, green, yellow and (Product) Red whereas the 11 Pro and Pro Max come in the more sophisticated hues of gold, space grey, silver and the new one – midnight green.
The Pro iPhones have Super Retina XDR displays
Ring a bell? Apple says it’s taking not just the moniker but the technology from its super high-end 6K Pro XDR Display, announced at WWDC, and bringing it to the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max.
What that actually means is that Apple thinks this is enough of a screen improvement to justify a new name: Super Retina XDR. Both the OLED screens are super sharp at 458ppi; have a 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio, wide colour gamut and output at 1200 nits, which is very bright indeed.
All that said, Apple’s iPhone screens have been bloody brilliant for years and what you need on a monitor for creative work isn’t necessarily needed on a smartphone. The more affordable iPhone 11’s 6.1-inch Retina display (326ppi, 1400:1 contrast ratio, LCD) will no doubt be superb too. Also worth noting: the notch is still present on all three models.
The iPhone 11 gets the ultra wide lens too
The cheapest new iPhone of the three, the iPhone 11, has a mere two lenses rather than three on the 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max but it’s the 12MP telephoto lens it ditches, not the ultra-wide, which has a f/2.4 aperture and 120 degree field of view.
The main 12MP wide lens has 5x digital zoom but if you think you’ll get use out of a telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom and 10x digital, plus optical image stabilisation, you’ll need to go for one of the Pro iPhones.
The front camera is the same on all three
It’s a 12MP camera with an f/2.4 aperture and newfound 1080p slow-mo skills. Apple also says that FaceID has been improved this time around and the front facer can shoot up to 4K video at up to 60fps, just like the rear cameras.
There’s a bigger battery boost on the iPhone 11 Pro
While the iPhone 11 only sees an extra one hour of battery over its predecessor, the iPhone XR, the more expensive models seem to be doing a lot more work in this department.
The 5.8inch iPhone 11 Pro will last, according to Apple, four hours longer than its 2018 equivalent, the iPhone XS, so it’s good for 18 hours of video playback. Similarly the iPhone 11 Pro Max is supposed to be good for five more hours on one charge than the iPhone XS Max or 20 hours of video playback. The proof will be in the testing but if stamina is a major concern, it’s the Pros that are the worthwhile upgrade here.
It’s the exact same chip running the show in all three
It’s good to see Apple bringing its latest CPU, GPU and ‘Neural Engine’ to the cheaper iPhone 11 as well as the £1,000+ options. All three iPhone models run on the A13 Bionic chip, which Apple is pretty pleased about.
Cupertino claims the A13 uses both the fastest CPU and the fastest GPU in a smartphone, something we look forward to benchmarking and testing especially against Huawei’s new Kirin 990. And it’s the A13 that’s responsible for the better battery life in this year’s iPhone cohort too.
All three are IP68 rated for waterproofing
That means they’re all splash, dust and water resistant in water up to two metres, submerged for up to 30 minutes. And there’s a bunch more similarities when you dig into the spec sheets: all three iPhones are available in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB models and all three have fast charging up to 50 per cent in 30 minutes with the 18W charger.
So if the iPhone 11 is more your scene, financially, there’s still lots to like. Or consider picking up Apple’s bestselling iPhone XR which is still on sale, now from £629.