CALGARY (CityNews) – Apple will release its iPhone 11 phone later this week, and our Mike Yawney had a chance to review it.
Here’s his feedback:
iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro Max Review
In just a few days, Apple will release its most powerful family of iPhones to date. The iPhone 11, along with the new Pro models are not only faster and more durable, but they also offer more tools to unleash your creativity. Is the iPhone 11 right for you or should you consider bumping up to the iPhone 11 Pro or iPhone 11 Pro Max? I had the chance to put the models to the test to see just how well the latest phones perform.
Design with Durability
Don’t expect a radical change in design. Apple plays it safe with its latest lineup – choosing subtle yet effective upgrades that are more practical rather than radical.
New colours breathe new life into the latest lineup from the beautiful new purple iPhone 11 to gorgeous new Midnight-Green which is exclusive to the higher-end iPhone 11 Max Pro. But the colour is only part of the story. Apple has also swapped out the glossy glass on the rear of the iPhone 11 Pro models with a textured glass (matte finish) which not only gives it almost an aluminum-look but makes it less slippery in the hands.
Those who refuse to use a case for their iPhones will be happy to know Apple has improved the durability of the glass it uses on not only the front but also the back of the iPhone 11. By using a dual ion-exchange process, Apple has created what it calls the toughest glass on a smartphone. Of course, you always have to take claims with a grain of salt. We all know there are many factors in determining if a drop results in a broken screen. you can’t predict how your phone falls of how it hits the ground. I’m going to have to take Apple’s word on this one as I didn’t have the guts to do a drop test with my sole review device.
Another improvement is in the water resistance. Last year’s iPhone XS was able to withstand being submerged in water down to 2 meters for 30 minutes. The iPhone 11 matches those specs while the iPhone 11 Pro Max (as well as the iPhone 11 Pro) now resist water at double the depth, down to 4 meters for 30 minutes. Apple still does not recommend that you take it underwater to shoot stills or video..although I really want to try it now!
This is one of the areas where you will see a difference between the iPhone 11 and the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max models. Don’t get me wrong, the Liquid Retina LCD on the standard iPhone 11 is quite beautiful. It’s incredibly bright. So bright in fact that you will be squinting when looking at the screen at full brightness in the dark. That being said there is something special about the new Super Retina XDR display on the iPhone 11 Pro models.
For starters the screens on the Pro models are OLED. The blacks are incredibly deep and dark which truly cannot be beat. The screens boast a 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio making them ideal for watching movies and other videos. Everything looks gorgeous on these new screens. It’s not that the regular iPhone 11 doesn’t have a nice display, it’s just hard to go back to LCD once you’ve witnessed the beauty of OLED.
All of Apple’s latest phones feature the new A13 Bionic processor. Apple makes a bold claim stating the A13 Bionic is the fastest chip in a smartphone, with the fastest CPU and fastest GPU. So how do the latest iPhones perform? Quite well.
There’s no denying performance is snappy. Everything from unlocking with facial recognition to launching apps all happens in the blink of an eye. But where most people will really notice a difference is in gaming. Graphically intensive games can not only bog down less powerful processors but can be a serious drain on battery life. The A13 Bionic processor ran every game I threw at it, and in many cases, the iPhone 11 Pro Max ran cooler to the touch, even after extended play, compared to last year’s iPhone XS Max.
Dual and Triple Camera systems
Cameras have become an important feature for smartphones as more and more of us use the devices to create content on the go. It’s also the feature where we see the biggest difference between the iPhone 11 and the iPhone 11 Pro line-up.
The rear of the iPhone 11 contains a dual-camera system. One camera contains a 12MP standard wide-angle lens, while the other has a 12MP ultra-wide angle lens. You really need to try the camera yourself to truly appreciate what you can accomplish with this new dual system.
The ultra-wide camera lets you grab a wider shot, or capture the BIG picture without having to step away from your subject. The best part is swapping between the two cameras is simple. On the right side of the screen, you’ll now see an option to swap back and forth between cameras. In fact, while you have the wide-angle camera up on the screen, you’ll see a preview of what the ultra-wide-angle camera would give you. It’s so nice to be able to swap back and forth between the cameras without having to dig through menus or drop-downs. The ultra-wide-angle camera works really well when you’re shooting in confined spaces or crowded areas where bracing up may not be an option.
The iPhone 11 Pro lineup features for the first time a triple camera system. Not only do you have the wide, and ultra-wide cameras, you also get a 12MP telephoto camera thrown into the mix. Now you can get a little bit closer to your subject without having to move. The key here is now you can swap between all three cameras without digging through menus, allowing you to frame your shot just how you want it with minimal effort on your part. It really does make a difference, so much in fact that once I tried it on the iPhone 11 Pro Max, I was reluctant to go back to the standard iPhone 11.
Both the Ultra-wide camera and Telephoto camera allow for some great pics, but keep in mind each camera will only give you up to 2X optical zoom. You can bump it up to 10X zoom (with a telephoto) but that is where digital zoom comes into play and will more than likely result in a grainy photo which in most cases will be unusable.
This is by far my favourite feature on the latest iPhones. Night mode allows you to take photos in low light (and almost no light) conditions with surprising results. I know what you’re thinking “other phones like Google’s Pixel smartphones have had that feature for some time now!”. While this is true, they do not perform equally.
Night Mode is enabled automatically when the iPhone senses low light. A slider bar will pop-up, letting you change the exposure for your picture anywhere from 3 to 30 seconds. The darker it is, the longer the exposure will be offered.
To put it to the test I travelled to a provincial park in the dark of night to see what Night Mode was capable of. I decided to try and take a simple shot of my Jeep in the dark to see if the iPhone 11 Pro Max could pick it out of the darkness. I was shocked by the results. Not only did it pick up my Jeep, but it also showed the Big Dipper in the sky above my vehicle, something which was barely visible to the naked eye that night.
Something to point out, it takes a bit of tinkering to get great long exposure photos. You NEED a tripod. In fact, the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro won’t even offer you a 30-second exposure if it senses any movement at all.
Night Mode offers up an entirely new way to explore photography on the iPhone. It’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole and spend hours trying new things to see how photos will turn out. Maybe it’s playing with light, or doing long exposure shots with moving objects like headlights. It’s incredible to be able to pull off unique shots that once required an expensive point and shoot camera. You just need to pack some patience to get that perfect pic.
In the world of social media, the front cameras have become just as important as the rear cameras. After all, how else do you capture that perfect selfie? Apple has updated the front camera to not only record 4K video but slo-mo as well.
WATCH: A demonstration of Apple’s new ‘Slofie’ feature
Apple has coined the new feature as taking a “Slofie”. Your iPhone will record the video as it does any other, but when you play it back you will see it in 120 fps slo-mo. The option to record at 240 fps is reserved for the rear cameras only.
Of course, slofies are gimmicky…but they are a lot of fun. Watching yourself do a hair flip, spit water, shake your head back and forth in slo-mo is certainly good for a few laughs. Will you post them online for others to see? Maybe…or maybe not. That being said, expect to see a flood of posts by content creators, and influencers alike who are looking to come up with ways to use the new feature.
For me, battery life is everything in a smartphone. I begin using my phone at 3:00 am each morning and continue to use it until I go to bed around 9 pm. I consider myself a power user.
Apple claims the iPhone 11 has one hour longer battery life than the iPhone XR while the iPhone Pro Max has 5 hours more battery life than last year’s iPhone XS Max. I can’t dispute this. On some of my most productive days never completely ran out of juice on my iPhone 11 Pro Max. Part of that is due to the rapid charging feature. If you use the 18-Watt fast-charger, which comes with the iPhone 11 Pro Max, you can get a 50% charge in 35 minutes. Just plugging it in for 10 – 15 minutes gives enough of a top-up to carry you on through the evening until you can fully recharge overnight.
The iPhone 11 Pro also features rapid recharging, however, it’s important to note the required 18-watt charger does not come in the box, you must purchase it separately. I highly recommend you splurge and purchase one!
The latest iPhones may not support 5G (that’s expected next year) but they do support faster wireless connections.
The iPhone 11 Pro Max supports Wi-Fi 6, which can deliver up to 38% faster downloads via Wi-Fi. This comes with a bit of a caveat. To achieve those types of speeds you do need a newer router in your home which supports 802.11ax. Without getting too geeky, if you don’t have newer router, there’s a good chance these speeds won’t be relevant to you.
Another interesting addition is support for Ultra-Wideband. Never heard of it? You’re not alone. It’s a relatively new technology that hasn’t caught on quite yet.
Ultra-Wideband or UWB is a wireless technology that is used for spatial awareness, In other words, it can help pinpoint the location of your phone by measuring how long it takes for super-short radio pulses to travel between devices. So what does that mean? Apple says it could be used to prioritize airdrops to other nearby iPhones and share files faster with devices that are close by.
While Apple is only talking about UWB links between its own devices right now, in theory it could be used on a bigger scale, allowing your iPhone to better connect with smart devices within your home, even your vehicle. Time will tell how Apple plans on using the technology.
The Bottom Line
There’s a lot to love about Apple’s latest iPhones. From the ultra-fast processor to the increased durability, it’s clear Apple focussed on practical upgrades rather than features we will rarely use. But it’s the new camera system that really sets it apart from previous generations. The ability to take low light photos and tweak exposure lengths puts the iPhone 11’s camera in a class by itself. It practically taunts you, daring you to see where your creativity will take you.
If you’re a content creator, influencer or just a shutterbug, then the iPhone 11 Pro or iPhone 11 Pro Max is a no-brainer. But if you’re just looking for a solid phone with great battery life and great camera the iPhone 11 will fill that need just fine.
- Fast Processor
- Intuitive camera system
- Stellar Night mode
- 4K video at 60fps
- Wi-Fi 6
- No 5G connectivity
- 64GB storage for base model too small
- Pro models pricey
iPhone 11 will be available Friday September 20th at Rogers and other carriers starting at $979 (no contract).
iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max will be available through Rogers and other major carriers on September 20th starting at $1,379 (CAD) and $1,519 (CAD) respectively (no contract).