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Apple iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro review: Advancing the state of the iPhone (Updated!)

By Kenny Yeo - 8 Dec 2019

Conclusion

iPhone 11 or iPhone 11 Pro?

The iPhone 11 offers the greatest value of the three new iPhones.

Right, at this point you are probably wondering which phone you should get. But first, let's look at how much the new phones cost.

List prices for Apple iPhone 11 models
  64GB 128GB 256GB 512GB
iPhone 11 S$1,149 S$1,219 S$1,389 --
iPhone 11 Pro S$1,649 -- S$1,889 S$2,199
iPhone 11 Pro Max S$1,799 -- S$2,039 S$2,349

Much like last year’s iPhone XR, the iPhone 11 does much of what the iPhone 11 Pro is capable of but at a substantially lower price, especially with the price cut that the iPhone 11 has this year. With prices starting at S$1,149, the iPhone 11 is S$500 cheaper than the most affordable iPhone 11 Pro ― that’s substantial. Look at it another way, even if you opt for the most expensive iPhone 11 with 256GB of capacity, it’s still S$260 less than the most affordable iPhone 11 Pro.

And let’s not forget the iPhone 11 shares many of the same critical components and features as the iPhone 11 Pro. Let’s list them:

  • Same A13 Bionic processor
  • Same iOS 13 experience
  • Same wide and ultra-wide cameras, which are the cameras you are most likely to use anyway
  • Same Night Mode capability
  • Same front-facing camera, TrueDepth camera, and Face ID system
  • Same great stereo speakers
  • Same dual-SIM support (nano-SIM and eSIM)
  • Let’s not forget, in terms of actual screen size, the iPhone 11 has a bigger display than the iPhone 11 Pro. And, I would argue that the colours on the iPhone 11 are trendier and more fun.

And what are you missing out on? Let’s list them:

  • Telephoto lens
  • Poorer water resistance
  • Slower 4G LTE
  • Thicker and heavier body
  • 18W USB-C charger

In the end, the iPhone 11 offers close to 90% of the iPhone 11 Pro experience but at 70% of the cost. It’s easily and irrefutably, the value buy of this year’s iPhone line-up.

The iPhone 11 also comes in more colours.

That said, it’s not as if you are not getting your money’s worth with the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro Max. Granted, they cost a whole lot, but they are excellent flagship-class phones with peerless build, fantastic displays, superlative performance, and top-notch camera systems. They are also backed by iOS 13 and the extensive suite of apps that come along with it. Besides, you also get one-year free Apple TV+ subscription to go along with it.

The iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max are really pricey but they offer first-class build quality, peerless performance, and they take outstanding photos and videos.

In closing, if you are wary of emptying the contents of your wallet, the iPhone 11 is the wiser and more sensible choice. The iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max are only for those who want the absolute best of the best and are willing to pay for it.

 

Final Thoughts

The new phones are packed with features.

The new iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro are excellent phones. They might be pricey, but as I said, they offer peerless build, gorgeous displays, superlative performance, and top-notch camera systems.

The question to consider is if they are a step up from last year’s trio of iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR, and the answer is a resounding yes. Performance has improved significantly, and anyone who says Apple isn’t innovating must take a good hard look at the benchmark graphs and ask themselves how is it that Apple’s A-series processors can be so dominant in the mobile chipset space. The A13 Bionic isn’t just faster than the competition, it wipes the floor with them.

Apple has also made meaningful strides in the photography department especially with the introduction of Night Mode. However, the competition still has a couple of tricks up their sleeves especially with their superior telephoto and zoom imaging. Still, the main wide camera takes very solid photos and is nothing to be scoffed at. Furthermore, insofar as videos are concerned, iPhones still lead the way with their superior implementation of OIS and extensive support for 4K recording.

At the end of the day, the new iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro are really solid and capable phones.

If you have an iPhone XR, the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro Max are both worthy upgrades. The situation is a little less clear with the iPhone XS and XS Max because these two phones are still very powerful phones with excellent displays, cameras, and video recording capabilities. My recommendation would be to upgrade from iPhone XS and XS Max only if Night Mode is important to you. The extra performance, support for Wi-Fi 6, higher durability are all nice, but Night Mode is the single biggest and most enticing new feature for me. The only other reasons why you might want a Pro iPhone is if you prefer the sizes (the iPhone 11 is the smallest in the lineup and the iPhone 11 Pro Max is the largest) or if you need the 512GB of internal storage.

In closing, even though new iPhones may not be groundbreaking or innovative in ways that you might expect, they are still immensely solid and capable phones that improve on their respective predecessors in many meaningful ways. I just wish they weren’t so darn expensive.

Final Ratings
Apple iPhone 11

Click to see the score breakdown

Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max

Click to see the score breakdown