The iPhone 11 Pro is Apple’s first real attempt at releasing a phone with hardware specifications that are equal to its competitors. Unfortunately, the flagship hardware it’s matching is more in line with smartphones from three years ago. With an industry-leading camera and the best mobile software in history, what does the iPhone 11 Pro bring to the table?
The iPhone 11 Pro shares a lot of design similarities with the iPhone XS. That is not a knock on the phone itself and is actually one of its benefits. At 5.8 inches, it is big enough without being too overwhelming for the average user. About the only noticeable change with the design is the back camera with its larger back bump.
It looks like something out of a science fiction movie but strangely works aesthetically with the Apple logo in the middle. The old glossy finish has been replaced by matte, making the mixture of stainless steel and glass look superb at all angles. Available colors are Silver, Gold, Midnight Green, and Space Gray.
Apple has always been the king of displays. Even when Android is at its finest, it’s hard to match the quality of a high tier iPhone. The Super Retina display lives up to its name, producing rich colors with photos and videos. It comes with support for HDR10, Dolby Vision and 800-12000 nits max brightness.
The 5.8-inch display is big, but not too much that you can’t hold it in one hand. When watching HD content, users will get a full appreciation for what Apple accomplished with this model. Of the many improvements from the previous generation, the iPhone 11 Pro has a 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio – that is double the amount from last year.
The iPhone 11 Pro uses a dual ion-exchange process to create the strongest smartphone glass in the industry. Beyond the obvious sale speak, it is an impressive process that really doesn’t add much beyond a higher tier of Gorilla Glass.
You get a phone that is slightly more resistant to scratches but will still fold like a lawn chair when there is a significant impact. This goes for any phone with reinforced front and back glass, especially the Samsung Galaxy S10.
But the more impressive durability features of the iPhone are its water and dust resistance. It’s iP68 certified with extra improvements under the hood to keep water and dust out. With a rated depth of 13 feet underwater, a good case on the iPhone 11 Pro could turn it into a poor man’s GoPro HERO8.
An iPhone is not known for being a tech juggernaut. This generation is no exception, but there are some improvements with the hardware that point to long term usage.
Out of the box, the iPhone 11 Pro is upgradeable to iOS 13.4. Upgrading helps the phone take full advantage of the hexa-core Apple A13 Bionic CPU. A standard four-core GPU is used, but there are slight improvements to how it handles media.
All models come with four GB of ram, with NVME storage options of 64 GB, 256 GB, and 512 GB. None of these hardware stats are mind-blowing, yet they are good enough to let you skip a generation or two before upgrading.
Apple is one of the few companies that makes steady improvements to their batteries. Each generation finds a way to squeak out some extra performance, and the iPhone 11 Pro is no different.
With this current version, you get 18 hours of video playback before needing a recharge. Buyers that are considering the iPhone 11 Max will get a few more hours of runtime, so it is worth the upgrade.
Dark mode allows for even more phone use, and gets better with each update. If the battery is completely drained, fast charging puts the phone at fifty percent in just under thirty minutes. This is an iPhone exclusive feature that only works with their proprietary charger.
Getting accessories for older iPhones were half the fun of owning an Apple product. The lack of a fingerprint scanner on the new model means that the best accessories are cases.
With the iPhone 11 Pro, it becomes vital to get a good case or risk losing an important feature. When you choose a non-Apple case, pay close attention to how the front is designed. Eventually, third-party accessory makers will start rolling out good options. But with the proprietary features of the iPhone 11 Pro, it may take longer than normal to beat the official options.
The front facing camera on the iPhone 11 Pro is one of the best selfie cameras on the market. Both video and photos have no stutter, even when using HDR 4K features. But the main camera of the phone is where its at, with the triple 12 MP showing why the iPhone is an alpha.
The camera setup includes a wide-angle, telephoto, and ultra-wide angle lenses. Even though there are more powerful smartphone cameras on the market, the actual hardware of this setup is more sophisticated than anything that has come before it.
A good example of the difference is in the actual use of the cameras. If you’re a professional photographer, then the camera setup of the iPhone is the most ideal out of any available, even compared to the Xiaomi Mi 8. The software and hardware for the iPhone are on point, even if the upgraded quality is limited by embedded storage space.
Many phones have failed to produce a good surround sound experience, even when collaborating with Beats. The iPhone 11 Pro is no different, and the special audio feature leans toward being a letdown. Dolby Atmos is not bad, but there are not a lot of ways to properly emulate surround sound on a phone. If you have used Dolby Atmos in other products, you’ll notice a huge difference in quality.
Outside of the surround sound issues, you’ll get the usual Apple excellence with sound. They did a good job pairing the upgraded video options with audio to give you a full video editing experience. Video takers can use Audio Zoom to match audio to video more intelligently. The feature is so good that it should be a standard in all smartphone devices.
How Does the iPhone 11 Pro Compare?
You can compare an iPhone to different Android devices and never get a balanced result. Apple is in its own category, so the best head-to-head comparison is usually their older devices.
There are always noticeable improvements in key areas, with some features that are complete game-changers. The difference between the iPhone XR and iPhone 11 Pro is massive.
|iPhone 11 Pro||iPhone XR|
|Build Quality||Stronger stainless-steel frame, heavier||Weaker aluminum frame, lighter|
|Water Resistance||Up to 4 meters||Up to 1 meter|
|Screen||Super Retina XDR OLED is leagues better than competition||Liquid Retina IPS LCD is great, but has been superseded by newer model|
|Resolution||5.8 inches with 1125×2436 pixels||6.1 inches 828×1792 pixels|
|Software||Apple A13 Bionic paired with 4 GB of ram||Apple A12 Bionic paired with 3GB of ram|
|Camera||12 MP front and 12 MP x3 back camera||7 MP front and 12 MP back camera|
|Battery||3046 mAh battery with 18 watts fast charging||2942 mAh battery with 15 watts fast charging|
It’s Still an iPhone
Sometimes it is okay to stick with older hardware and skip a phone generation. This is one of those generations for Apple users that makes it an easy upgrade, but not to the iPhone 11 Pro.
The iPhone 11 Pro Max is the better option, even if it is only a slight upgrade from the same series. The two devices are prime examples of the difference between a good smartphone and a great one. If you’re going to upgrade in the Apple ecosystem, then going for great is always the better option.