Apple iPhone 11 review

GSMArena team, 27 Sept 2019.

Design

The iPhone 11 looks like any recent iPhone at the front - a large screen with two horns and nothing else. Over that the back Apple adopted the new square for the camera even though it's a dual-setup on the iPhone 11 instead of a triple as on the Pro models.

Apple iPhone 11 review

Apple used the same screen from the XR on the iPhone 11 and it has no improvements in contrast or brightness. It's a 6.1" IPS LCD panel with a big notch for the Face ID, the selfie snapper, and top speaker. It is protected by the "toughest glass on the planet", which is a custom Gorilla Glass made by Corning. The glass has minor 2.5D finish around the edge, but we can safely call it flat.

Apple has always used these minor curves around it glass panels to make the iPhones look thinner and prettier, but it has never gone to extremes such as curved or waterfall screens.

Apple iPhone 11 review

The iPhone XR was the first to retire the 3D Touch, but with the iPhone 11 generation - it is gone for good. Its functions were handed over to the Taptic Engine and this is how the Haptic Touch was born. It is just a long tap, but thanks to the taptic feedback - it feels a lot like 3D Touch. And this is what the iPhone 11 offers as 3D Touch replacement, just like the iPhone 11 Pro models.

The notch is not going away anytime soon and it is as big as on the other models. It contains the 3D TOF sensor, the earpiece that also doubles as a speaker, the new 12MP selfie cam, and a bunch of other sensor for True Tone, brightness, and proximity.

We are glad Apple finally upgraded the selfie camera and it's now a 12MP shooter behind wide 23mm f/2.2 lens. It still lacks autofocus, but now it can do 4K at 60 and 30fps videos with always-on cinematic (fancy word for digital) stabilization. And thanks to the wider lens, the Face ID will supposedly work from wider angles.

Apple iPhone 11 review

The front glass has the usual oleophobic coating that makes fingerprints and smudges harder to stick and when they do, it is very easy to clean - you can do it with one swipe of your (clean) hand or short. We wish more makers use the same coating.

The iPhone 11 has noticeably bigger screen bezels than the Pro models and the same as on the iPhone XR. Its display is an LCD one instead of OLED and this type of panels have a few hardware restrictions that result in such bezels. But they are cheaper, ergo the cheaper iPhone price.

Apple iPhone 11 reviewiPhone 11 between the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max

The iPhone 11 has an aluminum frame with a brushed finish - the models before iPhone X had such and the XR offers one as well. All premium iPhones use stainless-steel with glossy finish instead.

Apple iPhone 11 review

Well, the aluminum is still better than plastic and we liked the brushed finish as you can't see any smudges on it. It is also not as heavy as steel.

The iPhone 11 has the usual stuff on its sides - the silent switch and the volume keys are on the left, the Lightning port with the second speaker and the mouthpiece - at the bottom, and the power key and SIM slot - on the right.

Apple iPhone 11 review

The back of the iPhone 11 looks different than the XR, XS and X, as it is more in line with the new 11 Pro series. It is also protected by a custom version of Gorilla Glass, lost the iPhone inscription in favor of a bigger and centered Apple logo.

The purple color looks really nice on the iPhone 11 and is a cool addition to the series. The back is not textured as on the iPhone 11 Pro, but glossy as it was on any other phone to come before series 11. Smudges stick, but are still easy to wipe clean.

Apple iPhone 11 review

What is textured though is the new square glass at the top left corner that houses the two main snappers and the flash. It's a bit hard to see that this piece is matte until you touch it, but it is still a nice accent.

Apple iPhone 11 review

The hump looked less than ideal on the press images, but in real life the protrusion is much thinner than we expected from those pictures. In fact, we like it better than the giant knobs the iPhone X and XR had on their backs.

Apple iPhone 11 reviewApple iPhone 11 Pro Max, 11 Pro, and 11

The iPhone XR had just one camera, but now the 11 has two - the regular 12MP main one with OIS, and the new 12MP ultrawide shooter. There is no zoom camera on the iPhone 11.

The iPhone 11 measures 150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3 mm - identical to the XR and it weighs 194g - also same as the XR.

One detail that eyes can't see is the improved water resistance. The iPhone 11 is IP68-rated for dust and water resistance (up from XR's IP67) and it can survive in 2m deep (not salty) water for 30 mins.

Apple iPhone 11 review

Handling the iPhone 11 is as iPhone experience as it can get. It is somewhat slippery but thanks to the brushed frame - the grip is not a disaster. And since its size is in between the compact iPhone 11 Pro and the large iPhone 11 Pro Max, it is good in most cases for operating with one hand, though not all of them. We like the glass design and the aluminum frame - it's a very traditional formula, and we hope this custom Gorilla Glass is as tough as Apple claims it to be. And note that this means it is tough to break, not tough to scratch - a very important detail we'd say.

Reader comments

  • Lonerboy

Can anyone suggest a phone for day and low light photography? Relatively cheap alternative to iphone

  • Anonymous

Old stocks may have them but the new ones!

  • KerangRebus

Just take the 12 if you had more budget,but the 11 shouldn’t be problem,the choose is up to you