Apple iPhone 11 upgrade: the good, the bad and the ugly

Ivan, 11 September 2019

Yesterday Apple unveiled the iPhone 11 alongside the two iPhone 11 Pro models. Its predecessor was Apple's best selling phone so it has big shoes to fill.

Despite the clever naming change, the iPhone 11 is the successor to the iPhone XR and not the iPhone XS. It has a lot in common with the iPhone XR and brings a number of improvements. But it also failed to bring some expected upgrades and actually has a downgrade or two.

So let's take a dive into the iPhone 11 and see which is good, which is bad and which is straight up ugly.

The good

The Apple iPhone 11 packs Apple's latest 7nm chipset, the A13 Bionic. While chipsets like Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855+ (7nm) and Samsung's Exynos 9825 (7nm) have closed the gap to the Apple A12 Bionic, it's still the most capable chipset on a smartphone. The A13 will push Apple's lead in processing power even further.

Apple iPhone 11 upgrade: the good, the bad and the ugly

The iPhone 11 gets a new main camera - 12MP f/2.4 ultrawide. Some people would have preferred to have a telephoto instead of an ultrawide, but most would pick the latter for its ability to pack more into the frame and offer a dramatic perspective. And at 13mm, Apple's ultrawide is very close to Samsung's 12mm one (which is noticeably wider than other ultrawide cameras on high-end phones).

Apple iPhone 11 upgrade: the good, the bad and the ugly

There's also a new selfie camera. The 12MP f/2.2 selfie snapper can record 4K video and has a slightly wider field of view.

The Apple iPhone 11 is now IP68 water resistant, which translates into the ability to survive under up to 2 meters of water for 30 minutes. The iPhone XR was IP67 - 1m for 30 min.

Better battery life. Apple claims 1 hour more than the iPhone XR, which is already lauded for its endurance.

But at least the iPhone 11 is slightly cheaper - in the US, the base 64GB model is now $699, down from the iPhone XR's $749 of last year.

Apple iPhone 11 upgrade: the good, the bad and the ugly

Colors - the iPhone 11 comes in Black, Yellow, Product Red, White and the new Green and Purple (though we're sad for the missing Blue).

The bad

The screen of the iPhone 11 is the same 6.1-inch 828x1792px LCD of the iPhone XR. At this price you could have a 1440x3120px AMOLED with 90Hz refresh rate. However good the Liquid Retina of the iPhone 11/XR is, it feels distinctly outdated in 2019.

Apple iPhone 11 upgrade: the good, the bad and the ugly

The base storage is 64GB. It's past time Apple made the base storage at least 128GB. These are not cheap phones and you can find devices that cost half as much and still have more storage in their base versions.

The two year old notch. This exact same sized notch has been around since the iPhone X, which came out in September of 2017. Apple has made Face ID better and fitted the notch with a better selfie (slowfie?) camera since then, but it remains one of the biggest display cutouts around.

Apple iPhone 11 upgrade: the good, the bad and the ugly

The ugly

The iPhone 11 still uses a Lightning connector, which is inferior to USB-C in both speed and abilities. Nearly everything nowadays uses the better and universal USB-C, even Apple's own iPad Pros and Macbooks, it was time to bring Apple's bread winner device into the fold.

The ugly camera module. The iPhone 11 Pro might have an excuse for the messy setup because it needed to fit more rear cameras (we've seen better solutions there too though). Yet the vanilla 11 has a dual setup not unlike the XS and XS Max and still moved to the square module.

The 5W charger in the box. The iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max ship with an 18W-capable charger in the box, the iPhone 11 ships with the comical 5W one, despite having support for 18W fast charging. But hey, if you're in the US, you could use that $50 saved from the entry price to get an 18W charger!

Apple iPhone 11 upgrade: the good, the bad and the ugly

The outlook

There's a reason the iPhone XR is selling like hotcakes. At its lower-than-the-Pro's price point, the iPhone 11 is the cheapest entry into the world of current-gen iPhones and many people will be happy to shell out $699/€799/£729 for a 64GB iPhone 11. And most of the people that won't buy the iPhone 11 will buy a discounted iPhone XR, which might still be a win for Apple.

We'll be able to share more once our in-depth iPhone 11 review is complete - stick around.


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Reader comments

  • harsenik

Apple totally lost itÂ… i was always looking to buy the latest iPhone and since the 7+ i always take the last year model. (cheaper) and do the EXACT SAME thing. Apple lost itÂ… there's no more innovation. Disapointed for a 3rd year in a row. Im not g...

  • Hazydave

The original phone with an ultrawide angle lens, the LG G6 back in 2016, had the equivalent of a 9mm lens.

Camera eyes look like an 👽