The iPhone 11 Pro is a slightly misleading name. We may be in the thirteenth incarnation of the iPhone since its introduction in 2007, but you could also say that this is the third generation of the iPhone X series since 2017. The X saw FaceID and a notch, while the iPhone X🅂 saw an improved camera, improved speeds and a gold color option. The 11 rounds off this trilogy by making the camera the best the iPhone has had yet.
There are two variants of this iPhone; the iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro Max. The Pro has a screen-size of 5.8 inches, while the Max has 6.5 inches. The features and the design are the same, it’s purely the size here. Compared to the iPhone 11, the Pro gains a third ultra-wide lens, a better display and a new color option. But how does it stack up against the best smartphones (opens in new tab) of the past few years?
iPhone 11 Pro review: Design
- Available in Black, Silver, and Midnight Green
- Sleek, rugged design
The latest iPhone comes in Black, Silver, and the new Midnight Green. It looks more like an army-variant, but it gives off the impression that this is indeed a ‘pro’ phone. The back of the phone feels more rugged this time, with a textured matte glass covering most of the handset, and because of this, there’s less chance of it sliding off your hand unlike previous models. But in the section where the triple-camera is housed, it has a sleek stainless steel finish which looks odd at first when close-up, but users have grown to really dig it.
All in all, it’s the same design we've had since 2017 with the iPhone X, but it’s a good design, and that notch has been constantly copied to other devices since its unveiling.
iPhone 11 Pro review: Battery
- Around 11 hours battery life with normal use
- Fast charging and wireless charging options
Users have noted that they’ve had around 11 hours of battery in general use, which is a huge step up from previous models, where you’d be expected to reach for the charger after eight hours or even less. Now that every iPhone 11 Pro comes with a USB-C to lightning cable this time, you can have a fast-charge where it can get you to 55% in about half an hour.
It comes with the same wireless Qi charging as before, with the same voltage so you can still place it on your charging mats across your home, even though the back of the iPhone is now a different texture.
iPhone 11 Pro review: Screen and audio
Average Price: $999
Operating System: iOS 13
Screen Size: 5.8-inch Super Retina XDR Display
Storage: 64GB, 256GB or 512GB
5G Ready? No
Headphone Jack? No
Charging Type: Lightning by USB-C
Also consider: iPhone 11
- 5.8" Retina XDR Display
- 2436 x 1125 resolution
- Great sound from stereo speakers
It’s the same 5.8 inch display, but now it is a ‘Retina XDR Display’, which means they have the same brightness and contrast ratio levels of their recently released XDR Display, alongside a brightness of 1200 nits at the most. That’s more than a majority of televisions these days, so watching movies and TV shows from the Apple TV+ service will actually look better on the 11 Pro.
To note, this isn’t a 4K display, with a resolution of 2436 x 1125, but who really needs that amount of pixels on a display like this? The viewing angles are still unmatched, especially when compared to the Google Pixel 4 XL (opens in new tab).
Audio is still fantastic, with stereo-sound coming through the earpiece and the bottom of the phone. But, as far as we’re concerned, if it’s a Pro device then there should at least be an option to have AirPods instead of the wired earphones that have been in the same incarnation since the iPhone 5, seven years ago. This detracts from the premium feel you get elsewhere.
iPhone 11 Pro review: Camera
- Triple 12 megapixel rear camera set-up
- Selfie camera with wide shot options
Nowadays you don't buy a phone primarily for calling people. That's so 2007. You take out a monthly contract for a device like this for its camera, or its storage, or how well it can handle WhatsApp or Fortnite. The term ‘phone’ has lost all meaning, which is why, if you’re looking for a great camera, and a great camera alone, then the iPhone 11 Pro is for you.
The iPhone 11 Pro comes with a triple lens rear camera set-up, with each 12 megapixel lens handling a different task. Alongside the standard wide lens, there's an ultrawide lens for when you need to squeeze the whole extended family into a photo, along with a telephoto lens for taking zoomed in shots of distant objects.
It’s nothing short of fantastic, with ‘Night Mode’ and the ultra-wide third lens really bringing out the best of photos on iOS, it now justifies leaving the SLR Camera at home. There's also a front-facing selfie camera which now features an option for wider shots, so you can fit the whole gang into your snaps.
iPhone 11 Pro review: Software and assistant features
- Not much new with iOS
- Solid operating system
With a new iPhone comes a new update of iOS. This year brought some new features such as external-storage support, which can help transferring photos to a different device when needed, alongside dark-mode across the whole UI, improvements to the Photos and Reminders app, and much more.
But unfortunately, it seems as though Apple broke off more than it could chew, with a 13.1 update launching alongside these models, and since then, have been quickly releasing subsequent updates to quash any bugs. It’s been a frustrating release, with some bugs still being present, such as taking screenshots, editing it, and even though it’s been saved, it reverts back to how it was taken.
We’re at a point where iOS is reaching a plateau with the iPhone, but lots of potential when it comes to iPad and iPadOS, the iOS version for that device. If Apple could stretch out a release to longer than a year to focus on making the experience faster and more bug-free, we don’t think people would mind a longer release.
iPhone 11 Pro review: Security
- Face ID lets you unlock using facial recognition
- Email disguising feature keeps you off spam lists
Apple has privacy as one of its company mantras, and on the iPhone 11 Pro, there’s a slightly-faster Face ID, but that’s it on the hardware side. But on the software-side, iOS features a ‘Sign in with Apple’ feature with iOS 13.
Instead of using your email to sign up to a service such as ‘Byte’, you can select this option, and Apple will hide the email address you use, which will then forward anything that the app sends you to your actual email address. It will also give the app a generated email, which Apple will delete any messages that are deemed irrelevant or undeliverable. It’s a smart feature, and it saves you from signing in with the usual ‘Google’ or ‘Facebook’ options, saving you some face from sending out information about you and your device to third-parties.
Should you buy the iPhone 11 Pro?
Oddly enough, this year's premium iPhone was mostly let down on the software side, with iOS 13 having a buggy introduction, and iCloud storage still a paltry 5GB to start with, which is hardly a dent on storing photos and videos on this thing. But right now, the iPhone 11 Pro is the Apple phone to beat thanks to its exceptional camera, but having a USB-C connector would be welcome to be rid of the dongle-lifestyle.