The first batch of iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro reviews are out and it looks like Apple has managed to hit it out of the park. The new iPhones are a major step up in terms of battery life and camera performance.
While Apple has improved the new iPhones in plenty of other ways, its the improved battery life and camera performance that’s getting all the praise.
iPhone 11 Pro Review Roundup
The camera improvements are massive even compared to the iPhone XS Max. It does have a few Achilles heel but overall performance improvement is massive.
This shot of Verge video producer Mariya Abdulkaf outside in bright sunlight is really all you need to know: this photo shouldn’t be too hard for any camera to do a good job, and every phone did just fine. But at 100 percent crop, the improvement from the iPhone XS to the iPhone 11 is stunning. The iPhone 11 is way sharper, with far more detail. I think the iPhone 11 also does a marginally better job than the Pixel 3, and it’s far more natural than the Note 10’s processing fiesta.
Speaking of night modes, it’s also really impressive, and it preserves a ton more detail than the Pixel. Apple’s Night mode comes on automatically in the dark with a suggested exposure time, which you can tweak or turn off if you want.
Battery life is also a step up from the iPhone XS Max for the iPhone 11 Pro.
So the best I can tell you is that Apple has historically been good about meeting its battery life claims, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max I’ve been using every day for a week has consistently run for 12 to 14 hours on a single charge, with over 10 hours of screen-on time reported in the battery settings per 24-hour period.
That’s compared to 8 to 10 hours of battery life at most for my iPhone XS Max, which is a marked improvement. It’s not enough to make me stop charging at my desk throughout the day, and I’ll definitely still carry a battery pack on trips. But it’s a big bump, and it’s better than most Android phones we’ve tested.
Similar to The Verge, Engadget is also praising the battery life of the iPhone 11 Pro.
When I tested the brand-new XS last year, it would run for between 9 to 9.5 hours off a single charge on days with heavy use. This year, the smaller Pro dealt with the same general workloads and lasted for closer to 12 hours before needing a charge. The larger Pro Max, meanwhile, routinely stuck around for between 13 to 14 hours on a single charge, compared to the 11 to 12 hours I squeezed out of the iPhone XS Max.
The cameras are also a blast to use and the best Apple has ever included on its iPhones.
No matter which camera you shoot with, you can expect rich — though not overly rich — colors and generally solid detail throughout. The best results tend to come from that standard wide camera, though, which makes sense considering it’s the one you’re meant to use most of the time. The entire sensor is covered in Focus Pixels, so it’s the fastest of the three cameras to lock onto your subject (especially in low light) and generally delivers the best clarity of them all too. It’s easily the best all-around camera that Apple has ever squeezed into a smartphone, and it’s been a blast to use.
Put another way, the photos I took with the Note 10+ are the ones I’d most like to post on Instagram with the #nofilter hashtag. The photos I shot with the iPhone 11 Pros are the ones I’d most like to throw into Lightroom and have some fun with. Which phone actually takes the “best” photos is really a matter of preference, but Apple’s cameras are clever and capable enough that you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything.
Matthew Panzarino of TechCrunch put the iPhone 11 Pro’s camera system through its paces by taking it to Disneyland. What could be a better way of testing a phone than putting it through its paces in real life?
The iPhone 11 Pro has a larger battery than the iPhone XS, with a different higher voltage chemistry. That, coupled with power savings improvements mentioned above, along with more in the screen and other components means better battery life.
My battery tests over several days at the parks point to Apple’s claims about improvements over the iPhone XS being nearly dead on. Apple claims that the iPhone 11 Pro lasts 4 hours longer then the iPhone XS. The iPhone XS came in at roughly 9.5 hours in tests last year and the iPhone 11 Pro came in nearly bang on at 12 hours — in extremely challenging conditions.
The camera passed with flying colors in Matthew’s testing as well.
I have this weird litmus test I put every new phone camera through where I take it on a dark ride, like Winnie the Pooh, to see if I can get any truly sharp usable image. It’s a great test because the black light is usually on, the car is moving and the subject is moving. Up until this point I have succeeded exactly zero times. But the iPhone 11 Pro pulled it off. Not perfect, but pretty incredible all things considered.
Overall, just as Apple promised, the iPhone 11 Pro seems to be a major step up in the camera and battery life department. Do you think these two reasons are good enough for you to make the jump?