It’s the big Apple day, folks, and I’ve been here on the ground in Cupertino covering the action. Deep in the Steve Jobs Theatre I got my grubby hands on all three models, including the the iPhone 11 Pro and its tipple-decked rear camera. Here are my first impressions.
First up, the iPhone 11 is fine, but nothing wildly new if I’m honest. It almost feels like an iPhone XRs, if you catch my drift. It’ll pack some cool new camera functionality from the get-go, as will the Pro range, like the ability to take a video by simply holding the photo button, and a great Night Mode feature. But, these will likely be pushed out as part of iOS13 as well.
You can get an idea of the difference Night Mode makes in the image below.
In other words, the iPhone 11 will be great for those who are still rocking an older iPhone and are wanting to get into the newer designs but don’t really feel like shelling out for the premium device. Its display is a little larger than the 11 Pro, clocking in at 6.1-inches and feels nice in the hand. Standard iPhone fare, really.
The iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max certainly pack some heft, but they don’t feel overwhelming at all. Their glass and matte-finish steel is premium as hell and you can certainly tell that Apple focused much of its iPhone resources into this bad boy. The 11 Pro Max packs a 6.5-inch display and while harder to use with one hand – a big reason I avoid the larger variants – it’s unreal to shoot photos and videos with.
This is a camera nerd’s phone. In fact, the rest of the phone simply feels like it’s been crafted around the idea of a very nice camera and that definitely shows. For some, this will be amazing, for others, photography might not be a priority.
What I’m trying to say is that the phone itself doesn’t have all that much more than the base 11 model, but the difference in camera abilities between the two variants is pretty wild.
Using the Pro Max, I was able to switch between the wide, ultrawide, and telephoto lenses at the tap of a finger, and the detail that each captures is very impressive. Even when zoomed in quite far, I could easily snap clear faces from across the room, which isn’t exactly small as you can see from the picture taken with my iPhone XS below.
What I also really love about the three-camera system is how the usual black surrounds of the photo app are now translucent, showing you what you could be capturing with the telephoto lens, which is a nice little touch.
While it seems like a small thing, being able to simply hold your finger down on the photo button to take video is a bloody dream, especially if you’re fumbling to catch the perfect moment. Pretty much anything you want to do is accessible in an easier way from the main picture screen now.
The front-facing camera has also had a big upgrade, now capable of shooting in 4K and slo-mo, the latter of which the company’s dubbed, the “Slofie”. I know, it’s a bit of a cringe, but the feature itself is wildly fun. I didn’t think simply whacking it on the front would make much of a difference, but here we are.
The Super Retina XDR display on the Pro models does feel slightly crisper when compared to the 11’s Liquid Retina display, but only if you’re really looking for it. I wouldn’t get too hung up on that if you looking for reasons to go with one over the other.
At the end of the day, there might not be enough to encourage those with an X series iPhone to jump on board with the 11 or 11 Pro/Max, but if you’re looking for the ultimate phone/camera combo, this could certainly be it. Competitors will have a hard time besting the iPhone 11 Pro anytime soon.