Apple iPhone 11 | Review

by W. Andrew Powell
Apple iPhone 11

The iPhone 11 is pretty easy to review: it’s the best overall phone today. Against all the competitors, and even other iPhones, the iPhone 11 stands out with some of the best all-around features. Even Android users may be surprised how easy it is to jump ship, and the camera alone is worth it if you’re a photographer.

Yes, the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max are both more expensive flagship devices, and they are great, but for the price and features, the iPhone 11 is still the best deal, and it’s jaw-dropping in (RED).

I’m going to dedicate a story to how easy it was to move from my Android phone to the iPhone, but to sum it up, all my favourite Android apps are on the Apple phone–including Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Play Movies–and setup only took about 5 minutes.

Since November I’ve been using the iPhone 11, and I’ve tried to run it through all the things I could imagine. I took it on a trip, I shot portraits and landscapes, a lot of video, and I even took it to a concert. Everywhere I used the phone, I was consistently impressed by the display, battery life, speed, and most of all, the camera.

So should you buy the new iPhone? Read on and I’ll cover the top things you need to know.

The Camera

Apple iPhone 11 cameras

I buy phones because of the photos, primarily, and the iPhone 11 has the best camera available today. It’s versatile, user friendly, and feature-packed to the point that if you also like to edit your images, you can easily do that right in the iPhone camera app.

Other phones have some features that are better, but overall the iPhone beats them because it captures great photos in a wide range of situations. I would say that the iPhone 11 could offer a bit better results in low-light conditions, but that’s a complaint I have with all the phones today, and once you get used to the iPhone it can yield some truly incredible results.

Unlike the iPhone 11 Pro, there is no telephoto lens on the iPhone 11, but the dual 12MP ultra wide and wide cameras cover everything else, including optical image stabilization, and the digital zoom, up to about 2x, is good enough that you can get a bit closer if you need to.

The portrait mode offers fantastic results, with a number of filters to create studio style lighting, if you like, or just to create a nice background blur on your subject. There’s also a good night mode, timelapse, slo-mo, and panorama modes.

And then there’s the video. Capturing up to 4K with 60fps, the quality is so smooth, to use an old adage, it’s like butter. If you’re shooting at 60fps, it can be shaky if you’re not careful, but when used right, it makes video look phenomenal.

My favourite photos overall were when the lighting was the most dramatic. Sunrise and sunset, subjects that had extra lighting or effects, and street scenes, but I had great results from almost everything I shot with the iPhone. The camera works to bring out the best colours, light, contrast, and drama, and if that’s not enough, you can go in afterwards and adjust the settings exhaustively, from exposure, shadows, contrast, and brightness, to the saturation, sharpness, and vignetting.

The other big star of the camera app is Live Photo mode, that records a total of 3 seconds, allowing you to pick the best moment, or use an effect, like long exposure. You can also export the whole 3-second clip as a video with sound. The mode does create larger files, but it opens up a lot of options.

If you’re trying to get the best photo of the moment, Live Photo is very impressive. Shooting a group shot, you can pick the best expression from the 3 seconds it shoots. In a scenic shot, you can use long exposure to blur out movement. And for some moments, the loop or bounce effect can be quite clever for something like Instagram stories or a moment of action.

Design & Display

Apple iPhone 11 display

With its 6.1-inch liquid retina HD LCD display, the iPhone has a truly gorgeous overall design, with nicely curved corners, and it weighs 194g. That weight is heavier than some competitors, but it fits so nicely in the hand that it’s hard to complain about it, and it feels truly premium.

The phone is also water-resistant up to 2 meters, for up to 30 minutes, and the construction is rigid aluminium with a durable glass back. Apple has called the glass the toughest in a smartphone, and I can say it’s very accurate. After an incident at a concert that sent the iPhone flying from my hands, there wasn’t a scratch on it. That will depend on what you do with the phone, but I have been very impressed with the quality of the build.

And of course the display is excellent. The display is the same that was used in a previous model of iPhone, and while it’s not as amazing as the iPhone 11 Pro, it’s excellent and offers vibrant, crisp results for video, photos, and gaming.

Battery Life & Performance

Apple iPhone 11 buttons

While I wish the iPhone 11 charged a bit faster, the 3,110mAh battery generally lasts me all day long, even when I’m taking photos, videos, playing some games, doing email, and watching content on Instagram and TikTok.

A full charge will take around 3 hours to complete, so there’s no real option for quick-charging, but even though it’s a smaller battery than some competitors, Apple has worked to make it last. I was continually impressed, and on days where I used two phones throughout the day, the Apple lasted second longest, only behind my phone with the 4,200 mAh battery.

For performance, the iPhone 11 flies with gaming, video, and offers one of the best user experiences out there. Instagram and Twitter feel dramatically different on the iPhone because of the number of better or newer features that roll out, and the fact that the apps just fly when you’re using them on the iPhone.

Some features of the operating system could be improved–I am not a big fan of the notifications panel–but everything feels so effortless, thoughtfully designed, and refined, that it stands out as the OS to beat.

Final Thoughts

If you’re in the market for a new phone and photography is important to you, the iPhone 11 is a great choice, it’s easy to use, fast, and the battery is excellent. I’d recommend it for content creators especially, but even if you just want to wow you family with photos, it’s the phone that makes photography and videography shine.

I’d recommend the 128 MB or 256 MB memory version of the phone, to store all your photos and videos, and the iPhone also comes in six colours.

Best of all, now is a great time to get an iPhone 11 since prices have dropped to around $1,005 (the current price in Canada with Bell Canada).

Sample photos from the Apple iPhone 11:

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