After a very successful iPhone XR, Apple returns with a model that takes its strengths and strengthens them further. More power, more autonomy, better photo quality. We tested the iPhone 11 to answer all your questions.
Last year, the iPhone XR had all the ideal compromises for those who wanted an iPhone, without crossing the stratospheric milestone of a thousand euros: power, good size and screen quality, decent battery life, and above all, a more acceptable price.
This year, the iPhone 11 occupies the same position and benefits from many improvements. A small review of the details of its arguments and faults.
Design and finish: the Apple touch, for fun
Throughout iPhone iterations, Apple has built design as the foundation for the high-end aura of these smartphones. Like the iPhone 5c before it, but with much more control, the iPhone XR and now the iPhone 11 have somewhat desecrated the design by coloring it, making it less solemn.
Available in 6 colors (purple, green, yellow, white, black, and red – Product RED), the iPhone 11 is almost playful. It retains the same design as the iPhone XR last year, with an aluminum bend with rounded edges and a glossy glass back, for wireless charging and fingerprinting, it seems.
The quality of the finish is worthy of a high-end product, has excellent resistance, and should be at least as durable as that of the XR, which has not been marked by our year of use.
Its 6.1-inch format is an excellent compromise between the iPhone 11 Pro (5.8 inches) and the iPhone 11 Pro Max (6.5 inches). We are at the limit of using it with one hand (of medium size) without real discomfort. The few iOS tricks, which make it possible to bring down the top of the screen, make us adopt it.
Like iPhone Pro
Like last year, Apple chose to equip its “entry-level high-end” iPhone with the same processor as its more expensive smartphones. Better yet, unlike the iPhone XR, which carried a gigabyte of RAM less than the XS and XS Max.
The iPhone 11 is entitled to its four gigabytes now. So exactly, it has the same configuration as the 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max.
Therefore, we find the A13 Bionic, with its six cores on the CPU side, two high performance, and four low consumption, while four cores house and provide the GPU part. We have already had the opportunity to detail the performance of this new chip in our article. First tests: are the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro that powerful?
To summarize things quickly, remember that the A13 Bionic has no less than 8.5 billion transistors. It is much more efficient than the A12 Bionic, which fitted the iPhone last year and still has enough response according to benchmarking tools to stand up to the best chips in Android smartphones.
The good surprise of autonomy, the regret of recharging
However, the Apple A13 Bionic is not just about blowing your hair with its speed. This chip is also given to be 30% more energy efficient than the A12. Understand that she will consume a third less electricity to perform the same task as her eldest.
A detail takes all its interest when we look at the autonomy of the iPhone. We already told you about it in a preliminary paper (Autonomy: our tests prove it, the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro are finally better than the competition under Android), but let us take a detailed look.
Historically, as we know, the iPhone is an excellent smartphone, which suffers from too low an autonomy. The experience is fantastic, but you have to recharge more often than you want, especially if you have a long evening.
The photo, two modules, and great progress
Let us finish with an essential point for many users, the photo. Last year, the iPhone XR was satisfied with a single camera module, a wide-angle (26mm equivalent), and a digital zoom x5.
With the iPhone 11, the situation improves greatly. The new Apple smartphone indeed benefits from the arrival of the ultra-wide-angle found on the Pro models. Therefore, we have this 13 mm equivalent lens in addition to the main lens – a 26 mm equivalent – the first opening at f/2.4, with a viewing angle of 120 °, the main opening at f/1.8.
Two things about the arrival of this ultra-wide-angle. The first is that you will finally be able to take these group photos or take all of a building façade all at once without having to cross the road or back up too much. It is a comfort that you get used to very quickly, proving how much it was lacking.
The second point is that we cannot help but regret the absence of the third module, the telephoto lens, after a few days of use. We hear that we must reserve options for Pro models. However, from a photographic point of view, we do not have all the freedom that we would like.
To put it simply, you won’t risk getting run over when crossing the road to photograph an entire façade. On the other hand, you will take this risk by crossing it to take a detailed snapshot. CAPA said it well before us “if your photos are not good enough. It means that you are not close enough”. You won’t cheat with the iPhone 11 Incell touch display except for the digital zoom.
Anyway, we appreciate the arrival of this second module. Not only does it offer new possibilities for everyday compositions. However, the transition from one photo block to another is flexible. It does not alter the colors and the white balance and does not have a micro switch to black when switching from one module to another. We keep the exact colorimetric rendering, and the light remains homogeneous.
A rarity that must be pointed out and to the credit of Apple, which took the trouble. To have its modules calibrated at the factory during assembly. And then worked its software partition so that it binds everything together. Thus, we can only appreciate the efforts made by Apple to reduce distortions related to ultra-wide-angle. It happens that the straight lines are a little curved.
The verdict of the test
The iPhone 11 is the worthy successor of the iPhone XR. Of which it retakes the positioning while improving all its assets. Power, screen, autonomy, photo, etc. Always so neat and comfortable to use, it is a top-of-the-range smartphone a little more affordable. The iPhone that we will be less reluctant to buy.
However, if you think you are cracking and plan to keep it for a while (or, in any case, to use it without constraint).
We recommend that you opt for the 128 GB model, at 859 dollars. For an additional 50 dollars, you double your storage space and for those who like to take photos. Listening to music and watching a few movies or series is a little luxury that is not.