So we finally have the iPhone 11’s in the office! I have the iPhone 11, the iPhone 11 Pro & the iPhone 11 Pro Max! This is the first time I’m seeing them in person, so without any further ado here is the unboxing and my first thoughts on the iPhone 11 Pro & the iPhone 11 Pro Max!
Ok, so taking a look at the boxes they both come in a black box now, to showcase that Premium Pro name now. They also come with a protective plastic wrap which is very easy to remove now thanks to a new pull tab that Apple started including with the iPhone X’s. Personally, I absolutely love the way these boxes look. They remind be a lot of the iPhone 2G, 3G and 3Gs boxes from back in the day. Those were the last black iPhone boxes that we got. Now, we did get a dark space grey box with the iPhone 8 which was quite cool, but these ones look so much better.
On the front of the boxes we have an image of the iPhone 11 Pro which matches the color of the iPhone inside, so Space Grey in the case of my 11 Pro Max and Midnight Green for the smaller 11 Pro. And like previous iPhone boxes, the iPhone 3G’s indented home button for example, we get 3D indentations of the actual phone on the box. The camera modules are raised a bit so you can actually feel them, and same goes for the stainless steel frame! Really cool. On the side of the box we have an iPhone branding, no 11 name or anything like that, and what’s really cool about this is that the logo shimmers in the color of your iPhone.
We then have an Apple logo on the top and bottom which also shimmers in the color of the iPhone that’s inside and finally, on the back we get the capacity, 64 & 256GB in my case, as well as a listing with everything we get inside.
Upon opening up the box, the iPhone 11 Pro just sitting there. Interesting enough there is no plastic wrap on the back anymore. There’s just the one on the front, that now says Apple Inc alongside Apple’s address on it. We get the booklet, that includes the quick start guide with gestures, the Sim Eject Tool, the warranty and the safety guide, as well as some Apple stickers which unfortunately do not match the color of your iPhone like they do on the 12” MacBook which would’ve been nice.
We also get a pair of lightning headphones, a USB type C to lightning cable, a first for an iPhone. Unfortunately we still have lightning on the iPhone but the charger, is now the new 18W charger which is significantly chunkier than the previous model, but it does offer significantly faster charging than the previous 5W charger that came in the box. However, despite being chunkier it is actually very compact. You can fold its feet for the UK model at least, which you couldn’t do before and since this is 18W, it can easily charge an iPad Pro as well. Quite a useful thing to carry around!
Now I’ve been playing around with the iPhone 11 Pro Max for a bit now and here’s what I think.
First of all, the back feels weird. Feels as if you have a silicone skin on it. It’s smoother than the frosted glass back that the OnePlus 7 Pro has for example, and certainly something that we’ve never had on iPhones. But I do like the Matte Space Grey look of it! Especially with that centered Apple logo which I’ve actually come to like a lot more than the previous logo which was always towards the top of the phone. I think it has a very sleek look.
I’m not fully sure what to say about the Midnight Green color. From certain angles, the back just looks identical to the Space Grey one, at least to my Color Blind eyes. It’s only when you put them next to one another, can you really tell the difference between the two. The stainless steel frame on the Midnight Green 11 Pro does have this yellowish/green look to it, so that’s quite an obvious difference between the two.
So design aside, what about actually using the phone? Is there anything different that I’ve noticed from my XS Max?
Well, the display is brighter, but only when you manually max out the brightness and compare the two side by side, can you actually notice a difference. However if you’re watching HDR content there is a noticeable difference between the Pro Max and the XS Max. I did also noticed the display being warmer, even with True Tone turned off.
The speakers appear to have had a pretty big upgrade! I was really impressed when I heard the difference between my 11 Pro Max and my XS Max. Not only was the 11 Pro Max louder but the vocals were so much easier to hear and clearer.
The Haptic Engine to me feels exactly the same as on the XS. Same haptic response, same strength, same everything. However the lack of 3D touch was very noticeable to me. Having to hold on icons for that 3D touch functionality makes everything so much slower. However, the only place were I was using 3D touch on a more frequent basis was in the control center and the lock screen, but if you compare the XS Max and the 11 Pro Max side by side, you can see how much slower it really is.
I didn’t really get to test out the battery life, because I only just got this today so definitely follow on Twitter @ZONEofTECH where I’ll post some updates as to its battery performance. Although I’m expecting it to be significantly better than the XS Max was, which for me could never last me an entire day of use.
Before we get into the camera properly, a quick tip. When you get a new iPhone always make sure that you go into the settings app and then camera and enable 4K60, because by default you’re stuck at 1080p for some unknown reason. This way you get the maximum amount of quality out of this camera.
Ok, so the front camera is very impressive on this. All the shots were perfectly exposed and sharp the colors were accurate and now you can rotate the phone in landscape and you get this wider field of view. Apple’s doing this by using a higher resolution 12MP sensor from the 7MP that we had before but because they haven’t added a wide angle lens, we actually don’t get any distortion, just a wider image which is pretty cool!
The video on the front camera is also amazing! 4K60, which is some thing that’s never been done on a phone, so that’s extremely nice to see on the 11 Pro, considering that the XS’s only had 1080p video recording, so there were already far behind the competition which had QHD and 4K30 on the front already.
Other than that, FaceID does unlock faster but the difference is smaller than you would expect, since iOS 13 does make unlocking with FaceID faster on the iPhone XS as well.
Then on the back we get that triple lens camera system that you’ve all heard about.
What I really like about this is how insanely smooth the transition between the lenses really is! You wouldn’t believe how much you can zoom out! It’s still not on par with the Huawei P30 Pro but very impressive!
Now, there is a bit of noticeable frame-blending that Apple is adding when transitioning between the lenses because they all have a different field of view, and for the most part you won’t be able to notice that, unless you do the transition between the lenses very very slowly.
In terms of the camera quality, I was very impressed with the consistent look that the photos got, between each of the lenses, but something that did shift quite a bit was the white balance. So it really does depend.
Even video recorded with the ultra wide lens comes out very stable.
Now, it would be hard to not talk about Night Mode. So here’s an example taken in our studio comparing the iPhone XS Max, which doesn’t have a Night Mode feature, and iPhone 11 Pro Max, a true night and day difference! Its great to see that Apple are finally catching up with this feature. I’m just a bit disappointed that the Night mode is an exclusive feature to the iPhone 11’s, even though all the other iPhones could easily do this, since it’s mostly a software feature.
So overall, with that 3rd wide angle module, improved HDR video recording, and the significantly improved front facing camera, the 11 Pro’s have big improvements in the camera department. And I’m extremely happy about that because the camera is actually what I care about the most in a smartphone!
In the end the biggest improvement that the 11 Pro got over the XS is in the camera department, and while I do find the camera to be the most important thing for me in a smartphone, I don’t think that this upgrade is enough to warrant an upgrade from the XS.
The 11 Pro in my opinion is what the XS should’ve been. S models of the iPhones have always had a speed improvement, a significant camera improvement as well as a brand new unique features, while keeping the same design. Pretty much exactly what the 11 Pro is, to the XS.