15-10-2019

Apple iPhone 11 Review

LIFESTYLE

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For Generations, Apple products have been looked upon as cult and aspirational, right from the iPod to iMac. In particular, amongst their entire line, iPhones are the one which receive maximum attention as people over the world wait with a bated breath to see, what will Apple do with its flagship phone year after year. This year being the 12th year of its iteration, stakes were high, and we called upon our friend and an expert, Mr. Sandeep Sarma, Founder and Creative Director, RevAtlas, to review the iPhone 11 just for us. He tells us does this iPhone 11 does the job for you are do you need to stretch and go for the iPhone 11 Pro or the Pro Max.

RevAtlas, is a technology startup company, which reviews everything that runs on the battery. And Sandeep has been reviewing them from last 15 years.  

Now, lets come back to the iPhone 11, to see how it is. 

Design

In terms of design, the 11 looks like the XR before it from the front, it is only when you flip it over and see the dual camera setup and new camera island that you understand the difference. The camera island is on a separate piece of glass which also houses two sensors and their lenses that are surrounded by metal circular bezels. The iPhone 11s have a glossy finished compared to the frosted matte finish of its Pro brethren. The glossy finish is a fingerprint magnet but to be honest it still has good grip despite what it may suggest. The aluminium sides have a a matte finish which adds grip as well. Buttons offers good feedback too and we are glad to have the profile switch key here too which is one feature we wish that more Android phones adopted like the OnePlus devices. The 11 is available in a slew of colours but we got the Black variant here which too looks sleek although not as head turning as the other colours. It feels heavy in a premium way but not heavy to make you resent using it over long durations.

As you would’ve probably guessed from our intro, it is waterproof as well. IP68 to be specific and is an improvement over the IP67 rating that the XR had.   The Apple iPhone 11 has the same iPhone XR screen. The screen is a 6.1” IPS panel with 828x1792 pixels of resolution. That resolution is not bad but not great either and results in 326 ppi. While you will notice a difference when you put it alongside the Pro models or high pixel density screens, on its own it is sufficient and text is well rendered. Videos pictures etc are great too and despite being an IPS panel, sunlight legibility is also great even with the reflective glass. It gets fingerprints easily but is also easy to clean thanks to the oleophobic coating. The 120 Hz touch polling rate also ensures excellent touch input and the 60Hz screen is good to use coupled with the 2.5D curved custom corning gorilla glass. The bezels and notch are fairly big and although you may not notice it at first due to the good display, when you pay attention, you see that the bezels are indeed thick. You need the Pro models if you want something thinner.

Apple Is still relying on Face ID for security.The wide notch has the 3D ToF sensor, flood illuminator, 12MP camera, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, True Tone sensor and the earpiece. The Face ID is now much faster than the previous generation and that’s good since its more accurate than just front camera based implementations but just as fast. It is also able to recognise faces at more angles thanks to the wider lens. Only thing I wish they allowed was an option to bypass the lock screen altogether like on Android phones. Although it sounds quite unlike Apple to go back on their word and bring back fingerprint scanning technology as they said that Face ID is truly superior, there are still some folks who want fingerprint scanners so more choice is always good for customers and hopefully they will bring it next year as an in display implementation perhaps.

Siri works amazingly well as usual and is very useful if you want to get things done while getting things done. Hope you get what I mean. Apple CarPlay also works and you do need to enable Siri in order to use it.


Performance & Battery Life

The performance is amazing thanks to the A13 Bionic chipset and it happily ran anything that we threw at it including Apple Arcade titles as well as heavy multitasking. Of course, iOS 13 did have its share of bugs and glitches here and there but in no way did we even feel we were close to reaching the limit of the processor or its GPU. Thanks to the extraordinaries

The speaker setup is a stereo implementation where the earpiece is also a loudspeaker itself. Both the speakers give almost identical output rather than other implementations where the earpiece is barely audibly and is a stereo experience only on paper, the iPhone 11 offers a great stereo experience with good loudness and clarity. Here’s a quick real life test.

iPhones have excellent optimisation when it comes to the battery life which isn’t obvious when you look at use the battery capacity. What usually classified as mediocre or average in terms of battery capacity can be stellar on iPhones. In the case of the iPhone 11, it comes with a 3110 mah battery to power its 6.1” display which effectively gives around 5 hours of screen on time on a single charge which is more than what you’d expect from an Android phone with similar specs. I would’ve appreciated some more SOT considering the screen resolution but I guess it will improve with updates. Funnily it isn’t easy to arrive at this figure and Apple’s figures can be misleading unless you know how to correctly calculate it. The iPhone 11 shows the screen on time for the last 24 hours or else you can display it per day basis. The phone detects anytime the screen is on whether you are plugged into a charger or not. So to work around this, what I did was charge the phone overnight and avoid using the phone after midnight. Once disconnected, the phone starts counting the use of the screen and by the time it hits 15%, I take note of the SOT. It comes with a 5W charger which is to be honest way too slow and I didn’t even bother trying it out. If you have an 18W or faster charger then it will charge quickly thanks to Power Delivery support and it can recharge a bit over 50% in 30 minutes. It also has Qi wireless charging. All that is good but what is disappointing is the Lightning port. It is more fragile and also less popular in a country like India so a USB Type-C is a boon.

Apple already updated their iPad Pro lineup last year with Type-C ports so it should have been there on this years iPhones at least but maybe we will see it next year finally. Speaking of next years iPhones, we will finally see the notch going away apparently as apple might integrate the front facing camera and the Face ID technology into a smaller bezel like on the iPad Pro and even the body apparently will go back to having flat sides and chamfered edges like the iPhone 4 gen.


Camera

The iPhone 11 sports dual cameras at the back. It packs in two 12 MP sensors, one of which is a standard focal length with F1.8 aperture while there is also an ultra wide angle with 0.5x the focal length as well as F2.4 aperture. Initial tumors pointed towards the regular 11 packing a telephoto camera and a standard one. But we're glad that Apple gave us the ultra wide angle as common between the Pro and non Pro models as it is arguably more useful and commonly used. The front facing camera is also a 12 MP sensor that can capture regular and offers both wide and narrower perspectives. On paper, the cameras may sound like minor improvements, but they have taken a page our of Google Pixels book and really went all out on the software processing which has now made a big difference in terms of dynamic range, colors and tones. The consistency across the cameras in terms of the image processing is also very impressive. All three cameras can do 4k 60 fps stabilized video and it now comes with a night mode on the primary camera which takes incredibly detailed photos with good exposure even when handheld. Apple played catch up in terms of photo and is now amongst the best and THE best in some situations and similarly they have extended their lead in videos as well.


Verdict

The iPhone 11 is a splendid smartphone from Apple, it has great cameras, a great screen, waterproofing, amazing performance and much more. If you are considering a long term smartphone then I don’t think there is a better phone right now considering Apple updates their smartphones well into the future and in fact, if it had an OLED display and better battery life, I probably would’ve bought this instead of the 11 Pro Max and that's saying a lot for the most affordable offering from Apple which is now cheaper and in fact better than many flagship offerings from the Android camp.

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About Author
Sandeep Sarma
Sandeep Sarma

While everyone likes to think of themselves as being a Gadget Geek, Sandeep is someone who truly fits the description. He has been writing about smartphones and technology for over 15 years and is currently running RevAtlas, the most tangible form of which is the YouTube Channel where he reviews the latest smartphones and just anything that runs on batteries. 


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