Deep Fusion, aka 'sweater mode'
The iPhone 11's new Deep Fusion processing shines under a medium amount of light. It's best to think of medium light as lighting inside a room with no natural light, or an office where your desk is far away from the windows. The lighting is bright enough for you to see, but nothing like being outside on a sunny day.
Like Smart HDR, it takes multiple images and merges them together. But unlike Smart HDR, Deep Fusion does an analysis and optimizes things on a pixel level to make details pop, capture less image noise and improve brightness. The differences between an iPhone 11 photo using Deep Fusion and one from the XR without the new process are subtle.
Keep in mind that Deep Fusion processing isn't the only thing that improves photos from the iPhone 11. There's the improved sharpness and focus from the phone's new main camera. Overall, your photos will just look better without any extra effort from you.
Below are photos of a public phone in a BART station. The lighting was dim but didn't trigger the iPhone 11's Night Mode. (Also, holy heck, they still make pay phones!) Notice the text and scratches on the phone in the photo taken with the iPhone 11 compared with the one taken with the XR. The details are so much sharper. You can also see how the iPhone 11's Deep Fusion minimizes image noise in the wall behind the phone. The iPhone XR's photo gets the smear treatment from its noise reduction.
More stabilized video, and better overall video
I already loved the iPhone's video functions. I shot some test footage on the new phones, and was curious about the extra processing stabilization. The iPhone X and XS were already good enough for me to walk around and shoot Apple's event demo room. The iPhone 11 and 11 Pro do it better, but I found the wide camera was a bit smoother than the ultrawide one.
The video doesn't use Night Mode, but videos did look better in darker spaces. Still, video in seriously dark places comes out darker than photos (even without Night Mode). We used some video footage in our review video, check it out.
Slow-mo selfies and the wider selfie cam
The wider-angled front-facing camera is welcome. It can digitally zoom in or out to accommodate a wider view that includes more people and background. The 12-megapixel front-facing camera looks better and I was happy with the results, but you have to be artful with the wider camera. Sometimes I ended up looking like a little face in a mountain of shirt.
My kids instantly started messing around with the slow-motion selfie feature. Yes, that's the. It's not a Live Photo, though. It's just a video mode. That makes it hard to do much with, because the file sizes get large. I do, however, have a lot of extended 120-fps slow-motion scenes of my kids sticking out their tongues.
Speed, yes, but really, battery life
After conducting our formal battery tests and living with the iPhone 11 for over a month, we found the battery life is about the same as last year's iPhone XR. In our streaming video tests the iPhone 11 lasted 13 hours and 52 minutes compared with the iPhone XR's time of 12 hours and 7 minutes in the same test. In daily use, the iPhone 11 has been lasting about a day and a half.
The A13 processor and RAM are the same on all the new iPhone models (4GB RAM, and a seemingly equally fast processor by benchmarks). It's a bit faster in single tasking, and a bigger leap in multitasking. Graphics performance, in theory, looks great, coming closer to last year's.
Some other things to note
The LCD display is the same as last year, and it's totally fine. Apple's imposing-sounding Super Retina XDR display on the iPhone 11 Pro models is technically higher-res, more vivid and brighter than the iPhone 11's display. But when you compare them side by side, most people (including me) are hard-pressed to find a difference. Apple does a great job with its LCD Liquid Retina display in the iPhone 11. It doesn't feel like a compromise except when looking at dark images with subtle light details. Oh, and the notch is exactly the same as before. I'd rather it weren't, but at least I'm used to it now.
I'm annoyed these don't have USB-C charging, or a way to charge the Apple Watch or AirPods from the back the way Samsung's phones let you charge Samsung watches and the. The iPhone 11 Pro now comes with a better 18-watt charger that includes a more useful Lightning-to-USB-C cable, at least. But the regular iPhone 11 does not.
Wi-Fi 6: The new Wi-Fi standard is faster, but on my home 100-megabit network I didn't see any changes over the iPhone XS.
Faster cellular (but not 5G): Gigabit LTE is on the iPhone 11, which the XR didn't have. The iPhone 11 still has 2x2 MIMO antennas. You get 4x4 MIMO on the iPhone 11 Pro, which can improve signal strength and speed, but we'll see over time what the differences are.
Better water resistance? (We'll see)
The iPhone 11 is rated for 2 meters of water resistance for 30 minutes. The iPhone 11 Pro is rated for 4 meters, for 30 minutes. In our(with the help of an underwater drone) the phones proved they were more than capable of being submerged beyond what they were designed for.
Drop test: We couldn't crack the iPhone 11
Last year's. The XR, not quite as much. All the "11 phones" sport improved glass, per Apple. We ran a drop test on both the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro. We dropped each phone from four different heights: 3, 6, 8 and 11 feet. From 8 feet and below both phones survived being dropped onto a concrete floor. The iPhone 11 Pro is the only one that showed damage. A few pixels on the 11 Pro's screen stopped working and there was a minor scuff on the aluminum bumper and a cosmetic scratch on the top lens housing. The camera itself still worked.
From 11 feet, both phones still didn't crack, but the iPhone 11's rear camera stopped working and the iPhone 11 Pro's SIM card tray popped out. It was easily pushed back into play, but a small bulge appeared along the seam of where the screen joins the stainless-steel frame. For more details, check out.
A U1 chip with spatial awareness
Ultrawideband (Bluetooth. This year's iPhones have a new U1 chip that could come to other devices or even later this year. Apple promises that with the U1 chip, AirDrop will now work more precisely by pointing one iPhone 11 toward another iPhone 11. It could also improve AR by locating beacons in a space. The U1 features aren't coming until Sept. 30 with iOS 13.1, so we'll check back then.) is a technology that can offer location features more accurate than
Choose the even-less-expensive XR?
The, the direct ancestor of the iPhone 11, now sells for $100 less, starting at $599. If you're not interested in a wide-angle camera or night photos, I'd say go with that. If you got the XR last year, the iPhone 11 definitely isn't enough of a reason to upgrade.
What does Pro do for you?
If you couldn't tell, I think the standard iPhone 11 has everything you'd need for the price, except for that telephoto lens. Whether or not that extra camera lens, an extra boost of battery life, a more vivid OLED display and a stainless-steel body add up to a worthwhile $300 upgrade depends on how much you value those features.
I lean toward the smaller iPhone 11 Pro as my favorite iPhone this year. But for most people who are in the market for an iPhone upgrade, I'd recommend the iPhone 11. Or just waiting. You're definitely OK with last year's phone, and I'd even stay put if you have an iPhone 8 or iPhone X. Next year's iPhones could be part of a big upgrade cycle that's likely to include 5G. And Google's neware another option.
This year's iPhone 11 models are boring upgrades, but they are good ones. And all three are worthy of being called "Pro."
iPhone 11 specs compared with iPhone 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max, XR, XS, XS Max
||iPhone 11||iPhone 11 Pro||iPhone 11 Pro Max||iPhone XR||iPhone XS||iPhone XS Max|
|Display size, resolution||6.1-inch LCD Liquid Retina; 1,792x828 pixels||5.8-inch OLED Super Retina XDR; 2,436x1,125 pixels||6.5-inch OLED Super Retina XDR; 2,688x1,242 pixels||6.1-inch LCD Liquid Retina; 1,792x828 pixels||5.8-inch OLED Super Retina; 2,436x1,125 pixels||6.5-inch Super Retina OLED; 2,688x1,242 pixels|
|Dimensions (inches)||5.94x2.98x0.33 in||5.67x2.81x0.32 in||6.22x3.06x0.32 in||5.9x3x0.33 in||5.7x2.8x0.3 in||6.2x3x0.3 in|
|Dimensions (millimeters)||151x76x8.3 mm||144x71x8.1 mm||158x78x8.1 mm||151x76x8.3 mm||144x71x7.7 mm||158x77x7.7 mm|
|Weight (ounces, grams)||6.84 oz; 194g||6.63 oz; 188g||7.97 oz; 226g||6.8oz; 194g||6.2 oz; 177g||7.3oz; 208g|
|Mobile software||iOS 13||iOS 13||iOS 13||iOS 12||iOS 12||iOS 12|
|Camera||12-megapixel (wide), 12-megapixel (ultrawide)||12-megapixel (wide), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), 12-megapixel (telephoto)||12-megapixel (wide), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), 12-megapixel (telephoto)||12-megapixel (wide)||12-megapixel (wide), 12-megapixel (ultrawide)||12-megapixel (wide), 12-megapixel (ultrawide)|
|Front-facing camera||12-megapixel with Face ID||12-megapixel with Face ID||12-megapixel with Face ID||7-megapixel with Face ID||7-megapixel with Face ID||7-megapixel with Face ID|
|Processor||Apple A13 Bionic||Apple A13 Bionic||Apple A13 Bionic||Apple A12 Bionic||Apple A12 Bionic||Apple A12 Bionic|
|Storage||64GB, 128GB, 256GB||64GB, 256GB, 512GB||64GB, 256GB, 512GB||64GB, 128GB, 256GB||64GB, 256GB, 512GB||64GB, 256GB, 512GB|
|RAM||Not disclosed||Not disclosed||Not disclosed||Not disclosed||Not disclosed||Not disclosed|
|Battery||Not disclosed, but Apple claims it will last 1 hour longer than iPhone XR||Not disclosed, but Apple claims it will last 4 hours longer than iPhone XS||Not disclosed, but Apple claims it will last 5 hours longer than iPhone XS Max||2,942 mAh (not officially disclosed by Apple)||2,658 mAh (not officially disclosed by Apple)||3,174 mAh (not officially disclosed by Apple)|
|Fingerprint sensor||None (Face ID)||None (Face ID)||None (Face ID)||None (Face ID)||None (Face ID)||None (Face ID)|
|Special features||Water-resistant (IP68); dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); wireless charging||Water-resistant (IP68); dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); wireless charging||Water-resistant (IP68); dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); wireless charging||Water-resistant (IP67), dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); wireless charging||Water-resistant (IP68); dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); wireless charging||Water-resistant (IP68); dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); wireless charging|
|Price off-contract (USD)||$699 (64GB), $749 (128GB), $849 (256GB)||$999 (64GB), $1,149 (256GB), $1,349 (512GB)||$1,099 (64GB), $1,249 (256GB), $1,449 (512GB)||$749 (64GB), $799 (128GB), $899 (256GB)||$999 (64GB), $1,149 (256GB), $1,349 (512GB)||$1,099 (64GB), $1,249 (256GB), $1,449 (512GB)|
|Price (GBP)||£729 (64GB), £779 (128GB), £879 (256GB)||£1,049 (64GB), £1,199 (256GB), £1,399 (512GB)||£1,149 (64GB), £1,299 (256GB), £1,499 (512GB)||£749 (64GB), £799 (128GB), £899 (256GB)||£999 (64GB), £1,149 (256GB), £1,349 (512GB)||£1,099 (64GB), £1,249 (256GB), £1,449 (512GB)|
|Price (AUD)||AU$1,199 (64GB), AU$1,279 (128GB), AU$1,449 (256GB)||AU$1,749 (64GB), AU$1,999 (256GB), AU$2,349 (512GB)||AU$1,899 (64GB), AU$2,149 (256GB), AU$2,499 (512GB)||AU$1,229 (64GB), AU$1,299 (128GB), AU$1,479 (256GB)||AU$1,629 (64GB), AU$1,879 (256GB), AU$2,199 (512GB)||AU$1,799 (64GB), AU$2,049 (256GB), AU$2,369 (512GB)|