CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Apple iPhone 11 review: The best $700 iPhone Apple has ever made

Without a doubt, it can make for stunning shots. Ultrawide cameras are another new trend across phone cameras. Apple promises a few extra benefits here. The iPhone 11 gets an improved ultrawide-angle Portrait mode that can work with close-ups of your pets and other things. All the phones get an expanded-view viewfinder that now previews what's outside the shot, which can help you know when to use the ultrawide lens.

bart-station-ultra-wide-iphone-11-pro
View full gallery

The ultrawide camera works for photos and videos.

Patrick Holland/CNET

A funky extra also captures some ultrawide camera data in a Quick Take video, when you press and hold the camera button in the Camera app. It looks to pull in people who might be out of frame. So far, I haven't had this mode work for me yet.

Apple will also be using the multiple cameras for an upcoming Deep Fusion feature coming to all the phones next month. It promises to deliver a super-photo taken from multiple shots. It's not quite Smart HDR, but it'll work automatically. I'm reminded of the promises of the Nokia 9, which aimed to blend photos into a super-image, too.

See more photos from the iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max in the gallery below:

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 more smooth 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.

iphone-11-pro-img-0330
View full gallery

When the phone is held vertically the selfie camera is zoomed in by default and "zooms out" when you rotate it to landscape.

Scott Stein/CNET

My kids instantly started messing around with slow-motion selfie feature. Yes, that's the slofie. 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

We're still conducting our formal battery tests on the new iPhones. So far, I've just been living with the phones, and I've mainly been curious about the iPhone 11 Pro. Apple's claim of an extra hour on the iPhone 11 over the XR isn't a huge leap, but the iPhone Pro and Pro Max promised 4-5 hour gains over last year's iPhone XS and XS Max are big jumps.

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 iPad Pro.

I'm more interested in the battery performance, though. I used to be disappointed with iPhone battery life, but the XR was a great step forward. In my experience so far, it looks like all iPhone 11 models are getting a battery life boost, and in fact, the Pros should last longer on a charge. So far, they've needed a top-off in heavy everyday use, but they haven't run low by midafternoon like last year's iPhone XS and XS Max tended to.

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. 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 wasn't, but at least I'm used to it now.

39-iphone-11
View full gallery

The iPhone 11 has an LCD screen and the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max have OLED displays. But you'd be hard-pressed to notice the difference.

Sarah Tew/CNET

No USB-C?

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 Galaxy Buds. 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.

Read more: The iPhone 11 supports Wi-Fi 6, here's what that means for you

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. Last year's XR was rated at 1 meter for 30 minutes, and iPhones have had some form of water resistance since the iPhone 7 ($185 at Walmart)

Drop test: We couldn't crack the iPhone 11

Last year's iPhone XS lasted surprisingly well on our drop test. 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 this story about CNET's drop test of the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro.

A U1 chip with spatial awareness

Ultrawideband (UWB) is a technology that can offer location features more accurate than Bluetooth. This year's iPhones have a new U1 chip that could come to other devices or even rumored Apple location tags 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.

Choose the even-less-expensive XR?

The iPhone XR, 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 stainless steel body add up to a worthwhile $300 upgrade depends on how much you value those features.

05-iphone-11-pro-and-iphone-11-max
View full gallery

The iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max is smaller and larger respectively than the one-size-fits-all iPhone 11.

Sarah Tew/CNET

I lean to 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 wait. 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 new Pixel 4 phones are right around the corner.

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 to 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 Display; 1,792x828 pixels 5.8-inch OLED Super Retina; 2,436x1,125 pixels 6.5-inch Super Retina OLED; 2,688x1,242 pixels
Pixel density 326ppi 458ppi 458ppi 326ppi 458ppi 458ppi
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
Video capture 4K 4K 4K 4K 4K 4K
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
Expandable storage None None None None None None
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)
Connector Lightning Lightning Lightning Lightning Lightning Lightning
Headphone jack No No No No No No
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)

Best Phones for 2019

All Best Phones

More Best Products

All Best Products