iPhone 11 Review Roundup: Improved Camera, Battery Life, and Performance Result in the iPhone for 'Just About Everybody'

The iPhone 11 is set to launch this Friday, September 20, and in advance of that release date the first reviews for the smartphone have begun appearing online. Apple has provided review units of the ‌iPhone 11‌, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max to media outlets, but this article will focus only on the ‌iPhone 11‌ and you can check out our separate ‌iPhone 11 Pro‌ review roundup right here.


As the lower-cost device, the ‌iPhone 11‌ lacks some of the hardware and software features of the Pro line, but numerous reviewers pointed out that the line between the 11 and the 11 Pro has blurred even more this year. In short, this will likely be the iPhone that is the best choice for most customers this season.

Wired echoed many of these sentiments, calling it the ‌iPhone‌ for "just about everybody" and applauding the smartphone's camera upgrade, solid battery life, low cost, and the speed of the A13 Bionic processor. The site particularly appreciated Apple's no-nonsense UI design for the camera app, pointing out how this improves the camera as a whole, even if it might not be as good as others on the market.

Image via Wired

It would be a stretch to say that the camera on the ‌iPhone 11‌ has wowed me or has set a new standard that other phone makers will have to race to match. The ‌iPhone 11 Pro‌, with its funky three-lens camera module on the back, is noticeably better. But one area where Apple deserves credit is in the overall packaging of its camera features and the design of the app’s interface.

Smartphones are now cluttered with so many features that it can be hard to figure out what’s what, which can actively discourage people from trying all the newfangled things. On many premium Android phones, for example, the wide-angle icon is a cluster of—trees? When you select the Pro mode on Samsung’s Galaxy Note10+, there are no fewer than 17 photo options available, some of which cut into the frame of the viewfinder.

Ultimately, Wired noted that the ‌iPhone 11‌ is an impressive device but Apple hasn't done anything innovative with the base model ‌iPhone‌ this year. The site pointed out last-generation LCD technology, the lack of an in-display fingerprint sensor, and other features, but still described the ‌iPhone 11‌ as a "very good phone" that will have more than enough features to sway people to upgrade.

The Verge kicked off its review by stating simply, "the ‌iPhone 11‌ is the phone most people who are upgrading to a new ‌iPhone‌ this year should get." The site particularly liked the ‌iPhone 11‌'s camera upgrade, including the ultra-wide lens and Night Mode. With the upgrades, The Verge said that the ‌iPhone 11‌ goes so far as to make photos taken on the ‌iPhone‌ X "look downright bad."

Image via The Verge

So, is it worth upgrading to the ‌iPhone 11‌? If you’ve got an ‌iPhone‌ older than the XR and you’re looking to upgrade, I think the answer is yes. The camera is substantially improved, and you will get vastly better battery life than anything aside from a XR. That’s what most people care about, and Apple has really delivered here.

I’d only spend the extra money on the ‌iPhone 11 Pro‌ if you really care about the display. I don’t think you’re missing out on much by not having a telephoto camera lens, to be honest. I personally care quite a bit about displays, so I’m getting a Pro, but I think most people will be very happy with the ‌iPhone 11‌.

Engadget discussed the display quality on the ‌iPhone 11‌, pointing out that its LCD display is the same one found in last year's iPhone XR. While this is a lower quality display compared to the OLED in the ‌iPhone 11 Pro‌ and ‌iPhone 11 Pro Max‌, "in day-to-day use, the differences don't matter," according to the site.

Image via Chris Velazco/Engadget

Engadget also favors the 6.1-inch display size of the ‌iPhone 11‌, calling it the sweet spot between the too-small 5.8-inch ‌iPhone 11 Pro‌ and large 6.5-inch ‌iPhone 11 Pro Max‌. The site also commended the ‌iPhone 11‌'s battery life, which lasted close to 17 hours on average.

In some ways, the ‌iPhone 11‌ is subject to the same fundamental shortcomings as the XR: It has one less camera than Apple's more-premium models, and its screen isn't nearly as nice. To that, I say, "Big whoop."

The one thought that stuck in my head during my testing was that the gulf in functionality between this phone and the Pros has become surprisingly narrow. There are advantages to splurging on the Pros, but after getting a feel for what the ‌iPhone 11‌ is capable of, those benefits won't always justify spending the extra $300. Like I said before, the ‌iPhone 11‌ is the best new ‌iPhone‌ for most people, and it's unquestionably the one I would buy for myself.

More ‌iPhone 11‌ reviews can be found online: TechCrunch, Pocket-lint, The Wall Street Journal, CNET, Tech Radar, and Tom's Guide.

Related Roundup: iPhone 11
Buyer's Guide: iPhone 11 (Neutral)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
7 months ago
Too big and heavy.



Score: 44 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
7 months ago
For just about everybody... who wants a giant phablet. Which isn’t just about everybody.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
7 months ago
A phone for just about everybody, if you don't factor in the price
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
7 months ago
The 11 Pro is “too small”? Good grief.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
7 months ago

For just about everybody... who wants a giant phablet. Which isn’t just about everybody.

Just about everybody doesn’t have to mean you. It’s quite clear the vast majority are happy with large phones.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
7 months ago
Just wish it had an OLED, looks like another year with my X
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Acquires Weather App Dark Sky

Tuesday March 31, 2020 10:22 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple has acquired weather app Dark Sky, Dark Sky's developers announced today. Dark Sky is one of the most popular weather apps on the App Store, known for its accuracy and storm warnings. Our goal has always been to provide the world with the best weather information possible, to help as many people as we can stay dry and safe, and to do so in a way that respects your privacy. There is no ...

Zoom Accused of Misleading Users With 'End-to-End Encryption' Claims Amid Other Security Issues [Updated]

Wednesday April 1, 2020 2:47 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Zoom is facing fresh scrutiny today following a report that the videoconferencing app's encryption claims are misleading. Zoom states on its website and in its security white paper that the app supports end-to-end encryption, a term that refers to a way of protecting user content so that the company has no access to it whatsoever. However, an investigation by The Intercept reveals that...

Case for Upcoming Low-Cost iPhone Shows Up at Best Buy With Alleged April 5 Stock Date

Monday March 30, 2020 4:25 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple has a new low-cost iPhone in the works, which is supposed to be launching sometime in the first half of 2020. Given the ongoing situation in the United States and other countries, it's been unclear if the device is going to launch within the planned timeline, but there are signs that it could be coming soon. We started seeing cases for the new low-cost iPhone back in early February,...

Bloomberg: Apple's 5G iPhone Still on Schedule for Fall Launch, But Future Products Could Be Delayed

Monday March 30, 2020 2:40 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Apple's 5G iPhone is still on track to launch within the company's typical annual fall release schedule, according to a new Bloomberg report on filed on Monday. Signs are that Apple's Chinese-centric manufacturing -- of which Hon Hai is the linchpin -- is slowly getting back on track. The next iPhones with 5G wireless capabilities remain on schedule to launch in the fall, partly because mass...

Testing Brydge's New Pro+ Keyboard With Trackpad for iPad Pro

Monday March 30, 2020 2:04 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Well ahead of when Apple introduced trackpad support in iOS 13.4, Brydge announced an iPad Pro keyboard with a built-in multi-touch trackpad. We have one of Brydge's new Pro+ keyboards on hand, and thought we'd check it out to see how it works with Apple's new 2020 iPad Pro models. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The Brydge Pro+ keyboard is similar in design to...

Apple's Work on New Upcoming Products Progressing Normally as Employees Adjust to Telecommuting

Monday March 30, 2020 11:58 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple's development of upcoming products is progressing as usual despite the fact that Apple employees around the world are working from home, according to a new report today out from Bloomberg. Apple is still working on new versions of the HomePod, Apple TV, MacBook Pro, budget iPads, Apple Watch, iPhone, and iMac, all of which could be released "as early as later this year" and have been...

Apple Releases ProRes RAW Beta for Windows

Monday March 30, 2020 9:33 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today released ProRes RAW for Windows in a beta capacity (via Mark Gurman), with the software designed to allow ProRes RAW and ProRes RAW HQ video files to be watched in compatible applications on Windows machines. According to Apple, the software will let the files be played within several Adobe apps: Adobe After Effects (Beta) Adobe Media Encocder (Beta) Adobe Premiere...

Apple Configurator 2 Updated With New Features, Including Support for Restoring Firmware on 2019 Mac Pro

Tuesday March 31, 2020 5:34 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple Configurator 2 has been updated to version 2.12 with several improvements, including support for restoring firmware on the 2019 Mac Pro. The release notes:• Added support for restoring firmware on the 2019 Mac Pro • Allow access to websites using TLS 1.0 and 1.1 • VPN: Configure Provider Designated Requirement for Custom SSL connection type • VPN: Configure network options for ...

Seemingly Unreleased Version of Logic Pro X With Live Loops Appears on Apple's Education Site [Updated]

Sunday March 29, 2020 7:23 am PDT by Hartley Charlton
Update: Apple has replaced the Logic Pro X image with an older version. Original story follows. A seemingly unreleased version of Logic Pro X has appeared on Apple's education site, as spotted by a Reddit user. The image from Apple's education products page shows a 16-inch MacBook Pro running Logic Pro X, but with a familiar interface that looks extremely similar to GarageBand's Live Loops ...

Apple's 2020 MacBook Air vs. 2020 iPad Pro

Wednesday April 1, 2020 2:45 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple in March updated both the MacBook Air and the iPad Pro, and with the iPad Pro increasingly positioned as a computer replacement, we thought we'd compare both new machines to see how they measure up and which one might be a better buy depending on user needs. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. We're comparing the base model 12.9-inch iPad Pro and the base model...