Apple iPhone 11 vs iPhone 11 Pro vs iPhone 11 Pro Max: Which should you buy?

You've got loads to consider before grabbing your wallet

Apple just launched its new smartphone, and it's called the iPhone 11. Actually, all three of Apple's new phones are called the iPhone 11. We see how you might be confused.

The iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max have a fair number of similarities between them – but as the names suggest, there are also some very big differences between the three.

With the launch coming up on 20 September, here's what you need to know about how these phones compare and which might be up your alley.

Design: It's XS/XR all over again

Apple's sticking with the core design it introduced with the iPhone X, and all three iPhone 11 models are seemingly identical from the front to one of last year's phone. The iPhone 11 (shown) is the new iPhone XR, the iPhone 11 Pro is the new iPhone XS, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max is… yes, the iPhone XS Max. Make sense?

In short, that means it's nearly all screen on the front aside from that big notch at the top. The bezel is a little bit thicker on the core iPhone 11, but not dramatically so.

On the back, all three phones have a big, chunky square camera module in the upper left on the glass – although the number of cameras within varies depending on model. The iPhone 11 comes in White, Black, Green, Yellow, Purple, and PRODUCT(RED), while the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max are offered in Space Grey, Silver, Gold, and a new Midnight Green option.

As before, the pricier Pro models have stainless steel for the frame, while the iPhone 11 opts for aluminium.

Screen: Same differences

The iPhone 11 screens have seen some enhancements, but it's the same basic story as last year. Both the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max have punchy Super Retina XDR OLED screens, at 5.8in and 6.5in respectively. While the resolution stats vary between the models, they both end up with the same pixel density of 458 ppi. Both have bumped brightness up to 800 nits when used in the sun, or even 1200 nits when viewing extreme dynamic range content.

Meanwhile, the iPhone 11 winds up in the middle of those two in terms of size at 6.1in, but this Liquid Retina HD LCD panel is much lower on resolution, coming in at 1792x828 (326 ppi). It also maxes out at 625 nits brightness, so there's a clear difference between them. However, if our experience with the iPhone XR is any indication, the iPhone 11 will still have a pretty nice-looking screen despite the below-par resolution.

Camera: Two or three?

All three of the iPhone cameras gain an additional back sensor this time around: that makes two on the iPhone 11 and three each on the iPhone 11 Pro (shown) and Pro Max.

On the iPhone 11, that means you get a standard wide-angle 12MP (f/1.8) sensor and an ultra-wide 12MP (f/2.4) sensor for significantly "zoomed out" photos. Meanwhile, the Pro and Pro Max add a third camera, a 12MP (f/2.0) telephoto sensor for 2x optical zoom shots.

Apple's myriad camera enhancements seem to come across the board, including enhanced Smart HDR capabilities for merging together snaps into one potentially brilliant result, as well as a new Night Mode and improved Portrait shots.

Also, the front TrueDepth camera has been enhanced on all three models, with a 12MP sensor now enabling faster Face ID recognition from more angles and more distance, as well as 4K and slow-motion video shooting.

Performance: All powerhouses

You'll find Apple's new A13 Bionic chip inside all three iPhone 11 handsets, and with promised gains over the already class-leading A12 Bionic, it's sure to make all of these phones super fast and capable.

We don't yet have official RAM figures for the phones, but we're expecting to see a bit more in the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max than the standard iPhone 11. Still, there shouldn't be a huge difference in performance between them.

Battery and perks: Most expensive = best battery life

Last year, the cheapest model – the iPhone XR – curiously provided the best battery life of the trio. Thankfully, Apple fixed that odd approach for 2019.

The iPhone 11 Pro Max is rated for 20 hours of video playback, or about 5 hours more than the XS Max. Meanwhile, the iPhone 11 Pro lands at 18 hours of video payback, which is about 4 hours more than the iPhone XS. The standard iPhone 11 (shown) promises up to 17 hours, which is still close – and an hour more than the iPhone XR promised.

All three phones offer wireless charging and fast charging capabilities, but only the Pro models actually come with the 18W fast charger. The iPhone 11 still comes with that slow, dinky 5W charging cube.

Each arrives with 64GB of internal storage standard, but the leap is higher on the Pro models: up to 256GB and 512GB in the pricier editions, while the iPhone 11 goes up to 128GB and 256GB. None support microSD cards or any other kind of expandable storage, as usual.

In terms of water resistance, all three models get upgrades: the iPhone 11 offers resistance up to 2m of water for up to 30 minutes, while the Pro versions bump that up to 4m for 30 minutes.

Initial verdict: Lots to love

At £729, the standard iPhone 11 will surely be the most appealing option of the bunch for many users. It's well-equipped with plenty of power and what look to be pretty excellent cameras, and the new colour options are great. The screen is still behind the times in terms of clarity, but should be good enough for most.

Seeing the iPhone 11 Pro push into the four-digit realm with its £1049 price point is a bit disheartening, but to be fair, this doesn't look like a phone that's short of compelling features.

With the £1149 iPhone 11 Pro Max "only" a hundred quid more, the decision here is really about screen size and usability. The Pro is well-sized, given its familiar iPhone X/XS dimensions, while the Pro Max is a very large-feeling phone. If you love that, you'll probably love the Max. Everyone else should be well suited by the iPhone 11 Pro.

We'll update this piece with further insights and impressions once we post our reviews of all three iPhone 11 models in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.

iPhone 11 vs 11 Pro vs 11 Pro Max: Specs

Apple iPhone 11

Screen: 6.1in LCD, 1792x828 (326ppi)

Rear cam: 12MP wide-angle, 12MP ultra wide-angle

Front cam: 12MP

Video: 4K @ 60fps; slo-mo 1080p @ 240fps

Processor: A13 Bionic chip

Storage: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB

Wireless charging: Yes

Waterproof: Yes (IP68)

Battery: 17 hours (video)

Colours: Black, White, Purple, Yellow, Green, (Product)Red

Dimensions: 151 x 76 x 8.3 mm; 194g

Price (GBP): from £729

 

Apple iPhone 11 Pro

Screen: 5.8in OLED, 2436x1125 (458ppi)

Rear cam: 12MP wide-angle, 12MP ultra wide-angle, 12MP telephoto

Front cam: 12MP

Video: 4K @ 60fps; slo-mo 1080p @ 240fps

Processor: A13 Bionic chip

Storage: 64GB, 256GB, 512GB

Wireless charging: Yes

Waterproof: Yes (IP68)

Battery: 18 hours (video)

Colours: Silver, Space Gray, Gold, Midnight Green

Dimensions: 144 x 71 x 8.1 mm; 188g

Price (GBP): from £1049

 

Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max

Screen: 6.5in OLED, 2688x1242 (458ppi)

Rear cam: 12MP wide-angle, 12MP ultra wide-angle, 12MP telephoto

Front cam: 12MP

Video: 4K @ 60fps; slo-mo 1080p @ 240fps

Processor: A13 Bionic chip

Storage: 64GB, 256GB, 512GB

Wireless charging: Yes

Waterproof: Yes (IP68)

Battery: 20 hours (video)

Colours: Silver, Space Gray, Gold, Midnight Green

Dimensions: 158 x 78 x 8.1 mm; 226g

Price (GBP): from £1149