It's pretty amazing that we Malaysians had gotten our hands on the iPhone 11 series as early as we did. Apple tends to sideline Malaysia, focusing more on Singapore and having releases four weeks after Singapore gets it first. This round, we got the iPhone 11 series right after one week Singapore got it which definitely pleased plenty of Apple fans.
As someone who mainly uses Android with minimal experience with the iOS, reviewing the iPhone 11 was a privilege to understand why Apple continues to get plenty of support despite how fast Android smartphone tech develops in comparison and the difference in price point. As I tested out the iPhone 11 for this review, I can assure every Apple fan that this is a worthy device to consider, especially if the iPhone 11 Pro is out of your budget.
In fact, the iPhone 11 is in no way inferior to the iPhone 11 Pro to be honest.
Designed For Apple Fans
The iPhone 11 may not have the infamous three cameras on the back, but it still has plenty to offer straight off in terms of design. It comes in a wider range of 6 colours, compared to the four available for the iPhone 11 Pro. This is a plus, unless you like the more mature colours that the iPhone 11 Pro offers. Alas, our review unit was white so there won't be any fun colours to show off here.
Beyond colours, the iPhone 11 actually feels robust, forged with glass and aluminium. It has some weight to it at 184g, which makes it seem like it could take a fall, and though Apple assured us it can definitely take a fall, I wouldn't recommend it to be on the safe side. The iPhone 11 is a little wider than the iPhone 11 Pro at 5.9in and is even a little thicker at 3in but it has this sturdiness on it that I quite like.
Everything else remains the same; it still uses a lightning-cable, still has the same buttons in the same places, and it still has a notch. Although it's important to know that the iPhone 11 is actually less waterproof than its siblings, being able to cope with 2 metres underwater compared to the usual 4m.
Other than that, you can expect the usual wonderful design that is part of Apple's trademark. Simple and to the point.
Take a gorgeous shot
The camera was exciting for me. The iPhone 11 has the same wide angle 12MP (OIS) main sensor with f/1.8 aperture and a 12MP ultra-wide angle f/2.4 camera, but misses out on the telephoto lens the iPhone 11 Pro has. But to be completely honest, there's no quality drop at all. The only issue is that you will need to get closer to your subject for portrait shots, but I saw no drop in quality between the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro. You likely won't even be able to tell the difference in photo quality between the two, so you can be sure that you're not being shortchanged in terms of camera.
Portrait mode is as great as ever, although it's important that your subject stays still and you don't move around a lot too. My poor cats did not approve of being models, so there were some issues where the portrait didn't get them fully. But overall, in a well lit place and some time, you can get some really impressive shots only Apple can produce.
With that said, we have to touch on the night shots, a new addition to the iPhone. Just like the Pro, the camera will detect the darkness and an icon will appear in the top left screen noting the exposure needed to capture the image, ranging from 1-5 seconds. It’s important to hold your phone as still as possible as its gathering image data in the sensors and piecing together your night-time shot. Night shots may not be a new feature in smartphones, but Apple is here to prove that they can truly refine it to perfection. If night mode isn't for you, you can always turn it off.
The camera app interface has been upgraded and you can preview what the image will look like using either the wide or ultra-wide angle lens before taking the shot. If you hold down the built-in shutter, it’ll start filming as if it’s a video (just like Instagram Stories) and this is a quicker way to shoot moving images than to transition into video mode.
Don’t forget yourself(ies) now that there’s a 12MP camera at the front (buried in the notch) and feel free to capture some ‘slofies’ with the slow-mo setting, it’s quite fun and especially dramatic if you add an epic soundtrack.
You can also expect 4K video to make its way to the iPhone 11 too, so even if you don't have the Pro, there’s nothing stopping you making that feature film now.
No OLED display
The biggest factor that makes the iPhone 11 inferior to the Pro is its lack of a stunning OLED display available on the Pro and Pro Max. Instead, the iPhone 11 has an LCD panel, which will bother those who deal with media a lot; editing videos on the fly and such. But if you're someone who just enjoys taking videos and pictures of friends or their cats, it shouldn't matter that much as even watching videos on the iPhone 11 is still great.
Regardless, you will get a 6.1in Liquid Retina display which makes the screen bright, regardless of the angle you're looking at the device. The iPhone 11 also comes with Haptic Touch, rather than 3D touch, and it’s incredibly quick and easy to adjust to, with the feedback being satisfactory and a lot more convenient.
The Dolby Atmos spacial audio graces all the new iPhones, which is a delightful addition and does aid in creating a more immersive viewing experience and a treat for the ears as the sound is more dynamic. It's an area that only a few Android smartphones has, so this is a great addition for those who enjoy watching movies on mobile.
Powerful All Round
The iOS is the reason many Apple fans continue to be fans, and there's plenty to like about the latest iOS 13, and having it run on the now powerful iPhone 11 makes it even more attractive.
Of course, there are some new features on the iOS 13 that's nothing new to Android users. Swipe typing has been around and then there's also dark mode, another feature that's not really new at all, but it's still a welcomed feature to have on the iPhone 11.
Apple’s FaceID is definitely impressive, with a wide field of view that even as I place the iPhone on my bed and I glance at it from a distance, it would unlock instantly. It’s definitely quicker at recognising my face compared to my Android experience so far.
Of course, we need to talk about how powerful the iPhone 11 series has become and that is in part due to the A13 Bionic Chip. It scores higher on Geekbench than its flagship rivals and day-to-day, which is likely why the iPhone 11 is incredibly quick and responsive. I don’t remember apps ever loading this quickly. It makes light work of low-level video editing too.
There’s a new U1 chip too, which is meant to make AirDrop a breeze, and we can fully confirm this. If there's anything that impressed me about using the iPhone 11 (other than the camera) is how fast AirDrop is. I sent files as big as 6GB on AirDrop and it was done before I could count to five.
All that power, of course, means nothing if it's draining battery like water down a drain. But the iPhone 11's battery is impressive and even with a full day of photo taking, social media scrolling, messaging and gaming, it successfully lasted a full day for me. If you're a light user, you can definitely expect it to last at least two days.
Unfortunately, the iPhone 11 doesn't come with a 18W fast charger so if you need the iPhone 11 to charge quickly on top of lasting longer, you're going to need to fork out an extra MYR149 for it.
I will not deny the fact that the iPhone 11 impressed me and I can see why Apple fans remain loyal to the device. Sure, it may not be as technologically advanced as its Android counterparts and what it has is not revolutionary. But whatever new features the iPhone has, you can expect close to perfection with how well it is executed. With a powerful A13 chip packed in and a longer battery life, Apple fans should definitely look into the iPhone 11 series, and consider getting the iPhone 11 if you don't mind not having an OLED screen or a telephoto lens.