In my iPhone XS Max reviewlast year I made it clear that it was an “S” upgrade – although it did bring some more noticeable improvements than expected.
This time, with the iPhone 11 line, Apple hit the right hand. So well, exceptionally this year, I would say that the upgrade may be worth to some people who have the immediately previous model – something very rare to happen.
By this I do not mean that this year's generation is perfect – far from it. The cool thing is that, in much of the improvements brought by Apple, the feeling we had is that Apple, for the first time in a long time, stopped and actually listened to its consumers.
I've been using a space-gray 256GB iPhone 11 Pro Max for a few weeks now, but I will do my best to cover in this review also the aspects that differ from the other models in the line – both the 11 Pro and the 11 "pure" .
Come on? 😉
Let's get to the most controversial point in recent months regarding the iPhone 11, which is its design. We already knew about one or another news that would come this year before launch, but when we talk about early leaks what matters most is the look of the housing of the device.
It has been a long time since the repercussions from these leaks were so negative. I imagine this year will only match the iPhone 4, whose prototype found in a bar and released by Gizmodo at the time It was so controversial that most people didn't even believe it was actually an Apple smartphone. (Today, some say it's one of the most beautiful iPhones of all time… 🤷🏼♂️)
What many forget is that in most of these leaks we do not have a close representation of what the final device will look like. Yes, the overall layout is the same – we knew the square cutout and placement of the three rear cameras, but compare this here:
… To the final product:
Okay, I even accept that a lot of you still don't think he's beautiful and don't put him, maybe, in the Top 3 most beautiful iPhones in history. But undeniably, the end product is much nicer and more balanced than we expected.
Looking ahead, this year's three iPhones – 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max – are identical to their predecessors, the XR, the XS, and the XS Max. Not even the notch has changed, and we will obviously have one topic. about Face ID more in this review.
In the rear, yes, drastic changes:
- We still have glass on every device, but at 11 Apple used a glossy finish with the matte square cutout. Already on the iPhones 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max, the opposite is true: the back is all matte, with the square of the cameras bright.
- It is important to note that this square is still part of the same glass as the rest of the rear. It is slightly raised but carved from a single piece of glass. This is the kind of thing we couldn't even see in the early leaks.
- With this new big square there for the cameras, Apple thought it would be good to get its apple logo down – now centered on the device. In addition, she removed the inscription “iPhone” and, in almost every country (where she got permission, that is), the regulatory marks just below her.
In addition, the buttons on the sides of the handset – which continue to be made of stainless steel on the Pro models and aluminum on the inlet model – are slightly lower.
I really liked the matte look of the iPhone 11 Pro (Max), mainly because it doesn't leave fingerprints as visible as on bright smartphones. But if I had taken part in the device development project, I might have chosen not to give the camera cut-outs such a brilliant finish; It could be a bit high as it is, but also matte like the rest of the handset.
By the way, the elevation itself is a little lower this year because the gadgets themselves got a little bit thicker. The iPhone 11 Pro Max, for example, gained 0.4mm in thickness and was 18 grams heavier than the XS Max.
Apple has retained the classic space gray, silver and gold colors on the Pro models, but this year has brought a new midnight green – a rather pretty, somewhat sober military style that even it looks like space gray depending on ambient lighting.
Like every year, Apple claims to have created the toughest glass ever placed on a smartphone (and tests prove it, by the way – although far from unbreakable) and also promises greater water resistance, with IP68 rating for 4 meters submerged for up to 30 minutes.
Otherwise, nothing has changed: holes for speakers and microphones, Lightning port, silent mode switch (it was rumored to look just like the iPads Pro), antenna lines and chip tray.
Screen and 3D Touch
Ok, let's focus here on the front of the new iPhones.
In terms of basic technical specifications, nothing has changed on the screens of this year's three devices. The 11 continues with a 6.1 ″ LCD with a resolution of 828 × 1792 pixels (326ppp, Retina @ 2x), while the 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max have 5.8 ″ (1125 × 2436 pixels – 458ppp) OLED displays. Retina @ 3x) and 6.5 ″ (1242 × 2688 pixels – 458ppp, Retina @ 3x) respectively.
But all of them have been enhanced, especially those of the Pro models – already voted the best placed on a smartphone. The contrast ratio is now 1: 2,000,000 and the maximum brightness reaches 800 nits – with peaks of 1,200 nits when playing HDR video. That's why Apple now calls this screen "Super Retina XDR."
However, confirming rumors of months, Apple actually killed the 3D Touch on the iPhones 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max – remembering that the iPhone XR no longer had it, as it does not have the 11. That means the screens are no longer pressure-sensitive, relying on the “new” Haptic Touch (cute name for “touch and hold”) to accomplish almost everything 3D Touch did.
I was personally upset about this, although I didn't like it at all, for example, the inconsistency of using a 3D Touch iPhone and an iPad without. Incidentally, inconsistency was certainly a factor that weighed heavily on Apple deciding to kill the 3D Touch; Not only was it not on the company's entire line of touchscreens, but the system itself and apps didn't exploit it in a decent way.
Apple is doing its best to make the Haptic Touch experience similar to 3D Touch, but it will never be the same. For me, surely the place I miss the most about 3D Touch is on the keyboard; To move the typing cursor, you now need to touch and hold the spacebar specifically. A clear example of a worsening experience.
If I had wagered money on the changes coming to Face ID this year, I would have lost badly. In short: nothing has changed, and that is disappointing.
Face ID arrived on the iPhone in generation X in 2017. It was only natural that last year it would stay the same, but I was “sure” that this year we would see the arrival of its second generation with some long-awaited enhancements such as:
- Work even with iPhone horizontally;
- A significantly higher operating angle, for example, to avoid tilting your head on the table when you want to unlock the device without holding it in your hand;
- An even higher level of security, even able to differentiate identical siblings.
You see, I didn't put in the list above the performance, because from iPhone X here Apple really managed to improve what was already good. On iOS 13, especially, Face ID was so quick to unlock the device that sometimes I don't even see the closed lock icon anymore. Point to her software development team.
By far, what bothers me most about this whole story is that Face ID still doesn't work with the iPhone lying down. And do you know why this is total nonsense? Because last year's iPad Pro (yes, released October 2018 – just one month after the XS / XS Max iPhones) already has Face ID working in any orientation. P **** Apple! What happens?!
I fully understand that making Face ID work in any orientation on an iPad is far more important than on an iPhone, and I figured that last year Apple couldn't have built in any special extra hardware that made it possible on iPads. But a year later, you can't understand / accept it. It's too annoying to be watching a video, for example stopping for some reason and then having to turn iPhone vertically again. First World Problems®, I know, but we're talking about one of today's most expensive smartphones. We have to be small.
That is, in terms of the hardware present inside notch, practically nothing has changed since 2017 – no wonder that the clipping itself remains the same size. What has changed this year is the front camera itself (we'll talk about it later, of course), which now has a slightly wider angle and so it should have benefited a little from the operation of Face ID. But I assure you, this is almost imperceptible.
Performance and battery
I put performance and drums on the same topic purposefully, after all, this year the chip that powers the new iPhones – the A13 Bionic (creativity over codenames, Apple?) – was developed with a strong focus on energy efficiency.
It's not that the A13 doesn't bring performance gains; him up to 50% higher than Snapdragon 855+, current supersum of the Android world. But for those who live in the iPhone world, it's undeniable that Apple's chips have been so high a few years ago that it doesn't even make much sense to be discussing more or less earnings here or there. In short: the …