Home > Personal Technology > Apple > iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro Max Review: These Go To Eleven
Related image
Spinal Tap, 1984

We’ve got our hands on the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro Max, Apple’s latest additions to its most popular line of products.

The iPhone 11 Pro Max on top of its predecessor, the iPhone Xs Max. Image: Ian Ling

In our first few hours with these devices, we’ve managed to set these bad boys up and take them through their paces. In case you’ve missed it, we’ve also covered some of the more obscure features on the iPhone 11 devices in the article below.

1. Great, Simple Colours and Design

Less is more, and Apple knows that. We had the chance to view the entire line up of iPhone 11 devices just hours ago, and the new colours looked even better in real life.

For the iPhone 11, Purple and Green have replaced the Coral and Blue options for the iPhone XR. While the names of those colours might conjure a more grotesque shade, Apple had opted for a very pastel rendition – Green appears more seafoam green, and Purple a little more lilac.

Apple CEO Tim Cook stands in front of a graphic showing the available colours for the iPhone 11. Image: Apple

For the iPhone 11 Pro Max, we find a new Midnight Green in addition to the existing Silver, Gold and Space Gray. It’s a bit of a military green tone, but it’s very understated in person – quite the other way from the ostentatious Gold that premiered with the iPhone Xs last year.

The iPhone X design has worked pretty well for two years now, and Apple didn’t do much to fix it. The iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max still sport the same screen sizes, display notches, lightning port and SIM card tray placements.

What’s different is the new squared-off raised camera section, and a more centred iPhone bitten apple glyph. The “iPhone” text is completely gone. Rest in peace.

The iPhone 11 Pro Max (L) and the iPhone Xs Max (R). Image: Ian Ling

But almost imperceptible is a slightly thicker phone. With 5 more hours of battery life on the iPhone 11 Pro Max over the iPhone Xs Max, that had to come from somewhere. The devices have marginally more heft in the hand than their predecessors.

2. Powerful Performance

The A12 Bionic was miles ahead of the Android competition, and this year, the A13 Bionic is no different. 

The iPhone 11 Pro Max (L) and the iPhone 11 (R). Both in black, the Pro model comes in a matte finish. Image: Ian Ling

We ran Geekbench 4, which showed that the iPhone 11 Pro Max outshone its predecessor with a single-core score of 5480 to the iPhone Xs Max’s 4805, and in terms of multi-core performance with a score of 12512 to last year’s 10934.

In terms of GPU performance, both devices simply blazed through 3D Mark’s top-tier benchmark, Sling Shot. The iPhone 11 Pro Max scored 3809 against the iPhone Xs Max’s 2921.

In other words, this year’s iPhones have greatly improved upon last year’s. It’s not the most impressive of increments but remember – the Apple A12 Bionic was leading the mobile computing pack when was announced last year.

The iPhone 11 and 11 Pro Max. Image: Ian Ling

There’s no direct or effective comparison between Apple’s offerings and the Android competition, but most sources suggest they’re still well ahead.

3. Improved Displays

The iPhone 11 Pro phones sport an improved display along with more powerful speakers. In most indoor situations, video playback at full brightness was eye-watering and induced a bit of a migraine.

To be fair, peak brightness on these phones really is meant to compete with direct noon sunlight, and the iPhone Xs Max was bright, but not bright.

The displays of the iPhone 11 Pro Max (L) and the iPhone Xs Max (R). Image: Ian Ling

The display on the iPhone 11 isn’t improved from the iPhone XR, which is sure to send pixel-peeping, specification-toting nerds into disarray. It’s still 720p, but most will struggle to tell it apart at a glance from the “Pro”, “XDR” display on its more expensive brethren. I couldn’t.

4. Out-of-box Fast Charging, At Last

The iPhone 11 Pro Max comes with an 18-watt power adapter (a nifty folding three-pronged affair for UK plug-using regions), along with a USB-C to Lightning cable.

While the iPhone 11 doesn’t come with the apparatus needed for fast charging, users are free to obtain their own from the Apple Store. It’s not cheap though, at SGD 45 (USD 29) for the 18W USB-C Power Adapter and SGD 29 (USD 19) for a 1-metre long USB-C to Lightning Cable.

Even so, the out-of-box fast charging juiced up my phone much, much faster than previously. Both the iPhone Xs Max and iPhone 11 Pro Max at around 20%, their different chargers left the Xs Max at 47% to the 11 Pro Max’s 76% just after 40 minutes.

You can check out what else comes with the iPhone 11 devices in the Instagram video embeds above.

5. The Best Smartphone Camera UI Just Got Better

I’ve always loved the iPhone’s camera interface, but the addition of the ultra-wide-angle camera and Night Mode had been on my wishlist for the longest time imaginable.

It had gone to the extent of me taking along an additional smartphone (the Huawei P30 Pro) for the dual purpose of low-light photography and for capturing the vast interiors of iconic landmarks.

With the iPhone 11 phones, we get these features, but it doesn’t stop there. A pet peeve I had despite the great performance of Huawei’s P-, Mate- series and Google’s Pixel phones is their terrible user interface (UI).

Coming from a photographic background, UI is everything. It can mean the difference between getting a shot or missing it, or even dropping your phone or hanging on to it.

While the iPhone 11 phones run iOS 13, these camera UI upgrades won’t be coming to earlier iPhones, unfortunately.

In addition to the nifty zoom wheel (which already exists in a different design on previous iPhones, by the way), the elements at the top of the camera UI have been brought down above the camera mode scroll bar, accessible by swiping up.

Filters, timers, aspect ratios, the Live Photo toggle, the Night Mode control and Flash toggle now all reside where they should – at your fingertips.

We’re barely hours into our iPhone 11 experience and would love to take you through further findings in the days to come. Make sure you’re following our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages to keep up with us.

Ian Ling
Ian is the resident Tech Monkey and Head of Content at VR Zone. His training in Economics and Political Science is at the basis of his love for journalism and storytelling. A photographer by passion, and an audiophile by obsession, Ian is captivated by all forms of tech that makes enthusiasts tick.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Read previous post:
Pixel 4 Launches October 15 With 90Hz Display And Touch-less Gesture Controls

Google is finally ready to officially reveal its Pixel 4 smartphones, issuing invitations to an October 15 Made by Google...