After some stagnation in terms of photography, Apple resolutely rushed in pursuit of the Koreans and Chinese who had gone ahead — first of all, this concerns processing using neural networks. We continue the conversation on this topic, now in the perspective of the younger model, iPhone 11, but with iOS 13.2 Beta (Deep Fusion) on board
We already planned to review not only the flagship iPhone 11 Pro Max (miss?), but this year’s iPhone Xr — the «regular» eleventh, with a 6.1-inch LCD display, a dual rather than a triple camera, smaller dimensions and weaker battery. And, of course, a more affordable price — if such terms are generally applicable to Apple products. The iPhone Xr can only be called successful by a stretch, but the iPhone 11 is made taking into account the main problem of last year’s «inexpensive iPhone» — there is too much gap between it and Apple’s older smartphone — and looks much more promising.
But already in the process of preparing the material, iOS 13.2 beta was released with the advertised Deep Fuison image processing system, which was supposed to throw the iPhone to a new level in terms of photography. This news created a new dimension for the material, in which we compared the iPhone 11 in photo and video quality with the Huawei Mate 30 Pro. Well, we still talked about other features of this smartphone.
I’ll make a reservation right away that there are no sections on hardware and wireless connections here — the iPhone 11 in terms of hardware stuffing repeats the iPhone 11 Pro Max, which passed all the benchmarks and proved to be the most powerful smartphone to date. The iPhone 11 also received the Apple A13 Bionic and 4 GB of RAM. Only the options differ in terms of storage capacity: 64, 128 and 256 GB versus 64, 256 and 512 GB for the Pro version. It is worth mentioning that the new iPhones use non-volatile memory of the UFS 2.1 standard, while fresh Android flagships, one after another, receive much faster UFS 3.0 memory.
In terms of wireless connections, the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro are also almost identical: Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax, a scheme with a single SIM card slot with LTE support (all the necessary bands are in place) , but the LTE modem in the «younger version» is weaker — the declared maximum download speed is 1024 Mbps versus 1600 Mbps for the Pro version.
|Apple iPhone 11||Apple iPhone Xr||Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max||Google Pixel 3a||One Plus 7 Pro|
1792 × 828 dots, 326 ppi, capacitive multi-touch
1792 × 828 dots, 326 ppi, capacitive multi-touch
|6.5″, Super AMOLED, 2688 × 1242 (19.5:9), 458 ppi, capacitive multi-touch, TrueTone technology||5.6 inches, OLED, 2220 × 1080 pixels, 441 ppi, capacitive multi-touch||6.67″ Fluid AMOLED
3120 × 1440 dots, 516 ppi, capacitive multi-touch
|Protective glass||No information||No information||No information||Asahi Dragontrail Glass||Corning Gorilla Glass (version not specified)|
|CPU||Apple A13 Bionic: six cores (2 × Lightning, 2.65 GHz + 4 × Thunder, 1.8 GHz)||Apple A12 Bionic: Dual Vortex Cores @ 2.5GHz + Four Tempest Cores @ 1.6GHz||Apple A13 Bionic: six cores (2 × Lightning, 2.65 GHz + 4 × Thunder, 1.8 GHz)||Qualcomm Snapdragon 670: two Kryo 360 Gold cores, 2.0 GHz + six Kryo 360 Silver cores, 1.7 GHz||Qualcomm Snapdragon 855: One Kryo 485 Gold core 2.85GHz + three Kryo 485 Gold cores 2.42GHz + four Kryo 485 Silver cores 1.8GHz|
|Graphics controller||Apple GPU (4 cores)||Apple GPU (4 cores)||Apple GPU (4 cores)||Adreno 615, 700 MHz||Adreno 640|
|RAM||4 GB||3 GB||4 GB||4 GB||6/8/12 GB|
|Flash memory||64/128/256 GB||64/128/256 GB||64/256/512 GB||64 GB||128/256 GB|
|Memory card support||Not||Not||Not||Not||Not|
|Connectors||Lightning||Lightning||Lightning||USB Type-C, 3.5mm||USB Type-C|
|SIM cards||One nano-SIM and one eSIM||Two nano-SIMs||One nano-SIM and one eSIM||One nano-SIM||Two nano-SIMs|
|Cellular 2G||GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz CDMA 800/1900||GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz CDMA 800||GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz CDMA 800 / 1900||GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz||GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz CDMA 800 / 1900|
|Cellular 3G||HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 MHz||HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 MHz||HSDPA 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1800 / 1900 / 2100 MHz||HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 MHz CDMA 2000||HSDPA 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1800 / 1900 / 2100 MHz|
|Cellular 4G||LTE-A Cat.16 (up to 1024/150 Mbps), bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26 , 28, 29, 30, 32, 34, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 46, 48, 66||LTE: bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 30, 32, 34, 38, 39, 40, 41, 66 .71||LTE-A (up to 1600/150 Mbps), bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 29, 30, 34, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 46, 48, 66, 71||LTE Cat. 11 (600Mbps): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 20, 25, 26, 28, 32, 38, 40, 41, 66||LTE Cat.18 (up to 1200 Mbps): bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29, 32, 34 , 38, 39, 40, 41, 66|
|NFC||Yes (Apple Pay)||Yes (Apple Pay)||Yes (Apple Pay)||There is||There is|
|Navigation||GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS||GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS||GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS||GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, Galileo||GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo|
|Sensors||Light, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass), barometer, Face ID||Illumination, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass)||Light, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass), barometer, Face ID||Light, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass), barometer||Illumination, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass)|
|The fingerprint scanner||Not||Not||Not||There is||Yes, on screen|
|Main camera||Dual module, 12 + 12 MP, ƒ / 1.8 + ƒ / 2.4, dual LED flash, phase detection autofocus and five-axis optical stabilization — in the main module||12.2 MP, ƒ/1.8, phase detection autofocus, dual LED flash, OIS||Triple module, 12 + 12 + 12 MP, ƒ / 1.8 + ƒ / 2.0 + ƒ / 2.4, LED flash, phase detection autofocus and five-axis optical stabilization — in the main and telemodules||12.2 MP, ƒ/1.8, phase detection autofocus, dual LED flash, OIS||Triple module: 48 MP, ƒ/1.6 + 8 MP, ƒ/2.4 + 16 MP, ƒ/2.2, hybrid autofocus, dual LED flash|
|Front-camera||12 MP, ƒ/2.2, no autofocus, no flash||7 MP, ƒ/2.2, fixed focus||12 MP, ƒ/2.2, no autofocus, no flash||8 MP, ƒ/2.0, fixed focus||16 MP, ƒ/2.0, fixed focus|
|Nutrition||Non-removable battery: 11.91 Wh (3110 mAh, 3.8 V)||Non-removable battery: 11.18 Wh (2942 mAh, 3.8 V)||Non-removable battery: 15.04 Wh (3969 mAh, 3.8 V)||11.4 Wh non-removable battery (3000 mAh, 3.8 V)||Non-removable battery: 15.2 Wh (4000 mAh, 3.8 V)|
|Weight||194 grams||194 grams||226 grams||147 grams||206 grams|
|Operating system||iOS 13||iOS 13||iOS 13||Android 9.0 Pie||Android 9.0 Pie, OxygenOS shell|
|Current price||$520 for 64GB version, $620 for 128GB version, $720 for 256GB version||$420 for 64GB version, $520 for 128GB version, $620 for 256GB version||From 920$||$320 (https://biggeek.ru/products/smartfon-google-pixel-3a-64gb-chernyj–black)||$320 for 6/128 GB version, $420 for 8/256 GB version|
⇡#Design, ergonomics and software
If there were many external differences between the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xr, which, despite the inevitable status losses, did not prevent the “youngest” one from becoming popular, then the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro look almost the same.
From the front, they do not differ at all — except that you can instantly and by eye determine the difference between LCD and OLED displays and have a perfect eye — after all, the dimensions of the regular iPhone 11 are different (it is larger than the iPhone 11 Pro, but smaller, than the iPhone 11 Pro Max). A large cutout with a speaker, a front camera and a Face ID sensor, atypically serious frames around the display — everything is about the same as last year.
Behind, it is not difficult to identify the younger model — in the «stove» located in the upper corner, there are two burners, not three. Let’s finish this, perhaps with irony — it looks, frankly, not bad. Apple inscribed camera lenses in large glasses and achieved unambiguous and 100% recognition of its new smartphones, while maintaining a certain elegance — as much as possible in modern devices with multi-camera systems.
The iPhone 11 also differs in colors — as in the case of the Xs / Xr, the younger model is decorated more cheerfully: instead of dark / gray / marsh tones, here, along with the inevitable black, green, yellow, purple, red and white colors are offered. The names do not always correspond to reality, by the way — we had a «purple» iPhone 11 on the test — in fact, lavender.
The iPhone 11 is a large device, despite the relatively small display by modern standards: under 200 grams in weight, you can’t put it in a shirt pocket, but it’s quite normal in a pants or jacket pocket. It is quite comfortable to manage a smartphone, the materials are familiar — glass on the front and back panels, metal on the sides. At the same time, the glass, unlike the Pro version, is glossy, not matte — due to the fact that the back is straight and not curved, the smartphone does not crawl away from various surfaces, but it’s still scary to use it without a case.
Functional elements are familiar to the iPhone: all the keys are in place, as is the sound profile switch; there is no mini-jack (3.5 mm), but there is protection according to the IP68 standard — like the older model. iPhone Xr, I remind you, was protected only according to the IP67 standard.
So much has already been written about the situation with the fingerprint scanner and Face ID that, in fact, there is nothing to add. I’ll just note that Apple is clearly waiting for some kind of breakthrough in under-screen sensor technology (like the availability of fingerprint recognition in any area of the display), so that at least in this area not to chase everyone, but to demonstrate technological superiority. In terms of speed and, especially, the quality of face recognition, Apple still retains an advantage — the Face ID system works much better than all competitors’ offerings. But its lack of alternative is still somewhat sad.
We wrote in detail about the iOS 13 operating system in the iPhone 11 Pro Max review. The version of iOS 13.2 with which I tested the smartphone does not bring almost anything new to it, except for the already mentioned Deep Fusion system, which improves the quality of shooting; it also has several blanks that will allow the smartphone to interact better with the new AirPods and HomePod, but what exactly will change is impossible to say without these gadgets on hand.
⇡ # Display and sound
Apple wouldn’t be itself if it didn’t cut the characteristics of the “younger iPhone” (which sells for $600, let me remind you) at least in some way — yes, this year the gap is really not very big, but the iPhone 11 did not receive OLED -screen, which has become the norm for everyone for several years, and an LCD with an IPS matrix. And the iPhone 11 thus automatically receives the title of the most expensive smartphone with an LCD display.
There is a 6.1-inch IPS screen with a resolution of 1792 × 828 pixels. The pixel density is low — 326 ppi. And this can be seen, in principle, with the naked eye — the clarity of the image in comparison with at least full-fledged Full HD screens is frankly lacking. No matter how much Apple once said that Retina is the limit of human discernable clarity, this is not so, and the company itself has since increased the screen resolution of older devices, having long gone from the level of 300 dpi.
No LCD display can boast of extreme contrast, and the one installed in the iPhone 11 is no exception. Although the level for IPS is not bad — 1480: 1. Just talking about any rivalry with OLED screens is pointless.
At the same time, the display of the iPhone 11 is all expectedly good with brightness — 549 cd / m2. Considering the measurement error (we always conduct them in a room with dim artificial lighting), we can talk about a close correspondence to the declared level of 625 cd/m2.
Support for HDR10 is declared, but we are still talking about playing videos in this format, and not the absolute compliance of the screen with the standard.
The display settings are familiar to the iPhone — you can’t manually adjust the color reproduction, you can only turn on / off the True Tone automatic color adjustment mode for ambient lighting, select a light or dark shell theme (here they are, the true innovations of the new iOS!), Activate the night mode and “play with fonts.» I measured the color rendering of the display both with and without True Tone turned on — however, in the first case, the measurement results can be considered more or less arbitrary.
In default mode, the iPhone 11 exhibits the kind of display setup we’re used to with Apple products. The average gamma is a perfect 2.25 with very stable curves. The color temperature line is almost perfectly flat and stays close to the reference level of 7,000 K. The average DeltaE deviation on the Color Checker scale, which includes both a wide range of colors and shades of gray, is 2.50, which is within the normal range. The picture is absolutely honest, although the color gamut does not correspond to the declared one (P3), but is kept very close to the usual sRGB.
When True Tone is activated, the picture changes significantly visually — it becomes warmer and more pleasing to the eye. But the measurement results show, on the contrary, a noticeable “cooling” — the color temperature is already in the region of 7,750 K. Gamma is still almost ideal (2.27), but the color space does not expand, but slightly shifts, the average deviation of Delta E in the Color Checker scale is already outside the normal range — 3.18. But it’s still extremely close to the truth. Apple continues the great tradition of customizing the screens of its smartphones.
With the sound of the iPhone 11, the situation is exactly the same as the iPhone 11 Pro Max — there is no mini-jack, but there is support for high-quality sound transmission standards without wires. But there is no adapter from Lightning to mini-jack — Apple, well, wow! The sound quality for wireless data transfer is good, you can’t fault it. The built-in speakers are also in order — there are two of them, this is stereo. One is directed conditionally “to the side” when watching a video / game in landscape orientation of the screen, the other is directed directly at the listener. The sound is far from outstanding, but not bad.
The second important difference between the iPhone 11 and the iPhone 11 Pro is the rear camera system. However, the difference is not as dramatic as it could be. There is simply no portrait module here, while the normal and wide-angle ones are preserved without any changes: both with 12-megapixel sensors (the main one has physical dimensions of 1/2.55 inches, there is no information about the wide-angle one), with lenses with an equivalent focal length of 26 and 13 mm and aperture ratio ƒ/1.8 and ƒ/2.4. An optical stabilizer and phase detection autofocus work with the main camera, the wide-angle module lacks both autofocus and stabilization.
But what is interesting, as usual, is not the characteristics of the cameras themselves, but how the smartphone processes the results obtained using this hardware. Some of the questions were shot in the review of the iPhone 11 Pro Max — progress compared to the previous generation of iPhones, especially in night shooting (multi-frame exposure is supported, hallelujah!) is very serious. So serious that many again started talking about how Apple has the best mobile camera. Perhaps these statements are not entirely true.
The iPhone 11 test took place in two stages — before installing the beta version of iOS 13.2 and after. I will also break the camera test into two parts.
Above you can see examples of shooting on the main and wide-angle camera modules of the iPhone 11 without Deep Fusion technology. In any case, we can see very high-quality color reproduction and decent low-light performance, although it’s still not worth saying that Apple has caught up with Huawei, Google or even Samsung in one leap in terms of night shooting. Firstly, the night mode does not work with the wide-angle camera, which greatly hinders its use in dark conditions. Secondly, the noise level is still very high — the picture looks good on the smartphone screen, but already on the monitor it is noticeable that there are problems, and considerable ones.
Nevertheless, this is a normal flagship level of photography, and in street / landscape photography, the iPhone 11 is in no way inferior to the Pro version, releasing it forward only when shooting portraits — the camera with an adequate focal length is very lacking on the younger iPhone. At the same time, there is a portrait mode, and it works quite decently — the object and the background are separated qualitatively — just optics are not suitable for shooting close-ups.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have an iPhone 11 or iPhone 11 Pro with “regular” iOS 12 for comparison, so we won’t be able to compare a head-to-head picture with and without Deep Fusion. But it will be possible to compare it with the one that gives out Huawei Mate 30 Pro — a smartphone with the best mobile camera according to DxO Mark (and not only). First, a few words about Deep Fusion technology. Its meaning is not much different from what Google or the same Huawei uses in their cameras and described in the article “Computational Photography”. The device continuously shoots everything that hits the “viewfinder” screen when the camera application is on, and then when you “press the shutter button”, it takes four frames taken before you gave the command to shoot, and four after. All with different exposures. Then they are combined into one, assembled from them literally pixel by pixel — the «brains» of the smartphone selectively and using neural network calculations apply noise reduction to different areas of the image, tighten up the detail. The system works very efficiently — the pictures really turn out to be very detailed, and it looks natural, and not “oversharpened”. Examples can be seen below. Another thing is that Deep Fusion does not work in all situations now (the technology is very selective with the night mode) and only with the main and portrait cameras. Deep Fusion does not work with the wide-angle module yet.
Above you can see pictures taken in the same conditions on the iPhone 11 and Huawei Mate 30 Pro. The main advantage of the device from Cupertino is a more accurate and pleasant work with colors and, perhaps, softer processing — Huawei sometimes goes overboard with attempts to “stretch” both dark and light areas and with contour sharpening. On the other hand, the iPhone 11’s night mode is much more limited, the wide-angle camera is inferior to that of Huawei in all respects, and the advantage in detail using Deep Fusion does not seem dramatic. We will prepare a more detailed comparison of the iPhone 11 Pro Max with the main Android flagships later in the month.
In terms of video shooting, the iPhone has always had a big advantage over all competitors — the softest stitching of frames with effective stabilization leads to the fact that the picture almost does not twitch, while all Android smartphones have problems with this to one degree or another. This advantage continues to this day. Apple also did a great job of switching between the wide-angle and main camera when shooting video — seamlessly and with virtual «zoom in / out» of the sound. But at the same time, in terms of video quality in the dark, the iPhone 11 does not surpass the Huawei Mate 30 Pro. This is especially true for shooting in 4K60p format — the shadows completely fail, the noise reduction is too zealous.
The front camera is the same as on the iPhone 11 Pro Max: 12 MP, ƒ / 2.2, no autofocus, no flash, with the ability to write slow-motion videos (Slofy — I bet that neither the videos themselves nor the term will take root) and with different viewing angles for vertical and horizontal shooting (which is great). The front camera is like a front camera — more good than bad.
⇡ # Autonomous work and charging
The iPhone 11 received an 11.91 Wh (3110 mAh, 3.8 V) battery — a fairly typical solution for Apple, the company has never been particularly generous with batteries for its smartphones. Combined with a 6.1-inch LCD screen and a rather resource-demanding platform, the iPhone 11 has been running out of battery for me in my normal usage scenarios (okay, with a lot of gaming — actively immersed in the Apple Arcade catalog) in about a day — since waking up to the moment when I went to bed (that is, 16-17 hours). A perfectly normal cycle that did not require me to necessarily look for an outlet in the middle of the day.
In our traditional HD video playback test with notifications turned on and connected to Wi-Fi, the iPhone 11 delivered the expected result for an LCD smartphone of just over nine hours. But for the iPhone, I must say, this is a very good progress — in past models with LCD screens (and not only) we talked about 5-6 hours in this test.
Unfortunately, the iPhone 11 kit did not include a fast charging adapter — there is only the most ordinary, 5-watt one, with which the smartphone’s battery is fully charged in about two and a half hours. An 18-watt charger, like the iPhone 11 Pro Max, is also supported, but must be purchased separately. Legendary Apple greed at its finest.
The Apple iPhone 11 is, in my opinion, a much more successful attempt to make an “inexpensive iPhone” than the iPhone Xr, which, with the sum of its compromises (and case colors), reminded me of the iPhone 5c forgotten like a bad dream. But very good sales figures, which Apple even provoked on purpose, show that compromises and a strong gap between the older and younger iPhones do not frighten the public.
The iPhone 11 should become even more popular than the Xr and without additional stimulation — the gap between it and the Pro version is not so big, the design is almost identical, the user experience too. I was pleased that the younger version used a two-camera system, and with the preservation of a wide-angle, rather than a portrait module — it seems to be a little more relevant in everyday use. Portrait is not as popular a genre for mobile photography as landscape or street photography. Night mode is effective but not perfect (and doesn’t work with the wide-angle camera), Deep Fusion is also good, but also limited in scope.
Of the shortcomings of a smartphone that costs more adequate than the Pro version, I will note only an outdated LCD display, Apple’s classic greed for a complete fast charging adapter, large frames around the screen and a huge cutout, which can already be called an anachronism.
- it’s a new iPhone that costs between $60 and $700, not hundreds;
- highest performance;
- high-quality sound;
- good quality of shooting on the main camera;
- moisture protection;
- nice body colors.
- no mini-jack or adapter to mini-jack included;
- weak charger included;
- bright and well-tuned, but still LCD;
- the show with the zoo of connectors continues — again Lightning;
- the portrait camera is still missing.