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iPhone 11 and 11 Pro: Apple’s true flagships are finally here

The iPhone 11 Pro in gold and the iPhone 11 in purple, which were the review devices

The iPhone 11 Pro in gold and the iPhone 11 in purple, which were the review devices  

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Tenacious battery life, a triple-camera system, a faster and intuitive A13 Bionic chipset — Apple’s finally stepped up their game with the iPhone 11 series. That said, we took a crack (pun unintended) at the 11 and the 11 Pro

The unveiling of the iPhone 11 series was a pretty exciting moment for Apple and for iPhone-lovers, for various reasons from the upgraded camera system to the intricate functions of the A13 Bionic chip.

I’ve got to say, unboxing iPhones has gotten a tad anticlimactic for the amount of paper used in the packaging. While one can say ‘just send it all for recycling’, there are still a population of tech loyalists who hold on to the box for as long as they do the gadget itself.

When you finally hold the iPhone 11 Pro, the more tactile feel of it, thanks to the angelic matte finish on the back, is a pleasant break away from the glass-backed previous models. A touch of glam for the 11 Pro comes with the chrome detailing around the edges, too, catching the light just right— a welcome break from the holographic phones which permeated concepts of smartphone design this year.

iPhone 11 Specs
  • Dimensions: 5.94” x 2.98” x 0.33”; 194 g
  • Display: Liquid Retina HD; 6.1” LCD display; 1400:1 contrast ratio (typical); 2436-by-1125-pixel resolution at 458 ppi; 625 nits max brightness (typical)
  • Materials & finishes: Aluminium and glass finish
  • Water resistance: Water resistant to a depth of 2 metres for up to 30 minutes
  • iPhone 11 is available in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB models in six colours, starting at ₹64,900.

iPhone 11 series is the vivid and non-grainy display, especially in Dark Mode. Keep in mind that earlier models had an upper parameter of 625 nits of brightness, while the 11 Pro dazzles at 800 nits of maximum brightness for the typical display and 1,200 nits of maximum brightness for HDR experiences, such as gaming and streaming.

The 11 models come in the iconic throwback shades of the early Apple logo, my review device being an easy-on-the-eyes purple hue. The rear dual-camera system is the noticeable difference between its big brother the 11 Pro, so obviously the latter is more of a conversation-starter; throwback to the memes of the induction stove-top-like rear triple-camera system.

My heart breaks for the screen durability — or lack thereof. The 11 series claims to have the toughest screens out there... but after a couple of days in my possession — and I like to think I’m pretty careful about my gadgets — there was a noticeable scratch on the screen. Come to think of it, I’ve rarely had this issue with Apple, except for the rare hard fall, which saw a total shatter.

In 2019, this really shouldn’t be an issue with new phones, considering screen durability has been perfected by countless names in the market.

Apple made a clever move by making sure the new iOS 13 is best harnessed by the 11 series, which is equipped with the new A13 Bionic chip. The intuitive operating system platform keeps its wits about itself with regard to charging and will even curtail the power input at the right times. However, the phone did heat up, particularly during app updates, gaming and FaceTime.

Pretty on the inside, too

So, let us talk A13 Bionic: Apple’s new chipset. Making the 11 series fluid, A13 definitely lives up to its promise of being far more instinctive to make sure you get the best out of your phone right till the last percentile of battery life, whether you are FaceTiming, or video-editing during which the changes you make reflect live — no more waiting and lags.

The battery for the 11 series is certainly ‘bae’. Charging is silly fast, I no longer have to worry about a night-time charge, I just power up first thing in the morning before the office run. Wireless charging is available too, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you are short on time. I also found myself relying less on a back-up battery which used to be habitual when using earlier models.

A few weeks into using the phone, I spent four hours continuously recording videos, taking countless pictures, audio-recording interviews and live-tweeting. I’d started with a full battery and ended with a 64% battery. However, I feel that Google, Samsung and Xiaomi have nailed the efficient battery formula, which has retained their own loyal investors.

Intelligent camera system

As Vanessa Williams sang, I’ve saved the best for last. The intelligent camera systems of the 11 series are a delight to work and play with. True Depth is bettered in the 11 series, where portraits are less blurry and focussing is more sustained. I’ve already taken an embarrassing number of Slo-Fies (slow-motion selfies) in which the quality is pretty great. But if we’re getting into the anatomy of Portrait modes, Google Pixel is in the lead here for detail and less fuss.

The Ultra Wide lens, offering ƒ/2.4 aperture plus a 120-degree field of view, is ideal for photographing wide scapes of pretty scenery or tight shots in small spaces. Ultra Wide basically makes the most of A13 Bionic’s machine learning capabilities in that it takes a decent approximation of the subject’s environment.

iPhone 11 Pro Specs
  • Dimensions: 5.67” x 2.81” x 0.32”; 188 g
  • Display: Super Retina XDR; 5.8” OLED display; 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio (typical); 1792-by-828-pixel resolution at 326 ppi; 800 nits max brightness (typical)
  • Materials & finishes: Stainless steel and glass finish
  • Water resistance: Water resistant to a depth of 4 metres for up to 30 minutes
  • iPhone 11 Pro is available in 64GB, 256GB and 512GB models in midnight green, space gray, silver and gold, starting at ₹99,900.

The 11 Pro, however, has the Telephoto lens with a focal length of a phenomenal 52 millimetres. This lens is ideal for subjects positioned further away. And finally, Night Mode on the 11 series is instinctive in terms of subject lighting, while retaining the integrity of a night-time shot.

Video recording is a dream; the stabilisation better than ever, allowing for smoother filming. But Twitter and WhatsApp can mess up slow-motion and time-lapse footage. It doesn’t stop there; if you’re looking forward to the highly-anticipated Deep Fusion technology, expect it to be closer than ever to the clarity of fine detail of an SLR with a large lens.

After some of the gut-wrenching price tags from Apple over the years, the 11 has a pretty decent price-point of under ₹70,000. But don’t think of this model as Apple’s ‘budget 11 series model’; it still packs a punch. The Pro and the under-mentioned Pro Max are the burlier siblings, offering a more immersive experience for filmmakers and gamers if Arcade’s caught their eye. But if we’re getting into universal gaming on its own, the OnePlus 7 and the ASUS ROG Phone II have pushed the envelope here.

Overall, the 11 series has been well formulated for the Indian market, who are across the range from curious to loyalists.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 3:03:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/gadgets/review-iphone-11-and-iphone-11-pro-2019-apples-true-flagships-tenacious-battery-life-a-triple-camera-system-a-faster-and-intuitive-a13-bionic-chipset/article29681013.ece

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