iPhone 11 vs iPhone 11 Pro

Need help choosing an iPhone 11? Let's take a look at the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and the iPhone Pro Max to see what your hard-earned cash will get you.

The unveiling of Apple's latest iPhone has long been considered one of the most anticipated and exciting events in the mobile tech industry, and for good reason.

Just as the original iPhone paved the way for the entire smartphone revolution which soon followed, Apple's newer models are known for their unique and innovative use of design and technology.

The release of the iPhone 11 in 2019 was no different, and this year's model, just like last year's, has been released alongside two premium handsets: the iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro Max.

While all three models are top end smartphones, they each differ slightly in terms of hardware and power specifications, with the Pro and the Pro Max offering some added features and boosted capacities which aren't found in the basic model.

If you're in the market for a new iPhone and unsure which one to buy, it's worth spending time researching what you'll get in return for the few hundred extra pounds that the iPhone Pro and the iPhone Pro Max could set you back.

Design

While you might think that the iPhone 11 would be the smallest of the three models as well as the cheapest, actually it's right in the middle between the Pro and the Pro Max in terms of handset and display size, meaning users looking for a more compact design would be best off opting for the Pro, while those wanting a bigger display should look into the Pro Max.

  • iPhone 11: 75.7 x 150.9 x 8.3mm
  • iPhone 11 Pro: 71.4 x 144 x 8.1mm
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max: 77.8 x 158 x 8.1mm

Otherwise, in terms of design, all three handsets share similar features including an all-glass back and a square camera array, though the Pro models both sport stainless steel sides while the standard model has aluminium sides.

The standard iPhone 11 is also available in a wider range of bright pastel shades, while the Pro models are available in more neutral, classier tones including space grey and the brand new midnight green.

It probably goes without saying that all versions of the phone look incredibly stylish regardless.

Display

The phone's display sizes mirror the handset design dynamic, with the iPhone 11 placed firmly in the middle with a 6.1-inch display, a little larger than the iPhone 11 Pro's 5.8-inch display and a little smaller than the Pro Max's 6.5-inch display.

However, the quality of each display is reflected in the price tag of each handset; the iPhone 11 has an LCD display while the superior Pro models have OLED displays, and the resolution of each display gets steadily higher with each version.

There's no doubt that all three iPhone displays will be great quality, but users prepared to pay a little extra for the best picture quality will want to check out the Pro and the Pro Max.

  • iPhone 11: 6.1-inch Liquid Retina, 1792 x 828
  • iPhone 11 Pro: 5.8-inch Super Retina XDR, 2436 x 1125
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max: 6.5-inch Super Retina XDR, 2688 x 1242

Cameras

All three iPhone 11 models feature high quality front and rear cameras, though both of the Pro models include upgraded triple lens arrays compared to the mere double lenses featured on the basic iPhone 11.

Front camera

Selfie aficionados needn't worry, since the front cameras on all three models are identical.

Every iPhone 11 version features Apple's signature TruDepth Camera with face recognition technology, all offering a 12MP f/2.2 aperture camera and a brand new 'slofies' feature, which records a short video selfie at 120 fps.

In other words, there's nothing to differentiate the three iPhone 11 models from one another where the front camera is concerned.

Rear camera

The rear cameras, however, are quite different between all three models. Both the iPhone Pro and the iPhone Pro Max feature a triple-camera array while the iPhone 11 has just the two.

All three models offer 12MP wide f/1.8 OIS lenses and 12MP ultra wide f/2.4 120-degree FOV lenses, while the two Pro models add a third 12 MP telephoto f/2.0 OIS 2x optical zoom lens.

This third lens should allow iPhone photographers to get that bit closer to distant subjects without compromising on image quality, making it an attractive inclusion for amateur photographers who use their smartphones as a primary camera.

Apart from this, all three models offer a fantastic amount of value in terms of camera quality, with every model offering Apple's new Night Mode for taking improved quality pics in low lighting.

They also all pack in better modes for portrait photography, smart HDR technology, advanced red-eye correction software and auto image stabilisation.

In terms of video, both the iPhone 11 and both of the iPhone 11 Pro models record in 4K at up to 60fps, and they all pack in brighter True Tone flash and a nice audio zoom feature which will focus the microphone onto the subject that you're zooming in on.

In other words, all three phones offer high quality rear camera photo and video, but the extra telephoto technology included in the Pro models could be a dealbreaker for budding phone photographers.

Battery

All three of this year's iPhone models have received a decent upgrade on last year's in terms of battery life, though you won't be surprised to find out that both the Pro and the Pro Max offer somewhat better battery life than the basic iPhone 11.

Apple have chosen to define the new models' batteries in comparison to last year's models, claiming that the iPhone 11's battery life is 1 hour longer than the iPhone XR; the iPhone 11 Pro's battery life is 4 hours longer than the iPhone XS; and the iPhone 11 Pro Max's battery life is 5 hours longer than the iPhone XS Max.

This results in a significant improvement upon last year's models for all three phones.

To more clearly compare the battery life of the latest three models against each other we can take a look at the expected number of video playback hours Apple claims each phone can offer before needing charged:

  • iPhone 11: Up to 17 hours
  • iPhone 11 Pro: Up to 18 hours
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max: Up to 20 hours

When it's put like this, it seems all three models have impressive battery capacities and most users will likely see the boosted battery life included in the Pro models as a relatively small extra.

Battery charging

All three models offer wireless charging and fast-charging via a 12W power adapter or greater, though only purchasers of the Pro and Pro Max models will find an 18W charger in the box.

iPhone 11 owners will need to buy their own, as the standard model only comes with a basic 5W power adapter - this is worth doing as it can make charging your iPhone significantly speedier.

Performance

All three iPhone 11 models feature the A13 Bionic processor, Apple's fastest chip to date.

The company have claimed that the A13 Bionic is both the fastest CPU and GPU in a smartphone ever, boasting machine learning technology, an advanced neural engine, and Core ML3.

Whether this means anything to you or not, it's clear that all three iPhone 11 models should offer the kind of top performance we'd expect from the latest iPhone iterations.

One point worth noting is that Apple don't release details on the amount of RAM packed into each phone, though benchmark tests conducted on all three models indicate that the iPhone 11 might be a little behind the other models but not enough to cause significant delays in performance - so this shouldn't affect the majority of buyers' decisions on which model to purchase.

Storage

Storage tiers offered for each handset mirror last year's phones, with each model offering a minimum of 64GB; it's worth noting that only the Pro and the Pro Max offer top end storage of 512GB, and it's precisely this 512GB model of the iPhone Pro Max which will set you back by almost a grand and a half.

  • iPhone 11: 64GB/128GB/256GB
  • iPhone 11 Pro: 64GB/256GB/512GB
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max: 64GB/256GB/512GB

512GB may sound like a lot, but they can quickly be filled if you take a lot of videos and like to explore new apps. None of the iPhone 11 models offer expandable memory, so it's worth considering whether you'll need those extra gigabytes before purchasing a handset, as there'll be no way to change your mind later.

Sound

All three iPhone 11 models feature spatial audio and a new sound visualiser, which promises to bring '3D sound' to your smartphone. This is paired with Dolby Atmos support and two small speakers offering improved sound quality on last year's iPhones.

In other words, both the standard and the Pro models of the iPhone 11 should offer impressive sound technology and crisp, clear sound quality, with no discernible differences between the three models.

Water resistance

One final big difference between the iPhone 11 and the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max models is the level of water resistance each model offers.

All three models are rated to offer the highest IP68 level of water resistance, which means they can safely be dropped into up to 2 metres of water for up to 30 minutes - so dropping your phone in the bath shouldn't be a problem.

However, according to Apple both the iPhone 11 Pro and the Pro Max offer up to 4 metres of water resistance for up to 30 minutes.

While this might not sound like much to most, it does mean the two pricier models can double as underwater cameras during scuba diving trips - so if you've got a holiday to the Maldives planned for next year then this might be worth a consideration.

Price

Finally, the big one: all these bonus features don't come for free. The standard Apple iPhone 11 comes in at a lower price point than the Pro and the Pro Max.

Depending on your choice of model and spec, a new iPhone 11 could set you back anything from just over £700 for a handset only iPhone 11 to £1,499 for the top spec 512GB model of the iPhone 11 Pro Max.

This is a big difference in price and while it's reflected in the added features found in the two Pro models, it warrants careful consideration before opening your wallet.

In any case, the price tags attached to all three models seem reasonable considering the amount of tech packed in, and there's no doubt that all versions of the iPhone 11 will prove to be very competitive sellers this year.

Which iPhone is for you?

The question of which iPhone 11 model you should buy depends largely on your budget and your priorities. The biggest differences between the three models boil down to the rear camera quality; battery life; display size; water resistance; and storage capacity; as well as the fact that the Pro phones look a little sleeker thanks to their stainless steel trims.

There's no doubt that the iPhone 11 Pro Max is the best iOS smartphone to date, and it's also one of the best smartphones on the market today - but it costs a lot, too, and this will put many potential customers off. If you're keen to experience the best Apple has to offer and the price tag isn't a concern, the iPhone Pro Max is a fantastic choice.

But those on lower budgets won't go far wrong with the standard iPhone 11, which is still an amazing handset and by no means a budget device, while the iPhone Pro Max should suit buyers keen to splash out on a top end phone that still fits comfortably in most pockets.