By Duncan McKenzie
Aside from a brief sojourn into the Android ecosystem on the advice of a fellow tech proponent, it’s pretty much been an Apple only journey for the past ten years.
There comes a time in every Apple fan’s lifetime when it becomes too tempting to glance over the fence and find out if the customisable grass is actually greener on the other side.
I was one of those who took what turned out to be a very short plunge into the world of Android and Google. I spent some time with the Galaxy Note 2, Nexus 5 and an instantly forgettable Acer phone.
The Android/Google experience wasn’t terrible, but Android just felt like a mishmash with an overtly clunky operating system. It just didn’t have the style and security you get with iOS (Apple’s operating system). Apple proclaims that its products, “just work,” and in my experience at least that is something that is borne out in everyday use.
I’ve been pretty loyal to Apple since the launch of the original iPhone in June 2007, skipping only the iPhone 5S, which coincided with my brief switch over to Android with the launch of the Nexus 5.
iOS has of course moved on leaps and bounds since those early days and today is barely recognisable from its skeumorphic beginnings. It wasn’t until iOS 7 was released that Apple dispensed with Scott Forstall’s 2D design, a look which was initially loved by the late, great Steve Jobs.
Today, there are variations of iOS on Apple’s many devices, with iPad OS featuring on the modern iPads, TVos on Apple TV and of course WatchOS on the tech giant’s first wearable, Apple Watch.
So, you’re probably wondering what’s this got to do with 2019’s iPhone 11 and why it still deserves respect. Well, iOS is part of that story. It’s still the most user friendly operating system on any smartphone and is backed up by the industry leading App Store, which now features 1.96million apps (as of 1 January 2021).
So what about the phone itself and what distinguishes it from its predecessors the iPhone X and iPhone XS?
The much lauded iPhone X - the first iphone to smash the £1000 ceiling, saw Apple’s most significant overhaul since the original iPhone. Its all-screen display, stainless steel surrounds and home button-less design was the first step into the future of cellphones for the Cupertino company.
Even its eyebrow raising price tag did little to reduce the clamour for Apple’s newest and boldest flagship to date. The iPhone X is still an excellent phone even in 2021, regardless of its older camera technology and A11 Bionic chipset. The A11 SoC featured a six-core processor with two cores optimised for performance (25% faster than the A10 Fusion processor), along with four cores optimized for efficiency (70% faster than the previous generation).
It was followed by the iPhone XS, which rocked the A12 Bionic chip, the first of its kind to use 7 nanometre circuitry, which made the SoC (system on chip) even more compact than its predecessor, which was 10nm. A boost in its camera capability and the inclusion of studio lighting and user controllable bokeh effect on the front facing camera added to the XS’s features over the X, as well as a 1GB RAM upgrade to 4GB over the X.
Which brings us nicely to 2019’s iPhone 11, which despite few changes in overall design, boasted a host of new features as well as the significantly speedier A13 Bionic chip.
Whilst the rear cameras received a modest upgrade, the front facing selfie camera got a big upgrade to 12mp from 7mp. It also heralded the introduction of Apple’s ‘slofie’ video option - with its front facing camera now able to shoot slow motion selfies.
Don‘t get me wrong the iPhone 11 is not perfect and doesn’t even have the same beautiful Super Retina OLED display as the X and XS, but it wins in other more important areas for the iPhone user on the go.
The most important area comes from the iPhone 11’s superior ‘all-day battery life‘, something which the budget conscious iPhone XR was famous for. I also owned the iPhone 11 Pro Max, which did have the Super Retina XDR display found in Apple high-end monitor, the triple camera lens system including telephoto and ultra wide, but the problem was it was just too damn big and too damn heavy.
The iPhone 11 has struck the perfect balance between all-day battery life, an excellent Liquid Retina display and weight, which means it is light and feels great in the hand even with a case. The speed of the A13 Bionic means it zips through any tasks the everyday smartphone user requires of it and it also comes in some fun colours (purple, green, yellow, white, Product Red and Black).
Of course if you are someone who just has to have the latest and greatest iPhones, then the four options released at the end of 2020 may tempt you to upgrade, but unless you absolutely must have the iPad Pro-like flat edged new design of the iPhone 12, 12 mini, the 12 Pro and the 12 Pro Max, then I don’t think there’s a desperate need to upgrade just yet, unless you just crave the very best camera tech in an iPhone, which arrived with the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
The iPhone 11 is the most comfortable iPhone I have ever owned and it’s fun to use due to its lack of heft. And with battery life which will easily last you all day, even when paired with an Apple Watch Series 6 like I have, it should see you through just fine.
So I guess what I am saying is that if you find yourself in need of an upgrade then you don’t necessarily have to go for the newest and best. The iPhone 11 is a very fast, capable device, which will handle anything you throw at it, and that’s why it still deserves a lot of respect and serious consideration when you’re thinking of taking the plunge on a new iPhone.