Apple has been getting loads of praise over the latest iPhone 11 series, especially in how much of an upgrade it has been over the previous. We’ve had both the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro Max for a few weeks now.
This review will focus on the higher-end model in the Pro Max.
In the video above, the full review of the iPhone 11 Pro Max
What we loved:
- The screen is very good.
- Battery life is outstanding.
- Taking photos is now fantastic with great image quality.
- Fast charger is finally included, and wireless charging works really well.
What wasn’t so good:
- Apple hasn’t really changed that much in the design since the iPhone X.
- Software is still a bit buggy.
- Apple’s ecosystem still feels very restrictive compared to Android.
Apple hasn’t changed much in the past three years when it comes to the design of the iPhone. We still have the ‘notch’ at the top of the screen that houses all the sensors for Face Unlock and the front-facing selfie camera.
When comparing to some of the biggest Android phones such as Samsung’s Galaxy S10+ and Note 10+ and it’s pretty obvious that the screen doesn’t cover as much of the front of the device.
The most obvious design change is around the back with the new camera system – and the ‘stovetop’ bump. It’s not as grating as some people have made it out to be and the cameras are a huge improvement over previous generations.
Lastly, the Apple logo has been moved slightly lower on the phone – but who is really measuring that… right?
Apple has some tough competition when it comes to smartphone photography. Google, Huawei and Samsung have all made massive improvements to their mobile phone cameras over the years with DXOMARK ranking Huawei’s Mate 30 Pro as the best camera on the phone, followed by Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10+ 5G.
While tests haven’t been released on the iPhone 11 Pro series, we can tell you that it wouldn’t be surprising to see Apple within the top three on the independent image and audio ranking site.
The camera takes some absolutely stunning pics, using internal smarts to make sure what you’re shooting is the best shot. This is especially noticeable when taking pictures at night with Apple’s new night mode.
It’ll be interesting to see how the newly released Pixel 4 from Google stacks up against this, and we’re in the process of putting that phone through its paces.
What we found was that the iPhone 11 Pro Max consistently took some of the nicest photos in all conditions without the harsh sharpening and weird contrast issues that other manufacturers seem to struggle with. Apple has also released a few updates to their software which has further improved the camera.
Check out some camera samples below.
What an absolute beauty of a screen. It’s clear and readable, even under direct sunlight. The new dark mode within iOS is very welcome and makes for less eye strain, especially late at night.
But it’s not an uninterrupted experience with the cut-out at the top of the screen for the front-facing selfie camera and Face Unlock taking away from such a great video viewing experience.
While this isn’t a deal-breaker, if you do watch plenty of videos or play games on your phone – this could be annoying. But also in saying that, if you’ve already been on an iPhone X or even last year’s XS series then this isn’t going to be any major change.
Battery & Other Things:
Apple has finally stepped up and increased the battery in all their iPhones this year, and what an absolute delight.
Android users have always bragged about their long-lasting batteries in their devices, and while there are still some Android phones that keep on powering on across multiple days (hello, Huawei P30 Pro) the iPhone 11 Pro Max is by far the longest-lasting phone I’ve ever tried.
I was regularly getting two days of battery and was never stressed about finding a charger during the day – unlike when I tried the iPhone XS Max last year.
There’s a fast charger included this year which means that powering up your iPhone is now even quicker, and the wireless charging is back again. You’ll need to buy a supported wireless charger such as the Belkin Wireless Charging Stand or Charging Dock (which will also power up your Apple Watch too) in order to use this feature.
When it comes to software there are a few improvements in iOS 13 including system-wide dark mode. However, there are a few bugs – which is to be expected when there is a major software update. Apple has been pushing out plenty of updates to fix these issues, to their credit.
One final thought is something that affects me coming from Android, and that is the lack of customisation and control on certain aspects within the software.
Notifications are still a little bit of a mess compared to Android, camera settings can only be changed from outside the camera app (why?), you can’t set shortcuts to launch the camera through a double push of the power button, using a third-party keyboard can be frustrating when entering passwords as it changes back to the default Apple keyboard and not being able to change default apps is annoying especially when Google Maps is more suited to my needs than Apple Maps.
But these bugbears won’t be a problem for most people, especially if you’re already in the Apple ecosystem. You can’t miss what you don’t know about.
Samsung Galaxy Note10+
I called the Galaxy Note10+ a “stunning beauty” in our review and little has changed since the end of August. It’s the Android phone to beat right now in terms of that stunning screen, excellent cameras, all-day battery and stereo speakers.
The ‘Aura Glow’ colour is one of the best that I’ve seen on a smartphone – changing colours based on the lighting and environment that you’re in. Then there is that screen. Samsung makes some of the most impressive displays on the market, and you’re not going to be disappointed with the Note10 series.
The ultra-wide lens is incredible and allows for capturing so much more additional detail into your shots. The only area that I would say needs a little bit of improvement when compared to the likes of the new iPhone or Pixel is low-light photography. Some snaps can come out too soft.
OPPO Reno 5G
The OPPO Reno 5G is definitely a premium device – complete with a full, immersive screen and no cut-out, innovative pop-up camera and 60x digital zoom. What more could you want?
How about a price that is significantly lower than the other flagship phones out in the market?
We found that the camera is quite decent too, and low-light photography got the nod of approval in our test (you can see a sample below). Adding to that is a really nice, vibrant screen and great battery life.
You can read our full review here.
Google Pixel 4 XL
The latest and greatest from Google was officially announced on October 16th.
Early commentary about the new release is mixed and mainly questioning the smaller battery that is included.
We’re still testing out the Pixel 4 XL and will have our thoughts published on 7NEWS.com.au once the embargo lifts, however, this is still a premium device and if you’re not hard set on buying an iPhone it might be worth waiting a few days until all the reviews start coming through.
Huawei P30 Pro
Huawei receives loads of kudos for just how good the camera and battery is on their phones, and the P30 Pro is no exception.
Focused on design, photography and massive improvements to video – the Huawei P30 Pro is an absolutely stunning device from the Chinese manufacturer. Photography is something that the Pixel does excel at, however, Huawei is right up there with the best of them.
Teaming up with German optics and lense experts Leica, the P30 Pro features four cameras and has the ability to digitally zoom into objects 50 times – which is actually mindblowing.
Add to that one of the biggest batteries in a smartphone for all-day battery life and the P30 Pro should be up there on your list of potential new phones.
What we think:
For anyone who is invested in the Apple ecosystem, the iPhone 11 Pro Max is a standout device and is one of the most impressive upgrades in recent years. Apple has ticked most of the boxes here including a very good display, amazing battery and impressive camera.
If you’re coming from over the fence on Android’s lawn then you might feel a little bit trapped by the restrictions that Apple has in place for doing certain things that Android does very well.
Apple provided this publisher with a loan device for testing purposes. This did not affect our views on the device, and our review remains independent of the manufacturer.