The iPhone 11 Is Here But Is It Worth the Cost of an Upgrade?

Apple has rolled out the new iPhone 11, but many iPhone users are wondering whether its enhancements are worth the cost of an upgrade. Here is how the phone compares to its predecessor.

The iPhone 11 — the newest version of Apple’s renowned smartphone — is now available in digital and physical stores worldwide. Keeping with tradition, Apple released the iPhone 11 on the heels its predecessor, the iPhone XS, with only a year separating their debuts.

Like its predecessor, the iPhone 11 is available in three models:

  • The entry-level iPhone 11 (starts at $699)
  • The standard iPhone 11 Pro (starts at $999)
  • The premium iPhone 11 Pro Max (starts at $1,099)

Many iPhone owners, though, are hesitant about switching to one of these newer models. A question on many of their minds is whether the enhancements in the iPhone 11 are worth the cost of an upgrade.

To answer this question, it helps to know what has and hasn’t changed between the three iPhone 11 models released in 2019 (iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max) and the three iPhone XS models released in 2018 (iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max). Toward that end, Table 1 compares key features in these six models.

What Hasn’t Changed

When looking at Table 1, it becomes evident that some elements have not changed in iPhone 11. Elements that have largely stayed the same include:

  • Screen type and resolution. The screen type and resolution are basically the same between the comparable models in the 2018 and 2019 releases. The standard and premium models have organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens, while the entry-level models have liquid-crystal display (LCD) screens. Because the entry level models have LCD screens, the resolution of their displays is not high as that in the standard and premium models.
  • Screen size. The amount of screen real estate has not changed between the comparable 2019 and 2018 models. Interestingly, the entry-level models have a larger screen than the standard models.
  • Operating system. All six models run Apple’s iOS operating system. Although the 2019 models come with a higher version (iOS 13) than the 2018 models (iOS 12), you can easily upgrade the operating system in the 2018 models to the most recent version.
  • Face ID authentication. All six models offer Face ID authentication. Thanks to this feature, you can use your face instead of a password to unlock your iPhone and log in to apps.

What Has Changed

Table 1 highlights some important differences between the iPhone 2019 models and their 2018 counterparts. The most noteworthy changes were made to:

  • The chip. The new A13 Bionic chip in the iPhone 11 models contains 8.5 billion transistors (the A12 Bionic chip has only 6.6 billion) and has been optimized for machine learning. As a result, the A13 Bionic chip’s two high-performance cores are 20% faster and consume 30% less power than the high-performance cores used previously, according to Apple. Plus, the chip’s four high-efficiency cores are 20% faster and consume 40% less power than previous high-efficiency cores.
  • Battery life. Improvements made to the lithium-ion batteries and the phones’ systems have resulted in longer battery life in the iPhone 11 models. According to Apple, the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s battery lasts up to five hours longer than the battery in the iPhone XS Max. Similarly, the iPhone 11 Pro’s battery lasts up to four hours longer than the one in the iPhone XS. The iPhone 11’s battery, though, lasts only one hour longer than the one in the iPhone XR.
  • Camera and video systems. Apple added an ultra-wide 12-megapixel (MP) camera to the backside of the iPhone 11 models. This means that the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max have four cameras (one in front and three in back) and the iPhone 11 has three cameras (one in front and two in back). Plus, Apple included new features such as the Night mode for taking photos in low-light conditions and the ability to take “slofies” (slow-motion selfie videos). While the jury is still out on how useful the slofies feature will be, the Night mode is already receiving good reviews.
Table 1: Comparison of Key Features Found in the iPhone 11 and iPhone XR Models
iPhone 11iPhone 11 ProiPhone 11 Pro MaxiPhone XRiPhone XSiPhone XS Max
DescriptionThe entry-level model released in Sept. 2019The standard model released in Sept. 2019The premium model released in Sept. 2018The entry-level model released in Oct. 2018The standard model released in Sept. 2018The premium model released in Sept. 2018
Display typeLCDOLEDOLEDLCDOLEDOLED
Screen size6.1 inches5.8 inches6.5 inches6.1 inches5.8 inches6.5 inches
Screen resolution1792 × 8282436 × 11252688 × 12421792 × 8282436 × 11252688 × 1242
Pixels per inch326458458326458458
ProcessorA13 Bionic chipA13 Bionic chipA13 Bionic chipA12 Bionic chipA12 Bionic chipA12 Bionic chip
Neural engineThird generationThird generationThird generationSecond generationSecond generationSecond generation
Operating systemComes with iOS 13Comes with iOS 13Comes with iOS 13Comes with iOS 12Comes with iOS 12Comes with iOS 12
Face ID authenticationYesYesYesYesYesYes
Total number of cameras344233
Front cameraTrueDepth 12MP cameraTrueDepth 12MP cameraTrueDepth 12MP cameraTrueDepth 7MP cameraTrueDepth 7MP cameraTrueDepth 7MP camera
Rear camerasUltra-wide & wide 12MP camerasUltra-wide, wide & telephoto 12MP camerasUltra-wide, wide & telephoto 12MP camerasWide 12MP cameraWide & telephoto 12MP camerasWide & telephoto 12MP cameras
Type of batteryLithium-ionLithium-ionLithium-ionLithium-ionLithium-ionLithium-ion
Battery lifeLasts up to 1 hour longer than iPhone XRLasts up to 4 hours longer than iPhone XSLasts up to 5 hours longer than iPhone XS Max
Fast-charge capableYesYes (includes 18W adapter)Yes (includes 18W adapter)YesYesYes
Wireless chargingYesYesYesYesYesYes
Supports 5GNoNoNoNoNo

A Personal Decision

The iPhone 11 offers some notable enhancements. However, whether the enhancements are worth the cost of an upgrade is a personal decision each iPhone owner will need to make. We can, though, explain the enhancements in more depth so you can make an informed choice.