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iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max: Hands-on with Apples new phones

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  • The iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. Samuel Axon
  • Another view of the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. Samuel Axon

CUPERTINO, Calif.—Today, Apple unveiled its 2019 iPhone lineup, and every new phone is a direct successor to one of last year's handsets. We had a few minutes to go hands-on with the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max to see what's different—how they feel, what they look like, and how the new features work. And of course, we took lots of pictures.

As expected, these are iterative updates over last year's model: the iPhone 11 follows up the iPhone XR (though the XR will still be available to buy from Apple's store, just for a lower price), the iPhone 11 Pro replaces the iPhone XS, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max (now there's a mouthful for you) slots in where the iPhone XS Max did last year.

That means Apple's current iPhone lineup ranges from $449 (iPhone 8) all the way up to a base price of $1,099 for the iPhone 11 Pro Max, or $1,449 for a fully upgraded 11 Pro Max. The iPhone XR and iPhone 11 fall in the mid-range with base prices of $599 and $699, respectively. There's no doubt that the 2019 lineup brings more price-point choices to address a broader audience—a much-needed development, given that Apple has struggled to move phones in China and the developing world as compared to many Android-based competitors.

Let's start by taking a look at the iPhone 11, which is arguably the new default iPhone for most new buyers.

iPhone 11

  • The iPhone 11, with a newly centered Apple logo and a new camera system in view. Samuel Axon
  • Here's the front. It looks just like the XR from this angle, and there's still a notch. Samuel Axon
  • Here's a close-up of the camera on a black model.
  • The camera bump from the side—it's not too severe.
  • iPhone 11: Lightning returns. Samuel Axon
  • The top of the device is still very clean, with no identifiable marks or features. Samuel Axon
  • The volume controls and the like are all the same as before. Samuel Axon
  • Now time for some colors! Here's white. Samuel Axon
  • And black. Samuel Axon
  • Green. Samuel Axon
  • Purple Samuel Axon
  • Finally, Product (RED). Samuel Axon

The first thing I thought when handling the iPhone 11 is that it's, well, the iPhone XR. And it is. While the new 11 Pro phones are arguably major upgrades over the XS line, the 11 is essentially an iPhone XR with a better camera system. And it's hard to miss that odd-looking camera array on the back, with the two lenses on one side.

In your hand, though, it feels identical to the XR. Beyond the camera, not much has changed; Apple included the A13 chip, which is a bit faster and more power efficient than last year's A12. If you already had a phone with the A12, though, it's surely not worth the annual upgrade—besides, the A12 was already faster than any other mainstream smartphone CPU or GPU on the market.

Apple has also introduced several new colors, of which we've dutifully included photos in the gallery above. They all look great; the green and purple look particularly striking, given that they're not colors you typically see Apple products in.

The 11 still has a Lightning port, which will disappoint those who had hoped the 11 would move to USB-C like the iPad Pro did last year. But at least you won't have to replace your dongles or charging cables just yet, if you're coming from another recent iPhone.

I was struck by how small the camera bump was from the side. The camera array draws the eye from the back, but when the phone is held on its side, it's barely noticeable (but it's still there).

I spent some time with the new wide-angle lens, but we'll get to that in a separate section shared by all the new phones below, since the feature is available in all three. My general impression of the iPhone 11 after a few minutes was that it doesn't rock the boat. The XR is one of the best iPhones Apple has made, and this is a modestly improved XR at a lower price. It's surely going to be a huge seller, even if it doesn't reinvent the iPhone as we know it.

The problem with the XR was that it still wasn't quite cheap enough to address the mass market. I'm not sure we're quite there yet, but this new pricing is much more reasonable, and the inclusion of the XR at an even lower price point is likely to be good for Apple's bottom line, and for iPhone users who want most of the latest iPhone features without dropping a grand.

iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max

  • The iPhone 11 Pro. The finish on the back is noticeably different from what we saw in the XS. Samuel Axon
  • A close-up of the camera array. Samuel Axon
  • It still has a notch, of course. Samuel Axon
  • And it still has a Lightning port, not USB-C.
  • The sides are the same as the XS. Here are the volume controls on one side. Samuel Axon
  • And here's the other side. Samuel Axon
  • Now on to the iPhone 11 Pro Max. Samuel Axon
  • Here's the front.
  • The screen is still glossy and reflective, but the higher max brightness might help. Samuel Axon
  • A close-up of the camera on this one. Samuel Axon
  • The bump is quite narrow from the side, though. Samuel Axon
  • Lightning's back. Samuel Axon
  • It's got the new back finish we just saw in the smaller unit, too. Samuel Axon

Whereas the 11 is just the XR with a better camera and price, the iPhone 11 Pro is a bigger upgrade over the XS than the XS was over the X in every area except, probably, performance. (The iPhone 11 Pro has Apple's new A13 CPU; I didn't have the opportunity to benchmark the new phones in Apple's showroom.)

Just like the iPhone 11, the iPhone 11 Pro and its bigger cousin the iPhone 11 Pro Max have a new, additional camera focused on wide-angle shots. (Keep reading for hands-on impressions with that feature). The new camera array draws tRead More – Source

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