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Apple iPhone 11 Pro - A Ruthless Review | iPhone 11 Pro Reviews

 Welcome back everyone, I'm ThioJoe, and its once again time to review this year's iPhone. As you probably know, Apple created three models, the iPhone 11, the 11 Pro, and the 11 Pro Max. The one we're gonna be looking at today is the iPhone 11 Pro which I chose because I like the size of this one, I just think the Max would be too big. But it's not like this is going to be a comparison video or anything, we'll just be focusing on this phone. And as usual, I'm going to be doing a ruthless review, so I'm gonna tell you everything I love, what I hate, and everything in between with no sugar coating, especially considering the price tag. Before we jump in also be sure to follow me on Instagram I try to post cool stuff and hilarious jokes on there. So if you want to check that out it's just @ThioJoe over on Instagram. So what we'll do is start out with the basic design of the phone followed by the internal hardware, then onto performance with stuff like the camera and battery, then move onto the user experience and software features, and finally, I can talk about more general things I like and dislike about this phone. All right so the first up the general design, the screen is a 5.8" OLED screen Apple is calling the "Super Retina XDR display", and basically it's just a really good looking OLED screen that's even brighter than last year's XS.

 There's still the notch for FaceID, which I will never think is not ugly, and the apple didn't even shrink it so that's a bummer. On the sides, you have what you'd expect, with the volume buttons, silent mode toggle, power button, and speakers on the bottom along with the lightning jack. Things get a bit more interesting on the back where there's now a matte finish to the whole thing, which I'm definitely a big fan of because it's way less likely to show fingerprints. The other big thing is obviously the triple-camera setup at the top, so there are the regular wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto lenses, then the flash, and microphone next to them. We'll talk more about the cameras later but one thing I don't like is how there's basically a double camera bump here, so the whole module is elevated, and then each lens is also sticking out. I'm not a fan of camera bumps in general but I'd think this is even more likely to get dirt and dust stuck in the crevices. That being said, as a side note, the case I have extends to the camera bump so it sits flush on surfaces which I really like. It's the Spigen 'liquid crystal' case, I like it because it's thin and clear so the phone doesn't feel any bigger. It does tend to discolor over time though, but it's so cheap at like $10, you can just buy a new one when it does. If you want to check it out I'll put that link in the description for Amazon. That's the case I use. Besides the cameras though, and the now centered apple logo, the overall body shape, and design are pretty much the same as the last two generations of iPhones.

 Talking a little bit more about the screen though I will say it's noticeably brighter, at least when it needs to be like in bright sunlight. It supposedly has 800 nits of typical max brightness which compares to the XS which was rated at just 625nits. And when I tested it with my own light meter, the 11 Pro was reading about 970 luvs the XS at 900 lux. That's a different unit from nits so it doesn't convert exactly, but it still shows that it is indeed brighter. As for how the screen looks generally, iPhone OLED screens are going to look great in any case, so I wouldn't say I notice any difference coming from the XS, but obviously it just looks good. And the resolution is 2436x1125at 458ppi, so which is the same as the XS. I am really disappointed though that they didn't add a high refresh rate screen, it DEFINITELY feels like they're holding that back which I hate, especially considering they've been offering the iPad "pro" with a higher refresh rate for a while now, and I think it would be a feature that a lot of people would immediately notice and love. So now we've seen the outside of the phone, let's talk about the internals. The CPU is Apple's own A13 Bionic, so no surprise it's just a new and improved CPU that's faster as you'd expect, and also appear more battery efficient. The battery capacity for the 11 pros isn't listed on Apple's website but is 3190 mAh. I'm really happy about this, because Apple has had a history of putting tiny batteries in their phones, and even though iPhones are way more energy-efficient, it was still a joke.

 So this battery capacity is actually decent, and when combined with the great power efficiency for the phone, it's a big plus, though we'll talk more about battery life later. As for RAM, there's 4GB, which in my opinion isn't really enough considering Apple literally branded this as a "pro" device, and apparently the camera app uses a lot more memory than previously. I think 6 GB would have been more appropriate, but I'm not surprised Apple is again just putting in the minimum amount they can get away with here. And when it comes to storage capacity, the base model is still only 64GB, which for a so-called "pro" phone is kind of a joke. The next step up is 256GBwhich I think is more than enough, but does cost an extra $150, and the 512 GB model costs an extra $350 above the base model. I think if Apple made the base model 128 GB that would be perfect, but I'm not gonna even hold my breath for next year. As for the water resistance rating, I will give them props for improving that even further. It's still IP68 technically but they went beyond that rating so it can now survive being submerged in 4 meters of water for 30 minutes, as opposed to 2 meters of water. So theoretically it could survive being dropped into the deep end of most pools. Finally, for specs, we can go over the cameras. All of the cameras including the front-facing one are 12 megapixels. The three on the back are the regular wide-angle at f/1.8 aperture, the ultra-wide at f/2.4, and the telephoto at f/2.0. The front-facing camera is f/2.2 and is actually capable of capturing so motion video at 120fps, compared to the back cameras which can do 240fps. Alright so let's get into what it's like using the phone, just in general, and then we'll get into specifics like with the camera. Overall, there are really no surprises, it's a top-end iPhone, so it does not lag or stutter at all. Apps open really quickly as you'd expect, so it pretty much performs flawlessly just like every recent new iPhone generation does when it's released. FaceID does feel a little bit faster at times I think, which makes sense, the whole phone is faster.

And while FaceID apparently can now capture from a wider angle, it must be very slight because I have not really noticed any difference in that regard. It's not like it can unlock when it's sitting on my desk even right in front of me when I'm looking at it. So yea, I still hate FaceID and want my fingerprint sensor back, but I doubt that's going to happen. Now one feature that you will probably notice get removed is 3D Touch, which I liked so I'm kinda bummed. But apparently it was removed so they could fit the bigger battery in. So if that's the case, I guess I'll take that tradeoff, but I do find myself trying to force touch things and then remembering doesn't work anymore. So they replaced force-touch with just holding things down now. Alright so now let's get to possibly my favorite part of this phone, which is the camera, or rather cameras. I actually love the three-camera setup. I used the telephoto camera on my XS, and I honestly didn't think I'd really need the ultra-wide-angle lens, but now that I have the phone, I've found myself using it pretty often. And obviously the telephoto lens comes in handy too, so having all three is awesome for me. And obviously you can expect them being iPhone cameras, they're going to look good. And I had the perfect opportunity to test out the camera because Waymo, Google's self-driving car company actually invited me and a bunch of other people to their facility and check it out. They flew everyone down and gave the USA tour, and let us even ride in the cars, so here are some photos from that. And by the way I will be making a separate video about that probably next week so be sure to subscribe to see that. Anyway these aren't even the best lighting conditions basically being in a big warehouse mostly, and they still look good, there's a combination of mostly wide and ultra wide shots here. All that being said, the regular wide angle lens is clearly the highest quality of the three in most situations, probably because it has the widest aperture so it can let in more light, so there's less noise.

 The ultra-wide noticeably softer, and has nearly a full stop slower aperture, so while it's not bad if you have the ability to shoot with the regular focal length, that's the one to go with. If the situation is really bright though, I would think they'd all look really good. One big feature with the camera app though, is there's actually a feature in the settings called "Photos capture outside the frame", where if you take a standard picture with the regular lens, it will actually save the ultrawide image too, or at least some data of it. So if you go into photos and edit it after the fact, you can basically uncrop the image. So this is great if you realize later that there's something cut off the edge of the frame, you can salvage the picture. And interesting, when I tested this out, when you 'uncrop'the image, it seems to retain the same detail from the regular lens, so it does NOT appear to be just capturing a regular and separate wide shot, then switching to the wide shot if you uncrop it. I think it's intelligently stitching the ultra wide lens image data onto the edges of high quality regular image, which is impressive.  The camera app for the Pro is also redesigned,so when you zoom you can drag your finger which brings up this dial. I like this because you can see the exact zoom amount, and also see exactly when it's going to switch between lenses. And you can kind of notice it when you go from one level to the next. Also there's this swipe gesture to bring up some capture settings, like flash setting, timer, aspect ratio, and filters. And then when you swipe down again you can cycle through the camera modes like photo, video, portrait, panorama, etc. But next, we have to talk about night mode.I think the camera's night mode is actually my favorite feature on the whole phone. Basically, when the scene is dark enough, the night mode option will appear which you can toggle on with a little button, and if it's really dark, night mode will automatically be enabled.

When it's enabled, there's a little dial next to the shutter which determines how long it will capture the image for, kind of like a long exposure, but much more advanced. It will have an automatic suggestion for how long it will go based on how dark it is, but you can adjust it to be a bit longer if you want, but the maximum you can set it to is also determined by how dark the scene is, and I think it can also tell if it's on a tripod. So usually if it's handheld I think the longest you can go is 10 seconds, but if the phone is still, the longest I think it goes is up to 30 seconds. Anyway, the images the night mode can produce are actually amazing, they look awesome. Here's an example from the top of a hotel without night mode, and this is the ultra-wide lens that does not support night mode, unfortunately.And then this is with the night mode on the regular wide lens. It's really night and day.Notice how it maintains the brightest part which is the pool but also does an awesome job lightening up the surrounding areas with the chairs, which were completely blacked out in the other one. I also did a couple extreme dark room tests where I basically went into a bathroom and closed the door so it was super dark and tested it out. So this is what it looks like just taking a regular photo, obviously, it's super dark, you can really only see my outline. Then even dragging up the brightness its still completely muddy with no details whatsoever. But even with a tiny amount of light just from the cracks in the doors, this is what it was able to do with night mode at 3 seconds exposure. It literally makes the room look bright.

 Now I know just looking at this picture by itself it looks crappy, but compared to what it would have looked like, holy crapit's literally like night and day. And that's an extreme test, so you can see why in a normal, reasonably dark environment, it can capture crazy detail. Up until now I would have definitely said that Google's pixel cameras were by far the best, specifically because of how well they performed in low light. But I actually think with the iPhone 11 Pro, the night mode here is just as good as the Pixel's Night Sight mode, and in some situations even better based on some people have made comparing the two. Now as for video, it's also great. The dynamic range in particular is surprisingly good. Here's another great example, when I was inside one of the waymo self-driving cars, where not only can you actually see everything inside the car, but also outside for the most part, specifically out the side windows, even though it was an extremely sunny day. And this was with the wide angle lens too, so that came in real handy, I was able to actually capture the whole inside of the car because of that. So yea the camera overall is awesome as usual but is even more so when you consider the three lenses and that night mode. Next up when it comes to performance, we can forget about battery life. And I'm happy to say it's actually great this year. Not onlyis the battery physically larger by a significant amount compared to last year, but apparently the A13 has some special power efficient cores on top of that. Coming from the XS its really a huge difference.

 I'm a pretty heavy user, I like to watch YouTube videos all the time on my phone, and before I'd have to recharge my phone once a day around the afternoon,but now I can usually get through the whole day without charging it at all, even using it on medium screen brightness. For example, I've gotten nearly 6 hours of screen on time having only used around 50% of the battery, which is crazy. So finally, I think I can say the battery life on this iPhone is good or even great. Not totally amazing or anything, but much better than it used to be for iPhones. Super happy about that. So finally, let's get into some other miscellaneous features and thoughts I haven't talked about yet. One nice thing is Apple FINALLY included a fast charger in the box with the 11 Pro and Pro Max. I don't even think most average people didn't even know iPhones since the 8 have supported fast charging.  I mean its still a joke they only include the crappy small one with regular iPhone 11's but at least they're shipping them with the Pros. There are also a couple of features that are apparently coming soon to the iPhone 11 Pro that is worth mentioning. The first has to do with the camera and it's called "deep fusion", and will basically allow the camera to capture lots of images in the background up until the point you press the shutter, and then combine them into one. And this will just make the images look a lot sharper potentially.

 This feature is available in beta versions of iOS only so far, but reports have shown that it really does look pretty good, so I'm excited about that. Another hardware feature in the phone that apparently hasn't been activated yet is the U1 chip, which is like an ultra-wideband radio. This will give the iPhone 'spatial awareness' so to speak, meaning it will be able to locate other devices with similar chips much more accurately. For example, if you go to airdrop to someone else's iPhone 11 Pro, the phone will know when you're pointing at them and prioritize their phone to airdrop too. It's would also probably work with the rumored upcoming device locator product from Apple, kind of like Tile, where instead of just telling you how far away your lost item is, it can tell direction. So it will be really exciting when this feature actually comes to be. So now with everything we talked about, we have the big question, is this phone worth upgrading to. The answer, as you'd expect, is not so easy. In my opinion, there's not really anyone single KILLER feature that is unique to this phone. I mean yea we do have the camera's night mode which is awesome, the battery life is greatly improved, and having the three cameras is really nice. ButI'd just consider these all great improvements to existing features, nothing totally new.The only exception might be that night mode but it's subjective. I'd say if you're coming from an iPhone XS or even X, and you don't have enough money to upgrade every year, you might want to hold off until next year when we'll likely get a bigger redesign. But if you're coming from an older generation like an iPhone 7 or earlier, even that will depend on whether you'd rather wait until a much bigger upgrade next year. From an older generation, the cumulative incremental upgrades would be a huge jump for you, so if you feel like you really need an upgrade I do think you'd be happy with this phone.

 Now as a side note, one thing to keep in mind is because batteries degrade over time, you might be considering upgrading your old iPhone just because the battery life sucks. But remember you can go to the Apple store and pay to have a brand new battery swapped out in a matter of hours. You should check your battery health in the settings to see where it's at. If it's below like 80% or so, it would probably be worth it to pay the $50 to get a new battery. But I digress. As for me, even coming from an iPhone XS, I am actually very surprised that I do feel like it was a worthwhile upgrade now that I have it. Originally after watching Apple's announcement keynote, I was really disappointed that there were apparently no new major features. You might have even seen my video where I said it sucked, but I bought it anyway because I felt obligated to review it, and honestly didn't think it would be worth it. But now, I actually think Apple SOMEHOW managed to undersell and overdeliver in this case. After using it for the past couple weeks, especially with the cameras and night mode, and improved battery, I've found myself liking it a lot.So in my case at least, even coming from the XS, I'm happy with the purchase.

 So basically what I'd say is if you're someone who usually upgrades every year, you'll probably be really happy with the iPhone 11 Pro. And if you have a pretty old phone that just isn't cutting it anymore, I also think you'll be really happy after upgrading. At the same time, if you have a phone that you're fine with, and you're on the fence about whether you should upgrade or wait till next year, in that case, you should probably just wait. Again all these features are incremental, even though they're pretty big increments. So you won't be missing out on anything game-changing. And if there is a feature you just know you have to have, well you can probably just decide that for yourself anyway. And that's what I have to say about that.Now, remember there are a lot of other new features in the recently released iOS 13 that you might not know about, but should have even on older iPhones. I made a video talking about that which I recommend that you can see by clicking here next. So thanks so much for watching guys, and I'll see you in the next one.


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