Should you buy an iPhone 11 or iPhone 11 Pro?

I’ve been back to the Apple store and had a good play with an iPhone 11 and have some thoughts about which iPhone you should consider if you’re looking to upgrade this year. My personal choice this year has been the 11 Pro but I’m looking over at the 11 in yellow and I have to admit I’m a little jealous of the new colours.

For me if you considering which of the new models to get (and you have the budget of course) it comes down to two questions.

  1. Do you need a phone with a telephoto lens?
  2. Are you a display fanatic?

I’m asking myself these questions and wondering if I should have saved myself £400 (including cheaper Apple Care +} and gone for the 11 instead.

Let’s address (1). For me on both the X and XS I used the 2x all of the time. With photos of my daughter or of our cat you can’t always get that close. Looking at the quality (especially in low light) deterioration of the wide vs telephoto on the 11 Pro seems more obvious to me this year. This had meant that I’m favouring moving closer rather than using 2x. This is a strange shift in my behaviour and I’m going to keeping an eye on how I’m using it over the next week. If you don’t want a 2x or never use it on your X or XS then you might want to consider getting the 11 over the 11 Pro and saving some cash.

Now let’s move onto the display. For me OLED has some flaws. First is the tearing of text when scrolling on a dark background. This seems improved on the 11 Pro over the XS but is still present. It doesn’t bother me too much but when I look for it I’m reminded of the behaviour. Secondly PWM (Pulse Width Modulation), which means the refresh rate of the OLED causes the screen to flicker rapidly under low screen brightness conditions. This is something that may have caused me eye fatigue in the past but I think I got used to it. On the 11 Pro I’ve read that it’s improved but if this previously bothered you then you may want to research this a bit more or try within your return window. The 11 has an LCD that will show none of these issues. In my testing the 11 is still a great display and you need to look at the black levels to really see the difference. I don’t think many users of the 11 will notice a difference. If you know you’ll be bothered by the black levels then you’d be better off with the 11 Pro, if not get the 11.

So there you go, I feel that the choice of iPhone this year comes down to just these features. For me it’s the telephoto that keeps me on the Pro but if that three lens system came to the 11 then I’d be on it without a question.