iPhone 11 Pro Apple Silicone Case review

Review, Tech

I’ve always picked up the white silicone case, the red reminded me why – it’s a lint magnet.

Let’s put the lint aside for a moment. Personally I like the red with midnight green combination but ultimately I sent it back and opted for a black leather case.

The texture on the silicone isn’t my favourite, especially when it wears but it does add a texture that grips to most surfaces.

So if you’re looking for a case with a lot of grip that doesn’t add a lot of bulk this may be for you.

There are two major drawbacks though.

First is the amount of fluff and debris that these cases pick up in day to day use. Even just in and out of my pocket it’s a case I’m having to constantly brush off.

Second drawback for me is durability. This was too new to test but in the past the bottom exposed section of the case tends to wear away at the edges leaving the plastic showing underneath.

My advice on the official Apple silicone case is to pick up a third party one at a third of the price. You really are paying for the Apple logo for this one. With the leather cases I feel the quality and finish justify some of the cost but with the silicone I just don’t see their worth.

iPhone 11 Pro Apple leather case thoughts

Review

I’ve been using the black leather case now for over a week and to my surprise it’s stayed on most of this time. I’ve taken it off a few times and I think I now prefer the grip it adds.

Now it’s had a week to develop some patina and grip to the texture it’s actually pretty great. I originally started with yellow but after seeing how dirty it was going to patina I decided on the black. I think it blends in with the darker toned iPhone 11 models really well.

The buttons are easy to use and open bottom means I’m not frustrated with plugging cables into my iPhone.

I think it is on the pricey side but in terms of quality it’s up there with the best third party cases I’ve tested.

Do you use the leather case?

iPhone 11 Pro review

Review, Tech

I’m almost three weeks into living with the iPhone 11 Pro now so thought I’d do one of my mini reviews. Before the announcement I was convinced that I’d be keeping my XS for another year but as soon as I saw all of the camera improvements I was sold. For me the number one reason to upgrade is the camera. It’s my main camera and I want the best shots I can afford that comes with me everywhere.

The camera improvements on top of the amazing battery life has me sold on the 11 Pro being the best upgrade I’ve encountered.

Design

The front is the familiar notched design of the X but the sides and back feel all new. I have the midnight green and the sides feel like they have some grip thanks to the colour coating. My previous silver XS didn’t have this and it felt slippery on the sides.

The design on the back might be my favourite iPhone. When you see it in photos it’s easy to make fun of but seeing it in person is a different thing. I prefer it to the two camera layout that we’ve seen on previous models. The textured glass feels great in hand and now doesn’t slip off sofa arms! On that camera layout for me I preferred getting a darker iPhone this year because I feel it blends into the phone better.

I don’t normally use cases but picked up the black leather one from Apple. It feels great and I think looks awesome on the midnight green. I doubt it’ll stay on all year but for now I’m using it.

Oh and I noticed it had a little more heft to it over the XS, which I’m fine with. It gave us more battery and a better camera so I’m all good with that.

I obviously haven’t tested the new durability claims but if you’re spending this much on a phone please get Apple Care +.

Battery

This is the first upgrade when I’ve noticed a considerable improvement with the battery. Even on days when I’ve been on a walk, listened to podcasts and even taking photo and video I’m going 24 hours between charges. I’m yet to go on holiday with it and really push it but I’m confident I won’t need a battery case.

Lack of USB-C

Not something I thought I’d be writing but having used my Nintendo Switch over the last year and using my 12″ MacBook it would be nice to be able to use the same charger rather than hunt out my lightning one. Not something that I feel is a big detractor but something I feel needs to come in the next couple of years.

Camera

Wow, what a great camera upgrade. Even against the XS it’s a big step up. I can now see how bad the smart HDR was handling skin tones when I compare to the shots I’m getting on my 11 Pro. Shots of my family outdoors look sharper and more natural and indoors is something else. I take a lot of photos around the house and the new low light improvements are stunning. It’s also been great at taking shots of the stars when I’ve used it on a tripod.

(Thanks Matt Birchler for the edit).

Shots outdoors are brighter and closer to what I saw with my own eyes (this is straight, no edits).

Here’s a shot of the office in low light.

Something a bit closer indoors.

Wide angle vertical shot and in general the wide angle has been fun although I’m not using it as much now I’m a few weeks in. I can see it coming in useful when I’m looking to take some landscapes though.

Performance

I’m not noticing a lot of lag anywhere but iOS 13 does stutter in a few places. I find it lags a little on the share sheet UI but I’m putting that down to software not hardware. This new A13 processor will be good for years. For me reviewing an iPhone performance is hard, even on the SE I was using before getting the 11 Pro felt good on iOS 13. Apple do a great job of making sure old hardware is supported for years so in day to day most users will most likely not notice a difference.

Vs the iPhone 11

I had a play with an 11 in store and love the yellow finish. I think it’s a great phone with much of what’s great about the 11 Pro. What tipped me over the edge to get the Pro wasn’t the OLED screen but the telephoto lens that I literally use every day. I know if I had picked up an 11 I’d be cursing the lack of telephoto on a daily basis. I haven’t picked one up to test as it would be both bad for the environment and a waste of Apple staff time with my returning it but from everything I’ve read both the wide angle and night mode are on par with the 11 Pro so you won’t be missing anything. If you can live without a telephoto then get the 11 (in 128GB).

Overall impressions

I’m glad I updated this year, it’s the biggest leap in improvements that I can remember year on year and I haven’t thought once about returning it. The only thing that bothers me is that the Pro starts at 64GB, which I feel isn’t acceptable in 2019. It’s a blatant way to up sell people to the 256GB and make more money. I’m really hoping that this gets removed next year on the higher end and it starts at 128GB, which will sell like hot cakes.

So I think you can tell I’m pretty impressed with the 11 Pro and if you buy an iPhone for the camera then this is an upgrade you won’t be disappointed with.

(Review written and edited on the iPhone 11 Pro).

iPhone XS leather case patina and having a case personal to you

Review, Tech

I’ve been using the leather case on and off for a good few months now and it’s really starting to look like mine. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with cases since the introduction of the slippery iPhone 6 and have always disliked the way they made my iPhone look. They also sometimes hindered operation in having hard to push buttons etc.

Well even after my strong opinion on using them my saddle brown case has become my go to and has patina’d really nicely and is unique to me.

I sped up the process early on with putting oil on it and sanding the slippery finish off, I also put it through a washing machine cycle. Since then it’s taken on some more colour and shows signs of banging up against keys, me picking at it and drops.

If you’re ok with leather then picking up an official Apple case should be the default case you get when you get a new iPhone.

Testing the Logitech Crayon

ipad, Review, Tech

I’m using my iPad Mini full time these days and finally picked up a second Pencil. This time I went for the Logitech Crayon, at £59 for my uses it seemed the best option. First impressions are it feels lighter, it’s more comfortable to use (than Pencil 1) and less slippery.

I’ve just used Noteability to sketch out a few ideas and seems great so me so far. I’ll update once I’ve had it for a few weeks.

Hyper grape sports loop with Stainless Steel Apple Watch (review and gallery)

Apple Watch, Review, Tech

Not seen many images of this band on the stainless steel Apple Watch.

These Nike sports loop are the most comfy Apple Watch bands in my opinion. They don’t get sticky if you’re working out or it’s the summer and they have loads of adjustment.

As with most bands they might seem expensive getting them from Apple but in my testing against third party ones they last a lot longer.

iPad Mini 5 review

Review, Tech

Being on my second go with an iPad Mini 5 after having returned one previously I feel that the break without one has given me a fresh perspective. I’ve got enough experience with it now to write up a review.

The model I picked up was the 256GB in silver and I also picked up the £45 Smart Cover. It’s a tad expensive but my favourite accessory for giving the screen some protection when it’s being carried around. The reason I went 256 over 64 was that I wanted to incorporate it into my photography so didn’t want iCloud Photo Library to be constantly swapping images on and off my iPad.

The design is as it’s been since launch and in my opinion it’s great. Keeping this form factor meant the costs are reduced and as I’ve mentioned before not having FaceId is a bonus for me.

When comparing to our family 2nd generation Mini both the performance increase and screen are the most noticeable. The speed is on par with the latest iPhone XS and the screen now has True Tone and is glued to the glass so there are no gaps. This model is going to be on the latest iOS for at least 4 years so buying it to keep a while is definitely viable. It’s what I’ll be doing with mine now it can run the latest iOS.

Another win for me with the latest iPad Mini is pencil support. I use the original Apple Pencil every day with my larger Pro and being able to use the same pencil here was a big positive for me.

I use the Mini alongside my 10.5” Pro but I found I use it more. In fact it’s become my number 1 device to use around the house and on the go. I’ve pretty much replaced all my in house use of my iPhone with it and if I want to pop out I’ll take the Mini to catch up on a comic book or do some writing.

I wrote this review using it, in portrait two thumb typing.

If you’re after a kindle alternative or want a portable iPad that packs performance then you can’t go wrong with the 5th generation iPad Mini. It’s not just a device for kids but anyone that uses iOS and wants something more portable. I absolutely love it and at the moment my favourite product Apple has released this year.