The Apple iPhone 11 Pro was hailed as one of the best smartphones when it launched in September 2019 — but does any of that praise hold up two years later? Whenever a new phone comes out, whether it be an iPhone or an Android handset, there's a routine pattern that happens every time. Rumors/leaks hype up the device leading up to its release, the phone comes out, a wave of reviews flood the internet, and then it's off to start speculating about the next big thing.
This is all fine, but it leaves an important question unanswered: How does that phone hold up after one, two, or three years of daily use? The vast majority of people aren't upgrading their smartphones every time a new generation comes out. Instead, they hold onto it for a few years and only upgrade when they absolutely need to.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
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Between reviewing new phones here and there, this writer has been using the iPhone 11 Pro as their daily driver ever since it came out. That means two years of using the iPhone 11 Pro to scroll through Twitter, manage work emails, and binge far too much YouTube. With the iPhone 12 series still going strong — and the iPhone 13 lineup expected to arrive any day now — here's a closer look at how the iPhone 11 Pro has held up after all this time.
One area where the iPhone 11 Pro has been the most impressive is its build quality. Like other iPhones with the Pro moniker, the iPhone 11 Pro touts a stainless steel frame and glass back. After a mixture of being used in an Apple leather case and completely naked, the 11 Pro is in shockingly good condition. The frosted glass back is pristine, the stainless steel looks great, and all of the buttons feel just as clicky as they did from day one. Outside of some light scratches on the display, this particular iPhone 11 Pro has held up remarkably well — even though it's been dropped countless times on wood, concrete, and tile floors. Something else that's been a personal highlight is all the rounded corners. After spending some hands-on time here and there with the iPhone 12, the flat edges just don't feel as comfortable as the smooth, round sides of the iPhone 11. It's a shame this design isn't returning any time soon. Even with a hefty weight of 188g, the 11 Pro has stood out as one having of the most comfortable in-hand feels in recent memory.
Just as outstanding as the hardware is the iPhone 11 Pro's performance. It's no secret in 2021 that Apple's silicon is among the most powerful in existence. However, it's still impressive to see how little its chips age after years of constant use. The A13 Bionic continues to open apps quickly, play mobile games without a hitch, and generally doesn't feel like a two-year-old chipset. This has held true through iOS 13 and iOS 14, and there's no reason to believe iOS 15 will be any different.
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Another highlight has been the iPhone 11 Pro's display. On paper, this screen pales in comparison to more modern devices. It has a modest 2436 x 1125 resolution and a standard 60Hz refresh rate. Other phones have sharper panels and refresh rates twice as fast, but that hasn't stopped this from still being a gorgeous screen to look at. The colors are vibrant without being too overblown, whites are perfectly stark, and iOS's buttery-smooth animations allow the iPhone 11 Pro to feel just as responsive as some Android phones with 90 and 120Hz displays.
While the iPhone 11 Pro's age doesn't constantly stick out like a sore thumb, that's not to say every aspect of the phone has aged gracefully. A prime example of this is its camera setup. The iPhone 11 Pro doesn't take bad photos by any means — in fact, they're actually quite good. The advancements made in smartphone photography, however, have clearly outpaced Apple's best from 2019. This was made most obvious while taking the iPhone 11 Pro on a recent trip to the zoo. It snapped great photos of animals that were up close, but when it came time to zoom in on a critter that was far away, the limits of its 2x telephoto camera were immediately apparent. Phones like the Galaxy S21 Ultra now deliver 10x optical zoom and 100x digital zoom, making long-range photography better than it's ever been. Combined with the relatively small 12MP resolution for all three cameras and no 8K video recording, and the iPhone 11 Pro just isn't at the top of its game anymore.
Speaking of showing age, there's the iPhone 11 Pro's battery. This should be expected for a phone with its amount of usage, but that doesn't mean its lesser endurance is any less annoying. If the iPhone 11 Pro is relegated to Twitter, listening to some podcasts, browsing on Safari, etc., it can make it through a day of use just fine. If more intensive tasks like Twitch or YouTube enter the fray, that usually means throwing it on the charger in the evening. This is all with a battery health rating of 89-percent, which is slightly above average for a two-year-old iPhone.
It's been fantastic two years with the iPhone 11 Pro. The design is virtually flawless, it performs like a workhorse, the display is top-notch, and it delivers the same iOS experience found on its more recent iPhone 12 siblings. It's been so good that there's been no urge to switch to the iPhone 12 Pro at any point since it launched. As someone who reviews phones for a living and often has the itch to play with the latest and greatest, that's a testament to how strong of a device this really is.
Related: Apple Expects The iPhone 13 To Be A Lot More Popular Than iPhone 12
With the iPhone 13 series just on the horizon, however, it'll soon be time for the iPhone 11 Pro to finally be laid to rest. For all the things the 11 Pro still does well, rumors of the iPhone 13 Pro have it poised to be a substantial upgrade. Whether it be the reported 120Hz display, smaller notch, or hugely improved rear cameras, the iPhone 13 Pro seems like it'll be well worth the investment where going from the iPhone 11 Pro to iPhone 12 Pro was not.
Even with the iPhone 13 upgrade coming soon, I'm not leaving the iPhone 11 Pro with any ill thoughts. There's no reason it couldn't last another year or two, but alas, that itch to once again be on the bleeding edge has gotten impossible to ignore. Whether other owners are also choosing to upgrade this year — or are deciding to keep it around for a while longer — it's safe to say the iPhone 11 Pro was (and still is) one of Apple's stronger iPhones in some time.
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Source: AppleShareTweetEmailSwitch Pro Rumors Resurface As New Nintendo Controller Patent Found Related TopicsAbout The AuthorJoe Maring (1436 Articles Published)
Joe has been actively writing and talking about consumer tech since 2012. His biggest passion lies with smartphones, but he's happy to talk your ear off about just about anything with a CPU. He lives in Kalamazoo, MI with hiswife, two cats, and pit bull/boxer mix.