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Alright, so it’s 2021 and you’re looking to buy yourself a nice new iPhone. A premium one, too, right — triple cameras, a nice big screen, Face ID, that thin bezel. Not that iPhone SE compromise with its funny looking screen and terribad battery life.
But the iPhone 12 Pro is… well, kind of expensive. The good news, though, is that the iPhone 11 Pro is still available for purchase in many places, often at a discount. Yeah, Apple doesn’t officially have it on its website, but carriers and retailers still have stock and will often have deals where you can grab a new iPhone 11 Pro for something like $400-$600.
But that’s a 2019 phone! Is it worth even looking at? Short answer — yes. Long answer — read on.
Sunsetting the old design
iPhone 11 Pro
iPhone 11 Pro
iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max
The iPhone 11 series is the last bunch to have the curvy design, where the glass panel arches at the ends and meets a nicely rounded bezel. It feels thinner than it is, it fits softly in the hand, and it still looks very nice.
I am mentioning all of this because the iPhone 12 series has a new boxy, angular design. Many praise it, others find it a bit too stark and not as comfortable to hold. I can tell you for a fact that, even though the iPhone 12 Pro specs sheet says it’s thinner than the iPhone 11 Pro, the former actually feels slightly thicker. All thanks to the illusion provided by the 11 Pro’s elegantly rounded-off edges.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, though. Anything older than the iPhone 12 will not be able to use the new MagSafe accessories. So far, we’ve only seen a couple of MagSafe accessories that are actually cool, but who knows what else is in the pipeline?
iPhone 12 MagSafe case and wireless charger
So, for pros — if you are not a fan of the new boxy design, the iPhone 11 Pro is your last chance to get in on the old style. Cons — no magsafe. So far, so good, right?
Is the iPhone 11 Pro screen size too small?
When announcing the iPhone 12 Pro, Apple made sure to make a big deal of how it has a bigger screen and a smaller bezel. Does this instantly lead you to believe that the iPhone 11 Pro has a small screen and a uselessly thick bezel?
Well, it shouldn’t. The screen size difference is noticeable side by side, yes, but in the grand scheme of things — it’s next to negligible.
Left – iPhone 11 Pro | Right – iPhone 12 Pro
And, considering the fact that the iPhone 11 Pro has the same quality OLED screen and the 12 Pro hasn’t even made the jump to high refresh rates (beyond 60 Hz), you won’t feel like you are missing out on anything with the 2019 model.
Tl;dr — it’s fine, the screen is fine.
Is the iPhone 11 Pro camera still good?
One of the main reasons you will be looking for an iPhone 11 Pro instead of an iPhone 12 — I assume — is the fact that the 11 Pro has a triple camera. Namely, it has that 2x telephoto lens that lets you take real portraits. Not a wide-angle, warp-my-face-into-a-peanut type portrait.
And, I have to say, the camera department is where the iPhone 11 Pro actually lags the most when it comes to contemporary flagships.
Its main camera is fine, it’ll still perform great, and provides results that are virtually indistinguishable from the iPhone 12 series of 2020. One thing of note — the iPhone 11 Pro camera app does NOT get the ability to shoot in RAW (Apple ProRAW), which the 12 Pro does.
But when it comes to additional perks — the most notable feature to feel outdated is Night Mode. On the iPhone 11 Pro, it is only available and usable with the main wide-angle camera on the back. On the 12 Pro and many competing Android phones, you get Night Mode on the ultra-wide-angle camera and the selfie camera.
Now, what about Dolby HDR? That’s another thing that is big with the iPhone 12 Pro — the ability to record 4K video in 10-bit high dynamic range. At this point, I am not super-sold on its necessity or value for your average consumer. Not to mention — it’s still a bit If you are looking for a cheaper iPhone and are willing to cut some corners — you shouldn’t be looking twice at HDR video recording. It’s fine without it.
Lastly, there’s no LiDAR sensor on the iPhone 11 Pro. If you think AR is the future, that might be a bummer. But… you know — it’s not.
To sum it up — if you go with the iPhone 11 Pro, you will take a bit of a hit in the camera department. Mostly pertaining to Night Mode selfies / ultra-wide shots. Make of that what you will.
Does iPhone 11 Pro have 5G?
Well, this is an easy call. There is no 5G on the iPhone 11 Pro. So, depending on how much faith you have in the adoption rate of the new generation connectivity — you will be taking a serious hit here.
But look at it this way — 5G is still in its infancy. It’ll probably start growing at an accelerated rate by the end of 2021. Network provider Dish has pledged to provide 5G connectivity to 70% of the US population by 2023 (note: that says population, not territory). Ericsson says that it’ll take until 2023 for about 50% of US mobile subscriptions to have 5G connectivity.
In other words, in 2021, it’s kind of early to get too hot and bothered about your phone not having 5G connectivity.
iPhone 11 Pro performance
It’s a 2019 phone. Does it lag? Does it stutter?
Well… One of the things that iPhones are known for is their longevity. Apple’s mobile chips are known to be very powerful, topping the competition with each generation. All of that provides a lot of headroom for the future.
What am I saying here? Simply that the iPhone 11 Pro performance in day-to-day use has not dropped one bit. iOS runs as fast and fluid as it does on the iPhone 12 series. So, that’s nice. But since we’re on the topic of iOS…
Longevity is a coin with two sides. On one, we have the hardware — which we established still runs smoothly. On the other — we have software. And yes, Apple is also well-known for supporting their devices for years. Get this — the iPhone 6s, which released in 2015, recently got updated to iOS 14.4. That’s 5 years of solid updates. It may not run fantastically nowadays, but at least you get the new operating system as soon as it’s released, for 5 years in a row.
In short — the iPhone 11 Pro still has a lot of life left in it, so it’s a valid investment.
Final words — what are the best iPhone 11 Pro deals?
If you’re looking for an iPhone 11 Pro, you can usually get a good deal with your carrier. If you are up for contract renewal in 2021, hold the line and wait for a deal offer. Do not get an iPhone 11 Pro at a regular carrier price, since these still come for $899-$999 — that’s iPhone 12 Pro money. So, look for those strike-through prices.
Also, check your popular retailers. At the time of writing this article, you can get a Verizon iPhone 11 Pro from Best Buy for $360, which is a banger of a deal. You can’t find that offer on Verizon’s official website, so yeah — check your options whenever you decide to pull the trigger!
There you go — the iPhone 11 Pro is a pretty good phone that can be had at an unbelievable price if you hold and keep your ears perked.