Apple iPhone 11 Pro first impressions: Calling it the best is a stretch

Apple iPhone 11 Pro is now available in India. We are using iPhone 11 Pro for a couple of days, here are our key takeaways.

Apple iPhone 11 Pro first impressions
Apple iPhone 11 Pro first impressions (Bloomberg)

It's difficult not to get swayed by the hype around Apple's new iPhones. This year has been no different with Apple's iPhone 11, iPhone Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max phones. If you take Apple's word, iPhone 11 series is the best they've ever offered. New camera sensors, better processor and new iOS out-of-the-box, there are a great many things to look forward to on new iPhones.

Apple's crown as the trendsetter has long been snatched taken away by many Android smartphone players. If you look closely at the current-gen iPhone and the last year's, Apple has merely done catching up job. We've been using Apple's new iPhone 11 Pro for a couple of days, and we think Apple fanboys need some reality check. Don't worry, not everything is bad.

Let's begin with the design. Apple iPhone 11 Pro comes with a familiar glass-metal-glass design. At 6.5-inch with fairly higher screen-to-body ratio, Apple iPhone 11 Pro feels compact compared to several large-screen smartphones. Apple has introduced a matte-finish on the back panel making it less reflective and resistant to fingerprint smudges. This is a welcome change for iPhone users. OnePlus 7T is another smartphone that has done a good job at matte-finish glass design.

There are two more important things you need to know about the design. Apple iPhone 11 or iPhone 11 Pro doesn't skip the wide notch. It's omnipresent and as distracting it can ever get. After having used full-screen phones such as OnePlus 7 Pro or Xiaomi Redmi K20 Pro, such notches feel more of a hindrance when you want to watch videos on the phone. Thankfully, several third-party apps have already optimised their content for the iPhone X onwards screens. Another unique thing about the design is the square camera module that houses three camera sensors. The sensor rings are quite larger than expected. The module is just weird looking and nevertheless, the camera bump is too big to ignore.


Now, let's talk about the camera. Yes, it's good but hailing it as the best is a stretch. Apple iPhone 11 Pro comes with triple 12-megapixel ultra-wide, wide, and telephoto sensors. The phone supports up to 2x optical zoom. One of the good things about Apple's new iPhones is the amount of optimisation and customisation it gives to users.

An ultra wide angle shot from new iPhone (Image resized, cropped for web)
An ultra wide angle shot from new iPhone (Image resized, cropped for web) (HT Photo)

For a very long time, Apple fans have sought a Pro mode in the camera app. The camera still doesn't have it and rather depends on algorithms to auto-optimise images. This comes quite handy when you're using the Apple iPhone 11 Pro in lowlight images or want to customise the look in a certain setting.

Lowlight photo from new iPhone 11 Pro (image resized for web)
Lowlight photo from new iPhone 11 Pro (image resized for web) (HT Photo)

Apple's iPhone 11 Pro thrives in bright light settings. Daylight shots are good. Based on our early camera samples, Apple is focusing on natural colours, unlike some Android phones that tend to add a bit of extra saturation. Images have so far come out very well with rich details but we've seen a lot of phones doing very well in a light-friendly environment. Huawei P30 Pro is probably the best right now in terms of camera performance. We compared some of the shots with Samsung Galaxy Note 10+. The Samsung phone delivered equal quality photos.

As far as ultra-wide-angle goes, Apple iPhone 11 Pro does a good job of delivering stable and straight photos. It doesn't cover as much as real state as Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ does. Another noticeable upgrade is the lowlight performance. The dedicated night mode delivers impressive results. But if you haven't checked out Google Pixel 3 XL's night mode yet, you should before you make up your mind about lowlight photography.

So far, Apple iPhone 11 Pro has met our expectations. The screen looks good while the iOS 13 runs like breeze. We will dive deeper into the performance and overall experience of the phone in our next update. Until then, stay tuned.