iphone 11 series
Written by Maria Almas

iPhone 11 vs. Pro vs. Pro Max: How to determine the quality worth upgrading

Sep 1, 2020 | 0 comments

iPhone 11 vs. Pro vs. Pro Max: Which one is the best? We compared the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max and evaluated them to help you determine which Apple phone makes the most sense for you.

Upgrade Versions of iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max

Last September, Apple declared that iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max will be upgrading iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max accordingly. The new phones have greatly improved the overall quality of the cameras, an ultra-fast processor, and higher build. To top it all off, the iPhone 11, which starts at $699 (£729, AU$1,199), is $50 cheaper than when launched on the iPhone XR for the first time (still too expensive? Don’t forget the $399 SE 2020).

A Short Comparison

Between the 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max iPhones, it can be difficult to find out which one you should get. The three phones run iOS 13 and are equipped with the same processor, same main, ultra-wide, and selfie cameras. Aside from price, size, weight, battery life, and screen resolution, the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max is essentially similar in almost every way.

The iPhone 11 is one of the best values you can buy for today’s flagship phone and has many of the same 11 Pro features. On the other hand, the iPhone 11 Pro has a few key additions which make it the best iPhone ever made. It also begins at $999 (£1.049, AU$1.749) $300 more than the iPhone 11.

iPhone 11: Value for Money

The iPhone 11 is the most affordable iPhone we’ve seen in the last two years, at $699.00. The iPhone 11 is a fantastic price-phone value, second only to the iPhone SE 2020. The iPhone 11, despite a lower-resolution LCD screen, has the same A13 processor and almost the same camera setup (more on that later) as the more expensive 11 Pro. It also comes in six different colors, survived CNET drop-and-water checks, and won a CNET Editor’s Choice Award.

Apple iPhone 11 Pro (the great iPhone ever)

The iPhone 11 Pro has at its core the iPhone 11. But it does get the VIP treatment with enhancements like a high-resolution OLED panel, a matte-glass finish, and a stainless steel side band. It has a third rear camera, in conjunction with Apple’s latest Deep Fusion image processing that takes better zoomed-in images. Perhaps the most welcomed change on the 11 Pro is without a doubt how much longer battery life there is over the previous generation’s iPhone XS. On a single charge, the 11 Pro lasts about as long as the 11.

The Smaller iPhone is the Best

Perhaps the biggest reason to buy the iPhone 11 pro over the iPhone 11 is size. They’re phones of very different sizes and will fit in your pockets differently.

The iPhone 11 Pro, with a 5.8-inch screen and a weight of 6.63 ounces (188 grams), is the smallest of the three iPhone 11 models. The phone with a solid feel is the easiest one-handed. The iPhone 11 weighs 6.84 ounces and has more weight than the 11 Pro but doesn’t feel as heavy as it is. The iPhone 11 is 0.2 mm thicker than the 11 Pro and it’s a tad chunky feel.

Winner: The 11 Pro is the way to go for me, because of its small size.

Great to have a telephoto camera

Its camera capabilities are one of the main differences between the iPhone 11 series. The iPhone 11 features a dual camera, while the iPhone 11 Pro models feature a triple rear camera.

It is good to switch to a telephoto camera sometimes. And combined with Deep Fusion processing, the new telephoto camera lets you take pictures with better image quality compared to the iPhone XS.

The iPhone 11 Pro has a few warnings about the telephoto camera. The 11 Pro does not use the telephoto camera when taking 2x Night Mode photographs. The rear wide-angle camera instead takes a crop. In bright conditions, the telephoto camera also excels. But, when taking photos in medium to low light while taking the same photo with the main camera and cropping in, you’ll notice better image quality.

Winner: The 11 Pro Telephoto Camera is a nice-to-have camera if you value iPhone photography, but it certainly doesn’t need necessary.  

The iPhone 11 Pro has a stunning OLED display

The iPhone 11 Pro has a 5.8 inch OLED screen while the 11 has a 6.1 inch LCD. The 11 Pro screens look better, clearer, and display more details as they look side by side. It’s a joy to watch videos and edit photos thereon.

The 11 Pro OLED screens support HDR and have a contrast ratio of 2,000,000:1 compared to the 11’s 1,400:1. The iPhone 11 Pro on paper is capable of darker black levels, and more color saturation. That said, there are times when the differences between the two screens are difficult to notice. The colors on the LCD for the iPhone 11 are accurate in and of itself, and the videos look perfect. The iPhone 11 Pro Max has a 6.5-inch OLED, the same pixel density as the iPhone 11 Pro.

Winner: The screen for the iPhone 11 is good, but 11 Pro screens are much better.

iPhone 11 vs. iPhone 11 Pros: Sound

iPhones last year had great sound thanks to a new stereo speaker system, but with the iPhone 11, Apple has taken audio ever further. All models feature spatial audio, a new sound visualizer made possible through a 3D sound model. And that comes with support from Dolby Atmos, which should sound crisper, clearer, and more immersive on all the new iPhones. The difference in quality will not be HomePod quality or anything with two small speakers but sound should be improved.

iPhone 11 vs. iPhone 11 Pro: Resistance to Water

While all three phones are rated for the highest water-resistance of IP68—meaning that they can be dunked up the ante in 2 meters of water (6.5 feet) for up to 30 minutes without any ill effects. Apple says you can dive into 4 meters of water with the more expensive telephones to get great photos while scuba diving.

The models of the iPhone 11 and 11 pro have same front-facing cameras

The models of the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro have a selfie camera of 12 megapixels which supports 4K video up to 60 frames per second. They also have the same camera system TrueDepth which allows Face ID to unlock your phone and help you make purchases.

Powerful batteries

For the latest iPhone models, batteries are claimed to have improved, and while Apple is not detailing specific capacities, they have improved in our experience. It is said that the iPhone 11 will last up to 17 hours while the iPhone 11 Pro will last up to 18 hours and the iPhone 11 Pro Max will last up to 20 hours.

During our testing, we were impressed with the battery life of new devices though. In our experience, both the iPhone 11 and the iPhone 11 Max will see you throughout a day and night with no problem.

All three models offer wireless charging but none on board have wireless reverse charging. All three models are also capable of fast-charging, but only the Pro models come with fast 18W chargers in the box.


The iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max have several common features.

  • They all share the same A13 Bionic processor, Apple’s newest and fastest chip.
  • They all come with 64 GB of storage on their base models. After that, the iPhone 11 will also offer 128 GB and 256 GB, while the two Pro models can have a storage capacity of 256 GB and 512 GB.
  • They all contain a new U1 chip developed by Apple that will introduce new location-tracking features to the phones.
  • Everyone has different colors. While it’s doubtful that you’ll choose between the three based solely on what your sense of fashion is, it’s nice you can choose from several different shades. The 11 comes in six colors, including two brand new colors: light green and purple. Meanwhile, the Pro models have four colors, including something called “midnight green.”


Apple’s iPhone 11 is the cheaper choice and great value for the three new iPhones. For many, the one to buy from this handsets trio will be the one.

The iPhone 11 Pro models offer all of Apple’s latest and greatest features, especially camera capabilities, design materials, and better displays, but they’re also particularly expensive compared to the standard iPhone 11.

The iPhone 11 offers more colors than the Pro models, although not as premium in design, it sits in the middle in terms of size and while it misses out on a few features compared to the Pro models, such as camera optical zoom and punchier display, it still offers a great Night Mode camera and brilliant results.

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