The iPhone 11 Pro smartphone. Picture: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
The iPhone 11 Pro smartphone. Picture: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

iPhone 11 Pro

Cool factor 5/5
Usability 5/5
Value for money 3/5

Like most flagships, the newest iPhone, released in SA last week, places a lot of emphasis on its redesigned cameras. But the iPhone 11 Pro also has a faster chip; up to five hours extended battery life; an updated OLED screen; and new colours across the range. And it comes with an 18W speed-charging plug in the box.

Apple introduced three handsets with less-complicated naming conventions this year: a 6.1 inch iPhone 11, a 5.8 inch iPhone 11 Pro, and a 6.5 inch iPhone 11 Pro Max.

The 11 Pro is the fastest iPhone to date — I opened every single app on the device and forgot to kill them but it didn’t stagger; and facial unlocking is noticeably faster than the previous-gen Xs. Its claim about extended battery life is mostly true; it lasts a lot longer than the X, thanks to a bigger battery sitting inside the device, but I didn’t get the promised five hours.

The iPhone 11 Pro retains its 12-megapixel (MP) rear camera from over the years but now includes updates like an ultra-wide camera; a new night mode; and improved sensors. The selfie cam has been bumped to 12MP (up from 7MP) and supports slow-motion selfies, which Apple calls "slofies".

I tested the 11 Pro’s new wide-angle feature against two other 2019 flagships, the Samsung S10 Plus and the Huawei P30 Pro. The level of detail, once you zoom in, is higher on the iPhone. However, when it comes tomacro shots, the P30 Pro is the clear winner due to its dedicated mode for macro shots. The night mode is now on par with competitors.

The Pro’s trio of cameras are impressive, and iOS 13 has some nifty editing tools.

Ultimately, the iPhone 11 Pro is an excellent handset. Disappointingly, the baseline model still comes in a 64GB variant at a cost of R22,000, with the next available storage option being 256GB, coming in at a whopping R26,000. That price means it may be best to get this phone with a contract package.

If you’re looking for value for money, the standard iPhone 11 with the same chipset, two cameras, an LCD screen and no high-speed charger might just be it, at R15,000.