The iPhone X brought us a new design, the iPhone XS an ultra-fast processor. The iPhone 11 Pro is the evolution of the camera and an eternal battery. Is it worth it and above all, does it deserve the “surname” Pro?
“How big is the camera,” will be the first reaction to see the iPhone 11 Pro for the first time. It is inevitable: the three-objective module is prominent and Apple has made absolutely no effort to hide it; In fact, they accept its existence and highlight it in the design of the back of the device.
As explained in the first impressions, the square that frames the three cameras is part of the same piece of glass on the back of the iPhone. Instead of cutting it and inserting a new piece in another material, they take advantage of it, polish it and integrate it.
Honesty in industrial design is one of the things I have admired most about Apple, especially when they do it in the context of a significant change. There are many examples, but in this case, with a market that pushes towards more sophisticated cameras and in which a good part of the consumers find it difficult to adapt to the change, instead of hiding it, they show it proud.
It is the first iPhone with the last name “Pro”, which has accompanied many other devices of the brand over the years: MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, iMac Pro, iPad Pro. Do you deserve it?
If the iPhone X innovated with its design and corner-to-corner display and the iPhone XS with an A12 processor that hit the table in terms of performance – especially thanks to its neural engine -, the iPhone 11 Pro delves into many degrees of innovation in relation to the camera and the possibilities behind computational photography.
The renewal cycles of the iPhone have changed quite a lot. From the “tic-tac” cycle, where one year a new design was presented and the next one the improved “S” version was sold – iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS; iPhone 4, iPhone 4S; iPhone 5, iPhone 5S; iPhone 6, iPhone 6S—, we have apparently gone to three years of evolution. Which coincides with the changes in the habit of market renewal.
With the arrival of the iPhone 8, Apple introduced us to computational photography, that is, the use of ultrafast calculations by the phone and the use of one or more of the cameras to obtain a bokeh effect. There where the subject of the photograph is in front and the background is blurred.
From September 2017 to date, the company has continued to innovate in the field of photography. Now we come to the present with a system of three very bright cameras, much more capable than their predecessors, with larger sensors and, therefore, more useful in different situations.
If past models were criticized for the noise they generated in low light situations, the problem has been largely resolved. I do not mean the night mode, but the fact that in a large number of times where the iPhone suffered, with the 11 Prohappens to a lesser extent, or simply does not happen.
The telephoto lens was, with the two previous generations of smartphones, the main critic in this aspect. Apple has solved it with 40% more light in this camera. And what a note!
From a technical point of view, the iPhone 11 Pro has a three camera system with the following characteristics:
|Ultra wide angle||13 mm||ƒ / 2.4||Do not|
|Wide angle||26 mm||ƒ / 1.8||Yes|
|Telephoto||52 mm||ƒ / 2||Yes|
As for video recording, it is able to do it in:
- 4K at 24, 30 and 60 f / s
- 1080p HD at 30 or 60 f / s
- 720p HD at 30 f / s
- Slow motion in 1080p at 120 or 240 f / s
The front camera has also been renewed and becomes increasingly interesting, especially for content creators who need to see each other while taking shots. It is already capable of recording in 4K quality at 24, 30 and 60 f / s. You can also record in slow motion at 120 f / s in 1080p quality.
You can discuss for months on which is the best camera of a mobile device, but I think the photographic flow of the iPhone has no comparison and the improvements in the graphic interface of the camera put it even more ahead of the competition. The wheel to make optical/digital zoom, the diminishing jump between one lens and another, the way night mode is activated or deactivated, being able to preview the portrait mode and even its effects … No one else It does that well.
The photographic experience has changed if I compare the iPhone 11 Pro with previous models: more versatility by having the three lenses available, not worrying about choosing one or the other depending on the light conditions and being able to activate the night mode when I need it has left me with a team that I feel much rounder than previous versions.
In recent years I have felt that mobile photography is reaching its limits, both physically – the sensors are small, they give what they give – and at the computational level – you cannot allow each photo taken to subtract 10% from the battery due to so many calculations – but with the iPhone 11 Pro I get the impression that hardware improvements, complemented by advances in the software side, have managed to give quite a significant boost to the photos and videos that can be taken with a smartphone.
The portrait mode has also been improved. It is easier to identify objects that are not expensive and the possibility of taking photos of this type with the wide-angle lens gives much more play with images that, in my opinion, are better. It is possible that I was more than used to the 52 mm of the telephoto, but the 26 mm portraits I like even more.
The night mode deserves its own section and is one of the great novelties of this generation: if the light conditions are adverse, it is automatically activated and chooses the number of extra seconds to take the photo with visual indicators in the graphic interface.
It is possible to activate or deactivate it manually and even increase the number of seconds for the exhibition if we consider it, but the software makes a very good calculation of the time needed for the photo to look good. During my days in California, we had the opportunity to have a technical session of about 40 minutes with one of the heads of the camera system on the iPhone, who explained the decisions they made both in hardware and software for the result of the photos made with night mode.
In his opinion, the photos should not be a “technical result of all the elements in the picture and cleared as much as possible”, by force and somewhat artificially, but the environment should be respected. Shadows at night They are usually long and very dark, which should be maintained, but the subject of the photograph should also have the necessary prominence, always respecting textures, colours as far as possible and even the characteristic contrast of this type of images.
My first tests with the night mode have left me, in several cases, impressed. I know that this is the first iteration of the system and in the future, it will be even better, but some of the photographs – without any retouching – that I have been able to do would be impossible with other devices.
In the first impressions article of the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro, I mentioned the Deep Fusion, a new way of taking photos by bringing together nine frames so that the neural motor generates, in its entirety, a new image. It will be the first time this has happened in the history of computing and photography. It is a kind of hyperrealism that we have not been able to prove since it will be activated in late autumn, and therefore I do not include it in this analysis.
Still, substantial improvements are expected with the arrival of iOS 13.1 at the end of September, as discussed during the keynote of product presentation.
Drums Apple has surprised with the extra 4 hours of battery life on the iPhone 11 Pro and 5 extra hours on the iPhone 11 Pro Max compared to the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, respectively. They have achieved it in two ways.
The first is that the device is slightly thicker, going from 7.7 millimetres to 8.1 millimetres. It is also a bit heavier:
- iPhone 11 Pro: 188 grams / iPhone XS: 177 grams
- iPhone 11 Pro Max: 226 grams / iPhone XS Max: 208 grams
The second is to make some of the smartphone components much more efficient. In particular the A13 chip, which has some very impressive numbers in relation to performance and efficiency:
- CPU performance cores: up to 20% faster, up to 30% less battery consumption
- CPU efficiency cores: up to 20% faster, up to 40% less battery consumption
- GPU : up to 20% faster, up to 40% less battery consumption
- Neural motor: 20% faster, up to 15% less battery
These are particularly surprising figures that will be lost behind the fallacious argument that “they only did it a little faster.” In a mobile device where autonomy is sometimes more important than speed, they have managed not only to make it faster but in the process they have made the “brain” of the device and its graphics processing unit extremely efficient and Therefore, you save a lot more energy.
The technological legacy leads us to look only at numbers of increase in performance compared between one year and another, but the degree of innovation behind increases of 20% to 40% in speed and at the same time the reduction of energy use to almost half. It is huge.
If Intel had achieved these numbers 5 years ago, it would be rated as one of the greatest innovations of the decade. Apple has made the leap from one year to the next but will go unnoticed by the difficulty of understanding – and, honestly, explaining – the technical achievement that this means.
Apple aside for a few moments. It is very crazy – in the absence of a better qualifier – that we have become completely accustomed to screens of more than 400 pixels per inch in devices of these sizes, that does not destroy the battery in 5 minutes and that are also tactile, as accurate and capable of reproducing colours the way today’s smartphones can do it.
We get so used to it that “it is not so much” that the screen has a contrast of 2,000,000: 1 – twice as much as the iPhone XS – or that it can shine up to 1,200 nits, which without exceeding the Galaxy S10, for example, achieves Get on the same level.
But that is the reality we live today: ultraportable devices with screens that were impossible less than ten years ago. As for colours and balance, it is what Apple has accustomed us: first quality, without saturation, with a very bright HDR, more than ever. The screen is the toughest they have put to an iPhone, but above all: they have made it up to 15% more energy efficient.
I would say that in all or practically all the past analyzes that I have done to previous generations of the iPhone I say that I would like them to have more autonomy, to find ways for the battery to really last longer. They made it.
In the past, we all complained that the iPhone camera should be brighter, especially in the telephoto. They made it. Make portrait mode faster or be able to use it with the wide-angle camera. They also got it. Ah, did we want a stronger (but really stronger) iPhone? Got.
It has a faster A13 processor than we would ever imagine, a screen with 2,000,000: 1 contrast, up to 1,200 nits, but consuming up to 15% less than before.
In short, it is difficult to find fault with the iPhone 11 Pro. The only but that I find is that we again dangerously approached those times when the base storage was not enough. 64 GB on a device that records 4K is at the limit and that argument “hire more space in iCloud” is not justifiable. The base model must be 128 GB.
I do not consider it a fault, but I would have liked it to have a USB-C port, although I understand that it is an extremely difficult change to make considering the Lightning cables and accessories ecosystem. Maybe for 2019, it’s too soon.
Except that, I find the most “round” iPhone in Apple’s history: the most beautiful, the best manufactured, the most pleasant to the touch, the most efficient, the fastest and most fun to use.
I feel that we are reaching the ” peak iPhone”, the high point of the device, one of its best moments, when technology finally allows the company to do things difficult to overcome. Rarely have I seen a level of innovation so great and at the same time so “invisible” on a device. It is in the possibilities, in the value, it has as a tool.
Apple may surprise me, but I feel that from 2020 it will be more complicated for the company to make such great leaps. Things like video portrait mode, a Face ID that does not require lifting the iPhone from the table or the 5G will surely arrive next year. You will be welcome, but without a doubt, this is one of the iPhone that we will remember the most in many years.
I will also remember it as the year that Apple got rid of Roman numerals (forever?) And finally we will stop calling the iPhone “X”. (Yes, it was “ten”).
Pro? 100% deserved.