iPhone 11 Pro review roundup: Amazing camera, mind-blowing battery life

The reviews for Apple's iPhone 11 Pro are out, and many people are wondering: Does the smartphone live up to the hype? This year, Apple is making some big upgrades, introducing a triple-camera system and promising even better battery life. So, what do today's top reviewers have to say about Apple's latest iPhone? Let's dive in.

iPhone Pro review: The ultimate iPhone experience

Are the cameras any good?

Apple has always been a leader in the camera department, and it looks like the iPhone 11 Pro is proof that the company's devices offer unrivaled quality.

The Verge said the iPhone 11 Pro's triple-camera system is better than anything else on the market:

It appears Apple took all of those criticisms to heart because the iPhone 11 Pro cameras are an enormous improvement over the XS, and they beat the Pixel and Samsung's Galaxy Note 10 Plus in most of our side-by-side comparisons. In fact, I think the iPhone 11 Pro is the best smartphone camera on the market right now. The Verge

Engadget said the iPhone 11 Pro's standard wide camera produces excellent results:

No matter which camera you shoot with, you can expect rich — though not overly rich — colors and generally solid detail throughout. The best results tend to come from that standard wide camera, though, which makes sense considering it's the one you're meant to use most of the time. The entire sensor is covered in Focus Pixels, so it's the fastest of the three cameras to lock onto your subject (especially in low light) and generally delivers the best clarity of them all too. It's easily the best all-around camera that Apple has ever squeezed into a smartphone, and it's been a blast to use. Engadget

What about Night Mode?

Apple this year is following in the footsteps of companies like Samsung and Google with a new Night Mode feature. Bottom line: it delivers.

Wired loved how easy Apple's new Night Mode is to use:

Both the iPhone 11 and the new Pro phones have a new "Night Mode," which is automatically activated in dark environments and tells you how long you'll have to hold the phone steady for to capture an optimal shot. I already love it. It's so much more intuitive than swiping through settings to find a dedicated night mode. The additional camera lens on the back of the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, combined with the image signal processing in the phone's A13 Bionic chip, means that the Pro phones perform even better in low light than the iPhone 11 does. Wired

Mashable noted that although Google did it first, Apple did it better:

Sure, Google did night mode first, but the feature is more intuitive on the iPhone 11 Pro. On a Pixel, a spinning exposure ring blocks the entire viewfinder while you're holding still, but on the iPhone 11 Pro, you can see in real time an exposure getting brighter as the timer counts down. And the iPhone 11 Pro's night mode also produces better photos in my opinion — sharper details from corner to corner, and better tones and contrast to preserve a scene's mood. Whereas night mode on other phones brighten a scene to the point it looks artificial or flat, the iPhone 11 Pro's night mode more delicately balances the light and dark areas in both the foreground and background. Mashable

Battery life

Apple this year emphasized battery life during its iPhone keynote, and we're happy to learn that the iPhone 11 Pro doesn't disappoint.

iMore put the iPhone 11 Pro through grueling tests and found it performed admirably:

Now, of course, those battery life claims are just numbers and these are brand new phones with brand new batteries, so they're going to hit pretty close to that right now. To make sure though, I took them on the absolute most savage test run I could — Pokémon GO Community Day. Hours and hours of screen-on, GPS firing, data churning, processor burning… and all of them had over half their power left by the time we evolved the last special move at the last minute of the event. {…} But, as things stand right now, this is looking to be the best battery boost Apple has ever given an iPhone. iMore

Engadget said Apple's claims of improved battery life turned out to be true:

When I tested the brand-new XS last year, it would run for between 9 to 9.5 hours off a single charge on days with heavy use. This year, the smaller Pro dealt with the same general workloads and lasted for closer to 12 hours before needing a charge. The larger Pro Max, meanwhile, routinely stuck around for between 13 to 14 hours on a single charge, compared to the 11 to 12 hours I squeezed out of the iPhone XS Max. Engadget

CNBC took the iPhone 11 Pro on a cross-country trip and battery life survived without issue:

I found that iPhone 11 Pro Max lasts well beyond a normal day of use. In one case, I woke up at 2:45am, drove up to San Francisco for TV, flew home to New York City and still had battery life when I finally got to bed at midnight Eastern. It had been in airplane mode for some of this, but I was still impressed. You can expect an additional 4 hours of battery life with the regular iPhone 11 Pro over last year's iPhone XS, too. CNBC

What about the tweaked design?

While the new iPhone 11 Pro looks like the iPhone X and last year's XS, Apple did make a few changes. There's that triple-camera system, for one, plus a matte back and even stronger glass.

iMore found that the new materials make a big difference:

Like the iPhone 11, the back is milled out of a single piece of glass. With the Pro, though, that glass is then textured to give it a matte finish that, to my eye, looks a lot less like glass, and a lot more like the textured aluminum of years past. But, Apple is maintaining contrast by leaving that camera bump part shiny. The exact opposite of the iPhone 11. […] Apple and Corning have whipped up yet another stronger, more scratch and shatter-resistant formulation for the iPhone 11. But, it's these new, textured finishes that I'm really counting on to make just that extra little bit of difference. And, so far, so far less slick. iMore

TechCrunch said the new matte finish feels a lot better than slick glass:

I'm happy to report that the iPhone 11 Pro's matte finish back increases the grippyness of the phone on its own. The smooth back of the iPhone 11 and the iPhone XS always required a bit of finger oil to get into a condition where you could reliably pivot them with one hand going in and out of a pocket. TechCrunch

TechRadar also loved the matte finish and said it's a big upgrade:

Apple might not have changed the design of the iPhone 11 Pro Max on the front (compared to last year's XS Max) but on the rear things are much improved: there's a new matte glass back that feels noticeably different in the hand - it's much less prone to smudges and fingerprints, and feels like an upgrade. TechRadar

Is this a noticeable upgrade over last year?

Most people will be wondering if they should upgrade, especially if they own an iPhone XR or iPhone XS.

The Verge said the iPhone 11 Pro features enough improvements to warrant an upgrade from the iPhone XS:

I'm very picky about displays and cameras, so I'm going to get a Pro. In fact, the cameras on the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro are so improved that I think they're worth the year-over-year upgrade from last year's models for the first time in a long time. Add in the improved battery life, and the iPhone 11 Pro stands out as a major step forward from the XS, and one of the best flagship phones of the year. TheVerge

Engadget admitted the iPhone 11 Pro is Apple's best iPhone but was more cautious about upgrading:

The iPhone 11 Pro represents Apple at the peak of its smartphone game, but it might not be a must-buy if you're a frequent upgrader. Engadget

CNBC had similar thoughts to Endgaget:

On the other hand, if you have an iPhone X or last year's phones, you probably don't need to upgrade unless you're on Apple's annual upgrade plan. CNBC

Brandon Russell