iPhone 11 vs iPhone 11 Pro Max: Which should you buy?
The iPhone 11 is likely the best option for most people. It has all the same important internals as the higher-end model and a much more reasonable price point. Of course, the iPhone 11 only has a two-camera set-up, meaning you miss out on a Telephoto lens.
- Lower price
- More color choices
- Many of the same internals for less
- Easier to use with one hand
- No telephoto lens
- LCD, not OLED
- No 512GB storage option
The iPhone 11 Pro Max is pretty much the same thing as the iPhone 11 Pro, but with a larger screen and longer-lasting battery. That extra screen means extra width, which may be too big for some hands.
- Huge 6.5-inch screen
- Super Retina XDR display with 2688‑by‑1242-pixel resolution at 458 ppi
- Triple lens camera system (Wide Angle, Telephoto, and Ultra Wide Angle)
- Larger battery and better battery life
- Hard to use with one hand for most people
- Still starts at 64GB capacity
When it comes to size, the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro Max both have pretty big screens — 6.1 inches and 6.5 inches respectively — but there's no denying the iPhone 11 Pro Max OLED screen is brighter, has a higher contrast, and deeper blacks compared to the iPhone 11's LCD screen. Of course, the slightly smaller size of the iPhone 11 screen does make it a little easier to use one-handed, which some may prefer over the larger iPhone 11 Pro Max.
The biggest difference you'll notice is with the camera set up. The iPhone 11 Pro Max has three cameras — wide-angle, telephoto, and ultra wide-angle — while the iPhone 11 is only sporting the wide-angle and the ultra-wide-angle. This means the iPhone 11 Pro Max is going give you a wider range of shooting options. The good news is that the iPhone 11 can still do Portrait mode, Night mode, and still has access to the whole new suite of editing features in iOS 13. In fact, other than missing the telephoto lens, the iPhone 11 has all the same camera specs that the iPhone 11 Pro Max does.
The nitty-gritty details
Other than a few very obvious differences, the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro Max are more similar than you may think. In terms of the TrueDepth camera, for example, they're identical in specs, including 4K video support and those super fun "slo-fies." Here's a breakdown of the major specs for each model. You can see how many features the iPhone 11 Pro Max has that the iPhone 11 has too, for $300 less, even!
|Header Cell - Column 0||iPhone 11||iPhone 11 Pro Max|
|Cost||Starts at $699||Starts at $1099|
|Colors||White, Black, Green, Yellow, Purple, (PRODUCT) Red||Midnight Green, Space Gray, Silver, Gold|
|Display||Liquid Retina display||Super Retina XDR display|
|Screen resolution||1792-by-828-pixel resolution at 326 ppi||2688‑by‑1242-pixel resolution at 458 ppi|
|Dimensions||5.94-by-2.98-by-0.33 inches||6.22-by-3.06-by-0.32 inches|
|Weight||6.84 ounces||7.97 ounces|
|Battery life||Up to 17 hours of video playback||Up to 20 hours of video playback|
|Charger||5W charger||18W Fast Charger|
|Water-resistance||IP68 max depth 2 meters up to 30 min||IP68 max depth 4 meters up to 30 min|
|Chip||A13 Bionic||A13 Bionic|
|Camera||Dual Lens (Wide and Ultra Wide)||Triple Lens (Wide, Ultra Wide, and Telephoto)|
|Video||4K up to 60fps||4K up to 60fps|
|Audio||Supports Dolby Atmos||Supports Dolby Atmos|
|TrueDepth Camera||12MP with wide-angle and slo-mo video||12MP with wide-angle and slo-mo video|
Many of the features are the same between the iPhone 11 and the iPhone 11 Max, and a lot of the differences are minimal, especially when you look at the internals that powers them both. There are a couple of interesting differences that are harder to catch just by glancing at the phones.
First, the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro Max are both IP68 water-resistant; however, the iPhone 11 Pro Max is rated for a depth of 4 meters (13.12 feet), whereas the iPhone 11 is only rated to a depth of 2 meters (6.56 feet). This may not matter much to most people, but if you're a bit clumsy and are worried about getting your new iPhone wet, it's good to know that the iPhone 11 Pro Max goes twice as deep.
The charging adapters are different, too. Both the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro Max are capable of fast charging (about 50% charge in 30 minutes) but only with a charger that is 18W or higher. Interestingly, the iPhone 11 Pro Max ships with an 18W charger in the box, so you can take advantage of the fast-charging capabilities; however, the iPhone 11 still comes with the same old 5W charging brick that the iPhone has always come with.
Which iPhone should you get?
In the end, which phone you pick mostly comes down to how you're going to use it. If you love the idea of having a big phone with a massive screen that takes advantage of the OLED display offering superior brightness and contrast get the iPhone 11 Pro Max. If you're a photography fiend and want all the options you can possibly have when going shooting, the iPhone 11 Pro Max is for you. Of course, if you have the money and just want to have the newest and best that Apple has to offer, the iPhone 11 Pro Max is it.
So here's the good news: the iPhone 11 is a great phone for most people. If you don't care about the OLED screen, and you don't find yourself longing for a third camera lens, the iPhone 11 has the same internals starting at $400 less. Its 6.1-inch screen is a little easier to use with one hand, and it's still an upgrade over last year's iPhone line up, making it a great choice for anyone looking for a little more power and speed in their daily carry.
Colorful and practical
No doubt, this is the best iPhone for most people.
Despite fewer premium features, this is probably the iPhone most will select in the coming months. Pick your favorite color, and enjoy!
Biggest screed, but only slightly better on the inside.
The iPhone 11 Pro Max is a big beast with a larger screen, better battery, and a third camera, but can be unwieldy to hold for extended periods.
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Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way.
Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.