Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Week with iPhone 11 Pro: review and experience

Does he really survive until evening on a single charge? How does the camera shoot? And the three black eyes at night in nightmares do not dream? I have been using the new flagship Apple smartphone for more than a week as my primary smartphone. In this review, the iPhone 11 Pro, if possible without retelling the presentation for the hundredth time (if it somehow passed you by here), I will tell you what pleased and upset you.

IPhone 11 Pro review: design, convenience, durability

Those who begin to monitor leaks about Apple's news long before the “red day of the calendar” in early September will probably remember this feeling of bewilderment and embarrassment that arose with the appearance of the first renderings of new iPhones based on drawings that got to designers: “Will they make them THE TRUTH? "

Yes, but not quite like that. Only lenses were in the metal rims, and not the protruding area of the photomodule as a whole - it was machined from glass. Moreover, the coating was made smooth, contrasting with the matte rear panel. This creates an interesting optical illusion: when you look at the phone at an angle of more than 45 degrees to the plane of the back panel, you will not immediately tell whether the platform is protruding or not.

Maybe there would be no problem pulling the iPhone X / XS photo module down a bit and fitting a third camera there - but then it would be more difficult to distinguish new items from last year’s phones. There wouldn’t be all these mocking memes that ultimately work for Apple marketing, increasing brand awareness. The word "tripophobia" would not have entered the mass vocabulary

And, most importantly, to give a novelty of 90,000 rubles (or even 130,000) for an indistinguishable two steps from last year and last year’s iPhones would be much more painful. After all, an effective symbol of socio-economic status should be registered by others in fractions of a second, and preferably - at the subconscious level. And the owner quickly gets used to the new design and ceases to think that the iPhone photo module should look somehow different. The protrusions of past models begin to seem ridiculously small.

Fingerprints on the frosted glass are really invisible, but do not think that the iPhone 11 Pro is less slippery than last year. Fingers glide even better on such a surface, dropping a phone without a cover is easier, but it’s more difficult to slip a smartphone lying on the “back” of the table - the coating resembles a very small skin. At the same time, it is durable: from soft metal keys or rivets on jeans there may be traces that are easy to erase. But somehow I already managed to scratch the screen, it seems that some insidious grain of sand did its job, sneaking into my pocket.

And one more trifle in terms of design: the buttons are lower, so they are easier to get. The rest is the same framework, the same fringe, on the front side of the previous two iPhones the new can not be distinguished. The case has become heavier by more than 10 grams, and this is noticeable, but a microscopic increase in thickness is not tactile recorded.

Total: the same iPhone in the year before last design of the “tens”, only “three-eyed”, a little heavier and more slippery in the hand. You get used to the design in about a day and a half, perplexity passes. What does not work out is the desire that the most expensive smartphone on the market would look the most futuristic, as it was during the times of iPhone 4. We are looking forward to 2020.

Обзор iPhone 11 Pro: камера, камера, камера

Judging by the time that the camera devoted to the presentation and the proportion of the space dedicated to it on the official promotional page on the Apple website, the iPhone is now primarily a device for creatively documenting reality, and only in the second - a smartphone and everything else. The main upgrade is an additional wide-angle lens (including the cheaper iPhone 11), the second main one is the night mode, plus new HDR processing algorithms, plus improved stabilization and video quality.

I compared the cameras of the iPhone 11 Pro, Samsung Galaxy Note10 and Huawei P30 Pro. Everyone has three lenses: standard, zoom and wide-angle, everyone has night mode, everyone (except the iPhone - they haven’t figured it out yet) is in the top ten of the DxOMark rating. From which, by the way, I just flew to 11th place - after the test of Huawei Mate 30 Pro - last year's iPhone XS Max.

Pictures were taken at intervals of a maximum of several tens of seconds. The differences when shooting in simple conditions (day, partly cloudy without a bright sun, but not too cloudy) are actually minimal. On the iPhone, the picture is slightly more contrasted than that of Note10, a little deeper than the shadow, but not everywhere - skyscrapers contrasted came out on Samsung devices. Apparently, the difference is exactly how the camera algorithms segment the image during processing, into which “semantic” areas are divided to create the most pleasing to the eye, detailed, contrasting and saturated result. The photo from the Huawei P30 Pro looks a bit darker and “autumnal” than the scene was in reality, and there are almost no gaps in the sky.

And this is an increased result of shooting with telephoto lenses. The Huawei P30 Pro is here in a deliberately losing situation - its telephoto zoom lens is five times, with a double zoom (which, it seems to me, is more popular), the picture from the main camera is scaled. If you look meticulously as closely as possible, the iPhone gives a slightly clearer picture, but in most real situations, the difference will not be visible. But with the color rendition of the problem, in fact, all three participants - at Huawei the picture is too pink, at Samsung - too blue, at the iPhone a bit green and yellow. The wish to the developers of camera algorithms is to more carefully work out the definition of white balance in cloudy weather.

Because when the sky is overcast, there are problems with color reproduction with wide-angle lenses of the iPhone 11 Pro and Note10. Huawei against their background looks better. But the main thing in the new (for the iPhone lineup) camera is additional shooting options. You can shoot like this:


And for video, the wide-angle is generally an irreplaceable thing, the most banal plots begin to look “cinematic”, consider that together with the phone you get an action camera. You will have to think about protection against shock, but the smartphone is protected from water ingress at a depth of 4 meters. And although there is no optical stabilization on the “width” (as there is no night mode), the electronic one does an excellent job, with some dexterity you can shoot a video that looks like it was shot from a compact steadicam like DJI Osmo Mobile. In my opinion, the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 are the best of the smartphones I have tested for video shooting today. Especially considering that Apple has created an API for developers, which allows for the simultaneous recording of multiple cameras (from two so far) in third-party applications. The pioneer here will be Filmic Pro.

Probably the same technology underlies the ability of the iPhone 11 / Pro to switch between different cameras right during shooting, including switching smoothly, using the virtual zoom ring. It has not yet been possible to make the switching moment easily, completely “seamless”, but this does not particularly interfere. The Huawei P30 Pro and Galaxy Note10 can do that too, but the switches are much sharper. And one more small “superpower”: you can start video shooting just by holding down the shutter button in photo mode. The video will be shot in the same aspect ratio that is included for the photo, and - a surprise - if music is playing from the smartphone at this time, it will not stop, the microphones will record sound from the speakers properly.

The second innovation after the wide-angle is the night mode, which combines several shots taken in a row. The iPhone wins at night photos, albeit with a slight advantage: the picture is clearer, it has more natural colors than Huawei, and the lights are not so dazzling as Samsung. The shutter speed in night mode can be adjusted in two ways: more finely - with the exposure slider, and the shutter speed switch. But in the latter case, only a choice of three options is available (maximum - by default - turn off the night mode), in addition, you have to do an extra press. And you can’t turn on night mode on your own if you wish - it is activated only if the smartphone considers that the frame is quite dark.

In general, the updated (only in new iPhone models, in iOS 13 for older models without a wide-angle there is no such) camera interface is addictive. It’s not immediately clear that a delayed shutter timer or art filters need to be searched by clicking on the arrow next to the speaker grid, and they will appear on the other side of the viewfinder. And sometimes the background of the buttons that is translucent (when the smartphone wants to hint to the user: with a wide-angle frame fits more) can not only help, but also distract. And, of course, it is natural to expect a manual camera mode with full control over all parameters from a phone with "Pro" in the title. But Apple still prefers third-party developers to do this.

Total: iPhone is the best smartphone for video today. The wide-angle (like other smartphones, where it is) helps a lot to diversify the plots, while the new generation iPhone shoots video on it much better than competitors. The night mode also helps the new Apple to catch up (and sometimes overtake - the picture more often comes out clearer and with more true colors exactly on the iPhone) other top camera phones.
IPhone 11 Pro review: filling, sound, screen
The second significant upgrade of the iPhone 11 Pro after the camera is the battery. Apple talks about an average of four hours of autonomy (five for the Max model). The increased battery also helped (the Chinese TENAA declassified the nominal battery capacity of 3046 mAh, 14.5% more than the XS), and the energy-efficient Super Retina XDR screen, and the more energy-efficient A13 Bionic processor.

At the presentation, Apple talked about improvements in the chip for a very long time. The A13 has 8.5 billion 7-nanometer transistors - half a billion more than the previously presented Huawei Kirin 990 (version without 5G) and 1.6 billion more than the A12. The chip, which still contains two "large" productive cores and four energy-efficient "small" ones, can perform a trillion operations per second. The productivity of all A13 cores increased by 20%, energy efficiency - by 30% among the "large" and 40% - from the "small" ones. The eight-core neuro processor is 20% more powerful and 15% more economical. But this is hardly important for most users, the main thing - and after a year, and after two, and after three problems with the performance of this smartphone should not arise.

“Upgraded” and the delivery package - customers of Pro-iPhones now get 18-watt chargers. I tested the approximate time of filling the battery from scratch: in the first 15 minutes 32% is added, in 30 - 57%, in an hour - 85%. Then the process slows down sharply: 1 hour 15 minutes - 94%, 1:25 - 97% and the Phone 11 Pro battery is fully charged with a complete power adapter in 1 hour 42 minutes.

However, it was possible to stop at a percentage of 80 - after a copy of the data from the old iPhone transferred to the new one, and the applications downloaded all the data and content they needed, the iPhone 11 Pro stably holds the battery from 6-7 am until late at night. Usually, by 10 pm, 20-30% remains - the iPhone XS Max showed about the same result for me, now the compact model lives so much. And 11 Pro Max, if you believe the reviews and reviews on the network - is still somewhere about an hour longer than the compact model.

Built-in speakers are louder. It seems that for the first time on an iPhone at maximum volume, not only a sudden call, but also music or video from YouTube can be uncomfortably loud. Support for three-dimensional sound is declared, but I didn’t get any content with such an audio track during testing.

The display is very good, this is my subjective value judgment - I did not make measurements of brightness and color rendition. But the HDR content from iTunes or Okko looks gorgeous, like the photos and videos taken by the smartphone itself, and in the sun too. Under these conditions, the smartphone twists the maximum brightness when displaying HDR content up to 1200 nits, the rest up to 800. Approximately the same indicators, judging by the analysis from DisplayMate, are also demonstrated by the flagship Samsung, Galaxy Note10 +.

Less positive emotions evoke the same broad framework for the third year, as well as the “fringe” which is not going to decrease yet - perhaps the upgrade in this regard would be much more noticeable than improving the quality of the OLED panel. By the way, about the fringe - FaceID, for the sake of which it once appeared, was upgraded, and now face recognition works faster. It was also promised a response from more diverse angles - I was glad that the car would no longer need to pull its neck to a smartphone mounted on the duct to the right of the steering wheel. Yes, now she has to be pulled not so far, but I was hoping for more.

And briefly about one loss - there is no longer 3D Touch in iPhones, they sacrificed the hardware to recognize the force of pressing in order to increase the battery. Really sad about this is, perhaps, only the developers who made this feature key in some of their games or applications. The iOS interface works great with Haptic Touch. The exact positioning of the cursor in the text with it (you need to hold your finger on a space for about a second) works for me much more accurately and more conveniently than the similar function with 3D Touch on the iPhone XS Max.

Total: iPhones of the new generation are the most “tenacious” in recent years. They have the maximum margin of performance (for three years - for sure), one of the best sound and screen on the market. FaceID has accelerated, but it still has room to grow, but the loss of 3D Touch for most users will pass unnoticed.

IPhone 11 Pro review: conclusions

Has Apple added enough “professional” features to the new flagship to make “Pro” sound as convincing as possible? I would not say - what about a screen with an increased refresh rate, a universal USB-C connector, a "computer" mode when connecting an external monitor / keyboard / mouse, wireless reverse charging for new AirPods, ToF cameras for portrait mode in video? There are many similar ideas that Apple could implement better than its competitors.

Given this, the iPhone 11, starting at 60,000 rubles, is starting to look even more attractive. With autonomy, it is also in order, the layman distinguishes the LCD screen from the new OLED only by putting smartphones next to it, and the quality of the cameras is the same. The wide-angle available here gives new opportunities to make an interesting shot, and the lack of a telephoto lens will only upset fans of portraits and those who are too lazy to approach the subject with their feet. That's just the size of the 11th will not suit everyone, it's too big.

The iPhone 11 Pro is the best compact smartphone on the market, with the main and most glaring drawback being the price. This is, without a doubt, an excellent upgrade to replace the iPhone 7, 8 or older, but switching to it from the iPhone X, XS or XR makes sense, it seems to me, only for professional "mobilographs" (that is, making a living with a shot smartphone content - in the age of Instagram there are many) or those who simply practice conspicuous consumption.

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