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Review iPhone 11 Pro Max – Good upgrade, but still not good enough

Posted in Reviews on by Stein JürgenDownload .


If I was forced to buy an iPhone I would buy the new 11 Pro Max – but it’s still insanely way too expensive and still performs poorly on some essential features. See our test with pros, cons and price + a guide to three great alternatives.

Review iPhone 11 Pro Max

I’m a sucker for phones with big and good displays. Big display phones simply improves my phone experience in bascially all aspects. It’s just a shame that the big iPhone 11 Pro Max is way too expensive compared to the best alternatives – but – finally – it has improved on a couple of essential features. It’s still brain dead to buy it when I compare to the quality of those hundreds of phones I have testet during the years – but not as brain dead as earlier.

Design

Design – it looks like it’s been sneezed of out the nose on iPhone 10 S Max – That’s a saying in my native language that means it looks just the same. But only on the front. The back looks different mainly due to the camera set up. Pictures before the launch shocked many people because the design on the back looked horrific. And it actually also does in real life.

The camera box is a bit above the phone and the three camera lenses are a bit above the camera box. That’s not elegant. When the phone is lying on the table with the screen upwards then the phone tilts around when you press the screen.

11 Pro Max is also a bit longer, wider, thicker and heavier than the 10S max. With that said it’s laying safe in my hand – its not a slippery phone.

Read more: Phones with best design and materials

 

Display

The display is 6,5 inch big and now Apple call the display Super Retina XDR OLED. It’s bascially the same display a on 10 S Max, but the brightness level can be up to 1200 nits – that’s a lot and higher than on most 4K tv.

This makes it optimal for watching HDR content. The screen to body ratio is actually a bit smaller than on 10 S Max, but I bow in the dust – it’s an amazing screen. The display is great for reading news, watching movies, playing games and so much more.

One last thing – it’s nice to know that the screen is the most durable on a phone ever, according to Apple.

Read more: Phones with best display

 

User friendliness & Navigation speed

The phone has the new A13 Bionic chip from Apple. It’s powerfull – extremely powerfull, not doubt about it. The user interface runs smoothly and apps and functions are opened immediately.

However, most people will not have any reason for all that power – and older A-chip would be more than enough but Apple do not offer less powerfull chips on new phones – you can only choose the most powerfull and also the most expensive to develop.

What I want to say is – you pay for something you do not need. The upside to this is that there are reasons to believe that you will still have a fast phone in 3-4 years time – unless you choose the version with only 64 Gigabyte memory. That’s another unfair step from Apple.

Why not start from 128 GB instead of 64 GB? Of course I know why – Apple wants to press you into buying the more expensive version with 256 GB memory – or maybe even the insanely priced 512 GB version.

The Face ID has been improved – it works like a charm from more narrow angles and in the dark. Not only sort of half dark – no, really dark. Thats nice. I would love to have seen Apples take on a fingerprintscanner under the screen just out of curiosity – but in real life I don’t miss it.

Speaking of dark – the new Dark Mode is also a welcome feature. It’s not specific for 11 Pro Max, it’s  iOS 13 feature – but nonetheless – it’s nice for the eyes in the evening.

Read more: Phones with best navigation speed

 

Camera

The three cameras on the back takes great pictures. The colours are mostly spot on, there’s a nice sharpness on the pictures, portrait pictures have fine bokeh effect, the wide angle function is nice for landscape pictures.

We also have a night function that by defualt is activated and the phone decides when it should be used. You can turn it of but it’s a  user unfriendly process. There’s to times optical zoom but in real life it’s not that nice a function – often I have to zoom more when I want to zoom.

Then there’s of course the slofies functions – selfie videos recorded in slow motion.

Read more: Phone swith best camera and video quality

 

Battery

The best low practical but maybe most essential news and upgrade on 11 Pro Max is the improved battery capacity. Almost 4.000 milli amp hours – completely unheard of in iPhone land. This gives you 5 hours more effective usage. A small step for smartphones, a big step for iPhones.

The poor antenna quality still has a negative effect on the battery life  but the battery life on 11 Pro Max is indeed catching up to the best competitors

There’s a 18 Watt charger in the box – that’s also the first time that happens for iPhone. Its takes around 30 minutes to charge the phone from zero to 50 percent – the last 50 percent takes around 1 hour and 20 minutes. Pretty slow compared to the fastest Android phones but way faster than on previous iPhones.

Read more: Phones with best quality in battery

Price:

The price level for iPhone 11 Pro Max is around 1.450 dollars or  1200 euros. No matter from what angles you look at it, that’s insane. Because it got some heavy drawbacks.

Cons:

  • The sar value is very high and much higher than on the most direct competitors and the antenna quality still sucks. In cities you probably won’t get a poor mobile coverage – unless you live in concrete buildings or have enviromental friendly windows in your house or apartment.
  • In the outskirts with long distance between antenna base stations there’s a high risk of loosing the connnection which means poor voice quality and slow data speed.
  • The poor antenna quality also means, that the phone has to use more power to stay connected – this means using more battery. Do we like using more battery, Apple – let me think – NO!
  • The huge notch on top of the screen looks outdated today with the waterdrop-solution or more eye popping pop up cameras on other phones.
  • It’s not fair to start from only 64 GB memory when there’s no memory card slot. The phone system and preinstalled apps use around 10-11 gigabyte and the first 3 random games I downloaded from Apple Arcade are 2-3 gigabyte big and after 1 day I have used around ⅓ of the memory on my 64 GB version. There’s no way this will last for a long time and it forces me to to buy an even more expensive version of 11 Pro Max.
  • Finally: It’s heavy – more heavy than other phones with bigger displays and almost 50 grams heavier than Samsung Galaxy S10+.

 

Alternatives

If you don’t have a tree with money instead of leaves then there are loads of other great, even better and much cheaper alternatives.

Conclusion

It’s nice that we can put some of the usual cons on the pro list. The improved battery life is really nice, the fast charger included in the box – thumbs up. The camera is among the best in any phone and the diplay is amazing.

But there are still to many drawbacks and the price is horryfing. As I said in the beginning – If I was forced to buy an iPhone it would be this – but i’m not, and even though I look braindead I’m not totally braindead so I would simply choose a different phone.

Read more: Phone review