The iPhone 11 Pro Max has been with me for almost four months now. It's time for a progress report. Was the investment of $1,249 was really worth it? What do I like about the iPhone 11 Pro and what needs to be improved? Find out here.
I put a proud sum of money on the table to treat myself to the new iPhone 11 Pro Max in winter 2019. I was already faced with a nuisance when I bought it. Apple sells the iPhone 11 Pro Max only in three memory sizes: 64GB, 265GB, and 512GB. The prices are accordingly different. Although a device with an internal storage of 128GB would have been sufficient for me, 64GB would have been too small. Therefore I was forced to buy the 256GB version for $1,249. As if that wasn't already enough money, I learned from the past and directly bought Apple Care+ for an additional $199. Because with the iPhone 8 Plus and my iPhone X, I had to claim the Apple warranty for display damage.
Apple Care+ guarantees me two repairs in two years. If the display is damaged, I get a huge discount on a replacement. With Apple insurance, I simply feel much more relaxed in my daily use of the device.
Before the iPhone 11 Pro Max arrived, I was using an iPhone XR, which had been a faithful companion until then. But the camera quality and the display tempted me to buy the new iPhone. The triple camera is the first evolution since the introduction of the iPhone X - I wanted to take a closer look at that.
I like the huge, high-resolution display
But it is not the camera that inspires me every day. For me, the secret star is the 6.5-inch retina XDR display. Simply insanely good. There's nothing to complain about. I really like the maximum brightness. The first summer with the iPhone 11 Pro Max is not yet here, but even the bright winter sun could not spoil the user experience outdoors. The size of the device is, of course, gigantic and without two hands, I could not use the phone in everyday life. On the other hand, the large, bright display is really a lot of fun. Here nothing jerks or delays, then display and graphics unit work hand in hand. What I do not like about many mobile phones and also the iPhone 11 Pro is that despite Dark Mode, True Tone, and Co. The minimal brightness is still too bright for me, especially early in the morning. This is where I would like to see a solution in the future.
I don't like the weight
The iPhone 11 Pro Max is really heavy. In light cardigans or pants without a belt, the 226 gram iPhone almost undresses me. Using a fashionable mobile phone chain like the one I used on the iPhone XR would definitely cause neck and shoulder pain. High-level bitching, girl problems, I know. If you buy a device made of glass, stainless steel and in the XL version, you shouldn't really have to complain. Nevertheless, I found that Apple's Plus models were much lighter back in the day, which is probably due in no small part to the aluminum unibody. Apple still has to look here to see how the iPhone can continue to grow in the future without becoming even heavier.
I like the design and haptic feedback
While the iPhone is a few grams too heavy for me, I find the overall design extremely sexy. The matt glass back does not only feel velvety soft and warm. The optics are also impressive. The apple shines in the middle; Apple has cleverly printed the CE markings required by EU directives so that they are only visible when the light falls on them. Only the triple camera accident in the upper left corner is extremely displeasing to me. In my opinion, neither the shiny glass plate in which the three cameras are embedded nor the asymmetrical arrangement fits into Apple's design line. Anyway, I am extremely excited to see what the new iPhone 2020 will look like, after Apple has lost its legendary designer Jony Ive. A little fresh wind will probably not harm the company.
As beautiful as the back of the glass is to look at and feel, it is just as impractical to handle in everyday life. I wouldn't leave the house without a protective cover. The iPhone 11 Pro Max is slippery to the touch and I have only occasionally trained myself to hold it in a safe environment over the past months. But a secure hold is simply not possible. The shiny stainless steel frame actually provides a good grip in the palm of my hand, but the device is simply too big for my hands. I don't mind that much. I like to use different sleeves, covers, and all that mobile phone designer stuff.
I don't like the battery capacity
I really like the fact that Apple puts its 18-watt power supply in the packaging of the Pro model. The battery of the iPhone 11 Pro Max can be recharged really fast. Unfortunately, this is also necessary. Because in the 100 days with the iPhone 11 Pro Max, I noticed that I use an extremely high amount of battery, especially on weekends when I have a lot of time. I wish that I only had to charge the iPhone only every two days, but somehow the battery is always empty for me. But I have to admit that on super stressful and long working days I look at a nearly full battery display in the evening in astonishment. The OLED display consumes the most power, and even though I only use the display with a maximum of 50 percent brightness, I can almost watch the power go down while I'm playing games, surfing the web or using WhatsApp. All the more surprising is the speed with which the iPhone is ready for use again via quick charging. I am divided on this point, but I also know that a larger battery would have made the device even heavier.
I like the performance
I received a one-year subscription to Apple TV+ with my iPhone purchase. I have to say that it is really great. Whether you use Netflix, Apple TV+ or Amazon Prime Video, watching movies on iPhone 11 Pro Max is truly next level. The speakers do an incredibly good job of making sure that they are working for the smartphone. You can see that when you're gaming, too. Apple Arcade offers you some graphically very elaborate games, which the A13 Bionic handles quite loosely; the sound is top-notch. The performance of the device is extremely attractive. I got so used to the speed of Face-ID, Apple's unlock method, that it almost made me uncomfortable to enter codes anywhere. The iPhone 11 Pro Max raises me to be a spoiled brat in this respect.
I've undecided about the camera
It is not without reason that I mention them as the last point in my 100-day experience report. Because the triple camera of the iPhone 11 Pro Max just doesn't knock me off my feet. I did an extensive camera test for a German photography magazine in late 2019. I really like a lot of things, for example, the extremely well-done bokeh effect. With portraits, you will hardly find any calculation errors. But they are there and in my opinion, this simply must not happen with such an expensive device. I also really like the ultra-wide-angle lens. With it, you can take really nice photos of the building. But only during the day, because Apple's new night mode doesn't work when the ultra-wide-angle camera is activated.
Apart from that, you can't complain about the image quality again. I think it's great that long-term exposure of up to 30 seconds is possible when the mobile phone is on a tripod. By hand, you have here only ten seconds. This is, of course, ingenious, because Apple prevents "amateurs" from saving numerous blurred recordings. Apple calls the device "Pro" model. Here I would like to see more possibilities in the camera software. By the way, you will find the detailed camera test of the iPhone 11 Pro Max by Ben separately. With his passion and expertise, he can tell much more about cameras than I can.
So, is it worth the price?
No. I'm going to say quite openly that I really like Apple as a company and the brand in terms of software and hardware. I've been using an iPhone for ten years now, starting with iPhone 4, and the price of the iPhone 11 Pro Max is extremely high, with electronics insurance you'll pay a lot again. For me personally, iOS, in particular, is worth a certain sum. An iPhone fits well into my technical infrastructure, while I have tried the jump to Android over and over again in the past years. I know for sure that it will be different, but with the iPhone 11 Pro Max, I decided to skip at least one new product generation and use it longer.
At the same time, the enormously high resale value after one year is very tempting to get rid of the device again and to examine Apple's latest technology. I don't recommend the iPhone 11 Pro Max and I believe that the small version, the iPhone 11, does too. If you want the full Apple experience and you have big hands, hit it. In terms of cameras, you should have a look at Samsung or Huawei, if it may be an Android smartphone. They are way ahead of Apple in this respect.