This is not your usual tech review. That’s because it is time to reconsider when to upgrade your iPhone.
Now is the time to question: Do we really need to upgrade our iPhones every two years?
Over more than 10 years of blogging about technology, reviewing a new iPhone has long been one of my easiest homework.
Every year, the custom was this: I tried the most significant new features of Apple’s newest iPhones and assessed whether they were helpful. Assuming
the latest iPhone worked perfectly, I generally suggested upgrading if you had owned your current device for two years.
But with this review of the
iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max
— which Apple unveiled two months ago — I’m recommending a different approach. The bottom line? It’s time to readjust our upgrade
That’s because we are now living in the gilded age of smartphones, when the devices’ improvements each year are far from seismic. Devices that were released
three years ago remain snappy and more than powerful. Those with the iPhone 7 from 2016, for instant, still have a very superb handset with a fantastic camera
and wild speeds.
So now is the time to question : Do we really need to upgrade our iPhones every two years?
According to my testing of
the answer is no. Don’t mistake me: The latest models are outstanding. Apple has made them faster,
Enhanced the cameras and extended their battery life. The new models also starts at a lower cost of $700, down from $750 in the previous year, which is a break
in an age of escalating smartphone prices.
However, none of this is convincing enough to merit a speedy upgrade if you have had your iPhone for just two years. The newest iPhones just aren’t a huge upgrade
last year’s iPhones
or even the
So here’s what I basically recommend: You should certainly upgrade if your existing device is at least five years old. The iPhone 11 lineup are all a substantial
Improvement from those released in 2014. But for everyone else with iPhones from 2015 or later, there is no haste to upgrade. Instead, there is more mileage
and significance to be had out of the outstanding iPhone you already own.
Comparing the iPhones 11s with the iPhone X
I tried the new iPhones for ten days , beginning with the $700 entry-level iPhone 11 with a 6.1-inch screen, which I used as my main driver for three days.
Then I swapped to the iPhone 11 Pro, the $1,000 model with a 5.8-inch display, for three days. And then lastly the iPhone 11 Pro Max, the $1,100 model with
a gigantic 6.5-inch display , for four days.
Then I compared my results with my notes and photos from testing the iPhone X in 2017. What I established was that the iPhone 11 was better, but not extremely
Significant differences between the iPhone 11s and the iPhone X:
- All the iPhone 11 models have a new ultra-wide-angle lens in their cameras, which offers a wider field of view than standard phone cameras. This
makes them preferable for capturing landscapes or large group assemblies. The iPhone X doesn’t have the ultra-wide-angle lens, but its double -lens camera is capable of
capturing portrait-mode photos, which places the picture’s main subject in sharp focus while softly blurring the background.
- The latest iPhones are all powered by the same computing processor, A13 Bionic, which is around 50 percent quicker than the iPhone X. While that may appear huge,
the iPhone X is already amazingly fast at taking photos and running apps and games.
- The latest iPhones all have impressive battery life. Even after a day of heavy use, which included placing and answering phone calls, browsing internet and taking lots of photographs,
each iPhone had lots of power left — at least 30 percent — by bedtime. Similar tests with an iPhone X two years ago, the battery had a remainder of around 15
percent by bedtime.
- The rear of the Pro models is made of a rugged glass which makes them scratch-resistant. This is remarkable however, if you’re spending $1,000 on a phone,
you will certainly safeguard it with a case that protects the rear anyway — just as many iPhone X owners do.
- The Pro models have OLED displays that are a little brighter than the screen on the iPhone X.
There are lots of little things that are slightly better on the new iPhones than on the two-year-old iPhone X. For early adopters who are keen to have
the newest and gratest flagship, those little advancements may add up to warrant an upgrade.
But for the majority, the upgrades won’t profoundly change our phone experience.
Comparing the phone cameras
The most remarkable new feature on the iPhones 11s is the ultra-wide-angle lens. Using the ultrawide mode is easy and smooth: You pinch outward to
zoom all the way out. On a beach, the wider view captured my dogs playing on the sand, the ocean waves and the adjacent highway.
The telephoto lens on the iPhone 11 Pro did an excellent job zooming in on my dog Mochi’s snout as she shook some water off her head.
The new iPhones also have a new option for capturing photos in low light. When the camera recognizes that the background is very dark, it automatically captures several
pictures and then merge them together while making modifications to colors and contrast. The result was that photos taken in low light without flash look
brighter, in a natural way.
The new iPhones features a low-light mode, which takes numerous images at different exposures and merge them into one, to make a picture look brighter.
Photos captured with the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro looked Crystal clear, and their colors were detailed. However, after I finished these experiments, I looked back at my
archived photos taken with an iPhone X.
Those pictures, particularly the ones taken with portrait mode, still appeared striking. Some of the low-light ones looked shabby when compared to the ones
taken by the iPhone 11s, but I wouldn’t advise that you buy a new iPhone just to get great night photos. You could always just make use of flash.
When should I upgrade then?
Every year, the most common question I get from people is whether they should purchase a new iPhone. So here’s a list of considerations in any
decision about upgrading.
The simplest thing to consider is software. Apple’s latest mobile operating system,
is only supported on iPhones from 2015 (the iPhone 6S) and later. Therefore, in case you have an iPhone that dates back than that, it is worth upgrading because once you
can no longer update the operating system, some of your apps may fail to work appropriately.
For those with younger iPhones, there are ways to get more mileage out of your existing device. While the latest iPhones have excellent battery life — a few
hours longer than the previous models — a new battery in your current device
costs only $50 to $70
and will significantly improve its life.
In case you own the iPhone 6S from 2015 and the iPhone 7 from 2016, the iPhone 11s are faster, with camera enhancements and larger displays. That makes an
upgrade worthwhile but not obligatory-.
But if you paid $1,000 on an iPhone X two years back, then hold off. The iPhone 11s are not convincing enough to merit $700-plus on a
If you hold on for a year or two, you will probably be rewarded with that leap forward. That may be an iPhone that supports fast 5G cellular networks,
or a device that can wirelessly charge Apple AirPods.
Patience pays— and so will breaking free of the iPhone’s automatic two-year upgrade cycle.