The cameras in the iPhone 11 are a more important upgrade than the added battery life
Title says it all. I think these new cameras are going to be better than the ones in the XS max. Because I believe that they increased the sensor size (at least on the main wide camera).
Apple has had much smaller sensors compared to the competition for the longest time now. Google pixel has been using a 1/2.3 inch sensor (used in some mirrorless cameras) since the first google pixel. The pixel size on this sensor is 1.55 µm (compared to 1.2 on iPhone X), that’s huge ! And this is why the pixel has had the best photo camera for three years in a row.
The thing with computational photography is that it gives awesome results …. sometimes. All computational photography tricks that use multiple frames to create a final shot (night mode, hdr, the new “deep fusion”) are useless when there is movement in the shot. (combining frames doesn’t work great when there is movement)
A bigger camera sensor gives better results **all the time,** because it gathers more light. And this is why this aspect is more important than computational photography.
iPhone X had a 1/3 inch sensor size with 1.22 µm pixels. iPhone Xs increased the pixel size to 1.4 µm.
You can work out the increase in sensor size with this formula : (1.4 ^2 – 1.22 ^2 )/1.22 ^2 = 31.7% larger.
Now I believe the iPhone 11 is finally using a 1/2.3 inch sensor with 1.55 µm pixels to match the Google phones and Samsung phones.
So the sensor on this phone is (1.55 ^2 – 1.4 ^2 )/1.4 ^2 = 23% larger compared to Xs.
I believe the sensor is bigger because you can see the lenses are bulkier compared to the Xs, there is even a “double” protrusion. It doesn’t make sense to make the individual camera modules bigger when they have to add a third camera. This means, the cameras are bigger because they have increased the sensor size.
[Camera modules side by side](https://i.redd.it/kgc4kql8syl31.png)
The iPhone 11 is also 0.4 mms thicker than the Xs.
The other hint that they increased the sensor size is that the competition is having insane progress in this aspect. The Huawei P30 pro has a 1/1.7 inch sensor that is absolutely enormous. that is 50% larger than the ones on iphone 11/ samsung/ pixel phones.
Here is a size comparison of Huawei’s newest sensors :
[Huawei vs Samsung sensor size](https://i.redd.it/c4ramqm1yxl31.png)
Now let’s talk about battery life. This isn’t as significant as you think it is. The 4 more hours is a dirty trick of marketing.
You’ll get 4 more hours of **video playback** (18 hours vs 14 hours). A 25% increase.
Now if you know anything about battery life, video playback is absolutely the least battery consuming thing to do in a smartphone. And the “**up to**” here is important, because when Apple is doing these tests they are doing it with all apps closed, all notifications off, all connectivity off, average brightness, and no touch input.
Meaning you ll get 4 more hours of playback if you disable everything in your phone, set it on average brightness and putting it on a table without touching it.
Real battery life usage is “screen on time”, the time you are spending on your phone using it in day to day life with the screen turned on, cellular on, and you are switching apps, typing and scrolling. The Xs had 5 hours of screen on time according to most reviews (ie. 5 hours **actively** using the phone). You can expect the iPhone 11 to last an hour longer in real life which is not revolutionary. Many people charge their phones in the middle of the day anyway, especially at work.
[11 pro (left) vs Xs (right)](https://i.redd.it/92mgpxgd0yl31.png)
Finally I want to talk about the “pro” naming. When I hear “pro”. What I think about is an increase in productivity and the things I can do with my phone. Adding a wide angle lens isn’t pro by any means, since this feature is cool and can be used a couple times a week, but it doesn’t add anything to your productivity. They seem to be marketing these camera for professional videographers, but let’s be honest, what pro is going to use a **phone** camera for their projects ?
A pro iPhone isn’t an iPhone with improved cameras, it isn’t even an iPhone with 120 hz display. A 120 hz display isn’t a pro feature. It eats battery life to make scrolling more pleasant, but it ruins your experience with all your other 60 hz devices and it’s something you’ll get used to it with time so much so that it will feel just like the old 60 hz.
A “pro” iPhone should have added functionality compared to the normal iPhone. This one only has an OLED display advantage. But no additional features. When I heard the name “pro” in the keynote, I was almost sure they were going to announce apple pencil support, which is a proper pro feature. You can take screenshots with it, annotate, sign pdfs, add handwritten notes when reading a book, take quick notes without having to turn on the display ….
A “pro” iPhone can also mean increased base storage. What kind of pro phone has 64 Gb ? 10 of which are taken by the OS, another 10 by apps, leaving you 40 to take a small number of videos (with the “new wonderful” cameras) before you run out of space ?
A “pro” iPhone can also mean usb C support. Or reverse wireless charging.
Yet none of this was announced. In fact the only significant pro feature that iPhone had over the competition was 3D touch and … they removed it …
I think many people will opt for the iPhone 11 this year (has the exact same features as the pro) and the only ones buying the pro will be people who aren’t tech-savvy who will be fooled by the “pro” naming. Don’t get me wrong, the new cameras will be a killer in this year’s iPhone but it doesn’t make it “pro”, and they are available on the normal 11 anyway.