Amateur Photographer verdict

The iPhone 11 provides good photos for people on a low budget.
Pros
  • Good value for money
  • Dual camera system
  • Great night mode
Cons
  • No telephoto camera
  • Only comes with 64 or 128 GB
  • No manual mode

The iPhone 11 came out in 2019, and offers a dual-camera system with a battery that lasts all day. It’s now available for under $200/£200, but is it still a good purchase? Find out in this review.

At a glance

  • Price: $200 / £193
  • 12MP f/2.4 ultra-wide
  • 12MP f/1.8 main camera, OIS
  • 12MP f/2.2 selfie camera
  • Display: 6.1inch Liquid Retina display, 60hz, HD, 828×1792 pixels
  • Operating system: iOS 13, updates to 17.5.1 (currently)
iPhone 11 in red. Photo Jeremy Waller

How we test phones

We review smartphones from the perspective of choosing a smartphone for its photography and camera performance, so we’ll be starting by looking at what the iPhone 11 offers in terms of the cameras and what features are included for photography and video.

Handling, design and features

The main, 26mm equivalent, 12MP camera has optical image stabilisation (OIS), and an f1.8 aperture, as well as autofocus. The ultra-wide-angle, 13mm equivalent, 12MP camera has an f/2.4 aperture, but is fixed focus, so can’t be used for macro images. The selfie camera is also a 12MP camera, with an f/2.2 aperture.

The buttons are easily reachable, and the volume up and down can be used as a shutter button in the camera app.

You can quickly access the camera by pressing and holding on the icon in the bottom right of the lock screen alternatively you can find the camera icon in the control centre.

The phone is well made and relatively durable but a case is recommended if you want extra protection.

iPhone 11 in red, buttons and side switch. Photo Jeremy Waller

Battery life – The battery for me normally lasts all day but if you are buying one 2nd hand you should check the battery health.

The screen isn’t anything special, the iPhone 11 has a 6.1 inch retina display with a peak brightness of 625 nits. The iPhone 12 has a noticeably brighter screen, as shown below.

iPhone 11 (left) iPhone 12 (right). Photo Jeremy Waller

The camera app

The camera app is very easy to use, with a row of camera modes above the shutter button. This includes normal photo, portrait, panoramic, video, slo-mo and time-lapse. There is no pro or manual modes, but for most people this won’t be a problem. In the night mode, you can adjust the shutter speed, depending on the light levels.

There is a row of lens options, which include 0.5 for ultra wide and 1x for the main wide angle camera. There is no optical zoom on this base model iPhone 11, but you can use up to 5x digital.

iPhone 11 photo app. Photo Jeremy Waller

Performance and image quality

The overall image quality on the iPhone 11 is great, with nice colours and reliable exposure. You can just point and shoot and get great results.

IPhone11 main camera Bishops’ House
iPhone 11 · f/1.8 · 1/1330s · 4.25mm · ISO32

The main camera is really good for both day and night photography, with really good detail and colours. The optical image stabilisation (OIS) helps with low-light shooting and night photography.

IPhone11 main camera 2x Bishops’ House
iPhone 11 · f/1.8 · 1/1522s · 4.25mm · ISO32

The digital zoom is okay at 2x zoom, but use more zoom, and the detail is reduced.

IPhone11 0.5 ultra wide camera Bishops’ House
iPhone 11 · f/2.4 · 1/631s · 1.54mm · ISO20

The ultra wide camera is not as good as the main camera, you can clearly tell that it does not have as much detail.

IPhone11 main camera close up flower Jeremy Waller
iPhone 11 · f/1.8 · 1/1330s · 4.25mm · ISO32

Close up – The iPhone 11 does not have a macro mode but it can still get relatively close up to things, using the main camera. If you are looking for an iPhone with macro mode you can get the iPhone 13 Pro/Pro Max, 14 Pro/Pro Max, 15 Pro/Pro Max.

IPhone11 main camera portrait statue Jeremy Waller
iPhone 11 · f/1.8 · 1/60s · 4.25mm · ISO160

Portrait background blur – The portrait mode’s background blur is nice, on default settings, but if you want to make the background more or less blurry you can.

Selfie taken with the iPhone 11, with portrait mode on. Photo JW
iPhone 11 · f/2.2 · 1/122s · 2.71mm · ISO32

Selfie camera – The selfie camera does a good job, and it too has a portrait mode, with lighting controls, and you can adjust the background blur when editing.

Value for money

Due to the age of the phone, the iPhone 11 is good value for money. The 64GB version is being sold for $200 / £193, and the 128GB version from $220 / £216 from Amazon. The iPhone 12 is priced at around $240 / £250 on Amazon.

If you want a telephoto zoom camera or macro shooting you will have to spend a lot more money, especially if you want an iPhone.

iPhone 11 and 12 cameras. Photo Jeremy Waller

Verdict

If you only have $200 / £200 to spend on a camera phone, the iPhone 11 is a good choice, with a good dual camera setup on the rear, as well as a good selfie camera.

But if you have a bit more to spend then the iPhone 12 is even better, with a brighter screen, an improved main camera, as well as being newer, which means it should get updates for longer.

Amateur Photographer Recommended 4 stars

For more budget options, have a look at the best budget camera phones.

Specifications

Main camera12MP, f/1.8, OIS, 26mm equivalent
Ultra-wide12MP, f/2.4, 13mm equivalent
Selfie12MP, f/2.2, 23mm equivalent
Display6.1inches, Liquid Retina display, 60hz, HD, 828×1792pixels
Operating systemiOS
DimensionsWidth: 75.7 mm Height: 150.9 mm Depth: 8.3 mm
WeightWeight: 194g

Follow AP on FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube and TikTok.