This story is a part of Focal Level iPhone 2022, CNET’s assortment of reports, ideas and recommendation round Apple’s hottest product.

It has been a whereas because the debut of the iPhone 11 in 2019, with Apple debuting the iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 in the years since. And in a few days, we’re prone to see the debut of the iPhone 14 at Apple’s occasion on Sept. 7. The iPhone 11 could also be over two years outdated, however it would possibly nonetheless be a sensible choice, particularly since Apple discounted it to $499 final 12 months. Whereas we advocate that you simply anticipate this subsequent Apple occasion earlier than shopping for any iPhone in any respect, particularly since costs for present iPhone fashions will doubtless lower afterward, the iPhone 11 does have a lot to love as a cellphone that is below $500.

For example, do you thoughts utilizing an iPhone that feels a bit dated? Or do you suppose saving a number of hundred {dollars} is extra essential than carrying the most recent cellphone? What about 5G — how essential is that to you? For those who’re buying on a funds, the iPhone 11 continues to be a nice alternative. Though you may be lacking out on some newer options, the iPhone 11 provides you all of the fundamentals you’d need from an iPhone, together with battery life that is on par with the iPhone 12, a nice dual-lens digicam that features night time mode and a processor that is nonetheless quick sufficient for on a regular basis duties. 

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Prepare for Apple’s subsequent occasion

However when you’ve got some wiggle room in your funds, listed below are some inquiries to ask your self. (For the needs of this text, I will assume that you’re presently utilizing an iPhone.) And should you’re nonetheless mulling over your determination after that, here is how the iPhone 13 compares to the final 5 years of iPhones in addition to our record of the finest iPhones. Plus, try all of the variations between the iPhone 11, 11 Professional and 11 Professional Max.

5G connectivity: iPhone 11 does not have 5G. However do you actually need it proper now?

One of many iPhone 11’s largest lacking options in comparison with the iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 is 5G connectivity. The iPhone 11 is an LTE-only gadget, and should you do not look after the next-gen wi-fi tech simply but (service is patchy in the US in spite of everything), then the iPhone 11 ought to swimsuit you simply effective. Do not forget that 5G debuted on the iPhone 12 lineup and gaining access to quicker bands of 5G will depend on the place you reside, so going for the iPhone 12 makes your buy extra future-proof

An iPhone lying on two old logs surrounded by grass

Angela Lang/CNET

Show high quality: You will not get a 120Hz refresh fee on an iPhone 11 (or iPhone 12)

The iPhone 11 makes use of a crisp LCD display that refreshes at 60 frames per second, or 60Hz. Apple traded up in the iPhone 12, equipping it with an OLED display, although it stored the show at 60Hz similar to most telephones. OLEDs are usually extra vibrant than their LCD counterparts, with richer distinction and inkier blacks. For those who watch a lot of movies in your iPhone and need a superior viewing expertise, an OLED display would possibly make extra sense for you. The iPhone 13 additionally boasts an OLED panel too, although Apple bumped up the refresh fee for the Professional fashions to 120Hz. The quicker refresh fee will translate to smoother, snappier scrolling by means of apps and web sites. 

Apple's Wallet app on an iPhone screen showing a mock driver's license

Apple’s Pockets app will be capable of retailer driver’s licenses in iOS 15. 


Screenshot by CNET

Software program help: How lengthy will the iPhone 11 get iOS software program updates? 

Apple’s newest working system, iOS 15, is supported on many older iPhones, and the oldest is the 2015 iPhone 6S (This is obtain the brand new OS, however it’s possible you’ll wish to wait.) Primarily based on that and some fast psychological math, we will deduce that Apple plans to offer iPhone help for as much as six years from launch. As a end result, with the iPhone 11, unveiled in 2019, you may relaxation comfortably understanding you could count on updates by means of 2025. 

Learn extra: iOS 15’s largest new options: FaceTime, Apple Pockets and Notifications get new tips

Sturdiness and water resistance: How sturdy would you like your iPhone to be?

For those who do go for the iPhone 11, you’ll miss out on a few sturdiness options which are accessible on the newer iPhone fashions. One of many iPhone 12’s massive enhancements is the fabric of its show. Apple calls it “ceramic protect” glass. Made by Corning, the ceramic protect glass overlaying the cellphone’s show is seemingly more durable than most metals. Certainly, we will verify that the iPhone 12’s ceramic protect is hard. Our iPhone 12 drop exams present it protected the {hardware} from drops as excessive as 9 ft. (CNET’s iPhone 12 Mini drop exams yielded comparable outcomes.) The iPhone 13 additionally has the identical ceramic protect glass on its show.

So should you’re a massive klutz and are vulnerable to slips and drops, springing for the iPhone 13 or iPhone 12 is a clever transfer (or simply get a very nice iPhone case). Hold in thoughts, the iPhone 11 is not a delicate darling, both. It additionally survived CNET’s drop and water exams and earned a CNET Editors’ Selection Award. You’ll be able to learn our iPhone 11 evaluate for extra particulars. 

Learn extra: Farewell iPhone case: The case for the caseless cellphone

Worth and funds: How a lot do you wish to spend on an iPhone?

As I stated earlier, Apple is promoting the practically two-year-old iPhone 11 for $300 much less now than when it first launched, making it a nice alternative for these buying on a funds. However, as additionally talked about beforehand, the iPhone 11 may change into even cheaper as soon as Apple debuts its 2022 line of iPhone fashions. Additionally of word, the present iPhone 12 and 12 Mini would possibly come down in worth and hit that $499 stage, as usually Apple lowers the value of current iPhone fashions as soon as the latest mannequin goes on sale.

It is also price contemplating provider offers from Verizon, T-Cellular and AT&T, all of which can subsidize the value of an iPhone in alternate for committing to a mobile service plan. Final 12 months the three firms provided tons of of {dollars} off with these contracts, and probably repay the cellphone fully with a gadget trade-in. Simply hold in thoughts that there are many caveats to these offers, like commitments starting from 24 to 36 months.

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