Specs Comparison: iPhone 11 vs. 11 Pro vs. 11 Pro Max — Should You Cheap Out or Overpay?

iPhone 11 vs. 11 Pro vs. 11 Pro Max — Should You Cheap Out or Overpay?

So you can't figure which one to buy. It's understandable. Apple released three iPhones, each designed for a different segment of the market. But which one is right for you? The iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, or iPhone 11 Pro Max? That's a good question.

We recommend checking out our more in-depth articles for the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max, but we figured we could make things easier for you by comparing them in one easy to read chart. Each iPhone has its advantages and Apple has done a great job of balancing price and features across the board.

Comparison Chart

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Why Choose the iPhone 11

There are primarily two reasons to choose the iPhone 11 over the 11 Pro or 11 Pro Max: price and color. Color's not a big deal if you'll put it in a case anyway, but price, on the other hand, actually matters in the real world. The base model iPhone 11 is $700. The other two are $1,000 and up. That's a big deal.

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If you're about bang for your buck — well, you should probably be using an Android phone then — but if you are and you're an Apple fan, the iPhone 11 is a slightly better value than the other two. For 70% of the price, you get about 80% of the features.

The iPhone 11 uses the same Apple A13 Bionic processor. It runs the same version of iOS. You even get the same wide-angle and ultra-wide camera as the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max, and all the software enhancements are there like the new Night Mode and improved Smart HDR. You get the same front-facing camera and the same Face ID, and you even get the same Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5 support.

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You should even get better battery life if the iPhone XR is any indication. While Apple says the battery life is comparable to the iPhone 11 Pro, real-world testing is likely to show otherwise. Because the iPhone 11 uses a less sharp screen, there are fewer pixels for its GPU to process. And because the other key performance specs are the same, that's less power usage with a similar battery.

You also get six color options compared to the Pro lineup's four. This includes the fan-favorite (PRODUCT) RED model that is once again available at launch instead of later on in the year.

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Why Choose the iPhone 11 Pro

The most significant reason to choose the iPhone 11 Pro is because you want the very best from Apple but can't handle a giant phone. Essentially, you want the very best iPhone but don't want or need the bigger size.

Compared to the iPhone 11, you are gaining quite a bit. For one, you get the lightest phone of the three, and it has the smallest overall dimensions, so it'll be easier to hold. Speaking of, while all three phones use a glass back, the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max have a matte finish which is less prone to fingerprints and slipping. You also upgrade the aluminum frame to stainless steel for a more premium feel on the side edges.

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Although the display is smaller than the iPhone 11, it is significantly better. It's not boring old LCD, it's an OLED. Known as the Super Retina XDR, it has nearly double the max brightness of the iPhone 11 at 1,200 nits, and a contrast ratio that blows it out the water. It also has a higher resolution, and as a result, much higher pixel density, which means a much sharper screen.

While both phones support fast charging, only the Pro models include an 18 W charger in the box, which is roughly a $50 value. These are the first iPhones to include a power brick outside of the standard 5 W charger, and it's capable of charging each iPhone to 50% within 30 minutes.

You also get better water resistance than the iPhone 11. While they are both IP68 rated, the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max can be submerged up to an astounding four meters for 30 minutes. The iPhone 11 shares the IP68 rating of last year's models at only two meters.

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And finally, while it is true they share the same camera, only the Pro models have the third telephoto lens. With this, you get an optical zoom range of 4x, since the lowest focal length of any of the cameras is 13 mm (the ultra-wide) and they go as high as 52 mm using the telephoto. You also double the digital zoom of the iPhone 11 for both photos and videos.

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So more premium materials, a significantly better screen, a $50 charger for free, better water resistance, and better zoom photography. Is that enough to justify an extra $300? Totally your call.

Why Choose the iPhone 11 Pro Max

Simply put, you choose the iPhone 11 Pro Max for one of three reasons. The first is that you want the biggest iPhone available. Size of smartphones has never been a problem for you, and so you want the biggest screen as it makes watching videos and interacting with the phone easier thanks to the additional screen real estate.

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Two, you want the very best iPhone Apple manufactures. While there are minimal differences between the 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max, you still want the very best, so even the small upgrades are important.

With the iPhone 11 Pro Max, you get a bigger battery, a larger display, and a higher resolution screen. Based on Apple's testing, it has the best battery life of the bunch, with video playback being able to last up to 20 hours and audio playback up to 80 hours. It technically also has a better speaker since the speaker grille is larger on the 11 Pro Max thanks to the larger size.

Image by MKBHD/YouTube

Three, you want the status symbol. With a max price of $1,449, this is not a cheap phone. While it shares the same price as its predecessor, it's still out of range for many users. However, for those who can afford it, why limit your options with an iPhone 11 or 11 Pro when Apple makes the 11 Pro Max?

Just updated your iPhone? You'll find new features for Podcasts, News, Books, and TV, as well as important security improvements and fresh wallpapers. Find out what's new and changed on your iPhone with the iOS 17.5 update.

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