iPhone 11 Pro Max.. first impressions

The first mistake I made was to order the wrong size case for the iPhone 11 Pro Max – I bought the iPhone 11 Pro case. So that’s got to go back to Apple sometime this week. Meanwhile, I’ve got to use the phone without a case until Monday when the replacement (which is the correct size) turns up. Without a case, I feel that I could drop the phone at any moment. The glass on the back is very nice, and it may be made from tougher materials than the previous generation, but even so, these phones cry out for a decent case.

Set-up took about three hours. I tend not to perform any transfers from the old phone and set up iPhones as new. The biggest bugbear is the Google Authenticator – one usually has to disable two-factor authentication, re-enable it and then scan the barcode for the new token again. But with more sites and apps using Google/G Suite for authentication, I don’t need to keep as many two-factor authentication tokens as I once did.

The display is much brighter than the iPhone XS Max. Gone is the 3D Touch system which provided context-sensitive menus when you pushed down hard on the display. Now we have haptic feedback. I found it much more difficult to re-arrange icons on the home screens as a result – it takes a much longer press to re-arrange icons. Or you could just select the option from the context-sensitive menu that pops up. Either way, the extra waiting time between pressing down and moving an icon is annoying.

Battery life is something I’ve yet to measure, as are the rear cameras. But I’ve been playing with the front camera and portrait mode and I’m quite impressed with the studio portrait mode which removes the background and replaces it with a white backdrop. The following portrait photo of a serious-looking me is an example of this. But note that due to the (poor) lightning, the shirt texture on (my) the left shoulder differs than the right.

Front-facing camera Portrait mode with Studio filter

Hopefully sometime this week I’ll get a chance to get out and use the rear cameras in anger. I’ll also perform a comparison of image quality versus the previous iPhones that I’ve used. You can see from the Apple Photos smart albums below, I didn’t have the iPhone 8 Plus for long given the number of photos in that album..

Photos sorted by iPhone model (part one)
Photos sorted by iPhone model (part two)

Apps load much faster than the previous generation, and Wi-Fi (which is now updated for use with Wi-Fi 6) gives me a speed boost of around an extra 20-30Mbs on my home AmpliFi system. It’s definitely a noticeable difference. I can’t speak for improved 4G speeds yet – but this is something I should be able to test later this week.

The few improvements I’ve been able to test so far have been impressive. Plus as this is a new phone, I should be able to claim a free year’s worth of Apple TV+ when it’s released in November – and I’m very much looking forward to that.

Stay tuned for more updates. The whole upgrade has only cost me about £14 (£7 for delivery, plus another £7 to return my old phone back to EE). I get an Amazon Prime Video subscription as a benefit of my renewal, so that’s another bonus. And more data than I can ever know what to do with. And not forgetting roaming in the US and Canada. All this is down to EE’s Smart Plan.