So you are in the market for a new iPhone, but want to keep your expenditure to the bare minimum. The bare minimum, that is, without losing out on too much of the modern iPhone experience. Well, in that case, I really think you should be going for the iPhone 11, now available for a little over Rs 50,000 on many online portals.
I can see the eyebrows being raised here. Why not go for the iPhone SE (2020), which costs a lot lesser at Rs 39,900? Why not also opt for the incredibly compact iPhone 12 mini, which costs more (Rs 69,900 onwards) or even the iPhone 12 (Rs 79,900 onwards) but offer an as-new-as-it-gets experience, complete with a new processor, cameras, and those full HD OLED displays?
Fair points all. And worthy of being addressed.
The iPhone 11 also sports a 6.1-inch Liquid Retina HD display. Yes, it is not full HD and yes, it is not an OLED, but that does not change the fact that the display itself is a rather good one, and more than adequate for viewing video content and playing games. Speaking of which, you get an excellent pair of speakers, plus an IP68 rating for resistance to dust and water.
An interesting point to note is that its slightly lower resolution actually made it easier for me to read content on the iPhone 11 rather than on the 5.4-inch full HD+ display of the iPhone 12 mini, which sometimes results in fonts becoming a little too small and sometimes far too much being crammed into a small area. Yes, one can adjust matters in Settings, but all in all, I did find viewing content on the iPhone 11 a whole lot more comfortable than seeing it on the iPhone 12 mini or the iPhone SE, for that matter. Also, the larger size of the iPhone 11 makes it easier to handle while playing games and gives more screen real estate for watching movies than the 12 mini or the iPhone SE. Not just games, even something like reading and responding to e-mail seemed easier on the iPhone 11 – that bigger display does let you use both hands for typing. Yes, the iPhone 12 matches it comfortably in this department, but then it DOES come with a much higher price tag.
Then there are the cameras. The iPhone 11 comes with a dual 12-megapixel camera (wide and ultrawide) set up, which makes it the most affordable dual-camera iPhone out there. Are those sensors as good as the ones on the 12 or 12 mini? No, they are not, but they are not too far behind and are markedly superior to the snapper on the iPhone SE (2020). The same applies to the TrueDepth 12-megapixel selfie camera in front of the iPhone 11 as well. And to be honest, Face ID and Face Unlock on the newer iPhones is a whole lot more convenient than the fingerprint scanner on the iPhone SE (2020).
Finally, there is battery life. And this is a place where the iPhone 11 literally wipes the floor with both the iPhone SE and 12 mini, comfortably lasting a day, while both the smaller iPhones struggle to do so. Yes, it is likely because of the bigger battery and the lower resolution display (as compared to the 12 mini), but at the end of the day – the iPhone 11 has very impressive battery life. At times it seems better than even the iPhone 12 (that lower resolution, I suspect).
So let us take a look at the case for the iPhone 11 as the best value for money iPhone? It loses ground to the iPhone 12 mini in terms of display quality and resolution, but then is actually easier to use. The 12 and 12 mini also takes better pictures, but hey, the 11 is not too far behind and when compared to the mini, actually is better for editing those high-quality images and videos. The 12 mini and 12 have a newer chip but the 11 is no pushover. And the 11 is actually easier to use and has (way) better battery life.
In my book, the iPhone 11 steps in very neatly between the iPhone SE (2020) and the iPhone 12 mini, in terms of being affordable while still being reasonably up to speed. At around Rs 51,990, it is closer in price to the iPhone SE and makes the 12 mini look rather expensive – you can get a 256GB variant of the iPhone 11 for the 64GB variant of the Phone 12 mini (the 12 is in another zone, starting at Rs 79,900). That’s a big difference. The SE (2020) frankly hangs in there for its A13 Bionic processor and for those who are on a super tight budget, but it does come with some hefty compromises – no Face ID, no narrow bezel display, and no dual
cameras. The iPhone 12 pretty much outguns the iPhone 11, to be brutally honest, but then it comes with a way higher price tag.
But if you are looking for something that manages to bring a lot of the new iPhone experience at a relatively affordable price (honestly, if you can afford the 12, you should not even be reading this), the iPhone 11 is the one for you right now. You get Face ID, dual cameras, a (still) very good processor, and super battery life. And of course, given Apple’s great track record, the iPhone 11 is likely to keep getting regular software updates for a while now. And run them smoothly too. All at a price well below the 12 series.