The iPhone 11 was one of the best smartphones available in 2019. Over two years later, is Apple‘s aging handset still worth buying in 2022? The smartphone world is constantly moving forward. New phones are regularly released, even newer models are always on the horizon, and that leaves little time for looking back at older generations. If the iPhone 13 is out and the iPhone 14 is on the horizon, why should someone stop and think about the iPhone 11?
While that’s what it often feels like, there are many reasons why ‘old’ phones are still worth keeping in the conversation. If you want a high-end smartphone but have a limited budget, buying an older model is enticing. Older flagship phones are typically more capable than current budget models. And after a year or two of price cuts, they usually cost about the same.
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This is a situation the iPhone 11 finds itself in. Released in September 2019, the iPhone 11 is far from the newest iPhone available today. It’s two generations old, has an aging processor, and is no longer the hot new thing on the market. But it’s also a smartphone Apple still sells on its website. You can easily visit ‘apple.com’ and buy a brand new iPhone 11 for $499. But should you?
Why You Should Buy The iPhone 11 In 2022
Despite being well over two years old, so much about the iPhone 11 holds up remarkably well in 2022. The biggest reason for this is its processor. Powering the iPhone 11 is Apple‘s A13 Bionic chip. The A13 has since been succeeded by the A14 and A15. Even so, it continues to be a performance champ. With a 6-core CPU, 4-core GPU, and 8-core Neural Engine, everything on the iPhone 11 should still be more than fast enough.
The iPhone 11’s camera system also holds up quite well in 2022. Like the iPhone 13, the iPhone 11 has a 12MP primary camera and a 12MP ultra-wide camera. It also has Night Mode, Deep Fusion, Portrait Mode, and Smart HDR for improved photo processing. And on the video side of things, the iPhone 11 supports 4K recording at 60fps. Newer features like Photographic Styles and Cinematic Mode aren’t available, but for casual sharing on Instagram, Snapchat, etc., the iPhone 11’s camera setup remains a strong performer.
You’ll also find plenty of other flagship goodies on the iPhone 11. It has Face ID, an IP68 dust/water resistance rating, Qi wireless charging, and is promised up to 17 hours of battery life (just two hours shy of the 19-hour rating for the iPhone 13). More important than all of that, Apple is still actively supporting the iPhone 11. It’s running the latest version of iOS 15, is fully expected to get iOS 16 later this year, and should keep getting updates through 2025. Apple‘s software support remains the best in the industry, and it’s one of the reasons why its older smartphones are still worth recommending years after release.
Why You Shouldn’t Buy The iPhone 11 In 2022
But that’s not to say it’s all sunshine and rainbows for the iPhone 11. No smartphone ages perfectly, and the iPhone 11 isn’t an exception. One area where this is most noticeable is the iPhone 11’s display. On its own, the screen looks fine. It’s a 6.1-inch LCD panel with a 1792 x 828 resolution, has a 1400:1 contrast ratio, and there are 625 nits of max brightness. For casual movie watching, playing games, and browsing Twitter, it’s more than serviceable. But Apple’s made considerable leaps forward since then — especially when compared to the iPhone 13. Splurging for the iPhone 13 gets you a more vibrant OLED panel with deeper blacks and better colors. It also has a sharper 2532 x 1170 resolution, 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio, and 800 nits of max brightness. And when you’re watching HDR content (something the iPhone 11 doesn’t support), the screen goes up to 1200 nits. Casual users may be totally fine with the iPhone 11’s screen, but if display quality is something you take seriously, the iPhone 11 might not cut it.
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The iPhone 11 also isn’t the most durable iPhone available today. While it has IP68 water resistance, it only covers the phone for up to 2 meters of submersion. The iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 can both survive up to 6 meters, making them much more likely to survive being dropped in a deep pool or lake. Similarly, the iPhone 11 has weaker glass on its display. Newer iPhones have Apple’s ‘Ceramic Shield’ glass, offering four times better drop protection than the iPhone 11. If you’re particularly clumsy and drop your phone a lot, splurging for an iPhone 12 or iPhone 13 is money well spent.
There are a few other things to consider before picking up an iPhone 11. Unlike more recent iPhones, the iPhone 11 does not work with MagSafe. This means accessories like the iPhone Leather Wallet, MagSafe Charger, and MagSafe Battery Pack don’t aren’t compatible with the iPhone 11. The iPhone 11 also doesn’t have 5G connectivity — instead topping out at 4G LTE. 4G LTE is still perfectly usable in 2022, but if you want a phone that supports the fastest data speeds possible, you’ll want to look elsewhere.
The iPhone 11 Is Still A Great Purchase
There’s more to like about the iPhone 11 than dislike. It’s plenty fast, has capable cameras, good battery life, and will keep getting updates for years to come. The lower-quality display and lack of 5G are annoying, but they’re not big enough issues that most people should be deterred from the phone — especially when it costs $499.
The only other iPhone you can get for under $500 in 2022 is the iPhone SE 3. It has a newer A15 Bionic chip, 5G connectivity, and is cheaper at $429. But it also comes with its own list of disadvantages. The iPhone SE 3 has a much smaller and lower-quality display, no ultra-wide camera, worse battery life, and even lesser water resistance. If you have $499 to spend and don’t need the fastest processor available, the iPhone 11 stands tall as a great purchase in 2022.