Apple iPhone 11 vs Apple iPhone XS full review

Apple has unveiled its new iPhone line-up for 2019/2020, with the introduction of the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. In this article we see how the non-Pro model stacks up to last year's iPhone XS and whether the newer model is worth your money.

Price and availability

The new iPhone 11 was announced on 10 September. You can pre-order now, and the official release date is 20 September.

There are three storage variants available, with prices as follows:

  • iPhone 11 (64GB): £729/$699
  • iPhone 11 (128GB): £779/$749
  • iPhone 11 (256GB): £879/$849

Apple offers the iPhone 11 in a wide range of colours that include White, Black, Green, Yellow, Purple, and (PRODUCT) Red.

To ensure you get the best price, take a look at our iPhone 11 deals guide.

iphone 11 vs iphone xs

While Apple has now discontinued the iPhone XS, replacing it instead with the new iPhone 11 Pro, you will still be able to find it on offer from retailers and mobile operators.

At launch, the prices were as follows:

  • iPhone XS (64GB): £999/$999
  • iPhone XS (256GB): £1,149/$1,149
  • iPhone XS (512GB): £1,349/$1,349

Check out our Best iPhone XS deals guide to see the offers that are around and don't forget to visit the Apple Refurbished Store as you can often pick up older devices at a reduced price.

Design and build

The new iPhone 11 is practically identical to the iPhone XR that preceded it. It has the same dimensions and weight (150.9mm x 75.7mm x 8.3mm; 194g) but does manage to add a second camera on the back, upgrade the one on the front, and increase waterproofing from an IP67 rating to an IP68 one.

This means that it has a 6.1in LCD IPS display, aluminium and glass chassis, lightning port, twin speakers, plus the button arrangement that made its debut on the iPhone X.

iphone 11 vs iphone xs

Moving to the iPhone XS we find improved elements throughout the construction. The chassis is stainless steel rather than aluminium and the 5.8in display is an OLED panel instead of LCD. The latter results in better colours and darker blacks than those offered on the iPhone 11.

Apart from that, much of the layout is the same, with a lightning port and twin speakers on the bottom edge, buttons on either flank and a twin camera arrangement on the rear. The waterproofing rating is IP68, just as on the iPhone 11, but due to the smaller display the overall dimensions of the device are a svelte 143.6mm x 70.9mm x 7.7mm plus it weighs in lighter too at 177g.

Dimensions:

  • iPhone 11: 150.9mm x 75.7mm x 8.3mm; 194g
  • iPhone XS: 143.6mm x 70.9mm x 7.7mm; 177g

iphone 11 vs iphone xs

Features and specifications

As the iPhone 11 is a full year younger than the iPhone XS it benefits from the latest A13 Bionic processor, which Apple claims to be up to 20% more powerful and 40% more power efficient than the A12 that featured in the XS. This should result in improved battery life over the iPhone XR but it will be a while yet before we can accurately gauge the comparison between the iPhone 11 and XS in this regard.

The XS does offer a higher top storage capacity - 512GB rather than 256GB - but it will cost you a pretty penny to reach those heights.

Display

As we've already mentioned, the iPhone XS uses a 5.8in OLED panel, which is undeniably superior to the 6.1in LCD IPS one in the iPhone 11. The former runs at a resolution of 2436x1125 with a ppi of 458, which dwarfs the iPhone 11's 1792x828 and 326ppi.

Contrast ratios are also quite different, with the iPhone XS capable of 1,000,000:1 while the iPhone 11 can only manage 1400:1, and the older model is HDR too so there's no doubt that it's just a better all-round display.

iphone 11 vs iphone xr

Cameras

This area is a little different as the two models offer contrasting lenses for budding iPhoneographers. Both are dual shooters, but the iPhone 11 opts for a 12Mp f/1.8 Wide and 12Mp f/2.4 Ultra-Wide combination while the iPhone XS has a 12Mp f/1.8 Wide and a f/2.4 Telephoto.

The iPhone 11 also boasts next generation Smart-HDR, the new Night Mode and a brighter True Tone flash, but only offers single optical image stabilisation whereas the iPhone XS has dual optical image stabilisation.

Video quality is the same on both, with 4K @ 60fps, Slo-mo, Time-lapse with stabilisation and extended dynamic range if you're willing to shoot at 30fps. The iPhone 11 adds a couple of features with Audio Zoom (sound that focusses on a particular subject rather than everything that's happening) and a new QuickTake option that allows you to instantly record video by holding down the red shutter button in the camera app rather than having to switch to video.

iphone 11 vs iphone xs

Whether Night Mode, Audio Zoom or QuickTake come to the iPhone XS is unclear, as they seem to be software based, but at the moment they are exclusive to 2019 iPhones.

The front cameras see improvement on the iPhone 11 with a bump from 7Mp (as on the XS) to a new 12Mp f/2.2 lens that can now record video at 4K replete with stabilisation. This is a step up from the [email protected] on the XS. Apple has also introduced Slo-mo selfies too (which it inadvisably calls Slofies) so be prepared for those to appear on your Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram feeds.

Here's a breakdown of the technical specifications for both devices;

  iPhone 11 iPhone XS
Display 6.1in IPS Liquid Retina HD, 1792x828, 326ppi 5.8in OLED Super Retina HD, HDR, 2436x1125, 458ppi
Processor A13 Bionic A12 Bionic
Storage 64GB/128GB/256GB 64GB/256GB/5123GB
Front Camera 12Mp f/2.2 TrueDepth 7Mp f/2.2 TrueDepth
Rear Camera 12Mp Ultra Wide f/2.4, 12Mp Wide f/1.8 12Mp Wide f/1.8, 12mp Telephoto f/2.4
Video 4K up to 60fps (front and rear) 4K up to 60fps (rear) 1080p up to 60fps (front)
Charging Fast charging and wireless Fast charging and wireless
WiFi WiFi 6 WiFi 5
LTE 4G Gigabit-class LTE 4G Gigabit-class LTE
Bluetooth 5 5
NFC Yes Yes
Dimensions 150.9mm x 75.7mm x 8.3mm 143.6mm x 70.9mm x 7.7mm
Weight 194g 177g
Price £729/$699/£779/$749/£879/$849 £999/$999/£1149/$1149/£1349/$1349

Software

Apple has always been strong on keeping older devices up to date with iOS releases and this year is no different. The iPhone 11 will arrive with iOS 13 installed, but the iPhone XS will be able to upgrade to the same platform when it's released on 19 September. The new version introduces a Dark Mode, swipe keyboard, improvement to video and photo editing, plus plenty of performance, security, and other enhancements.

Read our complete guide to iOS 13 for a comprehensive look at what you can expect.

Verdict

If you already have an iPhone XS and are wondering whether to upgrade, we'd say no. The XS remains an excellent device with a much better display than the newer iPhone 11. Yes, there are some improvements in the camera department with the iPhone 11, especially if you like landscape photography as the Ultra-Wide will prove very useful, but overall the gains feel marginal and some (Night Mode and Audio Zoom) might even be matched by third party apps.

Those coming at it from another device though might find that the iPhone 11 does offer decent value for money, unless you can find the XS on sale now that it's retired. The new model has some bells and whistles but can't match the class of the older, more refined iPhone XS.

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