Apple unveiled the 2019 editions of the iPhone and Apple Watch last week, and as is the case with every new release cycle there comes the age old question: “should I upgrade my device, or wait another year?”
Well, Vulcan Post got an early look at the iPhone 11 and Apple Watch Series 5 ahead of their release on Friday, and after using both for a few days here’s our initial impressions and recommendations based on what you currently own.
iPhone 11 / iPhone 11 Pro
Aesthetically, the iPhone 11 Pro looks just like the iPhone X and XS, but its internals are a significant step up from its predecessors. The phone is equipped with Apple’s new A13 Bionic processor, which makes day-to-day functions like Face ID and navigating through the phone faster and smoother than ever been.
The A13 also allows the iPhone 11 Pro to have one of the best battery lives we’ve seen in a phone, with 40% remaining after a full day of moderate use. And as if that wasn’t good enough, Apple have also included an 18W fast charger in the box, which — in our experience — gave us about 30% of juice in half an hour.
These improvements will be felt rather subtly, and the more tangible change comes in the iPhone 11 Pro’s cameras.
The addition of an ultra wide camera opens up a wealth of new possibilities when it comes to framing your shots, and the addition of Night Mode will drastically improve your low-light photography as well.
Throw in Apple’s signature style of keeping their photos looking crisp and natural, and you have one of the best smartphone cameras in the market right now. It might have taken awhile for Apple to catch up to its Android counterparts, but it was definitely worth the wait.
Our Recommendation: The iPhone 11 Pro is everything the iPhone X should have been — the new A13 chip provides a significant upgrade to the phone’s day-to-day functions to an insane degree, and its camera is (finally) on par — if not better — than 2019 offerings like the P30 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S10.
Those with an iPhone X and XS can probably get another year of mileage out of their phones (unless photography is of utmost importance), but for anyone who owns an iPhone 6/7/8 and has been holding out for an upgrade, this is without a doubt the year to make the jump.
If you aren’t keen to spend upwards of $1,649 but still want a modern iOS device, look no further than the $1,149 iPhone 11.
If you can look past its LCD Liquid Retina display (which is by no means bad, just less impressive in comparison to the iPhone 11 Pro), you aren’t losing out on much for $500 less; the 11 also comes with an A13 chip, and its two cameras should be fine for most situations.
Apple Watch Series 5
The Apple Watch Series 5 can be summarised in two words: Always On.
This highly-anticipated new feature — which somehow manages keeps the display perpetually active without hurting its 18 hour battery life —will be a godsend for some and is a huge step towards making the Apple Watch feel like a traditional timepiece, but unfortunately everything else is pretty much the same as last year’s Series 4.
Considering that the Series 4 came with a new design and a host of new, meaningful features, however, it’s understandable that the changes aren’t as abundant this year.
This does mean that the Apple Watch— in its current iteration —has kind of plateaued, so anyone who owns a Series 3 and below can consider making the jump to the newest iteration with a certain peace of mind.
Our Recommendation: It looks like the most significant additions already came last year, so those who own anything below a Series 4 should consider moving up to the Series 5 to gain access to features like ECG, fall detection and the new Always On.
If you do own a Series 4, however, the Series 5 doesn’t have enough new offerings to warrant an upgrade, in our opinion.
If you’re a newcomer who’s keen to try out the Apple Watch but aren’t willing to spend upwards of $599 for one, the $299 Series 3 is a very, very viable alternative.
Despite not having the aforementioned features it still offers the quintessential Apple Watch experience (activity rings, controlling your music and reading notifications without having to take out your phone, to name a few), and is the perfect stepping stone towards investing in a newer model a down the line.