The iPhone 11 Is Our Favorite New Phone of the Year

Three months in and (almost) everything is improved

iPhone 11
Apple's iPhone 11 is the best phone you can buy
Leon Neal/Getty Images
By Kirk Miller / December 27, 2019 11:39 am

I hadn’t updated my phone in three years when I finally caved and bought an iPhone 11, continuing on with my T-Mobile plan.

That was September, and I immediately noticed the improvements: Everything is quick, my photos are sharp even in dim light (negating my need for a separate flash, which I had just purchased a few months back) and the phone itself pulled the magic trick of offering a larger screen but taking up less space in my pocket.

Wireless charging has been neither a game-changer nor a disappointment, but I feel like in a year or so I’ll wonder why I ever used cords.

My disappointments and concerns also show just how far phones have come in the last few years. Yes, I’m old and miss my headphone jack, though the new iPhones do come with a corded headphone with a built-in Lightning adapter (if you have an older set of earbuds that utilize an aux cable, you’ll need to buy a dongle). 


Related: The 7 Accessories You Need for the iPhone 11


And the virtual home button is still annoying. In theory, having a customizable button you can place anywhere on the screen seems like you’re adding versatility (while allowing for more overall screen space, since you no longer need a physical button), but I usually accidentally press it while in another app and still haven’t figured out what I want it to do. Sometimes, still having a dedicated “go back to square one” button would be ideal. 

But those are minor quibbles. The battery life has been solid, facial recognition to unlock the phone seems to work in all but the darkest settings and I’ve never seen a better screen on a phone (even with a protective screen on top of that, which you absolutely should buy if you don’t want scratches). It makes my iPad, just under two years old, feel like a toy. 

Will I upgrade this year? Leaks of the iPhone 12 don’t seem to show much design difference, but it all depends on when 5G (not available for the iPhone 11, but probably for all future iPhone models) becomes the norm.

Until then, I’m happy to stick with the iPhone 11 for several more years, much like I did when I had an iPhone 7 Plus. It’s going to take me that long to learn all of its capabilities … or to figure out the virtual home button.