The iPhone 11 — the phone you may love

Someone asked me to write about this phone. I have been considering what to say. The iPhone 11 replaced my heroic iPhone 7 Plus. That phone is very nice but it ain’t this phone. So what about this phone? Let’s walk through my extremely subjective review.

the size and shape

I believe that the iPhone 11 is the perfect travel size phone. It fits in pockets, is not huge in the display department and is easy to keep track of. It still has the lightning port which does not matter to me. It is rather thick or perhaps I should call it uncompromising. The bezels do not bother me. It has the characteristic notch on top and no home button. That one shape decision takes awhile to get used to for me. Finally is the slippery back. One must be careful and I would always go for a case with this phone.

Life and Battery Life

The iPhone 11 has great battery life folks. I have used the phone all day with services running on it and still have half the battery left after heavy use. I use it for almost 75% of my daily compute and all of my daily walking with maps, email, photo sharing, chatting with friends. The battery simply does not fail me. If it gets low and I am out for a beer with friends, my portable battery back to the rescue.


One of the things I was torn about was the camera choices. A wide and extra wide but no telephoto. Truth be told I have gone through dedicated cameras way too fast. The iPhone 11 is enough to sustain me and there is an ease of use with it regarding photo editing and uploading. I also would not carry all the other stuff like batteries, second lens, SD cards and chargers. That makes an iPhone and the two cameras very attractive to me

I believe the camera on the iPhone 11 is very compelling for someone wanting to offload kit and get down to a simpler experience. You don’t need the pro or Max to take good photographs. The camera app or a pro app like Halide will serve you well. Then you get darkroom and voila! You can edit RAW files that Halide creates.

So lets address for me whether iPhone 11 suits as the only camera. I have tried this before with the 7 plus. There are myriad positive reasons to do this for someone like me. I don't like carrying chargers and plugs and batteries and SD cards and then realizing I do not have the required cable because I left it behind in some hotel thousands of miles away. I also have terrible luck with dedicated cameras. I had an XT2 camera which started having shutter button problems last year. It went back to FujiFilm Singapore but 2 weeks later the same problem. I have had two FujiFilm X100F cameras. Both are gone for a variety of reasons. Then I bought a little Panasonic Lumix camera that simply failed after a few months. Yet, the iPhone 7 plus just kept on going. My fear with dedicated camera gear is that it will fail or I will have to buy yet another camera body which kind of hints at the idea I will fuck something up with the first camera, drop it, leave it, etc. With the iPhone this does not happen. Its water proof and I have dropped the 7 plus more than once. Lets talk charging too. The XT30 requires a USB cable to charge. It has a Type C connector. Now I need the Type C to lightning when I buy the new iPad or the Type C to Type C for my laptop now. Then I need second batteries, a second SD card, etc. I have also a second lens. Are you counting? That's stuff I have to carry. With the iPhone 11, there is the phone, my portable battery charger, and that's about it. No lens, SD cards, etc. No real fears since the 7 plus lasted for years for me and my Khmer friend now loves it. It sounds like a simple choice sometimes to me. Just forget the iPhone for serious camera work. Except I don't do serious camera work because I am not a photographer. I am like the person who does not aspire to photography at all but just enjoys the art and act of doing it. I like shooting on aperture priority with some ISO setting. I play around sometimes with manual focus. I like the film simulations.

Here is the real thing. Do I need all that though? Do I need all that to take the photographs I want to share? Lets talk sharing now with both devices. I will move to an iPad when I reach Saigon because I am done with laptops forever. I will then need to plug the camera into the iPad with a Type C to lightning cable to import photographs or get the SD card reader. I don't like card readers because they always fail or break or get lost. A basic cable like the Type C too lightning is easier. Then roll into the iPhone 11. What do I need? Nothing. I don't need to do a thing to edit the photographs on either device. I can share them with the photos app, edit if I want or just upload a selection of photos to Google Photos. Then if I count the amount of times and things and gizmos, I am down to none with the iPhone 11. The ecosystem does all the work for me.

So, I am still looking at options but its fair to say that the entire camera thing is not appealing to me. I think there is a better than 50/50 chance it gets left behind in Saigon with my friend L. This is the biggest thing with the choices with iPhone 11 and me. Its the effort and work and my fear of losing the camera (again) just when I want it the most. I believe iPhone 11 will just work for years wet or dry. My XT30 will not work if it gets wet. That's what messed up the first X100F.

So that’s the camera parts. Let’s tackle just a few other things which may impact my decision.

Life with an iPhone without being an Apple Fan

I am not a particular Apple fan. Nor am I an android fan. What I am is an ecosystem fan. I basically want the same device ecosystem on everything with complementary apps on iPhone and Mac or iPad. Its really a simple thing. I don't like to fiddle and muck with apps that are different.

On the iPhone 11 I decided to go back to the default safari browser, mail, and calendar apps because they all work together for me. I cannot select a new default web browser or email client like on Android. Its a shortfall of the garden I am walled into here. Here are some reasons though that I use what I use:

  1. The ecosystem Duh. Its the same garden and I use the same apps now on both my Mac and iPhone when I can. I have switched all note taking and diary work to Notion. You may ask why but I don't got to explain why but I will try anyways. I want one container for things. I do not want an app for notes and another app for diary and yet another app for wandering plans and itineraries. I want everything in a wiki like format where I can create sub pages or hierarchies of pages. So with Notion I get this on both devices I own.
  2. Camera and Photography. I like the dual camera setup on the iPhone 11 but not right now to be my primary camera. I have a FujiFilm X-T30 with two lens to do that. What I like on IOS 13 is the way the photo app works and the fact that google photos will let me upload my photos and clear the photos app out. I don't want photos stuck on my iPhone. I want them in the cloud. I could use Apple Photos but Google Photos is more my kind of app. I like the google part of things here with unlimited storage and the images I get are good for social media sharing.
  3. OS updates. Lets be honest. Android's updates for serious OS issues sucks. If you don't have a pixel phone you may not see updates too often. I get updates automatically and I went to IOS 13 easy even on my iPhone 7 plus. On iPhone 11 its a breeze.
  4. The iPhone itself. I did not have much doubt about the iPhone I wanted. I knew I would get the iPhone 11 after reading reviews. I do not need the end all and be all display but I did want something with 128gb of storage. I did not need the beautiful display. I wanted something that would just work for me.

Decision Point

So you have read the issues and concerns I have. Some would say to just buy a second camera body and haul it around. To me, that's just another expense and camera stuff is expensive out of the gate. I do like the camera customizations like film simulations and being able to dial in different effects. I do not like all the crap that can go wrong, that may or will go wrong and things I then have to carry or plan for.

Getting the iPhone 11 has meant that I have to re-think these things and come up with the plan for the plan. I can simply carry an iPhone and get the photos I want. No more money on camera gear or batteries or SD cards. No more trying to finagle cables that will work or try to figure out why one does not. No fear about the iPhone getting wet.

So, I have until 19 October to decide what I do. Honestly I think I have decided and its against the dedicated camera gear. I don't like carrying all that stuff where I go. I can buy a very small over the shoulder bag that will slip into my daypack for phone, battery pack, and some money. That is it!

For me, the iPhone 11 is the phone to carry me over the next 7 months. It does everything for me including photography, editing, social media sharing, and there are a minimum of gizmos. Its very attractive to use a phone the size of the iPhone 11 which provides all the functionality and just then have an iPad for watching movies or editing photographs on darkroom on the iPad.

So I feel I have made the decision basically. Now I will just wait for the time to by and I will tell my sweetie L she will be taking care of the camera and stuff for me. It means I may not see the camera again for almost 7 months. I feel though the investment in iPhone 11 means freedom from having to carry the big things around. That is a good thing since everything I own fits in two bags.