This story is part of Focal Point iPhone 2022, CNET’s collection of news, tips and advice around Apple’s most popular product.

It has been some time for the reason that debut of the iPhone 11 in 2019, with Apple debuting the iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 within the years since. And in a couple of days, we’re more likely to see the debut of the iPhone 14 at Apple’s event on Sept. 7. The iPhone 11 could also be over two years outdated, however it would possibly nonetheless be a sensible choice, particularly since Apple discounted it to $499 last year. Whereas we advocate that you simply wait for this next Apple event earlier than shopping for any iPhone in any respect, particularly since costs for present iPhone fashions will seemingly lower afterward, the iPhone 11 does have rather a lot to love as a phone that’s under $500.

For example, do you thoughts utilizing an iPhone that feels a bit dated? Or do you assume saving a number of hundred {dollars} is extra vital than carrying the newest cellphone? What about 5G — how vital is that to you? In the event you’re procuring on a price range, the iPhone 11 remains to be an ideal selection. Though you will be lacking out on some newer options, the iPhone 11 provides you all of the fundamentals you’d need from an iPhone, together with battery life that is on par with the iPhone 12, an ideal dual-lens digital camera that features night mode and a processor that is nonetheless quick sufficient for on a regular basis duties. 

However when you’ve got some wiggle room in your price range, listed here are some inquiries to ask your self. (For the needs of this text, I will assume that you’re at the moment utilizing an iPhone.) And for those who’re nonetheless mulling over your determination after that, here is how the iPhone 13 compares to the last five years of iPhones in addition to our checklist of the best iPhones. Plus, try all of the differences between the iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max.

5G connectivity: iPhone 11 would not have 5G. However do you really want it proper now?

One of many iPhone 11’s largest lacking options in comparison with the iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 is 5G connectivity. The iPhone 11 is an LTE-only system, and for those who do not look after the next-gen wi-fi tech simply but (service is patchy within the US in spite of everything), then the iPhone 11 ought to swimsuit you simply tremendous. Keep in mind that 5G debuted on the iPhone 12 lineup and gaining access to quicker bands of 5G will depend on the place you reside, so going for the iPhone 12 makes your purchase more future-proof

An iPhone lying on two old logs surrounded by grass

Angela Lang/CNET

Show high quality: You will not get a 120Hz refresh charge on an iPhone 11 (or iPhone 12)

The iPhone 11 makes use of a crisp LCD display screen that refreshes at 60 frames per second, or 60Hz. Apple traded up within the iPhone 12, equipping it with an OLED display screen, although it kept the display at 60Hz just like most phones. OLEDs are sometimes extra vibrant than their LCD counterparts, with richer distinction and inkier blacks. In the event you watch a whole lot of movies in your iPhone and need a superior viewing expertise, an OLED display screen would possibly make extra sense for you. The iPhone 13 also boasts an OLED panel too, although Apple bumped up the refresh charge for the Pro models to 120Hz. The quicker refresh charge will translate to smoother, snappier scrolling via apps and web sites. 

Apple's Wallet app on an iPhone screen showing a mock driver's license

Apple’s Pockets app will be capable to retailer driver’s licenses in iOS 15. 

Screenshot by CNET

Software program assist: How lengthy will the iPhone 11 get iOS software program updates? 

Apple’s newest working system, iOS 15, is supported on many older iPhones, and the oldest is the 2015 iPhone 6S (This is how to download the brand new OS, however you may want to wait.) Based mostly on that and a few fast psychological math, we are able to deduce that Apple plans to supply iPhone assist for as much as six years from launch. In consequence, with the iPhone 11, unveiled in 2019, you may relaxation comfortably realizing which you could anticipate updates via 2025. 

Learn extra: iOS 15’s biggest new features: FaceTime, Apple Wallet and Notifications get new tricks

Sturdiness and water resistance: How sturdy would you like your iPhone to be?

In the event you do go for the iPhone 11, you’ll miss out on a couple of sturdiness options which are out there on the newer iPhone fashions. One of many iPhone 12’s large enhancements is the fabric of its show. Apple calls it “ceramic shield” glass. Made by Corning, the ceramic defend glass masking the cellphone’s show is seemingly tougher than most metals. Certainly, we are able to verify that the iPhone 12’s ceramic defend is hard. Our iPhone 12 drop tests present it protected the {hardware} from drops as excessive as 9 ft. (CNET’s iPhone 12 Mini drop tests yielded related outcomes.) The iPhone 13 additionally has the identical ceramic defend glass on its show.

So for those who’re an enormous klutz and are vulnerable to slips and drops, springing for the iPhone 13 or iPhone 12 is a clever transfer (or simply get a very nice iPhone case). Take into account, the iPhone 11 isn’t a delicate darling, both. It additionally survived CNET’s drop and water tests and earned a CNET Editors’ Choice Award. You’ll be able to learn our iPhone 11 review for extra particulars. 

Learn extra: Farewell iPhone case: The case for the caseless phone

Value and price range: How a lot do you need to spend on an iPhone?

As I stated earlier, Apple is promoting the practically two-year-old iPhone 11 for $300 less now than when it first launched, making it an ideal selection for these procuring on a price range. However, as additionally talked about beforehand, the iPhone 11 might turn out to be even cheaper as soon as Apple debuts its 2022 line of iPhone fashions. Additionally of word, the present iPhone 12 and 12 Mini would possibly come down in worth and hit that $499 degree, as sometimes Apple lowers the value of current iPhone fashions as soon as the most recent mannequin goes on sale.

It is also value contemplating provider offers from Verizon, T-Cellular and AT&T, all of which can subsidize the value of an iPhone in alternate for committing to a mobile service plan. Final 12 months the three firms provided a whole lot of {dollars} off with these contracts, and probably pay off the phone entirely with a device trade-in. Simply remember that there are many caveats to these offers, like commitments starting from 24 to 36 months.

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