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Why I Returned the iPhone 11 Pro

October 19, 2019 — by Per Christensson

Why I Returned the iPhone 11 ProOh no... it happened again.

I returned the iPhone 11 Pro to Apple and went back to my iPhone 7. It is only the second Apple product I have returned in over 20 years of using Apple products. The first was the iPhone X, two years ago.

I was optimistic about the 11 Pro. I had no doubt when I preordered it that it would be an excellent replacement for my aging iPhone 7. Plus, 11 is my favorite number, so I figured it was meant to be — especially after passing on the iPhone X. But after using the 11 Pro for a week, I still didn't like it.

What's not to like?

The iPhone 11 Pro is the culmination of all of Apple's latest advancements, including processing efficiency, screen quality, and camera technology. Yet it still failed to impress me. Here's what I didn't like:

  1. The weight. I ordered the regular-size iPhone 11 Pro (not the Max) and it was still too heavy. The 6.63 ounces of the iPhone 11 Pro compared to the 4.87 ounces may not seem like a huge difference. But it is a 36% increase in weight, which makes the iPhone 11 noticeably heavier.
  2. The size. The iPhone 11 Pro is barely bigger than the iPhone 7. But the 0.32" width compared to the 0.28" width of the 7 is the difference between feeling it in my pocket and not noticing it's there. The iPhone 11 Pro barely sticks out of some of my European skinny jeans, while my iPhone 7 fits perfectly.
  3. The speakers. The built-in speakers actually sound worse than the iPhone X. The midrange has a piercing boost, which I couldn't get over. I was able to mitigate the boost by selecting the Lounge EQ in the Music app settings, but that setting doesn't affect other apps, like YouTube. The improved speaker quality was one of the reasons I almost kept the iPhone X, so this was disappointing.
  4. The camera. Yes, the camera. "The world's best camera in a smartphone" still didn't impress me. Even with three lenses, the iPhone 11 Pro images were not noticeably better than the ones I took with my iPhone 7. The colors were usually too saturated, regardless of what settings I used. Apple said they combine nine photos to generate the best possible image on the iPhone 11 Pro. But a lot the images seemed overprocessed, making them look unrealistic.

On top of those disappointments, the edges of my iPhone 11 Pro felt rough. The metal casing stuck out a little bit around the corners, which would scrape my hand. This is the first iPhone I've used where I've noticed this issue. I checked other iPhone 11 Pros at the Apple Store and their edges were smoother. So hopefully mine was just one of a few in a bad batch. But instead of requesting a replacement for the iPhone 11 Pro, I decided to return it and go back to my 7. Just look at how sleek it is.

iPhone 7 Front, Side, and Back

When I show people my iPhone 7, they are amazed by how thin and light it is. They act like it's from the future when it's really from 3 years in the past. Yet, they prefer their larger, heavier, newer phones. I guess it comes down to personal preference, and I've realized the size and weight of the phone is the most important thing to me.

Most of my friends are happy with their iPhone 11 Pros and their mammoth iPhone 11 Pro Maxes. And most of the reviews I've read have been positive. So maybe there is something wrong with me and not the phone. Then again, in the Bible, the number 7 signifies completion, so perhaps there is something special about the iPhone 7. Still, I am optimistic Apple will provide a thinner, lighter phone for me and other small phone enthusiasts in the future.