Apple iPhone 11 deals explained
In this guide
- Why buy an iPhone 11?
- How to get a good deal
- Which providers offer iPhone 11 deals?
- What phones are similar to the iPhone 11?
- Frequently asked questions
Each time Apple launches another numbered update to its smartphone brand, the questions are always the same: What does it do that's new? And is it worth upgrading? At the time of writing, the latest iPhone model is the iPhone 13, however many mobile providers and Apple itself still sell the iPhone 11, albeit only the standard model is available to buy new. Other versions of the iPhone 11 such as the Pro and Max are available refurbished.
An iPhone 11 will cost quite a bit less than an iPhone 12 or 13 – this page aims to break down in simple terms what makes the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro special, so you can decide if it is a contender against its later counterparts.
Why buy an iPhone 11?
With iPhone 11 and its better-specced sister phone the iPhone 11 Pro, we would say 80% of the focus (excuse the pun) is on photography. And while the cameras on the iPhone 11 are indeed excellent, there are better camera features on the later iPhone 12 and 13. That said, we also understand and respect the fact that cameras alone may not be enough to tempt many.
Here's what's touted on the iPhone 11, with the additional features of the iPhone 11 Pro outlined directly after.
Dual camera system
Most high-end phones have at least two cameras, with many sporting four. These iPhone 11 cameras are allegedly superior to their predecessors, mainly due to improved software over previous versions.
Take ultra-wide photos
When you take a photo, your iPhone 11 will take it with both cameras, meaning you can zoom out of a photo you've already taken, as well as zoom in. You can also use the ultra-wide camera instead of taking steps backwards to incorporate more of the scene in front of you. Very handy for cliff-edge huddles.
Take night time photos
The iPhone 11 beat its contemporaries when taking photos in low light. This was a significant upgrade over not just the iPhone X, but also any other competing phone. Later phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S22 and the iPhone 13 Pro have made significant improvements to their low light photography in the years since the iPhone 11 was released.
Record 4K video
4K resolution (3840x2160 pixels) can make a difference if you are shooting your own movies or online content on your phone. Beyond that, it's more resolution than you probably need for things like social media. In most cases you wouldn’t currently go beyond 1080p HD for things like YouTube videos. It is a “nice to have” feature, rather than a necessity.
Smart HDR for portraits
Again, HDR is a bit of a gimmick when it comes to phones. HDR, or high dynamic range, refers to the difference between the brightest whites and the blackest blacks in an image. With HDR that difference is greater than SDR (standard dynamic range). Here, Apple is applying the principles of HDR to give your portrait photos more 'pop' (more contrast), but without 'blowing out' the highlights.
Slow mo selfies
You can now take selfies that offer a short, slow-motion clip instead of a static picture – Apple is calling these 'slowfies'. Very useful for… erm. Nope, you got us.
Wide choice of colours
You get a choice of six colours for your handset. Black, white, purple, yellow, red and what Apple calls 'green' but which is in fact more an aquamarine/turquoise in our opinion.
Longer battery life
You'll get an extra hour or so of battery life in a single charge with the iPhone 11, compared to the iPhone X. However, this is not down to a better battery, but rather down to more efficient chips meaning lower power consumption. Later models have taken that further, offering battery life up to 48 hours.
Apple promotes a 'fast-charge' capability, but doesn't go into any detail. Probably the same as last year's models, to be fair.
Water resistant to two metres
That's a full metre deeper than you could comfortably dunk last year's iPhone XR. Very useful for users with extremely deep toilets.
Liquid Retina LED screen
The iPhone 11 screen is an LED model with 326ppi resolution and peak brightness of 625 nits. That's high resolution and bright, though not as bright as later models, for those not familiar with the measurements. The iPhone 11 Pro has an OLED screen, which is even brighter and has better contrast, but the iPhone 11 screen is no slouch.
When it was released, Apple called this the fastest processor in any phone in the world, and they weren’t wrong. It is absolutely stellar, allowing for operation that's immediate, responsive and smooth. Of course, a couple of years on, there are newer, faster chips out there.
While it is not a selling point in these modern 5G times. It seems important to mention that the iPhone 11 is 4G only, and does not support 5G. At the moment 5G is mainly available in larger towns and cities in the UK, but over the coming years that will improve. So if you live somewhere without 5G or simply don’t have a use for the extra bandwidth, the iPhone 11 could be a decent choice for the next couple of years as you will save a lot of money and still have the same connection you would get on a more recent iPhone.
How to get a good deal on an iPhone 11
As with any new handset deal, there are a few things you should be looking out for and thinking about. We're going to explain these aspects here to add clarity. Once you have a firm idea of what you're looking at, you can use this information to help you sort through the iPhone 11 deals on this page.
- Contract length – The shorter this is, the more you will have to pay each month. Remember, with handset deals you are paying off ownership of the phone in instalments. That may mean you'll be tempted to go for the longest contract you can find, but bear in mind that with long contract deals you'll also usually be paying more interest – you'll pay more in the long run. 24 months is usually the sweet spot. By then you will own the phone and have the option to upgrade
- Data – Right now, the UK's four network providers – Three, O2, Vodafone and EE – are all offering unlimited data plans, with many other providers who operate on those networks following suit. That doesn't mean you should necessarily opt for unlimited data, but it certainly does make this question easier to answer
- Texts and calls – Most mobile deals offer unlimited texts and minutes these days. Limits here are somewhat moot
- Upfront cost – This is important. You can choose to pay a lot, a little, or nothing upfront. You could of course even buy the handset outright. Bear in mind the more you pay upfront, the less your monthly premiums are going to be
- Mobiles with free gifts – Many deals offered these days throw a little something in to entice you into the deal. If possible, you should take advantage and search for your chosen deal using what you get thrown in for free as an important criteria
Which providers offer iPhone 11 deals?
As is the case with any widely available handset, UK mobile providers attempt to distinguish themselves from their competitors in the way they offer the phone. Perhaps they attempt to offer the lowest monthly price, perhaps the best free gift, most cashback, or lowest deposit. Here we take a look at what each provider is going for in respect of the iPhone 11. We’ve noticed that very few providers still have the 128GB model in stock, so you may have to shop around if you want more than 64GB of storage.
- BT Mobile – Operates on the EE network and is still offering the iPhone 11, 64GB model. There are no gifts or vouchers on offer at the time of writing, but there is no upfront cost
- EE – Operates on its own network and is offering all iPhone models. The top plans offer unlimited data and a low up-front cost, but you can choose a limited data plan and save a little money if that's not something you need. There are currently no free gifts or cashback on any iPhone 11 with EE
- giffgaff – Operates on the O2 network, and is somewhat unique in that it defers to its community of users for much of its customer service. Generally this means it offers lower prices, but it must be said, not in the case of the iPhone 11 at the time of writing. Once you factor in the cost of the handset and the rolling monthly allowances (what giffgaff calls a 'goodybag') you're looking at similar money to other providers
- iD Mobile – Is the in-house brand for The Carphone Warehouse, and it operates on the Three network. Even with unlimited data ID Mobile offer one of the cheapest iPhone 11 deals
- O2 – Is another of the UK's four network providers. It offers extreme flexibility in its iPhone 11 deals on all models, allowing you to choose entirely how much you pay upfront, your contract length (so how much you want to pay each month) and how large your data allowance. Though it is among the more expensive options.
- Sky Mobile – It's offering iPhone 11 in two storage sizes at surprisingly competitive prices for Sky Mobile (which is normally on the expensive side). Probably a good choice if you're already a Sky Broadband and/or TV customer
- Tesco Mobile – Operates on the O2 network. Already among the cheapest options here for an iPhone 11,, you can also opt to extend the contract to 36 months if keeping your monthly payments low is what matters to you most. Also, you will have two contracts with Tesco Mobile, one long one for the phone itself, and a 30-day rolling contract for your allowances. This means you can switch networks whenever you like, while still paying monthly instalments for the handset with Tesco. Neat
- Three – Runs on its own network. Three was first to the punch in offering phones and SIMs with unlimited data, so as you might expect, it is pushing those deals with iPhone 11. You can still save a little cash by going for a limited deal.
- Virgin Mobile – Operates on the Vodafone network. At the time of writing, Virgin Mobile was the only provider offering gifts or extras with iPhone 11, the option to add Apple's expensive Airpod headphones for just an extra 50p a month or for an extra £9.50 per month you can get an iPad.
- Vodafone – Operates on its own network. Low upfront costs and an included two year warranty, plus a battery replacement scheme – that's Vodafone's current angle
SIM free iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro deals
Even though the iPhone 11 is cheaper than it once was, it is still a fair chunk of cash. But if you have the money, buying your handset upfront is actually the cheapest way to get your new phone. Because although it may mean a large initial outlay, handset contract agreements are simply consumer loans, and on a lot of those loans you will be paying interest. Some not, obviously. If you pay attention to such things you will find iPhone 11 contracts with interest free credit, but they are generally shorter in length.
It's worth reiterating while we're here, then, that since mobile phone contracts are consumer loans in essence, credit checks are both obligatory and strict in all cases.
Refurbished iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro phones
At the time of writing (February 2022), you can only buy a new iPhone 11. The iPhone 11 Pro and other variants cannot be bought new anymore. This is most likely to avoid competing with later Apple phones since an iPhone 11 Pro might compete favourably with a standard iPhone 12. Most of the Mobile providers offer refurbished phones alongside their range of new handsets.
Refurbished phones are in every way that matters as good as new phones. A good choice for those with a nose for a bargain.
What phones are similar to the iPhone 11?
The iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro are of course by no means the only game in town. Alternatives on Apple's own operating system, iOS, are of course somewhat limited. However, there are a number of Android phones that, if not in some ways a 'match' for Apple's latest handsets, can certainly keep pace. Whether an Android-based phone is a feasible alternative for you will of course depend on how locked-in you are to the Apple ecosystem, though there is little that cannot be transferred over to Android if you have the time and patience to do it.
- iPhone 12 or 13 – If you want the very latest features and can afford to pay extra, then later phones from Apple may be for you.
- Samsung Galaxy S10 – If you are looking for the other flagship phone of the day, Apple's number one competitor, the Galaxy S10 and S10+ are probably the closest rival to the iPhone 11 series from an Android-based phone. Refurbished Samsung phones tend to be cheaper than their Apple counterparts. There is also, of course, the later Galaxy S20 and S21 to consider if you wish to spend a little more.
- Google Pixel 4A 5G – The current Pixel is the Pixel 6, but the 4A 5G is still available from most providers. The Pixel is more a 'top-mid-range' phone than a highest of high end handset like the iPhone 11 Pro. Still, it'll give the basic iPhone 11 a decent run for its money in most important respects
- Xiomi Redmi Note 11 5G – Xiomi, a Chinese manufacturer, aims to give you high-end features at mid-range prices. The Redmi Note 11 Has some cracking features (particularly the cameras). A new one can be found cheaper than a used iPhone 11. And it’s 5G. It doesn’t have the same finish and detailing as the iPhone, but let's face it, all phones look the same once you put them in a protective case.