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Apple review: three gadgets under the spotlight on Black Friday

Apple review: three gadgets under the spotlight on Black Friday

Apple review: three gadgets under the spotlight on Black Friday

We all know that technology moves pretty fast, but so do trends in retailing. In just a few short years, the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend has evolved from being a US Thanksgiving-centric sales opportunity to an event embraced across the globe, and especially in the UK. Whilst retailers look to capitalise on the occasion to shift products, eagle-eyed customers will be looking for bargains from their favourite brands which, very often in this space, means Apple.

With this in mind, CONTEXT has taken a look at three of Apple’s devices and here’s how they stood up to our scrutiny.

The iPhone 11

First impressions of the device are good. Both of the eye-catching cameras are 12 megapixels, including one ultra-wide-angle version. This is a nice touch, although I noticed a lot of noise when recording a video with the latter, despite optimal conditions. The longer-lasting battery has also come in handy — after a full charge, it lasted more than a day and a half with streaming music for two hours each day and regular social media checks. It would have been nice if Apple had included the 18 W fast charger with it as well as Pro versions.

It feels like the only main differences between the standard device and the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max are the triple camera lens and Super Retina XDR display. Unless you compare it side by side to the latter, the iPhone 11’s LCD display performs more than adequately.

The iPhone 11 Pro Max

As mentioned, the Super Retina display on this device is stunning: impressive brightness (up to 1,200 in HDR scenes), incredibly accurate colour, and sharp high resolution. Battery life is better than the XS Max, to around two days on a single charge, although it adds an extra 18 g to the overall weight. The 18 W adapter and Lighting to USB-C cable provide fast-charging options. The front-facing camera is now 12 megapixels, making Face ID 30% faster and possible from more angles.

Yet, in other respects, I felt slightly let down. Despite the Dolby Atom’s support, I didn’t notice any major improvements in the sound quality. Apple has moved away from a gloss to a matt finish on the back of the phone, which makes it more slippery and gives it less of a premium feel. Wireless charging was way too slow – 7.5 W versus 10 W+ on many rival devices.

The Apple Watch Series 5

There are improvements all round with this latest addition to the Apple Watch series. A slightly bigger screen (44 mm rather than 42 mm) can display surprisingly more information. The pairing process has also vastly improved, thanks to an S5 SoC processor, which speeds data-syncing with the iPhone. A ceramic back replaces the composite material found on the Series 0, and this gives the watch a premium quality, although at a cost in terms of extra thickness.

When I first learnt about the new low-temperature polycrystalline oxide (LTPO) display I didn’t expect much, but I discovered a key advantage while sitting in a meeting last week. When you need to check the time on an old Apple Watch, you need to blatantly raise an arm to activate the screen. With the new watch, you can read the time subtly without awkward arm movements. Fantastic!


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