iPhone 11 vs iPhone 15: Is it finally time for me to upgrade?

iPhone 11 vs iPhone 15
(Image credit: Apple)

After what feels like months of anticipation and speculation the iPhone 15 is finally here. Just as the leaks anticipated, the camera on the standard model has been massively upgraded, the lightning cable has been replaced with USB-C, and it's fitted with the new A16 Bionic chip. So with all these upgrades, it got me thinking, is it finally time to upgrade from my iPhone 11?

I’ve been using the iPhone 11 pretty much since it first came out. It was the first and only time I’ve ever invested in the latest iPhone and prior to that, I was using the iPhone 7 (you can see a pattern emerging here). I still think it’s one of the best iPhones for photography when taking into account features and affordability, especially considering it’s 4 years old. The video might not be as high quality or as stabilized but when the lighting is right, it’s good enough for me. 

• Check out the best camera phones and browse a range of models from Apple, Google, Samsung and more

The main reason I haven’t upgraded comes down to cost. No matter which way you look at it, iPhones are expensive. The standard iPhone 15 with 128GB of memory costs $799 / £799 / AU$1,499 but those prices shoot up to $1,599 / £1,599 / AU$2,899 for the all-singing, all-dancing iPhone 15 Pro Max with a whopping 1TB storage. 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
iPhone 11 vs iPhone 15
Row 0 - Cell 0 iPhone 11iPhone 15
Camera12MP + 12MP48MP + 12MP
Storage options64GB / 128GB / 256GB128GB / 256GB / 512GB
Battery capacity3,100 mAh (14 hours)3,877 mAh (20 hours)
Screen resolution6.1-inch LCD Liquid Retina HD display6.1-inch Super Retina XDR Display
ProcessorA13 Bionic chipA16 Bionic Chip
Colours availableBlack, green, yellow, purple, Product Red, whiteBlack, green, yellow, pink, blue
Price Around £255 (refurbished) £799 for 128GB model

One of the most noticeable changes between the iPhone 11 and iPhone 15 is a change of shape and the switch to USB-C charging. I really liked the smooth design of the iPhone 11, it made it comfortable to hold and, arguably, the iPhone 11 color range was Apple’s best ever. I’m glad Apple has finally been forced into USB-C charging, the Lightning cable was annoying at best (especially when all your friends are Android users) and having one universal for all your tech makes life that little bit easier. 

Aesthetics aside, the inner workings of the Apple iPhone 15 are significantly better than the iPhone 11. Although the A13 chip from the 11 still does a pretty good job, the A16 Bionic chip in the iPhone 15 is around 30-40% more powerful. This means increased CPU and GPU performance and more power efficiency. The iPhone 15 also offers 2GB more RAM which means running apps like Lightroom for Mobile will be faster and shouldn't crash. 

Looking at it from a photographer's point of view, the cameras aren’t even comparable. The iPhone 15 features a 48MP main camera and ultra-wide camera plus 2X telephoto mode, improved stabilization, plus much better depth control when shooting in portrait mode. 

When looking to upgrade, the camera is my main area of focus and as someone who makes a lot of reels, having a camera that can record high-quality video even in low-light conditions is very appealing and that's one area where my iPhone 11 struggles.

I feel like a bit of a devil’s advocate because having said all this, and despite recognizing how much of an upgrade the iPhone 15 is from the 11, I probably still won’t pre-order one. The main reason is that arguably, the iPhone 15 isn’t all that different to the 14. It benefits from the new 48MP sensor and the new floating island looks cool, but the battery life and screen resolution have stayed the same. I can probably pick up a refurbished iPhone 14 for around £500 (if I trade in my iPhone 11) which is a much more appealing price and I would still be getting a huge upgrade from what I'm currently using. 

Also check out the best lenses for iPhone and Android phones and start taking even better-quality photos. Or, if you're committed to the phone, we've got a guide to the best iPhone 15 Pro Max cases.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.