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7 travel must-haves with Apple’s new iPhone 11s, Series 5 Watch

September 10 2019
8 min read
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Last month, I reviewed the most powerful smartphone I've ever come across: Samsung's Galaxy Note10+. While that device does almost everything I need it to — I especially love the ultra-wide camera — I haven't been able to give up my iPhone entirely. The biggest reason? Messages support — I'm just not ready to "go green," with limited text support as an Android user conversing with Apple device-owning friends.

Fortunately, it seems like I won't have to make the switch after all — Apple's latest round of mobile devices check the same key boxes as Samsung's newest Note, with the added benefit of fitting seamlessly within my existing device (and friend) ecosystem.

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But my next go-to device, the iPhone 11 Pro Max, wasn't the only traveler-friendly addition that impressed me today — here's a list of the seven biggest feature highlights from Apple's big launch event in Cupertino, California:

1. iPhone 11 Pro: trio of high-end cameras

This is by far the most significant upgrade as far as I'm concerned. While I've been getting by with the standard iPhone and Pixel 3 lenses, an ultra-wide camera will give my flight reviews a huge boost, letting me capture far more content in each frame — a must in tight aircraft cabins.

The base model includes 12-megapixel 13mm f/2.4 ultra-wide cameras and 26mm f/1.8 wide-angle cameras, but the Pro models kick things up with a third built-in cam: a 12-megapixel f/2 telephoto, with a 52mm focal length.

As you can see in the samples above, combined, the three cameras enable some pretty incredible versatility — equipped with an iPhone 11 Pro, you can almost certainly leave your point-and-shoot behind on most of your adventures.

2. All iPhone 11 models: Night Mode

Low-light shooting is the one and only reason I still carry around a Google Pixel 3 — when I'm reviewing an overnight flight, at least. That device has incredible dim-shooting capabilities, even compared with Samsung's Note. Fortunately, Apple's adding Night Mode to the iPhones, too — it isn't clear just how it'll compare from the company's demo shots, but I'm optimistic that it'll at least give nighttime shooting a significant boost.

And it'll only get better over time — the Pro models will eventually also support an option called "Deep Fusion," which captures a total of nine images and combines the strongest elements of each to create the ultimate low-light shot.

3. All iPhone 11 models: QuickTake video

This is a software add-on, as well, and another biggie — for me, at least. With the new iPhones, you'll be able to capture video without actually switching to video mode. From the regular camera mode, you can simply tap and hold the shutter button to start recording video, saving at least a second or two, so you don't miss key moments.

4. All iPhone 11 models: better battery life

With a more-efficient processor, the latest iPhones are getting a battery boost across the board. While results obviously vary quite a bit depending on how you use your device, Apple's quoting an extra hour with the iPhone 11 (compared with the XR), an extra four hours with the Pro (compared with XS) and an extra five hours with the Pro Max (compared with 2018's Max model). Wowza!

5. iPhone 11 Pro: fast charger in the box

Android device manufacturers like Samsung have long shipped their devices with higher-wattage power adapters, enabling faster charging. Yet up until this latest round of iPhones, Apple's only included a sluggish 5-watt charger in the box. Now, the iPhone 11 Pro will finally include the same 18-watt adapter that ships with Apple's pro-level iPad, which comes along with a USB-C to Lightning cable as well, also making it possible to connect your handset to another USB-C device without purchasing an accessory.

6. Watch: always-on display

One advantage of owning a traditional watch is that you aren't at the mercy of a day-long battery — the device can tell you the time for years without a battery swap, but that's pretty much all it can do. Apple's latest Watch now closes that one gap a bit, with a far more efficient screen that'll always show the time, so you can easily sneak a peek while you're in a meeting or working out.

7. Watch: built-in compass

I've used my Series 4 Apple Watch for navigation on occasion, but it's hardly ideal, since the device doesn't include a compass. That changes with Series 5 — the new Apple Watch has a compass built in, and it's accessible to Apple Maps and third-party apps as well, making it far easier to get your bearings on the go.

How to buy

All of the devices above will ship to customers and be available in stores beginning September 20, with pre-orders beginning this Friday, at 8am ET. Device pricing breaks down as seen below, while the new Apple Watch will be available starting at $399 for GPS and $499 for the cellular-equipped model.

Apple's also offering trade-in pricing for 2019's iPhones, which can bring the price down by up to 400 bucks.

Naturally, given the high cost of these devices, I'd recommend using a card that offers purchase protection, including:

CardMaximum Coverage Amount
Maximum Coverage Amount Per YearCoverage Duration (days)Earning Rate(s)Annual Fee
United Club Card$10,000 per claim$50,0001202x directly purchased United tickets, 1.5x other$450
American Express® Gold Card$10,000 per incident$50,000904x at restaurants, 4x U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year; then 1x), 3x directly purchased airline tickets or airfare purchases through amextravel.com, 1x other. Terms apply.$250 (see rates & fees)
Ink Business Cash Credit Card$10,000 per claim$50,0001205% office supply stores/telecom (up to $25,000, then 1%), 2% gas stations/restaurants (up to $25,000, then 1%), 1% other$0
Citi Premier® Card$10,000 per incident$50,000903x points per dollar on airfare, hotels, gas stations, restaurants and supermarkets, and 1x point on all other purchases$95
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express$1,000 per incident$50,000903% U.S. supermarkets on the first $6,000 per calendar year; (then 1%), 2% U.S. gas stations/select U.S. department stores, 1% other. Terms apply.$0 (see rates & fees)
Chase Freedom

(No longer open to new applicants)

$500 per claim$50,0001205% bonus categories each quarter, 1% other$0

The information for the United Club has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Protect your investment

Then, after you have your device, be sure to pay your mobile bill with a card that offers cell phone loss and damage protection, including:

CardCoverage/Deductible Notable ExclusionsEarn rate on cell phone billAnnual Fee
Ink Business Preferred Credit CardUp to $1,000 per claim, up to three claims per 12-month period/$100 deductible per claimLost phones3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points*$95
Citi Prestige® CardUp to $1,000 per claim, $1,500 per 12-month period/$50 deductibleCosmetic damage that doesn't affect phone's ability to function, lost phones1 Citi point per dollar$495
Citi Premier® CardUp to $800 per claim, $1,000 per 12-month period/$50 deductibleCosmetic damage that doesn't affect phone's ability to function, lost phones1 Citi point per dollar$95
Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit cardUp to $600 per claim, $1,000 per 12-month period/$50 deductibleCosmetic damage that doesn't affect phone's ability to function, lost phones1% cash back$0
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card (card no longer available for new applicants)Up to $600 per claim, $1,200 per 12-month period/$25 deductibleLost phones1 point per dollar$0
Uber VisaUp to $600 per claim, $1,200 per 12-month period/$25 deductibleLost phones1% cash back$0
U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum CardUp to $600 per claim, $1,200 per 12-month periodLost phonesNone$0

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Gold, click here.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 points
    75,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $125
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

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  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees