It is the heavyweight in the iPhone 14 lineup. And also the most expensive, with a starting price of Rs 1,39,900. What does it bring to the iPhone table for that sort of money, and should you be considering investing in it? We have spent some time with the iPhone 14 Pro Max, and here is our attempt to answer all your questions about it:
What is so special about the iPhone 14 Pro Max?
Well, it is simply the best-specced iPhone out there. It has the biggest display, the most powerful cameras and the most powerful processor of the iPhone 14 series revealed by Apple recently. The Pro series of the iPhone has always been more capable than the regular iPhones, and the Pro Max is the bigger of the two Pros out there.
The Pros have always been considered superior to the regular iPhones in terms of performance. How far ahead of the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus is the iPhone 14 Pro Max?
Further ahead than usual. In the past, the Pro range generally came with better cameras and displays, but this is the first time since the introduction of the Pro series that the same numbered Pro and non-Pro iPhones have come with different processors. While the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus have got the A15 Bionic which was seen in the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max last year, the iPhone 14 Pro Max and Pro are the only iPhones to be running on the new A16 Bionic chip. The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max also have displays with 120Hz refresh rates that change as per the content being shown on them, while the non-Pros are still stuck at the normal 60 Hz. Finally, both the new Pros have got three cameras on the back with a 48-megapixel main sensor and two 12-megapixel telephoto and ultrawide cameras, while the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus have dual 12-megapixel cameras. Finally, there is the SOS feature and crash detection for emergencies. Better processor, better cameras, better displays — the iPhone 14 Pros have a clear lead on their unPro siblings this year.
Among the Pros, what is the difference between the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max?
The difference between the two iPhone 14 Pro bros is purely of size. The iPhone 14 Pro Max simply seems like an iPhone 14 Pro that really took its proteins way more regularly. It is much larger at 160.7mm x 77.6mm x 7.85mm as compared to the 147.5 x 75.1 x 7.85mm of the iPhone 14 Pro, and at 240 grams is much heavier than the 206 grams of the iPhone 14 Pro.
In hardware terms, both phones are largely identical. Pun intended. The iPhone 14 Pro Max has a larger 6.7-inch display as compared to the 6.1-inch one on the iPhone 14 Pro, and also has a slightly higher resolution – 2,796 x 1,920 as compared to 2,256 x 1,179 on the iPhone 14 Pro. The Pro Max also has a larger battery, offering 29 hours of video playback as compared to 23 on the 14, and 95 hours of audio playback as compared to 75 on the 14.
The iPhone 14 looked exactly like the iPhone 13. Does the iPhone 14 Pro Max also look exactly like the iPhone 13 Pro Max?
The iPhone 14 Pro Max looks VERY similar to the iPhone 13 Pro Max, but there are clear points of distinction, especially in the front of the phone. The iPhone 14 Pro Max has a Dynamic Island on the display instead of a notch and also an always-on display (AOD). But yes, if the two phones are switched off, you will not be able to tell the difference between them easily, as the designs are very similar – Ceramic Shield front, glass back, straight sides with “surgical grade” stainless steel.
Even the proportions are very similar. Both phones are almost similarly tall (the iPhone 13 Pro Max is very slightly taller – 160.8mm to 160.7mm), wide (the iPhone 13 Pro is marginally wider at 78.1mm as against 77.6mm) and are below 8mm in slimness (the 13 Pro is slimmer – 7.65mm to 7.85mm). And they both weigh 240 grammes. The only point of distinction is in perhaps the size of the camera lenses on the back, which seem a little larger on the iPhone 14 Pro Max and also seem to protrude a little more. And well, if you are one of those brave enough to carry their iPhones without a case, the iPhone 13 Pro Max has a unique Alpine Green shade while the iPhone 14 Pro Max has a Deep Purple one. You will be hard-pressed to tell the difference between the two when they are switched off.
Will the protective cases and screen protectors/ tempered glass of the iPhone 13 Pro Max work with the iPhone 14 Pro Max?
In most cases, alas, no. The slight change in height, width and most of all, the larger camera unit on the back means cases of one device will in all probability, not fit the other. Tempered glass and other display protectors might work a little better across both devices as long as there is no space left at the top for the notch.
Is the iPhone 14 Pro Max good-looking? Does it feel solid enough?
If you liked the iPhone 13 Pro Max, you will like the iPhone 14 Pro Max as well. The iPhone 14 Pro Max is a good-looking phone, although its design is broadly the same as its recent predecessors. It is a little on the larger side, mainly because of its width, but has a very premium feel to it. It is tough as well and can survive in up to 30 minutes in 6 metres of water. It does feel very sturdy too, but we would strongly advocate putting a case on it.
Is the display on the iPhone 14 Pro Max the same as the iPhone 13 Pro Max?
Truth be told, it is very difficult to tell them apart when they are unlocked if you can ignore the Dynamic Island. Both phones have 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR OLED displays of the same size and resolution and even the same 120 Hz adaptive refresh. However, we feel that the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s display is a little brighter – something that becomes evident in sunlight.
How good is the always-on display (AOD) on the iPhone 14 Pro Max?
It is VERY different from what we have seen in the Android world. In most Android phones, the AOD turns the display jet black and only displays the time and some notifications in white. On the iPhone 14 Pro Max, however, the AOD only seems to dim the lock screen, and you can actually see your lock screen image and notifications, although the time remains in bright white by default. Whether you like it or not depends on your preference, but we actually switched it off after a while because it seemed more like a dim display. We so hope Apple will fix this with an update.
Is Dynamic Island actually useful or just some kind of stunt?
If you want to read about Dynamic Island (Apple’s new take on the notch), you can take a look at our detailed story on the feature. We feel that Dynamic Island adds a new way to interact with your iPhone. Its location right at the top of the display can make it a little difficult to interact with (especially in the case of the tall and wide iPhone 14 Pro Max), but there is definitely a lot of potential there. It is literally like a sticky note that stays on top of whatever you are doing and keeps you up to speed with events you want to follow. It is still very much in its early stages so has a few rough edges, but it looks very cool with sleek animations and that super smooth expansion and contraction. We just wish there was some way to customise it or even sometimes switch it off.
Can Dynamic Island be a little distracting, especially when you are watching videos or playing games?
Yes, it can. It never actually completely disappears and can respond to events, so seeing it suddenly change shape while you are watching a show can be a little distracting. It also actually is surrounded by the display on all sides, unlike the notch, which was connected to the top of the phone, so the sense of intrusion is a little higher. We do think we will get used to it with time.
How is the performance of the phone for gaming and intensive tasks like video editing? What impact does the A16 Bionic have?
This is going to be a recurring statement in this FAQ – you are not going to notice a dramatic difference in performance between the iPhone 14 Pro Max and its predecessors in most functions. Start pushing the device a little however, and the changes will become evident. Video editing, especially in 4K, seems significantly faster on the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Some games will even load a little faster than they did on the 13 Pro Max or the iPhone 14. And when you keep the 13 Pro Max right next to the iPhone 14 Pro Max, you will even notice a clear difference in the speed at which a lot of detailed image editing apps work. But yes, in most tasks, the difference is not out there screaming “Look at me!” It is very subtle. Our sources in Apple say that this difference might become even more obvious after the passage of some time. We will see if that happens.
How good are the speakers on the iPhone 14 Pro Max?
The iPhone 14 Pro Max comes with stereo speakers and also supports spatial audio and Dolby Atmos. The speakers are very good in terms of both volume and quality, with very little distortion. You can easily watch a film or show on the phone in a relatively quiet room and not miss out on any audio. We would not say this is as impressive as the quad-speaker arrangement on the Xiaomi 12 Pro but it is still among the best out there.
The iPhone 14 Pro range is the first to come with a 48-megapixel main sensor. Does this make a massive difference in terms of photography?
If you are the kind that just points and shoots, then you are unlikely to note too much of a difference between the main camera of the iPhone 14 Pro series and the iPhone 13 Pros. The 14 Pro might give you a little more detail and have slightly brighter colours at times, but by and large, you will get a high-quality image rich in detail and with generally realistic colours, but not too different from what we got from the iPhone 13 Pro Max. The difference actually hits you when you switch to the ProRAW format and shoot in 48 megapixels. You will be literally stunned at the level of extra detail and textures that hit you. But in general, in everyday photography, you might wonder what the megapixel-fuss is about.
Can you take a 48-megapixel photograph with the iPhone 14 Pro Max?
Yes, but at the time of writing, only if you shoot in ProRAW mode. Else, the photograph will default to 12 megapixels. A point to note about the ProRAW format is that it results in very heavy files – a ProRAW image is well above 50MB in size!
Does the Action Mode in the video recording of the iPhone 14 Pro Max make a big difference in terms of video quality?
Yes, it does. You get almost action camera-like stability when you are using it. But this is going to be noticeable only if you are moving a fair bit. You are unlikely to notice it in generally stable conditions, where it might seem very similar to the video you get in normal mode – incidentally, even that is very good indeed.
How much of a difference does having autofocus on the selfie camera make in terms of image quality?
If you are just pointing and shooting yourself (using the camera), then you are unlikely to notice much difference. But if you are the type that wants more out of a selfie-snapping session, then the autofocus does make a difference – you can suddenly focus on different objects and blur out other parts more effectively.
The iPhone Pro series has been known to have perhaps the best cameras in smartphones. Is that true for the iPhone 14 Pro Max as well?
We would say “yes.” The biggest asset of the cameras of the iPhone has been their consistently good quality, and you get that here as well, with Apple claiming even better colours and details thanks to the Photonic Engine (as with many other features, this change seems to be more subtle than blatant). There will be phones that will deliver better images in some circumstances, but the sheer reliability of the iPhone cameras remains unchanged. You are almost always going to get a certain quality of image and of course, when it comes to videos, the iPhones remain in a zone of their own, with the 14 Pro series getting ProRes recording at 4K at 30 fps, which no other iPhone has.
Thanks to the interface, you can keep things basic and straightforward and just stick to good old point and shoot, or get a little more in-depth and tweak settings or use ProRAW format for more intense photography. There is a lot you can do with videos and photos shot on the iPhone 14 Pro Max. We would have liked a whole lot more optical zoom on them though – 3x is handy, but a little on the low side.
Is the battery life of the iPhone 14 Pro Max better than the iPhone 13 Pro Max, which was supposed to be the best on an iPhone?
We would say it is close to it, especially after you turn down the always-on display. You will easily get more than a day of heavy-duty usage. The always-on display, however, does seem to dent battery life. But yes, you get more battery than the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14. We have not had the opportunity to try the iPhone 14 Plus yet, but Apple claims that it has the best battery life ever seen on an iPhone, so we are assuming it would be well ahead of the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Which would be something!
How fast does the iPhone 14 Pro Max charge?
The iPhone 14 Pro Max can be charged at up to 27W. There is however, no charger in the box, so you will have to invest in one. The phone gets charged up to 50 per cent in about half an hour with a 30W charger, but then gets a little slower, and takes about two hours to get fully charged. The iPhone 14 Pro Max also supports wireless charging.
What is the software on the iPhone 14 Pro Max? For how long is it likely to be updated to new versions?
The iPhone 14 Pro Max runs on iOS 16 out of the box. This being an iPhone, we are expecting it to receive updates for at least another five years.
At Rs 1,39,900, the iPhone 14 Pro Max is priced exactly Rs 50,000 above the similarly sized iPhone 14 Plus. Is the price difference worth it?
At the time of writing, the iPhone 14 Plus has not been released in the market, but we expect its performance to be very similar to the iPhone 14, which has exactly the same spec sheet, except for a smaller display and battery. Using that as a benchmark, we would say that if you are looking for an iPhone with a big display, the iPhone 14 Pro Max does way more. It beats the iPhone 14 (and likely the 14 Plus as well) on display quality, camera, and when you look at heavy-duty tasks like video editing, on processor performance as well. Whether those differences are worth the price gap between the devices is for you to decide, but we think there’s a clear difference in the performance of the two models.
They have the same processor and cameras and most other specs, so why would anyone pick the iPhone 14 Pro Max over the much more compact iPhone 14 Pro?
For two reasons – the much greater display real estate and the much longer-lasting battery. The bigger display makes it easier to do everything from gaming to writing text to editing video. The 14 Pro is for those who value portability, the Pro Max for the productivity freaks.
Which phone can be considered rivals to the iPhone 14 Pro Max?
In terms of price, perhaps only the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, which starts at an even higher Rs 1,59,999. However, that is a very different device. In terms of Android alternatives, we think the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is its most likely rival with an equally impressive and perhaps even more versatile array of cameras and S Pen support as well, now that it has worked out some of its initial issues with a few software updates. For the Apple crowd, we actually think that the biggest challenger to the iPhone 14 Pro Max is the iPhone 13 Pro Max, which brings a similar design to the table. Yes, its performance is a step behind but then its price is lower too – Rs 1,20,000 at some outlets at the time of writing, although the model itself is set to be phased out soon.
I am getting the iPhone 13 Pro Max at a discounted rate. Should I go for it or spend more and get the iPhone 14 Pro Max?
It really depends on your requirements. We think the iPhone 14 Pro Max is a fantastic device for anyone who values photography and software innovation (that Dynamic Island). However, if you are reasonably happy with the cameras on the iPhone 13 Pro Max (and there’s no reason why you should not be – they are superb), and feel no need to go on a tour of the Dynamic Island, then the 13 Pro Max is still a great device. It should also be getting software updates for a few more years.
Finally: should I buy the iPhone 14 Pro Max?
Well, if you are the type that is really into photography and does a lot of work on your phone, then you definitely should consider the iPhone 14 Pro Max. That large display, speedy processor and superb software can actually let you do a lot of shooting, editing and sharing right from the phone itself, without even heading to a tablet or notebook. Yes, handling it can at times seem difficult because of its size and weight (with a case, it weighs about 300 grammes!), but the sheer productivity muscle you get in exchange makes it a terrific deal for content creators and work-on-phone wizards. Of course, it is a no-brainer if you simply want the most conspicuous new iPhone around! Just remember to keep it display-up, as that marks it out as special.