Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max Review
Apple is an innovative company, many of what they invent and implement for their smartphones are copied by other manufacturers (however, Apple can also borrow various finds from other manufacturers), in any case, iPhones are interesting devices, worthy of study. So, I will continue this tradition, noting both positive and negative points in my reviews.
In this review, I will discuss the top model of the fourteenth generation of iPhones – the iPhone 14 Pro Max. It is most interesting to study the top models because all the modern developments of the company are presented there in full.
iPhone 14 Pro differs in screen size (6.1”), body size, and it has a smaller battery – 3200 mAh. Everything else is the same, while the price is 150 less.
iPhone 14 has a simpler matrix, as a platform, he has the Apple A15 Bionic, like the 13th iPhone, the camera module is like the 13th, the battery is 3279 mAh. And it costs €950.
The white background is back again (the iPhone 13 Pro had a black box) and now the box does not show the back of the smartphone, but a display that shows what looks like an hourglass. In fact, this is the always-on screen mode – yes, less than twenty years have passed since this mode finally appeared on the iPhone.
Supplied with a smartphone, charging cable, user manual and a tool for pulling out the insert under the sim card. Yes, how could I forget – also a sticker with an apple!
Appearance and Features
The camera block, like the 13th model, is terribly brutal and rises above the lid by as much as 3 millimeters.
- Bottom. On the bottom – microphone, Lightning port, holes, under which there is a stereo speaker (the conversational speaker is used as the second speaker). Why Apple keeps clinging to that damn outdated and slow lightning port when both their laptops and iPads have already switched to Type-C, I don’t know.
- Right side. On the right side is the power button.
- Left side. On the left side – sound switching, volume control and a slot with an insert for a SIM card.
The display here is an LTPO Super Retina XDR OLED with a 120Hz refresh rate. It supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision. Brightness – 1000 nits normal, 2000 nits – in automatic mode. And this brightness is such that in direct sunlight you don’t experience any discomfort at all, everything is visible perfectly.
Well, the quality is just top-notch, the display is of excellent quality. Even on the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, the display did not make such an impression, although the display there is also very high quality. I'll note that here – just like in the previous model – a dynamic change in the screen refresh rate is applied.
If the picture on the screen changes rapidly, then the refresh rate is set to 120 Hz. But if the image is static, then the refresh rate drops sharply, and it can drop to 1 Hz (in the previous model it was up to 10 Hz).
Always On Display
You won't believe it, but here, as I said, the always-on screen mode – AOD (Always On Display) has appeared. So now iPhone users can go from the “Yes, we don’t need this” mode to the “You see how convenient it is, and how cool it is all implemented here”. Implementation:
- 1 Hz. And it's all implemented as follows. If the AOD mode is enabled, then when the screen is turned off, the iPhone briefly shows a bright lock screen, and after a few seconds it goes into this mode. In which all sorts of notifications about incoming messages, music being played, missed calls, and so on are displayed on the screen. In this case, the refresh rate is reduced to 1 Hz.
- Apple Watch. If you put your iPhone in your pocket or bag, the screen turns off completely. If the user leaves the room where the iPhone is, the screen also turns off, but this only works with the Apple Watch.
- AOD. When charging, AOD continues to work, but at night it will not create any problems because in this mode the screen glows minimally.
- Settings. However, there are no settings for this mode, but this is quite in the Apple paradigm: users must deal with what the company came up with for them and not bother with some settings there.
- There are good things. But in general, the very fact that AOD has finally appeared here, and all sorts of notifications are displayed on it – it is more than joyful!
Now about the sensational mode Dynamic Island (dynamic island). The old “bangs” – a selfie camera and a sensor block – have now turned into an island. Which, by the way, irritates a little more than the old “bangs”. And let me remind you that we have already seen a similar solution with the Huawei P40 Pro, only there the island was on the left.
- Dynamic Island. But Apple couldn't help but beat this innovation, and they came up with the Dynamic Island technology: when certain applications are running, this island expands by software a few millimeters to the left to the right, and some information appears in the added areas when these applications are running.
- Audio player. For example, if something is playing in the audio player, then an icon with a picture of the disk is displayed on the left, and on the right, just an animated icon shows that something is being played now.
- Convenience. It looks pretty cool, and it's convenient to use, but – in the case of strictly defined applications that support this feature. Also note, that third-party applications can also support it.
- OLED. The display on the OLED matrix means that you need to measure the flicker (that terrible, evil PWM that scares young children).
Controls and Gestures
The iPhone is controlled by its standard gestures, There are various advanced settings. It is worth noting that it is possible to set different double and triple tap actions on the back panel. This also works when using a case.
Control Center: quick switches and some applications. With a long press on some icons, additional menus appear – for example, the camera menu. I also note that here (as I understand it, this is a property of the 16th iOS) we have returned the ability to display the battery percentage on the corresponding icon. This is enabled in the settings.
The voice quality is excellent. In a noisy environment, noise-canceling works, which made my voice somewhat deaf to the subscriber, but it was still normal to hear. He could not cope only with strong winds. In speakerphone mode, I was normally heard, even when I moved away from the smartphone for a couple of meters, but at the same time, of course, there was an echo effect.
Stereo speakers are installed here (the conversational speaker works as the second speaker). The sound of the smartphone is loud, really high quality. In general, it looks like the sound quality of a good wireless speaker.
I don’t have an adapter from lightning to an audio jack, I didn’t connect wired headphones to my smartphone. As a wireless connected – well, of course – my Apple AirPods Pro MagSafe, with which the iPhone provides a full level of service.
When I first connected, the iPhone asked me to scan my face and both my ears with the camera, to infuse music with AirPods invigorating flow.
The platform is powerful, there are no problems with games by definition.
Also tried the 3D gaming benchmark which monitors fps under various loads – here, even for extreme loading of 64 moving characters and 4 types of lighting, fps was kept almost at the maximum.
Camera interface. Above – the flash mode, a chevron that opens additional settings, Live mode. Below are icons for switching between three cameras: the main, ultra-wide-angle lens, 3x optical zoom. At the same time, as usual, you can smoothly change modes by pinching and spreading your fingers across the screen (zooming). The maximum digital zoom size is 15x (this is for photos, and for video – 9x, as before). Camera Features:
- Additional features. When you click on the chevron from top to bottom, additional settings appear, which also includes filters, switching the format (square, 4:3, 16:9), exposure adjustment and turning on the timer. In general, everything is quite convenient.
- Portrait photography. When shooting portraits, special processing effects are available that can be adjusted. By default, 2x zoom is set, but by clicking on the corresponding icon, you can select any zoom option or without it.
- Other modes. Other modes: time-lapse, slow motion (three views), cinema effect (the ability to switch focus when shooting a movie), video, portrait, panorama.
- Video. For videos, you can switch cameras during shooting, and you can also switch the resolution and number of frames in the upper-right corner.
- Camera settings. As before, the iPhone can use high-performance HEIF/HEVC photo and video formats. But for compatibility, you can include regular JPEG and MOV. There are also options for shooting HDR video.
- Main module. Main module – excellent from all sides, also shoots beautifully at night. The 13 Pro, as far as I remember, had problems with both the ultra-wide-angle lens (soap around the edges) and the zoom (for some reason it was hybrid and noticeably soapy). Here, everything is already in order with them – both the ultra-wide-angle lens and the zoom are of high quality.
- Video. Everything is fine with the video too: the stabilizer works efficiently even in normal mode, and even in super stabilization mode it does an exceptional job with strong shaking. Please note that when shooting from the car, the smartphone was also standing on a stand, which itself swayed noticeably (the suction cup on the holder is old, the lock no longer holds).
- Night video shooting. I also note that in night video shooting (and I specifically shot in the worst lighting conditions), noise has noticeably decreased, the video is really very high quality.
In general, the camera really impressed me, exceptional from all sides! By the way, DXOMark places the camera of this model in fourth place out of ten. Well, it's nice that my Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra has not yet left the top ten.
Face ID is responsible for security here – a special face recognition system, Apple's proprietary technology. This is a much more advanced and more accurate system than the recognition systems used in smartphones from other manufacturers. Works great: recognizes quickly, accurately, recognizes in black glasses, recognizes in complete darkness. And now even in the mask it recognizes – a special setting has been added there.
The battery here is 4232 mAh, one of the most powerful platforms on the market, the display refresh rate is 120 Hz, but Apple knows how to work with power consumption, besides, the shell is designed specifically for iPhones. So, their smartphones often demonstrate the same autonomy as smartphones from other manufacturers, which have a battery in the region of 5000 mAh. In addition, the screen refresh rate reduction system, which I wrote about in the section on the display, is applied here. Battery:
- Internet. The brightness is set to a comfortable 70%, wireless networks are turned on, the page is updated in the browser every 30 seconds. It turned out about 18.5 hours – quite normal.
- Video. Wireless communications are disabled, the video of the DVD-resolution series is spinning in the player at a comfortable brightness in a cycle. Already 25 hours and 15 minutes – great!
- PC Mark. PC Mark cannot run an iPhone battery test, so, to estimate the time of work under load with all types of communication turned on and the usual brightness of the screen. I launched Full-HD video for several hours, then navigation, then various calculations – I simulated work under active load. At the same time, the iPhone lasted about 17 hours – this is a good indicator.
- Practically. Purely practically, in my usual, not too active usage scenario, the iPhone normally stretched out for two days.
I didn't buy a branded adapter from Apple, but I have many powerful adapters, and with a compatible 65-watt adapter. This iPhone gained 42% in half an hour, charging at a power of 24–26 watts, it charged 80 in an hour %, and it took an hour and a half to fully charge. So-so speed for a flagship, but actually quite tolerable. 42% in half an hour – this level is enough for almost a full day of work under normal conditions of use.
MagSafe wireless charging is also supported here, it delivers 15 watts, and there it will take about two hours to fully charge from scratch.
Observations and conclusions
Well, great model, I really liked it. Unlike the 13 Pro, where there was no AOD mode and the ultra-wide-angle zoom lens caused complaints, in this case everything was very, very cool, just from all sides.
Yes, this “island” – it is still annoying and even these jokes from Dynamic Island cannot remove this irritation. But that's the price you pay for a great facial recognition system, there's nothing you can do about it.
Can I upgrade to this model from my Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra? On 14 Pro Max – no, I would not: although I love“shovels”, that's it 14 Pro Max is too hefty for me (in width), uncomfortable. But on 14 Pro – it is quite possible that he could switch, resigned to the limitations of iOS in favor of such a luxurious camera. I'll think about it.