The iPhone 14 Pro Max is the latest and greatest that Apple has offered in the iPhone 14 series lineup. Featuring the new Dynamic Island, new 48MP Pro sensor camera, Photonic Engine, Always-On display, not forgetting the brand new A16 Bionic chip, we’ve tested the device in various conditions to see if it lives up to its price tag of RM7,299 onwards.
iPhone 14 Pro Max – Specifications
|Model||iPhone 14 Pro Max|
|Dimensions||160.7 x 77.6 x 7.9 mm|
|Processor||Apple A16 Bionic (4 nm)|
|Storage||128GB / 256GB / 512GB / 1TB|
|Display||LTPO Super Retina XDR OLED, 120Hz|
|Camera (Front)||12 MP, f/1.9, 23mm|
|Camera (Rear)||48 MP, f/1.8, 24mm|
12 MP, f/2.8, 77mm
12 MP, f/2.2, 13mm
|Operating System||iOS 16|
|Battery and Charging||Li-Ion 4323 mAh|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6, dual-band, hotspot|
What’s In The Box?
As usual from the iPhone 12 series onwards, the iPhone 14 Pro Max only has the phone itself, a USB-C to Lightning cable for charging and data transfer, as well as the user manual and Apple sticker. Still no charging adapter, so you will need to purchase those separately.
In terms of design, just pick up the iPhone 13 Pro Max, you now have the iPhone 14 Pro Max. The only difference is the Dynamic Island notch on centre top of the screen, and the rear camera bump is now layered in frost instead of being clear.
It has the same angular, straight edges on the side. Power button, volume buttons, and sound profile toggles are all placed in the same positions. This includes the speaker grilles and Lightning port on the bottom of the phone.
Another difference this time is the new Deep Purple colour. This comes as a new colour after the Alpine Green that Apple introduced in the iPhone 13 Pro. After looking at the colour in real life, we’ll say the colour looks better in marketing materials than it does on the phone itself.
In reality, it looks a lot closer to midnight or black, and you can’t see much of the purple unless put under direct sunlight. Even so, most customers would still slap a case on so the Deep Purple might not make much of an impact. However, it’s still a very popular colour in the market, selling faster than the other colours available.
The iPhone 14 Pro Max has a 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR Display, complete with ProMotion 120Hz refresh rate and Always-On which keeps your important info ready at a glance. The 6.7-inch screen is really big, so for those with small hands, you might want to go for something smaller like the iPhone 14 Pro.
One hand reachability is poor on the Pro Max, even with Apple’s Reachability feature where you swipe down on the bottom bezel to bring the top half of the screen down. That being said, the 120Hz refresh rate is being brought over from the iPhone 13 Pro series and that’s a big plus. It makes the iOS animations a lot smoother, and the overall navigation experience on the iPhone a more pleasant one on the eyes.
Always-On is kind of a double edged sword for me. One, it’s definitely going to take up extra battery from my daily usage. Second, even with the feature on, I still don’t see the need for the feature. I’d rather just keep the screen blank the entire time, and tap to see if I’ve missed anything. If the notification is really important, it would come up as a call, or vibrate at the least. It’s nice and all, but I just don’t see the practicality of it.
Maybe if Apple dialed it down even further to just the clock, date, and couple of notification icons, then it would make more sense as that method wouldn’t take up too much battery power.
As for the most talked about Dynamic Island, at the end of the day it’s still a notch, and still a large one at that. Of course, there are certain sensors that Apple has to place there for some features to work. I will admit it’s really smart of them to utilize it the way they did with the expanding and collapsing of apps and notifications into the island. There are even Android developers copying the idea over to the Google Play Store.
However, I still long for the day when Apple could truly innovate and remove the notch entirely. Under direct sunlight, the notch island is very visible and it doesn’t look very uniform with the rest of the aesthetics of the phone. I still applaud Apple for what they’ve done and how they’ve treated the notch. They’ve embraced it in ways no one could, and it’s still fun to see apps “retreating” to the Dynamic Island, or having a pet run around up there while you use the phone.
I’ve been using the iPhone 14 Pro Max for a couple of weeks as my daily driver, and overall I find it to be an outstanding phone.
Despite initial struggles, I got used to the large 6.7 inch screen, and it feels like a treat to use. Colours are vivid and punchy, and the screen feels buttery smooth. The iPhone 14 Pro Max has by far the brightest screen you can find in an iPhone (peak 2000 nits), and with it comes excellent legibility under direct sunlight. If you can accept the drawbacks of large screen sizes and change your habits to two-handed use, you will find an enjoyable experience here.
Moving on to the Dynamic Island, which is arguably the main feature of the iPhone 14 Pro Max. I find that my phone habits have changed after stepping up from the iPhone 13, having a quick access to apps like Spotify and call controls mirrors a lot of what Android phones had done, but in a much more comprehensive and polished manner.
While I have yet to test out the emergency features, as it is illegal to contact emergency services without an actual emergency. I appreciate the implementation of Crash Detection that can contact emergency services in case of a crash. I feel assured that in an event of such emergency (touch wood), the iPhone 14 Pro Max got my back in case I am incapacitated.
The iPhone 14 Pro Max comes with the latest Apple A16 Bionic chip, promising better performance an efficiency compared to the previous generation. Running multiple social media apps at once? No problem. Playing Genshin Impact at maxed settings? Piece of cake. Regardless if its multi-tasking, gaming or even light video editing, the iPhone 14 Pro Max can handle them without a hitch.
The iPhone 14 Pro Max has a triple camera array for the rear. The main camera is a brand new 48 megapixel unit with sensor-shift Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS). It also gains a 2X zoom option, allowing you to zoom in without much loss in image quality. By default, the output image is 12 megapixels, but once you enable Apple ProRaw, and set the resolution to 48MP in the settings, you can easily change between modes in the camera app.
The 12MP ultrawide camera is also upgraded to a faster aperture of f/1.9, and now comes with autofocus. Lastly, there is the 12MP telephoto zoom, with has an aperture of f/2.8 at 3X zoom.
Overall the image quality is excellent as with previous iPhones. Moreover, the new Photonic Engine in the A16 Bionic chip allows for much improved low light photos.
On the video front, there are two major upgrades: Action Mode and 4K ProRes. Action Mode is basically a form of EIS, where you turn it on in the Camera app to smooth out jerking and shaking motions, based on inputs from the gyro sensors. The features work great, and arguably is one of the best EIS in the market.
4K ProRes is limited to iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max with 256GB internal storage and above. The 128GB models are capped at 1080p HD video at 30FPS. The video quality is sharp without any signs of over-sharpening and distortion. It will please even the most demanding of videographers.
The iPhone 14 Pro Max has superb twin speakers, and are loud without sounding too distorted for the most part. Spatial audio sounds great considering how thin modern smartphones are. However, watching movies or gaming at its highest volume is where I noticed some tinniness and sibilance. Overall, impressive performance.
At the beginning, I struggled with battery life due to the Always On Display feature. I could barely get 10% remaining after a long day. Since I do not need to look at my screen all the time, turning Always On Display off greatly improved the battery life. I could easily get 40% remaining by the end of the day, with video watching and gaming during breaks and commute. With more regular use however, battery life easily lasts more than two days.
Charging the phone however is somewhat slow with 20W peak charging. After having tried faster chargers in the Android camp, I yearn for the day Apple would at bump the charging speed in the next iteration.
The iPhone 14 Pro Max is the best iPhone yet, that is without question. While the Always On Display and Dynamic Island could be a love / hate affair, the much improved camera and the brand new A16 Bionic chip takes the user experience to the next level.
The most important question to address would be, is the iPhone 14 Pro Max a substantial enough upgrade over the iPhone 13 Pro Max? Honestly that depends entirely on your needs and wants. If you do not need a new camera, and the Dynamic Island, the iPhone 13 Pro Max would suffice. To me however, the iPhone 14 Pro Max is a worthy upgrade, and is one of the best smartphones money can buy today.