iPhone 14 Pro Max

The iPhone 14 Pro Max deserves its epithet more than ever. It comes with a lot of everything: power, ergonomic finds, progress in photography, and, alas, euros to pay.

THE OPINION OF MACBOUND.COM

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max

MOST

  • + The design
  • + The always-on giant screen and the Dynamic Island
  • + The 48 Mpixel sensor
  • + Incredible battery life

THE LESSERS

  • – The always-on screen can be improved
  • – The photo partition which still needs to improve
  • – The price

For the third year in a row, the iPhones are back with the same design, and we won’t complain as this tribute to the iPhone 4, 4S and later is visually pleasing and pleasant to hold in our hands on a daily basis.

The steel strapping ensures undeniable solidity and has very comfortable straight edges, which provide a good grip, even with a model as large as the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Just like last year and the year before, if you don’t have basketball hands, you’ll have to use it with two hands. That’s the price to pay for a screen of this size, it seems.

Moreover, on the question of size, those who like millimeter precision, know that Apple has very slightly shortened its giant phone (0.1 mm), and reduced its width… by half a millimeter. 

On the other hand, it gains a little in thickness (two-tenths of a millimeter…) and harvests six grams in its transformation. No vast change then, but at 246g it’s a beautiful baby! It is still 23.3% heavier than the high-end smartphones we have tested in recent months.

The front panel still entrusts its integrity to the Ceramic Shield, while the back relies on reinforced glass… All this – and a few seals placed during assembly – still allows it to be stamped IP68. That is to say, your iPhone 14 Pro Max should survive if it falls into the water and comes out of it fast enough – it’s not an underwater camera by any means.

 On the left, the iPhone 13 Pro Max, on the right, the 14 Pro Max

On the left, is the iPhone 13 Pro Max, and on the right, the 14 Pro Max

Externally, at first glance, the iPhone 14 Pro Max does not change anything… And there are other points that remain unchanged. It is thus still 5G compatible, and ignores Wi-Fi 6E, which would bring it an additional frequency band and is already present in Samsung phones since the Galaxy S21… – perhaps Apple is waiting for the relatively soon arrival of Wi-Fi 7 to frankly take the plunge.

Moreover, in France, unlike the American models, it always uses a SIM card… The American market, which is more advanced in the use of virtual SIMs, was ready. Perhaps also because it is shaped more by Apple, which occupies an important place in the world of smartphones, with a 56.7% market share last August.

Among what does not change, there is also the Lightning port, probably for its last year. It’s a bit of his last stand before the switch to USB-C, which seems inevitable. Unless Apple heads towards MagSafe and entrusts the recharging of our future iPhones to Qi wireless technology – which would be a kind of ecological heresy given its energy efficiency.

Exceptional Screen

If nothing seems to change at first glance, it’s a false first impression. As soon as you turn on the iPhone’s 6.7-inch OLED Super Retina XDR screen, you immediately notice a difference. Something has changed on the screen. 

The notch has bowed out and it is now always lit – always on, in English. Two late developments, since we have already seen these functions with competitors for a while, but two new features that are Apple-style.

If the notch were a peninsula, an advance in the display, the transition to perforations in the screen would take the place of an archipelago… But Apple decided to play with its ergonomic and technological know-how, in hardware and software integration. 

The constraint that is this “dead” zone at the top of the screen is transformed into an asset, a Dynamic Island, an island, which not only becomes an area that enriches the usual display but will also make usage more fluid.

The Dynamic Island of the iPhone 14 Pro Max
The Dynamic Island of the iPhone 14 Pro Max

Indeed, it will be able to host up to two applications that run in the background. They will appear there in the form of small colored capsules. A quick tap will open the app in question again, while a long press will open a kind of “mini-player”, a compact interface.

It will allow you, depending on the program, to keep an eye on a countdown and control it, to play a song, to know when to turn during your journey in Maps, or even simply to receive a call without the site Web you are viewing is too obscure. 

Basically, all Apple applications that run in the background are compatible. However, we still wonder why the iPhone’s stopwatch cannot be housed in the Dynamic Island when the timercan… Weird.

The Dynamic Island, when you activate the “mini-player.”
The Dynamic Island, when you activate the “mini-player.”

But Apple apps aren’t the only ones. So right now, even before developers have to modify their applications, all those that are compatible with Callkit APIs, such as WhatsApp, Skype or Instagram, or NowPlaying, for example. Amazon Music, Spotify, YouTube Music, or Soundcloud can also be housed in this area of ​​the screen. 

Note, a very “apple-like” detail, that the color of the interface adapts to that of the cover of the album being played…

On a daily basis, this Dynamic island is not a revolution in use, but it brings a real gain in fluidity in addition to side-swiping to quickly switch from one application to another. We save time, and above all a form of readability. 

We always have the apps in progress that matter the most. If this “dynamic island” can only contain two applications, Apple has apparently found a way to always be the ones that most need to be there. For example, a route in Maps will chase the timer.

Always There And Active

It is also interesting to note that this Dynamic Island is not isolated. The applications that frolic within it are also those that we now find active on the locked and always active screen of the iPhone. And this is the second novelty that is obvious.

Last year, Apple introduced its ProMotion technology in the iPhone 13 Pro, which adapts the refresh rate from 10 to 120 Hz, depending on the content displayed – 10 Hz for a stationary web page, and 120 Hz for a game, for example. example. 

This year, while maintaining this range of display frequencies, Tim Cook’s teams have added a new possibility: a 1 Hz display and a brightness set to 500 cd/m2. It is these two settings that allow the OLED panel to be always lit, without the risk of burning the screen, a priori.

However, where the many iPhone competitors who have already taken the always-on step have generally chosen to display only a few pieces of information – such as the time and a few notifications – Apple has “simply” opted to keep the display as is. locked screen and what’s on it. 

We, therefore, find the time, notifications, widgets, and applications running in the background. Without of course forgetting the wallpaper you have chosen. In short, everything that iOS 16 allows for customization remains visible, even if for more readability, the time will be displayed above the face of your other half or your child and not behind when the screen is in always mode. -on .

To be honest, the effect is quite surprising, and will probably take some getting used to. We often initially have the impression of having forgotten to turn off our smartphone – and the eye is regularly caught when working with the iPhone placed next to us. 

The iOS settings allow you to deactivate the always-on screen, but we must say that we would have liked to have a little more control over what is displayed there. Maybe it will be in a future version of iOS.

The iPhone 14 Pro Max has an always-on screen
The iPhone 14 Pro Max has an always-on screen

Anyway, to allow the management of these two novelties, Apple has developed a new in-house display controller – which is reminiscent of the chips developed especially for the first Ultra HD iMacs.

But these two essential innovations should not overshadow the rest. Apple integrates into its iPhone 14 Pro – and in the Pro Max, in this case, a new Super Retina XDR panel, which benefits from a (very) slightly enlarged definition compared to that of the iPhone 13 Pro Max: 2 796 x 1290 pixels, compared to 2778 x 1284 pixels.

Since OLED gives it infinite contrast (given 1:2,000,000 by Apple), let’s talk about brightness. This slab has it all. It is even 26.5% brighter than those of high-end smartphones, tested by 01Lab over the past twelve months, with 1038 cd/m2 (or nits) in constant brightness – for 1000 cd/m2 announced by Apple.

For HDR content, we also recorded a light peak of 1,500 cd/m2 – close to the 1,600 promised by Apple. Two great performances, knowing that the panel can be even brighter outdoors, with peaks announced at 2,000 cd/m2.

To manage this last point, Apple has added an ambient light sensor to the back of the iPhone 14 Pro Max, in the optical unit, which assists the main sensor on the front, housed in the Dynamic Island . This adjusts the screen when the background you’re holding your iPhone against is very bright – whether it’s a sunny building facade or a summer beach.

Finally, to close this part on the screen, let’s salute its colorimetric fidelity. Once again the iPhone excels in this area. With its Delta E 2000 (DCI-P3) of 2.87 (its RGB equivalent is around 1.5), it is 35.7% fairer than the average of the high-end smartphone panels we tested in course of the last twelve months.

A16 Bionic: Where To Count More Power?

Like every year, Apple introduces an Apple Silicon chip with its new iPhones. This year, the A16 Bionic has the honor of inaugurating 4nm etching for the Apple SoC family, which allows it to embed more transistors, align more power, and, in theory, reduce its electricity consumption as well.

During its keynote, Apple announced a 10% gain in CPU performance compared to the A15 Bionic. We were able to verify with a synthetic test tool like Geekbench 5. The progress in the single core is around 10% and around 8.6% in multi-core in the case of the iPhone 14 Pro Max. For the GPU part, the gains hover above 9%, again according to Geekbench.

This tool also gives the iPhone 14 Pro Max results far superior to those obtained by the eternal competitors such as the Galaxy S22+ and Ultra or other Android smartphones which have in common being equipped with the latest generation of Qualcomm chip, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1.

The iPhone is thus given to be between 12.6 and 41% more efficient in multicore than Android smartphones. The smallest difference is recorded with the Zenfone 9, from Asus, and the largest with the Xiaomi 12 Pro.

For the Compute part, the deal gets tougher for Android smartphones, with more marked domination, according to Geekbench 5. The iPhone 14 Pro Max would be up to 2.7 times more efficient than the Adreno 730 of the Xiaomi 12 Pro, and 1.7 times faster than the Samsung Xclipse 920…

However, these results need to be put into perspective. Because, if Geekbench is a recognized multi-platform tool, another software, historically more oriented towards Android, provides a counterpoint to these differences in potential. 

Thus, with the latest version of AnTuTu, the iPhone 14 Pro Max is at the top of the basket… but only on par with Android smartphones. It even gives them ground for the most successful. This is particularly the case with the Zenfone 9… or the Xiaomi 12 Pro.

It is surprising to note the discrepancies in the results of these two benchmarking tools. There have been times in the past that it needs an AnTuTu update to see the new iPhones well supported. However, for the time being, the A16 Bionic, any power monster it may be, does not crush the competition according to this tool.

HDR screen of the iPhone 14 Pro adapts to both videos and video games
HDR screen of the iPhone 14 Pro adapts to both videos and video games

A Little Heating and Throttling

As it should be, we also wanted to check how this new chip behaves when asked for a sustained and long effort. In other words, does the A16 Bionic heat up a lot, and must it, therefore, reduce the sail area and its performance so as not to boil?

For this, we ran 3Dmark Wild Life and its extreme stress test. In this case, it is a question of executing heavy and demanding graphic renderings in a loop for a good twenty minutes. Several things emerge from this.

The first is that the 14 Pro Max seems to suffer more than its brothers and its elders from heating. Its results are thus worse than those of the 14 Pro – we will come back to this in our other tests of the iPhone 14.

The second is that if it does better than the 13 Pro Max in terms of performance for its best rendering loops, its worst loop is on the other hand at the level of that equivalent of the 13 Pro Max.

The third remark, a consequence of the second, is that the stability rate allocated to the iPhone 14 Pro Max by this tool is much worse than that of the 13 Pro Max last year. 

We obviously carried out these tests on several occasions, with and without a shell and with ambient temperatures ranging from around thirty degrees to around twenty. Each time, the results were identical or very close.

We have also been able to observe this tendency to throttle with a benching tool like GFXBench Metal. The result obtained with the most demanding benchmark (4K Aztec Ruins High Tier Offscreen) fluctuates enormously when running it alone or following other tests. We thus go from 21.1 images per second to only 16.7…

In other words, the performance obtained is better when the chip has not had time to heat up before.

But, ultimately, as we have had the opportunity to say for several years, this race for raw power no longer makes much sense. There is enough and an overabundance of them to satisfy all everyday uses, even the most demanding, which are games, of course, but also 4K video editing.

This probably explains why, like last year already, the Cupertino giant seems to put less emphasis on the “classic” performance of its chip (CPU and GPU side) and more on the gains of the neural engine part, which is splint to the execution of tasks based on machine learning.

To assess this progress, we called on Geekbench ML, a tool dedicated to this kind of measurement. We thus note that depending on what is mobilized to carry out these calculations (CPU/GPU or neural network), we record a gain ranging from a little more than 6 to almost 18%. The central processor offers the lowest progress, the GPU shows 10.5% more performance, while the Core ML part, which solicits the 16-core neural network on board the A16 Bionic, provides the bulk of the advance.

This means that Apple, which is betting more and more on adding machine learning-powered functions in its applications and those of third-party developers, brings the resources to do more and better in terms of facial recognition, detection objects, applying effects, etc. 

The ability to automatically clip an object or person in a photo to make a sticker is one manifestation of this kind of tool and is coming to iPhones with iOS 16.

But the neural network, largely supported by a new image processing processor, is also called upon to ensure the proper execution of the photographic and video novelties announced by Apple for its iPhone 14 Pro. That’s good, let’s get to the picture.

iPhone 14 Pro still only have three camera modules, but offer four “fixed” focal lengths
iPhone 14 Pro still only has three camera modules but offers four “fixed” focal lengths

Photos: Great Progress

If Apple continues to offer only three rear photo modules, the iPhone 14 generation, and more particularly the Pro models, is (finally) making a great leap forward. There is of course the new ISP, the processor dedicated to the image, but we must also turn to the A16 Bionic and also to the 50% more memory bandwidth. 

These points are the material basis of this change. A base that will serve the big novelty: a 48 Mpixel sensor, finally! With its 1.22 micrometer pixels, it has slaved to the main camera module. The wide angle, therefore, abandons its historic 12 Mpixels and changes focal length, going from a 26 mm equivalent to a 24 mm equivalent. 

If the pixels are a bit smaller than last year’s 12MP sensor (1.22 micrometers versus 1.9 micrometers) it doesn’t matter, because Apple can finally, like the majority of its high-end competitors, combine several pixels (four in this case) to form one. 

Each shot is thus composed of more information and is lighter. This should immediately have two consequences: shots with more detail and better sharpness, and better low-light management.

The ultra wide-angle (eq. 13 mm – x0.5).
The ultra wide-angle (eq. 13 mm – x0.5).
The wide-angle (eq. 24 mm – x1) benefits from a 48 Mpixel sensor..
The wide-angle (eq. 24 mm – x1) benefits from a 48 Mpixel sensor.
The telephoto lens (eq. 48 mm – x2) uses the main 48 Mpixel sensor.
The telephoto lens (eq. 48 mm – x2) uses the main 48 Mpixel sensors.
The telephoto lens (eq. 77 mm – x3) is in-between, and should offer more zoom power.
The telephoto lens (eq. 77 mm – x3) is in-between and should offer more zoom power.

A Fourth Focal Length

This new sensor also enables a little trick, which on paper was one of the most enticing advancements. Our use over the past few days has confirmed this to us. Thus, without adding additional optics, Apple offers a fourth focal length – there are therefore four “zoom” options: x0.5, x1, x2, and x3. 

How? By framing on the center of the 48 Mpixel sensors, in order to obtain 12 Mpixels in full resolution. Understand that there is no loss of quality from digital zoom. In addition to the ultra-wide-angle (13 mm equivalent), wide-angle (24 mm), and telephoto (in 77 mm), we, therefore, end up almost with a 50 mm equivalent (48 mm equivalent to being precise), which is probably the most interesting focal length for taking beautiful portraits. The results are all the more pleasing as, in 24 or 48 mm equivalent,

Three optics, always. But there is change inside
Three optics, always. But there is a change inside

In short, the arrival of a 48 mm is an opportunity to correct the very frustrating evolution of the focal length of the telephoto lens last year. Apple had thus gone from a 65 equivalent to a 77 mm, whose focal length seemed a bit bastard to us. 

It zooms too much for a portrait, and while it is very easy to approach in this kind of case, while not offer sufficient magnification for a real zoom.

This year again, the same punishment, the telephoto lens is a little soft and does not really capture a building detail at a long distance. But for portraits, things are progressing. One request remains: please, Apple, give us a real telephoto lens, which will save us the temptation of digital zoom, which is never a success, even in bright light, especially when we want to make a print of it.

That said, we will not go too much into the detail of the photo part. Our in-house specialist will look, like every year, at the iPhone 14 Pro Max to say all the good and all the bad things he thinks about it. We trust him, in particular, to enlighten you on the advantages of the ProRAW format…

The fact remains that, indeed, we have been able to observe progress. They are particularly striking when you count on the new 48 Mpixel sensor, that’s for sure, but Apple’s Photonic engine, which is based on the computational photography technologies introduced so far (Deep Fusion, in particular) and which takes care of the processing of images before compression now makes it possible to score better on other focal lengths.

We gain in details and textures in the photos. Thus, in bright light, we can better see the graininess of a surface or more details in the hair of a subject. The watercolor effect that has been criticized for iPhones for several generations when you zoom in a little on an image is much less obvious. We are not yet at the level of the best smartphones in photography, but progress is notable.

In night photography, when night comes or has fallen, shooting is faster, the autofocus pedals a little less and the results are more convincing. Above all, we find that the colors are faithful to reality and that the light sources give less of the impression of being a slightly runny or blurry halo.

Likewise, the contours are sharper, delimiting the surfaces in a better cut and frank way.

The iPhone 14 Pro Max produces more detailed night shots and more detailed light areas than what the iPhone 13 Pro Max offered
The iPhone 14 Pro Max produces more detailed night shots and more detailed light areas than what the iPhone 13 Pro Max offered

Day or night, complex surfaces, such as foliage, still show limits and lack detail when zooming, but volumes and light effects are more realistic. Lighting variations are also more gradual, whether on trees or in cloudy skies.

The video part, which has always been a strong point of iPhones, also benefits from this partial renewal, of hardware, and software. We were thus able to see a little more fluidity when we zoom in and therefore move from one module to another. 

Stabilization is still just as impeccable, and the Action mode should delight those who like to run alongside a cyclist, whether on the Tour de France or in a side street to immortalize the first pedal strokes without the small wheels.

Finally, for those who like to try their hand at the cinema, the Cinematic mode can now film in 4K (30 fps). Moreover, it seemed to us that the contouring of faces and objects was more precise, even if the algorithm is still deceived by the transparent surfaces which are in the field.

Autonomy, The New King Of Smartphones

When this test was first published, on September 14, at 3 p.m., to be precise, we told you that our autonomy tests were still in progress and that they tended to be longer and longer, both the smartphones tend to be more and more enduring.

And in fact, our autonomy tests of the iPhone 14 Pro Max have just ended within the 01Lab. It must be said that the results obtained are quite incredible and that to avoid any error we preferred to run them several times to be sure of ourselves.

Last year, the 13 Pro Max, with a 4,352 mAh battery, reached new heights. He thus obtained 25h27 in versatile autonomy and was second in our ranking only ahead of an improbable Oukitel smartphone. In autonomy in video streaming, with its 23:43, it was still in the first position a year later.

Suffice it to say that the iPhone 14 Pro Max was eagerly awaited, with the fear that its slightly smaller battery would play tricks on it. It displays 4,323 mAh, and we can therefore legitimately wonder if the switch to 4 nm engraving will make the difference and allow the new large format iPhone to consume less.

In all likelihood, Apple made the right choice. According to our tests, repeated several times, therefore, the iPhone 14 Pro Max benefits from a versatile autonomy of 27:21, or one hour and fifty-four minutes more than its direct elder. 

On the other hand, in video autonomy, it marks a little time and does less well than the 13 Pro Max, with “only” 22:58, or 45 minutes less. The top of our overall smartphone ranking is therefore occupied by the iPhone 13 Pro Max in video streaming and the iPhone 14 Pro Max in second place. The two smartphones reverse their position in versatility.

That should leave you with enough to see the day coming, or even two full days if you don’t abuse the GPS and the always-on screen too much. Note also that the iPhone 14 Pro Max charges a little faster than the 13 Pro Max. With nine minutes less, it goes from 0 to 100% battery in 1h40. 

It is certainly extremely far from the records of the Chinese giants whose smartphones fill up in less than half an hour, but with such autonomy, the issue of fast charging is less central.

The Painful

Finally, even before the verdict, we must address the issue of the cost of new Apple smartphones. Especially when we talk about the most expensive model. We will not redo the list of tariffs practiced in the United States and throughout the world, because in the end, only reality counts. 

We winced when the iPhone had crossed the 1,000 euro mark, this generation crossed that of 2,000 euros, not on the basic models, of course.

We will therefore recall the increase in prices charged for equal storage capacity between the iPhone 13 Pro Max and 14 Pro Max. You will have to pay between 220 and 290 euros more to acquire the largest and most powerful iPhone 14.

To go to the shortest, a question arises: is it worth its price? We have listed all the positive and negative points throughout our test. So it’s up to you to see which way the balance tilts. We are going to answer a variation of this question instead, but first, we must first point out that this offer is unique – for its qualities, of course, but also and above all because it is based on a very closely controlled basis. not to say locked. To take advantage of these functions and iOS, and aim for the best and the biggest, there is no other option. Moreover, Apple was not mistaken in leaving only the iPhone 13 and 13 mini in its catalog. For high-end, it is necessarily a 14 Pro.

Therefore the question is rather to know when it is worth its price. In other words, if you are already in this ecosystem from which model to break your piggy bank valid?

If you’re a normal smartphone user, meaning you don’t live for photos and video, we’d say you can take the plunge, if your means allow, without thinking too much if you have an iPhone XS. Max and older.

If you have an iPhone 11 Pro Max, everything will depend on the importance you give to photography and also on the state of your battery. In this case, the gains in performance, autonomy (already, without the tests being completed), and in visual comfort will be significant.

On the other hand, if you have a more recent iPhone: 12 Pro Max or 13 Pro Max, it seems to us that your device will still be able to give you satisfaction for some time. And then, you will have the pleasure of having made a gesture for the planet…

Finally, and all of this obviously still depends on your usage, but the 256 GB model should ensure you enough long-term comfort so you don’t have to juggle too much with your files – avoid the 128 GB model unless you’re an ascetic. apps and content. 

Obviously, if you are a pro at installing applications in series – without ever cleaning up – and you regularly film your life in 4K, you will have to think bigger.

Similarly, if you have been an Apple loyalist for a long time, walk around with your unbeatable application history and have a beautiful photo library, even synchronized in the Cloud, then you will have to turn to the 512 GB model for more peace of mind. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max Technical Sheet

System
iOS 16
ProcessorApple A16 Bionic
Size (diagonal)6.7″
Screen resolution460 dpi

MOST

  • + The design
  • + The always-on giant screen and the Dynamic Island
  • + The 48 Mpixel sensor
  • + Incredible battery life

THE LESSERS

  • – The always-on screen can be improved
  • – The photo partition which still needs to improve
  • – The price

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max Verdict

Until our battery life measurements pass, we won’t rate the iPhone, and this verdict is temporary. This point is indeed essential. However, the iPhone 14 Pro Max is a great vintage. It combines the tried and tested pleasing design with an improved, always-on panel, and a pretty awesome ergonomic find, the Dynamic Island. 

The A16 Bionic chip heats up a bit, but still provides enough power for everyday use, even for games and even for the most demanding “pro” applications. This SoC is also accompanied by a leap forward in photography which, if it does not put Apple at the level of the best, ensures real progress.

In short, if the autonomy is good, the iPhone 14 Pro Max could become a new benchmark in high-end smartphones. A top-of-the-range which, however, has more and more racing airs at astronomical prices.

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Abram left his e-business studies to devote himself to his entrepreneurial projects. In 2017, he created the company Inbound Media and wrote articles about high-tech products for his Chromebookeur site. In 2019, Chromebookeur was renamed Macbound and became a general purchasing advice site. Today, Abram manages the development and growth of Macbound, surrounded by a young and talented team.

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