Whether you’re looking to upgrade or not, the Apple smartphone flagship is something that every technophile looks forward to, year after year. With last year’s Dynamic Island (introduced on the iPhone 14 Pro lineup) still fresh in consumer’s minds, this year’s Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max has a couple of more improvements baked in. Here’s a detailed experience of the Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max and what makes it juice enough to bite into!
Minimal, classy aesthetics has always been Apple’s forte, and it has raised the bar higher by incorporating Titanium on the sides of the new iPhone 15 Pro Max. I love the 6.7-inch form factor - the more screen space the more immersed I can happily detach from the real world! The placement and design of the camera module has pretty much remained unchanged since iPhone 12 series, so there’s nothing to see there. I don’t have the heart to do what ‘Jerry Rig Everything’ does on YouTube with the latest model - where the back panel cracks as he tries to bend the smartphone. So, I’m not going to comment on how durable and crack-proof the rear panel is. As of now, it feels like if I’m not putting the smartphone through physical stress it continues to be a sturdy-enough companion.
Out with Lightning and in with USB-C is probably the second most significant change on the body of the smartphone. Not only does this enable the use of more commonly used chargers worldwide, but also makes it easy to hook up a variety of accessories directly to the iPhone. While this has been a welcome, and long-awaited shift, I have to admit it took me some time to get used to it. Once low on charge my instinct is still to go around my house looking for the Lightning cable only to remember 5 minutes later that I no longer need it. What a relief!
Thirdly, there’s a whole new dedicated Action button - an upgraded version of the ring/silent toggle button. Sitting above the volume rocker on the left bezel, the Action button has expanded capabilities that include being used to open the camera, record a voice memo, open the magnifier or turn the flashlight on, trigger an accessibility feature or map a shortcut to a wholly different function. I mapped it to Shazam so I could quickly identify music because usually by the time I open my phone on the move, and tap on Shazam, the music usually has faded out. The shortcut options are also quite endless including but not limited to opening books, accessing the clock, scanning codes, playing music, making calls and so on. The only hitch is that only one function can be mapped to the button at a time, officially. There are third party apps which let you customise it to access multiple apps and functions through the hardware button.
If you’ve seen the movie Fursat, shot entirely last year on the iPhone 14 Pro, you know that Apple is basically pitching the Pro lineup as a modern-day tool for not just photography but also film-making. The camera setup includes a 48 MP main camera, a 12 MP ultra-wide camera and a 12 MP telephoto lens. As expected, there are a bunch of meaningful updates for pro-level users. However, let’s first look at aspects of mobile photography for the common consumer that have been upgraded. To begin with, there’s 5x optical zoom capability on the telephoto lens. The photos I’ve taken zoomed in manage to retain the in-frame details quite impressively. The Night mode feature has also been enhanced for better low-light photography, and while I didn’t exactly have any complaints of the predecessor, this too delivers crisp results in low-light, with minimal noise. The camera now also shoots 24 MP photos, instead of 12 MP. Those who enjoy more granular control over their stills can choose between three different focal lengths - 24 mm, 28 mm or 35mm. Although you can still manually switch between regular Photo and Portrait mode, there’s no need to as the camera now detects portraits automatically. As a result, you can choose to have the background blur during post–processing even if you’ve captured someone in the regular mode.
The iPhone 15 Pro Max ships with the latest A17 Pro chip, which is said to deliver better ray tracing which renders the environments in mobile gaming in an even more realistic way. The review unit I’m using has 1 TB storage space and runs on iOS 17 which was unveiled earlier this year. The battery seems to have been upgraded to deliver “up to 29 hours of video playback” according to Apple. In my usage, with music streaming, casual gaming, snapping pictures, the iPhone 15 Pro Max kept me company over one and a half days easily before I truly needed to plug it in. There was a FineWoven Wallet sent along with the device which notifies users of the last known location where the wallet was separated from the iPhone.
The Pro Max each year pushes the limits of smartphone innovation. The iPhone 15 Pro Max is no different. If money was no object, most people would agree this flagship was easily one of the best smartphones to go for. With a brilliant display, a stellar set of cameras, improved zoom, a meaningful Action button and adapting the universal USB-C standard all work in favour of this smartphone. Its prohibitively expensive price tag and slow charging speeds - compared not only to other flagships but also mid-range smartphones - are something that consumers might shy away from.