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Intro

It’s shaping up to be quite a good year for Apple, as the iPhone 14-series is positioning itself to be another paradigm shift for the iPhone lineup. No longer do we have an iPhone mini; instead, Apple introduced a larger version of its regular iPhone, dubbed the iPhone 14 Plus. Yet, the crown jewels are the two different-sized flavors of essentially the same phone: the iPhone 14 Pro Max and the iPhone 14 Pro.

And this year, the two premium models have something more going for themselves in comparison with their more affordable contemporaries in the form of some new exclusive features and functionalities that aren’t found on the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus.

2022 also marks Apple’s first hardware differentiation between the more premium and affordable iPhones. Only the Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Pro are powered by the new A16 Bionic chipset, while the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus rely on last year’s A15 Bionic instead. There’s also a majorly redesigned notch in tow, with a software Dynamic Island around , as well as an always-on display functionality, and a new main 48MP camera system that holds the promise for much better phone photography.
Want to get the iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max with an epic deal? Well, Black Friday is now fast approaching, and deals are likely to be hot… just like those two phones! Don’t hesitate to check out our best Black Friday iPhone deals and our best Black Friday phone deals selections for the greatest deals when the sales begin.

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Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Pro in a nutshell:

  • 6.7-inch 120Hz OLED (iPhone 14 Pro Max) vs 6.1-inch 120Hz OLED (iPhone 14 Pro)
  • Larger battery that lasts longer (iPhone 14 Pro Max)
  • More compact design (iPhone 14 Pro)

Table of Contents:

Design and Display Quality

Size matters, really

The only really major difference between the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max is the size of the two phones. No, really, the only differences that actually matter all stem from the different size. If you need the more compact size of the iPhone 14 Pro, you will have to sacrifice display and battery life, while splurging on the best new iPhone means having to get used to its larger stature—and it also costs more. The iPhone 14 Pro Max is pushing the limits of manageable due to its large size, while the iPhone 14 Pro is hitting that sweet spot for most people.

Now if we look past the size differences, we’d see that the two phones are essentially similar in terms of design. Both follow the iPhone 12 design language that re-introduced flat frames to the iPhone, and now in its third iteration, this design is expected to shine the most. With stainless steel frame and Ceramic Shield glass, the two new iPhones are just as durable as before.

The big difference here is that Apple’s super-premium phones introduce a new, i-shaped punch-hole that substitutes the now-standard iPhone notch. This achieves a more futuristic look for the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max and introduces something called Dynamic Island. This is basically Apple accepting the punch-hole and trying to fit it within the iOS ecosystem. Dynamic Island shows you context-aware alerts, notifications, and ongoing activities, like music playback, incoming calls or AirDrops, and so on by dynamically scaling the area around the punch-holes. 

When it comes to colors, the new iPhones comes in Space Black, Silver, Gold, and Deep Purple. The Pacific Blue color of the iPhone 12 and Sierra Blue found on the 13 Pro-series are the notable omissions here, but rest assured Apple will most likely refresh the color lineup in early 2023. 

Judging from previous years, Apple tends to add a new color to its latest iPhones a couple months afterwards. We got Alpine Green for the iPhone 13 Pro-series earlier in 2022, so here’s to hoping Apple would add another green or blue color to the upcoming lineup in early 2023.

As we said earlier, the main difference between the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max would be their size, and respectively, screen real estate. The iPhone 14 Pro Max features a 6.7-inch display, similar to its predecessors, while the iPhone 14 Pro still relies on the tried and tested 6.1-inch screen that should be just fine in terms of size for most folk.

Both displays use 1-120Hz Super Retina XDR ProMotion screens, bringing superb contrast, color reproduction, and smooth motion. Brightness-wise, the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max have the brightest displays on an iPhone, capable of hitting up to 2,000 nits in bright daylight conditions, but up to 1,000 nits when manually adjusting that brightness slider. 

From a display standpoint, you will be hard pressed to find better-looking displays elsewhere. Not only can these get super-bright or extra-dim, not only have they the 1-120Hz refresh rate spread, but they also have exceptional color reproduction with deep, vivid colors and awesome contrast and excellent viewing angles.
And the Dynamic Island punch hole is really something else, especially compared with the traditional notch that is still be used on the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus. Thanks to the new look, the punch-hole has scored new functionalities while still facilitating the front camera as well as the Face ID modules. The proximity sensor has been placed underneath the display, which is likely a sign of the things to come. It’s used throughout the interface to house various ongoing notifications, like countdown timers, music playback album art, the Face ID unlock animation, and more. While it’s true that you can make out the Face ID module and front camera when looking at the display under bright light, it’s no biggie. 

Another interesting new feature on both the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max is the Always-On display functionality, which makes good use of the slow 1Hz refresh rate. True to its name, the Always-On display keeps the lock screen dimly lit at all times, showcasing your beautiful wallpaper, clock, and lock screen widgets, which are all customizable thanks to iOS 16. 

Apple already does this functionality on the Apple Watch and it made sense to finally have it on the iPhone. While Cupertino says that the always-on display shouldn’t use too much power, turning it off will certainly help you eke out some extra juice out of the battery. 

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Performance and Software

Hello there, A16 Bionic, you’re a bold one!

The top-of-the-line iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max come with the A16 Bionic chipset. Manufactured on a 4nm node, it relies on the tried-and-tested six-core layout consisting of two performance and four efficiency cores. In terms of memory, there’s 6GB of LPDDR5 RAM on both devices, which should be giving some performance edge over the regular LPDDR4X on the regular iPhone 14.The iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max start at 128GB and also come in 256GB, 512GB, and even a full 1TB of storage.

Benchmark results:

You’ll be hard-pressed to find faster and better-performing phones right now. The Apple A15 provides exceptional raw power that is tightly reined in by the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max with efficiency in mind. No lag, no second thoughts, just instantaneous action whatever task you throw at either of them. 

When it comes to software updates, iPhones are famous for their five- to six-year software update policy. Having this in mind means that both the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max will certainly be up-to-date until 2027 or 2028, which is the best the mobile industry currently has to offer.

Both phones have 5G support, but the more intriguing novelty here is the all-new emergency satellite connectivity, a feature that is yet to go live in the US and Canada first. Thanks to it, iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max will be able to link up with satellites in orbit and send short rudimentary text messages to emergency services or relatives. Basic Find My functionality will also be available, even with no cellular support in sight. 

Camera

There’s no replacement for displacement

Apple is planning a substantial camera paradigm shift that was kickstarted by the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. Cupertino has opted for a larger new camera sensor, a massive 1/1.3-inch 48MP one, which uses pixel-binning to blend four pixels into one and eventually deliver 12MP photographs, as it does now, but with enhanced dynamic range and light sensitivity in low-light conditions. ProRAW lets you take full 48MP images, but make sure to take these with good lighting. Yep, gone is the 12MP sensor of old that was used across multiple iPhone generations, of course with substantial updates. However, as the saying goes, “there’s no replacement for displacement”, and the 48MP new sensor opens up a whole trove of potential upgrade paths for future iPhones down the line. 

But how do the new iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max fare? Well, in terms of overall quality, there aren’t any differences between the two phones, and even in comparison with the previous iPhone 13 generation, you might struggle to find any significant differences in image quality. 

The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max arrived with the same triple camera system: the 48MP wide-angle camera is joined by a 12MP ultra-wide and a 3X 12MP telephoto lens in order to achieve maximum versatility. There’s a new 2X shooting mode, however, which crops the 48MP sensor and achieves a much more usable portrait zoom range in comparison with the longer 3X one. There are improvements to the FaceTime selfie camera, which now has autofocus and a wider, f/1.9 aperture. 

There are many other camera improvements coming with the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, like an adaptive True Tone flash, improved computational photography features like Night mode, Smart HDR 4, improved Portrait mode with Portrait Lighting, Photographic Styles, and much more. 

Even though the two new iPhones come with 48MP sensors, there’s no sight of 8K video recording, which is good news, as it has allowed Apple to focus on the existing video-shooting capabilities of the two iPhones. There’s a new Action mode for smooth video that accommodates shakes, jitters, and strong vibrations, as well as Cinematic mode now being available in 4K@30fps and 4K@24fps, which honestly looks breathtaking.

Battery Life and Charging

Same size, but more efficient
Apple has kept batteries mostly in the same ballpark as the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max as far as capacity is concerned. Paired with the new chip and more efficient display, this should be hitting all the necessary boxes to ensure that the latest and greatest iPhones don’t embarrass themselves in comparison with their older peers. 

Officially, Apple says the iPhone 14 Pro lasts up to 23 hours in video playback, up to 20 hours in streamed video playback, and up to 75 hours in audio playback mode, while the iPhone 14 Pro Max scores up to 29 hours in video playback, up to 25 hours in streamed video playback, and up to 95 hours in audio playback. That’s mostly similar to the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max in terms of battery life.

Our own tests, which involve automated web surfing, 3D gaming, and video playback over a Wi-Fi network at 200 nits of pre-set screen brightness on both devices, the top-end iPhone dup delivered the following results:

PhoneArena Battery Test Results:

Charging-wise, Apple equipped the Phone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max with 20W wired charging, as was the case with the iPhone 13 Pro Max and iPhone 13, respectively. Both feature 15W MagSafe wireless charging, but neither phone will have USB Type-C in 2022. However, next year’s iPhone crop will almost certainly make the change over to the USB standard due to legislation.

Specs Comparison

And here’s how the specs of the iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Pro mostly differ. You can also check out our iPhone 14 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Pro dedicated specs comparison.

As seen in the table above, the differences are mostly found in the size, display, and battery departments. 

Summary and Final Verdict

So, which should you get, the iPhone 14 Pro Max or the iPhone 14 Pro?

It all boils down to your size preferences and how large are you willing to go. If you’re gunning for the Pro-series themselves, you already know you’re in for the best of the best, so the differences between the two phones, aside from their size, are just a few key ones.

If you want the best possible battery life and the most screen real estate, the the iPhone 14 Pro Max should be your top pick. Honestly speaking, you are unlikely to get disappointed, provided that you can handle its extra size and weight. The price should also be of consideration – the Pro Max version is always more expensive by at least $100. This year, that would mean you could have to pay $1,199 for the entry-level iPhone 14 Pro Max, which could be a tough nut to swallow.

Meanwhile, if you don’t really need the larger battery and display and would gladly rather have a more compact phone, it’s hard to stay away from the much more sensible iPhone 14 Pro. The reality of the situation is that you’re unlikely to miss on anything with the smaller phone: after all, it has all the new features that the Pro Max boasts, but in a more manageable size, thank you very much. And, as an added bonus, it is a bit more affordable.

Regardless of which one you pick, you will have the best iPhone Apple has in its portfolio… until next year at least, but rest assured each of those will happily serve you for years to come.

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