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HometechnologygadgetsApple iPhone 15 Pro Max review: Top-notch performer

Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max review: Top-notch performer

Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max (1 TB)★★★★☆4.8/5Pros:

Ultra premium build quality | Powerful silicon | Battery life is excellent | Exceptionally good display | Remarkable Camera |

Cons:

With a powerful A17 Pro chipset, its sad that the iPhone don't support Magic Eraser like feature on Pixel phones

Specifications:

6.7-inch Super Retina XDR Display with True Tone technology | 2,000 nits peak brightness| ProMotion technology with adaptive refresh rates up to 120Hz refresh rate |Type-C USB | Dynamic Island display design | Titanium case with textured matte glass back |IP68 rating | Action Buton replaces | 3nm class Apple A17 Pro silicon | Can deliver up to 29 hours video playback capability | 48MP (main) + 12MP Ultra Wide + 12MP Telephoto with 5X optical Zoom | 12MP TrueDepth Camera with FaceID | 256GB/512GB/1TB storages

Apple’s latest iPhone 15, 15 Pro series made its way to the stores in late September. They come with incremental upgrades over the predecessors.

Are you planning to buy a new iPhone series? read this review to make an informed decision.

Design, build quality, and display

With the new iPhone 15 Pro Max, Apple has retained the same design language as its predecessor. On the back, it has a massive triple-camera module with LED flash and LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) sensor and on the front, there is the unique Dynamic Island display.

If you keep the iPhone 14 Pro Max and 15 Pro Max side-by-side, you won’t easily find any differences. But, upon closer inspection, you can see that the latest model has a slimmer bezel around the display’s perimeter.

Also, the metallic rail around the edge is more premium, as Apple has used aerospace-grade titanium, which is way more lighter than the surgery-grade stainless steel used in the predecessor. But, titanium is way more sturdier than steel. The textured metallic matte finish and curvaceous corners make the iPhone 15 Pro series visually refreshing.

FYI, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is weighs 20g less than the previous iteration.

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Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max.

DH Photo/KVN Rohit

The natural titanium is the best among the iPhone 15 Pro series colour variants. FYI- three other models include black titanium, white titanium, blue titanium.

Also, the iPhone 15 Pro Max comes with the best of the best protection available on a mobile. On the front and the back, it is guarded by Ceramic Shield. Also, the device comes with an IP68 rating, meaning it can survive in a freshwater body up to six metres for close to 30 minutes. Yes, it is also protected against accidental water splashes.

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Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max.

DH Photo/KVN Rohit

It should be noted that Apple has incorporated an Aluminium substructure below the titanium case and over it, it has placed a frosted glass cover. This smart engineering technique brings several benefits to the customer.

The company has used the solid-state diffusion method to bond these two metals with incredible strength. It says that the aluminum frame helps with efficient heating dissipation while performing heavy-duty tasks such as 4K ProRes video recording, or playing graphics-rich games. Also, this method allows the back glass to be easily replaced at a much lower repair/replace charge than the predecessor.

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Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max.

DH Photo/KVN Rohit

For instance, God forbid, if you happen to crack the back case, it will cost you Rs 16,900 for the iPhone 15 Pro Max. And, if you have subscribed to Apple Care+ service, it will cost you Rs 2,500.

In the same scenario on the iPhone 14 Pro Max, you have to shell out a whopping Rs 59,900 without an Apple Care+ subscription.

Besides the innovative Aluminium substructure, the iPhone 15 Pro Max comes with two new features– action button and USB-C port–, a first for any iPhone to date.

The action button replaces the trademark physical Ring/Silent switch. With this, users can programme the action button to perform different situations. You can assign the action button to the flashlight, Voice Memos, Focus modes, Translate, and accessibility features like Magnifier; or using Shortcuts for more options. You can even trigger any popular app such as a camera and even Shazam to identify the new song or the old forgotten music playing in front of you.

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action button options available on Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max.

DH Photo/KVN Rohit

And with USB-C, the iPhone 15 Pro Max offers the freedom to use the same charging cable as the latest iPads and even connect to any supported external storage. You can even reverse your AirPods Pro or Watches too.

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Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max.

DH Photo/KVN Rohit

The new iPhone 15 Pro Max sports a Super Retina XDR display with Always-On, True Tone and ProMotion technologies. It supports up to 2000 nits peak brightness and a dynamic 120Hz refresh rate.

It is an absolute delight to watch videos on the wide display of the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Be it under the shade or with direct sunlight, the device’s display excels in delivering the best viewing experience. As a person with spectacles, I faced no issues while reading news articles on my iPhone’s screen.

Also, the dynamic island display design continues to deliver refreshing user interface with more and more apps supporting it, with each passing months.

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Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max.

DH Photo/KVN Rohit

As far as FaceID is concerned, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is top-class. It works flawlessly in all lighting conditions. No other brands are close to its gold standard facial biometric security system.

Like all Apple products, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is an eco-friendly device. The aluminum substructure used under the titanium case is made of 100 per cent recycled material and in the battery too, Apple has used 100 percent recycled cobalt.

The rare earth elements in all magnets of the iPhone 15 Pro Max are said to be made of 100 per cent repurposed material.

Also, the gold used in the USB‑C connector as well as the gold plating and tin soldering in multiple printed circuit boards is 100 per cent recycled.

And, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is free of mercury, PVC, and beryllium. And, more than 99 percent of the packaging is fiber-based materials.

As many will be aware, Apple during the iPhone event revealed that it no longer offer leather-based accessories to reduce the company’s carbon footprint. In that order, the Cupertino-based technology major has introduced a nature-friendly FineWoven Case with MagSafe and FineWoven Wallet with MagSafe. They are made from a durable micro twill, which offers a soft and suedelike touch feel.

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Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max with FineWoven case.

DH Photo/KVN Rohit

Having dropped the iPhone 15 Pro Max with FineWoven case at least five times (yes, I kept track of it) in the last three weeks of usage, I can safely say it does its job of protecting the device from getting cracked, commendably well. But, it is prone to get stained easily.

Performance

The new iPhone 15 Pro Max series comes in three storages– 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB. It is powered by Apple A17 Pro chipset.

It is the first-ever phone to have a 3nm class silicon in the industry.

The A17 Pro’s six-core CPU is up to 10 percent faster with microarchitectural and design improvements, and the 16-core Neural Engine is now up to 2x faster. This will help in delivering faster on-device processing of autocorrect and Personal Voice features, which were introduced with the latest iOS 17.

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Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max.

DH Photo/KVN Rohit

Also, the A17 Pro comes paired with a fully redesigned 6-core GPU. It is up to 20 percent faster and promises increased peak performance and energy efficiency compared to the previous generation silicon.

Barring the initial hiccup (overheating when using certain apps at random times), the iPhone 15 Pro Max lived up to the hype and the credit has to go to the timely release of iOS 17.0.3 update.

The top-end iPhone performed to its true potential. Be it gaming or recording ProRes videos, the device did not show any slightest hint of fatigue at all.

As many would have watched the iPhone event, Apple spent a quite good amount of time highlighting the hardware-based ray tracing feature.

Though others such as Qualcomm (Snapdragon 8 Gen 2) and Samsung ( Exynos 2200 AP) have them already, the iPhone 15 Pro models promise to deliver the fastest performance, almost 4X times the software-based ray tracing.

With support for MetalFX Upscaling tech, A17 Pro works with its integrated GPU and Neural Engine to upscale lower-resolution graphics and textures to higher grades to deliver the ultimate console-level gaming experience.

Come December, you will be able to play popular games Resident Evil Village, Resident Evil 4 and Death Stranding. And, in early 2024, Assassin’s Creed Mirage will hit the Apple App Store.

The iOS 17.0.3 update not only reduced the heating issue but also significantly boosted the battery life by 10-15 per cent, at least in my case.

At the start, the iPhone 15 Pro Max used to have an average of 20-25 per cent battery capacity before I retired to my bed. But, after the new update, the premium iPhone’s battery level used to hover around 30-40 per cent.

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Battery life onApple iPhone 15 Pro Max.

DH Photo/KVN Rohit

Also, thanks to deep integration between proprietary hardware and software, the iPhone 15 Pro Max consumes much less battery while streaming content on OTT apps. In a 20-minute video streaming on YouTube with cellular data on, it barely dropped two per cent.

The braided USB-C-to-USB-C cable offered with the retail box is of really good quality. Though the white cable may get stained easily, is very sturdy and can serve you for a long. Also, you can reverse charge your Apple Watch or AirPods Pro and even a non-iPhone handset too.

Interestingly, the iPhone has a smart feature where it will know which device has a higher capacity between the two and, decide on charging the other unit or drawing power to itself.

And, with a USB-C port, the iPhone 15 Pro Max can directly transfer data between compatible devices such as portable storage units. The cable offered with the retail box comes with USB 2.0 standard, meaning it can support a max speed of 480Mbps.

However, iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max support USB 3.0 standards too, but consumers have to buy a compatible cable separately, to experience super-fast 10GBps data transfer speed.

And, last but not least, the iPhone 15 Pro series comes with a new second-generation Ultra Wideband chip. With this, iPhones will be able to support more precision tracking in terms of locating lost articles with Apple AirTag or trace friends faster (with shared location turned on) at a carnival or any place with an iPhone at least three times the range than ever before.

Even the latest Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 too, come with the same UW band chip and be able to track iPhone 15 series faster and also come with nice animation too.

Photography

The iPhone 15 Pro Max features an all-new 48MP primary camera with f/1.8 aperture, 24mm focal length, 2nd gen sensor shift OIS (Optical Image Stabiliser), and is backed by a 12MP ultrawide sensor with f/2.2 aperture and 13mm focal length.

It also gets a new 12MP Telephoto lens with 5X optical zoom capabilities, up to 120mm focal length and f/2.8 aperture.

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Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max’s camera sample photo.

DH Photo/KVN Rohit

As advertised, the iPhone 15 Pro Max delivers great in all scenarios. As you can see the big stone vase in a pool with cloudy overcast weather, has managed to get intricate details of the carvings on the artifact in the frame.

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Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max’s camera sample photo.

DH Photo/KVN Rohit

With natural sunlight, it goes several notches up by capturing rich colourful details of the subject.

Even indoors with controlled lights, the iPhone 15 Pro Max excels with colour processing and has ensured justice to the beautiful interiors of Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport Terminal 2.

For the first time, Apple has introduced 24MM, 28MM, and 35MM camera lens options in the 1X main camera photo mode. As you can see in the samples below, there is absolutely zero loss of quality.

With ultra-wide mode, the iPhone 15 Pro Max again excels with high-quality photos. It really comes in handy to capture snaps of large groups of people in front of popular landmarks and in nature trips. It manages to accommodate the vast area of the beautiful flower-laced agriculture field with Nandi hills in the backdrop.

I also tested for 1X, 2X, and 5X optical zoom, and as you can see in the photo slide, the top-end iPhone has nailed it with less loss of quality.

Even at night, the iPhone 15 Pro Max manages to deliver great photos whilst keeping the darkness, the true essence of the night sky.

Even with close up mode, it can take brilliant photos with minute details very captured in the frame.

On the front, it houses a 12MP TrueDepth camera on the front for FaceTime calling and selfies.

It takes brilliant selfies in all lighting conditions. It supports six different portrait effects– natural light, studio light, contour light, stage light and stage light mono and high-key light mono.

Even the video recording capability is also top-class, and no competitor comes close to the iPhone 15 Pro Max in terms of delivering the best quality video streaming during virtual conferences, provided there is stable internet connection.

The new iPhone supports up to 4K ProRes videos. However, the user has to connect the device to external portable storage. Even a few minutes of video eat up all your storage. The iPhone will show a message on the screen when you put on 2.5K video mode at 60 fps.

Also, iPhone 15 Pro is the first mobile in the industry to support Academy Color Encoding System (ACES), a global colour standard for major movie productions. The device is built to create movies on the go.

You can see it yourself while recording videos in Action mode. Even with 5X Zoom, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is unbelievably stable and the motion picture quality is just brilliant. No phone comes close to this aspect. Period.

Add to that, it supports Cinematic Mode is good enough for any amateur artists and vloggers to create short documentaries or fun videos. Guess what, one can edit on the iPhone itself. Also, in the Motion Timeline, the user can go to a particular frame that contains multiple subjects, and he/she can shift the focus to a different person’s face in the scene with less hassle.

Guess what? Apple has revealed that the iPhone 15 Pro models can record super high-quality spatial video for the Vision Pro VR headgear, which is expected to hit stores in early 2024.

Final thoughts

As advertised, the iPhone 15 Pro Max delivers powerful and smooth performance. Even with photography and battery life too, it does a fine job for a premium phone.

The curvy Titanium rail with a brushed metallic finish adds aesthetic value to the visual looks of the premium iPhone. It is way better than a smooth steel case, which tends to catch odd scratches with each accidental fall.

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Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max.

DH Photo/KVN Rohit

The action button and Type-C feature on the iPhone 15 Pro series, as noted earlier with examples for specific use cases, are great value additions for consumers.

Lastly and most importantly, Apple has to be appreciated for its genuine efforts in using more and more recycled materials for important components with each new iteration of iPhones. It creates awareness among consumers, not just while buying an iPhone, but also consciously changing their mindset with respect to the conversation of limited precious natural resources on the planet.

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Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max.

DH Photo/KVN Rohit

Who should really buy the iPhone 15 Pro/Pro Max?

If you happen to own an iPhone 14 Pro Max, you won’t miss much. You can carry on for another year or two, as Apple will bring new features with annual iOS updates. But, if you have the cash to splurge, I know you already made the decision.

If you have iPhone 13, 12, or older versions, you will find this to be a significant upgrade. You will love the Dynamic Island; it has a refreshing user interface. Also, the Type-C will bring the freedom to use the same cable for your iPad and you can even charge your Apple Watch too.

With the action button, initially, you will take some time for muscle memory to kick in and start using it for more functions such as loading the camera or triggering the Shazam app, or performing other functions.

And, you will also have a great time capturing amazing photos on the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max comes in— 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB storage capacities— for Rs 1,59,900, Rs 1,79,900 and Rs 1,99,900, respectively.

Get the latest news on new launches, gadget reviews, apps, cybersecurity, and more on personal technology only on DH Tech.

(Published 24 October 2023, 15:00 IST)

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