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Is the Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max worth buying in 2022?

It’s Apple’s super-sized 2022 iPhone, packed with all the best smartphone tech. So, should you break the bank to get one? Read our iPhone 14 Pro Max review to find out.

Our iPhone 14 Pro Max review in summary

The iPhone 14 Pro Max stands out as the very best iPhone ever made by Apple as of 2022.

It has it all: a striking 6.7-inch screen with a superb brightness rating; a new Dynamic Island feature that replaces the old-style notch design of previous phones; an always-on screen that lets you glimpse key details anytime, without draining the battery; and a camera setup that delivers some of the finest smartphone photography around.

In short, this is a powerhouse, albeit one that comes with a price tag to match.

About the iPhone 14 Pro Max

The iPhone 14 Pro Max ticks all the boxes for those who want their phone to be at the very bleeding edge of technology. The camera is a triple lens effort that is chock full of Apple’s latest imaging tech, the design remains one of the most iconic in the business, and overall performance is rapid thanks to the inclusion of Apple’s brand new A16 Bionic chipset.

Camera

Apple has once again loaded its top of the range iPhone up with a triple lens camera. The version on the iPhone 14 Pro Max, however, is way beyond that found on last year’s model. The key difference is that the main, 48MP lens uses quad pixel tech, taking data from lots of pixels and combining them into one. The idea is to deliver improved low light performance and better colour reproduction, which it does in spades.

It should be mentioned, though, that such tech has been the cornerstone of the best Android phones for years and that the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is way ahead in this regard.

That’s not to detract from the overall imaging performance, though. The 48MP main lens is backed up by a 12MP ultrawide and 12MP 3x telephoto lens, each one offering up crystal clear images that look great on social media. The 3x optical zoom isn’t pushing things as hard as some competitors, though, with 5x and even 10x optical zoom increasingly common.

Apple has also included its new Photonic Engine tech, a processing boost designed to make pics look even more detailed. There’s no denying that shots taken with the iPhone 14 Pro Max are some of the best you’ll take on a smartphone and only truly hardcore phone fans will be able to discern much difference between them and images from other top end devices.

There’s a 12MP selfie camera, while 4K video shooting at 30 frames per second means the iPhone 14 Pro Max is just as adept at making movies as it is at taking stills.

Design

The iPhone 14 Pro Max is one of the modern design greats, even if it looks identical to previous iPhone models. The aluminium finish and squared off edges still look exceptional and, for us, set it apart from every other smartphone on the market.

There’s also the added bonus of Apple dropping the notch design first seen on the iPhone X for a new cutout to house the front facing camera (more on this in the Display section).

Those who want a wholly new design will have to wait for later models, but the iPhone 14 Pro Max remains the pinnacle of smartphone design.

Display

The vast, 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR display is everything we’ve come to expect from the best Apple smartphones. The 2796 x 1290 pixel resolution makes everything look superb, as does the top brightness rating of 2,000 nits, so whether streaming video, gaming or browsing the web, it looks sensational.

Apple has cranked the refresh rate to 120Hz, as it did on the iPhone 13 Pro Max, but this can now also drop to 1Hz, which is kept for a new, always-on screen function. This allows you to see details such as the time, date and even lock screen images without actually having the phone on. It’s a feature that has become a key factor separating Android from Apple, so we’re glad to see it here.

What really sets the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s screen apart, though, is the Dynamic Island. This small cutout at the top of the display replaces the old notch, but is far more than just housing for a selfie camera. The area around it can expand and contract and is touch sensitive, meaning you can use gesture controls to access everything from music playback to mapping info.

Also available on the iPhone 14 Pro, the vast screen real estate here really allows it to shine.

Operating system and performance

The iPhone 14 Pro Max comes with iOS 16 out of the box, meaning you’ll have access to the latest Focus mode smarts and a whole array of lock screen widgets that mean you won’t need to fire up the device to get key information.

Under the hood is Apple’s very latest A16 Bionic chipset which Apple says can handle a scarcely believable 17 trillion operations a second. For everyday users that means extra rapid performance, especially when it comes to intensive activities such as gaming. Overall, this has the feeling of being the most powerful iPhone ever made. It’s certainly more than a match for the best phones from Google and Samsung.

Storage wise, you can get 128GB, 256GB, 512GB and 1TB models – an apt amount of choice.

Battery life

Apple has loaded the iPhone 14 Pro Max with a slightly smaller battery than its predecessor. That’s no issue though as the A16 Bionic helps make it more efficient. For everyday use, with a little video streaming, social media and gaming, you can get upwards of 24 hours on a single charge. Be aware that the always on display can chip away at battery life, so if you need to get as much out of the device as possible it’s advisable to switch it off.Apple says you can get to 50% charge in half an hour with a 20W charger (that’s sold separately), but this is way short of rival phones from the likes of Oppo and OnePlus, which are, ahem, leading the charge in this regard.

iPhone 14 Pro Max deals and incentives

The iPhone 14 Pro Max isn’t available on any discounted SIM free deals yet. However, if you take out an iPhone 14 Pro Max contract through MoneySuperMarket, you can get some great additional deals and incentives.

Three offers free access to Apple TV+ for three months while Vodafone services up the same TV streaming service and access to Apple Music too.

iPhone 14 Pro Max pricing

The iPhone 14 Pro Max is Apple’s priciest iPhone. SIM free (at the time of launch), you’ll pay £1,199 for 128GB, £1,309 for 256GB, £1,529 for 512GB and £1,740 for 1TB. That’s more than a MacBook Air.

However, there are loads of great contracts available, currently (November 2022) starting at £51 per month plus £199 up front for 100GB of data.

Pros and cons of choosing iPhone 14 Pro Max in 2022

Pros

  • Stunning screen
  • Always on display smarts and Dynamic Island
  • Amazing camera
  • A16 Bionic chipset makes it a gaming powerhouse

Cons

  • No updates on the previous year’s design
  • Eye-wateringly expensive

How does iPhone 14 Pro Max compare against other Apple iPhones?

The iPhone 14 Pro Max is Apple’s best ever smartphone, but for those who don’t want or need a massive screen, the iPhone 14 Pro has all the same specs but with a less capacious 6.1-inch display.

The iPhone 14 Plus offers the same display size but utilises last year’s A15 chip and doesn’t have the Dynamic Island function that we love so much. Likewise, the iPhone 14 relies on older tech and the notch design that is starting to look dated.Cheaper iPhones such as the iPhone SE serve up Apple smarts on a budget and may be a better bet for those not in the market for a top end phone.

iPhone 14 Pro Max review: Verdict

The iPhone 14 Pro Max is an absolutely stunning phone. Yes, its screen is almost identical to the iPhone 13 Pro Max. But the inclusion of Dynamic Island, beefed up camera tech and a new chipset helps set it apart.

It’s not cheap by any means, but with Apple phones lasting longer than ever, this is an investment that will stay at the top of its game for years to come.

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