Skip links

Is iPhone 15 Pro Max Worth It

Apple didn’t buck tradition and just took the wraps off the new iPhone 15 family and other devices at its “Wonderlust” event at Apple Park’s Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California. If you’ve followed along with USA TODAY’s live blog of the festivities, you may know four new iPhone 15 models made their debut on Tuesday, including the standard iPhone 15 (from $799) and iPhone 15 Plus (from $899) at 6.1 and 6.7 inches, respectively, which is the same size as last year’s models, iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus. Same goes for the premium iPhone 15 Pro (6.1 inches; from $999) and iPhone 15 Pro Max (6.7 inches; from $1,199).

Better cameras in the Pro models

A third reason to consider upgrading – at least to iPhone 15 Pro or iPhone 15 Pro Max – is the revamped camera systems that had “shutterbugs” in the audience Tuesday oohing.

These premium iPhone 15 models boast the same 48-megapixel camera as with iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus but with a larger sensor that lets in more light, new “computational” photography wizardry, and a 5x telephoto zoom (on iPhone 15 Pro Max) and 3x telephoto zoom (on iPhone 15 Pro), which means you can take more detailed images from afar and/or crop a photo and zoom in without losing much image fidelity.

There’s also the ability to switch between three popular focal lengths: 24mm, 28mm, and 35mm.

Up close, these photos and videos were remarkable.

iPhone 15 unveiled:Release date, price, features of iPhone 15, 15 Plus, 15 Pro, 15 Pro Max

What is so special about the iPhone 15?

Easily, the iPhone 15 family is the best Apple has ever created – the same can be said every year when they launch new devices – but a general rule of thumb with the iPhone is you might not notice a huge difference if you upgrade every year.

Because each year they’re marginally better each fall, it often pays to wait a few years to really notice a difference compared to what you’ve already got.

But what about the titanium design, you say?

Yes, switching from stainless steel to titanium is a great move for the Pro models, as it’s more durable than other materials, and it’s a lot lighter, too. Truthfully, I was surprised to feel how light the new iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max models were.

Is it enough to upgrade? Nah, not really. I’d argue it’s a “nice to have” feature rather than a “need to have.”

That said, Apple impressed with its long list of improvements for all iPhone 15 models, and despite rumors leading up to the event, it won’t be more expensive than last year’s comparable models.

I also liked the replacement of the mute switch on the left side of the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max with a multipurpose Action button – handy for quickly launching an app – but summoning Siri to do the task is still probably faster.

 

iPhone 15 Pro Max review: yes, it really is worth $1,200

The iPhone 15 Pro Max is a showcase of “the very best of Apple innovations.” That’s how Apple describes the 15 Pro Max in its official press release for the phone, and it’s similar marketing speak that we hear every single year: Last year’s iPhone was great. But this new one? It’s the best Apple has ever made.

It’s easy to roll your eyes when Apple uses language like that, and I often do. But for the iPhone 15 Pro Max, it actually feels warranted. The big changes this year compared to the previous Pro Max are few in number, but the impact they have on the iPhone 15 Pro Max is incredible.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max doesn’t reinvent the iPhone formula, but it absolutely is the most capable and polished iPhone you can buy today.

iPhone 15 Pro Max: titanium design

I loved last year’s iPhone 14 Pro Max. It was one of the best phones you could buy in 2022 and throughout a good chunk of this year too. But there was one thing that really irked me about it: its stainless steel design. It didn’t take long for the 14 Pro Max’s huge size and weight to become so overbearing that I had to switch to the smaller iPhone 14 Pro. This has been a problem since the iPhone 12 Pro Max launched in 2020, and it only got worse with the iPhone 13 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Pro Max.

But that’s no longer the case with the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Apple ditched its stainless steel frame and replaced it with a brushed titanium one — and it makes a big difference. You can see this right on the spec sheet. The iPhone 15 Pro Max weighs just 221 grams, which is a substantial decrease from the 240-gram iPhone 14 Pro Max and 13 Pro Max.

When you actually use the iPhone 15 Pro Max, you really do feel that difference. The lighter construction was immediately noticeable when I took the 15 Pro Max out of its box and held it side by side with the 14 Pro Max; it’s a night and day difference.

And it’s not just the lighter weight that makes the iPhone 15 Pro Max more enjoyable to hold. In addition to being a millimeter thinner, Apple also slightly rounded the front and back glass to meet the titanium frame more smoothly. That basically means the sharp, often painful edges of the iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro are finally gone.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max is the most comfortable Pro Max iPhone I’ve ever held.

When you add all of that together, the iPhone 15 Pro Max ends up being the most comfortable Pro Max iPhone I’ve ever held. The flat sides of the frame still give you a secure grip on the phone, but it’s no longer unbearably heavy and doesn’t dig into your palms.

iPhone 15 Pro Max: Action button

If the titanium design is my No. 1 favorite change with the iPhone 15 Pro Max, not far behind it is the new Action button. Ever since the original iPhone in 2007, Apple has included a ring/silent switch above the volume buttons to quickly turn on or silence your ringtones and notifications. On the iPhone 15 Pro Max, however, that’s been replaced with a customizable button — dubbed the Action button.

By default, pressing and holding the Action button enables and disables silent mode (just like the old switch). It works really well for this, displaying a pop-up in the Dynamic Island and playing the same haptics you’re used to when flicking the old switch.

But the real magic lies with everything else you can do with it.

Go to the Settings app, tap on the Action Button icon, and you can completely change what the button does. Besides enabling silent mode, you can also use the button to:

  • Turn on a Focus mode
  • Open the Camera app
  • Turn on the flashlight
  • Start a Voice Memo
  • Enable the Magnifier app
  • Run a Siri Shortcut
  • Launch an accessibility tool

Some of these actions can be further customized too. For example, you can choose exactly which Focus mode you want to launch if you choose that option. If you’ve selected the camera option, you can have the button launch the main camera, selfie mode, video recording, Portrait mode, or Portrait selfie. I’ve had the Action button set to open the main camera since I began my review, and it’s been infinitely easier to open the camera compared to the (often unreliable) lock screen shortcut.

While all of this is great, things get even more exciting with the Shortcuts option. There are a few recommended shortcuts by default, such as opening any app you want, starting a new note in the Notes app, and launching Spotify to recognize a song. All of these are fantastic, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg of what’s possible. For example, we’ve already seen one Shortcut that can perform multiple actions based on the orientation in which you’re holding your iPhone. It’s ingenious.

For as much as I love using the Action button, my biggest complaint is that I can’t do more with it. As it stands, the only way to use the Action button is with a press-and-hold, which means it’s always limited to doing just one thing at a time. I see no reason why there couldn’t also be double- and triple-press options, and I really hope Apple considers adding them in a software update down the road.

 

Reasons To Buy iPhone 15 Pro Max

I’ve been using the iPhone 15 Pro Max every day for a few weeks now, and it certainly has a lot going for it if you’re thinking of upgrading. The titanium design is striking, and the new Action button is helpful. I’m also impressed with the improved optical zoom and I’m glad USB-C charging is finally here.

As you’ll see in my iPhone 15 Pro Max review, Apple has done enough to take the top spot in our best phones list. But there are some drawbacks here. And there’s also been some early complaints around the iPhone 15 Pro series overheating. So is the iPhone 15 Pro Max right for you? Here’s a quick overview of what I like and what I don’t, and be sure to check out

Lighter and smaller titanium design 

One of the most pleasantly surprising things about the iPhone 15 Pro Max when you pick it up is just how light it is. It weighs 7.8 ounces, compared to 8.47 ounces for the iPhone 14 Pro Max. This is thanks to a new titanium band design, which is lighter than the stainless steel used previously.

Row 0 – Cell 0iPhone 15 Pro MaxiPhone 14 Pro Max
Weight7.8 ounces8.47 ounces
Dimensions6.29 x 3.02 x 0.32 inches6.33 x 3.05 x 0.31 inches

Apple has also managed to trim the bezels around the iPhone 15 Pro Max, resulting in a device that’s shorter and narrower. And with the new contoured design with rounded edges, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is comfier to hold and use.

Smart new Action button 

The iPhone 15 Pro Max replaces the ringer switch with the Action button, which can engage silent mode with a long press but it does so much more. In the Settings app you can customize the Action button to perform several tasks — though just one thing can be assigned at a time.

For example, you can launch the camera with a long press of the Action button, turn on the flashlight or start a voice memo. Or you can leverage the Shortcuts app to open any app or you want and perform very specific actions, such as texting a particular context. The choices are endless. See our how to set up the Action button on your iPhone 15 Pro guide.

A longer 5x telephoto zoom

Apple is definitely playing catch-up here, but I very much appreciate that the iPhone 15 Pro Max features a 5x optical zoom via a tetraprism lens. That’s a pretty big jump from the 3x zoom on the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

You also get increased digital zoom of up to 25x on the 15 Pro Max, compared to 15x on the previous model.

Based on our zoom camera face-off with the Galaxy S23 Ultra and Pixel 7 Pro, the iPhone 15 Pro Max holds up very well in the 5x zoom range, delivering plenty of detail along with with great dynamic range. But its digital zoom is a step behind Samsung’s.

Extra long battery life

The iPhone 15 Pro Max offers very strong endurance. Even if I forget to charge the phone at work after a 1.5-hour commute in both directions, I routinely have 30% or more battery life left by the time I get home around 7 p.m.

Row 0 – Cell 0Battery size*Battery life (hours:mins)
iPhone 15 Pro3,274 mAh10:53
iPhone 15 Pro Max4,422 mAh14:02
iPhone 14 Pro Max4,323 mAh13:39
Galaxy S23 Ultra5,000 mAh12:22 (adaptive), 13:09 (60Hz)
OnePlus 115,000 mAh13:10 (adaptive) / 12:48 (60Hz)
Google Pixel 7 Pro5,000 mAh7:54

In our Tom’s Guide battery test, which involves continuous web surfing at 150 nits of screen brightness over 5G, the iPhone 15 Pro Max lasted an awesome 14 hours and 2 minutes. That beats the regular iPhone 15 Pro by over 4 hours and it’s also about 20 minutes longer than the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

By comparison, the Galaxy S23 Ultra endured for 13:09 with its display in 60Hz mode and the OnePlus 11’s best time was 13:10. The iPhone 15 Pro Max makes our list of the best phone battery life.

Killer gaming with A17 Pro 

The iPhone 15 Pro Max packs the world’s first 3nm chip in the A17 Pro. And as you’ll see in our iPhone 15 Pro benchmarks roundup, it blows away the Android competition. But the most exciting part is what the new GPU is capable of.

This new 6-core GPU is capable of playing console-quality games with raytracing support, so you get realistic lighting effects you’d normally expect from home consoles like the PS5 or Xbox Series X. In titles like Diablo Immortal, the visuals are stunning, and Resident Evil Village is gloriously gory with its zombie attacks.

Resident Evil 4 Remake and Assassin’s Creed Mirage are also coming to the new iPhone.

 

Leave a comment

Notice: 1. We don't buy stolen phones. All phones are sold by people who have the right to sell them. | 2. Because of price fluctuations, all orders are valid for 24 hours.

This will close in 0 seconds

This will close in 20 seconds

This will close in 20 seconds

This will close in 20 seconds

This will close in 20 seconds

This will close in 20 seconds

This will close in 20 seconds

This will close in 20 seconds

This will close in 20 seconds

This will close in 20 seconds

This will close in 20 seconds

This will close in 20 seconds

This will close in 20 seconds

This will close in 20 seconds

This will close in 20 seconds

This will close in 20 seconds

This will close in 20 seconds

This will close in 20 seconds

This will close in 20 seconds

This will close in 20 seconds

This will close in 20 seconds

This will close in 20 seconds

This will close in 20 seconds

This will close in 20 seconds

This will close in 20 seconds

This will close in 20 seconds

This will close in 20 seconds

This will close in 20 seconds

This will close in 20 seconds

This will close in 20 seconds

This will close in 20 seconds

This will close in 20 seconds