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Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max vs iPhone 13 Pro

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Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max vs iPhone 13 Pro
The Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max specs place it firmly on top of the iPhone pile in the history of iPhones, and the iPhone 13 Pro sits right below it, warranting a comparison between the Apple's two 2021 juggernauts.

Not only did they get the good stuff, i.e. the 120Hz refresh rate ProMotion displays, but also the cameras turn out different, and unlike anything you've seen on an iPhone so far. Or any phone, for that matter, given the giant 1.9 micron pixels.

Couple these with the largest batteries ever placed in iPhones to maintain the iPhone 13 Pro/Max battery life status quo despite the high refresh rate display, and you've got a record Apple stock price. 

We kid, but let's do a proper Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max vs iPhone 13 Pro comparison to help you decide between the two when that purchasing itch needs to be scratched come the September 17 preorder and September 24 release dates.

Also read:

Apple iPhone 13 Pro

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Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max

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Main iPhone 13 Pro Max vs iPhone 13 Pro specs differences

  • 6 hours longer iPhone 13 Pro Max battery life for video playback
  • 5 hours longer iPhone 13 Pro Max battery life for audio playback
  • 5 minutes longer 13 Pro Max charge time to 50%
  • 6.33 inches (160.8 mm) vs 5.78 inches (146.7 mm) height
  • 8.46 ounces (240 grams) vs 7.19 ounces (204 grams) weight
  • $100 iPhone 13 Pro Max price difference at each storage option point

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max vs iPhone 13 Pro display size and refresh rate

At first brush, the choice between the two phones couldn't be more obvious - take the Pro if you want a compact phone, grab the Max if you don't mind a huge flagship with all the bells and whistles. The difference in the sizing, however, is also a difference in pricing and features, so the choice is not as clear-cut.

First off, the 6.7" 2778 x 1284 pixels and 6.1" 2532 x 1170 pixels display sizes and resolution of the iPhone 13 Pro Max and 13 Pro haven't changed from their predecessors. What has changed, however, is the displays' technology. Instead of the oldie LTPS panels of the 12 series (and the iPhone 13/mini), the 13 Pro models sport modern frugal LTPO OLED screens that allow for a variable refresh rate depending on the content shown. 

In the iPhone 13 Pro Max and 13 Pro case, these go up to 120Hz refresh, or 120 times a second when you browse or scroll for smooth, uninterrupted viewing, plus high frame rate games were already announced by Apple to demonstrate the goods.

In an LTPO display the switching element is replaced with an oxide among several transistors which reduces the leakage current and lowers the power consumption by 15-20% to compensate for the higher power draw of the 120Hz refresh.

The iPhone 13 Pro/Max LTPO panels is be made by using Samsung Display's adaptive frequency technology, most likely with a twist by Apple itself, as OnePlus managed to do by augmenting the 9 Pro panel to cover the 1Hz-120Hz refresh range. 

The 13 Pro/Max, though, can do only 10Hz-120Hz, or just what Samsung offers on its S-series. On the positive side, their new technology is so frugal, that the iPhone 13 Pro outlasts the iPhone 13 battery life by a wide margin in video playback, despite having the same battery pack. The displays also manage to be 25% brighter, at up to 1000 nits typical, and 1200 nits peak brightness for HDR content.

Apple iPhone 13 Pro/Max vs iPhone 12 Pro colors

What about the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max colors, are there any changes? After all, these are the new iPhone models with the 120Hz LTPO displays, the souped-up cameras with the large sensors and enhanced zooming abilities, as well as the larger batteries.

Last year, the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max swapped the Midnight Green and Space Grey of the iPhone 11 Pro models for a nice Midnight Blue and an elegant Graphite colors, leaving the Gold and Silver options intact. In 2021, the iPhone 13 Pro colors will only do the old switcheroo in China, introducing localized golden versions, while rest of the world gets a new shade of blue.

Apple iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max colors list:

  • Sierra Blue
  • Silver 
  • Gold
  • Graphite

As you can see, this is not a radical departure from the Gold, Pacific Blue, Silver, and Graphite iPhone 12 Pro options. Graphite, Gold, and Silver remain, with only the Sierra Blue differing significantly from the Pacific one of yesteryear. Which one would you pick?

Is the iPhone 13 Pro/Max waterproof?

  • Yes, up to 20 feet for up to 30 minutes

Apple may have been late to the iPhone water-resistance game, but it now prides itself in providing one of the toughest waterproofing standards of all phones barring specialized tough and durable models.

The iPhone 12 series, for instance, have IP68 rating like most of them water-resistant phones, but they can dive up to much deeper, 19.6 feet (six meters) depths of water for 30 minutes compared to virtually all other waterproof handsets. 

Not that the others can't withstand such pressure, but anecdotally and not in an official specs list as Apple touts its wares. The iPhone 13 Pro Max and 13 Pro don't dive any deeper than the already set record, so they are both able to lounge at the 20 feet bottom of a fresh water lake for at least half an hour still.

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max vs iPhone 13 Pro cameras

  • iPhone 13 Pro/Max camera specs: 12MP main with F1.5 aperture and 1.9 μm pixels, 12MP f/1.8 ultrawide w/ autofocus and 12 MP 3x telephoto

Perhaps the biggest change apart from the new 120Hz ProMotion displays of the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max, compared to their lowly iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini brethren, is in the camera department.

While all handsets in the iPhone 13 series will lean hard into new camera features to differentiate them from the iPhone 12 generation with things like Cinematic portrait shooting mode for video, Apple saved the ProRes Video mode that will churn out in a professional format for richer editing for the Pro models and their extra GPU core.

Both Pro models have sensor-shift stabilization, something that used to be exclusive to the iPhone 12 Pro Max‌. The big news, however, is the new 13 Pro/Max main camera sensor with huge 1.9 micron physical pixels that is a sight to behold and the larger on a phone this side of niche undertakings.

Apple again set the Pro/Max models apart from the rest of the iPhone 13 crowd by equipping them with a better main camera with larger sensor and wider lens. The lens aperture of the iPhone 13 Pro/Max main camera widened to f/1.5 from the f/1.6 on the 12 Pro Max, letting more light in, and potentially improving night and indoor photography with the handset. 

Moreover, both have autofocus on the ultra-wide cameras instead of the fixed focus that the respective iPhone 12 series camera have now. The telephoto camera also gets a new sensor/lens/zoom specs and can now do 3x optical magnification. Overall, the two 13 Pro models have the best camera hardware Apple has ever placed in an iPhone. 

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max vs iPhone 13 Pro performance

  • Second generation 5nm Apple A15 processor 
  • TSMC N5P production method
  • 5-core GPU (vs 4-core on the iPhone 13/mini)
  • Up to 7% performance gains compared to A14
  • Or, up to 15% power draw reduction 

The iPhone 13 Pro Max and iPhone 13 Pro are powered by Apple's best mobile chipset so far, the A15, but don't expect any significant gains over its predecessor the A14 which is powerful enough to run anything iOS throws at it with aplomb.

That's because Apple is keeping the 3nm/4nm process for next year's iPhones and iPads, while the Apple A15 is still a 5nm affair, just an enhanced one with the second generation of the TSMC foundry's 5nm node. In comparison with the process that the chips in the iPhone 12 series are made with, N5P bring power consumption, transistor density, and performance improvements.

As a rule of thumb, those second-gen tapeouts further refine the gains achieved with the first generation, as happened with the 7nm process, rather than introduce some breathtaking technology jumps which are getting harder and harder with each production node shrink.

During the N5P introduction to investors, TSMC stated that the second generation process node will let manufacturers pick either a a 15% better power efficiency, or 7% performance boost.

Apple has tied to balance both, but it did add an extra, fifth GPU to the A15 that's in the iPhone 13 Pro/Max compared to the iPhone 13 chipset. As usual, the goal is to focus more on the AR/VR, AI, imaging, video, and other buzzword coprocessing, rather than pure power gain, as the A14 is already strong enough like Cher. Nevertheless, Apple does boast that the 13 Pro/Max A15 is the "the fastest chip in a smartphone," 50% faster than the competition in both the processor and graphics departments.

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max vs iPhone 13 Pro battery life and charging

Last but not least among the main iPhone 13 Pro Max vs iPhone 13 Pro differences is the battery size and charging speeds. This year, Apple placed the largest iPhone batteries ever in those two, not that the 12 Pro Max wasn't doing great in our battery benchmark anyway but still - 120Hz displays and all - despite that it is of the frugal LTPO variety.

Thus, if iPhone battery life is a pet peeve for you, and you are worried about the new power-hungry displays, the iPhone 13 series features a huge jump in battery size making you very happy. The 13 Pro Max model sports a 4352mAh battery that is an 18% hike from last year's iPhone 12 Pro Max.

The iPhone 13 Pro sees its battery capacity jump more modestly - from 2815mAh to 3095mAh - explaining the 6 hours shorter video and 5 hours shorter audio playback compared to the 13 Pro Max.

Besides the larger batteries, this year's Pro models sport the more frugal A15 Bionic and LTPO displays, returning the best battery life from an iPhone ever, with a significant advantage of the 13 Pro Max in that regard.

Unfortunately, there are no Android-style fast charging upgrades and both phones still top up with a 20W brick that's not in the box. Here's the turn of the 13 Pro to shine against the 13 Pro Max, though, as it charges 5 minutes faster to 50%, and that's the last iPhone 13 Pro Max vs 13 Pro difference worth noting. Which one are you picking?

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