iPhone 14 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Plus preview
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On September 7, 2022, Apple did something for the first time: no, it didn't introduce USB-C as standard for the iPhone lineup, but announced a behemoth affordable iPhone dubbed the iPhone 14 Plus, a slimmed-down version of the iPhone 14 Pro Max. This indicates a major shift in Apple's device policy and an unfortunate move away from small phones (for now, at least), as there is no iPhone 14 mini. The iPhone 14 Plus has the same size as the iPhone 14 Pro Max, but differs in a lot of key areas.
iPhone 14 Plus, Apple finally allows consumers to get a hold of a fairly affordable large iPhone, albeit less advanced than the Pro Max crown jewel. Previously, you could only get that with the ultra-premium iPhone Pro Max model, which surely boasted everything but came with the price tag to match, and the affordable iPhones, like the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini, simply couldn't match the enormous size and all boons stemming from that as better battery life and larger display screen estate.With the arrival of the
So, which one is the go-to large iPhone to get in late 2022? Would the iPhone 14 Pro Max retain the crown, or could it be the iPhone 14 Plus prove to be the fan favorite?
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Plus in a nutshell:
- Triple camera (iPhone 14 Pro Max) vs dual camera (iPhone 14 Plus)
- 1-120Hz ProMotion XDR OLED (iPhone 14 Pro Max) vs 60Hz OLED (iPhone 14 Plus)
- i-shaped notch w/ Dynamic Island ( iPhone 14 Pro Max) vs traditional notch (iPhone 14 Plus)
- Apple A16 Bionic (iPhone 14 Pro Max) vs Apple A15 Bionic w/ 5-core GPU (iPhone 14 Plus)
- Always-On display (iPhone 14 Pro Max) vs N/A
- 1TB storage option (iPhone 14 Pro Max) vs N/A
Table of Contents:
Design and Display Quality
Same size, but many differences to expect
Generally, the iPhone 14 Plus and the iPhone 14 Pro Max share the same 6.7-inch display footprint, making them the largest new iPhones available. So far, it seems like the iPhone 14 Pro Max and the iPhone 14 Plus would mostly share the same general design, which in itself is mostly similar to the iPhone 12 Pro Max and 13 Pro Max. There are notable differences, though.
This year's Pro models looks vastly different from their predecessors when it comes to the front design. With two punch-holes in the form of an "i", the iPhone 14 Pro Max employs what Apple calls a Dynamic Island, a dynamic area around the notches that displays contextually-aware and persistent notifications, alerts, and prompts. It's Apple's way of truly embracing the punch-hole and not afraid to use the newly claimed design element to its full potential.
The iPhone 14 Pro Max is available in Space Black, Silver, Gold, and Deep Purple. The phone utilizes Ceramic Shield front glass and textured matt glass at the back, with stainless steel design. Meanwhile, we have the iPhone 14 Plus, which is available in Midnight, Purple, Starlight, Product (RED), and Blue, and is made of Ceramic Shield front, Glass back, and aluminum design. Both phones are IP68-certified.
Read more about the iPhone 14 colors here.
In terms of display, both phones come with similarly sized, 6.7-inch OLED displays. The main difference is the 1-120Hz refresh rate of the two different screens. The iPhone 14 Plus will arrive with a 60Hz display with a more traditional notch, while the iPhone 14 Pro Max boasts an improved 120Hz ProMotion XDR Super Retina screen with a new i-shaped notch.
Another important distinct point between the two phones is Always-On display, which will be making an appearance on the iPhone 14 Pro and the iPhone 14 Pro Max. They would allow for the lock screen's clock, widgets, and the subject of your lock screen to be visible at all times. Apple already does this functionality on the Apple Watch and it makes sense to finally have it on the iPhone. The iPhone 14 Plus doesn't have an answer to this functionality.
As mentioned, Face ID remains the main biometric of choice on the iPhone 14 family. Both the iPhone 14 Plus and iPhone 14 Pro Max will come with the functionality on deck despite the differences in the notch design.
Performance and Software
New chip for the iPhone 14 Pro Max, but a well-known unit in the iPhone 14 Plus
Another major difference between the the iPhone 14 Pro Max and the iPhone 14 Plus will be the chipset powering each phone. The iPhone 14 Pro Max gets the newer generation silicon, the 4nm Apple A16 Bionic chipset, while the iPhone 14 Plus relies on iPhone 13 Pro/Pro Max's chip from last year, the 5nm Apple A15 Bionic chip with 5-core GPU. This will be the first time that Apple differentiates its more premium models with a newer chipset and throws a bone to the the affordable models with its older processor.
Mind you, the Apple A15 is still among the best all-around mobile chips, so there's nothing wrong with reusing it another year. Still, many could be irked by Apple's decision as the company has always used its newest chipset across all of its contemporary devices.
Speaking of the Apple A16 Bionic, it's manufactured on a 4nm node and thus offers some efficiency gains in comparison to the A15 Bionic, which relies on a larger (and older) 5nm manufacturing process. Apple doesn't really give a performance difference between the two chips, only gives a rough ballpark as to how the Apple A16 is 40% faster than the competition.
In terms of memory, both phones come with 6GB of RAM. There are some important differences, however: iPhone 14 Pro Max comes with the much faster LPDDR5 type of RAM, while the iPhone 14 Plus relies on the slightly slower LPDDR4X RAM, courtesy of the A15 Bionic chip. Overall, this should boost performance.
How does all of this translate in real-life performance? Judging from the iPhone 14, which has identical hardware as the iPhone 14 Plus, Apple has successfully created a performance rift between its affordable and more premium phones. The A16 Bionic definitely beats the A15 inside the iPhone 14, so we can draw similar conclusions for the iPhone 14 Plus. If you want the best, you will have to go with the iPhone 14 Pro Max, though the iPhone 14 Plus won't be much behind. If anything, it's still performing better than most of the contemporary Android phones out there.
Both iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Plus start at 128GB storage, but are also available with 256 and 512GB of native storage. This is where the iPhone 14 Plus hands the towel, but true to its nature, the iPhone 14 Pro Max gives us a 1TB option, more than enough for even the heaviest of power users.
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 Plus 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.
The iPhone 14 family now also supports Satellite SOS connectivity, allowing iPhone users to connect while in areas hat are outside regular cell coverage. With this new connectivity feature, the iPhone 14 will communicate with a satellite hundreds of miles above and allow you to report emergency. Sadly, standard texting and other types of data throughput are not supported due to the limited bandwidth. Still, you can send simple short messages and hopefully get emergency services to help you out. You can also share your location to your family via Find My even though you are out and about in the wilderness.
Triple versus double, the difference is clear
For the iPhone 14 Pro Max, Apple is considering a significant camera update. Apple introduced a new, considerably larger 48MP primary camera sensor, but only the top-tier iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max flagships have this one. While future iPhone Pro Max users will be able to take 48 ProRAW images, in regular photo mode the iPhone 14 Pro Max is taking 12MP photos, which make use of quad pixel-binning. This technology allows the data from four camera sensor pixels to be merged into a large 2.44 µm one, resulting in a superior dynamic range and better light sensitivity during low-light conditions. The latter is further aided by Apple's new Photonic Engine, a term depicting an enhanced new image pipeline that dramatically improves low-light photos.
The iPhone 14 Pro Max arrived with a triple camera system, similarly to all of its predecessors: the 48MP wide-angle camera is joined by a ultra-wide and a 3X telephoto lens in order to achieve maximum versatility. Both weigh in at 12MP. The pixel-binning tech has also allowed for Apple to throw in a 12MP 2X telephoto mode that uses the main camera sensor and benefits from its wider aperture.
Meanwhile, the iPhone 14 Plus uses the same camera setup found on the iPhone 14. A 12MP main wide-angle camera is joined by a 12MP ultra-wide one, with the same Photonic Engine and other machine-learning goodies, like Smart HDR 4, Deep Fusion, Photographic Styles, and more. Overall image quality should be close to that of the iPhone 13.
While no 8K video recording has been scored on either device, the iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Plus now support Cinematic mode in up to 4K HDR 30fps, a big leap over last year's pretty limited Cinematic Mode of 1080p at up to 30fps on the iPhone 13-series. There are many other novelties in terms of video on both phones, including Action Mode, which can shoot at up to 2880 x 2160 at 60fps, as well as much improved Pro-level workflows for video.
Finally, both devices share a new 12MP FaceTime selfie camera with autofocus and fast, f/1.9 aperture. If anything, it also support Cinematic mode at up to 4K HDR @30fps, if that matters to you.
In terms of image quality, one thing is immediately obvious — the higher-res camera of the iPhone 14 Pro Max definitely has way lot more data to work with, which leads to more detailed images, with more information in the shadowy areas. Aside from that, both phones exude that well-known iPhone camera look, with similar, consistent color science and dynamics.
Disclaimer: The samples below were taken with the iPhone 14, but the iPhone 14 Plus should offer identical camera performance and image quality.
There's a new 2X camera zoom mode, which crops from the 48MP sensor, a welcome return as this zoom option is much more natural for portraits.
Battery Life and Charging
Best battery on any iPhone ever
When we talk about the iPhone 14 Plus and the iPhone 14 Pro Max, we can safely expect that Apple's two behemoths will be battery champions. After all, they both have the largest batteries among all new iPhones.
Technically, we do not know that though: iPhone battery capacities are usually revealed only after the phones go on sale and some willing soul disassembles their new iPhone to give us battery capacity measurements. However, judging from the sizes of the two devices, we can guesstimate that the iPhone 14 Pro Max and the iPhone 14 Plus will have batteries at least as big as the one found on the iPhone 13 Pro Max. This means that a minimum of 4,352mAh is guaranteed, unless some larger hardware component inside doesn't take away too much extra space.
Apple gives some rough official battery life figures, namely up to 26 hours of video playback, 20 hours of streamed video playback, and up to 100 hours of audio playback for the iPhone 14 Plus, while the iPhone 14 Pro Max gets up to 29 hours in video playback, up to 25 hours in streamed video playback, and up to 95 hours in audio playback.
In terms of charging, Apple has adorned the iPhone 14 Pro Max with 27W wired charging and the iPhone 14 Plus with 20W wired charging, as that's what the charging situation looked like on the iPhone 13 Pro Max and iPhone 13, respectively. Both have 15W MagSafe wireless charging, but USB Type-C on either device is still out of the question in 2022, but next year's iPhone crop will likely finally do the switch to the USB standard.
And here's how the specs of the iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Plus mostly differ. You can also check out our iPhone 14 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Plus dedicated specs comparison.
As seen in the table above, the differences are mostly found in the camera, display, and performance section, which kind of justifies the higher price of the iPhone 14 Pro Max versus the iPhone 14 Plus.
Summary and Final Verdict
So, as established in this preliminary comparison, the main differences between the iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Plus will be a lot of improvements in favor of the more premium iPhone 14 Pro Max. Its high-refresh display, faster chipset, more storage, and additional telephoto camera are the main selling point against the similarly sized, but more affordable iPhone 14 Plus an.
The iPhone 14 Pro Max starts at $1,099 for the 128GB version, while the range-topping iPhone 14 Pro Max with 1TB of storage tops it all up at $1,599, quite the lump of money. At the same time, the iPhone 14 Plus keeps things more grounded with a starting price of $899 for the 128GB version and tops up at $1,099 for the 512GB-sized variation. The iPhone 14 Pro Max will also have a few more weeks to garner adoption as the iPhone 14 Plus is slated for an October 7 release.
The price increase for the iPhone 14 Pro Max could be justified by all the new features that will be included, but don't be so quick to disregard the iPhone 14 Plus as well. Due to its large size and fairly affordable price in comparison with the Pro Max version, it could be the potential bestseller among all iPhone 14 models, especially if you don't really like the new Dynamic Island and are unconvinced by the promising 48MP camera.
Still, if you really want the best of the best, there's no way around it—you have to go with the iPhone 14 Pro Max.