Apple iPhone 14 pro max review: Dynamic island is strong

The iPhone 14 Pro Max’s smart dynamic island, powerful camera, always-on display, and great battery life make it the best phone money can buy.

iphone 14 pro max body

The iPhone 14 Pro Max has the upgrade I’ve been waiting for — and I didn’t know I needed it. Yes, the always-on display is long overdue, but the biggest upgrade is actually the Dynamic Island, which provides alerts and real-time activities like your music, turn-by-turn navigation, timers, and Face ID animations.

iphone 14 pro max screen

I also enjoyed using the camera’s new action mode to capture video. Other smartphones have similar features, but the combination of the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s video quality and ultra-stable picture feels a bit like magic. It’s also amazing that you can easily switch between multiple phone numbers using the flagship’s eSIM feature, though some will lament the complete lack of a physical SIM card tray.

All three cameras on the back of the iPhone 14 Pro Max have larger lenses and a larger flash, so this area takes up a lot of space. It’s also a slightly heavier and thicker phone than its predecessor: the iPhone 14 Pro Max measures 6.33 x 3.05 x 0.31 inches, while the iPhone 13 Pro Max measures 6.33 x 3.07 x 0.3 inches.

iphone 14 pro max

The iPhone 14 Pro Max is available in four colors: Deep Purple, Silver, Gold, and Space Black. I’m partial to dark purple because it’s the most popular, and that’s the one I tested for this review. I continue to appreciate the frosted glass back and color-matched polished steel sides that Apple uses for its Pro phones. If a little too familiar, the overall look is classy, with the same IP68 water resistance.

iPhone 14 Pro Max review: Meet the dynamic island
Apple didn’t just downscale the iPhone and move it down. It found a way to make this area useful and even interesting. In addition to housing the TrueDepth camera, the Dynamic Island acts as a mini-dashboard, giving you access to the information you need no matter what app you’re using.

For example, if you open Apple Music or Spotify, then swipe back to the home screen, you’ll see the album art on the left and a mini-wave animation on the right. If you press and hold the Dynamic Island, a larger window will pop up showing track progress and playback controls. Or you can press it once to start the application.

There are many other applications that take advantage of Dynamic Island. There you can check the status of the timer, the next direction into the map, the status of incoming and outgoing calls, and more. You can even show two live events side by side on the island.

Apple is definitely catching up to Android phones when it comes to the new always-on display on the iPhone 14 Pro, but Apple’s implementation provides a more robust experience — if you’re willing to take the time to set it up.

Since the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s display refresh rate can be lowered all the way down to 1Hz, Apple designed its AOD to essentially mirror the lock screen (in color), but at a much lower brightness level. So you can still see your wallpaper, lock screen widgets (like weather, calendar, and event rings), and notifications coming through.

The iPhone 14 Pro Max hits 1,565 nits of HDR content, which is pretty close to what Apple claims. The panel recorded 117.5 percent of the sRGB color space and 83.2 percent of the DCI-P3 color space. The Delta-E reading for color accuracy is 0.26, where 0 is perfect.

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Apple’s camera on the iPhone 14 Pro Max revolutionized the status quo, offering a 48MP primary wide sensor for the first time. By default, the sensor groups every four pixels into a quad and is optimized to better capture light in 12MP photos. However, if you want as much detail as possible, you can use 48MP in Pro RAW mode, which is ideal for cropping.

The 48MP camera also enables a new 2x zoom option that joins the 12MP 3x telephoto zoom lens, but you don’t get the higher zoom offered by the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s 10x dual optical setup.

The iPhone Pro Max also features a new 12MP ultra-wide camera that is nearly twice the size, and the 12MP TrueDepth camera now offers autofocus as well as a faster f/1.9 aperture for better low-light photos. In fact, better low-light performance is a big theme for this phone, as there’s a photonic engine powered by the A16 Bionic chip, designed to deliver brighter, more colorful photos for each camera.

The iPhone 14 Pro Max’s A16 Bionic is Apple’s first chip made on a 4nm process, and it’s once again the fastest chip in a phone. The CPU is rated only 10% faster than the A15 Bionic, but it offers 50% more memory bandwidth, which helps with gameplay.

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The iPhone 14 Pro Max runs iOS 16 by default, and there’s a lot to like about this new software update. You can customize your lock screen with widgets, photos, and more, and your selections will also appear on your always-on display. Other highlights include the ability to cancel sending and editing texts, password replacements called Passkeys, a new fitness app and (finally) a battery percentage indicator.

The iPhone 14 Pro Max is the best big-screen phone out there, and it justifies the premium price by offering a great display with always-on functionality, the best camera in a phone, and great battery life. Will you buy this phone?

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max 512GB Dark Purple Unlocked 5G Dual SIM Dual Standby Phone
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