Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max review

GSMArena Team, 05 October 2021.

Introduction

Not just the best iPhone ever, but also the one with the 'biggest camera update ever' - that would be this year's iPhone 13 Pro, which we have here in Max size. Joining those larger and better cameras, we have a high refresh rate display, more battery, the mandatory chipset upgrade - the 13 Pro Max ticks all the boxes for improving everything that's important. We're here to see by just how much.

The advancements in the camera system start with a new primary unit with a bigger sensor and a brighter lens. The ultrawide module also sports a brighter lens, but one that features autofocus - a first for an iPhone ultrawide. Then there's the telephoto which now offers improved reach up to 3x, albeit with a slightly dimmer lens. On the front, things have remained the same, and no, the 20% reduction in notch size doesn't count.

Finally giving in to market trends, Apple's fitted the 13 Pro and Pro Max with 120Hz displays - or, rather, ProMotion. They're the adaptive kind, theoretically capable of variable refresh rates to reach all the way down to 10Hz to preserve battery. That's in addition to an already great screen feature set that includes DolbyVision support, plenty of brightness and excellent color rendition.

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max review

2021 iPhones all come with increased battery capacity, and in the 13 Pro Max' case, that's an 18% bump - 2.5 hours more than last year's Pro Max in Apple's metrics, or 'longest battery life ever on an iPhone', and all that.

As usual, a new year means an upgraded chipset, and alongside freshly named CPU cores and higher clock rate, the A15 in the 13 Pros also comes with an extra GPU core on top of the non-Pros. Somewhat related, the 13 Pro Max can be specced with up to a full 1TB of storage - that should be useful for iPhone filmmakers if no one else.

Here's a few of the other more important specs.

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max specs at a glance:

  • Body: 160.8x78.1x7.7mm, 240g; Glass front (Gorilla Glass), glass back (Gorilla Glass), stainless steel frame; IP68 dust/water resistant (up to 6m for 30 mins), Apple Pay (Visa, MasterCard, AMEX certified).
  • Display: 6.70" Super Retina XDR OLED, 120Hz, HDR10, Dolby Vision, 1000 nits (typ), 1200 nits (peak), 1284x2778px resolution, 19.47:9 aspect ratio, 458ppi; Wide color gamut, True-tone.
  • Chipset: Apple A15 Bionic (5 nm): Hexa-core (2x3.22 GHz Avalanche + 4xX.X GHz Blizzard); Apple GPU (5-core graphics).
  • Memory: 128GB 6GB RAM, 256GB 6GB RAM, 512GB 6GB RAM, 1TB; NVMe.
  • OS/Software: iOS 15.
  • Rear camera: Wide (main): 12 MP, f/1.5, 26mm, 1.9µm, dual pixel PDAF, sensor-shift OIS; Telephoto: 12 MP, f/2.8, 77mm, PDAF, OIS, 3x optical zoom; Ultra wide angle: 12 MP, f/1.8, 13mm, 120˚, PDAF; Depth: TOF 3D LiDAR scanner.
  • Front camera: Wide (main): 12 MP, f/2.2, 23mm, 1/3.6"; Depth: SL 3D.
  • Video capture: Rear camera: 4K@24/30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/120/240fps, 10‑bit HDR, Dolby Vision HDR (up to 60fps), ProRes, Cinematic mode, stereo sound rec; Front camera: 4K@24/25/30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/120fps, gyro-EIS.
  • Battery: 4352mAh; Fast charging 27W, 50% in 30 min (advertised), USB Power Delivery 2.0, MagSafe wireless charging 15W, Qi magnetic fast wireless charging 7.5W.
  • Misc: Face ID, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer; NFC; Siri natural language commands and dictation, Ultra Wideband (UWB) support.

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max unboxing

This one is easy - there's not a whole lot to unbox. The slimline packaging introduced in 2020 (with barebones contents too) is now followed up with the removal of the plastic sleeve as this year's contribution to the environment.

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max review

Inside, you'll find the phone, a USB-C to Lightning cable, and a paper sleeve containing documentation, a single Apple sticker and the SIM tray removal pin. All in all, Apple's standard issue stuff.

Reader comments

  • John

4.6 and 5 stars is an ok rating for all flagship smartphones, but the less ratings, the worser the reviews! Even with iphones, they sold really well when it comes to daily basis, even though it was filled with negatives!

This is a thing I've been wanting to say. Notice how all the flagships get the best ratings, like Oneplus 9 Pro got 4.4 stars even though it's got a truckload of negatives, same with iPhone 13 Pro Max (4.6 stars). Even the worst Pixel 4 XL ...

Yeah I heard Snapdragon 865 phones are greater for sustained performance. An added bonus: their cheaper as well and with greater battery life!