Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max Review and Camera Testing

The Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max is touted as the “best ever” and capable of taking “the best photos and videos”. However, when I actually tried it, I didn’t think the development of the camera was dramatic, rather the “newness” brought by “iOS 16” stood out.

Apple seems to like the word “best” more than anything else. The latest model, the iPhone 14 Pro max, is touted as the “best iPhone ever”, with a 48-megapixel camera system that takes “the best photos and videos”.

If you try the actual machine even a little bit, you can quickly find out if it’s actually true. This is especially true with cameras. If the new model is equipped with a larger image sensor, the image quality will be better than the old model. But the results of this test were mixed.

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max Review

This time around, I took over 250 photos over several days with the four models of the iPhone 14 series. Then, on several occasions, the 2021 iPhone 13 Pro outperformed the recently released model. Even though the “iPhone 14 Pro” had the best image quality, the difference was so small that I thought Apple was “hype”.

Don’t get me wrong, the camera of Apple iPhone 14 Pro and Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max is great. Notably, it ranks highest among smartphones in terms of shooting videos. However, I didn’t see as much improvement in image quality as Apple claims.

A few other features stand out due to small improvements in camera performance. For example, the display is incredibly bright and is now always on so you don’t have to tap with your fingers. And “Dynamic Island,” which replaces the infamous notch for Face ID, is a clever and fun use of dead space.

However, if you dare to insist, it is “iOS 16” above all that brings “newness” to this iPhone. Don’t hesitate to update iOS on your current iPhone. This latest version of software has so many cool features that you may feel like you don’t even need to buy new hardware.

Convenient “Dynamic Island”

The iPhone 14 series consists of four models : “iPhone 14”, “iPhone 14 Plus”, “iPhone 14 Pro” and “iPhone 14 Pro Max” . I tested two models from the “Pro” series (Space Black and Dark Purple, as a friend called it “Grandma Purple”) for about a week, this time around.

We’ll be publishing a review article on two standard models that aren’t “Pro” later, but the reason we reviewed the two more expensive models first is because most of the new features are limited to “Pro.” The biggest change is Dynamic Island.

The name Dynamic Island sounds like a button that takes you to the comfort of the Caribbean at your fingertips, but it isn’t. The Dynamic Island is a module that houses the front camera and the Face ID sensor. The notch at the top of the screen has been dropped in favor of the tablet-like horizontal cutout that is common on Android smartphones.

But Apple cleverly used the space as a second display. When you play music, Dynamic Island expands slightly, showing an album image and a music visualizer. A single tap will open the Music app, and a long press will give you playback controls.

This is what happens when you get a call, start directions in Maps, or track a Lyft ride. It’s nice to be able to react to these movements quickly without swiping down on Notification Center. Dynamic Island is as playful and fun as its name suggests.

Note that not all apps support Dynamic Island yet. For example, “YouTube Music” worked perfectly fine, but “Google Maps” had problems. This feature will become more complete in a year.

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best processor ever

apple iphone 14 pro max
iphone 14 pro / apple.com

The next thing I want to talk about is the always-on display. A feature that’s been on Android phones for years, it’s finally available on the iPhone (if you want to).

Apple says that this feature uses very little battery. This is because the display reduces the refresh rate to 1Hz, which requires very little power.

When you actually use it, you can hardly see the battery draining. The display will automatically turn off if you put it face down or put it in your pocket or bag. So you don’t need to worry about your precious battery consumption.

With a refresh rate of 120Hz, the display is buttery smooth and brighter than ever. To be honest, I’ve personally never found an iPhone display to be dark, so I’m not sure I need that much brightness.

But we can be sure that even with this extreme brightness, the color tones of the iPhone 14 Pro Max are still pretty decent. On the other hand, some smartphones from other companies tend to lose color tone when the screen is bright.

When it comes to processors, things have proceeded differently. There are only two iPhones with the latest and most advanced A16 Bionic, the Pro (usually all models in the series have the latest chip).

A benchmark test confirms that the A16 Bionic is indeed one of the fastest mobile chips. You can feel its performance in every task. The one thing that really stood out to me was the game.

As a test, I used the mobile gaming controller “Backbone One” for 45 minutes to play “Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm” and “Rocket League Sideswipe,” and the performance was perfectly fine, and The iPhone was uncomfortable. It’s never been this hot. On the other hand, if you ask if you can feel the difference from the “A15 Bionic” installed in “iPhone 13” and iPhone 14 in everyday use, you probably won’t feel the difference.

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The two models of “Pro” have similar functions

Now let’s move on to “eSIM”. In the United States, the physical SIM card slot has been eliminated from all models of the iPhone 14 series. To connect to your carrier’s cellular network, you’ll need to set up an eSIM.

While eSIM technology has been around for some time, the iPhone is the first to eliminate physical SIM systems entirely. I have never used eSIM so much before, but it was very easy to use.

First, when setting up the iPhone 14 Pro, you will be asked if you want to get the phone number from the iPhone 13 Pro. I opted out and within minutes my phone number was moved to my new iPhone. No need to mess with the small PIN SIM card slot. I tried assigning phone numbers to iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max one after the other without any problem.

I thought, but a problem arose when I tried to transfer my phone number to an eSIM-compatible Android smartphone. The acquisition is Google’s “Pixel 6 Pro”.

Pixel asked me to scan a QR code from my carrier, but since I didn’t have a QR code, I couldn’t proceed. In other words, if you want to transfer your phone number from your iPhone to your Pixel, you’ll need to contact your carrier.

In this case, I think it’s easier to just replace the physical SIM card. I don’t understand why eSIM is being described as being so easy (I don’t think many people regularly switch between multiple phones, so it’s a job as headache for reviewers).

Yes, eSIMs are more secure. But for those who don’t want to be locked into Apple’s ecosystem, a lot more work needs to be done. I sincerely hope that from now on the interoperability between terminals will gradually increase, and easy switching will become possible.

Perhaps the best news about the iPhone this year is that the two “Pro” models are similar in functionality. Both are made of stainless steel (more durable than the aluminum iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus) and differ only in size and battery life.

Thanks to this, whatever you choose, you won’t feel like you’re missing a feature. Personally, I prefer the 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro. The Max was too big to fit in my hand, and I dropped it several times a day, making me a little sick of it.

And both “Pro” models have a battery that lasts a whole day even with heavy use. However, if you want to use it until the next morning (sometimes after noon), the iPhone 14 Pro Max, which has a bigger battery capacity, is safe. That said, I’d really appreciate it if the battery lasted two days, but would that beggar?

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The camera has become 48 megapixels

The last time Apple improved the pixel count in an iPhone’s main camera was the iPhone 6s, released in 2015. And this year, I gave up and improved the pixel count again. The image sensor of the iPhone 13 series was 12 megapixels, but the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max supported shooting at 48 megapixels.

More pixels won’t make your photos look better, but they will certainly capture more detail (and print your photos at a larger size). With a new image processing technology called the “Photonic Engine”, the iPhone camera is said to have entered a new era. Unfortunately, in this review, I didn’t find any significant or significant improvement in image quality compared to last year’s model.

And this is important, when you take a photo with the iPhone 14 Pro, the default setting is 12 megapixels. This is because photos go through a process called “pixel binning”. Pixel binning is a technique that combines the pixels of a sensor to make each pixel virtually larger, capture more light and result in a brighter image.

If you prefer to stick with the 48-megapixel sensor (and don’t mind the larger file size), tap the Raw button at the top of the camera app to switch. It gives you more flexibility when editing, allowing you to fine-tune the saturation, contrast, brightness and shadows of your images. After trying it out, I found the 48-megapixel mode to be more versatile in most cases, as it produced cleaner photos with more detail.

Most of the photos taken in this review have been taken in the default 12MP mode. I always take my Apple iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 14 and Pixel 6 Pro with me to take pictures and compare them on a color-accurate monitor.

As a result, there was no clear distinction between photos taken with the old and new iPhones, and there were almost no “bad photos”. But often, a closer look at photos taken with the iPhone 14 Pro reveals what the new features have improved upon.

That said, it takes a bit sharper and brighter photos than its predecessor, especially when there’s some movement in the subject. However, you won’t notice the difference until you look closely.

And the iPhone 14 Pro wasn’t always better. In some cases, the iPhone 13 Pro was able to take better quality pictures with less noise. What was even more surprising was that the Pixel 6 Pro was able to take great pictures in many respects.

Regarding the iPhone 14 Pro Max, Apple has widely advertised that the performance of the ultra-wide-angle camera has been improved. The sensor is large, which improves image quality in low light conditions. But when I took a photo of Radio City Music Hall in dim light, the results were pretty much the same as the iPhone 13 Pro.

The only difference was that the iPhone 13 Pro had sharper photos. And overall, the Pixel’s ultra-wide camera was sharp.

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Video function that makes you feel like a filmmaker

With regard to the zoom function of the iPhone 14 Pro camera, in addition to the reliable 3x optical zoom, Apple also supports 48x zoom using the central 12-megapixel part of the 12-megapixel sensor. The 2x zoom feature produced some really sharp photos.

Now with 3 cameras and 4 levels of zoom, it’s a welcome addition. Since it can also be used in portrait mode, it becomes possible to shoot quite flexibly.

When it comes to portrait mode, you can now apply strike effects to the objects in front of you. In other words, it is now possible to blur not only the background of the subject, but also the objects in front of the subject. It’s a nifty feature, and the results are excellent.

The front-facing selfie camera can now take very clear selfies, given enough light. Noteworthy is the newly installed autofocus mode. It’s a selfie or group selfie (“groupie” is a weird way to call it) that focuses on all subjects in different positions with the camera.

Although, to be honest, I didn’t feel any major difference compared to the photos I took with the iPhone 13 Pro. The few selfies I took with my partner had less noise than the old model.

Apple is still the leader when it comes to shooting video on a smartphone. Above all, shooting film in “Cinematic Mode” has become 4K image quality, and it is very welcome that it supports shooting at 24 frames per second. Thanks to this, I can immerse myself in the mood of a filmmaker.

In addition, Apple’s new image stabilization function “Action Mode” can be used to shoot video with less camera shake. So, I tried to shoot a video of me running around the parking lot, and the video definitely got smoother in this mode. On the other hand. At that price, the resolution is a bit low (2.8K image quality). Also, it doesn’t work well without enough light.

Even though the improvements over the previous model seem minimal, the iPhone 14 Pro still has one of the best camera systems in a smartphone. Using it makes me feel like a creative person and makes me want to shoot photos and videos with my iPhone. Only a few other devices, such as the Pixel 6 series, can make you feel that way.

For example, at a concert by the French rock band Phoenix, I was able to capture the whole thing on video as singer Thomas Mars walked up to mezzanine level in front of me. I could easily switch between different zoom levels as Mars decreased. This ease of switching is a point that I personally value when using a smartphone camera.

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“Amazing Features” That I Couldn’t Try

All models in the iPhone 14 series have two new features that you can’t try to test. They are “collision accident detection” and “emergency SOS” using satellite communications.

First, it uses various sensors and algorithms to detect situations like being involved in a traffic accident, and if no action is taken, it will make an emergency call (Google’s Pixel series has a similar function). ). The same is true if you need help in an area with no cell phone signal.

Plus, it connects to Globalstar’s satellites, so you can chat with emergency teams and relay representatives from Apple. When I tried the display, I followed the instructions on the display to point the iPhone at the satellite in the sky. The iPhone connected successfully and sent me the location information.

It’s a really cool feature, and one that could possibly bring a little peace of mind. But I hope no one will need to use these features.

Lastly, Apple says that the iPhone 14 series has an improved internal design that makes it easier (and cheaper) to replace the rear glass if accidentally dropped. Such a move is welcome, but I’d like to wait for the opinion of iFixit, which is also known for its Apple product teardown reports.

As it turned out, it was the new iOS 16 feature that I liked the most. Many of them can be used on anything other than the latest iPhones. I especially like the new lock screen, the ability to cut subjects from photos and paste them anywhere, and edit messages.

If you have a recent iPhone, wouldn’t you be happy to update to the latest version of the OS without buying an Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max? This is a must have mind buying a brand new smartphone.

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