The upcoming iPhone 14 Pro Max might not be a big enough leap over the previous-gen model, but for those who own the two-year-old iPhone 12 Pro Max, it just might be the good phone to upgrade.
With big performance gains, various camera improvements, and an expected big jump in battery life, the iPhone 14 Pro Max may look like the 12 Pro Max, but inside it looks like a totally different beast.
- Thinner bezel, larger aspect ratio
- i-shaped cutout for Face ID (instead of notch)
- Faster A16 Bionic chip
- New 48MP main camera
- Higher starting price
Design and display quality
Brighter display with thinner borders
The iPhone 14 Pro Max retains the design that the iPhone 12 Pro Max championed to the world with flat bezels, a stainless steel frame, and a matte glass back.
However, Apple is said to be reducing the bezels around the display and, more specifically, changing the infamous notch that houses the front camera and Face ID hardware to a more understated i-shaped shape.
Expect to see the same IP68 water and dust protection on both devices, the same Lightning port used for charging, and the same lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack.
In terms of colors, you will get a selection of four colors on both models. Three of them are nearly identical: Graphite, Silver, and Gold, but the fourth would be a new purple tint on the iPhone 14 compared to the Pacific Blue tint we had on the 12 Pro Max.
There’s not much difference when you open the box either: the iPhone 14 should come with just a Lightning cable in the box, no charger included, just like the 12 Pro Max.
Face ID remains the biometric security solution of choice for Apple, and despite the new shape of the cutout, it still works on the iPhone 14.
The higher peak brightness of the new 14 Pro Max is another argument it has in its favour.
For everything else, however, both devices are expected with excellent color calibration and both fully support HDR content.
Performance and software
Faster speed on new model
Under the hood, you have the Apple A16 Bionic chip on the iPhone 14 Pro Max and the A14 on the 12 Pro Max. The new chip is expected to be manufactured in the more efficient 4nm process and should not only deliver faster speeds but also be less power hungry.
Both also have 6GB of RAM, with one slight difference: the newer model comes with faster LPDDR5 type RAM than LPDDR4 on the older model.
In terms of software, both will have iOS 16: the 14 Pro Max at launch, and the 12 Pro Max should also get the iOS 16 update in the days following. With 5 or 6 years of software support, both devices are also perfectly upgradable, but consider that two of those years have already passed on the 12 Pro Max.
In terms of connectivity, both have 5G, and it’s good to know that the older 12 Pro Max also supports C-band 5G frequencies which are becoming crucial for Verizon and AT&T.
We’ve also heard rumors about satellite connectivity on the 14 Pro Max that would let you send an emergency message if you’re in trouble and out of coverage, and that could be a lifesaving feature.
A new 48MP sensor could bring the next big leap in video quality
Camera systems have only gotten bigger and the iPhone 14 Pro Max will only continue that trend. Both phones use a triple camera system on the back, but thanks to a new, larger 48-megapixel sensor for the main camera, the 14 Pro Max camera has expanded even further.
- Wide camera: 48MP on 14 Pro Max versus 12MP on 12 Pro Max
- Ultra-wide camera: 12MP on both, f/1.8 on newer model vs f/2.2
- Telephoto camera: 3X zoom vs. 2.5X zoom
Having this larger camera opens the door for Apple to introduce 8K video recording on this new iPhone, as well as the ability to capture 48MP photos at full resolution, which is perfect for landscape shots, for example.
But it’s not just a matter of hardware, of course. A number of features are not available on the older 12 Pro Max. Chief among them has to be cinematic mode, which lets you blur the background in videos, just like portrait mode does in photos. You also don’t have photography styles or a longer zoom range.
We’ll add more information about the new camera features on the iPhone 14 Pro Max here as soon as more details emerge.
Audio and haptic quality
While the iPhone 12 Pro Max sounds great, it’s the next generation that’s taken a big leap in terms of volume and richness levels, and we’re expecting even more improvements in the 14 series, so those who appreciate great sound from their phone would appreciate the newer one. model.
We don’t expect to see any changes to the Taptic Engine that drives haptics or vibration feedback, but it’s been excellent from the start, so that’s nothing to worry about.
Battery life and charging
Big increase in battery life
We expect the iPhone 14 Pro Max to have the same or larger battery than its predecessor, which is a big leap from the 12 Pro Max.
So those who value great battery life are in for a treat with the 14 Pro Max, and that alone might be a good reason to upgrade.
- iPhone 12 Pro Max: 3,687mAh
- iPhone 14 Pro Max: 4,352 mAh or more (+20%)
On the charging front, both use the Lightning connector with slight differences in charging speed. The 12 Pro Max can charge up to 20 watts, while the 14 Pro Max can go up to 27W. However, due to the different battery sizes, the 0-100% charge time on both is about 2 hours.
Both also support MagSafe wireless charging at 15W speeds.
*iPhone 14 specifications are based on leaks and rumours, and are not final.
Summary and final verdict
So, is it worth upgrading from the 12 Pro Max to the newer 14 Pro Max? While we don’t know everything about the 14 Pro Max just yet, it’s a massive upgrade. The increased battery life might be the most significant improvement, next to the 120Hz ProMotion display.
We don’t know how many people will actually care about 8K video recording or high resolution photos. Camera nerds sure will, but we’re not sure about everything else. But it’s the whole suite of upgrades you get with some great trade-in offers that might be just compelling enough.
Remember that rumors of a price hike are circulating and it is possible that the new iPhone 14 Pro Max will also be slightly more expensive.
What would it take to upgrade from the 12 Pro Max? Is there a particular feature you are missing or would like to see improved?