We’re coming up on three weeks since the release of the iPhone 13 lineup, and my iPhone 13 Pro Max has already become an integral part of my tech setup. Head below as I break down five quick impressions of Apple’s flagship iPhone 13 Pro Max after the first three weeks of usage, including details on ProMotion, size, and much more.
There’s a reason I’m starting this piece off with ProMotion as the top header. ProMotion on the iPhone 13 Pro is incredible. Once you see it for the first time, you’ll never be able to use an iPhone without it again.
I’ve been using iPads with ProMotion since it first came to the iPad Pro in 2017, so I’m no stranger to the 120Hz experience. Regardless, I was still blown away the first time I used my iPhone 13 Pro Max. Animations are as smooth as can be, you can read text as it scrolls, and everything is incredibly fluid.
As tests (and Apple’s own claims) have shown, ProMotion also has major efficiency benefits. The iPhone 13 Pro Max’s battery life is incredible for this reason, plus the sheer size of the battery.
One thing to note, however, is that something about ProMotion seems to mean that different people can have vastly different impressions of it. Some people (like me) notice it immediately and instantly recognize the benefits. Other people notice it but don’t consider it a game-changer, and some people even have to turn it off because it messes with their heads. Be sure to try out an iPhone 13 Pro or iPhone 13 Pro Max before upgrading just for ProMotion.
The iPhone 13 Pro Max is a big and heavy phone, there’s no denying that. It’s even heavier than last year’s iPhone 12 Pro Max. For context, over the last year, I switched pretty regularly between the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12. The iPhone 13 Pro Max is significantly heavier and bigger than both of those phones, a change I was concerned about getting used to.
In practice, one of the most surprising things for me has been just how quickly I’ve gotten used to the iPhone 13 Pro Max’s size. As I come upon the 3-week mark, I’m realizing that the iPhone 13 Pro Max no longer feels abnormally big or heavier. On the flip side, there are plenty of times where I realize how happy I am to have the 6.7-inch display and impressive battery life it offers.
I do find that the iPhone 13 Pro Max size is made more manageable by using a case. The matte back is rather slippery and hard to grip (just like the iPhone 12 Pro design), but a case can help with this. My go-to recommendation is Apple’s official leather case, but there are plenty of more affordable options out there.
Like many of my fellow Apple commentators, I’m disappointed with the colors of the iPhone 13 (and Apple Watch Series 7, for that matter). This is especially true for the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max, where your options consist of: graphite, silver, pacific blue, and gold.
I think the gold iPhone 13 Pro looks the best, but it doesn’t really match my style. Pacific blue looks nice, but it’s borderline gray in many environments. Graphite is a bit too close to brown for my taste. This left one option for me this year: silver.
I’ve actually never owned a silver or white iPhone before, so I’m pretty happy with my choice. That being said, I concur that Apple needs to appoint a “Color Czar” of some sort, because its options recently have really missed the mark.
During the iPhone 13 rumor cycle, there was quite a bit of focus on the fact that Apple would make the notch smaller this year – for the first time since the introduction of the iPhone X. While these rumors turned out to be true and the iPhone 13 notch is around 20% smaller in width, it really ended up being “much ado about nothing.”
The iPhone 13’s smaller notch is certainly noticeable, but there are two things to keep in mind. First, it’s smaller in width, but actually slightly taller, meaning it extends further down into the iOS interface than before. This isn’t really noticeable in day-to-day use, but it makes you wonder why exactly Apple made this change.
Secondly, Apple hasn’t done anything to take advantage of the added screen real estate it gained with this change. For instance, it could have easily added the battery percentage back to the status bar, but it decided against this for whatever reason. Luckily, there is room for more carrier 5G branding…
I don’t have much to say when it comes to the iPhone 13 Pro’s camera that hasn’t already been said by my colleagues Zac Hall and Miles Somerville. My favorite feature by far is Macro Mode, which turns the iPhone 13 Pro into an even more versatile camera than it already was.
I think that Macro Mode should be its own toggle or “mode” in the Camera app. Apple has added a toggle to the Settings app that allows people to disable “Auto Macro,” but giving Macro Mode a dedicated mode in the Camera app would be a lot more practical in my opinion.
Other than that, the iPhone 13 Pro Max cameras excel in nearly every way. The new Photographic Styles feature gives you more ways to personalize the photos you take with your iPhone, Cinematic Video is impressive if you take a lot of videos, and the improved Ultra Wide lens is a major jump year-over-year.
For an amateur photographer like myself, the iPhone 13 Pro Max continues to be the best camera because it allows me to take a picture without worrying about the outcome.
PSA: Included accessories
Citing environmental concerns, Apple is no longer including headphones or a charging brick in the iPhone 13 box this year. Here are some accessories you might consider picking up to help fill that gap and complement your new iPhone.
- Native Union Drop 10W Qi Charger
- Anker 30W USB-C wall charger
- USB-C to Lightning cable
- Lightning to 3.5mm headphone adapter or cable
The iPhone 13 Pro Max is an incredible phone. It’s probably the best phone ever made, despite the fact that it’s largely an iterative upgrade over the iPhone 12 Pro Max from last year. I took a year off from the “Max” size last year, due largely to the pandemic and not traveling, but I am very happy to be back to the 6.7-inch screen size this year.
Looking ahead to the iPhone 14 next year, I’m very intrigued about the rumors of an iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Max, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max. As the rumors stand today, this means we’ll have two 6.1-inch and two 6.7-inch form factors at different price points. More on that over the next 12 months. Intriguing!
What do you think of the iPhone 13 Pro Max? Have any questions for me? Sound off down in the comments!
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