Hello everyone. So I am finally here, with my review of the iPhone 15 Pro Max. This guy gathered quite a lot of hype before the launch, and a lot of controversies afterwards. I have been using it for almost a month now and I recently updated it to the latest iOS 17.0.3 update as well which has fixed the overheating issue.
So, I think it’s the right time to talk about it!
First thing first, what I want to tell right away you is that if you already own last year’s iPhone 14 Pro Max (review) or even the older iPhone 13 Pro Max (review), the iPhone 15 Pro Max doesn’t make any sense upgrading! However, if you’re currently using Apple’s flagship phone that’s more than three years old, then this is a fantastic option to consider.
iPhone 15 Pro Max Review: Specifications
- Body: 76.7 x 159.9 x 8.25mm, 221gm, Titanium frames, IP68 dust/water resistant
- Display: 6.7-inches Super Retina XDR OLED, 120Hz ProMotion refresh rate, Ceramic Shield protection, Always-on Display (AoD)
- Other Properties: Dynamic Island, 2,000 nits peak brightness (outdoor), HDR, True Tone, Wide Color (P3)
- Resolution: (2796 x 1290 pixels), 460 PPI, 19.5:9 aspect ratio
- Chipset: Apple A17 Pro (3nm mobile platform)
- CPU: Hexa-core:
– 2x high-performance cores @3.78 GHz– 4x efficiency cores @2.11 GHz
- GPU: Apple 6-core GPU
- Memory: 8GB LPDDR5 RAM, 256/512GB/1TB NVMe storage (fixed)
- Software & UI: Apple iOS 17
- Rear Camera: Triple (with Adaptive True Tone LED flash);
– Wide: 48MP, f/1.78, Second-gen sensor-shift OIS, 24mm
– Periscope Telephoto: 12MP, f/2.8, 120mm, OIS, 5x optical zoom, Tetraprism design
– Ultrawide: 12MP, f/2.2, 13mm, 120° FoV
– LiDAR Scanner (night mode portraits)
- Front Camera: 12MP, f/1.9 TrueDepth camera
- Audio: Built-in stereo speakers, Built-in microphones, No 3.5mm jack
- Security: TrueDepth camera for Face ID facial recognition
- Sensors: High-g accelerometer, High dynamic range gyro, Barometer, Proximity, Dual ambient light
- Connectivity: Dual-SIM (Nano + eSIM) or Dual eSIM (US only), WiFi 6E (Dual-band), Bluetooth 5.3, GPS / AGPS / Galileo / Glonass / QZSS / BeiDou / iBeacon, USB-C port, NFC, 4G LTE (VoLTE), 5G
- Battery: 4441mAh with up to 25W fast charging, 15W MagSafe / 7.5W Qi wireless charging (no power adapter provided)
- Color Options: Black Titanium, White Titanium, Blue Titanium, Natural Titanium
- What’s Inside The Box: iPhone 15 Pro Max, USB-C to USB-C cable, User manual and other documents
- Price in Nepal: NPR 233,499 (256GB) | NPR 271,499 (512GB) | NPR 309,499 (1TB)
iPhone 15 Pro Max Review:
Design and Build
- 76.7 x 159.9 x 8.25mm, 221 grams
- Ceramic Shield front, Glass back, Titanium frames
- IP68 dust/water resistant
Ok so let me start with the things that I like the most about this guy! And I must say that I am enjoying the overall heft of this year’s 15 Pro Max! One of my few complaints with the 14 Pro Max was that it was a little too heavy. But thankfully, Apple has fixed that with this year’s “Pro” iPhones by switching from stainless steel to titanium frames!
Then again, I’m sure you’ve seen at least one of the dozen videos that show that this titanium back gives up pretty easily if you happen to drop it on a concrete surface from a certain height or try to bend it for some reason. Whereas the iPhone 14 Pro Max survives those tests quite easily.
So yeah, while these titanium frames have helped make the iPhone 15 Pro Max much lighter as well as harder, its greater degree of elasticity means the phone itself is more flexible. And the partial use of aluminum has made its drop protection significantly worse too.
That’s because the back glass is in contact with the aluminum and the titanium is actually the outer half of the frame. So, it doesn’t absorb shock as efficiently as stainless steel on the 14 Pro Max. In any case, it’s extremely unlikely that your 15 Pro Max’s back panel will break under normal use, but I’ll recommend you case it up or take an Apple Care+ protection for better peace of mind.
Anyway, the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s display — on the other hand — doesn’t crack that easily! I have dropped my iPhone 14 Pro Max multiple times in my 1 year of usage and have it survived with flying colors every single time. And it’s also the same with the 15 Pro series! Plus, the glass back on the iPhone 15 Pro series also costs significantly less this time. Apple has redesigned the frames allowing for easier repairs.
The new Action Button
Besides all this, the 15 Pro Max enjoys a new “Action Button” too. But to be honest, I didn’t use it that often. Maybe if it was placed a little down below, it would’ve been useful when clicking photos and videos but there you go.
Now, as you can see, I have the phone in this blue color variant, which catches a lot of smudges and fingerprints on the frame.
But the natural titanium variant that my friend got, has this brushed look that hides the smudges much better. So if that’s something you’re worried about, I suggest you go with that one. However, I should warn you that — even now — the iPhone 15 Pro Max is not easy to get in the natural titanium finish. And its delivery date is set for mid-November in many regions.
- 6.7-inches Super Retina XDR OLED display
- ProMotion 120Hz refresh rate
- Ceramic Shield protection, Dynamic Island
Upfront, its display remains the same as the 14 Pro Max but I don’t mind it that much since this screen is still top-notch. It’s the brightest panel that I have used on a smartphone, the touch response here is great, and it has outstanding color calibration out of the box. Plus, when it comes to the iPhone Pro series, I absolutely love the precise and pleasant feedback of the vibration motor. So the typing experience is excellent this time as well.
Their similarity continues in the audio department too since the iPhone 15 Pro Max has the same speaker system as the 14 Pro Max. As a result, both of them sound pretty similar. With nice loudness and balanced bass, vocals, and treble.
- Hexa-core Apple A17 Pro SoC (3nm)
- 8GB LPDDR5 RAM, 256GB to 1TB storage (fixed)
- Apple iOS 17 (upgradeable)
Let’s talk about the performance now. And I am happy to report to you that after the recent iOS 17.0.3 update, the overheating issue is completely gone. This is actually one of the reasons why I didn’t want to push my iPhone 15 Pro Max review much earlier because Apple didn’t quite hit the bullseye in terms of tuning the performance of the all-new A17 Pro chip on day one.
But after the update — as you can see from these graphs — the temperatures on my 15 Pro Max are significantly lower. Be it when running a stress test or recording high-res videos.
I haven’t faced any screen dimming issues even after an hour of continuous PUBG and Genshin Impact gameplay either. Everything just runs buttery smooth on the 15 Pro Max now. And needless to say, the A17 Pro should perform well for years to come as well.
There’s also a reason this chip is called “A17 Pro” and not A17 Bionic or something. Because according to Apple, it includes the “biggest redesign in the history of iPhone GPUs”. And there are some really cool features like hardware-based ray tracing and Apple’s version of DLSS called “MetalFX Upscaling” to justify its “Pro” tag.
All this is to say that the future of gaming on iPhones just got a whole lot better with the A17 Pro.
And I’m quite excited to play some of those AAA console titles that are launching later this year exclusively on the iPhone 15 Pro series! It’s also going to be quite interesting to see if it actually matches the performance and experience of a handheld console!
- 4441mAh with up to 25W fast charging support
- 15W MagSafe / 7.5W Qi wireless charging
Besides performance, I am also getting slightly better battery life here compared to the 14 Pro Max. Whereas this new USB-C port has been very useful to me since now I no longer have to carry my Lightning cable when I am traveling or going on a retreat with my Android buddies. I now can use their chargers to charge my iPhone too!
Although — as expected — it only works with QC or PD-certified chargers that you get from brands like Xiaomi, Samsung, Anker, Ugreen, etc. Whereas since the entire BBK group — which includes Oppo, Vivo, OnePlus, and Realme — uses a proprietary “VOOC” charging tech, so you can’t fast charge your latest iPhone with those chargers.
I gotta say though, with the upgrade to USB-C, I was also hoping Apple would upgrade to 30 or 45W charging. But the charging speed here is still quite slow as it takes around 1 hour and 50 minutes to fully charge this thing.
Besides charging, USB-C has made my life quite easy. I can now connect my iPhone to an external display through a USB-to-HDMI connector. I can now copy files to my iPhone directly from an SSD using a USB-C cable. How convenient is that?!
- Triple camera setup at the back
- (48MP wide, 12MP telephoto, 12MP ultrawide)
- 12MP TrueDepth camera with Face ID
5x telephoto is a godsend
Ok, let me now talk about the one thing that I’ve been using the most on my iPhone 15 Pro Max ever since I got it. And yes, that’s the new 5x 120mm tetraprism periscope camera. This is a game changer, especially for aspiring photographers! Just look at these portraits that I shot on a photo walk.
Although I have to stay more than 1 meter away from the subject, its portraits are just next level as far as smartphone photography is concerned! It mimics the DSLR and mirrorless camera portraits with excellent background blur and everything. It’s just stunning!
Similarly, the primary 48MP camera has also been updated this time. It’s the same sensor as the one on the 14 Pro Max but it now clicks 24MP images by default. And I found it to preserve notably better details and sharpness. Likewise, the 15 Pro Max’s photos have better dynamic range and brighter colors. The white balance and color processing are inch-perfect too.
I also noticed that the skin tone from the 1x and 2x portraits is rendered better on the 15 Pro Max as compared to the dark — a little unpleasing — output from the 14 Pro Max. It now processes the shadows better and makes the skin tone more look natural and attractive.
During the launch event, Apple also mentioned that with the iPhone 15 Pro, “it’s like having seven pro lenses in your pocket” with additional 28mm (1.2x) and 35mm (1.5x) shooting modes that crops from the 24mm 48MP primary lens, but I didn’t find it to be that useful!
Instead, I was mostly taking 5x shots every time the opportunity struck. And its output is excellent with colors and dynamic range similar to the primary camera.
What about videos?
Another thing I’ve always admired about the iPhone cameras is their video capability, and it still remains my go-to camera phone for videos. So, whenever I have to take selfie videos for my Instagram stories, do a live session on Amazon, or go out for a vlog, I always carry an iPhone.
And this year’s iPhone is even better on that front. First, you get a new lens coating on the front as well as the back cameras which almost completely cuts off the glare while shooting in lowlight. Secondly, you can now switch between lenses at 4K 60 fps too. And since there is literally no color shift across all the lenses, I don’t have to do a lot of work in post-production either!
So overall, you are going to get a stunning camera experience from the iPhone 15 Pro Max — all thanks to its versatile camera setup that’s equally great for photos and videos. Yeah, I know it’s not that big of an upgrade from the 14 Pro Max. But that 5x lens for portraits and zoom shots is just an amazing tool to have. I am pretty sure a lot of Android phones will now be switching to similar 5x lenses as well.
iPhone 15 Pro Max Review: Conclusion
Okay, so that was all for my full one-month review of the new iPhone 15 Pro Max! And what I can tell is this is obviously the best iPhone ever made and arguably the best smartphone on the market right now.
If you already own an iPhone 13 Pro Max or 14 Pro Max, I don’t think you’re gonna be wowed with everything it has to offer.
The 5x portrait camera, USB-C port, and console-level graphics are great to have, but they won’t offer you a whole new experience! So, you should wait for next year’s iPhone 16 Pro Max instead — or whatever it ends up being called — where Apple might bring a more robust, shatter-proof design, make full use of the hardware by striking a deal with other gaming studios to bring more AAA games. And maybe they will also bring an even better zoom camera that matches the S23 Ultra, who knows?
- Check our video review of the iPhone 15 Pro Max
iPhone 15 Pro Max Review: Pros and Cons
- The 5x telephoto lens is incredible
- USB-C, finally!
- Unmatched performance
- Stunning display
- Excellent battery backup
- Relatively fragile build
- Still no faster charging speeds
- Expensive outside of the US