- Full redesign — boxy and rectangular, versus the rounded corners of iPhone 11
- MagSafe compatibility — welcome to the world of magnet accessories!
- 120 Hz screen vs 60 Hz screen
- HDR10 screen and much higher brightness on iPhone 15
- Dynamic Island vs Notch
- Titanium frame on the 15 for a premium touch
- Mute switch is upgraded to Action Button
- A17 Pro will be a significant upgrade over A13 Bionic
- 256 GB base storage vs 64 GB base storage
- Upgraded 48 MP main camera
- New 5x zoom
- Overall improved low light performance of cameras
- USB Type C with USB 3 speeds instead of Lightning
- Massive battery capacity upgrade
Design and Size
Welcome to the future past
The iPhone 15 Pro Max does, of course, inherit all of those features and add a slight facelift — a thinner bezel around the screen. Plus, it is now out of titanium and comes with the brushed titanium finish to boot.
The signature mute switch that you have on the side of the iPhone 11 Pro Max is also gone, making room for a new “Action Button”. By default, it’s still a mute toggle, but it can now be programmed to launch your favorite apps or toggle phone features like the flashlight.
And, would you look at that — the iPhone 15 Pro Max comes with a USB Type-C port, thanks to the EU regulators basically forcing Apple to switch. It will now support USB 3 speeds with an *optional* USB 3 cable. Why is that a big deal? Because it’s about 20 times faster than the old USB 2.0 standard, which Lightning still operates under. Anyone who has tried to copy videos from their iPhone to their Windows PC knows why this is a pain — it’s basically impossible due to the slow transfer and the 4K videos being huge.
But a much more capable OLED panel — Apple’s iPhones can now display HDR content (you need high brightness to do that), and are much more visible under direct sunlight. The iPhone 15 Pro hits 2,000 nits of peak brightness, which is 2.5 times the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s 800 nits. The latter is OK to view under direct sunlight, but obviously doesn’t have the headroom of the 15 Pro Max.
Performance and Software
Nanometers of difference
Quick non-nerd talk — it will go vroom faster and it will do it for longer.
The A17 Pro also offers hardware-accelerated ray tracing and Apple touted its gaming prowess. It even dragged some big names into the presentation, like Ubisoft’s The Division Resurgence, Assassin’s Creed: Mirage, and Capcom’s Resident Evil.
Eyes forward, apertures open
Photos from the iPhone 11 Pro Max are… not bad by today’s standards, but definitely show their aging hardware. The 12 MP sensor is long in the tooth, doesn’t capture as many details as the contemporary models, and doesn’t do as well in low light as more recent iPhones do.
The iPhone 14 Pro Max finally gave us a 48 MP main camera sensor, which captures a lot more detail, and the ability to export RAW photos so shutterbugs can play with them in post. The iPhone 15 Pro Max uses the same sensor but improves on the image processing pipeline with an upgraded Photonic Engine and HDR that should give us more realistic skintones, as per Apple.
There’s also the new Action Mode for video, which is encredibly stable and allows you to capture highly dynamic footage, and the new Pro Mode that gives you more control over the camera and the ability to shoot in RAW. These things have been on the iPhones for a while, but if you are still on an iPhone 11 — you’ve missed them.
Audio Quality and Haptics
iPhone speakers on the Pro Max models are usually fantastic. Testing an iPhone 11 Pro Max vs an iPhone 14 Pro Max does show improvement — less boxiness, less distortion in the high range, and slightly fuller body. Surely, the iPhone 15 Pro Max will provide a similar upgrade over your iPhone 11 Pro Max.
As for haptics —the Taptic engine is still the same it was years ago, which is not a bad thing. Apple basically got haptics down with the iPhone 6 and, since then, it has been rinse and repeat. Excellent vibration feedback — why change it?
Battery Life and Charging
Surely, your battery is getting old?
While the iPhone 11 Pro Max had a pretty good battery life (day and a half maybe?), if you have an old unit, your battery has probably degraded a bit by now. If that’s the case, you should see a huge leap in endurance when you go to the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
Apple doesn’t share battery capacity, but the iPhone 15 Pro Max is listed to last 29 hours for video playback. By comparison, the iPhone 11 Pro Max specs page says 20 hours here. So, obviously — expect a leap in endurance.
Well, that’s quite a jump isn’t it? Yes, if you have an iPhone 14 Pro Max, you won’t feel compelled to upgrade. But coming from an iPhone 11 Pro Max, you will feel a definite jump in performance, battery life, and camera imagery.
Summary and Final Verdict
So, is it time for iPhone 11 Pro Max owners to bite the bullet and press that preorder button? There are a lot of reasons to — the new design, MagSafe, the 120 Hz ProMotion screen, the 48 MP camera upgrade, and the performance and battery bump you will definitely feel. If you are still happy with your iPhone 11 Pro Max, we wager it still has at least a year of life left in it. Otherwise — time to smash that piggy bank!