iPhone 11 Pro Max

iPhone 11 Pro Max Review 2022

Best Product Reviews

Last Updated on January 1, 2022 by Daniel

The iPhone 11 Pro Max is Apple’s most expensive iPhone yet, but it’s still a compelling choice. The iPhone 11 Pro Max is the most expensive iPhone Apple has ever made, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s the culmination of the company’s most dramatic changes to the phone yet. It’s the iPhone that finally gives Apple fans a 6.5-inch iPhone. For the first time, it’s a phone that’s worth the hefty price tag.

iPhone 11 Pro Max: Camera

iPhone 11 Pro Max

Normally, we don’t spend much time evaluating cameras in our reviews, but the main difference in the 2019 iPhone lineup is the image quality.

Adding the ultra-wide camera to the rear of the phone makes it three cameras total on the back.

Three prominent black holes can be seen on the back of the iPhone 11 Pro Max, with the glass square surrounding them matching the color of the phone itself, which helps to minimize their visual impact.

Here, you have a “normal” wide-angle lens, a telephoto lens, and a new ultra-wide lens. Using the telephoto option, you can zoom in 2x closer to your subject, while using the ultra-wide-angle lens, you can capture twice as much of the scene in front of you.

For example, if you want a picture of a group of friends or an animal, but you can’t move further back or closer, the iPhone 11 Pro Max lets you crop in or pull back without having to move.

The three cameras all pack 12MP sensors, which is pretty standard for most smartphones these days. This allows for a good balance between pixel size (to capture more light) and resolution (to capture plenty of detail).

Moreover, the Pro Max now supports 4K video recording at 60 frames per second (fps). By capturing more information, you’ll get smoother footage, but it’s important to keep in mind that this will fill up your iPhone’s storage quickly.

A lot can be said about the iPhone’s (or any modern smartphone’s) camera these days, as they are packed with so many features, and on the whole, you can’t hope to take a bad shot with any of them.

Apple has done a good job of filling the iPhone 6 with features, and that’s what any brand trying to make a market-leading cameraphone needs to do.

Night mode

The first is Night mode: Apple’s previous models failed to capture truly impressive night photos, and other brands have taken the lead by offering camera phones that can virtually turn the night into day through advanced post-processing.

Night mode is perhaps Apple’s single greatest selling point; in our opinion, it is the single best reason to buy a new iPhone. In order to take good pictures, you need to hold the phone steady, brace it, or mount it on a tripod. However, if you do, you’ll see details that your eyes can’t see.

The iPhone will normally ask you to hold still for between 2–5 seconds (depending on the light levels and whether you are using a tripod or not); however, you can manually extend this up to 30 seconds (if your iPhone is on a tripod or against a wall) to get “fully bright” shots.

When using Night Mode on the iPhone, the levels of sharpness and brightness were sometimes staggering.

Better portrait mode

A second upgrade to the static camera in Portrait mode, which is better at catching outlines of people, animals, and other subjects, as well as allowing it to work at a “normal” distance rather than zoomed in as previously, thanks to the extra depth sensor.

If you take photos of people in well-lit, contrasting scenes, the results are pretty good—in fact, if you get such shots right, the images can be breathtaking. Using the various lighting modes available, you can hide blemishes or create a more ethereal, stylized picture with the new High Key Mono option.

However, the iPhone 11 Pro Max struggled to get the head of a cat fully sharp when taking some photos. It would be better if we could take pictures of the objects, but we found that these were generally fuzzy around the edges as well.

Even so, the overall quality of the photos is much better than the iPhone XS Max from last year, especially when compared to it. When you remember to use it, the ultra-wide camera is great, but the results are slightly distorted in some areas, despite Apple’s attempts to correct this with image processing.

The transition between camera modes wasn’t always smooth, especially with the ultra-wide sensor juddering a bit. We often turned on the camera only to be met with a blank preview that could only be fixed by switching modes.

Since the iPhone’s “normal” camera mode results are just as good as last year, we skipped over them for this year. Images are generally bright, in focus, and full of detail and color. Apple’s photos are less saturated than those taken by competitors, and they look wonderful when blown up.

Likewise, in the video mode, we see things improving. Our sense is that the 4K, 60fps mode is more of a headline feature than anything really useful, but if you’re a serious photographer or videographer looking to buy this phone, then you’ll want such features; the details are richer, and-most importantly-the exposure is more balanced, meaning you can make better-looking movies.

The social media elite will find this feature of interest to those who want to shoot truly impressive footage with an iPhone. Additionally, the onboard editing suite allows you to change the color and filter of the entire video directly on the device, so there’s a lot to enjoy here.

iPhone 11 Pro Max: Design

iphone 11 pro max

Though Apple hasn’t changed the design of the 11 Pro Max on the front (compared with its predecessor, the XS Max), there’s a new matte glass back that feels noticeably different in the hand; it’s less prone to smudges and fingerprints, and it feels like a real upgrade.

In terms of design, the rest of the phone is very similar to what we’ve seen from Apple in recent years: the notch is still present, the sides are curved stainless steel, and the bottom houses the Lightning connector and two speaker grilles (though only one of them actually fires sound outwards).

The phone feels large in the hand, but not excessively so—those familiar with Apple’s Plus or Max phones will find the 11 Pro Max more than manageable on a day-to-day basis.

We’ve already talked about the main new design element: the camera bump on the back. Because it’s made by milling down the glass and rolling it into the phone’s rear, the edges are sharp. You should not put this phone in your pocket with another device, as the bump could scratch it.

As a result, the iPhone 11 Pro Max design is pretty close to that of the iPhone XS Max-to the point where we managed to factory-reset the wrong phone during the testing process (much to our annoyance).

There are four attractive colors for the iPhone 11 Pro Max: midnight green, space gray, silver, and gold. Our eyes are drawn to the dark green color, and it is the most obvious way to announce, “People of the city, I have bought a new iPhone!”

Even though you’ll probably want to put it in an iPhone 11 Pro Max case to protect it since it’s expensive and you don’t want to explain to your other half that you’ve ruined it in a week.

iPhone 11 Pro Max: Display

In addition to the camera, the iPhone 11 Pro Max screen (we hate writing that name) is one of the main selling points for this high-end, expensive phone.

The screen measures 6.5 inches, and the OLED panel has been refined by Apple once again. It features True Tone technology (altering the white balance depending on the lighting conditions you’re in) as well as a fluid screen, although not quite as fluid as the higher refresh rates we’ve seen on the iPad Pro, for example.

When viewing white scenes or viewing photographs, the screen seems to have more of a yellow tint—these tints aren’t present when viewing images on a computer screen, for example, so it appears to be a calibration issue.

The slight tint is also noticeable when comparing the 11 Pro Max with the iPhone XS Max from 2018—but it’s not overly noticeable, and the images aren’t distorted.

One of the key features here is the ability to play Dolby Vision content. It might not seem like much of a step up from HDR10 (the regular form of high dynamic range playback most phones use to enhance the dark and light portions of the scene), but it does make a difference.

Video playback is much more cinematic when watching films-you can see more details, and overall the experience is more immersive. Normally, the iPhone displays only 800 nits of brightness (the metric for how bright the screen can get), which is still pretty decent, but when you play a Dolby Vision movie, the screen gets even brighter (up to 1200 nits).

The cinematic feeling can be enhanced by playing sound from the speakers if you don’t have anyone around you. Apple has created a virtual surround sound setup, and while the audio isn’t as good as it would be through headphones, it does feel like it’s moving around your ears.

This isn’t new for the smartphone industry, but it does show that Apple is still striving to offer the best possible media experience years after the release of the iPod.

iPhone 11 Pro Max: Battery

iphone 11 pro

According to Apple, the iPhone 11 Pro Max battery will last five hours longer than the iPhone XS Max.

The reason for this is curious: that’s a big increase in size without affecting the device’s thickness. Could it be that Apple intended to reveal reverse wireless charging at the iPhone 11 launch, but wasn’t able to get it working properly?

Regardless, the battery life on the iPhone 11 Pro Max is outstanding indeed, and here’s how we did on the third day of testing:

After taking the iPhone off charge at 7 pm, we watched a Dolby Vision-enabled movie on auto-brightness for nearly two hours before using the phone to navigate us home for around 50 minutes; we also tried pairing a Garmin watch before going to bed just before midnight, at which point the phone was at 62%.

Overnight, things went very smoothly, and the standby mode only lost 5–6 percent of its battery over seven hours, meaning we started the day with more than 50% of the battery left.

After a long day of testing, including playing games, watching streams of video, testing the camera, and running benchmarks (this last option being particularly taxing on the battery), the iPhone 11 finally shut down just before 6 pm (we didn’t enable battery-saving mode).

Considering the performance of the iPhone XS Max last year, that’s an impressive performance-it seems Apple’s claims about a more powerful battery were correct after all.

You’ll have two options for charging this phone: wireless charging (which we recommend investing in: get a wireless charger for the home and office, and you’ll never have to worry about a dead battery), or the fast charger included in the box.

The iPhone 11 Pro’s charging capacity was highly impressive: after just 15 minutes, it was nearly at 25%, which is enough to get you through an emergency. Fast charging certainly makes up for the high price of the 11 Pro Max, since the full charge only took 90 minutes.

iOS 13, iOS 14, iOS 15 and performance.

The iPhone Pro 11 Max comes with iOS 13 out of the box, but iOS 15 is available after updating.

The FaceTime features in iOS 15 are designed to make it easier to connect with people while improving audio and video quality. With 3D audio, you can make your recipients feel like they are standing right next to you. You can now isolate your voice from ambient noise and it will only focus on your voice. In addition, there’s Wide Spectrum, which focuses on you and the environment around you.

Additionally, there is SharePlay, where you can share music, TV shows, and movies, as well as your screen, so you can show someone how you use an app.

Also, notifications for messages can now be easily hidden through Focus, which recommends which apps you may want to hide at certain times. Basically, it’s Do Not Disturb souped-up.

The Face ID system has also been improved—not its accuracy, but the field of view the camera can capture. Even though the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s front-facing camera isn’t any better at detecting faces than last year’s model, it’s easier to unlock it while sitting at your desk—we didn’t need to pick up the phone as much as we did with 2018’s iPhone XS Max.

When you frequently switch between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections, a long press on the relevant toggles in the Control Center (those options you see when you drag down from the top-right corner of the iPhone 11 Pro Max screen) will let you select the appropriate one.

It’s important to note we said the “long press,” not the “hard press.” Where previous high-end iPhones used 3D Touch, allowing users to press harder on the screen to open other menus or fire up the camera, for instance, the new iPhone 11 does not support that technology.

There is instead an upgraded haptic engine so that the rumbles under the finger feel more like mechanical buttons, and a long-press system whereby holding your finger on an option will enable other menu options.

When you start using the iPhone 11 Pro Max, it feels very intuitive very quickly, although rearranging icons on the home screen can be a bit confusing-you’ll need to select from a menu or wiggle your finger to start moving things around.

When it comes to raw performance, the iPhone 11 Pro Max is one of the most powerful iPhones on the market today-and one of the most powerful smartphones too.

Looking at the raw numbers, a quick flick through Geekbench 5 shows a score of 3420, which makes the iPhone 11 Pro Max around 10% more powerful than the iPhone 11, and more than 20% better than the iPhone XS Max from last year.

In our opinion, the Pro handsets have the most RAM of any iPhone, so the overall benchmarking scores are higher.

However, these are just numbers—what about the real-world performance of the iPhone 11 Pro Max? You won’t be able to open and close apps to the point where they start to slow down; any app you fire up will work instantly. To put it simply, the 11 Pro Max is slick under the finger.

There are only a few issues with the speed of the camera: it takes a second to load the app (and it can freeze sometimes), and when you’re taking photos, the ultra-wide camera preview, which displays the zoomed-out shot outside the standard frame, doesn’t appear immediately when the shutter button is pressed.

Also, loading a photo for editing takes a few seconds, as does saving some of the image manipulations—while we understand that there’s a lot of processing going on here, we’d expect things to run a little faster, rather than having to watch a spinning progress wheel appear intermittently.

We also experienced times when scrolling through a downloaded film to reach a particular scene would freeze the video, which was annoying when we were trying to find a brighter scene to test the display.

However, the phone’s media capabilities do extend to its power. Even on streaming services like Spotify, the sound quality is impressive; the sound feels rich and solid through headphones, with more detail in the audio than you might expect from some smartphones.

Advantages and disadvantages:

Pros Cons
Reams of power There is no clear innovation beyond the camera.
Lovely and inexpensive.
The night mode shines

Verdict

The iPhone 11 Pro Max is the best iPhone Apple could cram into a smartphone in 2019-the high-end screen, powerful speakers, and upgraded processor all support the huge improvements to the camera. However, this phone is really intended for Apple fans or consumers who really need the extra lens or a little more battery life-the iPhone 11 appears to be a more appealing option.