Trade in iPhone 13 Pro Max

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The iPhone 13 Pro Max doesn’t change all that much from last year’s iPhone 12 Pro Max, but if you’re upgrading from the iPhone 11 Pro Max you’ll notice some big upgrades.

There’s a new 120Hz display, an improved rear camera, extra storage options, and a brand-new chipset that seems to be Apple’s most powerful yet based on our testing so far.

Our full iPhone 13 Pro Max review is in the works, and you can expect to see that in the next couple of weeks, so check back then for our final verdict on Apple’s new top-end handset.

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iPhone 13 Pro Max release date and price

The iPhone 13 Pro Max was unveiled on September 14, and it went on sale on September 24. We’ve got a guide on the best iPhone 13 Pro Max deals that retailers are already offering, but some shops are citing an October delivery date for online orders.

This is the most expensive iPhone you can buy right now, with the cheapest model, which has 128GB of storage, starting at $1,099 / £1,049 / AU$1,849.

The 256GB model costs $1,199 / £1,149 / AU$2,019, the 512GB costs $1,399 / £1,349 / AU$2,369 and the 1TB costs $1,599 / £1,549 / AU$2,719. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a 1TB smartphone, but it is the first time Apple has offered that much storage size – and it’s going to cost you.

Design and display

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The iPhone 13 Pro Max is a large smartphone with a 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR display, and you may have trouble holding it comfortably if you have smaller hands – you’ll only want to go for this model if you’re looking for the biggest screen you can get on an iPhone. It measures 160.8 x 78.1 x 7.7mm, and it’s remarkably heavy at 240g.

The design of the handset feels premium to the touch, with a glass rear and stainless steel edges. The glass on the rear of the handset has a matte finish that feels more premium than the glass on the iPhone 13 or iPhone 13 mini.

Apple’s Ceramic Shield protection, introduced on last year’s iPhones, returns. Apple says its handsets with Ceramic Shield have four times the drop-resistance of iPhones without the material, which should mean your new phone won’t break on the first tumble, although we wouldn’t recommend putting that claim to the test

The display’s resolution is 2778 x 1284, which works out to 458 pixels per inch. That isn’t the best resolution on a smartphone, but this is every inch a top-tier screen, with strong brightness levels and punchy colors.

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Arguably the biggest upgrade for the screen is the introduction of a 120Hz maximum refresh rate, which means images on the screen refresh up to 120 times every second. It’s a variable refresh rate, so that actual rate you get will depend on what you’re doing on your phone

If you’re playing a game, for example, the screen will refresh at 120Hz for super-smooth gameplay, while if you’re reading an ebook, where there’s relatively little motion on the screen the refresh rate will drop to 1Hz to conserve battery life.

This is a feature we’ve seen on a lot of Android phones over the last few years, and it’s great to see it introduced to the iPhone 13 series here – although it’s only available on this phone and the iPhone 13 Pro, where many Android handsets, including mid-range models, have 90Hz or 120Hz displays, so Apple is playing catch up here. We’ll have more to say about how the new screen tech works in our full review.

The notch makes a return at the top edge of the display, but it’s 20% smaller than on previous iterations of the iPhone 13 Pro Max. It’s unlikely you’ll notice this unless you’re comparing it to other iPhones, though.

MagSafe, which alongside Ceramic Shield was another new feature last year, also returns here, enabling you to magnetically connect a wireless charger and accessories such as phone cases and gimbals.

Camera and battery

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The iPhone 13 Pro Max’s camera array features a 12MP f/1.5 wide camera, a 12MP f/2.8 telephoto snapper and a 12MP f/1.8 ultrawide camera with a 120 degree field of view, plus a 3D LiDAR scanner used for depth perception.

On paper, these are only slightly different cameras to the ones on the iPhone 12 Pro Max, and based on our short testing time the changes compared to the last-gen handset seem minor.

There are some interesting new photography features though, including a macro mode that in our testing worked well. Here’s an example of what we could do with the macro mode in just a few short moments:

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(Image credit: TechRadar)

There are also new video features, such as Cinematic Mode, which ensures that the main subject in the frame is kept in focus, with the background or foreground blurred accordingly for a ‘focus pull’ effect.

The camera upgrades on the iPhone 13 Pro Max seem exciting so far, and we’ll be digging into them in more detail in our full review.

We don’t yet know how big the battery is in the iPhone 13 Pro Max, but Apple assures us that this phone will offer better battery life than its previous handsets.

There’s fast-charging technology up to 20 watts (that’ll depend on the type of charger you’re using), and you can also charge the phone wirelessly. There’s still no reverse wireless charging, which is a feature many Android phones have that allows you to recharge headphones or smartwatches with your smartphone’s battery power.

Specs and performance

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The iPhone 13 Pro Max is powered by Apple’s own A15 Bionic chipset, and while we haven’t yet had the chance to put the processor in this phone fully through its paces, we’ve been impressed with how the same chip performs in the standard iPhone 13, which we’ve used intensively for long periods.

The iPhone 13 Pro Max also features more RAM – 6GB compared to the iPhone 13’s 4GB – so we believe this should offer top-tier power. The iPhone 13 Pro also offers 6GB of RAM.

As mentioned, you have the choice of 128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB of storage. We’d note that 128GB could prove limiting if you’re planning to use this smartphone for a few years, while at the other end of the scale the 1TB model is extremely expensive; we think either the 256GB or 521GB models will be the best buys for most people.

Early verdict

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(Image credit: TechRadar)

The iPhone 13 Pro Max doesn’t change an awful lot from the iPhone 12 Pro Max, but the upgraded specs and new features here are significant. If the phone’s battery life and power are as good as Apple says they are, this could be one of the most impressive smartphones we’ve ever seen.

The new camera features and the 120Hz display are the standout improvements, but that said, they’ve not the kind of game-changing upgrades that are likely to encourage you to upgrade from your iPhone 12 Pro Max. If, on the other hand, you currently have an iPhone 11 Pro or Pro Max, or an older iPhone – and sufficiently deep pockets – the iPhone 13 Pro Max is a seriously tempting proposition.

Source: Techradar