Today, we will be pitting the new iPhone 15 Pro Max against the previous model – the iPhone 14 Pro Max. The new iPhone will be remembered for the switch to a USB-C port and its new periscope camera, but if you don’t care about these things, the 14 Pro Max still sounds like a great device.
Apple may not sell you the one-year-old iPhone 14 Pro Max directly, but it is still available across various retailers, so you may be wondering if you can save some cash and get this one instead. If that is the case, you are at the right place! Let’s find out!
Let’s begin by comparing the complete specs sheets here.
The iPhone 15 Pro Max is a hair shorter and narrower compared to the 14 Pro Max due to the thinner screen bezels. But the much larger difference is that it’s almost 20g lighter because of the new build. The titanium frame is lighter compared to the stainless steel used on the 14 Pro Max. The frame’s edges are also rounder and because of these changes, the new 15 Pro Max feels much lighter and less bulkier than the older model.
Other than that, the two iPhones have identical designs. They both offer flat frames and flat glass sides with a notably huge camera housing. The titanium models have less attractive (monochrome-like) paintjobs, while the 14 Pro Max can be bought in purple, silver, gold or black.
The iPhones are marketed for their Ceramic Glass Shield atop the display, which was developed together with Corning. Both devices have that along with identical Gorilla Glass panels on the back.
Both phones are IP68-rated for dust and water resistance, rated to survive at 6m depth.
The latest tests show that the 14 Pro Max and the 15 Pro Max have equally tough glass panels, refuting the claims for a weaker build on the 15 Pro Max. It always comes to pure chance, of course, which one falls, well, better, on the ground.
Aesthetically, both flagships are incredibly good-looking, though the lighter body is a welcome improvement.
Both iPhones appear to have identical OLEDs – and they are definitely among the best on the market right now.
The iPhone 15 Pro Max has the brighter display, but it beats the 14 Pro Max by a tiny weeny bit – 1787nits vs. 1760nits in Auto mode and 846nits vs. 828nits with manual control.
Both screens offer incredibly accurate color calibration.
Both iPhones offer supposedly impressive adaptive refresh rates, but since Apple is not transparent in its implementation, we are left to rely only on the advertised numbers.
Finally, the iPhones supports both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision streaming.
The iPhone 15 Pro Max is powered by a 4,441 mAh battery, while the iPhone 14 Pro Max has a slightly smaller 4,323mAh cell.
Quite expectedly, both iPhones offer identical battery life scores. iPhone 15 Pro Max scored a total endurance rating of 118 hours, while 14 Pro Max – 121 hours.
The web browsing and video playback are identical, but the 14 Pro Max offered a slightly better talk time.
The iPhone 15 Pro Max and 14 Pro Max are officially rated for 20W fast wired charging, though in some cases, it is reported they max out at 27W. Wireless charging is up to 15W via MagSafe chargers.
Having similar batteries and charging capabilities means nearly identical charging performance, which is underwhelming but will supposedly help prolong the battery lifespan.
There is no reverse wireless charging on either models.
The iPhone 15 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Pro Max both have hybrid stereo speaker setups with a dedicated bottom-firing speaker for one channel and an amplified earpiece for the other. The channels are switched on the fly to correspond to the phone’s orientation, while the earpiece gets the left channel in vertical orientation.
Both phones offer equal speaker loudness – they scored Very Good on our test. And they both offer outstandingly rich and deep audio quality.
The Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max has the best chip Apple has made so far – the Apple A17 Pro, while the iPhone 14 Pro Max has the second-best company chip – the Apple A16 Bionic. Both feature custom 6-core processors and custom Apple GPUs, with the A17 Pro having 6 cores, while the one inside A16 – 5 cores.
Apple claims the CPU high-speed cores are 10% faster than those in the A16 Bionic. The new GPU should also be 20% faster than its predecessor in peak performance. The GPU also enables hardware-accelerated Ray Tracing, which is supposedly 4 times faster than the software-based Ray Tracing on A16 Bionic.
The iPhones feature top-notch hardware and can run smoothly pretty much everything you find on the App Store. The CPU and GPU performance jumps are indeed as Apple has promised, though we doubt the users would feel the difference in the years to come.
So, regarding raw performance, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is a bit faster, but in real-life scenarios – the 14 Pro Max will remain equally fast in most cases.
Both iPhone 15 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Pro Max have four cameras each – three on the back and one selfie camera. Each of these setups is further assisted by a LiDAR system (back) and a 3D ToF camera (front).
The main cameras are 48MP, while the rest – ultrawide, telephoto, selfie – 12MP. The iPhone 15 Pro Max offers longer zoom range with its 5x telephoto, while the 14 Pro Max maxes out at 3x magnification.
The main camera on the iPhone 15 Pro Max is better as it can shoot in 24MP, and because of that it offers more detail, less sharpening and overall, less processed, and more natural look. If set at 12MP, though, the photos are completely identical on both iPhones.
The 2x zoom and the ultrawide photos are of similar quality across both iPhones.
Naturally, the 14 Pro Max does better at 3x zoom because it has a dedicated 3x telephoto for that. Surprisingly, it does a solid job at 5x digital zoom, too, and the image is lacking just a bit in detail when compared to the 5x from the 15 Pro Max and its proper 5x camera.
The same can be said for the low-light photos – the 24MP output from the 15 Pro Max main camera is more detailed, the 2x and ultrawide photos are identical, and the 3x are better on the iPhone 14 Pro Max, while the 5x are much better on the 15 Pro Max.
Finally, we can draw similar conclusions for the video recording. The 4K videos from all but the telephoto cameras are on par. The 3x zoomed are the real deal when shot on the 14 Pro Max, while the 5x – on the 15 Pro Max.
Overall, both iPhones are great cameraphones. They are quite similar when it comes to main, ultrawide and even selfie cameras. The iPhone 15 Pro Max shoots at 5x zoom, while the 14 Pro Max – at 3x zoom. And that’s about it.
There is a €150-€250 price difference between the 256GB models of the iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone 15 Pro Max, and about €350 between the base 256GB iPhone 15 Pro Max and the base 128GB iPhone 14 Pro Max.
The iPhone 15 Pro Max trumps the 14 Pro Max with a lighter body and longer 5x camera zoom. There is also a much more universal USB-C port.
On the other hand, the previous 14 Pro Max model is not only cheaper, but its stainless steel arguably looks and feels better, and its shorter 3x zoom is not a slouch when it comes to taking 5x photos either. And if you don’t need to capture ProRes videos on external storage and everyone around you has an iPhone, you will not care about getting stuck on the now-retired Lightning port.
Long story short – if you can find a good deal on the 14 Pro Max and you don’t care about the USB-C port and don’t mind the weight of the stainless steel frame, then you should save yourself some money and get this one. If you already own one and you are happy with it – there is no real reason to upgrade.
Photographers on the go will find the iPhone 15 Pro Max the better companion for its higher resolution photos, 5x optical zoom with an innovative lens, and the option to capture ProRes videos directly on an external storage. Plus, the USB 3.2 transfer speeds will be quite welcome for larger files. So choose wisely.
- Nicer hand-feel due to the lighter body and rounded corners.
- The nicer 24MP photos and the better photos and videos at 5x zoom.
- Faster A17 Pro chipset.
- The universal USB-C port with USB 3.2 transfer speeds and enhanced connectivity options.
Get the iPhone 15 Pro Max for: