The iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max are essentially the same phone in most regards, but there are a few features exclusive to the iPhone 15 Pro Max that may help you decide whether the bigger screen size is worth it.
If the only thing holding you back from picking the iPhone 15 Pro Max is its larger build, its improved camera capabilities may be enough to sway you away from the iPhone 15 Pro. Here are all the differences to think about:
Let's start with the noticeable difference: size. This year's Pro models are similar in size to the last three generations, so there's not much new to say.
Diagonally, the iPhone 15 Pro's screen is 6.1 inches, or 6.06 inches when measured within a standard rectangle shape. The iPhone 15 Pro Max's screen is 6.7 inches or 6.68 inches within the rectangle shape. This is exactly the same as the Pro models in the iPhone 12, 13, and 14 series.
- iPhone 15 Pro: 6.1" diagonally
- iPhone 15 Pro Max: 6.7" diagonally
Both models have the same screen resolution as last year's: 2,556-by-1,179 pixels at 460 ppi for the iPhone 15 Pro, and 2,796-by-1,290 pixels at 460 ppi for the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
- iPhone 15 Pro: 2,556-by-1,179 pixels at 460 ppi
- iPhone 15 Pro Max: 2,796-by-1,290 pixels at 460 ppi
As for the physical dimensions and weight, the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max have a slightly smaller surface area than the past three Pro generations. While they are both 0.1–0.3 inches thicker, they're lighter than their older siblings because of the titanium build.
- iPhone 15 Pro: 5.77" H x 2.78" W x 0.32" D at 6.6 oz.
- iPhone 15 Pro Max: 6.29" H x 3.02" W x 0.32" D at 7.81 oz.
The iPhone 15 Pro has the same zoom range in the camera as last year's model, but the iPhone 15 Pro Max gets a significant upgrade with its 5x optical zoom at a 120-millimeter focal length. That's a 67% increase over the maximum zoom of the iPhone 14 Pro, 14 Pro Max, and 15 Pro.
To make this possible, Apple designed a new telephoto lens for the iPhone 15 Pro Max using an innovative tetraprism design with a folded glass structure below the lens. "The light rays are reflected four times through the glass structure, allowing the light to travel for longer in a much smaller design," according to Misha Scepanovic, Apple's director of optical engineering. "This creates enough separation between the lens and the sensor to enable the longer focal length."
- iPhone 15 Pro: 12 MP 3x telephoto, 77 mm, ƒ/2.8 aperture
- iPhone 15 Pro Max: 12 MP 5x telephoto, 120 mm, ƒ/2.8 aperture
It should be noted that the 2x telephoto zoom on both the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max is enabled by a quad-pixel sensor. Both have a 48-millimeter focal length, ƒ/1.78 aperture, second-generation sensor-shift optical image stabilization, and 100% Focus Pixels.
To support the new tetraprism design's intricate balance of light, the iPhone 15 Pro Max needed a better optical image stabilization (OIS) system to prevent blurry photos without a tripod.
The Max's OIS and autofocus sensor-shift module for the telephoto lens moves in three directions, a first for smartphones, according to Apple. It has up to 10,000 micro-adjustments per second, which is twice as many as the iPhone 14 Pro series and iPhone 15 Pro.
- iPhone 15 Pro: 12 MP 3x telephoto with optical image stabilization
- iPhone 15 Pro Max: 12 MP 5x telephoto with 3D sensor-shift optical image stabilization and autofocus
A longer optical range on the iPhone 15 Pro Max also provides better digital zooming in the camera. The iPhone 15 Pro has a digital zoom that can go up to 15x, but the Max model can reach as far as 25x.
- iPhone 15 Pro: Up to 15x digital zoom
- iPhone 15 Pro Max: Up to 25x digital zoom
A bigger phone means a bigger battery, and that remains true when comparing the iPhone 15 Pro Max to the iPhone 15 Pro, so you can squeeze more video playback and audio playback out of the battery.
- iPhone 14 Pro: Up to 23 hours for video; Up to 20 hours for streamed video; Up to 75 hours for audio
- iPhone 14 Pro Max: Up to 29 hours for video; Up to 25 hours for streamed video; Up to 95 hours for audio
However, a bigger battery also means longer charging speeds. When fast-charging the iPhone 15 Pro Max, you can get up to a 50% charge in around 35 minutes with a 20-watt USB-C adapter or higher. The iPhone 15 Pro only takes about 30 minutes.
Unlike previous Pro models, the iPhone 15 Pro Max only has three storage options to choose from — 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB — while the iPhone 15 Pro also has a 128 GB option.
- iPhone 15 Pro: 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB
- iPhone 15 Pro Max: 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB
The iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max both have the same camera-related features that would increase the storage needed, such as a more advanced Portrait mode, Smart HDR 5, spatial videos, and additional ProRes features such as Log encoding and support for the Academy Color Encoding System (ACES).
So it's puzzling why the iPhone 15 Pro still has a 128 GB option. Unless you buy into an iCloud+ subscription, you might regret opting for 128 GB when photo and video file sizes are only getting bigger.
OK, so this is more of a negative point, but the iPhone 15 Pro Max starts at $1,199 for the 256 GB model, and the iPhone 15 Pro's 128 GB model goes for $999, and its 256GB option runs $1,099. So, if price is an issue, the 15 Pro may be more appealing overall.
- iPhone 15 Pro: $999 (128 GB), $1,099 (256 GB), $1,299 (512 GB), $1,499 (1 TB)
- iPhone 15 Pro Max: $1,199 (256 GB), $1,399 (512 GB), $1,599 (1 TB)
The iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max are available for preorder on Sept. 15 and will be available to buy on Sept. 22.
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