Updated: Aug 19, 2021
Instead of trying to push out a quick review, we decided to wait a bit and see what new features Apple would push out and fix before doing a review for the iPhone 11 Pro Max. We’ve literally travelled around the world with the phone, so here are our thoughts after using it for 30 days.
Design-wise, it’s quite similar to other iPhones with the frosted glass on the back and a few colour options available. There are three cameras on the rear which is housed in a square enclosure instead of the traditional rectangular one Apple has been using for a while. But besides that, it still feels premium and exactly how an iPhone should.
The retina display has been improved this year, but while it’s not a huge improvement, it definitely is noticeable if you’re watching movies or playing games.
Remember the jokes that you’d have to buy a powerbank before you even buy a case for a new iPhone? Well, those are jokes that can be left in the past. The new iPhone 11 Pro Max is a beast when it comes to battery life. Taking it off the charger at 7am and going through a full day, we found that the phone lasted till almost midnight with around 20% battery left. That’s insane.
Wireless charging works fine, but most Apple products have a sweet spot to get it going. If you’re a new user, you’ll want to familiarise yourself to get that spot correct so you can accurately place your phone down and have it start charging instead of fiddling with it.
The Apple ecosystem has always been cohesive, but it’s even more prominent in this iPhone and iOS 13. From security and permissions to the fantastic dark mode, using the iPhone 11 Pro Max is just a great experience.
Audio quality is amazing and great for watching video content. It’s louder and definitely an improvement over previous iPhones.
Apple has also nailed the cameras on the 11 Pro Max, and we feel that it’s one of the best camera setups on any smartphone in the market right now. There’s consistency across all the lenses, whether it’s colour, sharpness or anything else.
The front camera is decent, but it’s not as sharp as the rear cameras are. Testing it with a beard shows that the photos don’t have as much detail as the rear cameras. Colour tone and dynamic range are all great, however.
The rear cameras are much better. The ultra-wide lens is fantastic, not much distortion while providing an insane FOV. The lens is a little slower, which makes it not ideal for low light situations, but performs excellently in good lighting.
The wide lens is the heart of the setup, with the all-new Night Mode, Portrait Mode and more. It’s a sharp lens that performs beautifully in any use scenario.
The telephoto lens is a faster lens and better for low light situations. Again, it’s just a good lens that really doesn’t disappoint at all. Zooming in and out of the wide, ultra-wide and telephoto lenses show the cohesiveness that we mentioned earlier. You don’t get changes in colour tone, sharpness or any sort of stuttering. It’s just smooth throughout.
Night Mode does have a quirk though, we’ve seen that there’s a sort of dark halo when shooting pictures in low light. It could be something Apple is doing to distinguish what parts need to have the highlights bumped up, and it’s definitely fixable in post-processing, but just something to take note of.
Videos are still just as good on the new iPhone, with phenomenal stabilisation. We’ve heard people complain about using iPhones to shoot videos because it looks too cinematic with how smooth it is, so make of that what you will. Users can also now edit videos straight out of the phone with the new editing software in the Photos app.
So what do we not like? The menus in Settings could be a bit more simplified. Right now, it’s a chore to access Location settings, Internet Hotspot and more. It would be nice to be able to do everything through the dropdown menu instead.
The HDR in photos can also be a bit overdone, and it would make for a more natural photo if the HDR setting was a little toned down. You can turn HDR off, but by default there’s still going to be some processing done in the background.
We also do wish there’s a higher refresh rate on the iPhone 11 Pro Max, but besides that, it’s a great phone and Apple has pretty much nailed it all with this phone.
More information about the iPhone 11 Pro Max and purchasing options can be found on Apple’s website.