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Over the years, I’ve used iPhones of all sizes. My first smartphone was the original 3.5-inch iPhone, and I’ve carried every size screen at some point—the 4-inch iPhone 5s, the 4.7-inch iPhone 6s, the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus, the 5.8-inch iPhone X, the 6.1-inch iPhone 11, and most recently, the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 mini.
So when the iPhone 13 launched, I naturally ordered the one missing from that list: the 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max. That’s a full 1.3 inches bigger than the iPhone 12 mini that I’ve been using for the past 11 months, so it definitely took some getting used to. But along with the size and the weight—both not insignificant hurdles to overcome—I’ve learned some surprising things about the differences between Apple’s smallest and biggest iPhones.
This one might seem obvious, but until the iPhone 13 Pro Max, I had never used an iPhone that consistently lasted all day. With the iPhone 12 mini, I regularly kept a charger nearby just to ensure that I didn’t run out of juice. That’s not even the slightest concern with the iPhone 13 Pro Max. Between the bigger battery, A15 power handling advancements, and the adaptive refresh display, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is a battery beast, easily getting through a day of extremely heavy use without dipping into the red. With conservative use, I could probably get through a full weekend without a charger. It’s the single biggest reason why I would recommend the Max to anyone buying an iPhone.
Since the iPhone 13 Pro has an identical design to the iPhone 13, Apple needs to distinguish it in some way, so it opted to wrap it in stainless steel rather than aluminum, which looks incredible in renders but isn’t all that great in practice. It’s heavy, it scratches easily, collects smudges, and quite frankly, doesn’t look much better than the brightly colored aluminum on the iPhone 13. I understand why Apple would use a different material for its higher-end phones, but I’m hoping the rumors of titanium for next year’s Pro models are true.
Obviously, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is substantially bigger than the iPhone 12 mini, but other than the physical size of the screen, you’re not giving up all that much between the two phones. The usual Pro-to-non-Pro differences apply—better camera, better display, better battery—but for normal tasks, the Max doesn’t really offer all that much over the mini. Unlike the Apple Watch Series 7, which offers enhanced UI elements to take advantage of the larger screen, the iPhone Max has the exact same interface as the iPhone mini.
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