So right after my first impression video of all of the iPhone 13 lineup, I did a poll on my YouTube community tab and the top two requests came in the form of the iPhone 13 Pro Max and the iPhone 13 Pro as the first review that you would like for me to do an in-depth review.
So because of this, I thought of segregating these iPhone reviews into two parts, one is for the Pro line up the iPhone 13 Pro and the iPhone 13 Pro Max, and the other video review, that’s coming soon will be based on the video that will be based on the Consumer lineup, which is the iPhone 13 Mini and the iPhone 13.
So in this article, let’s take a look at the Pro line of smartphones for the iPhone 13 to find out which Pro you should go for.
Starting from the specs, both phones come with Apple’s A15 Bionic 5nm Chipset, with Apple’s very own 5-core GPU, all of the variants have 6 gigabytes of RAM and you can choose between 128, 256, 512 and 1 TB of storage.
And in case you didn’t know that all iPhones, even going back to iPhone 7, uses NVMe type of storage, which NO other smartphone in the market uses, and not only NVMe storages are really expensive if you go out and buy one but it has amazingly fast speeds, so if you wondered why iPhones were “expensive” well, take that into account.
Then when it comes to the software, it comes shipped with iOS 15, but as of this review, it is at version 15.1
Now in terms of the usability of both phones daily, if you are coming from the iPhone 11 or before that, you will find that the phone feels really solid and grips into your hands and while initially some mentioned about how the squared-off edges “cuts” their hand and all, that’s pure nonsense, as there weren’t such issues.
In terms of the differences between using the Pro and the Pro Max, yes, you will find that the Pro would be more comfortable to hold if you have medium-sized to small hands, but personally, for me, I always loved big-screen phones and used them, so going from the iPhone 13 to this Pro was an easy transition.
There were some also who mentioned that the phone was “heavy” which in my humble opinion I didn’t really feel it was. Yes on paper it does seem like a heavy device, but that is very subjective, so I would suggest you head to your nearest Apple authorized store, sanitize your hands first, and then feel how it is on your hands to know if it is right for you, because it was perfectly fine and I loved the overall build of the Pro Max and the Pro as well.
Another thing to note is that, while you can typically put on a skin to cover the finish, I am personally not a fan of doing so on a smartphone, and it’s nice that these Pro and Pro Max does come with a matte finish and the sides are made of stainless steel, and it’s very shiny to the point people would instantly know that you are using a brand new phone.
So you can “flex” your new smartphone just like how my buddy Jayz from Lens Library did when he got the Sierra Blue color, where the Pro that I am reviewing is in Gold and the Pro Max is my personal favorite, which is Silver.
Ah, the displays!
What’s interesting is that every iPhone 13 lineup has the same display type, which uses the Super Retina XDR OLED display, with Dolby Vision but you will find a tiny bit of difference in the screen’s resolution just on paper, which you won’t really “see” the difference to be honest, where the Pro has 1170 x 2532 pixels and the Pro Max has 1284 x 2778 pixels due to the larger screen of course.
But where this Pro lineup differs from the non-Pro variants is the ProMotion 120 Hertz adaptive refresh rate that adjusts from 10 Hertz to 120 Hertz, which adapts to your usage, hence saving battery, which I will go into the battery life later.
And here is why I would totally recommend going to the Pro lineup of the iPhone 13 because Apple does it superbly well as they did with their iPad Pro.
It was such a great experience just using the phone daily also with the peak brightness up to 1200 nits where the shot you see over here was taken on super bright daylight, even with ND filter on and yet the phone screen was really visible.
So this makes it perfect, whether it is just typically multitasking, watching videos and of course gaming, which I will also go into later.
Speaking of video playback, as mentioned in my first impressions video, it is extremely nice to have Dolby Vision on Netflix, colors were super accurate and pleasing to the eye and here is where if you consume more movies and videos on the phone, you might want to consider getting the Pro Max to have a better viewing pleasure on the screen, but that goes without saying that the Pro was not as good, but in this case, the bigger screen the nicer experience.
As for both of the phone’s cameras, it is the same, where:
- the main lens is a 12-megapixel f 1.5 aperture 26mm wide lens
- a 12-megapixel f 2.8 77mm telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom
- a 12 megapixel f1.8 13mm ultrawide lens and a Lidar sensor
Then the front camera has a 12-megapixel f 2.8 23mm lens.
Starting from the ultrawide lens, the image quality was really great and very consistent in terms of the quality and dynamic HDR details, with absolutely no barrel distortion at the sides and it is overall my top 2 favorite ultrawide lenses on a smartphone.
As for the main lens, the dynamic range and the amount of details was really good with very accurate colors, which was something that I preferred as flagship smartphones these days tends to over saturate the colors, for the sake of making the images more vibrant per se, but that was not the case on the lens over here.
So one of the many new software features on all of the iPhones are the Photographic Styles, which is like Picture Profiles that you find on a mirrorless camera, where in the camera app itself there are five different presets that you can choose from between:
- Rich Contrast
which you can adjust the tone and warmth further if you want to.
Telephoto (3x Zoom)
As for the telephoto lens, it was high in quality like the main lens, there was almost no noise in the image, which other smartphones tend to have on their Telephoto lens and while it may not have a crazy amount of zoom range, I prefer something that is more usable and the photos on this telephoto lens are as flagship quality as it should be.
Looking at the Portrait Mode, what’s interesting is that you can use these rear portrait modes for two situations, one is the 1x portrait and a 3x portrait mode, which gives a more versatile option for you to change between both focal lengths.
And as for the quality, as usual the subject to background blur is one of the best in the smartphone industry with perfect colors and skin tones for human subjects as well.
As for the Macro Mode, yes, Apple is a little “late” on bringing Macro capabilities on their phones, as this is a feature which seems to be a favorite of many and there is a real good reason for it because when Apple does something, they do a freaking good job at it because the Macro shots on the phone are hands down the best Macro shots I have ever seen on any smartphones that I have tested.
Not only focusing was super easy, but there were no color shift issues, no over-sharpening, where these issues are most of the time the case for other Macro smartphone lenses, and taking these shots was super effortless since it has a very close focal distance and a great auto-focus of only 2 centimeters.
And knowing the fact that it converts the Ultrawide lens to this Macro mode is also really sweet instead of typically having a dedicated macro lens on the phone.
Also, just so y’all know, with the iOS 15.1 update there is now a toggle to turn off the automatic switching of the macro mode in the camera settings for those who prefer situations if you like turning off to take a closer Ultrawide shot.
As for taking photos at night, you can choose between taking Auto Night mode shots or turning it off all together and with it turned on, I just love how the shots looked very natural, true to life and sharp at the same time, the skies were nice and black and not too bluish which some night mode smartphone cameras are. And there was no noticeable noise in the shadows whether you are taking photos on the ultrawide or the main lens.
Looking at the regular selfie shots, skin tones and the amount of exposure control was definitely one of the best I have seen, and it is surely one of the great points when it comes to a point-and-shoot selfie image, without waiting for the right amount of light or angle to get a perfect shot.
The Portrait Selfie is still best in the smartphone industry once again effortless photo-taking with amazing subject to background blur.
As for video recording, both the rear and the front camera can record 4k up to 60 frames per second and the video quality was really great as how iPhone has always been known for for the ultrawide, the main lens and even the telephoto lens, especially since there is OIS for it as well.
Image stabilization for the rear was very natural, not too gimbal-like and had a more raw movement instead which was nice.
Then of course there is the Cinematic Mode, which is an amazing implementation of the camera’s software from a video’s perspective.
Now, don’t mistake this mode for Portrait Video which is found on other smartphones, because this Cinematic Mode is more than just giving a subject to background blur on video but it also has some intelligent focus tracking and changing focus on another person or a subject automatically or by manually touching the screen.
The focus breathing during this mode is super seamless as well which even some expensive mirrorless cameras cannot achieve this amount of smoothness.
And what’s super extra cool is that if you feel like you got the timing of focus or the subject focus wrong, you can always edit it later in the phone’s camera app or even with the latest update on Final Cut Pro X as well!
The videos for the front camera are hands down the best that I have ever tested on any smartphone, the dynamic range was crazy good to a point it didn’t even overexpose to a point that it didn’t even overexpose when I point it directly towards the Sun, which was totally mind-blowing!
Image stabilization was also really good for the front camera as expected too.
Then finally as of the iOS 15.1 update, ProRes video is here. You will need to first toggle that in the settings and also in the camera app and since the update came very close to me publishing this video, I did some very quick test shots and the video looked really great. It can record up to 4k 30 fps or even 24 fps as well, and has a very great dynamic range as expected, which was really mind blowing to know and I am looking to use this shot more for outdoor situations as well moving forward for my YouTube videos.
And if you are like me who is excited for this and will be using this mode more, be sure to get the higher storage variant anything above the 256 gigabytes version due to the hardware limitation of space to get 4k 30 frames per second.
As for the phone’s speakers, the stereo speakers are available across the board for all of the iPhone 13 lineups once again.
When it comes to the sound quality, the highs for vocals and other high-frequency notes within the music was perfectly balanced and the bass produced both phones specifically for the Pro and the Pro Max was already nicely pronounced and you can feel the bass, definitely one of the best sounding speakers on a smartphone.
But because the Pro Max has a larger build quality, obviously the output was better, as you can hear a significant difference not only on the overall volume but on the overall vocal clarity and the bass as well.
As for the phone’s battery, looking at the iPhone 13 Pro, it comes with 3095 milliamps of battery, and the iPhone 13 Pro Max, comes with 4352 milliamps of battery.
And in case you didn’t know that the battery size of the iPhone is totally not comparable with any smartphone because of the efficiency of the A15 Bionic chipset, so don’t even bother comparing the numbers of the battery size.
Now before even testing the phone’s battery, during the Keynote presentation, Apple has mentioned how they have increased the space inside of the phones to accommodate a bigger battery, which means that there is about one and a half hours on the Pro and two and a half hours on the Pro Max compared to previous models.
And based on my test using both phones daily as mentioned I almost abused the Pro Max’s screen more due to the larger screen with it got me an average of close to 8 and a half hours of screen on time when I was at 10% battery with dark mode turned on.
And as for the iPhone 13 Pro gave me about 8 hour and 15 minutes and sometimes a little more battery life with the same 10% battery and the dark mode toggled on.
Now, this is still very much subjective towards how you really use the phone because I believe I am pretty a heavy user since my work always needs me to be on my phone, so I am very certain that you will be able to get more battery life on each of the phones.
Because I found that I did get an average of one and half days, especially it was very consistent on that for the iPhone 13 Pro Max for me.
In terms of fast charging, there is no official mention of this but based on my research you will get fast-charging up to 27 watts on the iPhone 13 Pro Max and 23 watts of fast charging on the iPhone 13 Pro.
And then there is MagSafe wireless charging up to 15 watts and Qi wireless charging up to 7.5 watts.
As for software, I personally really enjoyed my experience with iOS 15 ever since it was updated from version 14, where we have already seen version 15.1 already coming to the iPhones.
So far, I have never come across any bugs or any issues using the phone daily and software stability has always been one of the BIGGEST reasons why iPhones are the number 1 selling smartphone in the world.
In case you have missed my video on what I loved about iOS 15, where I have mentioned all my favorite features there. (Check out my iOS 15 video here)
And while there are many great updates, my top features that I really can’t live without is the Focus Mode where it allows certain notifications based on when I am working. Honestly, this feature seems like something that is just like “Okie..that’s cool” but once you try it you are going to be totally hooked!
Spotlight search is also something that I found very useful to just swipe down anywhere in the middle at the home screen to find literally anything at any point in time.
And finally, Smarter Notifications, where it groups the notification from the same app and one might argue that this group notification is already available on Android for years, once again iOS has perfected it.
Because I love how when it is grouped, you just touch it once and it expands a whole list of the notification without even specifically selecting it. So for example, if I get a bunch of YouTube notifications, it’s nice that I can first see the exact notification and then choose which video that I would like to check out first.
And SharePlay is finally here with the latest 15.1 software update, and it allows integration with apps like Apple Music and Apple TV+ or even more coming soon, where there are great features like sharing music or even watching a show together on FaceTime.
As for gaming, both the Pro Models has 5-core GPU graphics compared to 4-cores on the non-Pro variants and since this 5-core GPU is the fastest GPU on any smartphone out right now, I decided to really take the gaming potential on the phone to its limits.
As usual I began my testing with the high intensive Genshin Impact.
What’s super sweet is that the game has just recently enabled 120Hz on iPhone 13 Pros and oh God almighty the experience was super buttery smooth and closest “rival” to this gaming experience on Genshin Impact was actually the iPad Pro and that actually ran the M1 Chip.
When at the high 120Hz setting, if you play games for a really long hours it does become warm but never hot to the touch and it runs cool all the way if it is adjusted to a lower setting.
Another cool thing is that compared to any other flagship device that I have tested, the map loads way faster when teleporting within the map as well, and this is definitely due to the chipset and of course, the NVMe storage as well.
The sound coming out of the speakers were also really nice loud and properly separated too, which was even more apparent on the iPhone 13 Pro Max.
Then as for PUBG Mobile, this game as usual is still one of the most optimised games for any smartphone so obviously it ran perfect. The game ran super smoothly at Graphics set to Ultra HD And frame rate set to Extreme.
Then finally I tried Gear Club since it is optimised for a higher frame rate gaming and it was really great as sometimes I really feel like I am gaming on a console with this kind of high frame rate.
So in conclusion, Apple continues to give us a very powerful and Pro smartphone to showcase what they are and have always been great at, my biggest takeaway from this Pro line up is the superior build quality, amazing camera, and gaming performance, especially the high-quality ProMotion display, and a really improved battery.
When it comes to the Pro variants of the iPhone 13, there is no right or wrong answer on whether or not you should choose the iPhone 13 Pro or the iPhone 13 Pro Max.
For me, I would still prefer to go with the iPhone 13 Pro Max, simply because of its size of the screen as I watch lots of videos especially when I am doing my cardio sessions in the gym or in between my work, and of course the battery life was something I felt was such a blessing for a heavy user like me.
But who cares what I think, what matters more is what YOU think, so do let me know which would be your preferred Pro iPhone? The iPhone 13 Pro or the iPhone 13 Pro Max, do let me know in the comment section below.
Don’t forget to subscribe to the channel (Adam Lobo TV) if you haven’t done so, as my upcoming video will be based on covering the consumer lineup of the iPhone 13 series, which is the Mini and the regular iPhone 13. So stay tuned!
Get the iPhones at the link below:-