If you want the best iPhone these days — and if money is no object — you're going to turn to one of Apple's Pro handsets. But which of those Pro models is the better choice — the standard Pro or the Pro Max? An iPhone 14 Pro vs. iPhone 14 Pro Max decision is not as straightforward as it seems.
Certainly, it's a lot easier to spot the iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 14 Pro differences. With each recent release, Apple continues to highlight the distinctions between its different phones. Whereas the major difference used to be the telephoto lens included on the Pro models, these days, the iPhone Pro handsets can point to a number of differences from Apple's standard handset — everything from faster refreshing displays to a Dynamic Island feature instead of a notch. And we'd expect many of those distinctions to continue later this year when the iPhone 15 models appear.
As for the current models, there are some differences between the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max beyond the obvious size disparity. Recognizing what's different and what's the same can help you decide between the two phones. Or, if you're holding out for an iPhone 15 Pro, it can give you an idea of what potential differences to keep an eye on.
Here's what an iPhone 14 Pro vs. iPhone 14 Pro Max comparison reveals.
iPhone 14 Pro vs. iPhone 14 Pro Max: Specs
|iPhone 14 Pro||iPhone 14 Pro Max|
|Screen size||6.1-inch OLED (2556 x 1179)||6.7-inch OLED (2796 x 1290)|
|CPU||A16 Bionic||A16 Bionic|
|RAM (based on teardowns)||6GB||6GB|
|Storage||128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB||128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB|
|Rear cameras||48MP (f/1.8) main with 2x optical zoom, 12MP (f/2.2) ultrawide, 12MP (f/2.8) telephoto with 3x optical zoom||48MP (f/1.8) main with 2x optical zoom, 12MP (f/2.2) ultrawide, 12MP (f/2.8) telephoto with 3x optical zoom|
|Front cameras||12MP (f/1.9)||12MP (f/1.9)|
|Battery size (based on teardowns)||3,200 mAh||4,323 mAh|
|Battery life (Hrs:MIns)||10:13||13:39|
|Size||5.8 x 2.8 x 0.31 inches||6.3 x 3.1 x 0.31 inches|
|Weight||7.3 ounces||8.5 ounces|
iPhone 14 Pro vs. iPhone 14 Pro Max: Price
There's a $100 difference between Apple's two Pro models. The iPhone 14 Pro currently starts at $999, while the iPhone 14 Pro Max will set you back $1,099. Those base models come with 128GB of storage, and if you'd like to double that to 256GB, it will cost an additional $100 no matter what model you favor.
The Pro models also come in 512GB ($300 on top of the base price) and 1TB (an extra $500). Turn to the best iPhone 14 deals — including the best iPhone 14 Pro Max deals — to find a cheaper price on these models.
At this level, price really doesn't seem like a huge differentiator. If you're already prepared to spend $1,000 on a phone, the thinking goes, what's another $100 if you think the Pro Max is better suited to your needs?
iPhone 14 Pro vs. iPhone 14 Pro Max: Size and display
Let's talk about the most noticeable difference between the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max — the different-sized displays. The iPhone 14 Pro features a 6.1-inch OLED panel (which just so happens to be the same size as the standard iPhone 14). The iPhone 14 Pro Max goes larger, as its name would suggest — you get a 6.7-inch display with that phone.
The different screen sizes mean a difference in height and width for Apple's two Pro models. To accommodate its larger screen, the 6.3 x 3.1 x 0.31-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max is half an inch taller and nearly 0.3 inches wider than the 5.8 x 2.8 x 0.3-inch iPhone 14 Pro.
A key question then is what do you value more — extra screen space or a more compact design? The iPhone 14 Pro Max has an expansive display, but it's difficult to use with just one hand. You'll also have an easier time slipping the smaller iPhone 14 Pro into a pocket or purse.
Other than size, there's little difference between the displays on the iPhone 14 Pro models. Both the standard Pro and the Pro Max offer resolutions of 460 pixels per inch, adaptive 120Hz refresh rates, and peak brightness of 1,600 nits in HDR mode. So it all boils down to your preference on how big a screen you want.
iPhone 14 Pro vs. iPhone 14 Pro Max: Battery life
Different sized phones mean different sized batteries. And while Apple doesn't disclose how big a power pack it includes in each phone, tear downs have reveled that the iPhone 14 Pro relies on a 3,200 mAh cell to stay powered up. The iPhone 14 Pro Max has a larger 4,323 mAh battery.
Even with a bigger screen to keep powered on, the iPhone 14 Pro lasts longer on a charge than the iPhone 14. In our battery test, where a phone is left to surf the web continuously over cellular until it runs out of power, the iPhone 14 Pro Max held out for 13 hours and 39 minutes. That's an all-time record for an iPhone, and it lands the iPhone 14 Pro Max on our best phone battery life list.
The iPhone 14 Pro didn't fare as well. It lasted 10 hours and 13 minutes on our test — better than average for a smartphone, but nearly three hours behind what the iPhone 14 Pro Max can do.
The gap isn't always that big. For example, the iPhone 13 Pro only lagged a half-hour or so behind the iPhone 13 Pro Max on our battery test. But if you want the longer lasting device, it pays to go big with the iPhone.
iPhone 14 Pro vs. iPhone 14 Pro Max: What's the same
While those are the big differences, you'll find more iPhone 14 Pro vs. iPhone 14 Pro Max similarities when comparing the two Pro devices.
Both handsets uses Apple's A16 Bionic silicon, so you can expect similar performance. (The iPhone 14 Pro actually posted slightly better numbers on Geekbench 5 in our testing; results in the 3DMark Wild Life Unlimited graphics test were identical.) The Pro models feature the same four color options, the same IP68 water resistance and matching Dynamic Island cutouts where the notch would be on other iPhone models.
The camera setups on the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are also the same. Both phones feature a 48MP main camera, a 12MP ultrawide shooter and a 12MP telephoto lens capable of a 3x optical zoom.
It hasn't always been the case, though, that cameras on Apple's Pro iPhones have matched up. The iPhone 12 Pro Max, for example, used a larger sensor than the iPhone 12 did, helping it perform better in low light conditions. The iPhone 12 Pro Max also featured a more powerful zoom than the iPhone 12 Pro. What's more, sensor-shift stabilization debuted on the iPhone 12 Pro Max before making its way to other iPhone models with the iPhone 13 lineup.
Those past differences aren't relevant if you're deciding between an iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. But if you're holding out for an iPhone 15 Pro later this year, it's an important reminder that things sometimes have a way of changing with Apple's phones.
iPhone 15 Pro: What could change?
Apple may be looking to introduce more substantial differences between its Pro models this year. Details remain sketchy, but there's a possibility of iPhone 15 Ultra replacing the Pro Max. Like the Apple Watch Ultra, this Ultra smartphone would offer premium features not even found on the iPhone 15 Pro. And it would have a hefty price tag to match.
What kind of features are we talking about? One rumor is that the iPhone 15 Ultra would use a more durable (and expensive) titanium alloy for its frame, making the phone less prone to damage if dropped. We've long heard rumors of Apple adopting a periscope-style lens to improve the zoom capabilities of its phone — it's possible that such a feature could be headed to the iPhone 15 Ultra first, if such a phone is even in the works.
Some things would remain consistent between the iPhone 15 Ultra and iPhone 15 Pro, though. Apple's A17 Bionic chip would likely power both devices. And USB-C connectivity is likely to be available across the board for all iPhone 15 models, Pro, Ultra or otherwise.
iPhone 14 Pro vs. iPhone 14 Pro Max: Outlook
But that's what's potentially happening later this year? What about the here and now?
We rate the iPhone 14 Pro Max as the best phone overall currently, so if your budget allows, you should spring for that 6.7-inch device. The only reason not to, besides any reluctance to pay more than $1,000 for a phone, would be the iPhone 14 Pro Max's massive size. If that's off-putting to you, the iPhone 14 Pro combines a more compact feel with all the features that make the iPhone 14 Pro Max such a great device.
No matter if you pick the iPhone 14 Pro or iPhone 14 Pro Max, you're going to wind up with a top Apple phone. The question boils down to how big is too big for your tastes — and how much battery life you need.