We've tested the iPhone 13 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro match-up to try and figure out how Pro you need to go. While there are a lot of similarities between the phones, it's important to pick the right one before you go spending $1,000 or more.
We are full of praise in both our iPhone 13 Pro review and iPhone 13 Pro Max review, particularly when it comes to their excellent cameras, smooth displays and great performance. In fact, both phones appear on our best phones list. The areas where they differ, and where you'll want to concentrate if you're trying to make a smart buying decision, is battery life, display size and price.
Overall, we really like the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max based on our testing, so whether you buy one or the other, you're getting a fantastic smartphone. However, we think the iPhone 13 Pro Max is slightly better overall for some shoppers.
Read next: 11 tips to save battery life on your iPhone.
Now that the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are here, these two Pro iPhones are no longer on sale. However, if you don't want to splash out on Apple's latest, and can find these phones still in stock at third-party retailers or carriers, it's still worth reading on to see if Pro or Pro Max suits you best.
iPhone 13 Pro vs iPhone 13 Pro Max: Specs compared
|iPhone 13 Pro||iPhone 13 Pro Max|
|Storage||128, 256, 512, 1TB||128, 256, 512, 1TB|
|Screen size||6.1 inches||6.7 inches|
|Resolution/ppi||2532 x 1170/460||2778 x 1284/458|
|Adaptive refresh||Up to 120Hz||Up to 120Hz|
|Processor||A15 Bionic||A15 Bionic|
|Rear cameras||Pro 12MP (Telephoto, Wide, Ultra Wide)||Pro 12MP (Telephoto, Wide, Ultra Wide)|
|Zoom||3x optical / 15x digital||3x optical / 15x digital|
|Front camera||12MP TrueDepth||12MP TrueDepth|
|Colors||Graphite, Gold, Silver, Sierra Blue||Graphite, Gold, Silver, Sierra Blue|
|Size||5.8 x 2.8 x 0.3 inches||6.3 x 3.1 x 0.3 inches|
|Weight||7.2 ounces||8.5 ounces|
|Battery life (web surfing||11:42||12:16|
iPhone 13 Pro vs iPhone 13 Pro Max: What’s the same?
Other than the size difference, the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max are pretty much identical. There's a smaller Face ID notch at the top of both phones' displays, flat edges and a fairly square camera bump containing three cameras and a LiDAR sensor on the back.
Both iPhone 13 Pro models are available in the same four colors, too — Graphite, Gold, Silver and Sierra Blue.
ProMotion display with 120Hz refresh rate
One of the new features this year for both iPhone 13 Pro models is the ProMotion display. This allows for a maximum 120Hz refresh rate, which results in smoother performance and animations. What's more, the refresh rate can dynamically scale all the way down to 10Hz, which can save battery life.
The main cameras on the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max consist of three photo sensors: a 12MP main camera with sensor-shift stabilization, a 12MP ultrawide camera and a 12MP telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom. There's also a LiDAR sensor that aids with AR apps and low-light photography. Last but not least, you have a 12MP selfie camera on the front.
These cameras enable the same new features too, such as Apple's Cinematic mode for video, real-time filters with Photographic Styles, and the option for high detail video recordings with ProRes video. However, ProRes only supports 4K resolution if you opt for 256GB storage or higher.
The bottom line is that these are the same set of cameras. This is different from last year, where the iPhone 12 Pro Max had a 2.5x telephoto zoom and a sensor-shift main camera, whereas the iPhone 12 Pro had a 2x zoom and no sensor shift.
A15 Bionic chip and performance
Under the hood, the Pro and Pro Max are the same. They both use Apple's new A15 Bionic chipset, coupled with (a rumored) 6GB RAM. Apple's particularly proud of the GPU built into this chip, claiming its the most powerful mobile GPU ever, and is over 50% more powerful than its competitors.
In our benchmark testing, the Pro and Pro Max turned in comparable results, but the regular Pro was a bit faster. On the Geekbench 5 general CPU benchmark, the iPhone 13 Pro turned in scores of 1,733 single-core and 4,718 multi-core compared to 1,720 and 4,549 on the Pro Max.
The two phones turned in similar graphics performance as well, with the iPhone 13 Pro hitting 70 fps on the 3DMark Wild Life Unlimited test, compared to 68.3 fps for the iPhone 13 Pro Max.
When figuring out how much room you want for photos, videos and apps, you have four storage options to pick from with either phone. The base amount is 128GB, but additional money will get you 256GB, 512GB or a whopping 1TB of storage.
All the new iPhone 13 models ship with iOS 15 as standard. This brings several welcome improvements compared to iOS 14, including overhauled notifications, Live Text copy/paste from images, new FaceTime audio features plus more general refreshes of other Apple apps.
iPhone 13 Pro vs iPhone 13 Pro Max: What’s different?
The iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max have a fair price gap between them. The starting price for the iPhone 13 Pro is $999 or £949, while the iPhone 13 Pro Max is $1,099 or £1,049. The $100/£100 gap persists through all the higher storage options, too.
The iPhone 13 Pro at 1TB costs $1,499, and the iPhone 13 Pro Max for 1TB is $1,599.
Unsurprisingly, the two differently sized phones have two differently sized displays. The iPhone 13 Pro uses a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED panel (2532 x 1170) whereas the iPhone 13 Pro Max uses a 6.7-inch display (2778 x 1284 pixels).
Battery and battery life
Apple has increased the size of all its iPhone 13 batteries this year, but it's more noticeable on the Pro Max than the Pro. The Pro Max's battery is 4,373 mAh according to third-party analysis, whereas the Pro's battery is reportedly 3,125 mAh. In Apple's own terms, this translates to up to 28 hours of video playback on the iPhone 13 Pro Max and 22 hours on the iPhone 13 Pro.
In our own testing, the difference was narrower, but still in favor of the larger iPhone 13 Pro. The iPhone 13 Pro Max lasted 12 hours and 16 minutes on the Tom's Guide battery test, which involves continuous web surfing over 5G at 150 nits of screen brightness. The iPhone 13 Pro lasted 11 hours and 48 minutes, which isn't quite as long, but both phones are good enough to make our best phone battery life list.
There's been no change from last year's iPhone 12 series with charging. Both iPhone 13 Pro versions are sold without a charging brick included, but can be powered up with up to a 20W wired connection or a 15W wireless MagSafe connection.
However, we found the relative charging speeds are different during testing, presumably due to the difference in battery size. In half an hour of charging with the official Apple 20W charger, the iPhone 13 Pro Max reached 40% full, whereas the iPhone 13 Pro got to 53% full instead.
iPhone 13 Pro vs iPhone 13 Pro Max: Bottom line
The winner of the iPhone 13 Pro vs iPhone 13 Pro Max fight really comes down to what you're looking for in your next phone. If you want a bigger display and longer battery life, our money is on the Pro Max despite the higher price.
However, the regular iPhone 13 Pro delivers the same great cameras, ProMotion display and overall performance, so you're not sacrificing anything if you prefer a more compact design and smaller screen.