iPhone 14 Plus vs iPhone 14 Pro Max — this is the iPhone I'd choose

iPhone 14 Plus vs iPhone 14 Pro Max
(Image credit: Future)

An iPhone 14 Plus vs iPhone 14 Pro Max comparison will help you decide which big-screen iPhone is best for you. Both the iPhone 14 Plus and iPhone 14 Pro Max are among the best phones and offer large 6.7-inch OLED displays, plenty of speed and great cameras — but in a lot of ways they are quite different. 

As you’ll see in our iPhone 14 Plus review, Apple’s $899 replacement for the iPhone mini is all about giving you a big screen for less money than the Pro series. And our iPhone 14 Pro Max review shows that Apple's $1,099 flagship is designed to deliver Pro-level photos and videos along with exclusive features like Dynamic Island and an always-on display.

So which supersized iPhone is right for you and your budget? Let's break down the biggest similarities and differences between two of the best iPhones you can buy. 

iPhone 14 Plus vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Specs

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Row 0 - Cell 1 Row 0 - Cell 2
Starting price $899 / £949 / AU$1,579$899 / £949 / AU$1,579
Display 6.7 inches (2778 x 1284)6.7 inches (2796 x 1290)
Refresh ratie60Hz 1-120Hz
CPUA15 Bionic A16 Bionic
Storage 128GB, 256GB, 512GB128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Rear cameras12MP main (f/1.5), 12MP ultra wide (f/2.4), 5x digital zoom48MP main (f/1.78), 12MP ultra wide (f/2.2), 12MP telephoto (f/2.8)with 3x optical zoom
Video 4K video at up to 60 fps 4K video at up to 60 fps
Front camera 12MP (f/1.9)12MP (f/1.9)
ColorsMidnight, Purple, Starlight, Blue, RedSpace Black, Silver, Gold, Deep Purple
Size 6.33 x 3.07 x 0.31 inches6.33 x 3.05 x 0.31 inches
Weight 7.16 ounces8.47 ounces

iPhone 14 Plus vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Price 

iPhone 14 Plus vs iPhone 14 Pro Max

(Image credit: Future)

The iPhone 14 Plus starting price is $899 (£949 / AU$1,579), which gets you 128GB storage. That's $100 more than the 6.1-inch iPhone 14. But it's also $200 less than the iPhone 14 Pro Max. 

The 256GB version of the iPhone 14 Plus costs $999 (£1,059.00 / AU$1,749) and the 512GB model will cost you $1,199 ( £1,279.00 / AU$2,099). See our iPhone 14 deals page to find all the biggest discounts. 

The iPhone 14 Pro Max starts at $1,099 / £1,199 / AU$1,899 for 128GB. You can upgrade to 256GB for $1,199 (£1,309/AU$2,099). Going to 512GB costs $1,399 (£1,529/AU$2,419) and 1TB will run you $1,599 (£1,749/AU$2,769).

iPhone 14 Plus vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Design and colors

iPhone 14 Plus vs iPhone 14 Pro Max

(Image credit: Future)

The iPhone 14 Plus scores an immediate win in this category because of how relatively light it is. This handset measures 6.33 x 3.07 x 0.31 inches and weighs just 7.16 ounces, compared to 6.33 x 3.05 x 0.31 inches and 8.47 ounces for the iPhone 14 Pro Max. 

Whether you're holding these phones or putting one of them in a front pocket, you'll definitely appreciate the lesser heft from the iPhone 14 Plus. I also like that the iPhone 14 Plus' camera patch on the back is less bulky, though you give up a telephoto lens in return. 

iPhone 14 Pro Max

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

In other ways I prefer the iPhone 14 Pro Max's design, starting with the notch. It's smaller on the Pro Max because this flagship uses Apple's new Dynamic Island. This area can display notifications, live activities and other alerts.

I also like that the Pro Max has a more premium stainless steel band, compared to aluminum for the iPhone 14 Plus. The color options are a matter of taste but again I prefer the sophistication of the matte finishes on the iPhone 14 Pro Max, while the iPhone 14 Plus is a bit glossier.

With the iPhone 14 Plus there's Midnight, Purple, Starlight, Blue and Red. The Pro Max gives you fewer options: Space Black, Silver, Gold and Deep Purple. 

iPhone 14 Plus vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Displays

iPhone 14 Plus vs iPhone 14 Pro Max

(Image credit: Future)

Don't get me wrong. The iPhone 14 Plus's 6.7-inch OLED display is very good. It's bright, colorful and offers wide viewing angles. In fact, this panel turned in slightly better results the the iPhone 14 Pro Max on color reproduction and color accuracy. 

However, the iPhone 14 Pro Max's ProMotion display is more versatile, and that's for two reasons. First, you get up to 120Hz refresh rate, which makes for smoother scrolling and animations when gaming.

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Row 0 - Cell 0 iPhone 14 PlusiPhone 14 Pro Max
Nits (brightness)1,100 1,565
sRGB/DCI-P3 color reproduction120.6%/85.4%117.5%/83.2%
Delta-E 0.25 0.26

The iPhone 14 Pro Max also gives you an always-on display, so you can quickly glance at the time, battery life, notifications and even widgets without unlocking the phone. I find it very useful in everyday use, and it's possible because the display can scale down to 1Hz. 

iPhone 14 Pro Max

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

In addition, the iPhone 14 Pro Max's panel can get much brighter in direct sunlight. We saw a max brightness of 1,565 nits compared to 1,100 for the iPhone 14 Plus. 

iPhone 14 Plus vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Cameras

iPhone 14 Plus vs iPhone 14 Pro Max

(Image credit: Future)

Both the iPhone 14 Plus and Pro Max benefit from camera upgrades like Photonic Engine, which boosts low light performance across the lenses, as well as a 12MP front camera with a faster aperture and autofocus for better looking selfies.

Other shared camera features include the new Action mode video for taking steadier action footage of subjects while on the move and higher resolution 4K Cinematic mode video.

However, the iPhone 14 Pro Max gives photographers a couple of key advantages, including a new 48MP main sensor. This new camera lets you shoot ProRAW images at 48MP resolution, so you can reframe or crop shots like never before on an iPhone while still retaining a high level of detail.

iPhone 14 Pro Max shot at 48MP (Image credit: Tom's Guide)
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In this first phone taken in Times Square, we zeroed in on a winged baby basket atop a building. And you can see that the ProRAW mode delivers a lot more detail as we cropped in. 

The straw around the baby in particular is a lot sharper looking, as are the wings behind it. The building in the background looks more natural as well, as it's artificially punched up by the iPhone 14's computational photography. And even the neon lights on the right look more realistically subtle.  The 48MP shot is simply cleaner than the 12MP version, where a little bit of fuzziness has crept into the image.

The iPhone 14 Pro Max also has the iPhone 14 Plus beat when it comes to zoom. Only the Pro Max features a 3x telephoto lens and 15x max digital zoom. iPhone 14 Plus lacks optical zoom, instead relying on a measly 5x digital zoom. 

Interestingly, in this shot of flowers the iPhone 14 Pro Max captures a crisper shot at the same 5x magnification. You can make out more details in the leaves as you zoom in, and the photo is a bit brighter overall.

While the 15x result doesn't look great on the iPhone 14 Pro Max, at least you have that flexibility. 

iPhone 14 Plus vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Performance

iPhone 14 Pro Max

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Let's be clear. Even though the iPhone 14 Plus sports an older A15 Bionic chip borrowed from the iPhone 13 Pro series, it is still a beast. It still smokes all of the best Android phones in terms of pure performance, and this phone is very responsive when playing games or jumping between apps.

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Row 0 - Cell 0 iPhone 14 Plus iPhone 14 Pro Max
Geekbench (single/multi-core)1,735/4,4731,882/5,333
3DMark Wild Life Unlimited (graphics)11,512/69 fps12,363/74 fps
Video transcoding25 seconds30 seconds

However, the iPhone 14 Pro Max is the faster phone overall, thanks to its newer 4-nanometer A16 Bionic chip. The benchmark results mostly back this up.

On Geekbench, which measures overall performance, the iPhone 14 Pro Max scored 1,882 on single-core and 5,333 on multi-core. Both of those numbers beat what the iPhone 14 Plus turned in: 1,735 and 4,473.

iPhone 14 Plus shown held in hand

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The iPhone 14 Pro Max should also be a better choice for intense gameplay, as it notched a higher frame rate on 3DMark Wild Life Unlimited of 74 fps to the iPhone 14 Plus' 69 fps. But it's not a huge gap.

Surprisingly, the Pro Max was a bit slower than the Plus when it came to transcoding a 4K video clip to 1080p using the Adobe Premiere Rush app. 

iPhone 14 Plus vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Battery life and charging

iPhone 14 Plus vs iPhone 14 Pro Max

(Image credit: Future)

The iPhone 14 Plus and iPhone 14 Pro Max both offer great endurance. In fact, both last long enough on a charge to make our best phone battery life list. But the Pro Max lasted longer in our testing. 

On the Tom's Guide Battery Test, which involves continuous web surfing at 150 nits of screen brightness, the iPhone 14 Plus lasted an excellent 11 hours and 57 minutes. By comparison, the iPhone 14 Pro Max posted an even longer 13 hours and 39 minutes. 

Charging a drained iPhone 14 Pro Max, we got to only 42% in 30 minutes. The iPhone 14 Plus reached a higher 46% in the same amount of time using a 20W Apple USB-C charger. 

iPhone 14 Plus vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Bottom line

iPhone 14 Plus vs iPhone 14 Pro Max

(Image credit: Future)

This iPhone 14 Plus vs iPhone 14 Pro Max comparison really comes down to one thing for most shoppers: how much are you willing to spend? For $899, the iPhone 14 Plus is a great value, offering fantastic cameras, swift performance and long battery life in a more lightweight design than the Pro Max. Yes, it's lighter on your pocket and your wallet. 

However, if I were spending my own money I'd go for the iPhone 14 Pro Max. I really like having an always-on display, 120Hz refresh rate and telephoto zoom. And while the Dynamic Island is still a work in progress, Apple managed to turn what was a wasted of space in the notch into more usable space. Plus, I really like have the option to take full 48MP photos when I want extra detail.

So while both the iPhone 14 Plus and iPhone 14 Pro Max are awesome, I'd personally go Pro. 

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.