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I'm skipping the iPhone 14 Pro Max — here's why

An alleged real-life image of the iPhone 14 Pro, in a user's hand
(Image credit: Sleepy Afternoon/Weibo)

Apple is set to announce the iPhone 14 series at the Apple event September 7. We’ve heard lots of tantalizing rumors about the phones over the course of the last year, especially the Pro models. I’m just as excited as anyone else, especially since I’ve switched to iPhone full-time.

For the last year, I’ve used the iPhone 13 Pro Max as my daily driver, reveling in its power, beautiful 120Hz display, and awesome cameras — not to mention that killer battery life. But one thing has really bugged me since last September: the bulk.

iPhone 13 Pro Max review

6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max vs. 6.1-inch iPhone 13 (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

While I have big hands, I really do not like large phones from an ergonomics standpoint, and the iPhone 13 Pro Max certainly ranks among those. With its expansive 6.7-inch display and sharp edges, it is not a device that I can easily use with one hand, nor can I do so comfortably. And that irks me to no end. Using this handset has been a love-hate relationship, though admittedly mostly on the love side. 

While I have big hands, I really do not like large phones from an ergonomics standpoint and the iPhone 13 Pro Max certainly ranks among those.

So it should come as no surprise that I’m most looking forward to the 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro, assuming Apple keeps the same screen measurements. I really enjoy the smaller form factor, especially since there should be feature parity between the two Pro models like last year (we hope).

Both should have 120Hz refresh rates, plus the rumored always-on displays, 48MP main cameras, 3x telephoto lenses, and the A16 Bionic chipset. Hopefully, Apple doesn’t do the same thing it did with the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max, with the latter getting a higher optical zoom (2.5x versus 2x) and sensor-shift stabilization.

iPhone 13 Pro Max review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The iPhone 14 Pro has me more excited than most other phones, save perhaps the Pixel 7 Pro. Apple continues to produce the best smaller handsets with the regular iPhone and the non-Max Pro. I, for one, am glad for it and I’m sure a lot of other people are, too.

Not everyone wants a behemoth of a smartphone — nor do we want to sacrifice on power or features — especially one with dimensions like the iPhone 13 Pro Max. For example, the OnePlus 10 Pro also has a 6.7-inch display, but the device is narrower and taller, and thus easier to handle than the iPhone.

When the iPhone 14 launches, you can bet I’ll go for the Pro. I can’t wait to have a smaller phone again.

Read next: The Galaxy Z Fold 4 is great, but Samsung needs a cheaper big foldable. And for other buying advice, take a look at how the LG C2 OLED passed all our tests with flying colors — but one thing worries us

Jordan Palmer
Phones Editor

Jordan is the Phones Editor for Tom's Guide, covering all things phone-related. He's written about phones for over six years and plans to continue for a long while to come. He loves nothing more than relaxing in his home with a book, game, or his latest personal writing project. Jordan likes finding new things to dive into, from books and games to new mechanical keyboard switches and fun keycap sets. Outside of work, you can find him poring over open-source software and his studies.

  • KeithC1069
    I agree completely! I kept the Pro Max for 12 days and then returned it and I was SO relieved to be free of it. The bulk, width and mass of it got on my last nerve. I hated it just as much as I loved it. I had a constant awareness of the Max while I had it. Always tuned into how much it annoyed me and how glad I would be when I got home so I could put it down. But to be honest, I’ll buy another Pro Max just like I always do and then take it back 12 days later and get the Pro.
    Reply
  • charlesnyc
    Here's what's interesting: I was a Plus and then Max iPhone user for years. If you look at the specs when they made the switch to the flat-sided 12 Pro Max design, there was virtually no difference in thickness, overall size and weight vs the Pro 11 Max. But the 12 Pro Max felt like an absolute brick whereas the 11 did not. I can't explain why, the specs say otherwise, perhaps it's just the flat sides... but I know that I regretted getting the 12 Pro Max, I switched to the smaller Pro when I got my 13 and I'm much happier with the smaller form factor in the flat-sided design. Here's what's also interesting: for years I cursed the curved sides on iPhone because I found they made holding the phone so slippery--I kept thinking, "Why don't they bring back the flat sides of the iPhone 4/5?" Well... be careful what you wish for. While the flat sides do make the phone feel much more stable in-hand, the feel and look of the phone is much bulkier and brick-like. The curved sides definitely looked and felt more svelte.
    Reply
  • KeithC1069
    charlesnyc said:
    Here's what's interesting: I was a Plus and then Max iPhone user for years. If you look at the specs when they made the switch to the flat-sided 12 Pro Max design, there was virtually no difference in thickness, overall size and weight vs the Pro 11 Max. But the 12 Pro Max felt like an absolute brick whereas the 11 did not. I can't explain why, the specs say otherwise, perhaps it's just the flat sides... but I know that I regretted getting the 12 Pro Max, I switched to the smaller Pro when I got my 13 and I'm much happier with the smaller form factor in the flat-sided design. Here's what's also interesting: for years I cursed the curved sides on iPhone because I found they made holding the phone so slippery--I kept thinking, "Why don't they bring back the flat sides of the iPhone 4/5?" Well... be careful what you wish for. While the flat sides do make the phone feel much more stable in-hand, the feel and look of the phone is much bulkier and brick-like. The curved sides definitely looked and felt more svelte.
    I agree! The 12 Pro Max did feel brick like in my pocket. Look forward to trying out the 14 Pro. I’ve had issues for years with poor RF sensitivity in weak signal areas with iPhones. Hopefully they did not make it worse. I’ve been very skeptical since they fired Qualcomm and switched to designing antennas in house. My Samsung friends get signal when I can’t.
    Reply
  • Bjames2700
    admin said:
    I’ve used the iPhone 13 Pro Max since it launched last year, and I regret it. It’s a great phone with killer battery life, but it’s just too massive for my comfort. So I’m most excited for the smaller iPhone 14 Pro this year.

    I used the iPhone 13 Pro Max for a year — and this is the iPhone 14 I want : Read more
    I 100% agree with you! I went from the iphone 11 to the 13 pro max, and it wasnt untill about 2 weeks or so using my new 13 pro max, that i went to use my iphone 11 as a “2nd camera” for a assigment for a class, that I realized how much i like the feel of the smaller phone in my hands and how much I enjoyed the way it handels, and just ,,,like you said “able to hold in one hand”. the 13 pro max, I bought I guess for the same reason as everyone else… all the hype and cinematic mode more so for me. At this point however, I am not jumping on any new iphones anytime soon, and most deffently if they get any bigger. I remember when I 1st began using the iphone 13 pro max, it surly was a strugle keeping from touching things on the screen with my hands by mistake over and over, and still even find myself doing so now. Not as much as in the earlier days of 13 pro max..I guess I started getting use to the larger screen. But its still for the birds. And as for the camera yes its way better on the 13 prp max, but the cinematic isnt really all that great, and besides next month I begin my new class within my undergraduate degree program, where I will be getting my new Sony FX6 pro level camera!! so excited. Iphone cameras have come along way, and im still excited to see just how much better they get with time.
    Reply