I've used the iPhone 14 Pro Max for six weeks — and this is the most underrated feature

iPhone 14 Pro Max
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

After six weeks with the iPhone 14 Pro Max, I've tried out all its new features. I've used (although not always enjoyed) the Dynamic Island's various alerts and widgets, sampled photos taken with the 48MP ProRAW main camera mode, set up my always-on display just the way I like it and played games with the super-powerful A16 Bionic chipset

The only features I haven't touched are Emergency SOS via satellite (it's not available in the U.K. yet) and Crash Detection, although I have no interest in trying either of those.

But one upgrade that may have escaped your attention is the one I think has given me the most benefit on a day-to-day basis. And that's the display.

I didn't notice its increased brightness straight after purchasing since I wasn't really looking for it. But after discussing phones with my dad, who's recently upgraded to the iPhone 14 Pro himself, the first thing he had to say about his new device was how bright the screen was. And after that conversation, it became obvious to me too how powerful the display brightness could become if you crank the slider all the way up.

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iPhone 14 Pro Max Screen Brightness
Row 0 - Cell 0 Max brightness (nits)Max HDR brightness (nits)
iPhone 14 Pro Max1,2981,565
iPhone 13 Pro Max1,038Not tested
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra6461,359

This difference isn't just anecdotal, as we've got test results to back this up. When testing the brightness of the iPhone 14 Pro Max, we found it was 260 nits brighter than the iPhone 13 Pro Max, and 527 nits brighter when watching HDR content. For an Android comparison, the Samsung Galaxy S22 UItra, which has an amazing display in its own right, comes nowhere close for regular typical max brightness, and even with HDR content is over 200 nits behind the latest iPhone.

Having a brighter display brings the iPhone 14 Pro Max a couple of advantages. It's easier to see the screen in bright conditions, something I definitely appreciated in the last few sunny days just after I got the phone before fall set in. It also helps show off the color of video, games and just the UI in general more effectively. And with the iPhone's 6.7-inch, XDR panel, you really want to get the most out of it.

Just keep in mind that pumping up the brightness can severely impact battery life. The good news is that in our iPhone 14 battery tests, the Pro Max was the longest lasting model of the bunch. Note that we perform our tests at 150 nits or about 50% brightness. 

Screen brightness isn't usually something that will draw you towards a phone when buying it, but it could certainly be something you wished you'd paid attention to once you start having visibility issues.

But if you're hoping to get yourself an iPhone 14 Pro Max, you needn't worry about that. It's an excellent phone for screen brightness, and that plus many other reasons have earned it the well-deserved top spot on our best phones guide.

Next: iPhone 15 leak just tipped USB-C for every model, but there's a big catch. 

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.