TLDR: Is the iPhone 13 Pro Max worth buying? No, not at this time because the iPhone 12 Pro Max shares many of the same features and can be found for a much lower price.
Apple has officially announced the newest additions to the iPhone lineup. The announcement took place on September 14, 2021, and Apple introduced the 15th generation lineup, which includes the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max, along with the iPhone 13 and the iPhone 13 mini.
The “Pro” models in the iPhone lineup tend to offer some additional features, which often include a better camera. If you’ve decided to go with a Pro Max, you are likely wondering whether you should get the iPhone 13 Pro Max, or if you should save money and get an iPhone 11 Pro Max or iPhone 12 Pro Max instead.
Read more: Apple iPhone 13: Everything you need to know
What are the new iPhone 13 Pro Max features?
The new iPhone 13 Pro Max brings several new features, including a new processor, improved battery life, and an improved display. These new features include:
- Processor: Apple A15 Bionic chip that has a 6-core CPU, 5-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine.
- Battery Life: Apple stated the iPhone 13 Pro Max battery will offer up to 22 hours of video playback time, and up to 75 hours of audio playback time.
- Display: The iPhone 13 Pro Max display retains the same 6.1” size and 2532 x 1170 resolution as the 12 Pro Max, but it adds ProMotion technology which allows for adaptive refresh rates of up to 120Hz.
In addition, and as we often see — the new iPhone 13 Pro Max has an improved camera. Apple has said the iPhone 13 Pro Max has the “most advanced cameras” ever on an iPhone. This holds true, however, it may not be necessary for all users — especially those who are just trying to grab quick pictures to share with family and friends.
At first glance, the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro share many similarities with the rear camera setup. Each of these models has a triple 12MP camera array with telephoto, wide, and ultra-wide lenses. These models also both support Night Mode, Night Mode Portraits, Deep Fusion, and Apple ProRAW. To that point, the iPhone 11 Pro also has a triple 12MP camera array, however, the 11 Pro lacks support for Night Mode Portraits and Apple ProRAW.
The iPhone 13 Pro Max camera improvements come via improved aperture, along with Smart HDR 4 for photos and a Photographic Styles mode. The aperture goes from f/2.0 (telephoto), f/1.6 (wide), and f/2.4 (ultra-wide) on the 12 Pro to f/2.8 (telephoto), f/1.5 (wide), and f/1.8 (ultra-wide) on the 13 Pro. In addition to the aperture changes, the iPhone 13 Pro Max camera zoom range increased, which comes courtesy of the telephoto going from 65mm (2.5x optical zoom) to 77mm (3X optical zoom).
iPhone 13 Pro Max vs iPhone 12 Pro Max vs iPhone 11 Pro Max
The iPhone 13 Pro Max is bringing improvements in several key areas, but it also shares many of the same features found on the iPhone 12 Pro Max. You can see how the iPhone 13 Pro Max features compare to the iPhone 12 Pro Max and the iPhone 11 Pro Max in the table below.
|iPhone 13 Pro Max||iPhone 12 Pro Max||iPhone 11 Pro Max|
|Display||6.7″ Super Retina XDR display with ProMotion and True Tone (2778 x 1284)||6.7″ Super Retina XDR display with True Tone (2778 x 1284)||6.5″ Super Retina XDR display with True Tone (2688 x 1242)|
|Network Connectivity||5G / 4G LTE||5G / 4G LTE||4G LTE|
|SIM Card||Dual SIM (nano-SIM and eSIM) with dual eSIM support||Dual SIM (nano-SIM and eSIM)||Dual SIM (nano-SIM and eSIM)|
|Processor||A15 Bionic with New 6-core CPU, New 5-core GPU, New 16-core Neural Engine||A14 Bionic with Next-generation Neural Engine||A13 Bionic with Third-generation Neural Engine|
|Storage||128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB||128GB, 256GB, 512GB||64GB, 256GB, 512GB|
|Rear Camera||Pro 12MP (Ultra Wide, Wide, Telephoto) with Apple ProRAW||Pro 12MP (Ultra Wide, Wide, Telephoto) with Apple ProRAW||Triple 12MP (Ultra Wide, Wide, Telephoto)|
|Front Camera||12MP TrueDepth||12MP TrueDepth||12MP TrueDepth|
|Power & Battery||Up to 28 hours of video playback, and up to 95 hours of audio playback||Up to 20 hours of video playback, and up to 80 hours of audio playback||Up to 20 hours of video playback, and up to 80 hours of audio playback|
|Charging||Lightning, Qi wireless charging, and MagSafe||Lightning, Qi wireless charging, and MagSafe||Lightning and Qi wireless charging|
|Fast Charging||Up to 50% charge in 35 minutes with 20W adapter||Up to 50% charge in 30 minutes with 20W adapter||Up to 50% charge in 30 minutes with 18W adapter|
|Water Resistance||IP68 (up to 6 meters for up to 30 minutes)||IP68 (up to 6 meters for up to 30 minutes)||IP68 (up to 4 meters for up to 30 minutes)|
|Size / Weight||6.33″ x 3.07″ x 0.30″|
|6.33″ x 3.07″ x 0.29″|
|6.22″ x 3.06″ x 0.32″|
|Security||Face ID (using TrueDepth front camera)||Face ID (using TrueDepth front camera)||Face ID (using TrueDepth front camera)|
|Materials||Ceramic Shield Front, Surgical-grade stainless steel||Ceramic Shield front, Surgical-grade stainless steel||Glass front and back, Surgical-grade stainless steel|
|Colors||Silver, Graphite, Gold, Sierra Blue||Pacific Blue, Gold, Graphite, Silver||Midnight Green, Silver, Space Gray, Gold|
Aside from the features mentioned earlier in this article, the iPhone 13 Pro Max also has dual eSIM support, up to 1TB of internal storage, and new color options — which brings us to the big question.
Is the Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max worth it?
No, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is not worth it for most users. Of course, if you want to store massive amounts of data and need 1TB of storage, or you absolutely fell in love with one of the new colors, or are looking for the absolute best rear-facing — the iPhone 13 Pro Max should be considered.
Prices for the iPhone 13 Pro Max begin at $1,099 for the 128GB model and climb to $1,599 for the 1TB model, which, to put it plainly — is expensive. If you are planning to buy an iPhone 13 Pro Max you should sell your current iPhone on Swappa, the best place to sell your used iPhone for the most money, to offset some of that cost.
You should consider an iPhone 12 Pro Max or iPhone 11 Pro Max instead
Most people will be better served by picking up a gently used iPhone 12 Pro Max, or even an iPhone 11 Pro Max. Prices for gently used smartphones vary based on several factors such as market demand, the condition, and the specs (internal storage). But currently, prices for a gently used iPhone 12 Pro Max start at around $870, which is a bit more than $200 less expensive than the iPhone 13 Pro Max. You can start browsing the current iPhone 12 Pro Max listings by tapping the widget below.
And if you’re still thinking that $870 is too high, you can still save more money if you pick up a gently used iPhone 11 Pro Max. Prices for the iPhone 11 Pro Max currently start at around $580 on Swappa.
Swappa is the safest place to buy and sell gently used tech. And, Swappa is also a very active marketplace, which means you will have a wide variety of gently used iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone 11 Pro Max models to choose from.