iPhone 15 Pro vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max -- Specs, price, and features, compared

Posted:
in iPhone edited October 2023

Apple's iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max are the top models in Apple's iPhone lineup, but there's more than just a size difference between the two. Here's what's different when you compare the pair.

iPhone 15 Pro Max (left) and iPhone 15 Pro (right)
iPhone 15 Pro Max (left) and iPhone 15 Pro (right)iPhone 15 Pro Max (left) and iPhone 15 Pro (right)



Buyers of the Pro lineup of Apple's iPhone range tend to have the tricky decision of working out whether to pay the extra money to go from the Pro to the Pro Max. It's practically been a case of working out if the bigger screen was beneficial or a detriment, and working from there.

This is because Apple tends to make the models of each sub-tier very similar. You usually get the same specifications for practically everything else, barring the physical size.

For 2023, things are a bit different. While most of the elements are the same across the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, there are a few other changes that need considering when spending money on the top-tier iPhone.

Specifications

SpecificationsiPhone 15 ProiPhone 15 Pro Max
Price (starting)$999$1,199
Dimensions (inches)5.77 x 2.78 x 0.326.29 x 3.02 x 0.32
Weight (ounces)6.607.81
ProcessorA17 ProA17 Pro
Storage128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Display type6.1-inch Super Retina XDR,
ProMotion, always-on display
6.7-inch Super Retina XDR,
ProMotion, always-on display
Resolution2,556 x 1,179 at 460ppi2,796 x 1,290 at 460 ppi
True ToneYesYes
BiometricsFace IDFace ID
Connectivity5G (Sub-6GHz and mmWave)
Gigabit-class LTE
Wi-Fi 6E
Bluetooth 5.3
Ultra Wideband Gen 2
Emergency SOS via Satellite
Roadside Assistance via Satellite
USB-C
5G (Sub-6GHz and mmWave)
Gigabit-class LTE
Wi-Fi 6E
Bluetooth 5.3
Ultra Wideband Gen 2
Emergency SOS via Satellite
Roadside Assistance via Satellite
USB-C
Rear Cameras48MP Wide
12MP Ultra Wide
12MP Telephoto with 3x optical zoom
48MP Wide
12MP Ultra Wide
12MP Telephoto with 5x optical zoom
Video4K 60fps,
4K 60fps HDR with Dolby Vision,
1080p 240fps Slo-Mo
ProRes 4K 60fps with external recording,
Cinematic Mode,
Action Mode
4K 60fps,
4K 60fps HDR with Dolby Vision,
1080p 240fps Slo-Mo
ProRes 4K 60fps with external recording,
Cinematic Mode,
Action Mode
Front Camera12MP TrueDepth with Autofocus12MP TrueDepth with Autofocus
Battery Size (Video playback time)Up to 23 hoursUp to 29 hours
ColorsBlack Titanium,
White Titanium,
Blue Titanium,
Natural Titanium
Black Titanium,
White Titanium,
Blue Titanium,
Natural Titanium

iPhone 15 Pro vs iPhone 15 Pro Max - Physical Dimensions



The Max models are always larger than the non-Max versions. This is still the case for 2023.

The iPhone 15 Pro measures 5.77 inches long, 2.78 inches wide, and 0.32 inches thick. The iPhone 15 Pro Max is 6.29 inches long, 3.02 inches wide, but an identical 0.32 inches thick.

There's also a weight difference, with the Pro at 6.6 ounces to the Pro Max at 7.81 ounces. A physically bigger phone made of the same stuff as a smaller one will naturally be heavier.

The new phones have a titanium body and an Action Button
The new phones have a titanium body and an Action Button



This weight is still a little bit lighter than the iPhone 14 Pro models, due to Apple's use of Grade 5 Titanium for the chassis. Adding strength and rigidity, it also cuts the weight down a tiny bit.

Both also replace the Ring/Silent toggle with the Action button, a configurable element that can be set to perform various tasks, depending on what the user wants.

iPhone 15 Pro vs iPhone 15 Pro Max - Displays



Both the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max have Super Retina XDR always-on displays, with the same core set of features.

That includes the use of an OLED screen with a 2 million to one contrast ratio, as well as a typical maximum of 1,000 nits, 1,600 nits at a peak for HDR content, or up to 2,000 nits of peak brightness when you're outdoors.

Dynamic island on both new phones
Dynamic Island is on both of the new phones



ProMotion support up to 120Hz, the Dynamic Island at the top, Wide Color (P3) support, True Tone, HDR, and a fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating are also included as standard.

The differences in the models are size-related, with the Pro using a 6.1-inch screen and the Pro Max with a 6.7-inch version.

The resolutions also massively differ, with the Pro at 2,556 by 1,179 pixels and the Pro Max at 2,796 by 1,290 pixels. Both have a pixel density of 460 pixels per inch.

iPhone 15 Pro vs iPhone 15 Pro Max - Cameras



The second major departure for the models, following the display, is the camera system. More specifically, while both have largely the same camera setup, the Pro Max tweaks things slightly for one camera.

The Main camera is a 48-megapixel version with an f/1.78 aperture, a second-gen sensor-shift optical image stabilization system, and a seven-element lens. For 2023, Apple has upped the default image it takes to 24MP.

The Ultra Wide has a 12-megapixel sensor with an f/2.2 aperture and a 120-degree field of view, once again.

The cameras in the iPhone 15 Pro are impressive, but you get a bit more with the Pro Max
The cameras in the iPhone 15 Pro are impressive, but you get a bit more with the Pro Max



The third camera, the Telephoto, is where things differ. It's a 12-megapixel sensor with an f/2.8 aperture in both, but after that, it's changed.

The Pro offers a 3x optical zoom in with its Telephoto, which also includes optical image stabilization.

The Pro Max uses a new tetraprism design, reflecting light to expand the distance it travels before reaching the sensor, and giving it a 5x optical zoom. Connected to this is a 3D sensor-shift optical image stabilization and autofocus system.

The change means the Pro Max has a wider zoom range, going from 2x optical zoom out and 5x optical zoom in, giving it a 10x optical zoom range and a 25x digital zoom. The Pro goes from 2x zoom out to 3x zoom in, giving it a 6x optical zoom range and a 15x digital zoom.

This is a considerable difference in zoom, which will be useful for avid photographers and videographers.

Sample zoomed photo from both phones
Sample photo from both phones



Beyond this, there are no other camera capability differences. For stills, that includes Deep Fusion and Photonic Engine computational photography, Smart HDR 5, Portrait Lighting, portraits with Focus and Depth Control, Night Mode supported by LiDAR, and Apple ProRAW, among others.

For video, both offer 4K recording at up to 60fps, Cinematic mode to 4K HDR 30fps, 2.8K 60fps Action mode, Dolby Vision HDR at 4K 60fps, and 240fps 1080p Slo-mo. New for 2023 is ProRes 4K 60fps support with external recording, Log video recording, and support for the Academy Color Encoding System.

The front TrueDepth camera is still 12MP in resolution with an f/1.9 aperture, Autofocus with Focus Pixels, and similar photographic and video functionality as the rear cameras. TrueDepth continues to handle biometric security duties.

iPhone 15 Pro vs iPhone 15 Pro Max - Processing Performance



Both the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max benefit from a shift to the A17 Pro chip, which contains a 6-core CPU with two performance and four efficiency cores. It benefits from microarchitectural design improvements to be 10% faster than the A16 Bionic.

The GPU, a 6-core version, now has 50% more memory bandwidth and is 20% faster. It also boasts hardware-accelerated ray tracing, which will help improve gaming. The 16-core Neural Engine is 2x faster, meanwhile the inclusion of a dedicated AV1 decoder will improve the efficiency of streaming video.

There's also a new USB controller enabling USB3 speeds.

We know that the A17 Pro will be better than the A16 Bionic, but there won't be any practical difference between the two iPhone 15 Pro models that use the same chip.

iPhone 15 Pro vs iPhone 15 Pro Max - Connectivity



The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max have support for fast 5G connections, in both sub-6GHz and mmWave formats, complete with 4x4 MIMO. Gigabit LTE with 4x4 MIMO and LAA (Licensed-Assisted Access, namely carrier aggregation) is also included.

There's also Emergency SOS via Satellite, and the new Roadside Assistance via Satellite. It's the same concept, except it sends a message to a roadside assistance service.

Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 are supported, while the second-gen Ultra Wideband chip enables new features, such as tracking other iPhone 15 handsets using the same distance and direct tracking as you would use to narrow down where an AirTag is in a room.

USB-C enables data offloads from the iPhone 15 Pro at up to 10Gbps
USB-C enables data offloads from the iPhone 15 Pro at up to 10Gbps



For physical connectivity, Apple has phased out Lighting in favor of USB-C. The change also means that, for the Pro models at least, data rates will be faster at up to 10Gbps, rather than Lightning's 480Mbps.

This is a great thing for videographers using iPhones, since they can get the ProRes recordings off much faster than with previous models. The ability to externally record directly to a drive also eliminates any production downtime from waiting for the download.

At a pinch, you could even recharge an AirPods case via the iPhone's battery, using the USB-C port.

On the other elements that are across the board, there's GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and BeiDou support for navigation, a digital compass, iBeacon microlocation, and NFC, with the latter point chiefly used with Apple Pay.

iPhone 15 Pro vs iPhone 15 Pro Max - Power and Battery



The iPhone 15 Pro is claimed by Apple to have up to 23 hours of battery life for playing back locally-stored video. For streaming video, that reaches 20 hours, and for audio playback, the Pro can get up to 75 hours.

While being larger tends to mean there's more power consumption due to the bigger screen, the iPhone 15 Pro Max does offer more usage time too. For local video playback, it reaches 29 hours, while streamed video is up to 25 hours, and audio playback gets to 95 hours.

Recharging is handled over USB-C or wirelessly via 7.5W Qi or 15W MagSafe. Fast charging is possible over USB-C, with a 50% charge possible in about 30 minutes when using a 20W or greater power source.

iPhone 15 Pro vs iPhone 15 Pro Max - Other Features



From the iPhone 14, Apple made the decision to switch from supporting dual eSIMs and SIM cards to an eSIM-only approach in the United States, eliminating the use of physical SIM cards. This is the same situation for the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max.

Apple maintains its IP68 rating for the Pro and Pro Max, meaning they could survive being 6 meters (19.7 feet) underwater for up to 30 minutes, as well as dust and dirt.

Crash Detection is a feature that uses the onboard sensors to detect if the user is involved in a car accident or another impact, and to potentially call the emergency services if not canceled in time.

iPhone 15 Pro vs iPhone 15 Pro Max - Capacity, Color, and Pricing



Apple offers the iPhone 15 Pro in four capacities: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB. They are priced at $999, $1,099, $1,299, and $1,499 respectively.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max eliminates the 128GB capacity, leaving the 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB options. The pricing starts at $1,199 for the 256GB, rising to $1,399 and $1,599.

The colors of the iPhone 15 Pro range.
The colors of the iPhone 15 Pro range.



This pricing equates to a $100 premium for the Pro Max in general. With the exception of the loss of the 128GB Pro Max, this is also the same pricing as it was for the iPhone 14 Pro range.

The pair is available in four colors: Black Titanium, White Titanium, Blue Titanium, and Natural Titanium.

iPhone 15 Pro vs iPhone 15 Pro Max - Which to buy



As alluded to at the start of this article, the question here is whether it is best to pay extra for the iPhone 15 Pro Max or to stick with the iPhone 15 Pro and save a little bit of money.

In previous years, the differences largely consisted of a bigger device and display, as well as more battery life. This year, it's different.

You're not just paying a premium for more screen estate and more hours of usage from a smartphone. There's also that camera change.

The addition of the tetraprism arrangement has made the Telephoto camera more useful than ever, giving you a lot more range to pay with for your shots. If you're an avid photographer or videographer, this is an extremely good reason to go for the upscaled model.

iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max
iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max



Of course, if you're not into photographs or video, you have to still deal with whether or not you need as large a display, whether you can easily hold it, and so on.

If an extra $100 isn't too much of a problem, iPhone 15 Pro buyers are better served all round by paying to get the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

In previous years, paying more for the benefits was fairly easy to accept. In 2023, handing over $100 for the iPhone 15 Pro Max is a no-brainer choice.

Where to buy the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max



Apple has opened up preorders for the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, with shipments starting September 22. Wireless carriers AT&T, Verizon and Xfinity are all offering incentives on the 2023 smartphones.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 4
    Choosing PM over P is no brainer. If you make P having the same 256 GB memory then the price difference is only $100 with so many differences. Unless you prefer the lighter and smaller P.
  • Reply 2 of 4
    Also $300 rebate at RedPocket.com for AT&T $20 a month service for 3 months then $10 a month for 9 months then $2.50 a month for T-Mobile service. The big three don’t want you to know about Red Pocket Mobile. You can choose your carrier at Red Pocket for a fraction of what the big 3 charge you directly.
    edited September 2023 pulseimages9secondkox2watto_cobraMariner8
  • Reply 3 of 4
    Tripling the yearly subscription price AI? Wow. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 4
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,856moderator
    At a pinch, you could even recharge an AirPods case via the iPhone's battery, using the USB-C port.”

    Or even add charge to an Apple Watch.
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