Seeing is believing as they say or, in the case of the new iPhone 15 Pro series, touching is.
Apple has released phones with increased power and efficiency.
There are new finishes and some design cues from the iPhone's previous iterations are gone. Some long-rumoured changes have come to fruition.
That, and many more upgrades, forms the gist of the company's latest top-end flagship smartphone.
We take a look at the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
Design: a smoother feel
While the iPhone 15 line-up retains the flat-edges and curved-corners design – the classic look last seen in the iPhone 5 and brought back in the iPhone 12 – the Pro models come with a major aesthetic overhaul.
One of the most talked about features is their titanium frame, which Apple says makes the iPhone 15 Pro models lighter but tougher.
In fact, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is nearly 20g lighter than its predecessor, as titanium – used in a variety of industries including medicine, aerospace, engines, aircraft and sports – has one of the highest strength-to-weight ratios of any metal.
Apple specifically used Grade 5 titanium, the most widely-used titanium alloy, which was also used on the Mars rover.
The edges of the iPhone 15 Pro Max now come with a brushed finish.
As subtle as that change seems, the phone does feel smoother to the touch compared with previous models.
And as Apple also eliminated those sharp edges from the iPhone's three previous iterations, we can say that this is the most comfortable in this design series.
Two major hardware shifts
Over to the left above the volume buttons, you'll find another big change: the mute button, ever present since the 2007 original, is now gone and has been replaced by the Action Button.
This makes it more versatile, as you can now assign a specific action for it, including firing up the camera, flashlight, voice memo or magnifier, toggle focus and silent modes, setting an accessibility feature, or assigning a shortcut to any app – or do nothing at all.
You'll have to press and hold the Action Button to activate whatever you've assigned to it. If you've been a long-time iPhone user, you might find that this new button will need some getting used to.
And, of course, the change that has a domino effect of sorts – the switch to USB-C.
As we explained before, USB-C has faster transfer and charging speeds compared to Apple's proprietary Lightning tech (we'll circle back to this later).
This change was coming. And it is for the better: this means one less cable to bring along. For Apple users, this sort of unifies the iPhone-and-MacBook combo – throw in the new AirPods Pro for good measure – as well as other devices you may need to connect.
Lastly, while the iPhone 15 Pro Max and 14 Pro Max are identical in some ways, you still can't use the same protective cases for them. Why? Because of the dimensions: the iPhone 15 Pro Max's width and height are smaller, while its depth is thicker.
Camera through a 'tetraprism'
The triple-lens camera system with a 48MP lead sensor carries over into the iPhone 15 Pro Max, but with one interesting addition.
Apple has used what it has dubbed tetraprism tech, which basically fits a 120mm lens in the device, to achieve 5x optical zoom, or what is also being called a periscope lens. That's compared to the 3x optical zoom, equivalent to 77mm, on its predecessor.
As Apple explains, the tetraprism design is a folded glass structure below the lens that reflects light rays more than four times, allowing light to travel for longer in the same space, giving a new focal length. They've also improved its optical image stabilisation, which is critical when taking photos with long lens.
The results speak for themselves: Apple has been very good at photography, especially in retaining the natural mood of shots, day or night.
In the gallery above, we found ourselves shooting during a rather hazy day, which is captured nicely by the iPhone 15 Pro Max – normal or zoomed in.
While iPhone Pros have been a go-to for photography enthusiasts, with the addition of improved zoom and OIS systems, better light performance and the simplicity of how to use it, the 15 Pro Max should be their new choice. A reminder: the tetraprism tech comes only on the Pro Max.
Battery keeps going
The iPhone 15 Pro Max comes with a 4,441mAh battery, slightly bigger than its predecessor's 4,323mAh. In our one-hour YouTube-at-full-brightness test, the device lost 6 per cent, at par with the 14 Pro Max. Ditto for how long it lasted: it was good enough for a day-and-a-half, starting early in the morning.
In our charging session, it seems the switch to USB-C is showing its benefits. Within half an hour, the device shot up to 60 per cent, up from the 53 per cent in our review of the 14 Pro Max, using the woven power noodle out of the box and a 30W brick.
We also have to address reports of overheating that have surfaced in recent days.
During our tests, our unit, fortunately, did not encounter any such issue.
As of this review, Apple has said that it has identified the issue, and will be patching things up in a software update.
The Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max is, by far, the most complete package for an iPhone. While every iteration comes with some improvement, the combination of a sturdier camera, an even faster chip, the switch to USB-C and that smooth feel of its design make it a versatile device.
Some things that we did find to be disappointing were that battery life that hasn't been bumped up from its predecessor and the Action Button is limited to just one action. However, it's really hard to find a weakness in this iPhone – especially considering the fact its price hasn't moved.
Take note, though, that this year's Pro Max no longer has a 128GB variant, so the base device is now at 256GB.
We're also looking forward to when we can finally play Resident Evil Village and the remake of the legendary Resident Evil 4 – console-level gaming – on the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Good times.