Home > Tech > Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max vs iPhone 12 Pro Max: A worthy upgrade?
Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max vs iPhone 12 Pro Max: A worthy upgrade?

Do you suffer from gear acquisition syndrome? More specifically, have you been contemplating about trading up for the iPhone 13 Pro Max, which stands at the top of the line-up with premium features and a bigger display?

The biggest question then, is whether you’ll want to change over to this smartphone if you’ve already gotten the iPhone 12 Pro Max, or if you’re simply seeking a new top-of-range device this year. To that, the answer is yes. With its new design features and constellation of upgrades, the new iPhone 13 Pro Max promises more efficiency than ever, whether you’re using it for work or play.

Not convinced? We compare the two phones below so you’ll have a better idea.

First impressions

Like its predecessor, the iPhone Pro Max 13 offers a generous 6.7-inch screen and an almost similar look and feel. We’re talking flat edges, a surgical grade stainless steel frame, and a textured matte glass back that adds to the phone’s sleekness. A key difference in terms of appearance though is that the iPhone 13 Pro Max comes in a brand new colour: Sierra Blue.

If you’re a klutz, the ceramic shield front cover has been tweaked to become the toughest on any smartphone, so you’ll no longer have to worry about it smashing into a cobwebbed mess if you drop it.

Inside, the new phone is powered by the upgraded A15 Bionic chip, a leap up from the previous A14 in the iPhone 12 Pro Max to become the fastest chip in a smartphone yet. With a faster 16-core Neural Engine, this smartphone is more efficient and powerful than ever. The new 5-core GPU, for example, provides the fastest graphics performance in any smartphone, smashing its competition with up to 50 percent faster speeds. This means that video apps, high-performance gaming, and new camera features can be enjoyed seamlessly.


Those who thrive on graphics will appreciate that the iPhone 13 Pro Max has the brightest display ever, giving up to 25 percent higher outdoor brightness so you’ll still experience amazing colour and contrast no matter where you go and what you do. The all-new Super Retina XDR display with ProMotion also features an adaptive refresh rate of up to 120Hz, making the touch experience faster and more responsive.

Because a smaller area is required to house the TrueDepth camera system, the phone also offers more viewing area on the display than its predecessor.

Battery life

The iPhone 13 Pro Max offers the longest battery life ever in an iPhone — up to 2.5 hours longer in a day than the iPhone 12 Pro Max — thanks to the A15 Bionic, a larger battery, and more power-efficient counterparts. 


Apple iPhone 13 night mode

Of all the iPhone 13s, the Pro’s camera system got the biggest advancements by way of a new Ultra Wide, Wide, and Telephoto cameras, each powered by the new image signal processor in the A15 Bionic to give stunning images all the time.

The upgraded Wide lens features an aperture that lets in 1.5x more light and has the largest sensor in an iPhone yet, reducing noise and enabling faster shutter speeds for more detailed pictures. Even if you have shaky hands, there’s the sensor-shift optical image stabilisation which ingeniously stabilises the sensor and not the lens, so you’ll always have smooth and steady images and videos.

Meanwhile, the Ultra Wide lens lets in 92 percent more light for better low-light performance, and besides a new lens design also brings autofocus capability for the first time in this mode on iPhone. What’s most exciting, however, is that with the A15 Bionic chip, the lens is able to support macro photography, which magnifies subjects with a minimum focus distance of 2cm to produce larger-than-life images. This mode extends to video, including Slo-mo and Time-lapse.

There’s also a new 77mm Telephoto camera, which allows you to get closer to your subject during video recording for more classically framed portraits. The Telephoto lens now offers an increased 3x optical zoom — as compared to the 2.5x in the 12 Pro Max — to bring a total of 6x optical zoom range on the camera system.

All the computational photography prowess of the A15 Bionic is put to good use here. For the first time ever, the Night mode can now be used on all cameras here, which when paired with Smart HDR 4 will allow photographers to achieve even better colour, contrast, and lighting, even in the darkest of situations.

Unlike a simple filter, the smartphone intelligently applies the right adjustments to different parts of the photo when preset and customised preferences are used to ensure that important elements, like skin tones, are preserved. iPhone 13 Pro Max will also offer popular features like Deep Fusion, Apple ProRAW, and Portrait mode with Portrait Lighting.

Whether you’re trying to capture precious moments or are a serious filmmaker, the iPhone 13 Pro Max offers plenty of options. The A15 Bionic works with advanced machine learning algorithms to enable Cinematic mode to record in Dolby Vision HDR.

Then there’s ProRes — an advanced video codec used widely as the final delivery format for commercials, feature films, and broadcasts — which offers higher colour fidelity and less compression. The iPhone is actually the only smartphone in the world that will enable you to capture, edit, and share in Dolby Vision or ProRes.


Like the 12 Pro Max, the 13 Pro models offer 5G connectivity for better quality video streaming, higher-definition FaceTime calls, and improved gaming, although this also depends on your data plan. The hardware design in the iPhone 13 Pro line-up features more 5G bands though, so you’ll experience better connectivity in more places on 5G for greater coverage and performance.


Coupled with iOS 15 (your guide here), the iPhone 13 Pro Max is truly a do-all machine that you can take anywhere with you, especially if you looking for efficiency and power in a single device.

Budding photographers or videographers will appreciate every effort that Apple has put in to make this phone a true companion, especially since you’ll no longer have to cart heavy equipment around for the same quality. Even if you’re just a regular user, you’ll find that the smartphone supports your everyday life with plenty of finesse, whether it’s watching a film on Netflix, putting you through a Zoom call with colleagues, or enabling all-day use without the need for a recharge.

Graphics on its generous 6.7-inch screen are superb here whichever way you use it, and they make working on the go a joy, especially if you’re connected to 5G. If you’re contemplating a new phone, trust us when we say that the iPhone 13 Pro Max will make your life a whole lot easier.

The iPhone 13 Pro Max will be available in graphite, gold, silver, and sierra blue in 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and all-new 1TB storage options, and can be purchased both in stores and online here.


All images by Apple. The story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Singapore 

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