I used iPhone 13 Pro Max for 3 months WITHOUT a case! This is how it looks now

The iPhone 13 Pro Max is the best iteration of the iPhone yet. But how does it fare after three months of regular abuse?

By: AMRITANSHU MUKHERJEE
| Updated on: Jan 01 2022, 19:19 IST
iPhone 13 Pro Max
The iPhone 13 Pro Max after facing three months of tough Indian conditions without a case. (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
iPhone 13 Pro Max
The iPhone 13 Pro Max after facing three months of tough Indian conditions without a case. (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

It would be safe to say that Apple's iPhone 13 series is a hit with consumers and critics alike. The regular iPhone 13 and its Mini version are tempting deals but the Pro variants seem in a league of their own. The iPhone 13 Pro Max is biggest and most loaded one in the range, and three months ago, it left us impressed with its capabilities. A spectacular battery life, impressive cameras, and a smooth display were the highlights that got us all psyched.

Hence, we did not leave the iPhone 13 Pro Max to sleep. Ever since our full review was done, I picked it up as my main phone for all the moments when there were no other smartphone reviews pending. To see how this fully loaded iPhone deals with the Indian seasons of parting monsoons, spring, and winter, I stripped it off its leather case and carried it around. And after three months, this is the state of the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

Rating
4.5 out of 5
Price
INR 159,900/-
Product Name
iPhone 13 Pro Max
Brand Name
Apple
Pros
  • Superb display
  • Great cameras
  • Solid battery life
Cons
  • Too heavy
Specifications
  • Display
    6.7-inches OLED display with 120Hz refresh rate
  • Chipset
    Apple A15 Bionic with 5-core GPU
  • Cameras
    12MP main +12MP ultrawide +12MP telephoto 3X zoom
  • OS
    iOS 15

iPhone 13 Pro Max after 3 months: What's still GOOD?

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iPhone 13 Pro Max
iPhone 13 Pro Max (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
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iPhone 13 Pro Max (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

Battery life

The iPhone 13 Pro Max keeps dropping my jaws with its impeccable battery life even after three months. Despite going through countless buggy versions of “stable” iOS 15 updates and a hectic workflow life of a journalist, our iPhone 13 Pro Max was happy to return close to two days of battery stamina. Even on the busiest of days where I was logging 7 hours of calls, some hefty camera work, and the usual browsing, the Pro Max ended the days with 45 percent left! Astounding by all means.

Build Quality

The iPhone 13 Pro Max carries a steel frame with Apple's Ceramic Shield glass on the front and a matte glass on the rear. All these combined, the iPhone 13 Pro Max feels like a brick that can withstand some waist-level drops on wooden floors and ceramic tiles. The stainless steel frame looks all shiny but keeping it smudge-free is a challenge. The glossy surface has also picked micro-scratches, which is worrying for those wanting to daily drive it.

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iPhone 13 Pro Max
iPhone 13 Pro Max (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
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iPhone 13 Pro Max (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

While the rear matte glass has surprisingly remained scratch-free and resists smudges, I can't the same for the front glass. The Ceramic Shield glass has gained a deep scratch from the stitching of jeans' pockets, (and not from the drops on sandy floors!) Every trip out of the pocket leaves some scuffs on the display. That said, it hasn't shattered despite taking a few drops on concrete flooring.

Display

The addition of the 120Hz ProMotion display makes this iPhone an enjoyable pocket companion. iOS 15's smooth animation combine to deliver a surreal smooth scrolling experience. The benefits are noticeable during gaming too, where everything looks a tad smoother than the display of the iPhone 13 Mini. Also, it stays legible even under the direct sun.

Cameras

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iPhone 13 Pro Max
iPhone 13 Pro Max (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
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iPhone 13 Pro Max (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

With 12MP triple rear cameras, the iPhone 13 Pro Max has willingly replaced my DSLR for some of the photoshoots of several smartphone reviews on HT Tech. The colour consistency is spot-on and so is the dynamic range. There's only 3X optical zoom but under well-lit scenarios, you can zoom up to 6X digitally and still get good enough clarity. It's only under low light where the ultra-wide and telephoto cameras struggle to get sharpness of subjects. Shoutout to the 12MP selfie camera for being a reliable selfie shooter. Not all is well though (hang on).

Performance

With regular everyday tasks, the iPhone 13 Pro Max has been a delight to use. Barring the iOS 15 bugs, the phone itself has held on to every task and delivered it as expected. I haven't seen apps struggling, or dropping out of memory despite two games loaded in the background.

iPhone 13 Pro Max after 3 months: What's BAD

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iPhone 13 Pro Max
iPhone 13 Pro Max (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
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iPhone 13 Pro Max (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

Impractical size

I have used countless phones with 6.7-inch display but none have been as ridiculous as the iPhone 13 Pro Max. That boxy design with flat surfaces and pointy edges hurt hands when you hold it, and are difficult to carry around in male trouser pockets (try riding a motorcycle with this in your pockets). I miss the curvy edges of the iPhone 11 series, especially on a large phone like this.

As HEAVY as Thor's Hammer

At 240 grams, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is essentially as heavy as a brick. I have hurled abuses at this phone several early mornings after it dropped flat on my face. And you would want to keep it away from your body while standing barefoot; because when it drops, you going to cry for your mother. The 240 grams also hurts the wrists once you hold it for over 15 minutes (is this Apple's formula of digital detox?) What was Apple thinking? Android phones with bigger 6000mAh batteries weigh lesser than this!

Ultra-slow charging

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iPhone 13 Pro Max
iPhone 13 Pro Max (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
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iPhone 13 Pro Max (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

In an age when a Realme phone costing a fraction of the iPhone 13 Pro Max can do a full recharge in 30 minutes, the iPhone 13 Pro Max takes close to two hours to reach that 100 percent mark even with the 20W Apple charger. It's even slower if you put it on the MagSafe wireless charger.

iOS 15

Just get this to work right Apple! iOS 15 is simply too messed up right now. It ruins the overall experience of using any of the iPhone 13 models.

Lastly, the cameras

It sounds weird but the iPhone 13 Pro Max's cameras haven't proven to be the best in my current collection. The much cheaper Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and even the Galaxy Z Fold 3 with its older camera hardware seem to offer a better and more versatile photography experience. All these photos of the iPhone you see here are shot on the Galaxy Z Fold 3. The iPhone 13 Pro Max struggles with close ups and product photography many a times. And then there's the irksome macro camera bug that you can only get rid of by disabling it! What? Why Apple?

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First Published Date: 01 Jan, 17:49 IST
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