iPhone 14 Plus vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Which is best?

iPhone 14 Plus vs iPhone 14 Pro Max
(Image credit: Apple)

Stuck between the iPhone 14 Plus vs iPhone 14 Pro Max? This guide is here to help. In September 2022, Apple ditched the iPhone mini and replaced it with a plus-sized model. That means there are now two large iPhones vying for your attention: the iPhone 14 Plus and the iPhone 14 Pro Max. That poses a new question: if you want a larger iPhone, which should you choose?

That’s a tricky question, not least because Apple makes some of the best smartphones you can buy. Luckily, we’ve delved into the stats and features to work out the key dividing lines – give this guide a read and it should become much clearer which one you should go for. Then once you’re ready, we’ve found a host of great iPhone 14 deals to save you money.

iPhone 14 Plus vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Design

iPhone 14 Plus phones on a white background

(Image credit: Apple)

Comparing the designs of the iPhone 14 Plus and iPhone 14 Pro Max is similar to when you compare the iPhone 14 vs the iPhone 14 Pro. While both larger devices are flat-edged phones, they come with two quite different colour ranges.

The iPhone 14 Plus comes in five different flat colours: blue, purple, midnight, starlight, red. The iPhone 14 Pro Max, meanwhile, is offered in four metallic shades: deep purple, gold, silver, space black.

As well as that, it’s worth noting that Apple says the chassis of the iPhone 14 Plus is made from “aerospace-grade aluminium”, while the iPhone 14 Pro Max is constructed of “surgical-grade aluminium”. We’d guess the latter is the more premium material, but Apple doesn’t explain it in any detail.

iPhone 14 Plus vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Display

A photo of the iPhone 14 Pro

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli / Creative Bloq)

Apple’s Pro Max phones were previously the company’s largest iPhones, but the iPhone 14 Plus weighs in with the same screen size, so both sit pretty at 6.7-inches across. Both devices also sport Super Retina XDR panels with Ceramic Shield front protection, although only the iPhone 14 Pro Max has an always-on display and a variable refresh rate (dubbed ProMotion).

Being the more expensive device, it’s unsurprising that the iPhone 14 Pro Max pulls ahead elsewhere. While the display on the iPhone 14 Plus hits 800 nits of max brightness (typical) and 1,200 nits of peak brightness (HDR), the iPhone 14 Pro Max exceeds that. It can reach 1,000 nits of max brightness (typical), 1,600 nits of peak brightness (HDR), and a massive 2,000 nits of peak brightness outdoors.

iPhone 14 Plus vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Performance

Two hands holding an iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus next to each other.

(Image credit: Apple)

When it revealed the iPhone 14 line-up, Apple did something it had never done before: it offered brand-new phones that weren’t powered by the latest A-series chip. The iPhone 14 Pro Max is on the latest and greatest A16 Bionic chip, but the iPhone 14 Plus is stuck on 2021’s A15 Bionic. But how much difference will that make?

Well, the A16 Bionic is better in some ways. It’s built with a 4-nanometer process versus the 5-nanometer process in the A15 Bionic, which allows it to be both more performant and more efficient. The A16 Bionic’s performance cores are faster and use 20 per cent less power than those in the A15 Bionic, for example.

But while the iPhone 14 Pro Max is definitely the faster phone, the difference is not as extreme as you might expect. Both chips have 6-core CPUs and 5-core CPUs, and both have a 16-core Neural Engine, so it’s not like the A16 Bionic’s core count is running rings around the A15 Bionic.

And here’s the thing: even the A15 Bionic is leagues ahead of the Android competition. So whichever one you choose, you’ll get exceptional performance.

iPhone 14 Plus vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Battery life

A photo of the iPhone 14 Pro Max

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)

Now that the iPhone 14 Pro Max comes with an always-on display that the iPhone 14 Plus lacks, you’d expect its battery life would take a hit. But counterintuitively enough, that’s actually not the case.

Apple says the iPhone 14 Pro Max will last for 29 hours of video playback. The iPhone 14 Plus, on the other hand, will go strong for 26 hours of video playback, per Apple’s numbers, meaning the phone with the always-on display has more battery stamina. Regardless, both should easily last you a full day of regular use.

iPhone 14 Plus vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Features

A photo of the iPhone 14 Pro Max

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)

One of the main differences you’ll notice between the iPhone 14 Plus and iPhone 14 Pro Max is in the notch at the top of the display. The iPhone 14 Pro Max now has what Apple calls a Dynamic Island, which can house useful info for apps that have been minimised to the background. You can see sports score updates, for example, or upcoming travel directions. The iPhone 14 Plus lacks the Dynamic Island, instead sticking with the more familiar notch.

Both devices get emergency SOS and Apple’s new crash detection feature, but only the iPhone 14 Pro Max comes with a LiDAR scanner. As for storage, both sport 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB options, but only the Pro Max can be configured with 1TB of storage space.

iPhone 14 Plus vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Camera

A photo of the iPhone 14 Pro Max

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)

The camera capabilities are where the iPhone 14 Plus and iPhone 14 Pro Max really diverge. For starters, the former has a two-lens camera system (main and ultra wide), while the latter comes with a three-lens setup, which adds a telephoto lens into the equation. All lenses produce 12MP pictures, except the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s main lens, which can go all the way up to 48MP.

There are slight differences to the apertures of those lenses. On the iPhone 14 Plus, the main is f/1.5 and the ultra wide is f/2.4. On the iPhone 14 Pro Max, the numbers are f/1.78 for the main, f/2.2 for the ultra wide, and f/2.8 for the telephoto.

The iPhone 14 Pro Max offers better photo and video shooting in other ways. It’s got a greater optical zoom range (6x versus 2x) and digital zoom range (5x versus 15x) for photos, second-generation optical image stabilisation to the 14 Plus’s first-gen tech, and more advanced video recording with the addition of ProRes and macro video recording.

Finally, the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s camera has several other features the iPhone 14 Plus lacks, including night mode portraits, macro photography, and Apple ProRAW. Both devices take superb photos, but the iPhone 14 Pro Max is one of the best camera phones you can buy.

iPhone 14 Plus vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Price

A hand holding up an iPhone 14 Plus phone.

(Image credit: Apple)

Unsurprisingly, the iPhone 14 Pro Max is the more expensive of the two devices, and you’ll pay a £250 premium regardless of which storage option you choose.

The iPhone 14 Plus starts at £949 for 128GB of storage, ramping up to £1,059 for 256GB and £1,279 for 512GB. As for the iPhone 14 Pro Max, you’ll pay £1,199 for 128GB, £1,309 for 256GB, £1,529 for 512GB, and £1,749 for 1TB of storage.

iPhone 14 Plus vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Conclusion

A photo of the iPhone 14 Pro Max

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)

In the past, getting a larger iPhone meant you had to buy the most expensive one. With the introduction of the iPhone 14 Plus, that’s no longer the case. If you’re in the market for a 6.7-inch phone that isn’t as eye-wateringly expensive as the iPhone 14 Pro Max, the iPhone 14 Plus will be an attractive option.

Still, there are plenty of reasons to pick the iPhone 14 Pro Max. It’s got a better camera system, a more powerful chip, a more modern feature set, and longer battery life. If those things matter to you, it’s the obvious choice.

Ultimately, the decision comes down to your priorities. If you just want a larger phone without the hefty price tag, the iPhone 14 Plus is the way to go. If you’re more interested in top-of-the-line features, go for the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Either way, you’ll end up with an excellent iPhone.

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Alex Blake is a freelance tech journalist who writes for Creative Bloq, TechRadar, Digital Trends, and others. Before going freelance he was commissioning editor at MacFormat magazine, focusing on the world of Apple products. His interests include web design, typography, and video games.