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iPhone 15 Pro Max – I REALLY tried to leave you…

Earlier this year I fancied a change and tried to leave the iPhone behind – I failed!

iPhone 15 Pro Max

The iPhone 15 Pro Max is probably – no strike that – the iPhone 15 Pro Max IS the best iPhone I’ve owned – and it won me over just in time!

In the summer – for the first time I tried Android. That decision was born out of a couple of thoughts. Firstly I thought that trying Android would give me a more balanced perspective when it came to content. At least by having tried ‘the other side’ I’d get a taste of what all the fuss was about. The other reason – I was a bit bored with iPhone.

So with that said, why did Android fail to wow me and win me over?

The 14 Pro was the first phone that I had bought outright and owned – away from a cell provider’s contract and it was also the first Pro phone of any kind that I’d owned.

Don’t get me wrong – it was a great phone in many ways – and yet in other ways, it just seemed to fall short of the mark. I know the first point may prove contentious – but the 14 Pro didn’t feel particularly premium. It was too small for my liking and the edges felt too sharp when you used the phone for any long-ish periods. The battery life was also a let down which didn’t help matters.

Sure the cameras were good – but ProRes video was all but unusable. The quality was great but it was poorly thought through as you just can’t get the files off the phone…you try exporting a 10-minute 90 GB file via AirDrop or Lightning cable – it’s all but impossible.

The purple colour – which I know was my choice – was a bit too muted but was the best of the mediocre options available on the 14 Pro range last year. Although the display was ok it was nothing to write home about – it was bright, but when I put it up against the Pixel 8 Pro’s display this summer it seemed to be lacking – I can’t put my finger on exactly why, but the Pixel just looked sharper.

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Android reasons…

I’d heard a lot about what Android had to offer and the supposed freedom it bought you. You can individualise Android phones more – and tailor them more to your tastes and personality.

Although I’ve yet to try the Samsung Ultra, I have given the Pixel 8 Pro a good spin, and yes, it does have its pluses – but just not quite enough for me.

Because of how deeply entranced I am in the Apple ecosystem Android, or Pixel would have had to blow me away with night and day improvements to force my hand to switch – and it didn’t.

Okay – I know part of that is muscle memory and familiarity – I know where everything is on the iPhone. The torch, the timer, the stopwatches and even the weather app were all just where I expected them to be and behaved how I expected them to behave.

But Android should have the newness appeal that made me excited – but it missed the mark – for me at least. And now I think I know why – and I touched on it a little earlier.

iPhone 15 Pro Max – it’s me all over

Android users kept telling me about how they made their phones feel their own – and from the outside, particularly as I wasn’t feeling the 14 Pro love it tempted me.

When I played with Pixel 8 Pro though, the penny dropped! When it boiled down to it I didn’t give a flying hoot about how my apps were laid out or what widgets I could put on my phone.

Each to their own – but sitting down at night and arranging my apps into app drawers or constantly changing wallpaper just isn’t my thing. I use my phone as a work tool and not a fashion accessory. One ringtone will suit me year round and very rarely will anything change about my phone. Familiarity gets work done which for me is king.

I’m glad I have tried Android – but now I realise its strength doesn’t match my needs – or personality.

All together now

Call me an Apple fanboy or iSheep all you like, but I can tell you it works – and if it works, why look to fix it?

Trying out Android did serve its purpose though. I tried it and realised that iOS and iPhone although not without fault still won the day for me.

The release of the iPhone 15 could not have been better timed…many of the things I didn’t like about the 14 Pro were addressed and sorted on the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

I’ve written many times how I think this phone could go down as one of their best-ever designs – and after 3 or 4 months of use, I stand by that statement. Apple seems to have listened to what we wanted and delivered by the bucket-load.

This year I learned from my previous mistake and made certain to tick the 15 Pro Max box. I wanted that large 6.7-inch screen XDR panel – it turns out I am the person who loves large iPhones then!

The sharp edges have been replaced by smooth, lush curves and that Titanium rail around the edge is Apple design and ingenuity at its best. Before getting my hands on it I wondered how it could make any difference – but in person, it makes a huge difference – not only to the weight but also the tactility & aesthetic. Those two points alone make the 15 Pro Max feel premium – which the 14 Pro never managed. It feels great in the hand now.

I’ve never been a bezel person – by that I mean to say they have never been something that offended me or affected my day-to-day use – but the slimmed-down outline on this panel enhances the overall feeling of it nearly being an edge-to-edge display.

One oddity remains though – the Pixel 8 Pros panel still looks better – and I’m not sure why it is. Its max peak brightness is a little brighter at 2400 nits – but it’s not that I’m getting at – it just seems sharper and punchier. I don’t know if they coat it differently – but there is something in the Pixels panel that Apple could look at and learn from.

Action time

The Action Button was one of the headline attractions before the phone was released – but in all honestly that has proven a bit of a damp squib.

Not only haven’t I ever bothered to remap it – but I never use it! It’s still set to launch the camera but that muscle memory I mentioned earlier raises its head again with this function. All the years of launching the camera from the icon on the Lock Screen can’t be wiped away in an instant – I’m just so used to it after all these years…

Anyway – even if I were to have it set to the torch, focus modes or the ringer the button is just not very ergonomically placed – it’s uncomfortable to use.

But the other headliner turned out to be a game changer – the USB-C port.

Whether or not their hand was forced over the issue is kind of missing the point. Even if they did only put it on the iPhone 15 range to step back in line with the EU – the way they implemented was the master stroke.

Any port in a storm

We thought that the iPhone 15 Pro model port would be Thunderbolt – which it’s not as we now know.

But the genius is the way it’s been designed to quickly transfer those large ProRes files that last year were unusable on the previous year’s iPhone – bloody brilliant!

I bought a Samsung T7 SSD to exactly match the transfer speeds of the 15 Pro Max and it works so well that the last two videos on my channel have been shot in LOG and ProRes on the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

The large files – normally over 100 GB never touch the phone they go directly to the SSD. The benefit is that you don’t need to spec your 15 Pro Max with ludicrous amounts of expensive Apple storage. They’ve kind of shot themselves in the foot a bit with this one – but for once it works out perfectly for us.

The video side of the iPhone 15 Pro Max is a clear winner over the Pixel 8 Pro. I know that Google is set to be releasing their updates for the 8 Pro in the next few days – Night Sight & Video Boost – but they are both off-device features and I just can’t see them being enough to fully catch up with the LOG ProRes video of the iPhone.

Picture-wise – it’s a bit of a flip of a coin. Both phones have their ’style’ – as to which one you prefer just comes down to personal preference.

The clincher

So now having owned and used two of the three flagship smartphones I can hand on heart say I love the design and more importantly the form and functionality of the iPhone.

They’ve got it nailed!

But over and above all of the pros and cons of the iPhone 15 – the one area that will always win out for me is the way it fits into my life. I stress mine as I’ve been with Apple now for well over a decade and both of my feet are firmly buried in Apple’s ecosystem- and I am just fine with that.

The iPhone sits centre of my home – acting as a remote for my Apple TV and working with my HomePods. In the car, it’s my navigation and entertainment hub. And of course, being a Mac user it fits snuggly and discreetly into my workflow – everything is always in sync everywhere.

A few weeks ago I came up with the musing that Apple is a lifestyle company every bit as much as they are a tech giant – which means my Apple way of life comes at a cost.

More than Samsung or Google – Apple has got your every need covered and we tend to lean into it – Macs, iPads, HomePods – and of course Apple Watch. Once you own an iPhone you tend to find that the other devices gradually creep into your life – and the iPhone always plays a central role to them all in one way or another.

I have a sneaky feeling that Apple may have had all this planned out decades ago they are no fools – and if they did have a master plan – geez – hasn’t it come together perfectly?

I’m not saying that the Pixel 8 Pro or possibly even the Samsung S23 Ultra are not fantastic phones – but they can never offer the total package that Apple brings to the table.

They may be great but not great enough to tempt me.

I tried – honestly, I tried…but why should I look for other solutions when what I have is already just about perfect?

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