Pros

  • Huge screen is gorgeous
  • Three very good cameras
  • Really impressive battery life
  • ProMotion finally on an iPhone

Cons

  • Selfie camera needs an upgrade
  • Notch feels tired
  • Other phones have better zoom

We think the iPhone 13 Pro Max is the best all-round camera phone. It’s reliable in all conditions, captures the best video out of any other phone on this list, and boasts three distinct cameras for versatility, with each capturing different focal lengths.

However, it’s not actually the best camera phone across every specific area. We much prefer the zoom skills on the Galaxy S22 Ultra, for one thing, as it captures a much clearer overall image when you zoom in to a subject. But that said, when taken as a whole, the iPhone 13 Pro Max comes out top.

In terms of the overall spec of the camera hardware, the iPhone 13 Pro Max might look modest on paper compared to the competition; there are three 12-megapixel cameras on the back, a single 12-megapixel on the front for selfies and a max 4K 60fps resolution for video recording. But where the iPhone 13 Pro Max impressed us is in the results.

When compared to the Galaxy S22 Ultra and Oppo Find X5 Pro, the shots from the iPhone were generally a little more true to life. Skin tones are more natural and the way it captures contrasting environments looks much more appealing.  Apple has also done a great job ensuring the shots from the wide, ultra wide and telephoto cameras all look alike, so you’re not suddenly met with varying colour science when you switch lenses.

There’s a dedicated Night Mode for shooting in darker surroundings, and the effects are great, with plenty of detail retained and dark spots kept mostly free of noise. That said, it would still be nice to be able to turn the Night Mode on and off as you please, since with this phone it just bursts into life automatically when the camera can’t pick up enough light.

The excellent results continue when we look at video capture. While it doesn’t shoot video in the same 8K resolution as the S22 Ultra, the 4K capture we recorded was well stabilised without looking fake, and packed the same great colour reproduction as the photos.

The only camera that’s relatively poor is the front one; selfie shots are a little washed out when compared to the S22 Ultra, and have a tendency to look flat.

On top of the camera itself you’ll also be treated to epic battery life (two days if you don’t hammer it too hard), so you won’t run out of juice on a busy shooting day, and a gorgeous display to view the images back on. If you want a smaller screen, the regular iPhone 13 Pro has exactly the same camera skills. The iPhone 13 is a good choice too, if you’re happy to ditch the telephoto zoom completely.

If you’re thinking of picking up the 13 Pro Max, it’s important to bear in mind Apple recently unveiled the iPhone 14 series. This means the 13 Pro Max has now been succeeded by the 14 Pro Max. We haven’t had the chance to review the 14 series yet but, when we do, we’ll update this list if the camera impresses us enough to bump any phones off this list.

Reviewer: Max Parker 

Full review: iPhone 13 Pro Max review

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