Why the iPhone 11 Pro Max is the best iPhone yet

It's a lot of money, but it's worth it for this one life-changing feature alone.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

There's no doubt that the iPhone 11 Pro Max is a lot of money. Starting at $1,099, the price tag is the sort of thing that brings a tear to your eye. But it's worth it for one feature alone.

No, not the triple camera. Sure, the cameras are nice, and they take amazing photographs, especially in low light, but for me that's hardly a life-changing thing. It's cool, but not $1,000 cool.

Then there's the display. It's the bit we all look at, so it's good to have a display that's easy on the eyeballs and about as close to looking at real stuff as possible. But to be honest, I never really had cause to complain about the display on the old Retina displays.

I sure can't tell that the display is better and has a few dozen extra pixels per inch. Maybe subconsciously my brain knows they are there, but otherwise they're wasted on me.

Then there's the extra water resistance. According to Apple, I can now dunk my iPhone into 4 meters of water for up to 30 minutes. Cool. Might save me one day, but in the meantime, it's not something I'm planning to use.

So, what is it about the iPhone 11 Pro Max that makes it the best iPhone yet?

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Battery life.

Yep, that simple. This is the first iPhone I've owned -- and quite possibly the first smartphone I've owned -- where I can use it as much as possible in a day and not suffer from battery anxiety. Those five extra hours of battery life compared to the iPhone XS Max make an enormous difference.

First off, I'm now only charging the iPhone once. At night. That's it.

No plugging it in for a sneaky charge-up at the office or when lounging on a couch, or letting it sip from a convenient power bank while I'm using it. I don't even charge it up when in the car anymore (although if I was going on a long trip I might… you know, just in case). It doesn't need it. Every other iPhone I've owned has felt like it was permanently connected to a charger, or I was eeking out more time by making immoderate and unrestrained use of Low Power Mode, and turning down the screen brightness to a point where it was as dim as some distant star.

And with good reason.

Often, I'd be horrified to find that after making a few calls or answering some emails, my iPhone's battery would have dropped precipitously to below 50 percent, and it would still not be lunchtime.

As I write this, it's almost 2 pm, and after a lot of heavy usage, the iPhone 11 Pro Max is still at 88 percent.

And all that without having to have it tethered to a power supply, or messing about with settings to "optimize" battery life. 

Apple has truly built an "all-day" iPhone.

Now, I know that as time goes by, updates and wear will take their toll on the battery, and that battery life will degrade, but it feels like there's more than enough overhead to accommodate for this. In fact, in terms of battery life, the iPhone 11 Pro Max feels less like an iPhone and more like an iPad. I never really worry about the battery in my iPad either, as that is more than enough to last a solid day.

It's 2020, and I know that we probably shouldn't need to spend over a thousand dollars on an iPhone that lasts all day in the hands of someone who uses it a lot, but here we are. But, it's still nice to be able to get an iPhone that can last the entire day, even if it is $1,000.

For those who need an iPhone that can last a day, and can justify the colossal price tag, this is the iPhone for them.

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