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Apple’s iPhone 15 Pro Max goes to Disneyland

Since 2014, I’ve been reviewing Apple’s latest iPhones at Disneyland. The rationale was, and is, simple: Instead of lab tests, do my best to get a feeling for what these devices will be like to use for people and families in a real-world scenario. Disneyland offers the ability to test the capabilities of the battery, screen, radio and other features in a relatively high-stakes situation. If you’re spending a ton of hard-earned cash to squeeze the most amount of family joy out of a few days of vacation, you need your phone to work flawlessly, deliver high-quality images and video to preserve the memories, and to last as long as possible on its battery charge. After a hiatus last year, I was able to get back to my favorite testing ground with the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro Max. For the most part, I used the larger model, because it has the most clever camera and, I feel, the most obviously clear “this is the one to get” potential since the iPhone lineup expanded to multiple models. I had two days and some change to drag the phones through the parks capturing video, making purchases, using them as virtual tickets and vacation planners for reservations, coordinating a friends and family group and more. Each year’s review brings new surprises, even when you’ve got 15 years of hardware review experience. And this year’s iPhone cycle hit me with some of the biggest shocks I’ve ever had in this business. Which is nice, because this is probably my last year doing it. I’ve had a hell of a fun time getting to test these things a bit early, and have always taken my responsibility as your avatar seriously. I want to get them out into real life and get a real handle on their perks and pitfalls and deliver you a review that gives you the specs in context, as well as a general vibe. It’s been a privilege. I hope you get some value and enjoyment out of this review and the rad little short film we made for you. Design This year’s iPhones bring a lovely blend of the design languages Apple has employed since the first iPhone’s release in 2007. The flat edges are leavened in a really nice way by the large radius bullnose that transitions you from the titanium rim onto the ceramic glass front and back – a blend of the original iPhone’s pill shape and the drama of the iPhone 4’s flat-sided slab. They feel really, really good in the bare state, which makes it a shame that most people will obviously slap cases on them right away. Image Credits: Will Proctor Productions Though this review focuses on the iPhone 15 Pro models, I think it’s worth mentioning here that – even though the early reception is muted on the palette of colors – the iPhone 15’s frosted glass backs are really well done from an execution and color theory perspective. These do not play well in photographs – especially Apple’s high-contrast photography – but they look great in person. They’re subtle, sophisticated and well done. I know bolder colors would have played better from a distance, but up close I think a lot of folks are going to really love the mint and pink shades especially. Image Credits: Will Proctor Productions On the iPhone 15 Pro front, the PVD-coated titanium rims are also solidly executed. Yeah, some of the colors will pick up fingerprints quickly, but the finish is a really nicely restrained brushed execution across the lineup. The blue color that I tested is great, and throws off a bunch of different shades between the lens rims, the flat camera housing, the sides of the raised glass, the matte part of the back and the titanium rim. Really impressive execution that feels a lot deeper than the simple painted glass backs of a few years ago. Image Credits: Will Proctor Productions The ‘natural’ titanium color was my personal purchase (due some time in October, whew) and is really great as well. It’s less variegated than the blue, and reads very much as silver on gray, but I’m fine with that. The raw titanium sides are not actually raw at all, of course – they are PVD-coated with a specific gray that Apple designed to give people the most accurate read of “titanium.” Actual raw titanium is a bunch of different colors, but it plays just fine and since the coating is bonded, not painted, it has the feel of bare metal. Blending glass into metal at the corners is probably only going to be a win on the board for those of us who go caseless, but my Disneyland trips almost always end up getting the case treatment just for that extra layer of protection. The fine woven cases and wallet that Apple provided for this test are, well, fine? I found them to feel pretty nice to the touch, more like a microsuede than a canvas. Apple’s product photography didn’t do the texture any favors, making it look coarse where it is soft. The cases I used didn’t pick up much dirt or scuffs during their time in the parks, nor did the wallet, which the phone rested on while on tables most of the time. I also got them quite wet on water rides and they held up fine with no buckling or wrinkling issues. They don’t feel as “premium” as a nice leather case does but I think they’ll hold up just fine for most people. I cannot, of course, vouch for how they’ll be in six months or a year – that’s a wait-and-see situation. I should note, though, that I tested my iPhone 14 Pro alongside these new devices as my control, and it has a broken-in black leather case. That case is significantly more grippy and easy to hold onto because the surface has picked up skin oil and gotten weathered. The fine woven cases are significantly slicker, and if you’re fumble-fingered I think you should consider something third-party in leather or stick with Apple’s silicone offerings. Image Credits: Will Proctor Productions The USB-C port is mostly a non-event in terms of using them while mobile in the parks or in the hotels. Almost all hotel chargers are either still USB-A or they’ve got USB-C, as well as Lightning dongles built into them. One factor that most early adopters will run into though is that if your other family members or kids have older phones, you’re constantly going to be trying to slip a Lightning cable into your USB-C slot, at least for a while as the older devices make their way through your family pipeline and into the used market or a recycling program. I carry a couple of portable batteries for the family in my pack and I had more than a handful of wrong-cord situations. Image Credits: Will Proctor Productions The addition of the Action Button is a really great quality of life improvement. I will personally likely be extremely basic about it and use the camera/shutter button option for the most part, but even that is super nice already. Pulling my phone out of my pocket with one hand while the other one is on a stroller or holding my kid’s hand and being able to activate the camera and shoot a picture without moving any fingers or adjusting my grip is a “sold” situation already. Having the many other options, including Shortcuts connections and the other standard features, is just a great cream-on-top situation. Though I will never, ever discount the surfacing of accessibility features to a dedicated exterior physical button – that’s going to be workflow-changing for many who rely on those features and I’m excited to hear how people use it. Performance and battery life In my experience, the iPhone 15 Pro Max was able to leave the charging cable at around 7:30 a.m. and make it through to roughly 1% battery life by around 6:30 p.m. The things to know about that rough 11-hour runtime is that Disneyland is a particularly tough environment. Enormously radio rich, hot, demanding on mobile devices. That’s one of the reasons I like it so much as a testing ground. A few years ago, one of Apple’s larger phones could get me through the whole day no problem. But in the modern Disneyland,…

منبع techcrunch
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