Last September, Apple unveiled its latest generation of iPhones, which consisted of three devices: The iPhone 11, the Phone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. The latter two phones were the first time Apple has ever used the word "Pro" in the name of an iPhone, as it had previously been reserved for MacBooks and iPads.
The iPhone 11 Pro Max was, of the three devices, the largest, heaviest and most expensive. It started at a base price of $1,099-which could extend as high as $1,499- and featured a 6.5 inch display.
Overall, the bigger iPhone has gotten positive reviews. Tom's Guide ranks it the third-best smartphone available overall, behind the iPhone 11 and the more recent iPhone SE, and called it "the best big-screen iPhone."
However, the 11 Pro Max is certainly not for everyone.
Around the time of launch, Business Insider argued for its readers to purchase the iPhone 11 Pro instead of the Pro Max.
"If you're considered a new iPhone and were already planning to splurge on a Pro version, you might be tempted to max-out on the iPhone 11 Pro Max — but you shouldn't," the site's Mary Meisenzahl wrote. She also noted that the phone is "just too big," and one of many iPhones that are "too big for the average woman's hands." It's also the heaviest iPhone ever.
Some on social media agreed.
"I got the iPhone 11 Pro Max and this [expletive] is too big," one Twitter user wrote. "I can’t even reach half of my screen." A Reddit discussion around the same time looked at whether the Pro Max was "too heavy." And a "brutally honest" review of the Pro Max, by YouTuber iTwe4kz, was also much more negative than most of the mainstream reviews.
In a different piece, also in September 2019, Business Insider listed several reasons to purchase the iPhone 11 rather than the two Pro models, including its price, the greater number of color options, and the "just right" size. Also, the site argued that what the more expensive models offered wasn't worth the extra hundreds of dollars in price. And it cautioned that perhaps iPhone users shouldn't buy an expensive phone, a year before the expected arrival of the first 5G iPhone in late 2020.
At the time of the new devices' launch, some reviewers had critical things to say about that larger model, or the Pro versions in general.
While The Verge gave an overall positive review to the iPhone 11 Pro models, it listed several negative aspects: "Boring color options" compared to the iPhone 11, a lack of features that made the more expensive models stand out, and a lack of USB-C charging, which some had hoped would be included on last year's higher-end iPhones.
Digital Trends denounced the "ugly camera cluster" on the iPhone Pro models, the lack of USB-C, and that Apple hadn't adjusted its iPhone style since before the iPhone X, in 2017. "The iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max aren’t the best-looking devices," the site said.
A review on Thurott, by a reviewer who admittedly prefers Android, called the iPhone 11 Pro Max "an excellent smartphone flagship," while listing such "Cons" as "far too expensive," "iOS is too limiting" and "huge notch."
Meanwhile, the iPhone SE, which is even cheaper, has arrived more recently, giving iPhone users wishing to for a smaller and less expensive phone another option. And the 2020 models, barring delays, are expected to arrive this fall.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons.