Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, iPhone 14 Pro, OnePlus 10 Pro, Pixel 7 Pro and many more – 2022 saw the release of many amazing flagship smartphones. The iPhone 14 Pro did away with the notch, and the Galaxy S22 Ultra spoiled me with its industry-leading 10x zoom. Google finally got the hardware right with the Pixel 7 Pro, and Samsung made enough improvements to the Fold 4 to make it my main device.
But none of these could be considered my favorite smartphone of 2022. None of the 2022 flagships lasted as long as my iPhone 13 Pro Max. In fact, I had to charge the Galaxy S22 Ultra twice a day to keep my SIM card in it.
The Pixel 7 Pro was the closest competitor to my 2021 flagship iPhone in terms of battery life, but it no longer had enough bedtime juice for my Twitter shenanigans. And I didn’t notice any big leaps in design or camera (for the average user) in the iPhone 14 Pro to keep it in my pocket for more than four weeks.
Here’s why the iPhone 13 Pro Max, a 2021 phone, is still my favorite phone at the end of 2022.
The iPhone 13 Pro Max has my heart (and my SIM card)
Over the past few weeks, I’ve had several occasions to keep the iPhone 13 Pro Max as my primary phone.
The first week of November, I had a wedding at my house. And at the pace of Indian weddings, that involved a few sleepless nights and a lot of physical work, especially when you’re the brother of the bride. It’s natural not to find time to charge your phone the days leading up to the wedding with all the functions going on.
And that’s where the iPhone 13 Pro Max shines. I took it off the charger at 8 am on November 4 (the day of the wedding). I had to keep it with me at all times as I had to coordinate taxis with family and guests, inform and update dad on everything I was responsible for, and more. I’ve used the iPhone 13 Pro Max a lot – for GPS while driving, as a guest hotspot, a ton of calls, lots of photos, videography, etc.
I trusted the phone enough to not even look at the battery percentage and trust it to last the whole time. In the end, my battery started to drain at 6am on November 5 when I crashed on the nearest sofa I could find – but the iPhone 13 Pro Max was still at 18 % when I woke up two hours later. I am absolutely sure that no other phone would last me 24 hours without the charger for this type of use. As I have already written, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is still the battery king in 2022.
Then the trip to Varkala, Kerala, the last week of November. I needed a reliable camera and the iPhone 13 Pro Max did not disappoint. I captured some of the most brilliant sunsets at 3x zoom on my flagship 2021 iPhone. The images above speak for themselves.
Notably, Varkala was very bright. While my friend’s Pixel 6 struggled with GPS signal and daylight readability, the iPhone 13 Pro Max was easily visible in harsh outdoor light and we headed out into the kayak with good signal reception . It’s the little things that make a great vacation.
The battery life, cameras, and screen make the iPhone 13 Pro Max my favorite phone of 2022. I can’t stand a phone that wouldn’t last me a day or let me down during of taking photos of a lifetime. Only a few phones get the battery life, camera, and display experience above, and the iPhone 13 Pro Max was the last phone to tick all of those boxes.
Battery life, cameras and screen make the iPhone 13 Pro Max my favorite phone of 2022.
No phone has all the advantages and none of the disappointments, and 2021’s flagship iPhone is no different. I get comically frustrated with iOS multiple times a day. I tap a YouTube link on Twitter and the phone takes me to Safari. I can tap a Twitter link in WhatsApp and have it open the link in Safari, despite having the Twitter app installed. And then it has the guts to take me to the app store when I press “open in app” on Safari.
Seriously Apple, what is it? I have the respective apps installed on my phone, just open them by tapping the respective links! iOS makes things difficult for no reason. Also, it’s not one-handed friendly at all. Reaching the UI elements in the upper left corner of the larger iPhone is a chore in itself.
Despite that, I’m sticking with the iPhone 13 Pro Max, at least until the Galaxy S23 Ultra arrives, because no 2022 smartphone got the right battery life-display-camera combination.
The Galaxy S22 Ultra has amazing cameras and display, but the battery life is a big disappointment. The same goes for the iPhone 14 Pro, which has good camera and display performance, but wouldn’t last me a day either. The OnePlus 10 Pro lasts me a day and has a great screen, but not the best optics. The Pixel 7 Pro is the only 2022 smartphone I would choose if I had to upgrade my iPhone 13 Pro Max.
I hope things will be different in 2023
While 2022 may sound like a year of smartphone refinements, it was pretty good. Apple finally said goodbye to the notch and incorporated a dynamic island (which I wanted to like, but couldn’t). Xiaomi has made a thinner foldable device than the mainstream Galaxy Z Fold 4. The Pixel 7’s GPS didn’t let me down. And there were more foldables than ever – but not for the US market.
It will be interesting to see if smartphone makers adopt the 1-inch sensor in their optics in 2023. Hopefully more foldables will be launched worldwide, which would force Samsung to up its game as well. What else? The iPhone 15 Pro series should take more advantage of Dynamic Island. The next Pixel could be the most complete Google smartphone yet. And I really hope Samsung keeps the 10x zoom on the Galaxy S23 Ultra while working on its battery life to last a full day’s work.
I expect 2023 to be an exciting year for smartphones. And who knows? Maybe we’ll get something good enough to finally get rid of the iPhone 13 Pro Max.
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