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Trying to constantly vacuum and mop behind pets for a clean home isn’t easy. The ILIFE V3s Max Robot Vacuum makes your job much easier by vacuuming and mopping on a schedule that best fits you and your pets. Easily clean the house while you sit back and enjoy quality time with your fur baby. I had the chance to test out the V3s Max to see how well it can tackle my cats’ daily messes.
This is a sponsored article and was made possible by ILIFE. The actual contents and opinions are the sole views of the author who maintains editorial independence even when a post is sponsored.Overview of Features
The ILIFE V3s Max Robot Vacuum has a low profile, making it fit easily under many kinds of furniture where dust bunnies love to hide. It’s also not quite as wide (just 12.4″ diameter) as many robot vacuums, helping it fit well under chairs and end tables.
Easily get the type of clean you want with four cleaning modes:
Auto with adjustable suction power
Spot with 2000Pa suction
MAX with 1500Pa suction
Edge with adjustable suction power
The vacuum is designed to work best on hard floors versus carpets and features a max suction of 2000Pa. However, it will pick up dirt and hair off thinner carpets and rugs but doesn’t have a roller bar, so it won’t thoroughly clean carpets.
You can easily vacuum and mop at the same time with the V3s Max. The 600mL dustbin can handle multiple rooms before needing to be emptied. The 200mL water tank also lasts to mop several rooms as well.
Control the vacuum with the included remote, the app, and even with your voice with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.In the Box
I was pleasantly surprised to discover not only do you get the essentials to start using the ILIFE V3s Max Robot Vacuum, you also get replacement pieces too.
The box includes:
The V3s Max vacuum
Charging dock and power adapter
Remote control with batteries
3 disposable dust bags (1000mL for cleaning larger messes without needing to empty the bin)
Water tank and dust bin (both already installed)
Extra side brushes
The vacuum itself is also a pretty purple on black, making it stand out from other robot vacuums. While there was a little charge on the vacuum before charging, I let it charge before running it the first time, which is recommended.Getting Started
Before connecting to Wi-Fi, I did a quick test run using the included remote. I have mainly hard floors with a few low carpet rugs. I tested just the vacuum portion first. The pattern ensures no areas are missed. It’s a tight zig zag pattern that only veers off when cleaning under tables and other furniture.
Surprisingly, the suction was powerful enough on the highest setting to pick up loose hair and cardboard pieces from a cat scratcher even on the rugs. On the hard floors, nothing was left behind. As soon as the battery started to get low, it stopped and immediately started back to the charger. It had zero issues finding and docking itself.
Of course, the next step is to test out the app. I went through the process of connecting to the app and my Wi-Fi network. It will not connect to an automatic hybrid 2.4/5.0GHz network. You must switch it to 2.4GHz before it will connect.
Even after switching to 2.4GHz, it took three tries to get it to properly connect. The app states you shouldn’t minimize or leave the screen during the connection process, but also tells you to leave the app to switch to the vacuum’s Wi-Fi network. So the instructions aren’t super clear. But, after about 5 minutes of back and forth, I was connected and ready to use the app.
The app lets you create a schedule, choose between different vacuum modes, adjust suction, set up mopping, and see the cleaning area and times. There isn’t a way to set up specific zones, though, so you’ll need to close doors or section off any areas you don’t want cleaned.Performance
The ILIFE V3s Max Robot Vacuum offers an incredibly efficient clean, taking care of two rooms in less time that most robot vacuums spend on one. The dust bin is actually large enough to handle two to three medium-sized rooms before it needs to be emptied, unless you have larger messes of course. The cleaning tool to clean the vacuum itself is attached to the dustbin.
The mopping feature works extremely well most of the time. It doesn’t put down too much water at once, so everything dries quickly. I did notice a few streaks where the vacuum would make a turn, but nothing major. It’s recommended to only use water in the tank, so it’s possible that the streaks might come from dirtier areas that needed a cleanser to break things loose.
I also think it might be a good idea to let the robot vacuum without mopping first if you have a lot of dirt and debris so the mopping cloth doesn’t get too dirty with bulky debris. However, the floors looked shiny and were free of cat hair, cardboard, and dirt once the V3s Max finished vacuuming and mopping.
My cats are usually terrified of vacuums, but they didn’t seem to mind this one. At the lowest suction, it’s just a gentle hum. At the max suction, you might need to turn the TV up a notch, but that’s all.
I loved the Edge and Spot modes for quicker cleanups. They’re ideal if there’s a random mess or to pick up pet hair that gathers around the walls and edges of furniture.
The dustbin is super easy to empty and even has a handle to help pull it out. I did need to use the cleaning tool to get some of the dirt out of the edges of the bin, but that’s recommended in the manual so I knew to expect that.Final Thoughts
For cleaning up behind your pets, the ILIFE V3s Max Robot Vacuum is a lifesaver. It cleans quickly and thoroughly on hard floors and even low carpets. It’s easy to use and control with the remote, app, or your voice. Plus, it even comes with replacement parts. Just remember this is made for hard floors, not carpets.
Overall, it’s a good addition to any pet owner’s home. It’s also affordable. You can buy the ILIFE V3s Max Robot for just $239.99. Clip the $50 coupon and get it for just $189.99.
Crystal Crowder has spent over 15 years working in the tech industry, first as an IT technician and then as a writer. She works to help teach others how to get the most from their devices, systems, and apps. She stays on top of the latest trends and is always finding solutions to common tech problems.
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You're reading Ilife V3S Max Robot Vacuum Review
Light & manoeuvrable
Stands upright on its ownCons
Can’t grab all carpet fluff
Doesn’t always turn on even when chargedOur Verdict
An attractive and easy to use vacuum cleaner, the Hoover HF9 unfortunately can’t deal with ingrained fluff in carpet and has a flaw where it doesn’t always turn on even when charged.
When a brand is so big it becomes the common noun for the products it makes, you know it’s a big deal. But Hoover isn’t necessarily the vacuum cleaner market leader anymore, thanks to Dyson.
But it has taken a leaf out of Dyson’s book in developing cordless, bagless cleaners of its own. I’ve been hoovering my way around my flat for a few months using the Hoover HF9, a powerful vac that’s reasonably priced but has a few quirks.Design and build
Stands upright on its own
Easy to clean
The best thing about the design of the Hoover HF9 is it can stand up on its own, unlike many cordless vacuums that you need to lay on the floor or lean on a piece of furniture whenever you take a break from vacuuming.
It sort of looks like a long mechanical human leg with a little foot at the bottom to keep it upright – if that’s not too weird an image.
Henry Burrell / Foundry
Its upstanding form helped a lot when storing the otherwise large device easily in a corner of my small flat instead of having to prop it up in a cupboard. However, it comes with a wall mount, if you can find a discreet spot to hang it up.
It feels sturdy and premium when in regular use, with the head turning easily to get under low obstacles and to whizz around sharp corners
I was surprised to read in the HF9’s manual that you’re only meant to stand the Hoover upright momentarily, and that storage should be always by wall mount. but I have not found any reason not to store it freestanding.
The red, grey, and metal design of the unit I tested is inoffensive, and it also comes in a blue version.
The design is well thought out and straightforwardly modular, with two connection points in the shaft. The higher release is for easier emptying of the dust container or attaching one of the included cleaning tools to use the vacuum as a cordless handheld for stairs, sofas or in the car.
Henry Burrell / Foundry
A lower foot release switch lets you attach the same tools to reach up to clean things like cobwebs or get dust on the top of skirting boards.
It feels sturdy and premium when in regular use, with the head turning easily with the necessarily one-handed operation to get under low obstacles like sofas and cabinets and to whizz around sharp corners.
There are even cute little headlights that genuinely help, particularly on hardwood floors, to make sure you’ve got all the dust in dark corners of a room.
The easily removable battery can be charged separately from the Hoover or when connected to the unit. I found the dust container a little small, and had to empty the Hoover after two or three full circuits of my six-room flat, but it’s very easy to release and dump its contents straight into a bin.
The roller is a single brush design and can be easily released to clean by taking off the top of the head and popping out the roller.
Henry Burrell / FoundryPerformance
Three suction modes
Can’t grab stubborn ingrained fibres
Often won’t turn on unless plugged in first
I found the HF9 perfectly powerful enough for most dust and dirt around my flat. It has three modes – hard floor, carpet, and turbo.
One switch cycles between hard and carpet, and you can turn turbo on when using either. Switching to carpet knocks a few minutes off the remaining battery life counter on the display, while turning on turbo mode suggests you’ll only get about 12 minutes of use on a full charge.
The battery takes three and a half hours to charge from empty.
Henry Burrell / Foundry
You can hold it with either hand to push around, operating all the buttons easily within reach of your thumb. It’s nice and simple.
The Hoover lacks a soft brush for hardwood floors but I didn’t see any damage to mine, and the turbo mode is good for giving heavy carpets a good spring clean. When I caught the tassels of a rug in the head, the unit quickly turned off and it was easy to disentangle.
There are even cute little headlights that genuinely help to make sure you’ve got all the dust in dark corners of a room
That’s down to the anti-twist design on the HF9’s head, which ensures cables, string and most importantly hair don’t remain wrapped around it. It works exceptionally well.
My biggest issue with the Hoover is it couldn’t get synthetic fluff fibres out of my low-pile bedroom carpet. I had a duvet that annoyingly shed some white insulation in light, fluffy clouds, which was then trodden into the carpet.
Henry Burrell / Foundry
Despite repeat runs and the extreme use of turbo mode, the HF9 could not grab these fibres, meaning I had to get down on my hands and knees and pick scores of pieces of white fluff out of the carpet. I’m not sure if this is because the roller only has one line of relatively short bristles, but whatever the reason, it was supremely annoying and – for my use – a reason not to buy the thing.
Another frustrating flaw is if I stored the Hoover unplugged – but still with a good amount of charge left – it often won’t turn on. The first few times it happened I thought the battery had run down, but on plugging it into the mains charger I saw it always had over 70% left, and would only turn on after it had been plugged in a few minutes.
The best thing about the Hoover HF9 is it can stand up on its own, unlike many cordless vacuums that you need to lay down or lean on a piece of furniture when you take a break
It’s never good to leave lithium-ion batteries constantly charging as it wears down the overall capacity of the cell much faster than regular use and charging. Because of this, I am put off recommending the HF9 wholeheartedly, along with its inability to slurp up stubborn fluff in carpets.Price and availability
The Hoover HF9 model I tested has an RRP of £379 and it’s currently available at this price from Currys and Amazon UK. However, at the time of writing, the best price is £295 direct from Hoover.
The HF9 is not available in the US.Verdict
The Hoover HF9 is a well-priced cordless vacuum cleaner that’s great for hardwood floors and general dust around the house on carpets and rugs. It’s also versatile, with two included cleaning tools and a handheld mode. Plus, it can stand up on its own.
But in my testing it could not grab stubborn fibres that had been trodden into fairly low pile carpet, and the unit regularly didn’t turn on even when it had a charge, prompting me to plug it in to wake it up.
It’s a shame because it’s a decent vacuum, but these two problems are enough for me to knock off a couple of stars in our rating.
For vacuum cleaner recommendations and to see our top picks, have a look at our round-up of the best vacuum cleaners we’ve tested.
We’re not fans of Flyme OS, nor this strange Android-iOS mashup Meizu seems to favour. But the M3 Max is a decent-value smartphone with a nice large screen, a good build and capable day-to-day performance.
Meizu makes decent but affordable Android phones, and its Meizu M3 Max will appeal to those looking for a large-screen phone on a budget. The M3 Max is currently available on Amazon in white from £244 and in black from £298. Also see: Best Chinese phone and Best dual-SIM phone
Geekbuying (current price £177.90), partly because the Amazon products are shipped from within Europe so you won’t have to pay import duty, and partly because these sites are not official partners of Meizu so won’t necessarily offer the same level of customer service.
We’ve certainly had no problems with the likes of Geekbuying and GearBest, however, and the prices are cheaper – even with the addition of import duty for products shipped from China. How this is calculated depends on the value written on the paperwork, and when we received our package containing the M3 Max and MX6 (review coming soon) we were hit with a bill for £95.51 from DHL. Although that is for two phones, it’s still a fair bit more than the usual £20- to £30 we’re charged, so should certainly be factored into the overall cost of the phone before you buy. We’ve rounded up some of the pros and cons of buying Chinese tech in ourMeizu M3 Max review: Design and build
Meizu phones are well-made, good-looking phones, but they don’t stand out for having a distinctive design of their own. The M3 Max looks a bit like an iPhone 6s Plus, but with an elongated rather than circular home button. For many users that won’t be a bad thing. Also see: Best phones 2023
It’s very difficult to fault this phone’s design. Although it’s large at 163.4×81.6mm with a 6in panel it has reasonably slim bezels on the left- and right edges and is thin at 7.9mm, which makes it easier to hold. We still found it impossible to reach the far corner of the screen with a thumb, and the phone is pretty weighty at 189g, so two-handed use is a must. A huge plus point of this extra size and weight is a high-capacity battery, which is rated at 4100mAh.
We really missed the One-handed mode of Xiaomi phones here, able to shrink down the displayed screen to a more manageable size, but we did find a SmartTouch option in the Settings that allows you to place onscreen a button that works with various gestures. By default a tap takes you back a step, sliding up takes you to the Home screen and sliding down pulls down the notification bar at the top of the screen. Sliding left and right lets you switch between tasks.
When you become familiar with SmartTouch it can be useful, although at the same time you’ll also need to become familiar with the Home button. And we have to say it’s not for us. With no back or multitasking buttons on either side of the physical home button you must tap it gently to go back, and a little harder to go to the Home screen – but not too hard as it’ll send the screen into standby mode. To access the multitasking menu you slide up from the bottom of the screen, but not directly above the home button. We found this out entirely by mistake.
The other thing to say about this Home button is that it is also an mTouch fingerprint scanner. In our experience it works well, so no complaints there.
In other respects the design is fairly standard, although that’s not to say bad. It feels as though it will withstand the perils of daily use with no issue, with a reasonably clean metal rear (including a completely flush camera) and chiselled edges that flow smoothly into the 2.5D glass covering the white plastic front. There are no sharp edges, no rough bits, no creaks, cracks or gaping holes – absolutely nothing here that would cause concern.
Unusually the headphone jack is found on the bottom of the handset rather than at the top, but to be fair at least it has one. Also here is Micro-USB for charging, a mic and five small holes that allow audio to pass through from the phone’s mono speaker. A slot-loading SIM tray sits on the upper left edge, and here you can opt to insert two SIMs or one SIM and a microSD card. With 64GB of storage built-in the need to choose between a second SIM or expandable storage shouldn’t be too frustrating an issue.
The screen is decent. We’ve already touched on its size, which is well suited to multimedia – watching videos in any case, if not gaming (see performance below). It’s a full-HD IPS panel, which is reasonably bright (Meizu claims 450cd/m2) and with realistic colours and great viewing angles.
The Meizu M3 Max is available in four colour options: rose gold, silver, grey and gold. We’ve reviewed the silver model here. Also see: Best Android phones 2023Meizu M3 Max review: Core performance and hardware
Running the show here is a MediaTek MT6755M (aka the Helio P10) processor, Mali-T860 GPU and 3GB of LPDDR3 RAM. This is an octa-core processor, comprising eight Cortex-A53 cores with four at 1GHz for efficiency and four at 1.8GHz for power.
It’s certainly capable enough for day to day use, but the Meizu M3 Max’s performance in our gaming benchmarks leaves something to be desired. We found navigation of the smartphone fluid, with apps launching quickly and little signs of lag. In truth, our only real hesitation came from our inexperience of Flyme OS.
We’ve seen this Helio P10 chip before in the Elephone P9000, Ulefone Future, Vernee Mars, Sony Xperia XA and Meizu’s own
We’ve charted our various benchmark results below, but to suffice to say none of these phones particularly stand out in the group for performance. If anything the two Meizus stand out for their lower gaming framerates in GFXBench. Also see: What’s the fastest phone?
There’s actually very little difference in the specifications of the Note and the Max, with the phone reviewed here offering a slightly larger (6in versus 5.5in) IPS display and an extra gig of RAM. It’s a ittle slimmer but heavier, and performance is only a little improved.
As in the M3 Note there’s a generous 4100mAh battery. It’s not removable and neither does it support wireless charging, but Meizu does offer its own fast-charging tech, mCharge. It says this is able to charge the battery by 45 percent in just 30 minutes, which could get you through the best part of a day’s use. Exactly how long it will last you depends entirely on you usage – some will get two days, but if that large screen is left switched on for much of the time you’ll be reaching for a power bank before the end of day two. Also see: Best phone under £300Meizu M3 Max review: Connectivity
The Meizu M3 Max is a dual-SIM phone that works in dual-standby mode. Or at least it can be, provided you don’t want to add a microSD card. UK users should note that it supports 4G LTE only via the 1800- and 2600MHz bands (aka bands 3 and 7). This means there is no support for 800MHz/Band 20, which is the only frequency used by O2, Giffgaff and a handful of other mobile operators in the UK. If you are a customer of one of these networks you will not be able to get anything faster than 3G connectivity in the UK. Also see: How to tell whether a phone is supported by your network.
The Max can also cater to dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS and GLONASS, but there’s no IR blaster or NFC – the latter is necessary for making mobile payments.Meizu M3 Max review: Cameras
In common with many Chinese phones around this price point the M3 Max is fitted with a 13Mp Sony IMX258 camera with a five-element lens, f/2.2 aperture, PDAF and a dual-LED flash. For the money it’s a decent enough camera, although we are not talking flagship quality.
The camera app is basic, but sometimes uncomplicated can be a good thing. If you want to point and shoot, you just point and shoot – or point, tap to focus, and then shoot. If you want access to more settings you’ll find HDR in the Settings menu, and shooting modes such as beauty and manual via the icon to the left of the shutter. Running across the top of the interface are icons for accessing real-time filters, a countdown timer, the flash and switching the camera view.
Press the latter icon and you can access the 5Mp f/2.0 camera at the front of the M3 Max, which is as good as any other selfie or video chat camera. Also see: Best camera phone
Given good lighting the M3 Max can take a decent enough shot. Below you can see our standard test images of the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, first with Auto settings and second with HDR. In the first we’ve entirely lost the sky, but the level of detail is reasonable and colours very true. The HDR shot is a clear improvement (with clouds and everything), although the traffic running down Euston Road caused problems given the time it took to capture the image.Meizu M3 Max review: Software
A key difference between this and a standard Android phone is the removal of the app tray, which means absolutely everything can be found on one of multiple home screens or within the Settings menu (which is itself fairly standard). Pull down the notification bar and you also get some customisable quick-access toggles for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and so on, plus a screen brightness slider.
We can handle the lack of an app tray – if nothing else you will know exactly where to find everything, and particularly if you’re an ex-iPhone user, but we thoroughly dislike the removal of the back and multi-tasking buttons either side of the home button. This multifunctional home button is truly Apple-esque, and it’s not a feature we want Android to borrow. Why have one confusing button plus a SmartTouch workaround when you can have three simple buttons for which operation just makes sense? They don’t need to be labelled or even visible as long as they are there.
The M3 Max supports a handful of gestures, such as double-tap to wake and slide up to unlock. You can also draw characters onscreen in standby mode to wake the screen and instantly launch an app of your choice, which is a timesaver only so long as you remember which letter represents which app.
Read next: Best new phonesSpecs Meizu M3 Max: Specs
6in full-HD (1920×1080, 368ppi) IPS display
1.8GHz Helio P10 (4x 1.8GHz Cortex-A53 + 4x 1GHz Cortex-A53) octa-core processor
ARM Mali-T860 GPU
3GB LPDDR3 RAM
64GB storage (plus microSD up to 128GB or second SIM)
mTouch fingerprint scanner
dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi
dual-SIM dual-standby (2x Nano-SIM)
4G FDD-LTE 1800/2100/2600MHz
GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
13Mp Sony IMX258 rear camera with five-element lens, PDAF, f/2.2 aperture, dual-LED flash
5Mp front camera with four-element lens, f/2.0 aperture
4100mAh battery (9 hours GPS, 10.2 hours video) with mCharge (45% in 30 mins)
Dynamic Island is a game-changer
Long battery life
Expensive, especially in the UK
The iPhone 14 Pro Max is undoubtedly the best showcase of Apple’s technology with features like Dynamic Island and Apple’s take on always-on display tech, but it’s also expensive (especially in the UK) and now has big-screen competition from the cheaper iPhone 14 Plus.Best Prices Today: Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max
Though the iPhone 14 Pro Max might not look that different to its predecessor, there’s a lot to get excited about this year. With headline features including an upgraded 48Mp rear camera, an always-on display, Apple’s top-end A16 Bionic or the genius Dynamic Island that turns an annoyance into a part of the iOS experience, it’s a very tempting upgrade on paper.
However, with competition in the form of the big-screen iPhone 14 Plus, and a £150 increase in the UK, is it still the iPhone to go for? Well…Design & build
Same design as its predecessor
Premium materials add heft
No SIM tray in the US
The iPhone 14 Pro Max has what some might describe as an iterative design, and by that I mean practically nothing has changed compared to the iPhone 13 Pro Max. That’ll either be great news if you’re like me and love the iPhone’s angular edges and slightly industrial design, or terrible news if you think it’s big, bulky and unwieldy.
To be fair, at 160.7 x 77.6 x 7.9mm and 240g, it’s certainly not the easiest iPhone to use one-handed, and I’ve got fairly large hands. It’s not so much of a big deal when I’m using it at home to scroll through TikTok mindlessly, but it does have a noticeable presence in my pocket once I venture out and about.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
The phone has a stainless steel frame and a glass rear, offering an upgrade in materials compared to the aluminium-framed iPhone 14, however, it does add weight as a result. The polished look of the stainless steel band does add to the premium look and feel, but it’s certainly a fingerprint magnet compared to its aluminium counterpart.
While that has traditionally been something you’ve had to put up with if you want the big-screen experience, the addition of the 6.7in, 203g iPhone 14 Plus means you can opt for a more lightweight big-screen iPhone if you’re not too fussed about the Pro features on offer.
The camera bump on the rear is slightly larger this year – though for good reason, which I’ll come to a bit later – which can make the iPhone wobble if put down on a flat surface, though that is negated with a case that, let’s be honest, we’ll all be using with such a high-end smartphone.
When it comes to colour options, you’ve got the fairly standard Space Black, Silver and Gold alongside a new Deep Purple finish, offering a stunning shade of purple that replaces the light blue variant from last year’s Pro collection. The white variant I was provided for review looks nice, but the purple finish is the one to go for in my opinion.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
Elsewhere, everything is where you’d expect, with volume rockers and a silent mode switch on the left, a Lightning port on the bottom (possibly for the last time before USB-C becomes standard) and a power button on the right, though you might notice the lack of a SIM card tray if you’re in the US. That’s because Apple has gone all-in on eSIM support in the US, negating the need for a physical SIM card.
The good news for those hesitant to move to an eSIM setup is that it’s US-exclusive and you can freely switch your SIM at a moment’s notice in all other regions worldwide.Display & audio
Dynamic Island is a game-changer
Always-on display is a welcome addition
Impressive audio experience
The iPhone 14 Pro Max sports the same 6.7in Super Retina XDR screen as its predecessor, complete with support for Dolby Vision HDR content and a stunningly detailed visual experience. It’s the big-screen iPhone (though there’s also the non-Pro iPhone 14 Plus to consider) and its big dimensions are well suited to watching TikToks and Netflix movies.
The most immediately obvious change compared to its predecessor is the redesigned notch, which is now dubbed ‘Dynamic Island’ by Apple. Exclusive to the Pro models, the oblong-shaped cutout actually adds to the iOS experience rather than detracts from it as with most competing cut-out cameras.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
It does that by dynamically changing shape depending on what you’re doing, seemingly expanding and shrinking at will. It’ll expand and display a Face ID icon when scanning your face, it’ll display a lock symbol when your iPhone is locked and display your AirPods battery life when you first connect.
It’s used for much more than displaying icons though; apps like Music can use Dynamic Island to display now-playing info, and with a tap, you can gain access to shortcuts to control music.
It’s not exclusive to Apple apps either, with third-party apps able to make use of the tech. That includes Live Activities which look to replace the barrage of notifications you get from apps like Just Eat and Uber Eats when ordering food with a simple widget that lives in the cutout – though, sadly, most currently don’t use it.
The display can now also dynamically shift between as little as 1Hz and 120Hz, allowing you to enjoy the buttery-smooth refresh rate when gaming and scrolling while saving battery life in areas with little motion, like the Lock and Home screens.
It also allows Apple to provide an always-on display experience for the first time, and in true Apple fashion, outdoes most of the Android competition that has had the tech for years.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
Unlike Android smartphones that display a black screen with basic time and notification information, Apple gives you the entire lock screen experience complete with your widgets, notifications and even your wallpaper. It looks more like a dimmed lock screen than an always-on display, and while it took a bit of getting used to, it’s one of the best features of the new iPhone – especially when it comes to keeping track of incoming messages when playing the PS5!
Also expect one of the best audio experiences on a smartphone, with Apple’s stereo speaker setup offering surprising depth when listening to music and a wide soundscape when watching YouTube videos or TV shows on Netflix. It’s better with connected earbuds (Apple hopes you’ll opt for the new AirPods Pro) but you’ll do just fine without them most of the time.Specs & performance
A16 Bionic comfortably outperforms the competition
Satellite Connectivity for emergency services
Car Crash detection
As you might expect from Apple’s top-end smartphone, the iPhone 14 Pro Max is a top-end performer that, with Apple’s new A16 Bionic at its heart, can battle off the Android competition with nary a worry – in terms of raw CPU performance, anyway.
It’s a 4nm chipset, down from the 5nm of the A15 Bionic, with a 20% boost to power efficiency and a more modest 10% improvement in performance. Though Apple doesn’t officially note the accompanying RAM, Geekbench 5 reveals that it houses 6GB. It might not sound like much compared to some Android competitors, but simply put, the iPhone doesn’t need as much RAM to keep performance up.
It’s the first time that Apple has kept its latest processor exclusive to the iPhone 14 Pro range, with the standard models getting the A15 Bionic from last year’s Pro models for a more unexceptional speed bump. It’s an easy move for Apple to tempt people to pay more for the Pro models, but as seen in our benchmark tests, it’s not that much faster than last year’s chipset.
For reference, I tested the iPhone Pro Max with 1TB of storage but it’s also available in 128GB, 256GB and 512GB if you don’t need as much.
If those numbers don’t mean much then let me assure you: the iPhone 14 Pro Max is about as fast and responsive as they come. There was never as much as a hint of stutter or lag, with impressive performance even in graphically demanding titles like Genshin’s Impact, photos and videos are captured instantly and it can even handle video editing – as long as you’re happy to edit on a smartphone-size display, that is.
Expect equally as fast performance when it comes to connectivity, with 5G support alongside Wi-Fi 6 with 3×3 MIMO support, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC and Apple’s U1 Ultra-wideband chip to help you locate AirTags and other Apple products.
Other notable features include satellite connectivity for emergencies, allowing you to directly connect to satellites from your iPhone in areas without cellular coverage. Using a built-in system on the iPhone, you’ll answer questions about your emergency which are then relayed to emergency responders along with information like your location and current battery life.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
Also new is Car Crash Detection, which as the name suggests, uses a variety of built-in sensors on your iPhone to detect when you might’ve been in a crash. If it detects large changes in gravity or exceptionally loud noises, it’ll automatically call emergency services for you.
It’s another handy ‘peace of mind’ feature that I hope I’ll never need to test out, but it’s worth noting that there are reports that it’s being accidentally activated on rides at theme parks. Thorpe Park’s Stealth might be scary, but I don’t think I’ll need an ambulance.Cameras & photography
48Mp rear camera is the star of the show
All-round improvements to low-light photography
Improved Dolby Vision HDR video capabilities
Everything I said about the cameras and photographic capabilities of the iPhone 14 Pro also applies to the iPhone 14 Pro Max, as the two share the same upgraded camera system.
The star of the show is undoubtedly the main rear 48Mp snapper, boasting an impressive aperture of f/1.8 and OIS. It uses pixel binning tech to crunch images down to a more manageable size – around the same resolution as a standard 12Mp sensor – while using that extra detail to generate more detail and light. It’s a trick used on high-megapixel cameras on the Android side for years, but it’s new here.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
It provides a noticeable boost in quality compared to the already-capable iPhone 13 Pro Max, with great colour accuracy, impressive detail and balanced dynamic range.
It also excels at low-light photography with a 64% larger sensor and 2.44-micron pixels, able to subtly capture details in low-light conditions rather than simply artificially brightening the scene like most Android competitors. It’s truer to life, and you can adjust the amount of light before the snap is taken to further customise the look.
Though still the same megapixel count at 12Mp, the 120-degree ultrawide lens has also had a boost in low-light photography, making use of a larger sensor and improved f/2.2 aperture. Considering low light was a weak spot for the 13 Pro Max’s ultrawide lens, it’s great to see, though don’t expect quite the same quality as the main lens.
The 12Mp 3x telephoto lens still might not be able to compete with the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra’s 10x optical zoom but the tight angle provided is ideal for portrait photography, and like the other cameras, there’s a slight boost to low-light photography for more dramatic and moody portrait shots.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
The main highlight of the 12Mp front-facing TrueDepth camera has to be the addition of autofocus, providing better selfies regardless of whether you’re shooting in Portrait mode or not, and it’s a particular boon in group shots where multiple faces need to be in focus. Apple’s clearly confident of its capabilities, also allowing you to shoot in Apple’s ProRAW format for pro-level post-processing.
Video performance has also been improved, though don’t expect to see 8K video here just yet. Instead, the iPhone 14 Pro Max can record at 4K@60fps in Dolby Vision HDR, up from the 30fps of its predecessor. There’s also a new Action Mode that further helps stabilise video footage, and as ever, you’ve got Apple’s Cinema Mode that lets you shift focus in videos for a more Hollywood-esque shooting experience.Battery life & charging
No longer the best iPhone for battery life
Still a comfortable all-day device
Unofficial charging at up to 29W
One of the biggest draws for the top-end iPhone 14 Pro Max has traditionally been battery life, with Apple’s Pro model usually offering the best battery life of any iPhone, but that’s not the case this year.
That plaudit now goes to the iPhone 14 Plus, which even Apple admits will last longer than the iPhone 14 Pro Max in all instances except video playback where Apple’s dynamic display tech allows the Pro model to drop down to a lower refresh rate. As noted by my colleague Henry in his review, the iPhone 14 Plus “lasts for absolutely ages”.
That’s not to say that the iPhone 14 Pro Max features a sub-par battery – it alleviated the battery anxiety I had when testing the regular iPhone 14 Pro, comfortably able to handle my above-average-use of texting, calling, gaming and streaming TikTok without a top-up – but if you want the very longest battery life possible, that’s the iPhone 14 Pro Max isn’t the one to go for.
Using a 35W charger I had to hand, the iPhone 14 Pro Max got 22% charge in 15 minutes, 52% in half an hour and a full charge in around 90 minutes. It’s certainly not fast charging by Android standards, but I’ll take anything that’ll make the iPhone charging experience faster.
As ever, you’ve also got the option of 7.5W Qi wireless charging and 15W wireless charging by Apple’s MagSafe system.
iOS 16 provides a polished experience
Works well as part of a larger Apple ecosystem
Years of software updates
The iPhone 14 Pro Max comes running iOS 16 – but the same can be said of the iPhone 8. Software support and longevity are key factors in Apple’s popularity, with the company continuing to update older models of iPhones for years, getting the latest features and improvements. Though the Android competition is starting to improve with multi-year OS upgrades, it still doesn’t come close to what Apple offers.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
iOS 16 itself introduces a bunch of new features including the ability to customise your lock screen for the first time – a convenient feature considering the always-on display tech of the new Pro models – alongside the ability to edit and unsend messages, cut out subjects from photos with a single tap and more.
It’s the culmination of a lot of small features that make iOS what it is, whether it’s small benefits like being able to reply to texts on a connected iPad or Mac, or the fact you can copy links and codes from one device and paste on another immediately.
It’s better as part of a larger ecosystem of Apple products, of course, but Apple’s software experience really is top-tier whether you’ve got one device or many.Price & availability
The iPhone 14 Pro Max is very much a top-end smartphone with a price tag of $1,099/£1,199 with 128GB of storage.
That’s a particular hit to the UK market, which has seen an increase of £150 compared to its predecessor. It’s arguable that the 48Mp snapper, Dynamic Island, always-on display and other improvements help offset the increased price, but it’s worth noting that there hasn’t been an increase in the US.
That makes the already expensive iPhone even harder to justify for UK buyers.
If you are tempted to pick up the iPhone 14 Pro Max, it’s available from Apple worldwide alongside local retailers like Best Buy in the US and Amazon in the UK. Take a look at the best smartphones to see how the top-end iPhone compares to the Android competition.
Dominik Tomaszewski / FoundryVerdict
The iPhone 14 Pro Max is a showcase of Apple’s latest and greatest tech, offering a premium visual experience with its 6.7in Super Retina XDR display, Dynamic Island tech and improved ProMotion tech that allows for an always-on display experience on the iPhone for the first time, along with an enhanced 48Mp rear snapper and features like Car Crash Detection.
The big screen is perfectly suited to scrolling through TikTok, watching TV series on Netflix, and playing games on Apple Arcade, and with the A16 Bionic, there’s not even a hint of stutter or lag. Simply put, it’s the best of the best.
However, it’s not a clear-cut decision this year; as well as a price hike for UK consumers, the iPhone 14 Pro Max is no longer the only big-screen iPhone. You now have a choice between it and the iPhone 14 Plus, which is both cheaper and offers better battery life, though without the Pro features.
If you’re not too fussed about the latest tech, the iPhone 14 Plus could be a cheaper big-screen option that suits your needs.Specs
160.7 x 77.6 x 7.9mm
6.7in Super Retina XDR display
IP68 dust and water resistance
Main 48Mp camera, f/1.78, sensor-shift OIS
120-degree 12Mp ultrawide, f/2.2
12Mp 2x telephoto, f/2.8
4K@60fps with Dolby Vision HDR support
12Mp f/1.9 front-facing camera with autofocus
Wi-Fi 6 with 2xMIMO
Car Crash detection
The iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max are solid refinements to last year’s 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max, but there have been some let downs. There’s no high-refresh-rate display to be found, battery life has gotten worse, and Apple’s making the phone more expensive for those of you who don’t already own a USB-C power adapter and earphones. But is it still worth it?Unboxing
The unboxing experience and what you get in the box has been quite the point of controversy with the iPhone 12 lineup. This is because you’re no longer getting the headphones and USB-C power adapter normally included with the phones. Apple did this to support driving down E-Waste. Many people who purchase this phone are already going to have a charger and some headphones on deck. But for those of you who are buying this without those accessories on hand, you’re definitely being put in a difficult position. But spending the extra $40 for those accessories or an equivalent might prove to be worth it in the long run if you’re interested in the 12 Pro.Design
The 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max now have completely different feels in the hand compared to the 11 series. And the difference is night and day. Some users have expressed that this flat-edge design can have an uncomfortable feel in the hand after a while due to sharper edges. Personally, this hasn’t been an issue for me. Overall usability hasn’t been compromised in the slightest. Even the massive 6.7-Inch 12 Pro Max feels just as good to use as the 6.5” 11 Pro Max. The 12 Pro’s are .7mm thinner than last year’s 11 Pros, but that isn’t noticeable visually or in the feel of the phones at all.
The 12 Pro Max has larger lenses than the 11 Pro and Pro Max. And I’m a fan of this design tweak. I think it helps visually emphasize the max in 12 Pro Max. Overall, I like the way the phones look and feel. The new colors are a nice addition, as well. The new pacific blue color is, in my opinion, the perfect blend of subtleness and elegance.Display
Both the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max feature slightly larger displays than the 11 Pros, with 6.1 and 6.7-inch screens as opposed to 5.8 inches and 6.5 inches. The display’s gotten a slight bump in resolution because of this, and it isn’t noticeable by any means. But generally speaking, the displays on both phones are great. Because of the HDR capability both of these phones possess, these displays can get extremely bright (1000+ nits) and can offer very punchy and vibrant colors.
I think the iPhone 12 Pro is no different from any flagship iPhone made in the last three years, in the sense that it’s got one of the best display’s in the business. But the lack of a high-refresh-rate or “ProMotion” display in this year’s models is disappointing. Not only is this a feature Apple offers on their “Pro” version of the iPad, but it’s basically become a standard amongst all Android flagships, as well. However, I’m well aware of the struggles every company faced this year trying to get new products built and assembled. Besides that, the 12 Pros are telling the same story the 11 Pros did. The Super Retina XDR display is awesome.
One area where Apple did make display changes is with durability. The 12 Pro and Pro Max have what Apple calls a Ceramic Shield, achieved by implementing nano-ceramic crystals into the display. Because of this, you supposedly get 4x the drop performance. And although I’m not able to put that to the test, I’ve seen other tests that showcase the improved durability. The display doesn’t seem any more scratch-resistant, though, as I was able to unknowingly scratch my 12 Pro within the first day of usage. Nano-ceramic crystals or no ceramic crystals, glass is glass, so I’d still recommend utilizing some method of protection with these phones.Speakers
The 12 Pro once again has fantastic audio output. It honestly blows me away how good the speakers in these phones are for being so thin and light. Both the Pro and Pro Max deliver an excellent sound with very punchy mids and highs. The low-end performance is probably what amazes me the most, though. The 12 Pro’s speakers put a lot of other smartphones to shame. Paired with that Super Retina XDR display, you’ve got yourself a solid multimedia experience in the palm of your hands.Performance
This year, the iPhone 12 Pros are running on the A14 Bionic chip in addition to 6GB of RAM, and performance on paper is substantially better than last year’s 11 Pros with the A13 and 4GB of RAM. But honestly, there isn’t a noticeable difference in speed for the day-to-day tasks. Opening and launching apps is fast and fluid, but not noticeably faster or fluid than the 11 Pros. I think the biggest longterm benefit of the 12 Pros for the average user is the extra memory. The extra memory will give you a bit more breathing room for multitasking or using RAM-heavy applications. Gaming on the 12 Pro and Pro Max is definitely an enjoyable experience. And for anything else you want to do, like photo edit or video edit, the 12 Pros will get the job done with flying colors.MagSafe
MagSafe is Apple’s Magnetic wireless charging solution for the iPhones. And the Apple MagSafe charger has sparked some controversy due to real-world charging speeds. But I don’t believe the charging aspect of this tech was the sole intention of reviving MagSafe. The charger is only useful for charging your iPhone wirelessly at a marginally faster speed (15W). But the majority of third-party cases don’t maintain the magnetization, so using that charger at all is something I barely think to do.
MagSafe has a few tricks up its sleeve, though. In addition to charging, MagSafe can transmit data between a MagSafe accessory and the iPhone. If this functionality gets fleshed out, the accessory world for iPhones could see unprecedented evolution. Portable battery packs, add-on camera modules, or storage devices are all possible with MagSafe. But for now, we’re stuck with a hockey puck and a $60 Wallet that you have to “practice” using in order to get the proper functionality out of it. We are very much in the infancy-stages of MagSafe; right now, it doesn’t offer much. But with the proper execution, it could be a critical component of the iPhone in the near future.Battery Life
Battery life on 12 Pro and Pro Max are two completely different stories. The regular 12 Pro has thoroughly disappointed me in the battery department. Apple decided to use slightly smaller batteries in both Pro phones this year. But between the two, the 12 Pro’s battery downgrade is much more noticeable than on the 12 Pro Max. On a good day, you could get close to 6.5 hours of SOT. But that’d be with pretty light usage. I’m not so much of a power-user on my smartphone. I’ve got other devices like my iPad or Macs for more intensive work. And given that, I still struggled to make this phone last all day for me.
With basic usage, iMessaging, social media, and the occasional 5G speed test, the phone could easily be at 20-30% battery life by 3 to 4 p.m. And all of this is without fully-utilizing the 5G radio, which can affect battery life as well. The 12 Pro’s battery life, quite simply, is not great. It’s good enough to be a usable phone, but not good enough to live up to the $1,000 price tag, in my opinion. I’d suggest keeping a charger handy with the 12 Pro.
The 12 Pro Max has a much better battery life. It’s still noticeably worse than the 11 Pro Max, but not substantially worse. I think that’s partially because the 11 Pro Max already had best-in-class battery performance. I can get 6.5 to 7 hours of screen-on time with ease. Unlike the 12 Pro, I’d say the 12 Pro Max still has a truly all-day battery.5G
5G has been Apple’s huge marketing push for the iPhone 12 lineup, and the potential of 5G with mmWave is obviously insane. Getting Gigabit internet speeds on-the-go is extremely impressive. But mmWave has a long way to go before you can access it in more places than the top three American cities.Cameras
The camera system on the 12 Pro and Pro Max further refine the experience you get on the 11 Pro and Pro Max but with some new and useful features implemented. The first of which being the LiDar Scanner. The LiDar scanner, originally found on the iPad Pro, is a sensor that measures the light between it and a subject using invisible lasers. And not only can this be extremely beneficial for AR applications, but it can also improve autofocus and low-light photography as well. Apple now lets you use Night Mode when taking portraits, and that’s because of the LiDar Scanner. I don’t think the LiDar scanner is necessarily a critical component in the iPhone’s camera performance. But it’s definitely a nice bonus.
The standard 12 Pro gets a slightly lower aperture wide-angle lens than on the 11 Pro, meaning the camera should be a bit better for low-light. But the biggest improvement photography-wise for both models is the ability to shoot in night mode on all three lenses. This was something that was previously disabled for the ultra-wide lens. And as expected, this dramatically improves low-light performance on the ultra-wide lens. General photo performance on the 12 Pro is noticeably better than the 11 Pro, but not by much.
The 12 Pro Max offers some more notable improvements that the standard 12 Pro doesn’t have, the first of which is a larger sensor, which slightly improves low-light performance and detail compared to the standard 12 Pro. This is something Apple tried to hype up, but in real-world-usage, it’s marginally better than the standard 12 Pro. A feature exclusive to the Pro Max that’s a lot more noticeable is the sensor-shift image stabilization. For a device that’s pretty much always used handheld, having good image stabilization is important.
Image stabilization is not bad on the standard 12 Pro by any means, but the 12 Pro Max definitely takes it up a notch. This is probably the biggest benefit of going with the Max’s camera over the regular 12 Pro. You have a 2.5x optical zoom lens on the Pro Max, which compared to the 2x lens from last year, feels more like a true-telephoto lens. Quality-wise, they’re not differentiable, but it is nice to get a higher (65mm) focal length with the Pro Max.Apple ProRAW
ProRAW is a feature that’s exclusive to the 12 Pro and Pro Max that should pique the interest of mobile photographers. For the first time, Apple’s allowed you to take RAW photos directly from the stock camera application. And having RAW capability allows for so much more flexibility when editing photos. You have a lot more room to adjust highlights and exposure without ruining the image. The files are recognizable by nearly any photo editing app as ProRAW files are saved in DNG. And while third-party apps have supported RAW output for a while now, having it built-in to the camera app definitely makes me more likely to take RAW photos.HDR Dolby Vision Recording
Outside of all these camera improvements, the most important improvement by far is the HDR video capability. The iPhone 12 can record 10-Bit DolbyVision HDR video at up to 60FPS on the rear cameras and up to 30FPS on the front-facing camera. You might’ve noticed Jeff and I recently started releasing all 9to5Mac videos in HDR. And if you have an HDR-capable display of some kind, HDR content is almost all-upside from a viewer’s perspective. The contrast ratio you get with HDR video is incredible. Everything appears much more true-to-life because of the dynamic range. Having HDR on the iPhone definitely makes me want to record videos more often. And with the inclusion of HDR in the iPhones, you can be sure that more social platforms will support HDR video in the future.
If you’re a content creator looking to use their phone as their primary device for photography and videography, the 12 Pro and even more so the Pro Max are the best smartphones you can get your hands on for photo and video. And even if you’re on the 11 Pro or 11 Pro Max, these new camera features could be enough to justify an upgrade — especially if you use your smartphone as your primary photography and videography device.
Still from a 4K HDR video clip @60FPS9to5Mac’s Take
Overall, the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max are not revolutionary upgrades. A lot of the new features implemented are still in their infancy. MagSafe is already showing its potential as more third-party manufacturers release useful accessories. But for now, we’re stuck with an underwhelming charger and a wallet that most certainly won’t work for everyone. HDR video is one of the biggest features of the iPhone’s camera system since 4K. However, HDR Video isn’t exactly standardized within video-sharing platforms. Even YouTube’s HDR support is somewhat half-baked. And the iPhone 12s are capable of utilizing the full potential of 5G speeds. But right now, there are only so many places you can truly access it.
If you want to upgrade to the best iPhone money can buy, I would point you to the 12 Pro Max every time. And if the Max is too big for you, there are only a few reasons why the regular 12 Pro is worth it over the even cheaper iPhone 12. That’d be for better build quality, the telephoto lens, and double the storage (128GB) at the base specification. Otherwise, you could definitely save more money and go for the standard iPhone 12 or 12 mini. Those phones, for nearly a couple hundred bucks less, offer a lot of the best things about the 12 Pro. The 12 Pro and Pro Max are just as exceptional as the 11 Pro and Pro Max. But what they truly represent outside of an upgrade is a promise of the future.
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Readybot domestic robot prototype video: now with Roomba garage
The “Readybot Challenge” team have released footage of their domestic robot, intended to demonstrate the feasibility of a home-help robot capable of performing up to 80-percent of routine chores. This current Readybot prototype – which resembles a dishwasher with a bin-lid dome and outstretched “hug me!” arms – can tidy up mess left on the floor, empty trash and, thanks to a flip-down garage at the back, release a Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner.Check out the video of Readybot in action, after the cut!
Taking the DARPA concept as their starting point, the team have challenged themselves to come up with a prototype capable of 50-percent of the usual cleaning tasks by the end of the year, topping out at 80-percent in its final form. They’re also claiming that, based on current progress, a “solid engineering and design team” could produce a shippable product in just two years.
Perhaps I’ve watched too many of those 50s “The Home of the Future!” clips, telling us that by the turn of the 21st century we’d all have robotic servants doing our bidding, but I can’t take this thing seriously. If it works out, fantastic – I’d love one! – but I’m reserving the right to be dubious.
Readybot Kitchen-Cleaning Robot Takes on Family Room – With Help From Friendly Vacuum
The Readybot prototype, which designers say “looks like a dishwasher, but with arms,” is shown rolling into action. It uses a carpet rake attachment to scrape toys into plastic bins, moving sideways and diagonally to reach tight spots. It stores the bins in a cabinet, closes the door, and empties the trash. “As always, we’re just showing a few key skills, to give viewers a feel for what robots can do,” says Readybot Director Tom Benson. “We can think of ten new ideas, for every one that we have time to write into the application software.”
In a surprise move, the video shows Readybot deploying one of the popular off-the-shelf cleaning robots, which scoots out to vacuum the carpet. Why didn’t the Readybot team build their own? “Vacuum robots are inexpensive, extremely well engineered, and available anywhere,” says Benson. “Why should we re-invent something that already works great?”
Benson explains how this fits their view of the future of robotics. “We believe the next and largest wave of the robotics industry will be similar to personal computers. With PCs, the disk drives, motherboards, and other components are made by different vendors and assembled into an easy-to-upgrade final product. This approach has led to fast growth and innovation in the PC market. We believe robots will be the same – robot arms, bases, video systems could be made by different vendors and plugged together. So it makes perfect sense to use an existing vacuum robot as a peripheral.”
This echoes views of other articles in the press, including a June 2006 Scientific American article by Microsoft founder Bill Gates. “It’s an international phenomenon,” said Benson, “with researchers all over the world, including here in Silicon Valley, developing the technology. The challenge is to assemble that into a practical platform, and fill in a few missing pieces.”
Readybot plans to announce “Phase II” of their robot challenge in the Fall of 2008.
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