Hello again, big phone

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 3 min read
Hello again, big phone

I owned the Pro Max iPhone for both the 13 and 14 generations, but I dropped down to the smaller Pro phone this year. I was tired of having a big, heavy phone in my pocket, and a smaller phone felt appealing to me, even though I knew it would mean some compromises. When I was placing my order in September, I knew I was going to compromise on:

  1. Less camera range
  2. Less battery life

But I felt I could deal with those limits, and the benefit of having a smaller phone would make up for them on the whole. I was even feeling pretty good about the decision in my one-month review of the phone.

All that to say I've sold my old phone and have switched to the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Thankfully I was able to upgrade for only a few hundred dollars, so I am out about $200 more than if I had just bought the Max to begin with. Not the absolute end of the world, but definitely some egg on my face.

What the hell changed?!

Travel and concerts happened, that's what. I spent late October in England and had an absolute nightmare getting a flight back to the US (story for another day), and due to a confluence of scheduling coincidences, over the past 2 weeks I'm going to 4 separate shows (concerts, comedy, and a podcast).

The battery life in England was horrendous. It was probably because it wasn't on its normal cell network and was straining to stay connected, which wasn't helped by the fact I was using my phone more for navigation and navigating around Bristol. My battery didn't come close to making it through a whole day, and I was plugging it into the laptop in my backpack as often as I could to give it the juice it needed to make it through the parts of the day I wasn't able to charge it up.

This all came to a head when I was having a disastrous time getting to the airport on time for my flight, missing it, and dealing with getting something else while I was in a new country, all while watching my iPhone battery drop faster than made me comfortable, adding even more stress to an already stressful situation.

Yes, I brought a battery pack (Apple’s MagSafe one), but it wasn't behaving and didn't work reliably.

Now I'm 2 shows deep in my couple weeks of entertainment, and I knew pretty quickly that I really wanted more zoom for my photos. Maybe I need to get paid more and have seats closer to the stage, but more reach would be good to have. Knowing that there was something better out there did start to annoy me. First world problem and general privilege acknowledged.

Shot on the 5x telephoto lens

It's hard to go back

When Apple released their Studio Display a few years ago, there was much consternation about what display was "acceptable" for Mac users. I think a 4K monitor is great at 27" and you can do perfect 2x UI scaling to get crisp pixels, but a lot of people who had used 5K displays before (namely in iMacs) insisted they couldn't go down to larger UI elements on their screen. I still think they extrapolated their experience to everyone in the world in a way that made that conversation very frustrating, but I completely understand the feeling because that's exactly how I feel about my phone. Especially when it comes to battery life, it's hard to go back to less than you're used to.

I experienced this with the Apple Watch as well. I like the Ultra for a bunch of reasons, but I find the standard watch looks better and feels better to use. That said, it's really hard to go back to a watch with half the battery life, so I’ve stuck with the Ultra.

Ultimately, my phone is a tool I use to get things done, and while I prefer the ergonomics of the normal sized iPhone 15 Pro, the battery and camera enhancements are Apparently worth the annoyance I have with handling a larger phone.