iPhone 15 Pro Max 5x superzoom tests show a close run race with Galaxy S23 Ultra and Pixel 7 Pro

Close up on the camera of the iPhone 15 Pro Max
(Image credit: Apple)

Comprehensive testing of the new iPhone 15 Pro Max camera has revealed its 5x zoom feature can just about keep pace with its new rivals, but that Android competitors have the edge at longer distances. 

Our friends at Tom's Guide have put the new phone through its paces versus both the Galaxy S23 Ultra and the Pixel 7 Pro, with some results that might surprise you. 

Apple's new best iPhone comes with a flagship camera feature limited to the biggest iPhone this year, 5x optical zoom powered by a tetraprism lens. Apple has lagged behind Android devices in terms of zoom for years now, so it's great to see a better offering. But how did it stack up comparatively against rivals?

The scores

Tom's Guide Editor-in-Chief Mar Spoonauer took a series of photos using the 5x optical and 25x digital settings on the iPhone, comparing them to shots on the Galaxy and the Pixel. 

Interestingly, Apple actually scored first place in testing for two of the four 5x shots and didn't finish last for any of them, coming in second place for the others. 

However, the iPhone scored decidedly less in the 25x testing. Of the four shots it achieved second place in two, and came last for the rest. The overall scores left the Galaxy S23 Ultra and Pixel 7 Pro tied, and the iPhone technically in last, but only one point behind. So what does all this mean?

"Overall I was impressed with the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s performance at the 5x zoom level, as it delivered plenty of detail", Spoonauer told iMore. "The Galaxy S23 Ultra’s overly brightened some shots but it dominated at 25x zoom." 

It's clear that when it comes to digital zoom, Apple has some catching up to do with the Galaxy S23 Ultra, which came first in every 25x test. While it's clear this is the best iPhone for zoom to date, it looks like Android users don't have too much to be jealous of when it comes to this particular feature. 

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9

  • FFR
    15 pro max is a beast in titanium.

    If it’s so great, Wonder why Samsung is going to ditch that periscope lens for a 5x next year, maybe they just want to copy the iPhone again since sales are at an all time low.