It remains one of the few phones made of stainless steel, and it feels just as high-end as that sentence felt to write. It’s more durable than the aluminum you’ll find on most smartphones (including the iPhone 11). The back and front are wrapped in “durable” glass, but what’s new here is the matte texture on the back. It’s fantastic. It doesn’t attract ugly fingerprints, so I’m not wasting half my day wiping it clean, plus I prefer matte aesthetics over the glossy kind. Apple’s not the first company to explore this type of texture; Google did it last year with the pixel3
While we’re on the back of the iPhone, let’s talk about the camera design. It’s not great, though it is growing on me. The holes are so huge that they stand out a little too much, as though Apple really wants you to show everyone that you have an iPhone 11 Pro Max — not an iPhone 11 or an iPhone XS. The lenses are raised and have a metal bezel around them, but then the square camera module around them itself is also raised. The raised glass is sharp and angular; it’s not a pleasant feeling running your finger on the back and hitting the camera module.
I don’t think the camera design is ugly, but I also think Apple could have done better. One thing to note, the camera module does collect a bit of dust around the rings (as you can see in the picture above), so this area does require a bit of cleaning now and then.