Above all, Dynamic Island is one of the coolest new features of the iPhone 14 Pro as it is a clever redesign that turns the hardware of the TrueDepth system into part of the user interface. Right out of the box, Dynamic Island works well and will change the way we view information and interact with our iPhones.
Dynamic Island changes the shape and function of alerts such as incoming phone calls, AirPods connected, Face ID, Apple Pay, charging while the camera is in use, while music is playing and much more. It does a lot, and because it’s front and center feels like a more fluid and integrated experience.
Apple also introduced the Always-On Display technology, which is a significant change and brings the “iPhone 14 Pro” models to the Apple Watch. The always-on display is just a dimmed version of the lock screen with no additional customization options, so you can see the time, widgets, and a dimmed version of the wallpaper even when your iPhone display is not actively in use. The always-on display uses the new 1Hz refresh rate to extend battery life, but previous reviews suggest you may be seeing some battery drain. We’ll test it next week.
There is a new 48-megapixel camera in the iPhone 14 Pro that also has an updated sensor to let in more light, as well as “Photonic Engine” software optimizations that further improve low-light shooting. The images look fantastic, of course, but we’re going to dig deeper into the camera to really dig into the differences between the “iPhone 14 Pro” and iPhone 13 Pro models.
You’ll notice an improvement in your photography in low light, and with close-ups you’ll see a more natural bokeh effect, even when you’re not using portrait mode.
By default, Apple uses pixel binning to combine data from four pixels into one for a 12-megapixel photo from a 48-megapixel lens, but you can take full 48-megapixel RAW photos. You can trim a decent chunk with this option, and Apple has also used it to provide the 2X zoom option that comes along with the 3X telephoto zoom. The double zoom is nicer for portraits, so it’s great to have options.
For video, there is an action mode that makes the action sequences smoother and eliminates camera shake, mimicking what you might get when using a gimbal. Action mode works at resolutions up to 2.8K, and outside of Action Mode you have 4K video available at 60, 30 and 24 fps. Unfortunately, we never got this supposed 8K video option.
Moving on to the A16, the “iPhone 14 Pro” models are the only ones to receive an updated layout this year. The A16 is the first chip to be built on the 4nm TSMC process, an improvement over the 5nm process. A smaller knot basically means the chips are faster and more efficient. The A15 was already incredibly fast, so you may not notice significant changes in daily use, and in testing we can see differences in CPU and GPU performance, but it’s not a drastic update.
We haven’t been able to test crash detection or SOS by satellite in time for this video, but these are two safety features that make the “iPhone” more valuable than ever in an emergency. We will check them in more detail at a later date.
Did you buy an iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max? Let us know what you think about it in the comments. Note that most functions, with the exception of crash detection and satellite communication, are limited to the “iPhone 14 Pro” models and are not available on the “iPhone 14” or “iPhone 14” Plus.