IPhone 14 and 14 Pro review: a photo worth a thousand dollars

Whether we’re talking about the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Pro, or iPhone 14 Pro Max, this year’s update focuses on cameras.

Yes, the Pro models always have displays on and what an Apple approach to replacing the controversial screen notch. But as cool as these perks are, they shouldn’t be the reason you buy these phones.

Cameras are now so visible – especially on the Pro models – that it seems we should call these devices “smart cameras” rather than smartphones.

The smartphone it has been more or less perfected over the years; there aren’t too many new frontiers to explore in this space. But in terms of both big and small, Apple (along with its competitors) is still finding new ways to improve amateur digital photography.

As a result, the iPhone 14 models are some of the best smart cameras you can buy – despite not being a revolutionary upgrade over the devices that came before them.

About iPhone 14

Since the iPhone 14 is such a modest year-to-year update, we put it in one bag with the 14 Pro in this review. Most of the reviews will cover the 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max, but we’ll briefly cover the usual 14 in a separate section, and we’ll rate the phones together in the performance and camera section of the review.

The iPhone 14 is barely a step up from the 2021 iPhone 13. It has the same design and, at least at launch, the same set of features. It also has the same system-on-a-chip (SoC) as the A15, so it offers identical performance, although the thermals are rumored to be a bit better for maintaining performance, and there’s also a fix that should improve graphics performance a bit.

The most important advantages of the iPhone 14 over the iPhone 13 are battery life and photo quality. While the iPhone 13 advertises up to 19 hours of video playback, the iPhone 14 promises up to 20. That’s not a big leap (and we didn’t notice it), but hey, we’ll take what we can get from a few things that are more important than battery life.

When it comes to image quality, we’ll look at a few comparative shots in this review, but here’s a quick summary: there’s a new TrueDepth front camera with faster aperture and autofocus support. The main practical benefit of these improvements is that the camera should have better low light performance.

The wide-angle camera on the back of the iPhone 14 has a larger sensor and a faster aperture, and it also promises 49 percent better low-light photo performance than its predecessor. Apple has slightly extended the camera software suite to offer better low-light performance across all of the phone’s cameras. In other words, the regular iPhone 14 gains some of the benefits that came with last year’s Pro models.

When an iFixit repair shop / publication destroyed an iPhone 14, it discovered something Apple hadn’t advertised: the iPhone 14 is easier to service and repair than other recent iPhones – including its Pro brothers – thanks to a removable glass panel. For most users, it won’t matter much, but for some, it can extend the life of the device and save money on repairs if you skip AppleCare +, a subscription to Apple’s repair services.

On October 7, Apple plans to launch a new iPhone 14 model called the iPhone 14 Plus. It will likely be identical to the iPhone 14, only with a 6.7-inch screen (same size as the iPhone 14 Pro Max) instead of 6.1 inches.

This year, the iPhone 14 Plus replaces the much smaller 5.4-inch iPhone 13 mini in its flagship line, although Apple continues to sell the iPhone 13 mini to users who prefer one-handed phones at the expense of screen size and battery life.
We do not recommend upgrading from iPhone 13 to iPhone 14 by any means. We really do not even recommend the 12 to 14 upgrade – iterative improvements have been made, but even for several generations this has not been added to anything radical, especially on other models than Pro.
But if you’re using XS or an earlier version, there are some significant improvements here; For more, check out our iPhone 13 and 13 Pro review from last year. Pretty much everything that has been said about 13 applies here as well.


Specs at a glance: iPhone 14, 14 Pro, 14 Pro Max
Screen 2532 × 1170 6.1 inch OLED (14), 2556×1179 6.1 inch OLED (14 Pro), 2796×1290 6.7 inch OLED (14 Pro Max)
processor Apple A16 Bionic
Aries 6 GB
GPU Apple A16 Bionic
Storage 128, 256 or 512 GB for 14; 128, 256, 512 GB or 1 TB for 14 Pro / Max
Network Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5, 5G
Ports Lightning
Camera Two 12MP rear cameras (wide-angle, ultra-wide-angle) for 14 people; three rear cameras (48 MP wide, 12 MP ultra wide, 12 MP telephoto) for 14 Pro / Max; front camera 12 MP; Dolby Vision HDR 4K video capture
Size 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.85 mm (14), 147.5 x 71.5 x 7.85 mm (Pro), 160.7 x 77.6 x 7.85 mm (Pro Max)
Libra 172 g (14), 206 g (Pro), 240 g (Max)
starting price $ 799 (14), $ 999 (Pro), $ 1099 (max)
Other benefits MagSafe, Face ID, Dynamic Island (Pro models), Always-on display (Pro models)

The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are the first devices to use Apple’s new A16 SoC, the first iPhone chip built using the 4nm process.

The A16 has the same number of cores as its predecessor – that is, it has a 6-core processor with two performance cores and four high-performance cores, a 6-core GPU and a 16-core NPU called the Neural Engine – but Apple says it should offer up to 10 percent higher performance. The A16 has 50 percent more memory bandwidth than the A15, which is of great importance for 3D gaming and a little bit for the computational photography feature.

So the A16 isn’t a huge performance leap, except for a portion of the memory bandwidth. But the updates to this chip weren’t really focused on speed. Rather, it is about facilitating new functions. Most importantly, the chip has a new ISP that brings some of the new camera features and adds extra fidelity. It also has a new display engine. Improvements to the display engine enable two of the most brilliant new features: the always-on display and the functionality of the Dynamic Island cutout replacement.

Like the iPhone 13 Pro, the iPhone 14 Pro comes with 6 GB of RAM.

Meanwhile, the iPhone 14 sticks to last year’s A15, which is still faster than any other SoC phone on the market for most tasks. It gets a jump from 4 GB of RAM to 6 GB.

The screen sizes and display resolutions for all three phones are the same as last year: 6.1 inches and 2556 by 1179 pixels for the iPhone 14 Pro, 6.7 inches and 2796 by 1290 for the iPhone 14 Pro Max and 6.1 inches and 2532 by 1170 for the iPhone 14. In terms of pixel density, all three work at 460 ppi. All three use the OLED technology expected of almost every high-end flagship smartphone today, and for good reason.

iPhone 14 offers 800 nits of typical peak brightness and 1,200 nits of peak HDR brightness – same as the iPhone 13.
The iPhone 14 Pro and its big brother offer a terrible 1,000 nits of typical peak brightness and 1,600 nits of peak HDR brightness, as well as a new ability to reach 2,000 nits in sunny outdoor situations. It’s better than even the best high-end HDR TVs, and better than any computer monitor except the equipment used by video professionals. In fact, a peak HDR brightness of 1600 nits is equivalent to Apple’s $ 5,000 Pro Display XDR.
Our tests largely confirmed these claims, which is quite impressive. These will likely be the highest quality screens you’ve ever owned, whatever type of device we’re talking about.

Last year, Apple introduced ProMotion to the iPhone, allowing dynamic refresh from 10Hz to 120Hz. It’s still offered here, but the feature can now drop to 1Hz to support an always-on display. (More on that soon.)

There is also a light sensor added to the phone which increases the number to two.

Finally, there is an updated sensor suite that enables a new crash detection safety feature. If it detects a malfunction, it will ask you to check that everything is okay and call for help if it is not. This feature requires updated sensors, so it won’t be available on older iPhones, but it’s available across the entire iPhone 14 line as well as the new Apple Watch models launched this year.

Apple plans one more security feature: Pro models can send simple text messages and location data to rescuers via satellite when you are offline and need help. However, this feature will not be introduced until November.

One thing we’d like Apple to improve is fast charging. All of these new iPhones still charge much slower than some Android flagships, both wired and wireless, which is a shame. It’s such a little thing that can make a practical difference in the everyday life of users. We hope to see some improvement next year.

As always, there’s only one port: Apple’s proprietary Lightning port. Like most of the rest of the world, we’d like Apple to transition to USB-C.

In any case, Apple promises slightly better battery life on the iPhone 14 Pro and the iPhone 14 Pro Max. We are still running formal battery tests, but anecdotally, the new phones seemed to offer the same, if not slightly worse, battery life.

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