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

Whether it’s the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Pro, or iPhone 14 Pro Max, this year’s update focuses on cameras.

Yes, the Pro models have always-on displays and a truly Apple approach to replacing the controversial screen notch. But as stylish as these perks are, they shouldn’t be the reasons you buy these phones.

Cameras are now so important, particularly in Pro models, that you are starting to think we should call these devices “smart cameras” rather than smartphones.

The smartphone it has been more or less refined over the years; there aren’t many new frontiers to explore in that space. But in ways big and small, Apple (along with its competitors) continues to find new ways to enhance the amateur digital photography experience.

As a result, the iPhone 14 models are some of the best smart cameras you can buy, even if they’re not a revolutionary upgrade over the devices that preceded them.

Information about the iPhone 14

Since the iPhone 14 is such a modest year-on-year update, we have combined it with the 14 Pro in this review. Most of the review will discuss the 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max, but we will briefly discuss the regular 14 in its section here. and we will evaluate the phones together in the performance and cameras section of the review.

The iPhone 14 is barely a step up from the iPhone 13 of 2021. It has the same design and, at least at launch, the same feature set. It also has the same system-on-a-chip (SoC), the A15, so it offers identical performance, although thermals are reportedly slightly better for sustained performance and there’s a tweak that should also improve performance slightly. graphics.

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

As for photo quality, we’ll look at some comparison shots in the camera section of this review, but here’s the quick rundown: there’s a new TrueDepth front camera with a faster aperture and autofocus support. The main practical benefit of these improvements is that the camera should perform better in low light conditions.

The wide-angle camera on the back of the iPhone 14 has a larger sensor and faster aperture and promises 49% better low-light photographic performance than its predecessor. Apple has slightly expanded the camera software suite to deliver improved low-light performance across all of the phone’s cameras. In other words, the regular iPhone 14 is getting some benefits that were seen in last year’s Pro models.

When the iFixit workshop / publication demolished the iPhone 14, they discovered something Apple hadn’t advertised: the iPhone 14 is easier to fix and repair than other recent iPhones, including its Pro siblings, thanks to a panel removable rear glass. For most users, it doesn’t matter much, but for some it might improve device longevity and save money on repairs if you skip AppleCare +, Apple’s repair service subscription.

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 (the 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 the flagship range, although Apple is still selling the iPhone 13 mini for users who prefer one-handed phones to at the expense of screen size and battery life.
Under no circumstances would we recommend upgrading from iPhone 13 to iPhone 14. We don’t even recommend upgrading from 12 to 14, really – there have been iterative improvements, but even over the course of a couple of generations it hasn’t added up to anything. of radical, especially in non-Pro models.
But if you’re on an XS or earlier, here are some substantial updates; For more information, check out our review of last year’s iPhone 13 and 13 Pro. Virtually everything that has been said about 13 also applies here.

Specifications

Specifications at a glance: iPhone 14, 14 Pro, 14 Pro Max
Screen 6.1-inch 2532×1170 OLED (14), 6.1-inch 2556×1179 OLED (14 Pro), 6.7-inch 2796×1290 OLED (14 Pro Max)
Operating system iOS 16
processor Apple A16 Bionic
RAM 6 GB
GPU Apple A16 Bionic
Warehousing 128, 256 or 512 GB for 14; 128, 256, 512GB or 1TB for 14 Pro / Max
Net Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5, 5G
Ports Lightning
Camera Two 12MP rear cameras (wide angle, ultra wide angle) for 14; three rear cameras (48MP wide angle, 12MP ultra wide angle, 12MP telephoto) for 14 Pro / Max; 12 MP front camera; Dolby Vision HDR 4K video capture
Dimension 146.7 × 71.5 × 7.8mm (14), 147.5 × 71.5 × 7.85mm (Pro), 160.7 × 77.6 × 7.85mm (Pro Max)
Weight 172g (14), 206g (Pro), 240g (Maximum)
Starting price $ 799 (14), $ 999 (professional), $ 1,099 (maximum)
Other advantages MagSafe, Face ID, Dynamic Island (Pro models), Always-on display (Pro models)

iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are the first devices to use Apple’s new A16 SoC, the first iPhone chip based on a 4nm process.

The A16 has the same number of cores as its predecessor, meaning it has a 6-core CPU with two performance cores and four efficiency cores, a 6-core GPU and a 16-core NPU called the Neural Engine, but Apple says it should offer. performance up to 10 percent faster. The A16 has 50% more memory bandwidth than the A15, which is very important for 3D gaming and somewhat for computational photography capabilities.

So the A16 isn’t a huge leap forward in performance, aside from the memory bandwidth part. But this chip’s updates weren’t really about speed. Rather, it’s about facilitating new features. More importantly, the chip has a new ISP, which enables some of the new camera features and additional fidelity. It also has a new display engine. The changes to the display engine make possible the two most eye-catching new features: the always-on display and the dynamic island functionality that replaces the notch.

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

Meanwhile, the iPhone 14 stays with last year’s A15, which is even faster than any other phone SoC on the market in most businesses. Go from 4GB of RAM to 6GB.

Screen sizes and display resolutions for all three phones are the same as last year: 6.1 inches and 2,556 by 1,179 pixels for the iPhone 14 Pro, 6.7 inches and 2,796 by 1,290 for the iPhone 14 Pro Max and 6.1 inches and 2,532 by 1,170 for the iPhone 14. In terms of pixel density, all three are clocked at 460 ppi. And all three use OLED technology, which is expected on almost every high-end smartphone these days, and for good reason.

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

Last year, Apple introduced ProMotion to the iPhone, allowing dynamic refresh rates from 10Hz to 120Hz. It’s still available here, but now the feature can drop to 1Hz to support the always-on display. (We’ll talk about it soon.)

There is also an added light sensor on the phone, bringing the count to two.

Finally, there is an updated sensor suite to enable a new safety feature for incident detection. If it detects a crash, it will ask to see if you are okay and ask for help if not. This feature requires updated sensors, so it won’t be available on older iPhones, but it’s available on the iPhone 14 line and new Apple Watch models that launch this year.

Apple provides another security feature: Pro models can send simple text messages and location data to rescuers via satellite when you’re offline and need help. That feature won’t be rolling out until November, though.

One thing we wish Apple had improved upon is fast charging. All of these new iPhones still charge much slower than some Android flagships, both wired and wireless, which is a shame. This is the kind of little thing that can make a difference in users’ daily lives. We hope to see some improvements next year.

As always, there is only one port: Apple’s proprietary Lightning port. Like much of the rest of the world, we would like Apple to switch to USB-C.

In any case, Apple promises slightly improved battery life in the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. We are still conducting formal battery tests, but anecdotally it seemed that the new phones offered roughly the same battery life, or maybe even only slightly worse.

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