iPhone 14 review: A minor upgrade with some cool surprises

iPhone 14 assessment: A minor improve with some cool surprises

Two-minute assessment

It’s a bit onerous to get enthusiastic about an iPhone that options final yr’s design, final yr’s display screen, and final yr’s CPU, however taken by itself – out of the substantial shadow of the brand new iPhone 14 Professional – Apple’s new iPhone 14 seems to be like a reasonably darn good smartphone.

Though the iPhone 14 seems to be loads just like the iPhone 13, there are quite a few upgrades beneath the hood that promise to ship an improved expertise total.

The cellphone’s two rear cameras – a 12MP broad and 12MP ultra-wide – have new sensors, and the 12MP TrueDepth digital camera gobbles up extra gentle and may now autofocus. All of the lenses are backed by Apple’s new Photonic Engine (“photonic” refers back to the administration of photons, or gentle particles – learn extra about it in our iPhone 14 digital camera explainer). In a sensible sense, it’s a reordering of Apple’s imaging pipeline, which now applies the Deep Fusion neural engine picture processing to uncompressed pictures (fairly than compressed ones, because it did beforehand).

What you gained’t discover here’s a 48MP sensor with quad-pixel binning or any type of zoom. For these, you want to improve to the iPhone 14 Professional or iPhone 14 Professional Max.

There’s nonetheless the superb Tremendous Retina XDR OLED display screen, however in the event you’re not a fan of that notch you might once more need to go for the 14 Professional or Professional Max, that are rocking Apple’s nifty new Dynamic Island, together with an adaptive refresh price and always-on show. 

Apple additionally made the choice to maintain the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus on final yr’s Apple silicon. Granted, it’s not the identical A15 Bionic that ran final yr’s iPhone 13 and 13 mini. As a substitute of a four-core GPU, this A15 Bionic has a five-core GPU. It’s basically the identical chip that was in final yr’s iPhone 13 Professional and 13 Professional Max, and may promise improved efficiency over the iPhone 13’s chip.

For all that hasn’t modified, there are some cool new (although hard-to-test) options, like crash detection; the place the cellphone will know in the event you’re in a automotive crash and robotically alert emergency providers and key contacts. In the same vein, the iPhone 14 can now use satellite tv for pc communications to contact emergency providers. It’s an trade first, and it’s good to see that even Apple’s entry-level iPhone 14 acquired this new capacity. 

There are another vital under-the-hood updates, particularly a brand new warmth dissipation system that can assist the cellphone handle temperatures higher, and work extra effectively (this cellphone has higher battery life than the iPhone 13). Apple additionally contends that this iPhone is simpler to restore than earlier fashions, as – amongst different issues, the again glass can now get replaced with out must swap out your complete enclosure. 

A well-recognized face to the iPhone 13 (Picture credit score: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

Apple iPhone 14 value and availability

128GB: $799 / £849 / AU$1,339
256GB: $899 / £959 / AU$1,579
512GB: $1,099 / £1,179 / AU$1,899

Apple unveiled its complete iPhone 14 line – the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Professional, and iPhone 14 Professional Max – on September 7, 2022. 

The iPhone 14 went on preorder on September 9 and is now obtainable, as of September 16. It begins at $799 / £849 / AU$1,399 for the 128GB mannequin, however you will get it with as much as 512GB of storage (try our greatest iPhone 14 offers in the event you’re already ).

Not like most Android telephones, there are not any choices for extra RAM, past the baseline 6GB, though that’s greater than the bottom iPhone 13, which had solely 4GB.

Apple iPhone 14 back

The mannequin we examined got here in a tasteful blue end (Picture credit score: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

Apple iPhone 14 design

Close to-identical design to iPhone 13
The SIM slot is gone (US-only)
Similar notched Tremendous Retina XDR show

Other than new colours – we examined the tasteful pale blue mannequin – the 6.1-inch iPhone 14 seems to be very very similar to the iPhone 13. Its aluminum body, button placement, stereo speaker grilles, Lightning port, and even the display screen, all seem unchanged. There are, although, tiny structural variations.

Apple iPhone 14 volume buttons and no SIM

No SIM slot on this iPhone (Picture credit score: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

At 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.8mm, it’s only a hair thicker than the iPhone 13. It’s additionally two grams lighter than the final cellphone, which we assume is right down to the brand new thermal structure contained in the system. Regardless of the chassis similarities, the iPhone 14 doesn’t fairly slot in an official iPhone 13 MagSafe case – the physique slides in simply high-quality, however the iPhone 14’s two-lens digital camera array is barely bigger (as are the lenses themselves).

All of the supplies – together with the Ceramic Protect protecting the show – are the identical, and the mud and water resistance stays unchanged from the iPhone 13, as nicely. Naturally, we ran our iPhone 14 by way of a sprinkler, simply to make sure it might deal with it. It was high-quality – and it might have loved the respite from the New York warmth.

Apple iPhone 14 bottom edge

The iPhone 14’s backside edge nonetheless includes a Lightning port (Picture credit score: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

Design rating: 4/5

Apple iPhone 14 show

Acquainted 6.1-inch Tremendous Retina XDR
The notch persists
No adaptive refresh or always-on performance
Nonetheless a high-quality OLED show

Apple iPhone 14 full screen

(Picture credit score: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

With a 2532 x 1170, 460ppi decision, the iPhone 14’s Tremendous Retina XDR show is nearly fully unchanged from the iPhone 13. The notch that’s been banished from the iPhone 14 Professional and Professional Max lives on on this now considerably growing old design. It encompasses an up to date TrueDepth digital camera (it’s nonetheless 12MP, however backed by a greater light-gathering sensor and has the power to autofocus), an IR sensor, flood illuminator, and, above all of it, the highest speaker (the opposite speaker is on the underside of the cellphone). That is probably the final hurrah for the notch, because it appears onerous to imagine that it’ll survive in subsequent yr’s anticipated iPhone 15.

Though it is a brilliant (as much as 1,200 nits) and colourful (Vast Coloration) show with (because of OLED) inky blacks (boasting a 2,000,000-to-1 distinction ratio), it robotically feels out of step with the most recent in Apple show expertise. There’s no adaptive refresh price, and never even the120Hz ProMotion that we first met on 2021’s Professional fashions. Simply 60Hz. That could be onerous to swallow when the iPhone 14 Professional and Professional Max supply adaptive refresh charges that vary from 10Hz to 120Hz. Plus, these telephones have a brand new always-on show mode that may cease down to only 1Hz, for further energy effectivity. Once more, that is what you pay further for.

Apple iPhone 14 cameras

Acquainted 12MP most important + ultrawide on the again
New sensors throughout the board
Photonic Engine additional improves picture high quality
New Motion mode

Apple iPhone 14 camera array

The 14’s most important 12MP sensor is definitely lifted from the 13 Professional (Picture credit score: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

 The iPhone 14 has simply two rear cameras:

A 12MP most important (26mm, f/1.5)
A 12MP ultrawide (120-degree subject of view, 13mm, f/2.4)

These are good cameras with higher sensors and total low-light efficiency in comparison with their predecessors. The entrance digital camera – additionally 12MP – now has autofocus too, which ought to make group selfies considerably simpler.

All of the cameras profit from a brand new imaging pipeline. The Photonic Engine prioritizes Deep Fusion neural picture processing sooner than beforehand, so it might work with uncompressed pictures.

Images with the iPhone 14 is nice, although having additionally examined the iPhone 14 Professional, we do miss having optical zoom and macro talents at our fingertips. Even so, this degree of photographic functionality and the high-quality output ought to fulfill most customers.

Like the remainder of the iPhone 14 line, this mannequin can shoot as much as 4K video, and Cinematic Mode has now been pumped as much as help 4K at 30fps.

Model new is Energetic Mode, which is enabled by deciding on the working particular person icon within the high right-hand portion of the digital camera app’s viewfinder. This can be a surprisingly efficient means of eradicating a lot of the shake from motion movies. No, there isn’t a brand new gimbal within the iPhone 14; as a substitute, Apple employs over-scan and superior roll detection – which is a flowery means of claiming it quickly and on-the-fly crops the video to maintain the middle (normally a topic) extra easily in-frame. This processing does discard some video info (leading to a cropped body), however the outcomes are GoPro-smooth. I’m undecided how wildly helpful that is, however in the event you’re an motion fan it could be a godsend.

Digicam samples

Apple iPhone 14 audio

A minimum of Apple has been constant on the audio facet. All 4 iPhone 14 fashions have stereo audio system and spatial audio help, and create loud (in order for you), clear, and brilliant sound. In motion pictures and music that help it, spatial audio provides a type of surround-sound impact. There are titles on Netflix, Amazon, and different streaming providers to benefit from the function, plus Apple Music has a complete spatial audio playlist to dive into. Every little thing we performed on the iPhone 14 sounded nice. 

Apple iPhone 14 efficiency

Makes use of the iPhone 13 Professional’s A15 Bionic chip
New warmth dissipation system provides the processor extra respiration room
Good efficiency for the value

Oh hey, final yr’s cell CPU! We have to begin out by making clear that there’s nothing mistaken with the A15 Bionic. It’s a strong chip that has persistently overwhelmed the perfect Qualcomm has to supply, and it has substantial headroom, which implies cell video games like Asphalt: Legends and PUBG run easily. You’ll be able to edit 4K movies, browse the net, do all of the issues you are able to do with the quicker and extra environment friendly A16 Bionic discovered within the iPhone 14 Professional and Professional Max, with the real-world distinction probably solely actually changing into obvious after years of use.

Apple iPhone 14 benchmarks

(Picture credit score: Future)

What Apple did right here – bringing the improved A15 chip from the iPhone 13 Professional to the iPhone 14 – was type of good. It’s a superb cost-saving transfer that can depart no one wanting.

The A15 Bionic, because it lives inside the brand new iPhone 14, has a brand new inner design for extra environment friendly warmth dissipation. This, Apple claims, helps with repairability, however a cooler chip must also run higher.

Whereas benchmarks had been kind of consistent with the A15 Bionic we examined within the iPhone 13 Professional, this iPhone does promise higher battery life (20 hours of video streaming, versus 19 hours for the iPhone 13), regardless of having an solely fractionally-bigger battery; suggesting Apple’s efforts with the cooling system are chargeable for this improved effectivity.

Apple iPhone 14 eSIM and satellite tv for pc connectivity

Within the US, your complete iPhone 14 line is now SIM-slot free, as a substitute using eSIM expertise for connecting you to the cell community. In our expertise, it launched no problem in organising the iPhone 14; though granted, Apple already assigned our handset a cellphone quantity for testing functions. If you wish to switch your current bodily SIM data out of your previous iPhone to a brand new one, it is best to be capable of do it electronically, with out the assistance of your service. We’ll perceive how nicely this all works when these new SIM-less iPhones get into customers’ fingers.

The opposite cool, new connectivity function is satellite-based emergency SOS. Apple is working with Globalstar low-Earth orbit satellites to offer this further degree of emergency help. Whereas it’s not one thing we might check, we did see it in motion at Apple’s Cupertino, California campus.

We walked up a hill the place cell and Wi-Fi had been purposely unavailable. On the iPhone 14 Professional used for the demo (we’re assuming that the system works the identical on the iPhone 14), we seen a tiny ‘SOS’ and satellite tv for pc icon within the upper-right quadrant of the show. Notice that these icons gained’t seem except you’re outdoors, with a transparent view of the sky.

In the event you dial 911 (within the US) on this scenario, the iPhone 14 will, because it did in our demo, ask if you wish to attempt emergency textual content through satellite tv for pc. After that, an on-screen emergency assistant presents a visible cue for which means it is best to face to hook up with the closest satellite tv for pc. It then asks you a collection of questions that the system can ship through compressed textual content to Apple’s relay middle, which then contacts emergency providers.

If, through the communication, a satellite tv for pc strikes out of vary, the system will immediate you face in the best course to reconnect.

Whereas satellite tv for pc communications are primarily for emergency conditions, it’s also possible to use the system to let folks know through Discover My that you just, for instance, efficiently made it to the highest of Mount Everest or Snowdon.

Apple iPhone 14 battery

Sufficient juice for a busy day
Wi-fi charging + MagSafe
Purchase your individual adapter

As I discussed above, the iPhone 14 is rated for 20 hours of video playback, 16 hours of streamed video, and 80 hours of audio playback. We acquired greater than a full day’s battery life off a single cost. The iPhone 14 ships with a Lightning-to-USB-C cost cable and no charger.

You should purchase a 5W adapter, or spend a bit extra for Apple’s 20W charger, which is able to get you to 50% cost in half-hour. The cellphone can be MagSafe and Qi wi-fi charging appropriate. 

Apple iPhone 14 software program

All iPhone 14 fashions ship with iOS 16
Full of new options
Customized lock screens, unsending texts, and cleaner notifications are highlights

Apple iPhone 14 wet

(Picture credit score: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

All Apple iPhone 14 handsets ship with iOS 16. It’s a worthwhile improve that gives among the most vital platform adjustments we’ve seen shortly.

Highlights embrace a brand new lock display screen. As a substitute of 1 static display screen, you get a number of screens, every with their very own focus mode hooked up.

There are highly effective picture instruments that allow you to take any photograph and apply it to your lock display screen with, as an illustration, a portion of somebody’s head peeking over the redesigned time readout. You can even add widgets (completely different ones for every lock display screen) to essentially personalize the expertise.

There are different cool options, like editable and retrievable texts, multi-stop instructions in Maps, dwell textual content in movies, and extra.

It’s a superb OS replace, and we predict it enhances any iPhone working it.

That is now Apple’s lightest and most cost-effective iPhone 14. It’s greater than 30 grams lighter than the equally sized iPhone 14 Professional, which begins at $899. It lacks the most recent display screen expertise, nonetheless has a notch, and solely has two rear cameras, which for some, could really feel like huge trade-offs, as a way to save $200, however for others, the Professional could be overkill.

The iPhone 14 is Apple’s ‘adequate’, which, because it occurs, continues to be fairly excellent. It’s unlikely to disappoint most customers, even when new house owners could also be left casting sideways glances at iPhone 14 Professional customers flaunting their always-on shows and their Dynamic Islands.

Apple iPhone 14 rating card

Attributes
Notes
Ranking
Design
Good trying high quality construct and design
4/5
Show
A giant improve and no extra notch
3.5/5
Efficiency
Apple A16 Bionic is a step up
4/5
Digicam
The upgraded digital camera array lastly brings pixel binning to the iPhone
3.5/5
Battery
Relying on use, may be actually huge battey life
4/5
Software program
iOS 16 is considered one of Apple’s greatest platfomr updates shortly
4.5/5
Worth
You’ll pay for Apple’s apex iPhones
3.5/5

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First reviewed: September 2022

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Author: Randy Perez