Apple iPhone 14 Review

The iPhone 14 is a real performer and Apple has chosen a processor that’s enough to ensure it never pauses or stutters, whatever you’re doing.

by David Phelan
MSRP: £849.00
8
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

Apple iPhone 14 Review

The Apple iPhone 14 is no match for the just-released iPhone 14 Pro, but if you ignore that, it’s one of the most effective phones around. New cameras make low-light photography much more amenable, and a new front-facing camera introduces autofocus for the first time. Then, there are ground-breaking safety features which can let emergency services know where you are when you’re involved in an accident, for instance. Even so, the now-cheaper iPhone 13 is giving the iPhone 14 a run for its money.

Pros

  • Great cameras, front and back
  • Fast performance
  • Good battery life
  • Innovative safety features

Cons

  • Design too familiar
  • Some average features

What is the Apple iPhone 14?

The iPhone 14 is Apple’s 2022 model, one of four handsets, in fact, to have just gone on sale. You can read about the two Pro models, the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max at the end of this review, and the fourth comes later, on 7 October. That’s the iPhone 14 Plus and it's a larger version of the iPhone 14.

But the iPhone 14 with its 6.1-inch display is the new iPhone that most people will likely buy. It’s the most affordable of the new phones, for a start. It has two cameras, not the three found on the Pro models, but for many people that’s more than enough.

Similarly, many new features for the 2022 range are common to all four of the iPhones, such as crash detection, which spots when your car is involved in a collision, heaven forbid, and can automatically alert the emergency services with your location.

... many new features for the 2022 range are common to all four of the iPhones

Design

At first glance, this new iPhone may look just the same as the iPhone 13, but there are differences, inside and out. First of all, and most immediately apparent, there are new colours. There’s Starlight, Purple, Midnight and PRODUCT(RED), all carried forward from last year, and gently tweaked. The PRODUCT(RED) is a warmer, brighter red this year than last.

Then there’s Blue. Well, there was a blue iPhone last year but this is much lighter and looks very different.

Second, the cameras on the back look different, because they have bigger lenses. Only one of the cameras inside is new, the main snapper, but Apple made both the lenses look the same, for aesthetic reasons.

Apple iPhone 14
The Apple iPhone 14's colourways

Third, the TrueDepth camera that sits at the top of the display, commonly called the cut-out of the screen or the notch, has changed shape. It is deeper but less wide than on the iPhone 13, and takes on the new shape introduced on the iPhone 13 Pro.

Finally, you can’t see this, but the design internally has been majorly updated. This is more important than it sounds: the new metal midframe means that repairs will be much easier to effect, thanks to better access both from the front and back. Some commentators have said this may be the most repairable iPhone ever.

... this may be the most repairable iPhone ever

Beyond those aspects, this is a phone which looks very similar to the iPhone 13: a sleek, slim cliff-edged design with the same water resistance as before, the same Ceramic Shield that promises to be better against drops than any other smartphone, the same tough glass on the back. Apple says it’s the toughest on any phone.

In summary, if you’re wanting an iPhone that looks significantly different from last year’s model, you’re not going to find it here. Since that look is attractive and well-liked, that similarity of design may not be a problem. Though it raises a question: why not buy the iPhone 13 instead of the iPhone 14? It looks similar and has just dropped in price. We’ll address that in the conclusion. The iPhone 14 is the same size as last year’s iPhone 13 in every respect but one: it’s 0.15mm thicker. Curiously, though, it’s also lighter than the 13, by 2 grams.

Apple iPhone 14
The Apple iPhone 14: back and front

Inside is where the big changes are and include the hardware that makes the crash detection happen. A new accelerometer works in conjunction with the gyroscope so it can detect impacts of up to 256G. Way more than you could possibly simulate, so if the iPhone thinks you’ve been in a car crash, you almost certainly have. Apple has tested the system with literally millions of hours of driving, it says.

If you’re in such a crash, the iPhone waits a number of seconds to see if you’re okay. If you’re unresponsive, it automatically contacts emergency services and transmits your exact location.

... if you’re wanting an iPhone that looks significantly different from last year’s model, you’re not going to find it here

Alongside that is another safety-oriented feature: emergency satellite messaging. This is operational from November, in the USA and Canada only at first, and it means that if you’re in a place with no cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity and you’re in danger, you can send a text message to a passing satellite. You need to be outdoors and point the iPhone at a satellite, and of course that’s invisible. However, you simply use the special software Apple devised to know where to point your iPhone. Messages are very brief (satellite capacity is limited) and consists of pre-populated messages to choose from.

Tech News

41

Apple unveils new iPhone 13 handsets

Apple unveils new iPhone 13 handsets

by Andy Bassett ·
Apple’s new iPhone range consists of the iPhone 13 Mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro and the iPhone 13 Pro Max, all benefitting from brighter Super Retina XDR screens and the brand new, all powerful A15 Bionic chip.  
Tech Review

189

Apple iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max Review

Apple iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max Review

by David Phelan ·
Apple's iPhone range for 2021 includes the high-end iPhone 13 Pro and flagship iPhone 13 Pro Max which share most of the latest features, differing only in screen and battery size.  
9

Display

This screen is identical, save for the shape of the cut-out, to the display for the iPhone 13. That is, it’s what Apple calls a Super Retina XDR display. It’s a 6.1-inch OLED screen that’s HDR-capable. Resolution is 2,532 x 1,170 pixels, which is 460 pixels per inch.

As last year, the contrast ratio is 2 million to 1, with 800 nits maximum brightness, and 1,200 nits peak brightness for HDR content.

Apple iPhone 14
The Apple iPhone 14's 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display

In short, it’s an exact match for last year’s iPhone 13, but with the iPhone 13 Pro’s smaller cut-out. But, sadly, without the dynamic refresh rate of the iPhone 13 Pro or iPhone 14 Pro. Nonetheless, it looks great, with great colour fidelity and excellent detail, delivering stutter-free video, for example.

Cameras

On the back of the iPhone, the main camera is new, with a wider aperture than before and a new sensor which has larger pixels than before. It should deliver, Apple says, a 49 per cent improvement in low light situations. Whatever the exact figures, this is certainly a fast and responsive camera, and performance in lower light situations such as indoors, where an awful lot of photos are taken, is excellent.

In a controversial move, the latest iPhone does not have the newest processor

That’s not just down to the new main sensor (the ultra-wide is the same as on the iPhone 13) but also the improved software which includes something called the Photonic Engine. It means there’s an improvement in the already highly effective Deep Fusion. That’s where the camera takes multiple images and puts them together to use the best from each of them.

Now, with this new engine, the Deep Fusion part takes place earlier in the process, meaning that it’s before any compression occurs. In turn, this means that there is more and better data for the processor to manipulate.

Apple iPhone 14
The Apple iPhone 14's main camera is new

The rear cameras here are better than on the iPhone 13 and as good as, if not better than most other phone cameras available. It’s heavily outgunned by the much more advanced snappers on the iPhone 14 Pro though.

For the first time, the front camera has 12-megapixel resolution and autofocus. It also has a wider aperture than before, again aimed at making those selfies look great in lower light situations.

Action mode is the new addition to shooting video and it works very well through improved optical image stabilisation and that Photonic Engine again. The experience is the same across all the 2022 iPhones, Apple says, though the higher-resolution camera on the Pro models means there’s better output there. In practice, I found the smoothing of juddery video to be effective, and as good here as on the Pro.

Performance

In a controversial move, the latest iPhone does not have the newest processor. Last year’s iPhone 13 featured the Apple A15 Bionic chip, and the iPhone 13 Pro had an improved version of this with an extra GPU core. It’s this Pro chip which is included in the iPhone 14. That’s a definite upgrade.

But the reason it’s been controversial is Apple has never put last year’s chip in this year’s iPhone. And at the same time, the iPhone 14 Pro has a completely new chip, the A16 Bionic.

In practice, this controversy doesn’t mean much. The iPhone 14 is a real performer and Apple has chosen a processor that’s enough to ensure it never pauses or stutters, whatever you’re doing. Mind you, the iPhone 13 is fast, too, but it lacks some of the best features, such as the Photonic Engine.

Apple iPhone 14
The Apple iPhone 14

While it’s not as powerful as the one in the iPhone 14 Pro, it’s more capable and advanced than most phone processors on the market.

In any event, this is a nippy, responsive phone which performs every task at speed.

Battery

Battery life on the iPhone 11 was sensational, but no better on the iPhone 12. The iPhone 13 saw another uptick in cell life, and this new phone matches it. In other words, it’s not another big leap forward but it’s perfectly fine. You’d need to charge on a daily basis, but it won’t run out on you before bedtime.

If you’re after the ultimate battery life, then you might be better off waiting for the iPhone 14 Plus, which Apple describes as having the longest battery life of any iPhone ever. Mind you, it has a much bigger screen, 6.7 inches, and is correspondingly larger in the hand, so it would be worth trying it out before you buy to make sure it’s a comfortable fit for you.

Conclusion

The iPhone 14 is a highly accomplished phone that offers great innovations such as crash detection and, one day, emergency messaging by satellite. It has noticeably better cameras front and back which deliver great results. And it’s great in terms of fast performance.

The price starts at £849 for the 128GB storage version. So, should you consider last year’s iPhone 13 instead, which has now dropped in price to £749. In other words, are this year’s improvements worth £100?

... a highly accomplished phone that offers great innovations

I think so, though it’s a finely balanced equation. The iPhone 13 is still a capable and very enjoyable handset and if you’d rather save £100 you won’t regret your choice.

The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max offer more, of course, but they come at a much higher price.

But the new cameras, the safety features and the improved performance that permits Photonic Engine and Action mode video are compelling updates. Altogether, they put Apple ahead of the competition for premium smartphones. This is the iPhone for pretty much everyone.

Tech Review

131

Apple iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max Review

Apple iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max Review

by David Phelan ·
Keeping a similar design to its immediate predecessor and meting out the usual processor and camera improvements, Apple has instead focussed on new user interface features and invites you to... Dynamic Island.  
9

Scores

Design

.
9

Usability

.
9

Display

.
.
8

Call and Signal Quality

.
.
8

Operating System

.
.
8

Email, Browsing, Calandar, Contacts

.
.
8

Media support

.
.
8

Camera

.
9

App support and functionality

.
9

Build Quality

.
9

Value for Money

.
.
.
7

Verdict

.
.
8
8
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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