The Apple iPhone 14 | Our Verdict
The iPhone 14: Our Verdict ...
The official launch of the iPhone 14 in mid-September, followed by the iPhone 14 Plus in early October, left many feeling a little, well, meh, at what seemed to be not that much to get excited about.
So, now the dust has settled and we’ve had a few weeks to ‘live’ with our shiny new iPhone 14’s, here’s our thoughts on whether the iPhone 14 is as underwhelming as reports seem to suggest.
Aside from the new colours, which feel fresh – our personal favourite is the on-trend lavender purple - the iPhone 14 looks pretty similar to its predecessor. It has a 6.1-inch display covered by Apple’s ceramic shield, the familiar aluminium frame, the same square camera housing on the back with the angled sensors (albeit slightly larger than the iPhone 13), the same button placement and yep, the lightening port has stayed, despite calls to bring back the USB port.
It has the same IP68 rating which protects it from dust and water and it’s just a hare’s whisker thicker than the iPhone 13 and around 2g lighter.
Is it an exciting design? Well, not really, and it’s more or less the same as the iPhone 13. However, saying that, we really like the practical and comfortable design and so we’re pretty pleased that they’ve kept things the same, at least for this generation anyway.
Whilst the notch has been banished from the iPhone Pro & Pro Max models, it lives on in the iPhone 14 & iPhone 14 Plus – for how much longer though? With a 6.1-inch OLED screen with a 2532 x 1170, 460ppi resolution, the Super Retina XDR display is almost unchanged.
And even though this is a bright, colourful and not over-saturated display, it does feel instantly dated when we compare refresh rates. The iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max have 120Hz screens, as do the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, yet the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus are still stuck with just 60Hz, making scrolling and swiping look choppy. A little disappointing.
Ok, so whilst the iPhone 14 Pro has stolen most of the limelight when it comes to the camera, it by no means leaves the baseline iPhone 14 standing. As with the iPhone 13, there’s still the 12MP main camera but it has a larger sensor with an f/1.5 aperture to capture more light for those lowlight shots, and the front camera has a larger f/1.9 aperture and now has autofocus.
As with the iPhone 13, this latest release takes truly great photo’s. Vibrant, true to life colours, remarkable fine details and with the new apertures, takes really quick photo’s. And the slightly larger sensor, in well-lit conditions, gives subjects a really natural depth of field, even without using the dedicated portrait mode.
As for low-light shots, it’s OK. And for night-time shots, the iPhone automatically switches to night mode and holds the exposure for around 3-4 seconds (and can be forced up to 30 seconds). And whilst this does let ‘enough’ light in to capture a shot, we still found the details somewhat lacking and the quality below that of some of the other phone brands.
Where the upgrades have made a difference is for selfies! The new autofocus feature has taken things to the next level in terms of capturing the finer details of individual or group selfies – maybe not such a good thing in all instances!
Another useful little addition, tested by our very own CEO, is the new Active Mode that removes much of the shake whilst in motion, resulting in a relatively smooth video ... a great feature for the active amongst you.
Performance & Battery Life
As has happened with previous releases, a new iPhone line-up usually means a new chip to power it. And whilst this is true for the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, not so for the baseline models, that still have the A15 chip – albeit the enhanced version as used in the iPhone 13 Pro.
And whilst this might seem like a bit of a bum move, the A15 chip is still an incredible mobile chip with plenty of headroom. Games, like PUBG and Call of Duty run smoothly, you can edit 4K video and browse the web. And without seeing the actual developer specs, we reckon the new internal design for more heat dissipation and thus, a cooler chip, has perhaps contributed to the slightly better battery life of the iPhone 14 – which easily lasted a full day.
And finally, worth a mention ...
Two features we felt were worth mentioning albeit, we couldn’t test; the car crash detection and satellite connectivity.
For the car crash detection, which used 1 million hours of ’real world’ data, sensors detect changes in speed, cabin pressure, loud sounds and sudden shifts in direction. If it then suspects you were involved in an accident, a car crash screen pops up and if you don’t respond in 10 seconds, the emergency services are automatically called.
The emergency SOS via satellite feature is another potentially lifesaving enhancement. If you need help but don’t have access to cellular data of WiFi, you can connect to a satellite and send a message to emergency services.
Whilst some have argued that this iPhone upgrade is, well, not really an upgrade, our verdict is that it still has plenty going for it. It’s kept some of the strong features of the iPhone 13 range and added a few subtle improvements, such as with the camera.
So, if you’re a loyal Apple fan, then no doubt getting your hands on the iPhone 14 is an absolute must. However, if you were looking for the ‘next’ step in tech innovation, then you’re probably best to wait to see what Apple unveil in the Next Gen.