May 28, 2024

If these two statements may appear contradictory, allow me to clarify. The iPhone 14 exhibits exceptional capabilities that extend beyond the ordinary. Its advanced chipset enables seamless performance for both everyday tasks and demanding gaming experiences. Moreover, the phone’s cameras produce high-quality images, while its video recording capabilities surpass those of any other device in its category. While these impressive features are indeed present in the iPhone 14, they are also shared by its predecessor, the iPhone 13.

8.9 TOTAL SCORE

iPhone 14

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The iPhone 14 is a highly capable smartphone that boasts a powerful CPU, stunning display, and impressive camera capabilities. While it may not quite match up to the iPhone 14 Pro, it does offer a significant cost savings of $200 / £250 / AU$350. If you're not in need of a larger screen on a limited budget (for that, consider the new iPhone 14 Plus), this reliable and dependable iPhone may be the perfect fit for you. Additionally, it also includes a few innovative next-generation features that, while you may not utilize frequently, are quite impressive. Overall, the iPhone 14 strikes a balance between affordability and functionality, making it an excellent option for high school students seeking a reliable smartphone.


Display 9
Battery 8
Processor 9
Storage option 9
Camera 9
Connectivity 9
Durability 9
PROS
  • Latest i15 bionic processor
  • satellite connectivity
  • slightly brighter display
  • Security
CONS
  • Costly
  • battery backup is not the best
  • small screen size

However, the iPhone 14 is quite similar to its predecessor in terms of design. It features the same squared offsides, button placement, camera arrangement, antennas, and speakers. Even on the inside, it utilizes the same A15 Bionic chip as last year’s model, albeit with a slight upgrade in the form of an additional GPU core that was present in the iPhone 13 Pro. While these aspects may be considered positive by some, as the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This philosophy aligns with Apple’s approach, but it also means that certain areas that could have been improved were left unchanged.

For instance, the display remains the same, with identical brightness and a 60 Hertz refresh rate, all within an $800 price range. It would have been innovative for Apple to introduce a higher refresh rate, such as 90 Hertz, but unfortunately, this was not implemented. Furthermore, the storage options, battery size, charging speeds, and Lightning port all remain unchanged. Essentially, the iPhone 13 Pro can be perceived as an updated version of the iPhone 13, with only minor enhancements introduced a year later.

Technical specification

Display6.1 inches (2532 x 1170 pixels, 60Hz)
CPUA15 Bionic
Storage128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Cameras12MP wide (f/1.5), 12MP ultrawide (f/2.4), 12MP front f/1.9
Water resistanceIP68
ColorsMidnight, Purple, Starlight, Product red, Blue
Battery life9 hours 28 minutes (5G web surfing)
Size5.78 x 2.82 x 0.31 inches

Our Review

The iPhone 14 has a similar design to its predecessor, the iPhone 13. It features the same squared-off sides, button placement, camera arrangement, antennas, and speakers. Internally, it uses the same A15 Bionic chip as the iPhone 13 but with a slight improvement in the form of an additional GPU core. While this consistency can be seen as a positive, it also means that certain aspects that could have been improved remained unchanged. For instance, the display still has the same brightness and 60 Hertz refresh rate, which is not up to par with other smartphones in the same price range. It also retains the same storage options, battery size, charging speeds, and Lightning port. Overall, the iPhone 14 can be seen as a minor upgrade from its predecessor.

However, there are a few notable new features on the iPhone 14. One of them is Crash Detection, which utilizes new sensors, GPS, and microphones to detect if you’ve been in a car crash and automatically notifies emergency services. This feature is convenient and provides an added layer of safety. Another new feature is satellite connectivity, which allows the iPhone 14 to communicate with satellites in case of emergencies when there is no cell service available. This feature will be available in the United States and Canada starting in November.

In terms of design, the display has a slightly higher resolution and thinner bezels, although these changes are not easily noticeable. Additionally, the iPhone 14 lineup in the US now only supports eSIM, eliminating the need for a physical SIM card tray. The setup process for eSIM was found to be easy and quick. There is also a new blue color option for the iPhone 14.

One significant upgrade on the iPhone 14 is its improved thermal design. This design change helps prevent performance issues in situations where the phone may get extra warm, such as prolonged gaming sessions or using the phone with high screen brightness in a hot car. This improvement will likely be appreciated by professional users.

Camera

The most significant physical change on the iPhone 14 is its camera system. It features a slightly new 12-megapixel primary camera, while the ultra-wide camera remains the same. Additionally, there is a new 12-megapixel selfie camera with autofocus. Although the improvements in the camera system are subtle, careful examination of photos taken with the iPhone 14 compared to the iPhone 13 reveals some differences.

Overall, the iPhone 14 offers some minor improvements over its predecessor, mainly in terms of safety features, thermal design, and camera capabilities. However, it falls short in areas such as display quality and charging options.

The new camera has a larger sensor, which means the individual pixels are bigger and can let in more light. The maximum aperture has also been improved from F 1.6 to F 1.5. In regular daytime lighting, there is not much of a difference compared to other $800 phones. The only noticeable difference is the color temperature, which can be seen in certain photos. The iPhone 14 Pro has a 48 megapixel pro raw shot, which shows more fine detail. Most of the differences between the iPhone 14 and Pixel 6 are seen in challenging lighting situations, especially in low-light. This is due to the slightly larger sensor, faster aperture, and the new image processing pipeline called Photonic Engine. It is unclear what is meant by the claim of 49% better low-light performance. The photos taken on both phones are remarkably similar, with slight differences in color temperature and brightness. The shutter speeds are nearly the same, with the iPhone 14 being slightly faster. In the darkest shots, there is sometimes a difference in the time required for night mode exposure. The iPhone 14 has a feature called Action Mode for aggressive stabilization during video recording. However, the video quality can be noisy and often requires more light.
However, despite its ability to capture footage, the quality of the images is often compromised with excessive graininess and softness, particularly when using the ultra-wide lens as the default option. Even in a well-lit studio setting, the camera sometimes demands more light, which is surprising considering the ample illumination available. This is especially concerning when compared to the everyday scenarios where individuals typically use their smartphones, such as capturing fast-moving subjects like babies or pets, or when venturing outside on overcast days. It is astonishing that the camera still requests more light in such situations. It is possible that these issues may improve over time. Presently, the iPhone 14 Pro exhibits fewer problems than its predecessor, which can be attributed to its larger primary sensor. However, the camera’s stabilization feature works exceptionally well and is a noteworthy software addition. The new selfie camera, boasting 12 megapixels and autofocus capabilities, marks a significant improvement over its fixed focal distance counterpart. This enhancement allows for sharper shots in unconventional selfie situations, which is commendable. Nonetheless, the camera still struggles with accurately reproducing darker skin tones, a point I previously mentioned in the iPhone 14 Pro review. To illustrate this, the same shot is captured using the Pixel 6 Pro, which incorporates real tone optimization and thus provides a more accurate representation.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, we are left with an incremental update to the iPhone, specifically the iPhone SE. Over the years, Apple has followed a formula where each new generation of the iPhone SE retains the same body as a previous model but receives updated internals. For example, the first generation iPhone SE had the body of an iPhone 5s with new internals, while the second generation had the body of an iPhone 8. This year, the third generation iPhone SE once again has the body of an iPhone 8 but with even newer internals. There are rumors that the next generation SE will have the body of an iPhone XR with a new chip.

This strategy by Apple has its reasons. It reduces risk and cost for Apple, as they don’t have to develop entirely new designs. This also allows them to offer a more tried and true product to a price-conscious audience. Additionally, using a familiar body design helps insulate them from supply chain challenges. Innovation and risk are saved for the more expensive models, such as the iPhone 14 Pro, which introduces new features like the Dynamic Island, a 48-megapixel camera system, and an always-on display.

However, this strategy also means that the baseline iPhone, like the iPhone SE, can be seen as boring. For those considering an upgrade, the iPhone 13 is still available and may offer a fine upgrade for many people, especially considering its lower price. The main reason to consider the iPhone 14 over the iPhone 13 would be the additional year of software updates. Other than that, it’s important to evaluate how much the new colors, slightly improved camera, satellite connectivity, or Crash Detection feature matter to you personally.

If efficiency is important to you, I recommend checking out Anker, the sponsor of this video. Anker offers chargers and cables that are smaller and more durable than Apple’s, while still being powerful enough to charge your iPhone, iPad, or MacBook Air. Their cables even use bio-based materials, making them more environmentally friendly. They come in five colors, so you can match or mix them with your iPhone 14.

Decision Making Factors

When making a decision about purchasing a new electronic device, there are several important factors to consider. Firstly, it is crucial to take into account the latest generation of the device. By opting for the latest generation, you ensure that you will receive software updates for at least one year longer than if you were to choose an older model. These updates can provide important improvements and bug fixes, enhancing the overall functionality and performance of the device.

Another factor to consider is the display quality of the device. While the improvement may be slight, a better display can greatly enhance your experience when using the device. This can include factors such as increased resolution, improved color accuracy, and better viewing angles.

Additionally, the availability of new colors is an aspect that may influence your decision. Having a wider range of color options can allow you to personalize your device and make it more visually appealing to your own taste.

Safety features are also important considerations. Devices with crash detection capabilities can provide an added layer of security, especially when using them in vehicles. Satellite connectivity ensures that you have a reliable and consistent connection, particularly in areas with limited cellular coverage.

Battery life is another crucial factor to consider. A device with better battery life ensures that you can use it for longer periods without needing to recharge frequently. This is particularly important for people who are constantly on the go or who rely heavily on their devices for work or entertainment purposes.

Furthermore, photo quality is an aspect that many individuals prioritize when choosing a new device. While the improvement may be slight, devices with slightly better photo quality can capture more detailed and vibrant images, providing a better overall photography experience.

Lastly, performance is a key factor to consider. Devices with slightly better performance can handle more demanding tasks with ease, allowing for smoother and faster multitasking, gaming, and overall usage.

In conclusion, when making a decision about purchasing a new electronic device, it is essential to consider factors such as the latest generation, display quality, color options, safety features, battery life, photo quality, and performance. Taking these factors into account will help you make an informed decision that best suits your needs and preferences.