Apple iPhone 14 review

Many people have been referring to the iPhone 14 as "just another iPhone," and they have a valid point. This new model bears a striking resemblance to last year's version, featuring the same design, screen, chipset, and a similar camera system. However, this shouldn't be seen as a disappointment.

Instead, the iPhone 14 builds upon a strong foundation, retaining what already works well and introducing subtle improvements that elevate its overall performance. While it may not be the most thrilling or groundbreaking release of the year, the iPhone 14 convincingly presents itself as a compelling choice for those seeking "just another iPhone" in the market.

Apple iPhone 14 review

IPhone 14 design

Immediately noticeable in the design of the iPhone 14 is a comforting sense of familiarity. The device retains the 6.1-inch display with a notch, protected by Apple's Ceramic Shield, along with an aerospace-grade aluminum frame. On the back, the square camera housing with angled sensors remains, albeit slightly larger than those on the iPhone 13. Additionally, the iPhone 14 boasts a mere 0.15mm increase in thickness and 2g in weight, maintaining its familiar look and feel from the previous year.

In my opinion, this continuity is far from a negative aspect. Having switched from the notably heavier iPhone 13 Pro to the iPhone 14, I find the latter to be a delight to hold. Its robust build, lightweight nature, and aluminum sides that resist fingerprints contribute to an overall pleasant user experience.

I am also quite impressed with Apple's color choices for this year. They graciously sent me the iPhone 14 in purple, and in person, it appears as a lovely muted lavender shade. The subtlety of the color is appealing, and I enjoy carrying it with me while I review the iPhone 14. Additionally, their redesigned blue color stands out and, in my opinion, looks better than the blue of the iPhone 13. Moreover, the red color is notably more vibrant this year, while the timeless neutral options of midnight and starlight are still available.

The iPhone 14 offers a delightful tactile experience when held in hand. While it retains many of the popular features from its predecessor, the iPhone 13, such as an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance and full compatibility with MagSafe accessories, it does maintain the traditional Lightning port instead of adopting USB-C.

In terms of design, the iPhone 14 does not bring a fresh or exciting change, closely resembling the iPhone 13 in appearance, except for the introduction of different color options. While some may have hoped for a more radical redesign, I personally appreciate Apple's decision to stick with this familiar design for another generation. The iPhone 14 has consistently proven itself to be practical and comfortable for everyday use, and it maintains an appealing aesthetic. Some may label it as mundane, but for me, it remains a smartphone design that I genuinely enjoy.

Apple iPhone 14 review

IPhone 14 screen

Apple's decision to recycle last year's hardware turns out to be advantageous for the screen on the iPhone 14. The device features a 6.1-inch OLED display boasting a 2532 x 1170 resolution. Notably, it retains the same impressive specs as its predecessor, the iPhone 13, with HDR support, a maximum typical brightness of 800 nits, and a peak HDR brightness of 1,200 nits.

Overall, the display setup for the iPhone 14 remains exceptional. The colors are vibrant, striking a perfect balance without appearing overly saturated. Text and icons appear sharp and visually appealing, providing an excellent user experience. Moreover, the display proves to be highly visible in well-lit rooms and even under bright sunlight outdoors. Whether users are enjoying multimedia content like YouTube videos, reminiscing over old photos, or indulging in some reading from their colleagues' articles, the iPhone 14's screen truly brings everything to life.

The iPhone 14's display falls short in one aspect - its refresh rate. While the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models boast a smooth 120Hz screen, the baseline iPhone 14 is unfortunately still limited to a 60Hz refresh rate. This discrepancy becomes apparent when comparing it to phones with higher refresh rates like 120Hz or 90Hz, as activities like scrolling and swiping appear less fluid on the iPhone 14.

It's disheartening to see that the iPhone 14 did not receive any improvement in this area. Despite iOS 16's commendable smooth animations and the impressive performance of the A15 Bionic chip, the lack of a higher refresh rate is a letdown. In the Android market, it's not uncommon to find phones priced at $400, $500, or $600 with 90 or 120Hz refresh rates, making the fact that the iPhone 14, which starts at $799, is stuck at 60Hz even more disappointing.


IPhone 14 cameras

While the iPhone 14 Pro has been receiving much attention for its impressive 48MP primary sensor, the standard iPhone 14 should not be underestimated. In many ways, it closely resembles its predecessor, the iPhone 13, but it does come with some notable improvements in the camera department.

The primary camera still sports a 12MP sensor, but it has been enhanced with a larger f/1.5 aperture. This upgrade allows the camera to capture more light, resulting in better low-light performance and improved quality for night shots.

Moving to the front-facing camera, it has undergone even more significant enhancements. Although it retains its 12MP resolution, it now features a larger f/1.9 aperture compared to the f/2.2 on previous iPhones. Furthermore, for the first time in an iPhone, the front-facing camera comes with autofocus, ensuring that your selfies are sharper and more precise.

As for the ultrawide camera, it remains unchanged from its predecessor, maintaining the same 12MP resolution as on the previous iPhone 13 model. Overall, while the iPhone 14 may not have the same camera firepower as the Pro version, its improvements make it a capable and attractive choice for photography enthusiasts.

Impressive! However, how does all of this translate into photo quality? Let's begin with the 12MP main camera, which shares similar attributes to its predecessor, the iPhone 13. Under favorable lighting conditions, the iPhone 14 excels at delivering stunning photos. The colors are vibrant and true-to-life, while the images boast an abundance of intricate details. Additionally, the Camera app operates swiftly, ensuring reliable and quick photo capturing. Thanks to the larger sensor, the iPhone 14 also grants a natural depth of field in well-lit scenarios, enabling you to capture portrait-like shots without relying on the dedicated Portrait mode.

I have found the lowlight image capabilities of the iPhone 14 to be quite impressive. Even in a dimly lit room or during nighttime, the iPhone 14 can capture excellent photos with remarkable detail. One memorable example is a photo I took of my sleeping cat on a pillow, which turned out beautifully.

In situations where the lighting is exceptionally low, the iPhone 14 automatically activates Night mode. It usually adjusts the exposure for about 2 to 5 seconds, but if necessary, you can extend it to 30 seconds manually. Night mode works remarkably well, allowing sufficient light into the frame to transform a pitch-black scene into a visible one. However, as you decrease the lighting further, the level of detail gradually diminishes and becomes softer.

How is the ultrawide camera performing? Despite being similar to the iPhone 13's, it has proven to be highly dependable during my testing. The colors closely match those of the main camera, and the broader perspective is beneficial. Considering its ultrawide capabilities, the camera captures impressive details as well.

Let's discuss the new selfie camera in the iPhone 14. I want to make it clear that I'm not someone who takes many selfies, and I doubt that the iPhone 14 will change that aspect of me. Nevertheless, it's quite impressive how much the iPhone 14's selfie camera has improved.

The addition of autofocus has significantly enhanced the overall sharpness of photos. It captures finer details in both hair and facial features and allows for up-close shots with ease. This newfound flexibility takes selfies to a whole new level. Moreover, similar to the main camera, the larger aperture contributes to better natural bokeh, and even in low-light conditions, the results remain quite decent.


IPhone 14 performance

One of the most contentious alterations concerning the iPhone 14 is the aspect that remained unchanged. Normally, with each new iPhone release, Apple introduces a fresh chipset to enhance its performance. For instance, the iPhone 12 series embraced the A14 chip, followed by the A15 for the iPhone 13 lineup. However, contrary to expectations, all iPhone 14 models do not feature the A16 chip.

Despite the new A16 chipset powering the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, the standard iPhone 14 (along with the iPhone 14 Plus) continues to utilize the A15 chipset. Although the A15 version in the iPhone 14 boasts five GPU cores, unlike the four in the regular iPhone 13, it remains identical in terms of processing power.

This decision by Apple has triggered significant criticism, with many perceiving it as a means to stifle innovation and cut costs. While this perspective may hold some merit, personally, I find no reason to be disappointed with having the A15 in the iPhone 14.

In simple terms, the A15 remains an outstanding mobile chipset. Everyday apps like Twitter, Outlook, and Instagram run flawlessly, and gaming experiences are excellent. For instance, playing Call of Duty: Mobile on the iPhone 14 showcases flawless graphics and a smooth frame rate. The iPhone 14 also boasts a new thermal design, ensuring superior heat dissipation compared to its predecessor, the iPhone 13. During extensive testing, the iPhone 14 only became noticeably warm once, and that was after running CoD: Mobile and downloading numerous files for over 30 minutes with the display on. In all other scenarios, the phone remained cool as a cucumber, regardless of the apps or games being used.


IPhone 14 eSIM

Let's discuss the controversy surrounding eSIM technology, particularly in relation to the iPhone 14. When purchasing an iPhone 14 in the U.S, there is no physical SIM card included; instead, it relies solely on a virtual eSIM for cellular service. While eSIM technology has been present in smartphones for some time, the iPhone 14 is the first prominent device to forgo the option of a physical SIM card entirely.

However, based on personal experience, the transition to eSIM has not posed any issues. If you previously used an eSIM on your iPhone 13 Pro, transferring it to the iPhone 14 was a smooth process that took only a couple of minutes. Apple provides guidance during the setup to assist users with the transfer, and the eSIM transfer/activation settings are easily accessible in the Settings app. Even if you have an older iPhone using a physical SIM card, Apple has collaborated with major carriers in the U.S. to ensure that the transfer process is as seamless as possible.

Overall, while the shift to eSIM-only iPhones may raise some concerns, it seems that the implementation and transfer process have been relatively hassle-free for users.

Although I personally have not encountered any problems with the eSIM on the iPhone 14, it's important to acknowledge that it has been causing headaches for some individuals. Particularly, those with service through smaller providers like Mint Mobile might face challenges when transferring their SIM. This process could necessitate using the carrier's app or contacting customer service for assistance. Moreover, transferring a SIM from an Android phone to the iPhone may also come with its own set of difficulties. There have been reports of eSIM transfers taking an extended amount of time, with some individuals experiencing delays of hours or even days in the transfer process, especially concerning specific phone numbers.

The experience with eSIM on the iPhone 14 can vary depending on your circumstances. If you're upgrading from an older iPhone, the eSIM transfer process should be relatively straightforward, regardless of whether you're already using eSIM or still using a physical SIM card. However, things might get more complicated if you're switching from an Android phone. Additionally, if you frequently travel internationally, there may be challenges to consider.

Despite some existing complexities, my personal experience with the iPhone 14 and its eSIM functionality has been positive. While eSIM technology is not flawless, it hasn't negatively affected my overall satisfaction with the device. I hope that both Apple and carriers continue to work on improving eSIM adoption for all users, making it a seamless experience for everyone in the near future.


The iPhone 14 boasts impressive features, including advanced car crash detection capabilities and seamless satellite connectivity.

The iPhone 14 boasts two significant features: car crash detection and satellite connectivity — both of which I haven't had the opportunity to experience personally.

Car crash detection is a straightforward functionality. In the event of a severe car accident, the iPhone 14 utilizes an array of sensors to monitor changes in speed, cabin pressure, loud sounds, and sudden shifts in direction. If the device determines that you have been involved in an accident, it promptly displays a car crash screen with options to call emergency services or dismiss the alert. Should you fail to respond within 10 seconds, the iPhone 14 automatically contacts emergency services on your behalf. Apple proudly claims to have extensively tested this feature with 1 million hours of "real-world driving and crash data," leaving me with no choice but to trust its effectiveness without having experienced it firsthand.

Similarly, the iPhone 14 also introduces the functionality of Emergency SOS via satellite. In situations where you require assistance but lack access to cellular data or Wi-Fi, the iPhone 14 enables you to establish a connection with a satellite and send an emergency message to the relevant services. This feature, akin to car crash detection, is one that you sincerely wish you never have to employ.

Irrespective of other considerations, I am genuinely delighted with the new additions that Apple introduced this year. The yearly advancements in processor speed, display resolution, and camera megapixels are commendable. However, what makes these features truly significant is their potential to be life-saving. Apple may emphasize their importance in marketing, but the company's claims do hold merit. While I hope to never encounter a severe car accident or find myself stranded and injured, it brings comfort to know that the iPhone 14 is equipped with essential tools that could prove invaluable in such situations.


Introducing the iPhone 14: Power-Packed Battery and Enhanced Charging

Now, let's delve into battery performance. Apple achieved notable advancements in battery life with the iPhone 13 series, and they claim even further improvements with the iPhone 14. Although I haven't quite reached the 20 hours of video playback as advertised on Apple's website, I must say the iPhone 14 has reliably lasted throughout each day I've used it, even under demanding usage scenarios.

My typical day with the iPhone 14 revolves around various activities. I usually spend around an hour watching YouTube videos, enjoy approximately 30 minutes of gaming with Call of Duty: Mobile, and frequently use a range of other apps like Twitter, Safari, Microsoft Teams, Outlook, and Apple Music throughout the day. Despite this usage, after more than 14 hours of uptime and around 5.5 hours of screen-on time, I still have about 25% battery life left.

On lighter days, I use the phone for over 15 hours with about 4 hours of screen time, mostly avoiding gaming. On such occasions, I end the day with a comfortable 38% battery remaining. While the iPhone 14 may generally be a one-day phone for most people, my fairly heavy usage doesn't cause any battery anxiety, allowing me to play games, watch videos, and take pictures without worry. As long as you don't constantly use the phone throughout the day, you should be able to comfortably get through each day with the iPhone 14.

This year, Apple chose not to introduce any charging advancements. Nevertheless, the existing options are satisfactory. You can utilize the Lightning port for wired charging, achieving speeds of up to 25W. Alternatively, Qi wireless charging provides up to 7.5W, and if you prefer, the supported MagSafe charger can deliver up to 15W of power. While Apple doesn't offer ultra-fast wired charging like the OnePlus 10T or Oppo Reno 8 Pro currently, there's a possibility that they might incorporate it in the upcoming iPhone 15, which could be introduced next year.

Price and availability of the iPhone 14

The iPhone 14 is now up for grabs, starting at just $799. This base model comes equipped with a generous 128GB of internal storage, which should suffice for most users. However, if you find yourself in need of more space, fret not, as Apple also offers 256GB and 512GB options at reasonable prices of $899 and $1099, respectively.

Although Apple's promotional offers may not be the most enticing, there are still opportunities to save some money on your purchase. When you buy directly from Apple, you have the option to trade in your old phone, earning you a credit ranging from $40 to an impressive $720. Additionally, if you choose to pay for your iPhone 14 with your Apple Card, you can take advantage of the 3% cashback benefit through Apple's Daily Cash program. So, consider these options to make your purchase more cost-effective.

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