Faster low-light shooting, so you don’t have to hold iPhone for as long
Price increase in many parts of the world
No Dynamic Island or always-on display
Few changes from the now cheaper iPhone 13
The iPhone 14 has enough new features to make it a great choice if you’re looking to upgrade from an older iPhone. While it’s not a huge leap from the previous model, the new camera features will be enough to make iPhone 13 users jealous.
Price at review
Best prices today: iPhone 14
The iPhone 14 is actually an iPhone 13s. It features a very similar processor and looks very similar to the previous generation, but like the S iPhones of yesteryear, it offers a ton of new camera features that improve photography in impressive ways.
Starting at $799, the iPhone 14 costs the same as the iPhone 13 in the US, but if you live elsewhere, you’ll pay more. In the UK, for example, the iPhone 14 costs £849, while the iPhone 13 cost £779. This price hike means the standard iPhone is less affordable than many, and when you consider that you could save $100 / £100 by buying a new iPhone 13, the question is: do the new features justify the price?
What’s New (and What’s the Same)
With the arrival of the iPhone 14, Apple has widened the gap between the standard and Pro iPhones. This year, almost all headline features are missing from the iPhone 14. This doesn’t mean the iPhone 14 isn’t a good choice, it just means you’re sacrificing more by going for the lower-end model.
One thing you won’t sacrifice is the notch. The standard notch is still present on the iPhone 14, so if you want the new Dynamic Island, you have two options: buy the iPhone 14 Pro or wait until next year, when the iPhone 15 is rumored to get the new technology. If not, the notch on the iPhone 14 is the same size as on the iPhone 13 (which is smaller than the iPhone 12 and earlier phones).
If you were hoping that the iPhone 14 would get the screen improvements that came with the iPhone 13 Pro, you’ll be disappointed too. ProMotion came on the iPhone 13 Pro, but it’s still not a feature of the iPhone 14. Nor is the always-on screen, the headline feature of the iPhone 14 Pro, or the ultra-brightness of the more expensive models. Rather, the iPhone 14 offers a very similar experience to the iPhone 13: 800 nits max brightness and 1200 nits peak brightness (HDR), although it’s still an improvement over the 625 nits max of the iPhone 12 and iPhone SE 3.
So what new features will the iPhone 14 get? Most notably, it gets Crash Detection and Satellite Connectivity for emergency calls in the US and Canada. Both are nice features to have, but few people will upgrade thinking their new phone could save their life. Still, we’ll no doubt see these features in the September 2023 iPhone keynote in Apple’s “Look at These Lives We’ve Saved” segment.
There are some new color options to differentiate the iPhone 14 from the iPhone 13. The iPhone 14 offers Light Blue, Light Purple, Midnight (Black), Starlight (Silver), and Product Red, while the iPhone 13 comes in Green, Pink, and Dark Blue, as well as Midnight, Starlight and Product Red. You’ll probably put a case on it anyway, but be careful which one you buy – Apple has shifted the location and size of the power and volume buttons slightly so old cases probably won’t fit.
The best way to tell the iPhone 13 and iPhone 14 apart is to lay them on their backs. You’ll clearly see that the rear cameras on the newer iPhone make the phone pop up more — and for good reason. The iPhone 14 still has two cameras with 12MP wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle lenses, but for this generation, Apple has a wider aperture (ƒ/1.5 instead of ƒ/1.6), a larger sensor and larger pixels of 1.9 m on the iPhone 14. main camera. There’s also a new Photonic Engine computer system that allows Apple’s Deep Fusion image processing (a feature on all iPhones since the iPhone 11) to run on uncompressed images with more available data.
In particular, these changes should lead to improvements in most low-light shots. Indeed, Apple claims 49 percent better performance in such conditions. I put this claim to the test and was surprised to find a pretty big difference in some of the shots. For example, in this dimly lit room, the details on the green leaves are much clearer in the photo taken with the iPhone 14.
The Photonic Engine also powers the new foreground blur feature in portrait mode. This means that it’s not just the background that blurs when you shoot in portrait mode (either from the front or rear camera). It also blurs what is directly in front of you, drawing even more attention to the face. We tried to create this effect, but we didn’t feel like our efforts were as good as the photos taken by Apple’s professional photographer.
Speaking of the front-facing camera, there are also improvements over the iPhone 13. The TrueDepth camera now gets autofocus and improved low-light performance thanks to a wider aperture (now ƒ/1.9 instead of ƒ/2.2 aperture). While you can see some minor differences between these two selfies taken below, the big advantage is actually in how long it took for the photos to be taken. Shutter speed is much improved: the meta-information lists the iPhone 13 as a 1/43s shot compared to the faster 1/60s shot for the iPhone 14. So the real difference here is how long you have to hold your arm still for and still get the same result.
However, the best reason to upgrade to iPhone is not photos, but videos. When you open the camera and switch to video, you’ll see a new action mode icon in the top left that looks like a running person. Turn this on and you can film while you walk or even run and still get a smooth video. This worked impressively well, and even when it warned that there was insufficient light, it still managed to work quite well. The camera on the iPhone 14 is a nice upgrade overall, but the action mode alone is worth the purchase.
Other camera improvements include a brighter True Tone flash and the Ultra Wide camera can capture a slightly wider image, plus the exposure time for night mode photography is faster.
Better performance and battery life
Aside from the fact that the iPhone 14 looks like the iPhone 13, there’s another reason some will say there isn’t much of a difference between the new and the old: both phones have an A15 processor. However, the A15 in the iPhone 14 is not exactly the same as the one in the iPhone 13.
The iPhone 14 uses the A15 Bionic that Apple used in the iPhone 13 Pro. It has one more GPU core than the standard A15 chip. Apple claims that users can expect an 18 percent faster GPU performance compared to the iPhone 13. This extra GPU core will come in handy when you’re playing games or using other graphics-intensive apps. However, not only an additional GPU core is offered here. The iPhone’s internal design has been redesigned to achieve better heat dissipation, yielding slightly longer battery life.
In these benchmarks, you can see that the iPhone 14 delivers decent speed boosts compared to the iPhone 13, moving it into the iPhone 13 Pro area and even beating it in some tests.
One of the big changes for the US market is that Apple is abandoning the SIM card in favor of eSIM, which doesn’t matter to most users. And thanks to a new Qualcomm X65 modem in the iPhone 14, 5G speeds are improved and less power is consumed.
Apple says the iPhone can play up to 20 hours of video on a single charge, about an hour more than the iPhone 13. It’s not as good as the 23 hours claimed for the iPhone 13 Pro, and it’s well below the estimates for the iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Plus.
In our tests, those scores matched. Geekbench 4’s battery tests indicated just under nine hours for the iPhone 14, 9:44 for the iPhone 14 Pro, 8:11 for the iPhone 13, and 9:15 for the iPhone 13 Pro. With normal use, you should easily have more than a day’s worth of battery life, with the result that you probably no longer have a habit of charging overnight. This is where fast charging comes in: All of Apple’s smaller iPhones offer “Up to 50% percent charge in 30 minutes with 20W adapter or higher” (you’ll need another five minutes to get the same for the larger models).
As has been the case since the launch of the iPhone 12 in 2020, Apple no longer ships iPhones with the power adapter. You’ll find a lightning cable in the box, but if you don’t already have a plug, you’ll need to buy one. We recommend buying a 20W adapter to take advantage of those fast charging times.
Should you buy an iPhone 14?
Most people wondering if they should buy the iPhone 14 will be upgrading from a much older iPhone than the iPhone 13, but those same people would be wise to consider the iPhone 13 as an alternative as the iPhone 13 is still too is for sale. Action Mode and the other camera improvements aside, there isn’t much of a difference between the iPhone 13 and iPhone 14, so if those features don’t appeal to you, you’ll be just as happy with the cheaper iPhone 13.
If the new camera features of the iPhone 14 appeal to you, consider spending a little more for the iPhone 14 Pro, which offers a 48MP camera and a 3X telephoto lens, along with all the new camera features of the iPhone 14. In addition, you get an A16 processor, always-on display and the Dynamic Island. Those features might be worth an extra $200/£250.
If you’re upgrading from a large iPhone, such as the iPhone XS Max or the iPhone 12 Pro, we recommend waiting for the iPhone 14 Plus to arrive in October before purchasing the iPhone 14, as it will feel smaller in your hands. compared to what you are used to.
However, the iPhone 14 has enough new features to make it a great choice if you’re looking to upgrade your iPhone from something older than the iPhone 13. The biggest downside to upgrading to the iPhone 14 is the iPhone 13, which is still available and cheaper. . The iPhone 14 is a great phone, but it’s harder to recommend wholeheartedly at a time when you could save some money by buying last year’s model without sacrificing much.