Apple iPhone 14 Plus Review

By Yvonne

Outstanding hardware

Big, high-resolution screen

Excellent battery life

Clean cameras

Swift performance


Dated design and Lightning port

No telephoto camera

Operating System iOS 16
CPU Apple A15
Dimensions 6.33 by 3.07 by .3 inches
Screen Size 6.7 inches
Screen Resolution 2,778 by 1,284 pixels
Camera Resolution (Rear; Front-Facing) 12MP, 12MP; 12MP
Battery Life (As Tested) 18 hours, 35 minutes

Apple's iPhone Pro Max series has always been the best-selling smartphone model. Apple's highest-end device usually has the best display and longest battery life. The Apple iPhone 14 Plus (899) is a new iPhone model that offers a larger screen experience for a lower price. The iPhone 14 Pro Max's powerful features and extra cost are well worth it, but the iPhone 14 Plus offers a decent alternative at a lower price.

Different, But the Same

Apple did a complete 180 when it released the iPhone 14 Plus. The iPhone lineup includes a vanilla version, then a mini-version of the vanilla, followed by the Pro Max and Pro Max models. Apple has dropped the mini this year due to low sales. Rather, the Plus is a larger version of the iPhone 14 ($799), similar to the Pro Max ($999). The Pro Max was the best option for the biggest iPhone. For big-iPhone owners, the 14 Plus is a cheaper option.

It measures 6.33 inches by 3.07 inches by 0.31 inches, and is 7.16 ounces. The iPhone 14 Plus is noticeably larger than its predecessor (5.78x2.82x 0.31ins, 6.07oz), while it's almost identical to the iPhone 14 Pro Max (6.33x3.05x 0.31ins), if you don't count the weight (8.47oz). In this category, competing devices include the Google Pixel 6 Pro (6.45 by 2.99 by 0.35 inches) and the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (6.45 by 2.99 by 0.35 inches) (6.43 by 3.07 by 0.35 inches). 

The 14 Plus is an all new iPhone model. However, it shares all of its design elements with family members. Apple hardware is among the most advanced in the industry. Ceramic Shield from Apple protects your display. It is attached to an aluminum frame with flat sides. Corning Gorilla Glass Victus is used to cover Samsung and Google smartphones with comparable designs. The iPhone 14 Plus fulfills the IP68 standard for dust and water resistance.

If you do happen to drop it, the iPhone 14 Plus can withstand submersion and a running tap. The smaller iPhone 14 can be ordered in Blue, Midnight or Purple as well as (Product Red) and Starlight. Apple sent us the Purple model, and we must admit that it is the most subdued purple we've ever seen; the phone appears predominantly white. According to iFixit, a redesigned interior design and removable back panel make the iPhone 14 Plus more repairable than the Pro series.

The simple arrangement of controls makes it easy to use an iPhone. You will find the combo power/screen lock button on the right, and the volume buttons (and ringer switch) on the left. In between the holes for microphone and speaker, the Lightning port, which is an outdated, proprietary feature, can be found at the bottom. It's now likely that Apple's next-generation iPhones will adopt USB C by 2024. This is because the EU mandates that all devices use USB-C.

All US iPhone 14 models, except the 14 Plus, lack a physical SIM tray. US customers will have to activate their embedded eSIM through the carrier they choose and then use software to transfer service from one phone to another. An international buyer will be able still to purchase an iPhone 14 Plus using a physical SIM.

Apple's Face ID is the only way to protect your phone. It doesn't require a fingerprint reader. Only the iPhone SE ($429) retains a physical fingerprint reader.

A Big Screen on a Budget

Ok, so maybe $899 for an iPhone 14 Plus isn't necessarily a budget purchase. However, the 14 Plus's 6.7 inch screen matches that of the 14 Pro Max screen, which costs $200 more.

The Super Retina XDR OLED packs in 2,778 by 1,284 pixels, for a density of 458ppi. The contrast ratio is two million to one, with an 800 nits brightness (typical), and 1,200 peak (HDR). The screen is extremely sharp, bright and has excellent color and tonal quality. It was easy to see outside the window during daylight.

As with the smaller iPhone 14, the screen's refresh rate is stuck at 60Hz. Variable refresh rates are available on the 14 Pro Max and Pro Max. They range from 1Hz to save power, to 120Hz to provide smoother performance. More importantly, plenty of competing Android devices in this price range (including the Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G and Moto Edge) have adopted screens at 90Hz, 120Hz, and even 144Hz. Apple could have used quicker screens on the iPhone 14 Plus and 14 Plus. However, we all know that it needed to differentiate from Pro models.

The Dynamic Island is one of the most significant differences between Pro and standard lines. The iPhone 14 Plus does not have the Dynamic Island, while the Pros have it. Dynamic Island provides enhanced notifications and controls to select live activities such as running a timer or listening to music. The 14 Plus retains the obtrusive notch housing the TrueDepth and Face ID camera modules. The notch has been removed from nearly every phone on the market, so it is time for Apple to do the same.

The iPhone 14 Plus lacks the Always-On Display (AOD) feature found on the Pro models. Pro users can view time, date and weather information on their iPhones while they are at rest using the AOD feature. This is a standard Android feature for many years.

The iPhone 14 Plus displays offer the same resolution and real estate as the Pro Max display, but it does not have Dynamic Island or an always-on display.

A Better Battery

Battery life is one of the iPhone mini’s greatest flaws. The iPhone mini's battery life is very limited because you can only fit so much lithium in such a tiny chassis. This is why we recommend the iPhone 13 standard over the iPhone mini. The situation has now changed.

Our rundown testing showed that the iPhone 14's 3,227mAh battery performed well. The duration was 15 hours and 30 minutes. This is roughly 30 minutes longer than the iPhone 13's battery life. iPhone 14 Plus's 4,325mAh battery lasts much longer. The battery lasted 18 hours, 30 minutes. This is just 30 minutes less than the 19-hour marathon of the iPhone 14 Pro Max. The battery test involved streaming YouTube via Wi-Fi, with the brightness at its maximum. The Pixel 6 ran for 23 hours while the Galaxy S22 took nine hours.

Bottom line: The 14 Plus has three more hours of battery life than the regular iPhone 14. This could make the difference for many buyers.

With the appropriate charger, wired charging speed is limited to 20W. The 14 Plus took 35 minutes for a full charge to 50% and 90 minutes to fully recharge. Some devices, such as the OnePlus 10 Pro 5G, may be fully charged in as little as 35 minutes utilizing proprietary charging technology. Google's and Samsung's flagships charge only marginally faster. 

Wireless charging is limited to 15W with a MagSafe-compatible wireless charger. However, a Qi-compatible Qi wireless charger will charge at 7.5W. To fully charge the 14 Plus battery, it takes more than 2 hours for the MagSafe charger to recharge.

Carryover Computing Power

iPhone 14 Plus uses the A15 Bionic processor from last year, rather than the more recent A16 Bionic in the 14 Pro or Pro Max. A16 is a lower-power process, with 5nm to 4nm. It also has 1 billion transistors and a faster GPU. The A15 is, however, the same chip as the iPhone 13 Pro. There are six CPU and five GPU cores. There are also 16 Neural Engine cores. It has 6GB LPDDR5 RAM. The benchmarks are statistically the same between the 14+ and 14 Plus, as you would expect.

Geekbench 5, 3DMark, GFXBench

The 14 Plus scored 1,745 and 4,866 on the single-core and multi-core Geekbench 5 tests, while the iPhone 14 achieved 1,753 and 4,733, respectively. The iPhone 13 numbered 1,721 and 1,629 units. It's not surprising that the Pro Max and Pro Max scored higher on this test (1,874 and 5,445 respectively). The Google Pixel 6 and its in-house Tensor processor scored significantly lower on Geekbench 5 (1,021 and 2,813), whereas the Samsung Galaxy S22 and its Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 scored 1,232 and 3,446.

Other benchmarks included 3,026 results for 3DMark and 945 for Geekbench ML. 51fps were recorded for GFXBench Aztec Ruins. The web BaseMark test also produced results.

You'll find plenty of storage on your iPhone 14 Plus with 128GB or 256GB and 512GB respectively. You cannot expand your storage.

Although the phone isn't as fast as Pro Max or Pro Max in terms of speed, it's not as slow as they are. It continues to outperform the rest of the Android world in terms of day-to-day smoothness, speed, and performance, particularly in intensive games like Genshin Impact.

Putting the Plus in Wireless Performance

The iPhone 14 includes a powerful and updated set of radios, which sets a new standard for Android smartphones.

The 14 Plus is compatible with most US 5G network providers and supports many 5G band frequencies. The device was tested on AT&T's network. We had reliable connection throughout our testing. Speed tests showed that the 14 Plus was able to download at speeds of 78Mbps and uploads at 17Mbps respectively. This is comparable to our experience with the 14 Pro Max AT&T model in the same region. These numbers, which we also calculated as the average national 5G speed on AT&T’s network are what they call the Best Mobile Networks Report.

The 14 Plus achieved maximum Wi-Fi download speeds of 664Mbps on a Wi Fi 6 network, with upload speeds reaching 263Mbps. The phone maintained a connection speed of 3.51Mbps at the edge of the network, which was comparable to other devices tested.

Bluetooth 5.3 radio is a key feature of the iPhone 14 Plus. It allows for the phone to consume less power, and keep more consistent connections with other devices like wireless headphones. Further, the iPhone supports AAC, Apple Lossless, FLAC, and Spatial audio.

Combining the earpiece speaker and the bottom-firing speaker produces a stereo effect. However, the speaker at the bottom delivers more power. At normal volume, music and other media sound great. Our bass track test was "Silent Shout" by The Knife. It sounded clean and punchy. However, if you raise the volume too high, distortion can occur which will impact sound quality.

Voice calls over AT&T were clear and without background noise or hissing. You can hear the calls from many places thanks to the earpiece's high volume.

To assist with accidents and other incidents, the 14 Plus carries over Emergency SOS and Crash Detection via satellite features.

The phone's crash detection system uses advanced sensors and signal processing in order to detect if it is involved in an accident with a vehicle. The 14 Plus will notify emergency contact contacts and first responders to your location if it is involved in a car crash.

The Emergency SOS via satellite tool takes advantage of specialized internal antennas to patch through to Globalstar satellites. It will be able to communicate basic information such as the location and cellular coverage when it establishes a connection. This service will be launched by Apple in November.

Capable Cameras That Lack Zoom

The 14 Plus uses the same camera setup as the iPhone 14. There are two cameras, one ultrawide and one standard. To obtain a telephoto camera for optically zooming in on subjects, you must pay Pro pricing or purchase a rival Android phone. However, you can zoom digitally.

This phone has a primary camera with a 12MP sensor, equivalent to 26mm. It opens the aperture at f/1.5 which is a small improvement on the iPhone 13. The sensor can receive more light. Ultrawide cameras also have a 12MP sensor at f/2.2 (13mm equivalent), with a 120-degree field-of-view that scans the horizon. It is inherited from iPhone 13 Apple's Photonic Engine is a new iPhone 14 feature. It examines each pixel of the ISP and renders the final image.

Typical daytime photos look good. These photos are sharply focused, have accurate colors, and lots of contrast. I did not observe any white-balance difficulties, although some of the photographs are oversharpened, a trait shared by all iPhone 14 models.

Ultrawide shot Normal shot

Photos taken indoors under fluorescent lighting are the best you can get.

Although the night shots that I took look great, there is more noise than the photos taken with the iPhone 14 cameras.

Ultrawide shot Normal shot

The iPhone 14 Plus also features the TrueDepth improved camera for taking selfies. The 12MP sensor is f/1.9 with autofocus. The selfies that I took were clear and precise, which was a big plus for me. This may prove to be the greatest improvement in the iPhone 14's camera capabilities.

Apple's latest video feature, Action Mode is now available. The mode crop video between 4K and 2.8K, adds stabilization as needed to improve your action videos. This mode works well. It has the best video camera available for this price.

Photographic beauty is subjective. While some people might prefer to use the Pixel or Samsung Galaxy phones for their photos, the iPhone 14 Plus offers a simple-to-use camera which works consistently well.

Apple Goes Big on a (Relative) Budget and Succeeds

When evaluating the iPhone 14 Family, there are numerous variables to consider. The iPhone 14 Plus and iPhone 14 Pro are distinguishable from the iPhone 14 Pro Max and Pro Max. These two models have higher refresh rates and lose the Dynamic Island notch. They also include always-on displays that make it easier to see notifications.

They also get the A16 Bionic processor upgrade and a Telephoto Lens for better close-up shots and videos. These features, while we think they are worth $200 more for each tier, the iPhone 14 and the iPhone 14 Plus will be sufficient if you are upgrading from the iPhone 11. The iPhone 14 Plus is obviously superior to the iPhone 14. The iPhone 14 Plus has the largest screen available, which is why many buyers opt for it.