Apple iPhone 14 Pro Review

By Yvonne

Excellent build quality

Stellar cameras

Always-on display

Top-notch wireless performance

Useful safety features


Recycled design and dated Lightning connector

Weaker battery life than Pro Max model

Operating System iOS 16
CPU A16 Bionic
Dimensions 5.81 by 2.81 by 0.31 inches
Screen Size 6.1 inches
Screen Resolution 2,556 by 1,179 pixels
Camera Resolution (Rear; Front-Facing) 48MP, 12MP, 12MP; 12MP
Battery Life (As Tested) 16 hours

Apple's iPhone 14 Pro, starting at $999, suffers from middle-child syndrome. It's a noticeable improvement in terms of features and performance over the basic iPhone 14 ($799), but it's not as dazzling as the bigger Pro Max ($1,099). The smaller Pro Max is just as powerful and has a longer battery life, but that's ok. However, the compromise in durability is usability.

In contrast to the Pro Max, which may be too large for some users, the Pro is more pocket- and hand-friendly and costs $100 less. The Pro Max wins our Editors' Choice Award for the longer battery life. However, the Pro Max is just as powerful and a viable alternative if you want a smaller phone.

An Old Pro at This

Apple has not made significant design changes to the iPhone Pro for some years, so the 14 Pro appears similar to the 13 Pro and 12 Pro. Apple did update the color palette this year, adding the rockin' Deep Purple to the mix. Apple's Graphite review device is more black-colored than the previous iPhones which had more gray.

The iPhone 14 Pro measures 5.81 by 2.81 by 0.31 inches (HWD) and weighs 7.27 ounces, which are similar to the 13 Pro in all material respects. It is notably smaller and lighter than the 14 Pro Max (6.33 x 3.05 x 0.47 inches, 8.47 ounces), and around the same size and weight as the standard iPhone 14. (5.78 by 2.82 by 0.31 inches, 6.07 ounces). In terms of features and price, the closest competitors are the Google Pixel 6 Pro (6.45x2.99x 0.35 inches) or the Samsung Galaxy S22+ (6.98x2.98x0.3 inches), which both are considerably larger.

Similar to the larger Pro Max, the Pro is constructed with a stainless steel frame and Apple's Ceramic Shield glass. It meets the IP68 rating for protection against dust and water submersion expected of today’s top phones. It is of excellent quality.

The placement of physical controls and connectors is identical to that of other iPhones, so you'll find a ringer switch and volume buttons on the left, a power/screen lock button on the right, and an outdated Lightning port at the bottom. We’ll continue to bemoan Apple’s proprietary port until the company adopts the industry-favored USB-C port for charging and data transfer.

Apple has discontinued the US-only SIM tray support for the iPhone 14 series. Instead, the iPhone 14's rely on electronic SIM. iPhone 14s that are sold outside of the US will still include SIM tray support.

Despite the fact that the phone's dimensions have changed minimally compared to the iPhone 13 Pro, the camera module is larger, necessitating the purchase of a new case.

A Fast, Fresh Screen

There are some notable improvements to the iPhone 14 Pro's screen over the iPhone 13 Pro. It’s got slightly slimmer bezels and bumps the resolution from 2,532 by 1,170 pixels to 2,556 by 1,179 pixels, for a density of 460ppi. The 6.1 inch measurement is retained, as well as features like HDR, Haptic Touch and True Tone.

Apple's Pro line has seen a significant increase in brightness this year. Standard brightness is at 1,000 nits, while peak brightness is 400 nits higher. A special sunlight mode increases brightness up to maximum 2,000 nits, which improves outdoor visibility. The contrast ratio of the iPhone 14 Pro to the iPhone 13 Pro is two million to 1.

It retains the 120Hz ProMotion technology from last year but can slow down the refresh rate to 1Hz in order to save power. The refresh rate matches that of many rival flagships but is twice as fast as the vanilla iPhone 14 model which still runs at 60Hz.

That 1Hz rate assists with one of the 14 Pro’s new features, the always-on display (AOD). Although Android phones already have AODs since years ago, it is only now that the feature has been made available to iPhone users. It’s customizable to a degree and doesn’t sap battery life, according to Apple, and you can turn it off if you wish.

The iPhone 14 Pro ditches the iPhone's notch at its top in favor of what Apple refers to as the Dynamic Island. Apple needs to leave some screen space for TrueDepth and Face ID, but the iPhone 14 Pro adopts an interface that emphasizes notifications and other live activity. It is compatible with many apps. This list will continue to grow. For long-time iPhone users it may be difficult to get used to, but we love this novel way to access ancillary data.

Is Battery Life a Liability?

Battery life may be the iPhone 14 Pro's defining feature. In terms of battery life, Apple's smaller flagship has never been as remarkable as the Max model, and that hasn't changed with the iPhone 14 series.

iPhone 14 Pro's 3,200mAh battery is far less than the 4,500-5,000mAh cells found in rival flagships. This includes the 4,323mAh battery of the 14 Pro Max.

Our test, which consists of streaming a YouTube video over Wi-Fi with the screen brightness set to maximum, reveals the 14 Pro's battery's limitations. The test lasted 16 hours. This is exactly the same as the 13 Pro's time, but much shorter than the 19 hours that we experienced with the 14 Pro Max. For comparison, the Pixel 6 Pro took 22 hours while the Galaxy S22+ took 10 hours.

Practically, my phone lasted a whole day without any problems. It even had enough charge left. I didn’t run into any problems during the test period despite heavy benchmarking and always ended the day at 25% or higher. The screen brightness, screen-on time and radio usage will all impact your results. I wouldn't argue that battery life is a problem with the 14 Pro, but it is significantly inferior to that of the 14 Pro Max. 

On no iPhone is quick charging available. If the 14 Pro is used with a compatible charging device, it can reach a maximum wired charge rate of 20W. Nonetheless, you must pay for the brick. The 14 Pro's battery was capable of charging from 0% to 50% within 30 minutes according to our testing, which is the same as Apple's claim.

The full charge took around 80 minutes. Samsung's Galaxy S22 series can be charged in just 75 minutes if it is connected to a faster 45W charger. Samsung and Apple cannot match the 35-minute charging time of the OnePlus 10 Pro 5G.

The iPhone 14 Pro's wireless charging speed is only 15W. Only then can you use a MagSafe compatible wireless charger. The iPhone 14 Pro can be charged with a Qi-based wireless charger at a rate of up to 7.5W. This is quite slow.

Exotic Bionic

The iPhone 14 Pro is equipped with the same A16 Bionic CPU as the iPhone 14 Pro Max, which is good news given that the basic iPhone 14 retains the A15 from the previous generation.

3DMark, Geekbench 5, GFXBench

The A16 moves from a 5nm process to a 4nm process and has 16 billion transistors, which is 1 billion more than the A15. A total of six cores are available, including four performance cores as well as four efficiency cores.

The GPU is assisted by a 5-core GPU and a 16-core Neural engine. The GPU's memory is 50% quicker, and the Neural Engine is 7% faster, which will be most noticeable when gaming and utilizing the camera. Apple maintains the RAM at 6GB but increases its LPDDR4 memory to LPDDR5. The Display Engine and camera have a new image signal processor. This helps keep the AOD's power consumption down.

Although the iPhone 14 Pro is available in 256GB and 512GB variants, it does not support expandable storage.

The iPhone 14 Pro matches the Pro Max's benchmark results while outperforming last year's iPhones and competition. The single- and multicore Geekbench 5 tests gave it 1,882 points and 5,554 respectively. In comparison, the iPhone 14 was 1,753 and 4,734, respectively. For the single-core and multi-core Geekbench test, the Pixel 6 Pro and the Google-made Tensor CPU were rated 1,021 to 2,813 respectively. The Samsung Galaxy S22+ powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 received ratings of 1,216 and 3,448.

iPhone 14 Pro with its A16 Bionic CPU scored 1,021 in the Geekbench ML Test, 59.55 fps in the GFXBench AztecRuins test and 3,368 in the 3DMark Wildlife Extreme testing.

Simply said, the iPhone 14 Pro is one of the most powerful phones available. It outclasses the Android rivals with ease—while last year’s iPhone 13 Pro also still manages to keep ahead of top Android flagships. Unquestionably, the Pro's performance remains the greatest in its category year after year.

Apple's new operating system iOS 16 runs flawlessly on the iPhone 14 Pro. It’s fast and smooth across the board. The phone is a great gaming device and can handle titles like Alto's Adventure or Genshin Impact.

Pro Connections

Apple has replaced the Qualcomm X60 modem that was in its iPhone 13 by the newer X65. This offers higher maximum 5G speeds and better MIMO performance as well as power efficiency improvements.

In our signals tests, which were conducted in Northern New Jersey, the 14 Pro was able to match Pro Max's download speeds. The 14 Pro was able to download at speeds up to 88Mbps over Verizon 5G, whereas the Pixel 6 Pro could only reach 96Mbps. The upload speeds of the 14 Pro were 8.28Mbps, compared to the Pixel's 4.52Mbps. (Average speeds for Verizon’s network are typically much faster than these samples, which were limited by our testing locations.)

Wi-Fi 6 radio showed excellent performance. It reached 740Mbps just a few inches away from Verizon Fios router, which offers 940Mbps service. Wi-Fi upload speeds reached 262Mbps. The Wi-Fi edge speeds were 3.37Mbps and 4.52Mbps respectively. An iPhone surpassed the Pixel 6 Pro which reached rates of 4.52Mbps down and 207Mbps up near the router, and 3.62Mbps and 3.5Mbps, respectively at the edge.

You’ll find the iPhone 14 Pro’s Bluetooth 5.3 radio to be reliable. The Codec supports AAC, Apple Lossless and FLAC well.

Stereo speaker performance is comparable to that of iPhone 14 Pro Max or iPhone 14. Stereo sound can be created by the earpiece or bottom-firing speaker, and it is quite loud. Media sounds balanced and clear when the volume is set at about half of its maximum. The Knife's Silent Shout, our test track, produced detailed highs as well as thumping lows. However, dialing the volume up to the highest level caused distortion at both high and low frequency. If you want it to be loud, we recommend a Bluetooth speaker.

HD voice calls made over Verizon's network were clear and crystal clear. I did not experience any pops, hisses, or drops, and the phone's loudness is sufficient for hearing calls at home or on a busy city street. 

The new Crash Detection and Emergency SOS via Satellite functions are available on the 14 Pro, as well as the rest of the iPhone 14 line.

New sensors and algorithms are used to detect crashes. They can use the high-speed data from decelerations and assess it for evidence of an accident. The iPhone 14 automatically calls emergency services or your emergency contacts if you are unconscious, or otherwise unable to call. It also provides information about your current location.

Special antennas are used to link directly to Globalstar satellites for emergency communications. The service is only for emergencies and will not launch before November.

High-Resolution Results

When it comes to mobile photography the Apple iPhone 14 Pro is at the top, and there are only a handful of phones below it.

Apple's Pro camera system has been redesigned by Apple. It has a 48MP sensor, which is 65% larger than the sensor in last year's iPhone 13 Pro. Apple's new sensor-shift optical imaging stabilization system, which aids in focus, is also available. The camera reduces the resolution by four for 12MP images. ProRaw mode allows you to shoot at 48MP resolution.

The sensor can capture more light through pixel binning, which makes it ideal for shooting low-light photos. Each of the ultrawide and zoom cameras have 12MP resolution sensors, but they also offer faster optics than the last year. Taking into consideration all lenses, the iPhone 14 Pro offers an optical zoom range of 0.5 to 3x and a digital zoom range of up to 15x.

The new Photonic Engine image processor parses all data from the sensors and lenses to determine the most effective one. It then merges them together into an image.

Ultrawide camera Standard camera 2x telephoto 3x telephoto

My daylight photos look fantastic, with great focus and depth of contrast. To give photographs a natural appearance, Apple must reduce sharpening. This should be apparent to anyone with trained eyes.

Impressive shots taken at night or twilight are great. One evening, I used my phone in New York City to show how great it can be in difficult lighting.

TrueDepth's 12MP selfie camera has a wider aperture, f/1.9. This allows in 38% more light to the TrueDepth 13 Pro selfie cam. The TrueDepth camera also uses the IR dots from the Face ID camera for autofocus. These selfies are sharper and have great color, even under low light conditions.

Action Mode, the new video feature is the most important. Although Action Mode reduces video resolution from 4K up to 2.8K it can still add incredible levels of stability. Final result: video looks more like it was shot from a stabilizing gimbal than your hands. Cinematic mode also supports 4K24 or 4K30 capture to achieve Hollywood-like results. The Apple iPhone 14 Pro takes the highest quality video.

Is photo quality the same as video? It depends on your expectations. While some people prefer photos that look more natural with the Pixel family of phones, others might prefer to see the enhanced results offered by the Galaxy S range. No matter which of these smartphones you pick, you will get high-quality photos.

Spend the Extra Money On the Pro

Although the iPhone 14 Pro doesn't have the same cachet as its Pro Max counterpart, it is still capable. The 14 Pro is just as powerful and battery-friendly as the Max model, but it does all that the bigger Max can with equally impressive results. The 14 Pro is a compelling alternative to the iPhone 14 because of its faster processor, new camera, dynamic island, better screen and more powerful display. The iPhone 14 Pro Max remains our Editors' Choice recommendation. However, it is just a tick ahead of the iPhone 14 Pro Pro. Many people might find the Pro's small form factor more attractive than Max's longer battery life.