Apple iPhone 14 Review

By Yvonne

Solid performance

Capable cameras

Helpful emergency features


Not that different from the iPhone 13

Dated design and Lightning connector

Operating System iOS 16
CPU Apple A15
Dimensions 5.78 by 2.82 by 0.31 inches
Screen Size 6.1 inches
Screen Resolution 2,532 by 1,170 pixels
Camera Resolution (Rear; Front-Facing) 12MP, 12MP; 12MP
Battery Life (As Tested) 15 hours, 30 minutes

Apple's flagship smartphone is the iPhone 14. It offers a reliable everyday experience, with basic features such as an appealing display, great build quality, long battery life, smooth performance and capable cameras, starting at $799. It does not have the more expensive iPhone 14 Pro features like Crash Detection or Emergency SOS via Satellite, but it has the best of both worlds, with Dynamic Island and an all-on display.

Although the iPhone 14 is a great choice for most users, it does feel a bit less than Apple's Pro-level models. The iPhone 14 Pro Max (1,099) is our Editors' Choice Award winner, but the iPhone 14 Pro Max ($1,099) remains a safe and excellent choice if money is tight.

Body: Understated Excellence

Nearly all of the iPhone 13's external DNA is carried over to the iPhone 14, which was almost identical to the iPhone 12. Apple is known for sticking with its design decisions for quite a while. This is the reason why Apple's laptops look almost identical for over a decade.

Although we understand that Apple may be able to save money on product development, it is difficult to persuade people to purchase a brand new item that doesn't look the same as the one they have. There is a big visual difference between iPhone 14 and iPhone 13. The color palette has been changed to Blue, Midnight Purple, Purple, (Product), Red and Starlight. The names of the red and blue shades have been changed slightly year to year, despite being the same.

iPhone 14 is 5.78 inches by 2.82 inches by 0.31 inches (HWD), and weighs 6.07ozs. This iPhone 14 is 0.01 inch thicker than iPhone 13 and 0.07oz lighter than iPhone 13. The iPhone 14 is a very comfortable device that will fit most users well. In terms of features, quality, price, and cost, the closest rival phones are the Google Pixel 6 (6.24 x 2.94 x 0.35 inches; 7.3 oz) and Samsung Galaxy S22 (5.75 x 2.78 X 0.3 inches, 5.93oz). While the S22 and the iPhone 14 are slightly smaller, the Pixel 6 is slightly larger. The $899 iPhone 14Plus (6.33x3.07x 0.31 inches; 7.16 ounces), might suit you better.

The high quality hardware is something we can not fault. Apple's Ceramic Shield protects the iPhone 14's front display, while aluminum frames the iPhone 14. While the Pro price range uses stainless steel as the frame, the Ceramic Shield is used in the Pro model. In contrast, the Pixel 6 and S22 employ Corning Gorilla Glass Victus. The IP68 designation provides protection against dust and water. The iPhone 14 is waterproof up to a depth of six meters for up to thirty minutes. It can be washed under running water if it becomes soiled with soil or cake. According to iFixit, the iPhone 14 can be repaired more easily than any iPhone manufactured in the past five years.

Flat-edge technology means that the iPhone 14 is able to stand upright on any flat surface. Some people may not enjoy the sharp feeling that the right angle between the glass and frame gives the iPhone 14 a distinct feel. You can smoothen this by using a case. All iPhone 14 models have the exact same outer controls. On the right side, you'll find the dual-purpose screen lock and power button.

The separate volume and ringer buttons are located on the left. It's impossible to find better buttons for a smartphone. Apple's Lightning port is still used by the iPhone 14 family. It can be found on the phone's bottom edge. This port is not compatible with other phones' USB-C ports and cables. Apple may abandon Lightning in the 2023 iPhone 15 due to the EU's USB-C mandate.

The US iPhone 14 models do not have a physical SIM tray. Instead, they rely solely on eSIM. (More details below). iPhone 14 models sold in the US include a physical SIM tray.

Although there is no fingerprint reader available, Apple's Face ID offers the best facial recognition technology for security purposes. You can get a fingerprint reader with the iPhone SE (for $429).

The Same Old Screen

The iPhone 14's display is identical to that of the iPhone 13. Super Retina XDROLED is 6.1 inches in diagonal. It has 2,532 by 1,170 Pixels and a density at 460ppi. The Super Retina XDR OLED has a contrast ratio of two million to one and emits 800 nits (average) and up to 1,200 nits (maximum) of brightness (peak).

It is still displaying 60Hz refresh rates, which can be a little disappointing. Smartphones in the $500-$800 price range are now using faster screens, at 120Hz, 90Hz and even 144Hz. This includes the Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G, Moto Edge, Pixel 6 and S22. The faster screens provide a more fluid experience while using your phone's interface, but at a higher cost to battery life.

The display is still excellent from a functional standpoint. The screen is sharp, vibrant, colorful and great looking no matter what your phone does. You will notice a sharper and faster display on the iPhone 14 Pro Max, though you need to be close enough to feel the differences. If the iPhone 14 is exposed to direct sunlight, the device's colors may fade. However, the screen can still be seen and used outdoors.

The iPhone 14 and 14 Plus are not the only devices that stand out from the 14 Pro Max or 14 Pro Max. iPhone 14 Pro models ditch the old notch at top of screen and adopt the Dynamic Islands cutout. They also have an Always-On Display (AOD). Dynamic Island creates an animated experience with Face ID and TrueDepth cameras module. The AOD allows you to view the time, date, and weather without unlocking the phone.

Modest Battery Gains

Apple's battery life is slightly longer than the iPhone 13 each year but it doesn't use a larger battery. The iPhone 14 actually has the same capacity 3,227mAh battery as the iPhone 13. We can instead thank the A15 Bionic processor, which has been slightly tweaked for a tiny increase in battery life.

The streaming video test involves running YouTube videos via Wi-Fi. We found that the iPhone 14 took 15.5 hours to complete, 30 minutes more than the iPhone last year. The iPhone 14 Pro Max lasted 19 hours longer than the Pixel 6. Meanwhile, the Galaxy S22 took nine hours to complete the test.

It is the same story across all models of the iPhone 14: charging. Apple does not include a charger with the iPhone 14 but it can charge at 20W using a compatible charger. The battery reached 50% in just 33 minutes during our tests, which is a little longer than what Apple claims it should. It took 85 minutes to fully charge the battery from 0%. The Galaxy S22, which has a battery of similar capacity, was able to charge the iPhone in about 85 minutes. It also charges up 10 minutes faster than the iPhone.

OnePlus' proprietary fast charging technology, which is used by other Chinese smartphone manufacturers, can be rivaled in both these phones. The 65W SuperVOOC technology on the OnePlus 10 Pro 5G is capable of charging fully from zero to full in 35 minutes.

The iPhone 14 is capable of wireless charging wirelessly up to 15W if you have a MagSafe compatible wireless charger. When used with regular Qi wireless chargers, the iPhone 14 restricts wireless charging to 7.5W. The iPhone 14 takes more than 2 hours to charge at this speed.

Last Year's Chip, Last Year's Results

Apple's decision to use the A15 Bionic 2021 processor in its iPhone 14 rather than the new A16 Bionic A16 Bionic processor found in the Pro model is one of the most perplexing. Although the A16 doesn't make a significant leap in computing when compared to the A15 it is a slight improvement.

It can go from a 5nm to 4nm process and add 1 billion transistors. The GPU is also faster thanks to an increase of 50% in memory bandwidth. There are many efficiency improvements. These features are not available to the iPhone 14 with its one-year old chip. This is what bores me out during testing.

Geekbench, 3DMark, GFXBench

The iPhone 14's benchmark scores are nearly equal to those of the iPhone 13. It scored 1,753 for single-core and multi-core Geekbench 5 tests, while the iPhone 13 scores 1,721 for 4,724, which is hardly any difference. With the A16 Bionic processor, the iPhone 14 Pro Max soared ahead, scoring 1,874 and 5,445, respective. Geekbench 5 rated the Pixel 6's Tensor processor at 1,021 & 2,813 respectively, while the Galaxy S22's Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen1 produced 1,232 et 3,433, respectively for single- and multiple-core tests.

The iPhone 14's Geekbench ML tests scored 933, 58.62fps for the GFXBench AztecRuins test and 1,203 on web BaseMark. There are also scores of 2,977 on 3DMark Wildlife Extreme. These scores are consistent with the iPhone 13's.

iPhone 14 has 6GB RAM. It is the same size as Pro and can be purchased in 128GB or 256GB options. The standard iPhone 14 doesn't have a 1TB storage option, and it doesn't allow for expandable memory.

The iPhone 14 is capable of playing games without difficulty. Both Alto's Adventure (and Genshin Impact) ran smoothly without lagging or slowing down.

It is evident that the A15 can still do the job, even though it has been around for a while. The iPhone 14 runs it flawlessly. The experience runs smoothly and is very fast. However, the future-proofing of the iPhone 14 could have been enhanced by adding the A16.

Crushing the Connectivity

We are happy to say that the iPhone 14's wireless performance matches those of the Pro line. The phone's Qualcomm X60 modem has been replaced with the newer X65. This improves the theoretical maximum 5G speeds and adds additional bands for satellite connectivity.

We were able to test the iPhone 14 in hilly Northern New Jersey and saw strong performance from Verizon's network. The iPhone 14 Pro Max's peak download speed was 80Mbps. This is comparable to the iPhone 14 Pro Max's 86Mbps when it was tested at the same place. The upload rates of the iPhone 14 were just 12.5Mbps, which is actually faster than the 14 Pro Max's 8.28Mbps. These results were actually much lower than the Verizon average speed, which is 156Mbps, as we have noted in our iPhone 14 Pro Max Review. This may be due to limited testing areas.

Wi-Fi 6 is the new standard for iPhone 14 and it's not Wi-Fi 6E. Although it does not have the most recent standard, the iPhone 14 did well in Wi Fi tests. It reached 429Mbps while sitting next to a 940Mbps Verizon Fios router. While the Pixel 6 Pro achieved 475Mbps, the 14 Pro Max was able to reach 435Mbps. The iPhone 14 was able to maintain a connection of 3.55Mbps when tested against my Wi-Fi network's far edge. This is slightly higher than the 14 Pro Max's result of 3.47Mbps. The iPhone maintained a connection at 3.55Mbps despite having weak signals. This is important.

Apple provides the iPhone 14 with a Bluetooth radio 5.3, which is the same technology as in the Pro series. It is the latest standard for consumer phones and reduces power consumption. The codec support for wireless headphones includes AAC and Apple Lossless as well as FLAC and Spatial audio. When used in conjunction with the Sony WF1000XM4 headphones, Bluetooth radio performed flawlessly.

Stereo speakers are great for watching video or listening to music. The earpiece houses one speaker, while the bottom of the phone has the second. Although the balance is good, it's not perfect. A good listening experience is achieved by turning the volume down to about half of its maximum. Our bass test track was "Silent Shout" by The Knife. It produced pleasing lows as well as highs. However, pushing the volume higher than the maximum can distort the lows or highs. If you prefer it loud, we recommend a Bluetooth speaker.

The iPhone 14 was able to make voice calls over Verizon's network. With the volume set to low, I could hear almost all calls. The background noise almost disappeared, leaving only the voices clear and present.

Apple's new Emergency SOS satellite service is now available for the iPhone 14 series, but it will not be released until November. It will let you connect your iPhone 14 to Globalstar satellites to make emergency calls, even if no other networks are available. This is a last-resort call to help. Once it is launched, we look forward to trying it out.

The iPhone 14's crash detection feature is now possible thanks to a host of innovative sensors and algorithms. Apple's new smartphones can use GPS signals, internal accelerometers and internal gyroscopes to analyze data and determine if an iPhone 14 was in a crash. Your contacts will be notified, and the phone will automatically dial 911. This feature was not tested by us, but some YouTubers have.

eSIM Shouldn't Be a Hassle for Most

Apple has abandoned the conventional SIM tray in favor of eSIM, at least for iPhone 14 models sold in the United States. An iPhone 14 will be available to international buyers with an included SIM tray. This means that US customers will no longer need to swap SIMs quickly in order to switch carriers. The iPhone 14 will be activated by carriers with the software. The iPhone 14 can support up to eight eSIM profiles, albeit only two can be active at the same time. 

AT&T and T-Mobile, as well as several other US carriers, already support eSIM. iPhone 14s that are sold directly by the carriers include pre-provisioned eSIM card. Activating these cards should only require turning the phone on and following the instructions.

You can also activate eSIM services by scanning QR codes given to you by your carrier or through the Quick Transfer tool. This moves the service from an older phone's physical SIM card to an iPhone's eSIM. To facilitate this transfer, you will need to contact your carrier online, by phone or in person.

Carriers claim they won't charge anyone to move an existing service to an iPhone 14 or eSIM to an iPhone 14 but will charge you for activating an additional line of service to an eSIM.

This Camera Duo Should Be a Trio

Apple has reserved the most advanced camera features for its iPhone Pro line, however the iPhone 14 standard still offers two competent shooters which are superior to the ones on other similar-priced phones.

Although the main camera uses a 12-megapixel sensor that has an equivalent focal length 26mm, it increases the brightness of the aperture to f/1.6 for the iPhone 13, and f/1.5 for the iPhone 14. This is a small improvement but allows more light to the sensor. The iPhone 14 also features new sensor-shift optical imaging stabilization that helps with sharper focus. The ultra-wide camera also includes a 12MP sensor with an equivalent focal length of 13mm (120-degree field of view) and an f/2.2 aperture, which is the same as last year.

The new Photonic Engine from Apple, which Apple uses to calculate the final result via its image signal processor A15 Bionic, is available for both cameras. It is unfortunate that the iPhone 14 lacks a Telephoto Camera. The Pixel 6 does not have a telephoto camera, but the iPhone 14 Pro and the Galaxy S22 do. However, other flagships priced at $800 include one.

These are some of my favorite ordinary images made with my iPhone 14. Sharp focus and vivid color are all possible with the camera. Although the results don't look too different than those of iPhone 13 Pro, they do offer a slight improvement in detail and dynamic range. Oversharpening has less of an impact on the iPhone 14 than it does on the iPhone 14 Pro.

The iPhone 14 takes solid photos in low lighting. These photos still show a lot of detail and focus. They also have decent color but less noise.

Apple has given the iPhone 14 the improved selfie camera that the iPhone 14 Pro features. This means the iPhone 14's 12MP snapper is equipped with an improved aperture of f/1.9 and autofocus. The iPhone 14 delivers solid selfies in both bright and difficult light conditions.

Apple also upgrades the iPhone 14’s video capabilities to match that of the Pro by adding the Action mode. To smoothen over bumpy action shots, this tool reduces video to 2.8K. Although it lacks Pro Res recording features, the iPhone 14 outperforms competing phones in practically every resolution, frame rate, and color.

Both the Pixel 6 and Samsung Galaxy S22 Android alternative in this area produce excellent images. However, it all relies on your personal preferences for the types of images you capture. The iPhone 14 is easier than most phones to take good photos, which will likely be the main reason many customers buy it.

The Safe iPhone to Buy

Apple's iPhone 14 standard is an excellent handset. It handles smartphone basics well. The iPhone 14 is a solid handset with excellent hardware, a large screen and fast performance. The iPhone 14's camera capabilities are comparable to other flagships at a similar price and far surpass those of many others on the market. The iPhone 14 is an excellent value and the iPhone that the majority of people should buy.

The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max are equipped with the most recent Apple features, such as the Dynamic Island, Always-On Display, and Telephoto Camera. The differences between these two models are a bit more obvious than normal, so the Pro line has more advantage this year. Our Editors' Choice winner is the iPhone 14 Pro Max, which thanks to its exceptional battery life and immersive display, is the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

Google's Pixel 6 at $599 is a great alternative, and the Galaxy S22 is $799. While the Pixel is limited in camera capabilities, it offers the most excellent Android software experience. Galaxy S22 has more flexibility, while the Galaxy S22 delivers superior hardware and performance. It will soon replace the Pixel 6 with the Pixel 7 family.