DID Apple build the best smartphone ever? Pretty sure.
I’ve spent five days with the iPhone 14 Pro: it’s relentlessly brilliant and has a few surprises in store.
Each year Apple launches new iPhones. In 2022 we have the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.
I use the Pro Max model, which is huge – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The regular Pro is much more convenient, so if you have small hands I’d stick with it.
I prefer the larger properties for mobile gaming and some TV on the train.
The Pro model has a 6.1-inch screen (same as the iPhone 14), and the Pro Max jumps to a whopping 6.7-inches.
The screen itself is brilliant, offering a dense 460 pixels per inch and a ridiculous 2,000 nits peak brightness.
That’s one of the reasons why you get amazingly detailed and color-accurate images with very impressive contrast.
At the top of the screen, you’ll notice that the “notch” (introduced with the iPhone X to house Face ID) is gone.
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In its place is a new, smaller, free-standing cutout that Apple is calling “Dynamic Island.”
It changes shape and size depending on activity.
For example, album covers and a color-coordinated waveform appear when you’re listening to music.
It even appears in a square when you’re using Face ID.
Apple somehow managed to turn what should have been a nuisance into something uniquely useful and fun.
It’s a real surprise: Apple lagged behind its competitors when it came to the notch, then sped past them in a single punch.
Externally, the iPhone hardly differs from last year’s iPhone 13 Pro. Why fix what ain’t broke?
Two new colors (Space Black and Deep Purple) join the legacy silver and gold options to keep things feeling fresh.
Perhaps my biggest surprise was how much I liked Deep Purple.
I’ve never really been interested in purple as a color. It’s a little depressing, isn’t it?
But the Deep Purple looks very fancy, so I guess I’m a convert.
And like many Apple colors, it’s changeable in the light: it can look purple, pink, gray, and even black.
The Space Black (admittedly more of a gray) is also very attractive – and probably a safer choice. I would recommend checking them out in person before buying if you have the opportunity.
Apple’s new always-on display definitely takes some getting used to.
For maybe two days you keep thinking that something is happening on your iPhone.
Once you get over the fact that nobody is really talking to you, it’s great.
You can easily see album art, time and date, and any other (new in iOS 16!) lock screen widgets you might have.
I use a few global times for work, a temperature chart for the day and sunset time. I’m not a vampire, I promise.
Now I’m five days old and it’s hard to imagine not having an always-on screen.
It saves you from tapping your iPhone to check – now it’s just a glance away.
Photography is great: in fact, daytime pictures have been largely pristine for years.
Where Apple rightly puts the most effort is in low-light photography.
The iPhone 14 Pro manages to produce detailed and colorful images even in very dark environments.
And there’s a new 3x telephoto zoom option that lets you get great close-up shots – even when you can’t get very close to your subject.
But really, the real magic of the iPhone 14 Pro is in the video.
We rarely talk about video on the iPhone, although given the small size of the sensors on board, the quality is ridiculous.
Apple has managed to combine its impressive hardware with expertly crafted computing to produce shockingly good video quality.
You can record 4K video at up to 60 frames per second or in cinema mode in 4K at 30 frames per second.
There’s also a new 60fps Action mode that massively smooths out your footage in high-motion situations – by removing all bumps, roll, wobble and shake.
It’s extremely impressive: the effect is as if you were using a physical gimbal, but everything is done by software.
If you’re feeling like a little adventure snapper, you’ll love Action mode.
Apple has equipped its new iPhone 14 Pro with an A16 chip – as opposed to the A15 that powers the regular iPhone 14.
The A16 is about as fast as mobile chips.
Benchmark test apps that put processors through their paces have proven themselves against competitors from a raw computing perspective.
But if you’re using the iPhone 14 Pro (or even the A15 from last year’s model) you’ll find that there’s no shortage of performance.
The performance is almost unbelievably good, because no normal process is slow on the iPhone. It’s as smooth as you can hope or even imagine.
The real advantages of the chip are in intensive image processing, AI processing, efficiency for battery life and more.
The battery will comfortably get you through a whole day and then some.
problems with testing
There are two features I just couldn’t test: car crash detection and SOS emergency call.
Unsurprisingly, I don’t feel like trying out car crash detection. Hopefully I never have to use it, and I just have to trust Apple to make it work.
It uses special sensors in the phone to detect a serious car accident and automatically shares your location with emergency services (and emergency contacts) if you don’t respond for 10 seconds.
SOS satellite calls are also very clever, but I didn’t want to waste rescue workers’ time with a false report.
But it’s a great feature that gives you an extra option to save yourself in a sticky situation.
When you don’t have a signal, satellites are used to contact emergency services – and even share your location when possible.
Thankfully there’s also support for fast 5G internet and digital eSIMs to replace your physical card.
And the iPhone comes standard with 128GB of storage (it’s really a lot), but can be specified up to a titanic 1TB.
iOS 16 is great in general.
The software isn’t exclusive to the iPhone 14 – it works on models dating back to the iPhone 8.
Its big advantage is that you can make your iPhone more personal than ever – mainly thanks to the customizable lock screens.
Other neat tricks include the ability to edit and cancel iMessages, and pin Safari tabs.
To buy or not to buy?
Many Apple naysayers will look at the new iPhone 14 Pro and say, “Well, it just has a few new features compared to last year’s iPhone 13 Pro.”
You’re not wrong, but that’s not the right way to think about it.
So few people update their iPhone every year. Most people will stick with an iPhone for two, three, four or more years.
This is getting easier and easier as Apple still offers iOS updates for very old models.
So if you’re using something like an iPhone 8, iPhone X, iPhone XS, or iPhone 11, the difference will be massive.
The obvious downside here is the cost. The iPhone 14 Pro could be considered the best smartphone in the world, so it’s not exactly cheap.
If you want this clearly high-quality device then look at a £1,099 / $999 or more bill.
Even if you break it up into a 12 or 24 month plan, it’s still a steep price to pay.
So really consider whether you need the extra bells and whistles of the Pro model, or whether the far tastier £849/$799 iPhone 14 would suffice. Chances are, it probably will.
For professional users, die-hard Apple and gadget geeks, the iPhone 14 Pro is a titan standing on the shoulders of giants and won’t disappoint.
The sun says: A smartphone that excels in almost every way, the iPhone 14 Pro is as perfect as it gets – if you can afford it! 5/5
All prices in this article were correct at the time of writing but may have changed since then.
Always do your own research before making a purchase.
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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/9408293/iphone-14-pro-review/ I’ve been using the iPhone 14 Pro secretly for a week – an “annoying” feature is one of the best additions