Apple has a new iPhone type this year. The iPhone 14 Plus is basically a standard model, with the screen stretched to match the 6.7-inch size of a Pro Max.
Price: from €1,179
Pros: Excellent battery life, much lighter than the same-sized iPhone 14 Pro Max
Disadvantages: older display, no telephoto camera, expensive
There are two reasons to consider buying the iPhone 14 Plus, as it’s the first time Apple has created an ultra-large screen model without calling it a “Pro”.
One reason for this is the size of this display, which allows you to see and read more comfortably.
But the second reason might be the kicker: battery life.
In the few days I’ve been using it, I’ve gone to bed every night with 40 to 60 percent battery life remaining.
That not only outperforms the regular 6.1-inch iPhone 14, but also the 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max models.
Apple aren’t kidding when they say this is the best performing iPhone for battery life.
It makes sense. The 14 Plus has a less power hungry, “slower” display (60Hz) than its “Pro” counterpart. It also can’t take photos and videos at the same high resolution as the Pro models, again saving some battery power. And it doesn’t have the always-on screen option that this year’s Pro variants offer as a key upgrade feature. This has resulted in a small additional battery drain in my testing of these devices.
Still, after just a few days I feel transported back to the days of the 13 Pro Max, a device that practically never needed to be charged twice in one day.
Does that battery bonus make up for the compromises you make on other key features? That largely depends on how enthusiastic you are about being a photographer and how much you like your display technology.
If you’re set for a big-screen iPhone, the two biggest differences between the 14 Plus and 14 Pro Max are the lack of a telephoto lens on the rear camera and a lower screen.
While the iPhone 14 Pro Max throws the kitchen sink at the camera system with a new 48-megapixel main camera, a powerful 3x telephoto camera and a hybrid 2x crop in between, the 14 Plus has two 12-megapixel main cameras (1x, 26mm) and ultrawide cameras (0.5x, 13mm), the same as the standard iPhone 14.
In and of themselves, these are excellent general cameras that are an upgrade from last year’s (also excellent) stock iPhone 13 cameras; Apple’s latest “Photonic Engine” processing power plays at least as big a role in low-light photos as the larger sensor and faster lenses under the hood.
Also the video quality from them is the best on the market, outside of the 14 Pro models.
But there are times when a photography-conscious phone owner can really put that standalone telephoto zoom lens to good use, whether it’s landscapes, pets, or even portraits.
I’m one of those people. So I miss the lack of the 3x telephoto lens and the flexibility it offers.
I’m not that upset about the lower spec that the iPhone 14 Plus’s 60Hz display represents compared to the 120Hz “Promotion” technology of the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models.
The high-end display in the Pro models leads to somewhat smoother, somewhat faster scrolling. But I’m not a big gamer, so it feels a little more marginal to me than it does to someone else. Plus, the iPhone 14 Plus’ 6.7-inch screen still looks and feels great, with vibrant colors and an overall premium experience.
While the 14 Plus screen isn’t quite as bright as the Pro models, the Super Retina XDR OLED screen can still reach up to 1200 nits, which is a bit brighter than last year’s iPhone 13.
Just to be clear, this isn’t to let Apple totally off the hook because it doesn’t include a 120Hz display. In many ways, it’s the cheekiest thing about this device. This is a €1,179 (down to €1,569) phone and the only model around that price point that doesn’t automatically include a 120Hz flagship display. But here we go.
There are also some other significant, though not entirely significant, differences.
The 14 Plus has the usual “notch” of previous iPhone models rather than the Pro models’ new smaller “Dynamic Island” Face ID system. While the “island” is a pretty clever, innovative way to deal with a camera crop gap cluttering a display, it’s not yet fundamental to the way you use the phone. You’ll go another year without really missing it too much.
The build quality of the iPhone 14 Plus isn’t quite as premium either (although it’s as tough and water-resistant) as the Pro models, with aluminum instead of stainless steel. In other words, it’s almost identical to last year’s iPhone 13. Despite that, it remains one of the prettiest and sleekest phones you can get. Its metallic ceramic finish in a choice of colors is arguably prettier than the iPhone 14 Pro’s more muted aesthetic.
Ironically, the cheaper aluminum also brings an odd benefit: lightness. The 14 Plus is obviously less destructive to my pockets than the 14 Pro Max because that aluminum makes it 15 percent lighter (despite being almost exactly the same size).
Some of the other potential compromises (compared to the iPhone 14 Pro Max) don’t feel like a big sacrifice at all. The iPhone 14 Plus comes with last year’s A15 Bionic chip in the Pro models instead of this year’s flagship A16 Bionic. In all honesty, though, I’ve had little chance to tell the difference in performance between the two. In general, the A15 Bionic is ahead of almost all Android flagships from this year. Also, an extra bit has been added to the GPU to slightly improve gaming performance. So there is no lack of power and maneuverability with this device.
The iPhone 14 Plus shares a new feature with the Pro models that’s new across this year’s iPhone lineup. It’s called “crash detection”.
Basically, the phone uses its accelerometer, microphones, and gyroscope to figure out if you’ve come to an overly abrupt stop for whatever reason. It then gives you a few seconds to let him know you weren’t in an accident, before notifying emergency services and close contacts. It’s reassuring, although (thankfully) I haven’t had the chance to test it properly.
One sad point to note about the iPhone 14 Plus is that the price has fallen victim to rampant Eurozone inflation alongside every other Apple device released this year. This device starts at $899 (plus local sales tax) in the US, but starts at €1,179 here. That’s not exactly Apple’s fault, as it bases its entire pricing on the (uniquely strong) dollar. But it still feels like you’re paying a huge additional new premium for a device that was already a premium price.
The iPhone 14 Plus is available in five different colors and three different storage sizes: 128 GB (€1,179), 256 GB (€1,309) and 512 GB (€1,569).
https://www.independent.ie/business/technology/review-iphone-14-plus-is-the-new-battery-king-42044132.html Review: iPhone 14 Plus is the new battery king