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iPhone 14 review – Reviews – Technology

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The problem with the iPhone 14 is not the phone itself, it is that it’s not much of an improvement on the iPhone 13. As a result, it’s stuck in an awkward middle ground and really you’re better off either saving your money and buying the older phone, or saving up for the impressive new iPhone 14 Pro. That said, the camera and battery life improvements are welcome, it’s got plenty of power and if you’re upgrading from an iPhone older than the 13, it’s an option worth considering.

Read on for our full review of the iPhone 14 or use the links below to zone in on a certain aspect of the phone’s performance.

You can also check out this impressive early iPhone 14 offer from Sky Mobile here, or our new iPhone 14 Pro review.

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iPhone 14 review: summary

The iPhone 14 isn’t a huge improvement on its predecessor, the iPhone 13, but there are some nice additions and overall it’s a very, very capable device as we’ve come to expect from Apple. However, viewed in the context of the wider range it’s hard it falls in an awkward mid-ground between the iPhone 13 and the iPhone 14 Pro.

During our tests, we liked the display, the camera and the overall experience. It’s all backed up by good internals and performance

Key features:

  • A15 Bionic chip
  • Two 12MP rear cameras
  • 12MP selfie camera
  • Crash and fall detection
  • IP68 rating
  • 6GB RAM
  • 128, 256 or 512GB of storage

Pros:

  • A15 chip is still smooth and fast
  • New crash detection feature
  • Good performance
  • Improved main camera
  • Improved battery life

Cons:

  • No new A16 chip
  • Not a big improvement on the iPhone 13
  • Expensive
  • 60Hz display

What is the iPhone 14?

Plain and simple, the iPhone 14 is the base entry-level phone of the new iPhone 14 family. Sure, there’s the SE if you want to go cheaper, but the iPhone 14 kicks off this range proper.

Its bigger brother is the iPhone 14 Plus, which performs the same but offers a larger 6.7-inch display to the 6.1-inch display of the standard phone. Similarly, the more expensive Pro and Pro Max phones perform similarly and are differentiated by their sizing.

How much is the iPhone 14?

The iPhone 14 starts from £849, with the larger Plus starting at £949. You can pay extra for more storage up to a massive 1 terabyte.

The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max start at £1099 and £1199 respectively. Again, these prices increase depending on how much storage you want your phone to have.

Right now, the iPhone seems to land itself in a tricky place with that pricing. The iPhone 13 starts at £649 for the mini or £749 for the standard iPhone 13 and honestly, the consensus seems to be that the iPhone 14 is not a huge leap forward from the 13. Sure it’s got one more GPU core giving its processor some extra welly and it’s got new safety features and a bit of a camera boost, but really you won’t notice a huge difference as that same A15 chip powers everything.

As a result, when focusing on price, it’s tempting to suggest either saving some extra cash for the powerful and impressive iPhone 14 Pro, or going for one of last year’s models.

Buy the iPhone 14 from £849 at John Lewis

Buy the iPhone 14 from £849 at Amazon

Buy the iPhone 14 from £849 at Currys

The iPhone 14 is also available in a contract from the likes of Carphone Warehouse, Sky, EE and Vodafone.

Buy the iPhone 14 from £849 at Sky

Buy the iPhone 14 from £849 at Carphone Warehouse

Buy the iPhone 14 from £849 at EE

Buy the iPhone 14 from £849 at Vodafone

iPhone 14 features

While the A15 Bionic chip remains, the phone packs an extra GPU core compared to the iPhone 13, making it more equivalent with the iPhone 13 under the hood. We ran some benchmarking tests against a £799 Android flagship from another company and found the A15 was still streets ahead in terms of performance.

Apple was keen to laud its new safety features and some of them are pretty impressive. Crash detection is a great addition — though thankfully one we didn’t test during our time with the phone. It uses a new gyroscope and accelerometer to detect whether you’ve been in a car crash and then alerts emergency services, using the appropriate language wherever you are in the world. It’s a great tool for peace of mind.

There’s also a satellite SOS feature that looks pretty cool. Unfortunately, it’s only rolling out in the USA at the moment. However, there has been a suggestion this could make it to some other countries by the end of the year and the UK may or may not be included, as reported by 9to5Mac.

Of course, the phone is MagSafe compatible and charges with a lightning cable, despite increasing pressure on Apple to change their ports to USBC. The phone comes with a lightning cable but no mains adaptor.

If you’re swapping from an Android phone to an iPhone then your iPhone will prompt you to use the ‘Move to iOS’ app. We tried this with several different iPhone and Android phones and had mixed results, which was disappointing. As ever, making the jump from Android to iOS — or vice versa — is awkward.

Interestingly, US versions of the new iPhone won’t have a SIM tray. It’s a sign of the times but UK users won’t have to adapt just yet.

iPhone 14 display

The iPhone 14’s display doesn’t look bad at all, but it’s not cutting edge, especially for its price point.

Yes, it’s got Dolby Vision and the Super Retina XDR OLED panel offers HDR10 resolution which looks great, but the 60Hz refresh rate pales in comparison to similarly-priced competitors. This means it’s much less smooth than that 120Hz ProMotion display on the Pro and Pro Max models. It’s not the end of the world but there are competitors offering phones half the price of the iPhone — and less — with 120Hz displays.

The standard iPhone 14 has kept the notch of previous phones, rather than adopting the Dynamic Island found on the new iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max. That’s a bit of a shame, given that the Dynamic Island feels like one of the most innovative elements of the new line-up. Of course, it’s understandable that Apple see the need to separate the two phones though

iPhone 14 battery

As we mentioned, you’ll get a lightning cable in the box but no mains adaptor. It seems Apple may begrudgingly switch to USBC charging with the next iPhone, but the lightning port remains for now. It’s compatible with 20W fast charging which can charge the phone up to 50% in half an hour.

During our tes,t two hours of video streaming depleted the battery by 14%. That’s reasonably efficient. However, start multi-tasking across apps and battery life can vary a little.

Apple keeps its battery claims relatively vague, offering ‘all-day battery life’ and the battery life in the 14 is improved on the 13. However, the slightly larger iPhone 14 Plus is the best in the range when it comes to battery life, according to Apple.

iPhone 14 camera

Of course, as ever, the iPhone 14 offers a very good camera. The rear camera bump is fairly small, housing two 12MP sensors that can shoot 4K video, there’s another on the front.

Those numbers won’t blow anyone away, but thanks to Apple’s sophisticated image processing technology and algorithms it’s easy to take fantastic photographs. New apertures give better low-light performance and an all-new action mode helps stabilise shaky videos taken on the move. This is great for those who want to film sporting events, or similar moving scenes, during which the cameraperson has to be on the move as well as the subjects. Effectively it’s like using a gimbal without having to take one along.

Check out some camera samples below. Be aware though, these have had to be compressed slightly in order to be displayed in this format. They still give a general feel of the phone’s camera capabilities.

iPhone 14 design

The iPhone 14 (rear) pictured with the iPhone 14 Pro (front)

There’s not too much to say on the design of the iPhone 14. Guess what, it looks like an iPhone?

It’s almost identical to the iPhone 13 but very, very slightly wider. The camera bump on the back is also near-identical, but just different enough that an iPhone 13 case won’t fit — which is convenient for anyone who sells iPhone 14 cases.

The two camera lenses on the rear protrude a little less than the three on the Pro model and the finish is a little glossier. You’ll also notice they have quite a different hand-feel in that the Pro feels like a heavier device and of course, is finished a little more nicely.

Our verdict: should you buy the iPhone 14

The iPhone 14 is an impressive device, but it doesn’t seem like a good value purchase. Given the improvements from the iPhone 13 are small, iterative steps, it seems more sensible to either shell out for the much-improved Pro or save money and buy an iPhone 13. The older phone is — after all — only a year old and still very, very impressive.

That said, if you’re upgrading from an iPhone that’s older than a 12 or 13, it might be worth considering the iPhone 14 in your calculations.

Where to buy iPhone 14 in the UK

The iPhone 14 is available from a wide range of UK retailers:

Buy the iPhone 14 from £849 at John Lewis

Buy the iPhone 14 from £849 at Amazon

Buy the iPhone 14 from £849 at Currys

If you fancy saving up a few more pounds and getting yourself the iPhone 14 Pro, find the latest pricing and availability below.

Buy the iPhone 14 Pro from £1049 at John Lewis

Buy the iPhone 14 Pro from £1049 at Amazon

Buy the iPhone 14 Pro from £1049 at Currys

Buy the iPhone 14 Pro from £1049 at Argos

For more on smartphones, check out our recent Oppo Reno 8 Pro review, or read our thoughts on the Honor 70. For more top tech, head over to our Technology homepage.

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