My personal phone is iPhone 13 Pro Max. For me, it’s the perfect phone – it’s fast, has a big screen and great cameras.
When Apple introduced the new iPhone 14 models in September, I was curious to see how they would improve on last year’s phones.
The new phones look identical to last year, but as usual, there are some great updates inside.
Apple sent me an iPhone 14 Pro for this review, and it was interesting to go back to a smaller phone.
As a reminder, Apple has four new iPhone models: 6.1-inch iPhone 14, 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Plus and two pro models, 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro and 6.7-inch iPhone Pro Max.
The features and specs I am writing about here are for the 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max. iPhone Pro devices are the same except for screen size and battery size.
iPhone 14 models do not use a physical SIM card; They use an eSIM, which is a virtual SIM card. Normally, I just insert my SIM in a new phone and I’m ready to go. This time I had to transfer my number from my SIM to the eSIM in my iPhone 14 Pro, which deactivates the old SIM. I think I will have to get a new SIM from my service provider when the testing is done.
The 14 Pro has an always-on display, which is a mod for me. I’m not used to seeing my phone screen all the time. It sounds like a waste of battery life, but the new adaptive refresh rate runs at just 1 Hz (refresh per second). The screen can refresh at rates from 10 Hz to 120 Hz, depending on the content on the screen. If you flip it face down, the screen will turn off.
Ultra bright OLED display, up to 2000 nits out.
14 Pro models don’t have the usual screen notch for the front cameras. Instead, Apple developers have turned the notch into a feature called Dynamic Island that moves the old notch and opens a few pixels down from the top of the screen. The opening now has rounded ends, and it’s expanding into a place to display things like incoming calls, volume changes, music playing information, and notifications. The island is even available for app developers to use.
You have downloaded the sports scores app which displays live match scores in Dynamic Island.
It is a unique solution for the screen area that people used to complain about.
The main camera on the 14 Pro has a 24mm wide-angle lens with a 48MP sensor. This is a huge improvement over last year’s 12MP camera.
The other two cameras are similar to last year – the 12MP telephoto camera still has 3x optical zoom and the 12MP ultra-wide camera. All three cameras have new lenses and better sensors for really great low-light photos.
Overall, the cameras are among the best I’ve ever used on a phone, but I was hoping for more of the telephoto zoom range.
The selfie camera has a 12MP sensor, and photos and FaceTime calls look great.
Oh, and the camera lenses are a little bigger than last year, which makes the camera bump even more noticeable. Adding a bag helps reduce vibration when placed on a flat surface.
SOS Satellite Emergency Messages
If you’re out of cell and need help, iPhone 14 models can now send text messages via satellite.
Before sending the message, the phone will ask you a few questions to assess the situation, and then show you which way to point the phone to the satellite connection.
When connected to the satellite, the phone will automatically send your information, including location, medical ID (if you created one in the phone’s settings), and your phone’s battery level to the sender.
You cannot send text messages to your friends via satellite, only the emergency dispatch service.
You must be outside with a clear view of the sky, and messages can take up to a minute to be sent and received.
SOS Emergency Service is free for two years.
You can also use the Find My app to share your location via satellite with people who are allowed to see your location.
There is a new high-powered accelerometer that can sense extreme acceleration or deceleration. This new sensor and some other sensors work together to determine if you’ve had a crash.
There are sensors that can measure sudden pressure changes in the cabin, sudden changes in direction and loud crash sounds.
If the phone thinks you’ve had an accident, you’ll see a screen asking if you’re okay. If you do not state that you are unwell, a call will be made to the local emergency services to inform you of your location and inform them of the need for assistance.
Some false collisions have been exposed since the advent of phones, especially on roller coasters. I’m sure Apple will tweak the settings in the future.
iPhone 14 Pro is powered by the new A16 Bionic with a hexa-core processor, a 5-core graphic processor, and a 16-core Neural Engine.
It has Face ID for unlocking the phone and Apple Pay.
It has mmWave and sub-6 5G, as well as Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.3.
I had no trouble getting the battery out for an entire day. Apple doesn’t release battery size, but says the 14 Pro’s battery can get up to 23 hours of video playback or 75 hours of audio playback.
It has wireless charging, including MagSafe. It is capable of fast charging up to 50% in 30 minutes using a 20W charger (not included).
The phones are dust and water resistant (IP68). It can be submerged in water to a depth of 6 meters for up to 30 minutes.
The 14 Pro models are available in black, silver, gold, and deep purple with storage capacities ranging from 128GB to 1TB.
is it for you?
Should you update to 14 Pro or Pro Max?
If you have an iPhone 11 or 12 model and are ready for a new phone, I highly recommend upgrading.
iPhone 13 Pro model owners (including me) have a tougher choice.
The 14 Pro models are a nice step up, but there’s nothing wrong with the one-year-old iPhone 13 Pro Max — in fact, I’m still paying for it.
Next year promises to be an interesting one, as the European Union passed a law requiring all phones sold in Europe to have a USB-C port, which Apple has acknowledged will be included in iPhone 15 models.
I can’t wait to see if the 2023 iPhones will be more of a redesign than a bump in features.
Jim Rossman is a technical columnist for the News Tribune Service. It can be accessed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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