Monday, November 28, 2022
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Apple iPhone 14 review

Introduction

Apple loves a good “buzzword” as much as the next company, probably even more. The trendy “r words” arguably get the most love and attention. Words like Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Recycle. But arguably, one of Apple’s greenest practices to date is the repackaging and reselling older designs as new products after a refresh. It’s been done time and time again, be it with iPhone SE models or Macbooks.

The new iPhone 14 sort of fits into this category of product. Just sort of, though, since Apple has redesigned the internals quite a bit to facilitate easier repairability, among other things. Plus, you do get new cameras and a few other new features. Externally, though, the iPhone 14 is essentially the same as the iPhone 13, and so is the core experience these devices offer. If Apple still did “s” models in their naming scheme, the iPhone 14 would probably be the iPhone 13s.

Apple iPhone 14 specs at a glance:

  • Body: 146.7×71.5×7.8mm, 172g; Glass front (Gorilla Glass), glass back (Gorilla Glass), aluminum frame; IP68 dust/water resistant (up to 6m for 30 mins), Apple Pay (Visa, MasterCard, AMEX certified).
  • Display: 6.10″ Super Retina XDR OLED, HDR10, Dolby Vision, 800 nits (HBM), 1200 nits (peak), 1170x2532px resolution, 19.48:9 aspect ratio, 460ppi.
  • Chipset: Apple A15 Bionic (5 nm): Hexa-core (2×3.23 GHz Avalanche + 4×1.82 GHz Blizzard); Apple GPU (5-core graphics).
  • Memory: 128GB 6GB RAM, 256GB 6GB RAM, 512GB 6GB RAM; NVMe.
  • OS/Software: iOS 16, upgradable to iOS 16.0.2.
  • Rear camera: Wide (main): 12 MP, f/1.5, 26mm, 1/1.7″, 1.9µm, dual pixel PDAF, sensor-shift OIS; Ultra wide angle: 12 MP, f/2.4, 13mm, 120-degree.
  • Front camera: Wide: 12 MP, f/1.9, 23mm, 1/3.6″, PDAF.
  • Video capture: Rear camera: 4K@24/25/30/60fps, 1080p@25/30/60/120/240fps, HDR, Dolby Vision HDR (up to 60fps), Cinematic mode (4K@30fps), stereo sound rec; Front camera: 4K@24/25/30/60fps, 1080p@25/30/60/120fps, gyro-EIS.
  • Battery: 3279mAh; Fast charging, 50% in 30 min (advertised), USB Power Delivery 2.0, MagSafe fast wireless charging 15W, Qi wireless charging 7.5W.
  • Misc: Face ID, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer; NFC; stereo speakers; Ultra Wideband (UWB) support, Emergency SOS via satellite (SMS sending/receiving).

The vanilla iPhone 14 even starts at $799 in the US, just like its predecessor, so it occupies the same segment and fills the same shoes if it were. That said, most markets outside the US have a price hike on the iPhone 14, and the iPhone 13 has come down in price since its launch. Even in the US, it is now $100 or so cheaper.

So, we have our work cut out for us, and the real question here is clear as day – is the iPhone 14 better than the iPhone 13 and is it worth shelling out a bit more for it instead?

Unboxing

Before we really dig into the iPhone 14 to see just how much different and potentially better it is, let’s start simple with its retail package. Apple basically created the new standard for the “bare minimum” accessory package and is not about to suddenly become more generous in that department.

We have the typical Apple affair – minimal in and out. The two-piece white cardboard box is very small in every dimension.

Apple iPhone 14 review

Inside the box, you’ll find a relatively short 1-meter long USB Type-C to Lightning cable, a SIM ejector tool (outside the US, where the iPhone 14 is e-SIM only and lacks a physical SIM tray) and some leaflets. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less.

Design

Externally, the iPhone 14 is identical to the iPhone 13. It has the same 6.1-inch display-diagonal with the exact same notch. Its general shape and curves are exactly the same, and so is the in-hand feel.

Apple iPhone 14 review

Measuring 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.8 mm, the iPhone 14 is just minutely thicker than the iPhone 13 by 0.1mm and is exactly identical in every other dimension. The two are so similar, in fact, that most iPhone 13 cases, except for the most precisely cut ones, do actually fit on the iPhone 14. The new model tips the scale at 172 grams – two grams lighter than its predecessor. Regardless, it still manages to pack a slightly bigger 3279 mAh battery (39 mAh extra).

Apple iPhone 14 review

The iPhone 14 comes in a rich selection of colors. Midnight is Apple’s take on black, and Starlight is the company’s signature silver/white hue. There is also a Product RED finish available, a new shade of Blue, and a whole new Purple color, which are slightly different from what we’ve seen before. Our review unit is in Apple’s gorgeous baby or sky Blue.

Build quality

Apple has a great track record when it comes to impeccable build quality. The iPhone 14 is no exception. Just like its predecessor, its body is a “glass sandwich” with scratch-resistant Ceramic Shield on the front of the device, an unnamed glass at the back and an aluminum middle frame to hold everything together.

Apple iPhone 14 review

The IP68 ingress protection rating is still in place. It promises that the phone will be ok after a dip in fresh water up to six meters for up to thirty minutes. Not too shabby at all.

Circling back to the “glass sandwich” analogy, it has arguably never been more fitting than for the iPhone 14. Apple didn’t go into much detail during its announcement presentation, but it did mention that the internals of the phone have been redesigned, going from the iPhone 13 to the iPhone 14.

In reality, this redesign is quite major and very significant. Though the iPhone 14 definitely looks identical to the 13 on the outside, inside, Apple has done some major rearrangements, essentially flipping over the internals 180 degrees. You can check out the excellent disassembly video over at IFIXIT to get a better idea of what has transpired.

In a nutshell, Apple engineers have put a lot of effort into making the iPhone 14 more easily repairable than its predecessor by a big margin. The rear glass panel has been one of the most difficult parts to replace for a few iPhone generations now. On the iPhone 14, it is no longer tightly glued to the internals and instead comes off as a separate piece just like the display does (with a little heat and a bit of “encouragement”). This makes it super easy to replace.

Apple iPhone 14 review

As for the bit about the internals being flipped over – that now means that things like the battery are accessible from the back side of the phone rather than the front. The above photo, courtesy of IFIXIT, illustrates the change perfectly.

Credit where credit is due – Apple did actually spend a lot of effort redesigning the iPhone 14 in a major way, just not externally. Better and easier repairability is a major bonus for the user and a great eco-friendly measure.

To be clear, however, Apple’s annoying practice of requiring official software activation for various replacement parts is still alive and present on the iPhone 14. Some reports even indicate that a back glass swap might require activation. So, Cupertino still maintains its dubious practices, and repairability is not all sunshine and roses.

Controls and connectivity

There is almost nothing particularly interesting about the controls on the iPhone 14. The layout is your typical Apple affair. The right-hand side of the phone houses the power button.

Apple iPhone 14 review

On the opposite side are the two volume buttons and the signature iPhone alert slider above. Our unit has the nano-SIM tray a bit lower down the frame, but only because we have a European unit.

If you live in the US, this year, the entire iPhone 14 lineup just uses eSIM with no physical SIM slot whatsoever. Yet another case of Cupertino boldly taking the steps required to retire some I/O and set a precedent for the industry to follow.

Apple iPhone 14 review

The top of the iPhone 14 is empty, sans an antenna line on the aluminum middle frame.

Apple iPhone 14 review

The bottom houses the typical Apple lightning connector. It is disappointing that even in 2022, it is still only wired for USB 2.0 (480 Mbps max) data transfer and lacks fancy features like video output. It can do audio out, though and also supports USB Power Delivery 2.0 for charging.

Apple iPhone 14 review

Also, on this side, the main microphone and a dedicated bottom-firing speaker are found. The iPhone 14 has a hybrid stereo speaker setup with the earpiece acting like the second channel. It sits above the display.

Apple iPhone 14 review

Speaking of the front of the iPhone 14, its main and instantly-recognizable fixture remains the sizeable notch. Unlike the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, the vanilla 14 doesn’t get the new Dynamic island. What the traditional notch does house, however, is the new and improved 12MP selfie camera now equipped with autofocus.

The FaceID tech is also crammed in there and works just as great as always. It is snappy and extremely accurate and, in our mind, makes up for the lack of a fingerprint scanner.

In case you were wondering, there is no notification LED on the iPhone 14.

Judging by our testing, there seems to be a proper proximity sensor on board, but it is likely placed underneath the display.

Apple iPhone 14 review

The iPhone 14 naturally has a lot in common with the iPhone 13 in terms of connectivity, given that the two share the same Apple A15 Bionic chipset. This includes things like SA/NSA 5G connectivity, Wi-Fi 6, GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, BDS and QZSS, NFC and Ultra Wideband (UWB).

Apple iPhone 14 review

The iPhone 14 has some new additions, like Bluetooth 5.3 and, more interesting still – satellite connectivity for emergency SMS-based communication while off the grid and outside network coverage. The tech is new and exciting and has many potential applications, but we are yet to see it in action since it will be available starting in November in the US and Canada.

Familiar Super Retina XDR OLED display

The iPhone 14 has the exact same, fairly-compact 6.1-inch display-diagonal as the iPhone 13. In fact, looking at some of the performance characteristics and Apple’s branding, the two phones might very well share the exact same panel. Apple markets it as a Super Retina XDR OLED, with a resolution of 1170 x 2532 pixels and an incredibly sharp 460 ppi pixel density.

Apple iPhone 14 review

It is a truly gorgeous panel that gets plenty bright. We managed to get 804 nits from it by maxing out the brightness slider. That’s very respectable and quite usable outdoors. Apple advertises 1200 nits of peak brightness, which is also technically true, but only achievable while a very small portion of the OLED panel is lit up.

Display test 100% brightness
Black,cd/m2 White,cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Apple iPhone 14 Pro (Max Auto) 0 1791
Apple iPhone 13 Pro (Max Auto) 0 1063
Samsung Galaxy S22 (Max Auto) 0 982
Google Pixel 6a (Max Auto) 0 876
Apple iPhone 13 Pro 0 856
Apple iPhone 14 Pro 0 842
Apple iPhone 13 mini 0 831
Asus Zenfone 9 (Max Auto) 0 831
Apple iPhone 14 0 804
Apple iPhone 13 0 802
Samsung Galaxy S22 (Extra brightness) 0 757
Sony Xperia 10 IV 0 683
Apple iPhone SE (2022) 0.425 605 1424:1
Google Pixel 6a 0 505
Samsung Galaxy S22 0 465
Asus Zenfone 9 0 449

One thing worth noting, though, is the fact that, just like its predecessor, the iPhone 14 lacks any max auto brightness mode to let it shine beyond what is achievable with the slider. That functionality is still reserved for the Pro models. Also worth noting is that the display’s minimum brightness is quite low, making it perfect for nighttime usage.

In terms of color accuracy, the iPhone 14 targets the sRGB color space in most apps, including the one we use for testing purposes. The panel is incredibly color accurate. Definitely good enough for color-critical work.

The iPhone 14’s display is also certified for both HDR10 and Dolby Vision. The phone has all of the necessary DRM certifications, as you would expect, allowing third-party services like Netflix or YouTube to offer HDR streams.

Apple does its HDR video playback in a very flexible way since it’s not necessary for the content to be displayed full-screen for HDR to work. It can just work on the portion of the display that has the video playing, which is a bit of a surreal experience the first time you encounter it.

Overall, the iPhone 14 has a gorgeous and very well-performing panel, just like the iPhone 13 before it.

We just wish Apple had started to trickle down some features like its 120Hz refresh rate to the vanilla iPhone. After all, even low-midrange Androids have at least 90Hz displays nowadays while the iPhone 14 is still stuck at 60Hz. And compared to the iPhone 14 Pros, the UI on the plain 14 feels choppy.

Battery life

The iPhone 14 has a 3279 mAh battery pack. Ever so slightly larger than the 3240 mAh inside the iPhone 13. Given that the two use the same A15 Bionic chipset and have the same display, we expect a similar battery score.

Indeed, the iPhone 14 has about the same endurance as its predecessor but does manage to improve its on-screen test scores slightly, but still by a noticeable amount. Enough to push the overall endurance score up to 90 hours.

Apple iPhone 14 review

This is a small, yet impressive uptick particularly since it seems to all be achieved with software efficiency upgrades. Well, that and the new and more energy-efficient 6nm Qualcomm 5G modem made by TSMC.

Our battery tests were automated thanks to SmartViser, using its viSerDevice app. The endurance rating denotes how long the battery charge will last you if you use the device for an hour of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily. More details can be found here.

Video test carried out in 60Hz refresh rate mode. Web browsing test done at the display’s highest refresh rate whenever possible. Refer to the respective reviews for specifics. To adjust the endurance rating formula to match your own usage patterns check out our all-time battery test results chart where you can also find all phones we’ve tested.

Charging speed

Apple doesn’t really publish the maximum charging wattage for their phones. Going by last year’s iPhone 13, though, the iPhone 14 should reach a maximum of around 23W during its charging cycle. We thus paired it with one of Apple’s 25W chargers, bought separately, of course.

Apple iPhone 14 review

Interestingly enough, charging turned out to be another area in which the iPhone 14 offers a small yet measurable improvement over the iPhone 13. It’s an iterative one for sure, but still very much present and great to see.

30min charging test (from 0%)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S22
    63%
  • Apple iPhone SE (2022)
    61%
  • Apple iPhone 13 mini
    61%
  • Apple iPhone 14
    60%
  • Apple iPhone 14 Pro
    60%
  • Asus Zenfone 9
    57%
  • Apple iPhone 13
    54%
  • Google Pixel 6a
    42%
  • Sony Xperia 10 IV (65W PD)
    26%

Time to full charge (from 0%)

Lower is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S22
    1:03h
  • Asus Zenfone 9
    1:15h
  • Apple iPhone SE (2022)
    1:18h
  • Apple iPhone 13 mini
    1:24h
  • Apple iPhone 14
    1:31h
  • Apple iPhone 14 Pro
    1:41h
  • Apple iPhone 13
    1:46h
  • Google Pixel 6a
    1:51h
  • Sony Xperia 10 IV (65W PD)
    2:35h

Thirty minutes on the charger got the iPhone 14 from dead all the way up to 60% charge, and a full top-off took just over an hour and a half.

Apple claims it uses standard USB Power Delivery for its charging, with the fairly-old PD 2.0 protocol. Hence, it shouldn’t be hard to find a good third-party charger for the iPhone 14. One that might just be cheaper than Apple’s or offer more flexibility.

Speakers

The iPhone 13 carried forward the powerful speaker setup from the iPhone 12, and now the iPhone 14 is doing the same once again. The first speaker is inside the notch and acts as an earpiece when necessary, while the other is at the bottom, next to the Lightning port.

Apple iPhone 14 review

The speakers support spatial audio and Dolby Atmos; we know we’ve said this before, but the output sounds exactly as promised – less directional and more spatial than other phones.

Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple is anything but inconsistent. Once again, this set of speakers managed a Very Good mark for loudness in our proprietary testing, just like last year and the year before that.

The audio quality is expectedly amazing – there is nice bass, the mid-tones are lovely, and the high notes are superb as well. Indeed, the iPhone 14 has some of the best stereo speakers a smartphone of its size can offer right now.

Use the Playback controls to listen to the phone sample recordings (best use headphones). We measure the average loudness of the speakers in LUFS. A lower absolute value means a louder sound. A look at the frequency response chart will tell you how far off the ideal “0db” flat line is the reproduction of the bass, treble, and mid frequencies. You can add more phones to compare how they differ. The scores and ratings are not comparable with our older loudspeaker test. Learn more about how we test here.

Apple iOS 16 on the iPhone 14

All new iPhones come with Apple’s iOS 16 out of the box. As usual, it’s not a groundbreaking update over iOS 15, but it does improve on the lockscreen, the notification management, the Messaging app, and the privacy options, among other things. And, in typical Apple fashion, some features were left for a later date.

Apple iPhone 14 review

Let’s take a closer look at the iPhone 14 Pro’s iOS 16 now. Its interface is still based on homescreens populated with apps and widgets, App Library for your less important apps, and Notification and Control Centers.

Apple iPhone 14 review

The lockscreen on iOS 16 is the first thing that’s been overhauled, though it still follows the same logic – it’s one with the Notification Center and houses your notifications (privacy options are available), plus shortcuts for the torch and the camera. There is also an Always-on option for the first time ever, but it’s available only on the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max. You can get past the lockscreen via Face ID or PIN if you’ve opted for secure unlock.

You can customize your lockscreen by picking some cool wallpapers and adding a row of widgets (up to four). There can’t be more than one row of widgets, though. The neat thing is that you can build a couple of different lockscreens and switch them on the go (tap and hold, then swipe). This way, you can easily change the look of the homescreen/notification center on the go depending on your mood or work.

Lockscreen customization - Apple iPhone 14 review
Lockscreen customization - Apple iPhone 14 review
Lockscreen customization - Apple iPhone 14 review
Lockscreen customization - Apple iPhone 14 review
Lockscreen customization - Apple iPhone 14 review

Lockscreen customization

Another change here is that the notifications now roll up from the bottom of the screen, which is more convenient for browsing through them. There are different notification display options – stack, list, or just a count.

Lockscreen customization - Apple iPhone 14 review
Lockscreen customization - Apple iPhone 14 review
Lockscreen customization - Apple iPhone 14 review
Lockscreen customization - Apple iPhone 14 review

Lockscreen customization

You can also pair your homescreen look with the lockscreen and change both in one go.

Switching lockscreen and homescreens on the go - Apple iPhone 14 review
Switching lockscreen and homescreens on the go - Apple iPhone 14 review
Switching lockscreen and homescreens on the go - Apple iPhone 14 review

Switching lockscreen and homescreens on the go

Your apps usually populate the homescreen(s) and widgets. There are two specific screens – the leftmost is the Today page, while the rightmost one – App Library.

You can hide specific homescreens – you may have a page that’s full of games and hide it when at work or hide a page of work/school apps when on vacation. You can’t opt out of Today and App Library, though.

Lockscreen - Apple iPhone 14 review
Homescreen - Apple iPhone 14 review
Today - Apple iPhone 14 review
App Library - Apple iPhone 14 review
Hide homescreens - Apple iPhone 14 review

Lockscreen • Homescreen • Today • App Library • Hide homescreens

Apple iOS 16 has an improved Focus mode – now, you can assign a Focus mode on each lockscreen preset you create. And in addition to all other ways of switching between Focuses, now switching between lockscreen also changes the Focus mode.

There are different Focus modes like Work, Personal, Driving, Gaming, Do Not Disturb, among others, highly customizable at that. And you can create and automate you own, of course.

Focus modes - Apple iPhone 14 review
Focus modes - Apple iPhone 14 review
Focus modes - Apple iPhone 14 review
Focus modes - Apple iPhone 14 review
Focus modes - Apple iPhone 14 review

Focus modes

The new iOS 16 also introduces Focus filters, which can affect different apps, with a dedicated API available to developers as well. With these filters, apps like messages and mail clients can automatically filter their content as predefined by the user within the Focus mode.

Focus filters - Apple iPhone 14 review
Focus filters - Apple iPhone 14 review
Focus filters - Apple iPhone 14 review
Focus filters - Apple iPhone 14 review

Focus filters

Widgets can be placed on any of the homescreens and the Today page, and they can coexist with app icons. There are three widget sizes supported by iOS – 2×2, 4×2, and 4×4. You can stack widgets of the same size on top of one another, and, optionally, they can rotate automatically.

Widgets - Apple iPhone 14 review
Widgets - Apple iPhone 14 review
Widgets - Apple iPhone 14 review
Stacked Widgets - Apple iPhone 14 review

Widgets • Widgets • Widgets • Stacked Widgets

The App Library is an app drawer, which is always your rightmost homescreen pane. Apps are added automatically to the App Library upon installation. The sorting is also an automatic process, and you can’t edit the categories or move apps into different categories. The app sorting depends on the App Store tags the developer has used upon uploading the apps.

App Library - Apple iPhone 14 review
App Library - Apple iPhone 14 review

App Library

The Today page is still alive. You can put the same widgets and stacks you can on your homescreens. Here you can also use the old third-party widgets that haven’t been optimized yet for newer iOS versions. The old widgets come right after the new ones, should you choose to use some new ones, of course. It’s a pity this Today page cannot be disabled, as we found it mostly useless.

Apple iPhone 14 review

The Notification Center is summoned with a swipe from the left horn or the notch. The pane was unified with the lockscreen in iOS 11, and that’s why you can have different wallpapers on your homescreen and notification center.

The Control Center, which has customizable and (some) expandable toggles, is called with a swipe from the right horn. You can use haptic touch to access additional controls. And the battery percentage is also here.

Today - Apple iPhone 14 review
Today settings - Apple iPhone 14 review
Notification Center - Apple iPhone 14 review
Control Center - Apple iPhone 14 review

Today • Today settings • Notification Center • Control Center

Other key improvements coming with iOS 16 include improved Mail app; the options to edit and unsend messages in Messages app; the completely redesigned Home app; and the availability of the Fitness app for everybody, even those without an Apple Watch.

FaceTime has also been improved with better hand-off functionality across devices – now it also includes your wireless headphones, too.

The Photos app has an option to discover duplicate photos. Hidden and Deleted albums now require Face ID/Touch ID.

The Wallet app and functionality have been drastically expanded. In addition to all sorts of keys you can store here, the app now supports detailed receipts and tracking information.

Digital Keys and Digital ID functionality via Wallet have been expanded, too. Now various apps can use basic information from here to verify your identity if you are of a certain age. Sharing car and home keys is also possible between family members.

Apple iPhone 14 review

Finally, the Health app now supports medication tracking in addition to all sorts of important medical and fitness information.

The multimedia is handled by Apple’s default apps – Photos, Music, TV.

The Photos app’s library has four different views – Years, Months, Days, and All Photos. As usual, AI-powered search options and powerful photo and video edit modes are available.

The TV app is part of iOS 16 and is your default video player for locally stored movies and shows you’ve added via iTunes. This is also the digital store for movies and TV shows, and it is also the place where you find the Apple TV+ streaming service. A bit overwhelming, but you get used to it eventually.

Photos - Apple iPhone 14 review
Photos - Apple iPhone 14 review
Photos - Apple iPhone 14 review
TV - Apple iPhone 14 review
TV - Apple iPhone 14 review
TV - Apple iPhone 14 review

Photos • Photos • Photos • TV • TV • TV

Music is the default player, and it relies heavily on Apple Music. But even if you decide not to use the streaming service, it can still do an excellent job if you have a few minutes to add your songs via iTunes.

Music - Apple iPhone 14 review
Music - Apple iPhone 14 review
Music - Apple iPhone 14 review
Music - Apple iPhone 14 review

Music

Books are here for your documents, PDFs, and eBooks. Stocks and News are onboard. Safari is your default web browser, and Apple Maps is your default map client.

Books - Apple iPhone 14 review
Books - Apple iPhone 14 review
Stocks - Apple iPhone 14 review
Safari - Apple iPhone 14 review

Books • Books • Stocks • Safari

Finally, Live Text has been part of iOS for a year now, but it has been immensely improved in iOS 16. It now works on both photos and videos and is powered by advanced machine learning. It can easily recognize texts and photos and allows for Look Up right away. What’s even cooler is that you can now choose an object from a photo/video, tap and hold on it, and then drag it and use it wherever you like – photo editor, video editor, messages, emails, whatever.

Live Text - Apple iPhone 14 review
Live Text - Apple iPhone 14 review
Live Text - Apple iPhone 14 review
Live Text - Apple iPhone 14 review
Live Text - Apple iPhone 14 review
Live Text - Apple iPhone 14 review

Live Text

All of the new iPhone 14 models also get a new Crash Detection feature. It leverages data from a number of sensors on the phone, including a new HDR gyro and high-g accelerometer, to determine if the user has been in a serious car crash and then contact emergency services. Apple doesn’t go into detail as to what constitutes a serious enough crash, and we are not about to go and test it for ourselves, so just know that the feature is there.

And those are the basics of Apple iOS 16 running on the iPhone 14 series. The vanilla iPhone 14 lacks the Dynamic Island and Always On Display, which are both new additions to the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max. You can check those out in the corresponding reviews.

One final thing worth mentioning concerns software support and future iOS updates. Apple generally has a great track record for long-term support of its handsets. Though this is all speculation and not officially confirmed in any capacity, it stands to reason that reusing last year’s A15 Bionic in this year’s iPhone 14 might just extend support for the chip and the devices using it. That could potentially eventually be a bonus to iPhone 13 generation owners as well. Again, this is just speculation on our end, but a pretty logical one.

Synthetic benchmarks

The iPhone 14 carries forward Apple’s last-gen A15 Bionic chipset. More specifically, it’s the “higher-tier” variant with five GPU cores, as found in the iPhone 13 Pro models. So, we can probably expect a small uptick in graphical performance over the iPhone 13 and its four GPU cores.

Apple iPhone 14 review

In the CPU department, the 5nm A15 Bionic has a Hexa-core (2×3.23 GHz Avalanche + 4×1.82 GHz Blizzard) configuration – the same as last year.

Another thing that differentiates the iPhone 14 from the iPhone 13 is RAM. The new model has 6GB of RAM instead of 4GB. This should help in fluidity and keep apps alive in the background. So, all things considered, physically, the iPhone 14 might be a copy of the iPhone 13, but internally it borrows from the iPhone 13 Pro instead. While you aren’t getting the latest and greatest A16 Bionic, this is still a nice little bump in hardware.

Despite being a bit older, the A15 Bionic is still an incredibly powerful chip. It excels in CPU tests, only outpaced by the A16 Bionic.

GeekBench 5 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 14 Pro
    5346
  • Apple iPhone 14
    4761
  • Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
    4706
  • Apple iPhone 13 Pro
    4705
  • Apple iPhone 13 mini
    4681
  • Apple iPhone 13
    4645
  • Apple iPhone SE (2022)
    4629
  • ROG Phone 6D Ultimate (X Mode+)
    4575
  • Asus Zenfone 9 (High Performance)
    4338
  • Realme GT2 Explorer Master
    4021
  • Samsung Galaxy S22
    3682
  • Asus Zenfone 9 (Dynamic)
    3606
  • ROG Phone 6D Ultimate
    3505
  • Google Pixel 6a
    2876

GeekBench 5 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 14 Pro
    1861
  • Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
    1741
  • Apple iPhone 14
    1738
  • Apple iPhone 13 mini
    1735
  • Apple iPhone 13 Pro
    1731
  • Apple iPhone SE (2022)
    1729
  • Apple iPhone 13
    1727
  • ROG Phone 6D Ultimate (X Mode+)
    1360
  • Realme GT2 Explorer Master
    1336
  • Asus Zenfone 9 (High Performance)
    1313
  • Samsung Galaxy S22
    1171
  • Google Pixel 6a
    1047
  • ROG Phone 6D Ultimate
    1001
  • Asus Zenfone 9 (Dynamic)
    927

The more compound AnTuTu benchmark is also very favorable towards the iPhone 14. It manages to perform on par with the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max and is outshined by the iPhone 14 Pro.

AnTuTu 9

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 14 Pro
    968412
  • Apple iPhone 14
    817125
  • Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
    801691
  • Apple iPhone 13 Pro
    794348
  • Apple iPhone 13
    775519
  • Apple iPhone 13 mini
    772512
  • Apple iPad mini (2021)
    766065
  • Apple iPhone SE (2022)
    723486

GFXBench was less than stable on iOS 16 and had its fair share of issues, visual and otherwise. We wouldn’t necessarily trust its results, particularly the off-screen ones. Even so, the iPhone 14 holds its own.

GFX Aztek Vulkan High (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 14 Pro
    60
  • Apple iPhone 13 Pro
    60
  • Apple iPhone 14
    55
  • Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
    55
  • Apple iPhone 13
    55
  • Apple iPad mini (2021)
    47

GFX Aztek Vulkan High (offscreen 1440p)

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 13 Pro
    50
  • Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
    50
  • Apple iPhone 14 Pro
    42
  • Apple iPad mini (2021)
    40
  • Apple iPhone 14
    38
  • Apple iPhone 13
    34

GFX Car Chase ES 3.1 (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 14
    60
  • Apple iPhone 14 Pro
    60
  • Apple iPhone SE (2022)
    60
  • Apple iPhone 13 mini
    60
  • Apple iPhone 13 Pro
    60
  • Apple iPad mini (2021)
    60
  • Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
    60
  • Apple iPhone 13
    59

GFX Car Chase ES 3.1 (offscreen 1080p)

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
    121
  • Apple iPhone 13 Pro
    119
  • Apple iPhone 14 Pro
    112
  • Apple iPad mini (2021)
    108
  • Apple iPhone 13 mini
    107
  • Apple iPhone 13
    98
  • Apple iPhone SE (2022)
    97
  • Apple iPhone 14
    91

GFX Manhattan ES 3.1 (offscreen 1080p)

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 14 Pro
    196
  • Apple iPhone 13 Pro
    181
  • Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
    178
  • Apple iPad mini (2021)
    161
  • Apple iPhone 14
    151
  • Apple iPhone 13 mini
    150
  • Apple iPhone 13
    150
  • Apple iPhone SE (2022)
    146

GFX Manhattan ES 3.0 (offscreen 1080p)

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
    256
  • Apple iPhone 13 Pro
    252
  • Apple iPhone 14 Pro
    243
  • Apple iPad mini (2021)
    233
  • Apple iPhone 13
    222
  • Apple iPhone 14
    217
  • Apple iPhone 13 mini
    211
  • Apple iPhone SE (2022)
    60

Finally, here is 3DMark. We got pretty expected results compared to the iPhone 14 Pro.

3DMark Wild Life Extreme (offscreen 1440p)

Higher is better

  • Apple iPhone 14 Pro
    3368
  • Apple iPhone 14
    2936

We made sure to test the stability and thermal-throttling characteristics of the iPhone 14 as well. The phone throttles its performance quite a bit with prolonged loads but does so quite gradually, with no sudden drops, which is good to see. We guess that’s the price to pay for the new, more repair-friendly internal design.

Thermal-throttling and performance - Apple iPhone 14 review
Thermal-throttling and performance - Apple iPhone 14 review
Thermal-throttling and performance - Apple iPhone 14 review

Thermal-throttling and performance

In practical terms, the iPhone 14 gets moderately hot after a prolonged load. Even then, however, the A15 Bionic still has enough “oomph” to deliver a smooth experience.

Overall, we had absolutely no performance issues with the iPhone 14. Old chipset or not, it still performs great with superbly smooth general UX and chews through every task we throw at the phone, from productivity to gaming. You shouldn’t have any purchasing hesitation regarding performance with the iPhone 14 at all.

Dual camera, from the 13 Pro and autofocus selfie

The iPhone 14 has a pair of cameras on the back. Neither seems to actually be new. In this case, the main 12MP camera appears to be lifted from the iPhone 13 Pro. That means that compared to the iPhone 13, it has a brighter f/1.5 aperture and larger 1.9µm pixels. So, an overall brighter sensor that’s likely on par with the iPhone 13 Pro’s.

Apple iPhone 14 review

Then there is the 12MP ultrawide camera, with its 120-degree field of view and f/2.4 aperture. It seems to be identical to the ultrawide on the vanilla iPhone 13. We expect similar performance there.

Not necessarily identical, though, since Apple has a new processing pipeline in place for the iPhone 14 generation. It is called the Photonic Engine. That’s just a fancy name for Apple’s latest HDR stacking technology. The older version used to be called Deep Fusion. In comparison, the Photonic Engine merges more images into one and also uses uncompressed images for the merge process.

Apple iPhone 14 review

The 12MP selfie camera is arguably the biggest new innovation to the camera setup on the vanilla iPhone because of the addition of phase detection autofocus – a feature previously reserved for the Pro models. Any of you vloggers or “TikTok-ers” out there should rejoice.

Camera app and features

The viewfinder has been mostly the same since the iOS 13 and the iPhone 11 – you can see outside of the viewfinder thanks to the precise calibration of the two cameras that allows seeing what will be left outside of the frame in real-time.

The Apple image processing includes all legacy features like Smart HDR, Night Mode on all cameras, and now Photonic Engine.

The Night Mode icon pops up automatically when a low-light scene presents itself, and it will take a pseudo-long-exposure shot – all handheld, of course. You will see the seconds suggested next to the Night Mode icon, but if you tap on it, you can change the simulated long exposure or altogether disable it. Usually, it’s between 1 and 2 seconds, but sometimes the phone allows you to go for up to 30 seconds depending on the environmental light or its lack thereof. You can use this mode on the main, the ultrawide, and even the selfie snapper.

Apple iPhone 14 review

As usual, all cameras talk to each other, so they already know the correct exposure and tone mapping settings when you switch between them. This applies to both stills and videos.

The camera interface is mostly unchanged. You swipe between modes and have a couple of settings you can uncover with an upward swipe – flash, night mode, live photo, photo aspect, exposure compensation, and filters. In video mode, you can change the resolution and frame rate from the viewfinder.

Camera app - Apple iPhone 14 review
Ultrawide - Apple iPhone 14 review
Night Mode - Apple iPhone 14 review
Photographic styles - Apple iPhone 14 review
Photographic styles - Apple iPhone 14 review
Photographic styles - Apple iPhone 14 review

Camera app • Ultrawide • Night Mode • Photographic styles

Portrait mode is available on the main and the selfie cameras. Even though some camera features have trickled down to the vanilla iPhone, there is still no RAW support on the iPhone 14.

Introduced last year, Photographic Styles is present in the camera app. It automatically edits a photo, one element at a time (applying different corrections to the subject and background, for example). You can choose between Standard, Rich Contrast, Vibrant, Warm, and Cool. You can tune each of these modes to your liking and set your preferred one as default. It’s like filters but more permanent.

Cinematic mode is also present and carried forward from the iPhone 13 generation. It does automatic rack focus, but the phone records a depth map alongside the video, so you can change the focus point manually after the fact. Editing such videos is possible in iMovie and Clips apps.

Cinematic mode and Action mode - Apple iPhone 14 review
Cinematic mode and Action mode - Apple iPhone 14 review
Cinematic mode and Action mode - Apple iPhone 14 review

Cinematic mode and Action mode

New for this year – Action mode is available on all iPhone 14 models. It is an enhanced video stabilization mode that is meant for really dynamic and action-filled scenes and situations. We’ve included some test footage further down the page.

Daylight photo quality

As we mentioned already, the iPhone 14 borrows its main 12MP camera from last year’s Pro models. If there is one thing that Cupertino deserves incredible praise for in the camera department, it has to be consistency. Both shot to shot on any given device and year over year. These photos are expectedly characteristically iPhone photos. That means they’re not overly exciting in terms of color – natural is the operative word here, though some may use more expressive terms. They’re not overtly HDR-y either – iPhones aren’t afraid of clipping some of the highlights or underdeveloping the deepest shadows if it’s needed to get that characteristic contrasty look.

Detail is no different than any of the 12MP cameras on the market – it’s plenty. There’s hardly any noise to speak of, but not everyone will be a fan of the somewhat overprocessed rendition of intricate detail that outresolves the sensor.

Apple iPhone 14: 12MP main camera samples - f/1.5, ISO 50, 1/5587s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 12MP main camera samples - f/1.5, ISO 50, 1/1280s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 12MP main camera samples - f/1.5, ISO 50, 1/4444s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 14: 12MP main camera samples - f/1.5, ISO 50, 1/5587s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 12MP main camera samples - f/1.5, ISO 50, 1/4115s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 12MP main camera samples - f/1.5, ISO 50, 1/3571s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 14: 12MP main camera samples - f/1.5, ISO 50, 1/6993s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 12MP main camera samples - f/1.5, ISO 50, 1/3571s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 14: 12MP main camera samples

We took the liberty of going out with the vanilla iPhone 13 to capture some comparison shots for you as well and will be sprinkling them alongside samples from the iPhone 14. In good lighting conditions during the day, the main cameras on both phones produce remarkably similar photos.

Apple iPhone 13: 12MP main camera samples - f/1.6, ISO 50, 1/4854s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 13: 12MP main camera samples - f/1.6, ISO 50, 1/1199s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 13: 12MP main camera samples - f/1.6, ISO 50, 1/3623s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 13: 12MP main camera samples - f/1.6, ISO 50, 1/4484s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 13: 12MP main camera samples - f/1.6, ISO 50, 1/3521s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 13: 12MP main camera samples - f/1.6, ISO 50, 1/3049s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 13: 12MP main camera samples - f/1.6, ISO 50, 1/5848s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 13: 12MP main camera samples - f/1.6, ISO 50, 1/2825s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 13: 12MP main camera samples

The differences are very minute and often not there at all. For instance, the iPhone 14 seems to sharpen finer detail just slightly more than its predecessor and consistently has slightly shorter exposure times, presumably thanks to its brighter lens. Again though, we can hardly tell the two apart.

The main camera captures very competent portrait shots. Subject detection and separation are nearly perfect, and the background blur is of high quality and convincing. The studio lighting effects are still just as fun to play with as they were back when Apple introduced them.

Apple iPhone 14: 12MP main camera portrait samples - f/1.5, ISO 100, 1/121s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 12MP main camera portrait samples - f/1.5, ISO 125, 1/79s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 12MP main camera portrait samples - f/1.5, ISO 125, 1/77s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 14: 12MP main camera portrait samples - f/1.5, ISO 50, 1/1645s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 12MP main camera portrait samples - f/1.5, ISO 125, 1/78s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 12MP main camera portrait samples - f/1.5, ISO 125, 1/77s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 14: 12MP main camera portrait samples

The iPhone 14 lacks a dedicated telephoto, which means it is stuck with digital zoom from the main camera. At 2x zoom photos look nearly identical in overall quality to 1x ones. Impressive stuff all around.

Apple iPhone 14: 12MP main camera 2x zoom samples - f/1.5, ISO 50, 1/6579s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 12MP main camera 2x zoom samples - f/1.5, ISO 50, 1/873s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 12MP main camera 2x zoom samples - f/1.5, ISO 50, 1/5882s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 14: 12MP main camera 2x zoom samples - f/1.5, ISO 50, 1/8000s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 12MP main camera 2x zoom samples - f/1.5, ISO 50, 1/6211s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 12MP main camera 2x zoom samples - f/1.5, ISO 50, 1/4115s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 14: 12MP main camera 2x zoom samples - f/1.5, ISO 50, 1/12658s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 12MP main camera 2x zoom samples - f/1.5, ISO 50, 1/3257s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 14: 12MP main camera 2x zoom samples

Here are the same shots as captured by the iPhone 13.

Apple iPhone 13: 12MP main camera 2x zoom samples - f/1.6, ISO 50, 1/4854s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 13: 12MP main camera 2x zoom samples - f/1.6, ISO 50, 1/696s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 13: 12MP main camera 2x zoom samples - f/1.6, ISO 50, 1/4651s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 13: 12MP main camera 2x zoom samples - f/1.6, ISO 50, 1/6494s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 13: 12MP main camera 2x zoom samples - f/1.6, ISO 50, 1/5076s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 13: 12MP main camera 2x zoom samples - f/1.6, ISO 50, 1/3413s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 13: 12MP main camera 2x zoom samples - f/1.6, ISO 50, 1/6897s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 13: 12MP main camera 2x zoom samples - f/1.6, ISO 50, 1/2688s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 13: 12MP main camera 2x zoom samples

And here’s the iPhone 14 in our extensive photo compare database. Pixel-peep away.

Photo Compare Tool
Photo Compare Tool
Photo Compare Tool

Apple iPhone 14 against the Apple iPhone 13 and the Apple iPhone 13 Pro in our Photo compare tool

On to the 12MP ultrawide camera. Unlike the main cam, it is carried forward from the vanilla iPhone 13 instead of the Pro models. That means that, among other things, it lacks autofocus and can’t double as a macro shooter.

The photos it captures are pretty wide. Resolved detail is solid, contrast is great, and color rendition is very accurate. Dynamic range is nearly identical to the main camera. That is to say, well balanced, but not too wide.

Foliage and other small details can sometimes look like oil paintings with this cam due to the smaller pixels and overall less detail to work with.

Apple iPhone 14: 12MP ultrawide camera samples - f/2.4, ISO 32, 1/1292s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 12MP ultrawide camera samples - f/2.4, ISO 32, 1/294s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 12MP ultrawide camera samples - f/2.4, ISO 32, 1/995s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 14: 12MP ultrawide camera samples - f/2.4, ISO 32, 1/1233s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 12MP ultrawide camera samples - f/2.4, ISO 32, 1/960s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 12MP ultrawide camera samples - f/2.4, ISO 32, 1/809s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 14: 12MP ultrawide camera samples - f/2.4, ISO 32, 1/1754s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 12MP ultrawide camera samples - f/2.4, ISO 32, 1/834s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 14: 12MP ultrawide camera samples

And once again, here is the iPhone 13 and its ultrawide camera capturing the same shots. These are even more similar to the iPhone 14 ones than those from the main camera. Both phones do have the same ultrawide snapper, after all.

Apple iPhone 13: 12MP ultrawide camera samples - f/2.4, ISO 32, 1/1263s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 13: 12MP ultrawide camera samples - f/2.4, ISO 32, 1/318s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 13: 12MP ultrawide camera samples - f/2.4, ISO 32, 1/943s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 13: 12MP ultrawide camera samples - f/2.4, ISO 32, 1/1167s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 13: 12MP ultrawide camera samples - f/2.4, ISO 32, 1/889s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 13: 12MP ultrawide camera samples - f/2.4, ISO 32, 1/774s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 13: 12MP ultrawide camera samples - f/2.4, ISO 32, 1/1531s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 13: 12MP ultrawide camera samples - f/2.4, ISO 32, 1/732s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 13: 12MP ultrawide camera samples

Selfies

Selfies from the 12MP camera are spectacular. Resolved detail is great. Skin texture and tones look very natural and detailed. Contrast and dynamic range also deserve praise. The noise is low and handled very well even when shooting indoors – something few selfie cameras can do.

Apple iPhone 14: 12MP selfie camera samples - f/1.9, ISO 125, 1/60s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 12MP selfie camera samples - f/1.9, ISO 25, 1/358s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 12MP selfie camera samples - f/1.9, ISO 25, 1/496s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 14: 12MP selfie camera samples - f/1.9, ISO 25, 1/2070s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 12MP selfie camera samples - f/1.9, ISO 25, 1/328s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 12MP selfie camera samples - f/1.9, ISO 25, 1/1684s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 14: 12MP selfie camera samples

Here are some very similar iPhone 13 selfies for comparison.

Apple iPhone 13: 12MP selfie camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 32, 1/324s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 13: 12MP selfie camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 32, 1/397s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 13: 12MP selfie camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 32, 1/1148s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 13: 12MP selfie camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 32, 1/276s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 13: 12MP selfie camera samples

Apple has been offering two Field-of-View modes on the selfie camera for a few generations already – the slightly zoomed-in 7MP crop, which is equivalent to a 30mm field of view, and the full 12MP mode, which has a 23mm equivalent FoV.

If you hold the iPhone in portrait orientation, selfies are cropped to 7MP to provide a tighter framing, but if you rotate the phone horizontally, you will get more of the scene with the camera app automatically switching to the wider 12MP mode. You can also manually switch between those two modes – there is a switch shortcut on the viewfinder.

Apple iPhone 14 review

Arguably the biggest boost to the selfie experience is the phase detection autofocus introduced to the vanilla iPhone 14. It is quite dependable and keeps the subject in focus nine out of ten times. It has its ups and down on occasion and is not the speediest of autofocus systems we’ve seen, but any vloggers or TikTok-ers out there should rejoice.

Here is a quick and admittedly silly test we did to show autofocus in action on the iPhone 14.

Apple iPhone 14: 12MP selfie camera samples - f/1.9, ISO 25, 1/202s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 12MP selfie camera samples - f/1.9, ISO 25, 1/208s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 12MP selfie camera samples - f/1.9, ISO 20, 1/156s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 14: 12MP selfie camera samples

And here’s how the iPhone 13 handles the same task of capturing a selfie at different distances.

Apple iPhone 13: 12MP selfie camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 32, 1/172s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 13: 12MP selfie camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 32, 1/172s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 13: 12MP selfie camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 25, 1/129s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 13: 12MP selfie camera samples

Portraits from the selfie camera are solid through and through. Detail is great. Skin tones are pleasant and natural. The texture is nicely captured and rendered. Subject detection and separation are also very competent.

Apple iPhone 14: 7MP selfie camera portrait samples - f/1.9, ISO 125, 1/51s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 7MP selfie camera portrait samples - f/1.9, ISO 500, 1/30s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 7MP selfie camera portrait samples - f/1.9, ISO 25, 1/217s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 14: 7MP selfie camera portrait samples

By the way, the portraits are shot in 7MP, meaning the camera crops a part of its available FoV and shows a zoomed-in shot.

Video quality

The iPhone 14 can record video at up to 4K@60fps with any of its three cameras. With the right app, it can even capture video with all three of them simultaneously.

All of the cameras also get EIS, and the main cam has OIS as well. Apple calls this cinematic video stabilization. All modes, including the 4K@60fps, also feature an expanded dynamic range thanks to the Smart HDR. The slow-mo options max out at 1080p at 240fps.

Apple iPhone 14 review

HDR video capture is also available in Dolby Vision format at up to 4K@60fps. You can edit these videos on the go on your phone. You can upload them on YouTube or any other popular platform or even send them to your friends. The Dolby Vision information is saved outside the video stream, so the video will look normal to any non-HDR player/screen and be color-boosted on any Dolby Vision-compatible player and display.

You get a choice between the more widely-compatible H.264 codec or the more efficient H.265 HEVC for video capture. The latter is required to do 4K@60fps and HDR. With the former, the iPhone 14 is limited to 4K@30fps.

The iPhone 14, just like the previous iPhones, captures wide stereo audio for the videos at about 192kbps. This is spatial sound, and it’s richer and deeper compared to just regular stereo.

4K videos from the main camera are excellent. There is plenty of detail, vibrant yet true-to-life colors, and solid dynamic range. We have no complaints whatsoever.

Here’s the iPhone 14 in our vast video compare database.

Video Compare Tool
Video Compare Tool
Video Compare Tool

Apple iPhone 14 against the Apple iPhone 13 and the Apple iPhone 13 Pro in our Video compare tool

The 4K videos from the ultrawide camera are equally brilliant. They excel in everything and have to be among the most detailed ones we’ve seen, as far as ultrawide cameras go.

The iPhone 14 has excellent stabilization all around. EIS can be had on any of its cameras, and the main one also gets the benefit of OIS. For the first time ever, there is a toggle in the Camera app settings to disable EIS, which allows us to capture the following three-way splices.

The third mode is Apple’s new Action Mode. It is meant for very dynamic scenes, like sports and offers additional smoothing at the cost of some resolution and a narrower field of view. It does a splendid job as well. Here is a running sample for your evaluation.

Selfie video from the iPhone 14 looks amazing. It is very clean and detailed. Skin texture and tone are perfect. Stabilization could be a bit better, but the bigger bumps and shakes are still handled well. In case you were wondering, there is no Action Mode available for the selfie cam.

Low-light camera quality

The main camera on the iPhone 14 captures very clean and detailed low-light shots. Noise is controlled very well and so are light sources. There is plenty of detail in the darker areas too. Overall, there are very proficient low-light shots.

Apple iPhone 14: 12MP main camera low-light samples - f/1.5, ISO 400, 1/33s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 12MP main camera low-light samples - f/1.5, ISO 640, 1/33s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 14: 12MP main camera low-light samples - f/1.5, ISO 500, 1/33s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 12MP main camera low-light samples - f/1.5, ISO 800, 1/25s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 14: 12MP main camera low-light samples

The iPhone 14 has an automatic Night mode that kicks in by itself unless specifically disabled and generally does a great job. All of the above samples were captured with it enabled and in its default automatic state. If you really want to, you can also increase night mode exposure time on a slider within a pre-determined maximum value the algorithm deems appropriate. Doing so produces very similar shots, perhaps a bit softer and with less sharpening applied. It’s probably not worth it to mess with the setting.

Apple iPhone 14: 12MP main camera night mode samples - f/1.5, ISO 400, 1/33s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 12MP main camera night mode samples - f/1.5, ISO 640, 1/33s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 14: 12MP main camera night mode samples - f/1.5, ISO 500, 1/33s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 12MP main camera night mode samples - f/1.5, ISO 800, 1/25s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 14: 12MP main camera night mode samples

Remember our earlier point about consistency and iPhones? Well, surprisingly, despite its brighter main camera lens and the new Photonic Engine, the iPhone 14 captures remarkably similar low-light photos to its iPhone 13 Predecessor.

Apple iPhone 13: 12MP main camera low-light samples - f/1.6, ISO 500, 1/33s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 13: 12MP main camera low-light samples - f/1.6, ISO 500, 1/25s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 13: 12MP main camera low-light samples - f/1.6, ISO 500, 1/25s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 13: 12MP main camera low-light samples - f/1.6, ISO 800, 1/25s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 13: 12MP main camera low-light samples

Apple iPhone 13: 12MP main camera night mode samples - f/1.6, ISO 500, 1/33s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 13: 12MP main camera night mode samples - f/1.6, ISO 640, 1/25s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 13: 12MP main camera night mode samples - f/1.6, ISO 500, 1/25s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 13: 12MP main camera night mode samples - f/1.6, ISO 500, 1/12s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 13: 12MP main camera night mode samples

You can pixel-peep for yourself, but the differences really are almost non-existent. The only major upgrade we noticed while shooting with both phones was exposure and overall capture time. The iPhone 14 was noticeably quicker than its predecessor. Both its automatic and maximum Night mode capture times were noticeably shorter than on the iPhone 13. In other words, the iPhone 13 simply needs more time and a steady hand in the process to capture night shots as good as its successor.

The iPhone 14 shoots acceptable ultrawide photos by always using the Night Mode (usually 1-2s as opposed to 2s-3s on the iPhone 13). The images offer balanced exposure and good-looking color saturation; the contrast is good, too.

Apple iPhone 14: 12MP ultrawide camera low-light samples - f/2.4, ISO 1250, 1/34s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 12MP ultrawide camera low-light samples - f/2.4, ISO 2000, 1/34s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 14: 12MP ultrawide camera low-light samples - f/2.4, ISO 1600, 1/34s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 12MP ultrawide camera low-light samples - f/2.4, ISO 2500, 1/25s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 14: 12MP ultrawide camera low-light samples

The photos are quite soft and noisy but plenty usable for looking at the phone’s screen or sharing them across various social networks.

Cranking Night mode all the way up to the longest exposure the iPhone 14 will offer does result in tangible benefits, particularly in the darkest areas of the shot. Using Night mode at its maximum setting in low light might be a good idea.

Apple iPhone 14: 12MP ultrawide camera night mode samples - f/2.4, ISO 1250, 1/17s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 12MP ultrawide camera night mode samples - f/2.4, ISO 1600, 1/17s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 14: 12MP ultrawide camera night mode samples - f/2.4, ISO 1250, 1/17s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 12MP ultrawide camera night mode samples - f/2.4, ISO 1000, 1/12s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 14: 12MP ultrawide camera night mode samples

Just like the main camera, the ultrawide on the iPhone 13 captures almost identical low-light and Night mode photos. It just takes a few seconds longer on average for the stacking to take place. If you were expecting some major upgrade to low-light photography, that’s not the case.

Apple iPhone 13: 12MP ultrawide camera low-light samples - f/2.4, ISO 1250, 1/33s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 13: 12MP ultrawide camera low-light samples - f/2.4, ISO 1600, 1/25s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 13: 12MP ultrawide camera low-light samples - f/2.4, ISO 1250, 1/25s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 13: 12MP ultrawide camera low-light samples - f/2.4, ISO 2500, 1/25s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 13: 12MP ultrawide camera low-light samples

Apple iPhone 13: 12MP ultrawide camera night mode samples - f/2.4, ISO 1250, 1/17s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 13: 12MP ultrawide camera night mode samples - f/2.4, ISO 1250, 1/12s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 13: 12MP ultrawide camera night mode samples - f/2.4, ISO 1000, 1/12s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 13: 12MP ultrawide camera night mode samples - f/2.4, ISO 1250, 1/12s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 13: 12MP ultrawide camera night mode samples

Low-light selfies from the iPhone 14 look great. Detail is plenty, and skin tones and texture are nicely captured. The autofocus is also pulling its weight.

Apple iPhone 14: 12MP selfie camera low-light samples - f/1.9, ISO 800, 1/8s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 12MP selfie camera low-light samples - f/1.9, ISO 1000, 1/17s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 12MP selfie camera low-light samples - f/1.9, ISO 1000, 1/17s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 14: 12MP selfie camera low-light samples

Just like on the rear cameras, Night mode was set to its default Auto state for these samples. You can crank it up more, but it doesn’t seem to make that much of a difference.

Apple iPhone 14: 12MP selfie camera night mode samples - f/1.9, ISO 800, 1/8s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 12MP selfie camera night mode samples - f/1.9, ISO 1000, 1/14s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 14: 12MP selfie camera night mode samples - f/1.9, ISO 1000, 1/14s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 14: 12MP selfie camera night mode samples

The selfie photos on the iPhone 14 new selfie cam look much better in low light than the one on the vanilla iPhone 13. Skin texture, in particular, is way better. So, there’s at least one clear upgrade to note.

Apple iPhone 13: 12MP selfie camera low-light samples - f/2.2, ISO 1000, 1/8s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 13: 12MP selfie camera low-light samples - f/2.2, ISO 1600, 1/14s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 13: 12MP selfie camera low-light samples - f/2.2, ISO 1600, 1/14s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 13: 12MP selfie camera low-light samples

Apple iPhone 13: 12MP selfie camera night mode samples - f/2.2, ISO 2000, 1/14s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 13: 12MP selfie camera night mode samples - f/2.2, ISO 800, 1/8s - Apple iPhone 14 review
Apple iPhone 13: 12MP selfie camera night mode samples - f/2.2, ISO 800, 1/8s - Apple iPhone 14 review

Apple iPhone 13: 12MP selfie camera night mode samples

Last but certainly not least, low-light video from the main camera on the iPhone 14 looks spectacular. Detail is amazing, and so are colors. Light sources are very well contained, and there is hardly any noise to speak of. An excellent showing all around.

The same doesn’t necessarily apply to the ultrawide camera, which is quite a bit noisier and darker. Still, its video capture is more than adequate for the hardware at hand.

Alternatives

The iPhone 14 starts at $800 in the US, but if you are outside of the US, there is a price hike compared to the MSRP of the iPhone 13. One in Europe will set you back at least EUR 1,000, barring any carrier or similar deals. That’s a pretty penny to pay for the vanilla iPhone. Apple has decided to still offer the iPhone 13 and 13 mini. If you’ve already gone through the review, then you have probably made up your mind on whether the new iPhone 14 offers enough of an upgrade for you to shell out the extra money. A vanilla iPhone 13 starts at $699, which is a decent bit of savings.

Apple iPhone 13
Google Pixel 6a
Asus Zenfone 9
Samsung Galaxy S22 5G

Apple iPhone 13 • Google Pixel 6a • Asus Zenfone 9 • Samsung Galaxy S22 5G

Part of the charm of the iPhone 14 is definitely its size. Now that there is no current “mini,” it is the smallest iPhone in this generation. And indeed, even its size is hard to come by in the Android realm, where display diagonals have only been growing steadily. Still, there are some viable options to consider. If the camera is your first priority or you are into a clean as possible OS experience, then the Google Pixel 6a might be just up your alley. Assuming, of course, that this alley is in a market where Google officially sells its phones.

Apple iPhone 14 review
Left: iPhone 13 • Right: iPhone 14

The same is mostly true of the Asus Zenfone 9. It is compact and still packs a full set of flagship features and hardware, including Qualcomm’s latest and greatest Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset and a decently large 4,300 mAh battery. Among other things.

Apple iPhone 14 review
Left: iPhone 13 • Right: iPhone 14

Sort of on the other end of the spectrum, we find the Samsung Galaxy S22 5G. It runs the company’s highly-regarded One UI UX with all of the added high-level features it includes. Plus, you still get the latest generation of Samsung hardware, including excellent cameras.

Our verdict

The iPhone 14 is very much a familiar affair. It is an incremental upgrade over last year’s model. If you didn’t have time to go through the entire review, allow us to list all of the upgrades really quicky.

The iPhone 14 has a major internal redesign that makes it more easily repairable, particularly a back panel or a display swap is now much less of a pain. The iPhone 14 has only a slightly larger battery pack but notably better battery life and even faster charging. The chipset is last year’s A15 Bionic, but with five GPU cores, 6GB of RAM (50% more), Bluetooth 5.3, a more energy-efficient Qualcomm 5G modem, new satellite connectivity for SOS messages and new Crash Detection. The camera department has a new larger 12MP main camera with a 1/1.65″ sensor, 1.9-micron pixels, a new 12MP ultrawide and a new 12MP, f/1.9 selfie camera now with autofocus onboard. There is also the new Action Mode video stabilization, 4K Cinematic mode at 30 fps and a new Photonic Engine for better low-light photos.

It’s not an insignificant list of changes once you really dig in. Some are obviously more impactful than others, and it will be up to the individual user to judge what constitutes enough reason for an upgrade. The way we see it, anybody on an iPhone 13 has little to no incentive to jump ship. Unless you really need autofocus on your selfie cam, all of those other camera improvements only realistically result in shorter capture times in low light. We would even go as far as to say that iPhone 12 users shouldn’t feel too tempted by the 14 and can hold off upgrading for at least another year.

Apple iPhone 14 review

If you are running any iPhone older than that and you are looking to upgrade, then the iPhone 14 is nothing short of a solid and dependable way to go. Sure, it is a bit on the boring side in more ways than one, but you definitely know what you are getting into. For the more adventurous or frugal, there is also the option of picking up an iPhone 13 and potentially banking on some extended software support now that the A15 Bionic has gotten a new lease on life in the iPhone 14. Either way, you will be getting a great phone for the years to come.

Pros

  • Major internal redesign for easier repairability.
  • Bright OLED screen, HDR10, Dolby Vision and excellent color accuracy.
  • Solid battery life.
  • Loud stereo speakers, excellent output.
  • Great all-around performance from the older but still solid chipset.
  • Great photo and video quality across all three cameras.
  • Autofocus on the selfies camera and Action Mode are great camera additions.

Cons

  • Minor upgrade over iPhone 13.
  • Wider feature gap with the 14 Pro: no 120Hz refresh rate, A16 Bionic, zoom camera or AF on the ultrawide.
  • The notch is still a polarizing design element.
  • The fast charging isn’t particularly fast, and the charger is not bundled.
  • Apple iOS (with its limitations) remains a love it or leave it affair.
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