iPhone 14 Pro Max, iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 14.
Apple The new iPhone 14 models will hit stores on Friday, with the exception of the iPhone 14 Plus, which will be available starting October 7. I tested the $799 iPhone 14, $999 iPhone 14 Pro, and the iPhone 14 Pro Max $1,099 for the last few days.
While I’ve used them all, the core of this review focuses on the Pro Max as it’s the best new iPhone you can get from Apple.
If you’re looking for a real upgrade, the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max are the way to go. Don’t expect a lot of big changes if you have an iPhone 13 and are thinking of buying the base iPhone 14.
Despite the higher cost, Apple kept the price of the iPhone 14 series the same as the iPhone 13 series in the US. In other countries, including the UK, Australia, Japan, and Germany, Apple raised the price by as much as $146.
Delivery wait times for iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max have been longer than last year’s lead times for iPhone 13 Pro models. It’s a positive sign for Apple, as higher-end products remain popular despite historic inflation and slowing consumer spending.
iPhone 14 Pro Max, iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 14.
iPhone 14 Pro models have improved battery life and new cameras. They also have brand new features: an always-on display and Dynamic Island – a new interactive display area located around the selfie camera.
I’ll walk you through the differences and help you figure out which phone, if any, is right for you.
iPhone 14 Pro Max: What’s good?
iPhone 14 Pro Max.
The 14 Pro Max is about the same size as last year’s iPhone 13 Pro Max. But its large 6.7-inch screen is brighter than ever, making it great for gaming and watching TV shows and movies, even when you’re outside.
Dynamic Island is the most exciting new feature Apple introduced this year. Instead of the empty notch used to house the selfie camera and microphone, there’s a new interactive tablet display that changes shape.
Dynamic island of iPhone 14 Pro Max
Dynamic Island blurs the line between hardware and software, as the front-facing camera remains underneath. Instead of cutting down on your viewing experience like the notch on previous iPhones, it becomes part of what you did when using the iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max.
Suppose you are reading an article. You can also control the music you’re listening to by tapping Dynamic Island instead of switching apps. It’s useful.
Thanks to Dynamic Swing on iPhone 14 Pro Max, you can control your music while reading an article without switching between apps.
The space can be used to show other things, such as directions, AirPod connection status, and battery life, or a timer. It can even split into two separate cuts, so you can view the timer on one side and track your Lyft arrival time simultaneously.
Apple’s new Dynamic Island feature on iPhone 14 Pro Max.
There’s also a new always-on display. This allows you to glance at your phone’s lock screen while it’s lying on your desk and see fuzzy but helpful information. That’s what Samsung, Google and other Android phone makers have been involved for years, but Apple’s approach is different. It lights up the entire screen instead of just small parts.
It’s neat, but I turned it off because I try not to look at my phone all the time, especially when someone is talking to me. This is personal preference and I understand why some people might find it useful. If you place your iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max face down on a table or in a pocket, the always-on display will be turned off.
The only time I really enjoyed using the always-on display was when I was watching “House of the Dragon” on HBO Max and needed to access my Apple TV remote. Instead of having to open the Apple Remote every time I need to pause, the always-on display means the remote stays on my iPhone’s screen. It was as if the real remote, which I always seem to lose, was right next to me.
The Apple TV remote remains visible when the iPhone 14 Pro Max is in standby thanks to the always-on display.
The front and rear cameras are better than the iPhone 13 Pro. Apple has improved low-light performance by 2x thanks to the new Photonic Engine and improved camera sensor, making nighttime photos sharper. The 48-megapixel camera captures great detail. Check out this stunning photo I took while visiting New York City’s Little Island public park last weekend.
Little Island Park in New York City taken with an iPhone 14 Pro Max.
Apple also revealed an action mode that lets you shoot smooth videos. I normally use the gimbal for video, but the action mode eliminates that need by stabilizing the image for me. That means you’ll be able to run around filming your child without the video being bumpy.
Battery life on the 14 Pro Max is a notable improvement. Apple boasts that both the 14 Pro and Pro Max have all-day battery life, and I was able to stream audio for the day, watch YouTube videos, scroll through social media, make calls, and send messages. When fully charged, I was able to get a full night’s sleep and didn’t need to recharge it until 11am the next day.
The Pro and Pro Max have a new A16 processor that is said to improve performance by 40%. I don’t really notice this during day-to-day use, but professionals who shoot a lot of video will notice faster render times. It also protects phones in the future so that when more powerful apps and games come out, the operating system will be able to keep up.
Apple launches new safety features like car crash detection and satellite connectivity. I couldn’t test the auto crash detection for obvious reasons. Satellite connectivity sounds promising — it will let you connect to emergency services when you don’t have WiFi or cellular service — but Apple won’t release the feature until November.
iPhone 14 Pro Max: What’s so bad?
All iPhone 14s still have a Lightning port instead of USB-C. I don’t expect Apple to convert, but it would be really helpful to just carry the same USB-C charger that I use to power my MacBook and iPad.
The 14 Pro Max is bulkier and slightly heavier than the iPhone 13 Pro Max. If you don’t often have a bag and don’t want to carry around such a large screen, you might want to opt for the 14 Pro which has a smaller screen than the Pro Max.
iPhone 14 Pro: Still a phone, smaller screen
The iPhone 14 Pro, which starts at $999, is actually the same phone as the iPhone 14 Pro Max, with slightly worse battery life and a smaller 6.1-inch display. You still get a great screen and the same camera.
iPhone 14: What’s missing?
Then there’s the regular iPhone 14, which is a minor update over last year’s iPhone 13. It starts at $799 and gets camera upgrades over the iPhone 13, slightly improved graphics processing, and the same car crash and satellite SOS features as in the iPhone 14 Pro. However, it lacks the following features that you can get in the Pro version:
- The camera is new but not as sharp as on the iPhone 14 Pro.
- There is still no ProMotion screen, so scrolling is not as smooth as on the Pro.
- The sides are made of aluminum instead of stainless steel.
- iPhone 14 uses last year’s A15 chip but has an additional graphics processing core to improve gaming performance.
- There is no always-on display and no Dynamic Island.
There is one more member in this year’s lineup. The iPhone 14 Plus has the same features as the regular iPhone 14, but Pro Max’s screen size and starts at $899. It looks appealing to people who want a bigger screen without shelling out $1,099, but it won’t be released until October 7, so I haven’t had a chance to review it yet.
Which iPhone 14 should you buy?
Choose iPhone 14 Pro or iPhone 14 Pro Max if you’re looking to experience the best that Apple has to offer. There are plenty of good upgrades, from the camera to the display, that you’ll appreciate.
I wouldn’t upgrade from an iPhone 13 to a regular iPhone 14 because there aren’t many major changes other than crash detection, improved camera, and satellite SOS. You won’t notice a big difference. However, the iPhone 14 Plus could be an attractive option if you want a bigger screen without buying the Pro Max. Just know that it doesn’t have two of Apple’s most innovative new features: Dynamic inversion and the always-on display.