Friday , January 27 2023

I tested the iPhone 14 – the two most anticipated features gave me a BIG problem

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By Sean Keach

IF you’re an Apple fan, there’s not much to dislike about the new iPhone 14.

I’ve been using it for about five days and it looks great, works brilliantly, and has a few clever tricks up its sleeve.

There are four iPhone models this year. Two are cheaper: iPhone 14 and 14 Plus. Two are pricier and more powerful: iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.

The iPhone 14 is the cheapest of the lot, but make no mistake – it’s still a high-end blower.

It’s got the same tried-and-tested square-edge design introduced with the iPhone 12.

You’ve got a nice selection of colours to choose from, although they are all slightly muted.

Blue and Purple are quite pale, Midnight is dark and very pretty, Starlight is an attractive off-white, and Red is the brightest and boldest of the bunch.

They’re all nice safe colours. I’ve been using blue – very similar to last year’s iPhone 13 Pro, to my eyes.

Speaking of borrowed features, the iPhone 14 is using 2021’s A15 Bionic chip. Again, that’s borrowed from the 13 Pro.

It’s a blisteringly fast processor with improved graphics performance thanks to a 5-core GPU. That means mobile gaming is very smooth for a smartphone.

A more powerful A16 processor is reserved for the iPhone 14 Pro only this year, sadly.

The iPhone 14 ships with a very bright and colourful Super Retina XDR OLED display.

What does that mean? The first bit is Apple marketing jargon, but simply means it’s a pixel-dense screen with high contract, good brightness and a wide range of colours.

And an OLED display has pixels that illuminate themselves rather than requiring a backlight – so parts of the screen can be turned off to display true black.

It’s a good size at 6.1 inches, although the larger 6.7-inch Plus might take your fancy when it’s out.

For comparison, these screen sizes mirror the more powerful iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.

If you’re worried about keeping the screen safe, you’ll be glad to know there’s a Ceramic Shield covering on the front to protect the display.

The iPhone 14 is also water-resistant too, so don’t worry about getting it a little wet.

Safety first

And don’t forget: the iPhone 14 can keep *you* safe too.

There are two new features built for life-preservation.

In some ways, they’re the two best things about the new iPhone.

Sadly they proved problematic because (for soon-to-be-obvious reasons) I couldn’t actually test them.

The first is car-crash detection, which uses sensors inside your iPhone to register when you’ve been in a severe motoring accident.

If you’re unresponsive for 10 seconds or more, the iPhone 14 can share your location with emergency services – and even alert your emergency contacts.

The second is emergency SOS satellite calling.

This lets you link up with satellites when you’re in a very rural area but need emergency help.

You can request an emergency response in a situation where you’d normally be unable to contact anyone.

If you’re not in the middle of nowhere, you’ll be glad to hear that the iPhone 14 supports speedy 5G internet. You’ll need a 5G SIM and signal, of course.

Apple is promising a massive 20 hours of video playback in the iPhone 14, which is a great testament to its battery life.

In my own use, it comfortably lasted a full day. If you’re very careful, you could probably get close to two days of usage.

Snap happy

There’s a new main camera (and some improved image processing) that will net you much better lowlight photos.

I’ve been very pleased with the quality even in very dim settings.

You can record very impressive video in 4K at 24fps, and there’s also a new camera mode for ultra-stabilised footage.

It’s called Action Mode and uses some clever camera tricks to avoid shaking, rocking and bouncing video.

I tried it while running in a very elaborate way (filming a subject that was also running) and it worked fantastically. It was like I was using a physical stabiliser. Mind-blowing!

The selfie camera is also improved, with better photos captured in low-light.

Just be mindful when you’re snapping drunken selfies at night – they might capture more detail than you’d like.


Last but not least, every iPhone 14 comes running Apple’s new iOS 16 as standard.

It lets you personalise your iPhone like never before, including a highly customisable Lock Screen to really make it your own.

You can also edit and unsend iMessages and pin Safari tabs.

Of course you can get the new iOS on an iPhone 8 or later, so you don’t need the latest model for this.

The iPhone 14 has less going for it than the iPhone 14 Pro.

But then again it’s £250/$200 cheaper at £849/$799, so that’s not exactly a surprise.

And even though it doesn’t have the flashy design of the new Pro model, it still looks brilliant – and has cracking performance to boot.

Sadly the UK price hike (of £50) will bite Brits, but there’s no increased cost for Americans versus last year.

And ultimately, this is still a high-end machine that outperforms almost all rivals.

If price is an issue (and it may be, with the ongoing cost of living crisis) then you should absolutely consider cheaper iPhone options.

Apple is still flogging the exceptional iPhone 13 and still-performant iPhone 12.

And for those on a very tight budget, there’s the £449/$429 iPhone SE.

We’ve got the best contracts from networks listed on our iPhone 14 pre-orders page.

All prices in this article were correct at the time of writing, but may have since changed.

Always do your own research before making any purchase.

About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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