Apple iPhone 14 Pro Reviewed by the Great Lobbyist

Here is the review for the new iPhone 14 Pro model, which features an updated display and notch, as well as a 48MP main camera sensor.

Always On Display, Ceramic Shield, Apple iPhone Series, Apple Silicon, Mobile Phones, Smartphones

Saturday September 24, 2022

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Review

New Enough to Count

Apple is probably one of the few tech companies out there that follow a very strict design language that rarely changes between generations of devices. While minor changes happen with each update to accommodate certain new features, overall, much of what you get is still exactly what you would have received from the outgoing model. While this is a testament to the strong brand value that can sustain such a formula, it can also become a detriment when there is not a whole lot actually to separate the current and next generation of smartphones. The iPhone 14 Pro suffers from the same dilemma, so let us take a closer look to see whether this is actually true or do we get some new surprises behind the scenes.

iPhone-14-Pro

Design & Build Quality

The design of the iPhone 14 series is a direct carry-over from the previous models. There is no change in the dimensions or design of the new versions, except for the minuscule changes in the size of the camera array to accommodate the new sensors. In fact, until you actually turn the phone on, chances are you will not be able to tell the difference between the 13 and the 14 series at all. Sure, the shade and hue of the body colour might be slightly different, but not enough that anyone would notice once you put a case on the phone.

Apple is quite aware of this, as they don't mention anything about the design on their own dedicated website for the iPhone. The only thing they do talk about is the Ceramic Shield protection, which was updated to match the requirements of the new pill-shaped notch. While this may not make for exciting news, it isn't bad either, as Apple has already refined the build quality of these devices to the point that even maintaining the status quo is good enough for most users. Moreover, by keeping the same dimensions, they can take advantage of the large ecosystem of third-party cases, stickers and other accessories built around the iPhone 13 series.

Display

Once you do turn the iPhone 14 Pro on, the difference between the devices becomes clear very quickly. The new display gets a nice bump in peak brightness, which can now touch up to 2000 nits in direct sunlight. This makes a big difference in terms of outdoor visibility, which is easily the best compared to any smartphone out there. Unfortunately, this also comes at the expense of the battery life, which suffers from the inclusion of this feature and the Always On Display.

You still get a vibrant 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display with support for 120Hz Pro Motion technology, with the main difference being the shape of the notch, which now features the infamous Dynamic Island design. The company has put a special focus on the pixels around the notch itself, as they have to work double time to maintain a uniform pitch-black look while also being responsive enough to register light taps and avoid accidental touches to the area around the cutout. There is some scepticism about the fingerprint and scratch-resistance of the pill area, considering the increased touch activity, but so far, it seems to be holding up to the expected standards for Apple devices.

Performance

The next big upgrade comes in the form of the new A16 Bionic chipset. The new die design features a 6-core CPU and 5-core GPU, with a more advanced ISP and Neural Engine. The focus remains on optimizing processes and improving efficiency and less on delivering an outright performance boost. While it does add a 15-20% improvement in overall performance compared to the A15, it isn't enough to consider this a revolutionary update.

What might seem revolutionary is that Apple updated the device's RAM to 6GB for the first time, which is a big deal for users who are still making do with 4GB only in the base models. It is truly a testament to Apple silicon that they can still get such great performance levels with such a conservative setup, especially when most Android phones are providing at least 12GB by default.

Camera System

The next upgrade to fall in the first-ever category is the new camera system, which now features a 48MP main sensor. This is the first time that Apple has moved on from its tried-and-true 12MP sensors, which still feature prominently in the wide-angle and selfie setups. The new sensors enable four times the resolution, thanks to pixel binning technology and support from the new Photonic engine.

The Photonic engine is the updated version of Apple's Deep Fusion AI system, which now handles the entire image-taking process from start to finish. The software automatically captures multiple frames using the entire 48MP sensor, finds and merges the best pixels from each exposure, and then applies trillions of AI optimization tweaks to make the final image look good.

You can even crop into the sensor for a lossless 2x optical zoom function, even though the phone doesn't feature any dedicated hardware for the same. These are pretty significant updates, which deliver 2-3x improvements in terms of picture quality, low-light performance, and zoom-in clarity. Especially in the front camera, which for the first time, features autofocus. The company is so confident about the performance of this new system that they have even added the ability to take ProRAW pictures from the device.

The benefit of all these improvements can also be felt on the video side, with new footage featuring a lot less visible noise, even in low-light conditions. Even the cinematic mode has been updated to support 4K shooting at 24 or 30 FPS. There is even a new Action mode, which offers enhanced stability by cropping in on the sensor. Unfortunately, in order to do so, it uses the wide-angle sensor by default, which doesn't get the same pixel-binning benefits as the 48MP main camera. As a result, the footage often comes out looking low-res and somewhat blurry. Chances are that the company might improve it through future software updates, but for now, it is more of a gimmick than an actually usable feature.

Battery

The 13 series became pretty popular with iPhone users as it featured one of the best battery outputs ever seen from Apple devices. Users were easily able to get two days' worth of usage from a single charge, which was unheard of even on the Android side. Unfortunately, while the system has gotten a lot more efficient with the 14 series update, it has also gotten a bit more power-hungry. As we mentioned above, the increased peak brightness and the addition of the Always On display have severely increased the power needs of the device.

You can still get a day and a half of usage from a single charge, but it is a noticeable downgrade from previous generation devices. This is despite Apple claiming to have updated their LTPO tech to make it more efficient. Perhaps they might rectify this issue with future software tweaks, but for now, it seems to be two steps forward and one step back in this particular category.

Conclusion

When you place all the information above in context with the price of the device, the iPhone 14 Pro certainly remains a premium choice for premium customers. While people who already own the 13 series might not see it as a must-have upgrade, it marks a very big distinction for the average user as it is the first time that the company has actively tried to make its Pro lineup separate from the base model devices. Whether the changes done are enough to justify the price difference is something that you will have to decide for yourself. All we can say is that it is different enough where it counts.

iPhone 14 Pro Specifications

Type Specification

Body

Dimensions 147.5 x 71.5 x 7.9 mm
Weight 206g
Body Gorilla Glass Front & Back
Frame Stainless Steel
Colours Space Black, Silver, Gold, Deep Purple

Display

Screen Type Super Retina XDR OLED
Screen Size 6.1 inches (87% screen-to-body ratio)
Screen Brightness 800nits Average, 2000nits Peak
Screen Resolution 1170 x 2532 pixels
Pixel Density 460 PPI
Refresh Rate 120Hz LTPO

Protection

Water & Dust Resistance IP68 Rating
Screen Protection Ceramic Glass Sheild
Special Coatings Oleophobic Coating
Emergency SOS With Crash Detection & Satellite Connectivity

Performance

Processor A16 Bionic
Architecture 4 nanometers
CPU Hexa-core - With 2 3.46GHz Avalanche high performance cores, and 4 1.82GHz Blizzard high efficiency cores
GPU Integrated GPU with 5 cores
RAM 6GB
Storage 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB NVMe
Memory Card Slot No
Software iOS OS, Version 16

Camera

Rear Setup Quad Sensors with Flash
Main Camera 48MP wide angle, f/1.8, 24mm, 1.22µm, dual pixel PDAF, sensor-shift OIS
Second Camera 12MP telephoto, f/2.8, 77mm, PDAF, OIS, 3x optical zoom
Third Camera 12MP ultrawide, f/2.2, 13mm, 120˚ field of view, 1.4µm, dual pixel PDAF
Fourth Camera TOF 3D LiDAR Depth Scanner
Flash Dual-LED Dual-Tone Flash
Front Setup Dual Sensors without Flash
Main Camera 12MP wide angle, f/1.9, 23mm, 1/3.6", PDAF
Secondary Camera SL 3D Depth Sensor

Connection

Network Dual SIM (Nano-SIM and eSIM) or Dual eSIM - International, Dual eSIM Only - USA
WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6, dual-band, hotspot
Bluetooth 5.3, A2DP, LE
GPS A-GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, BDS, QZSS
USB USB 2.0 Lightning Connector
NFC Yes

Audio

Speakers Stereo Speakers
Headphone Jack No
Radio No

Battery

Cell Type Li-Ion
Fit Tyle Non-Removable
Charging Type Fast Charging, 50% in 30 min
Adapter Type USB 2.0 Lightning Adapter with 20W minimum capacity
Wireless Charging Qi Magnetic Wireless Charging with 7.5W input, MagSafe Wireless with 15W input