The world’s been buzzing about the new iPhone 14. It’s a very impressive phone, and there are a lot of little details that I found that I want to share with you guys. So let’s start off with the screens. The iPhone 14 Pro models get much brighter this year. Last year’s device had a fairly decent brightness outdoors already, but when you compare them side by side, it’s a massive difference.(iPhone 14 Pro Review)
It hits 2000 Nits this year. It gets wicked bright. You know, sometimes when you’re outside and you turn on your phone and it looks kind of dim, so you try to crank the brightness, but it’s already maxed out on the 14 Pro. There’s no more visibility issues outdoors. It does get a little warm, though, when it’s blasting out those 2000 Nits.
Now, the most visually noticeable difference this year is going to be that pill shaped cutout up front, and they’ve given it the name Dynamic Island. And contained on this island is a front facing camera as well as other face ID hardware like the Dot projector. And then below that island is their promotion ocean, as well as a little retina river above the island. So this island can smoothly transform between a whole slew of different notifications. They’re very well animated, they look super cool, a lot of stuff works right out of the box.(iPhone 14 Pro Review)
But technically, it’s just a software widget, isn’t it? It seems like they could have taken a widget and positioned and animated it in a way to mask the visual imperfection of front facing camera. So when I first started using it, I was like, can I really call this a feature? Like, if I took this widget and just place it on any other phone out there, you could do that, right? And what I call that a phone feature.
But the more I use this, I realized that the value of Dynamic Island and what makes it special on the iPhone is how and when the elements pop in and out. Because with this, you get to monitor and control or just keep track of a whole bunch of different things without it interrupting your flow. Like you could be doing something on your phone and these notifications will automatically bubble in. So you can just kind of check up on them and poke at them if you need to, and then they’ll bubble out automatically when you need them without any kind of, like, tapping or pulling down menus. It’s very fluid and it’s all done seamlessly around that cut out.
I think it really is a feature. I think it’s like the best notification system the iPhone has ever had. Whether or not that’s enough to motivate a purchase, I guess that depends on how much you value a really good notification system on the iPhone. One other thing, if you have the display tilted on the side and say you’re watching a movie or just using your phone in landscape mode, some notifications will actually animate out from that island. Like, it’ll bubble up, do its thing, show its thing, and then it will animate back into the island.
One of the concerns that you guys mentioned in my previous blog was like, how do movies and shows look with that island? Because it doesn’t it get in the way. So normal media, or a lot of normal media doesn’t even go into that area. It’s only when you kind of zoom in or you’re watching stuff with like a wide aspect ratio that actually even comes over to that segment. Now, for me, I’ll be honest, when content does spill over, I kind of prefer the way the notch looks.
So because the notch is just like a black segment that’s at the very edge of the screen, it’s kind of easier to ignore or at least mentally tune out. But with this, because it’s like this black section and there’s like a sliver of action, I do think it’s a little harder to ignore. Now, the frontfacing camera, this has improved that now has autofocus. It handles colors a little bit better. But for me, the thing that I notice that I think it handles contrast much better than previous generations.(iPhone 14 Pro Review)
So, as an example, I have black hair with a sprinkling of gray. I’m old AF. But on the old iPhone, when I took photos with that front facing camera, sometimes it would make it look like I had tons of gray hairs. It was somehow being tricked by the surrounding light into thinking that I had a bunch of light colored gray hairs. And it was so weird.
I would take photos and be like, I don’t look anything like this. This time around, on the iPhone 14 Pro, it is much more accurate to true life. It’s such a small detail, but makes a huge difference in how that image looks. Nobody wants to look like they’re 15 years older than they actually are. All right?
The always on displays, the iPhone 14 Pros finally have AOD. They relate to the game, but they finally made it and they’ve done it in a very Apple implementation. When you hit the sleep wake button, there’s a bit of an animation and the clock will tighten up and come out to the foreground. If it was hidden, the flashlight and the camera buttons disappear and the lock screen will dim down. Now, the thing is, Apple’s iPhones are usually very focused on energy efficiency, and the introduction of a feature like an always on display is interesting because now the user base has access to a feature that invariably uses more energy than it did before.(iPhone 14 Pro Review)
Right? It doesn’t matter how awesome that 1 Hz LTPO display is in terms of, like, sipping energy, this is going to suck more juice than if you didn’t have an always on display. Right. But there is this really interesting thing I noticed with iOS 16. I’m not sure it’s related, but in previous versions of iOS, including iOS 15, if you had a light colored background, you would have black text on the home screen.
It makes sense, right? You have a light colored background, darken the text for legibility, right? But for whatever reason, with iOS 16, they changed it. So let me show you real quick.
If you have a light colored background, the text of all the stuff on the home screen is still white. It’s crazy. And what they’ve done is they put this drop shadow underneath all of the white text. And this just does not make sense from a design perspective. It’s just like, why would you do this?
And this has never existed before any iOS version until I was 16. And during the beta, I was looking to like, this doesn’t make sense. I couldn’t figure out why they would do this. But maybe, just maybe, they’re encouraging people to use dark backgrounds to counteract the extra battery consumption that comes from an always on display. I’m just saying, it’s interesting that this feature was introduced just when always on displays came to the iPhone.
Now, I can’t measure exactly how much juice is being used by the AOD, but in terms of overall battery performance, the new iPhones put up excellent run times. But not any longer than the iPhone models from last year. At least not with my testing loop. Okay, the camera system. So with the iPhone 14 Pro, it seems to be one of the biggest camera upgrades they’ve made in a while.
You now have a 48 megapixel sensor paired with their new photonic engine image processing. And with that sensor, you can shoot massive 48 megapixel Raw photos. You get a lot more detailed in the shots, a lot more pixels, and a lot of flexibility to work with that file in post. And for a hot second, I was like, these photos look so good. I will never shoot anything other than Raw going forward.
But reality kicks in. For one, it’s like two to 3 seconds in between each shot. There’s a lot of processing for such a beefy file, so it’s slow to take shots. But secondly, they’re huge files. It’s like 80 to 100 megs per image.
It’s way too much for regular photos. But that new sensor does awesome stuff for even normal photos. So these are going to get bend down to twelve megapixel files. And in normal lighting conditions, you get really clean looking images, excellent depth of field. And the dynamic range is so much better on the 14 Pro than it was on the 13 Pro.
It’s particularly noticeable when you’re shooting up against a bright sky. It’s much better this year. And you also get a nice two x zoom just by punching into the sensor. It’s lossless. It’s basically like an optical zoom.
But the biggest claims from Apple’s presentation were about low light photography. They were making claims of a double and even triple the performance in some cases. Now, from my testing, the main camera has clearly gotten better at low light. On the iPhone 14 Pro, the shots are brighter with better details, and they’re cleaner, but there’s still a good amount of noise in the shots, and an even bigger improvement is with the ultra wide angle lens. Compare this to the 13 Pro.
I don’t know if it’s like three times better, but it’s definitely a noticeable step up. But the low light shots are a little flatter than before. They almost feel like they have a pixel like characteristics to them instead of a more contrasting look like the S 22 Ultra. But the takeaway is that the camera systems this year are much better. There’s also action cam.(iPhone 14 Pro Review)
So this is some very aggressive image stabilization. It does work as advertised, but there’s a few things I noticed. One, you lose out on resolution and image quality. It caps out at 2.8K, which isn’t bad, but you need a lot of light to make it work. So outdoors is best, but secondly, it defaults to the ultra wide camera.
So if you activate action cam, it’ll go for that wide angle shot, and the image is less sharp than the regular camera. But I’m assuming it goes to the wide to have as much footage to work with for that kind of crop for the stabilization, but it’s not as clean of a shot. Action cam is very effective, but it feels like it’s just for extremely shaky circumstances. Okay, the performance of this new chip. So on the iPhone 14 Pros, they have the A 16 Bionic instead of the A 15 Bionic we see on the regular iPhone 14.
Fantastic performer and benchmarks. But the most interesting thing to me was when I was testing the iPhone 14 Promax with Genshin impact. So this is a very demanding game, arguably the most demanding mobile game available still, and the 14 Promax is the best thermally performing device I’ve ever seen with that game. Now every device struggles, pushing out sustained performance. On Mac setting, it’s just dension.
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It’s very demanding. But on the iPhone 14 Pro Max, it’s able to go the longest before it throttles. And after that throttle point, it still has the highest frame rate. It’s very impressive that this can outperform a dedicated gaming phone in the Android space. Okay, a quick note on pricing.
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So in the US. The 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max haven’t gone up in price. In Canada, it’s been bumped up a little bit, but globally it does feel like these have gone up a decent margin in terms of what they cost.
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