Tech review: Latest iPhone is a nice step up — if you need one | Technology

My personal phone is the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

For me, it’s the perfect phone — fast, big screen and great cameras.

When Apple introduced their new iPhone 14 models in September, I was curious to see how they improved on last year’s phones.

The new phones look identical to last year’s phones, but as usual, there are some nice updates inside.

Apple was nice enough to send me an iPhone 14 Pro for this review. It was interesting moving back to a smaller phone.

Four models

As a reminder, Apple has four new iPhone models, the 6.1-inch iPhone 14, the 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Plus and the two pro models, the 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro and 6.7-inch iPhone Pro Max.

Note that the features and specs I’m writing about here are for the 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max.

The Pro iPhones are the same except for the screen size and battery size.

The iPhone 14 models do not use a physical SIM card; they use an eSIM, which is a virtual SIM card. Usually, I just pop my SIM card into a new phone and I’m ready to go. This time I had to transfer my number from my SIM card to the eSIM in the iPhone 14 Pro, which deactivates the old SIM card. I guess I’ll have to get a new SIM card from my provider when my testing is finished.

new display

The 14 Pro has an always-on display, which is an adjustment for me. I’m not used to seeing my phone’s screen on all the time. It felt like it was a waste of battery, but the new adaptive refresh rate runs at just 1 Hertz (refresh per second). The screen can refresh at rates from 10Hz to 120Hz, depending on the content on the screen. If you turn it face down, the display will turn off.

The OLED screen is also super bright, up to 2,000 nits outdoors.

Dynamic Island

The 14 Pro models do not have the usual screen notch for the front facing cameras. Instead, they have turned the notch into a feature called Dynamic Island, which moves the old notch opening down a few pixels down from the top of the screen. The opening now has rounded ends, and the opening expands to become a place to show things like incoming calls, volume changes, music playback information, notifications and the island is even available for app developers to use.

I downloaded a sports score app that shows live game scores in the Dynamic Island.

It is a unique solution to an area of ​​the screen people used to complain about.

Better cameras, 48MP

The main camera on the 14 Pro has a 24-millimeter wide-angle lens with a 48-megapixel sensor. This is quite an improvement over last year’s 12MP camera.

The other two cameras are similar to last year — the 12MP telephoto still camera has a 3x optical zoom and the 12MP ultra-wide camera. All three cameras have new lenses and better sensors for truly impressive low-light photos.

Overall, the cameras are among the best I’ve ever used on a phone, but I was hoping for more telephoto zoom range.

The selfie camera has a 12MP sensor and a photos and Facetime calls look fantastic.

Oh, and the camera lenses are quite a bit larger than last year, making the camera bump more pronounced. Adding a case really helps to minimize wobbling when you set it down on a flat surface.

Emergency SOS satellite messaging

For the times that you are out of cell range and need help, the iPhone 14 models now have the ability to send text messages via satellite.

Before you send the message, the phone will ask you a few questions to assess the situation, then show you which way to point the phone to the satellite connection.

When connected to the satellite, the phone will automatically send your information including, location, medical ID (if you created one in the phone’s settings) and your phone’s battery level to a dispatcher.

You don’t get to text your friends via satellite, just the emergency dispatch service.

You do not have to be outside with a clear view of the sky and messages can take up to a minute to send and receive.

The Emergency SOS service is free for two years.

You can also use the Find My app to share your location via satellite with those allowed to see your location.

crash detection

There is a new high g-force accelerometer that can sense extreme accelerations or decelerations up to 256 Gs.

This new sensor, and some others work together to determine if you have been in a crash.

There are sensors that can measure sudden pressure changes in the cabin, abrupt changes in direction and the loud sounds of impact.

If the phone thinks you’ve been in a crash, you’ll see a screen asking if you are OK. If you don’t acknowledge that you are ok, a call will be placed to local emergency services giving your location and informing them of a need for help.

Note, there have been some false crashes detected since the introduction of the phones, especially on roller coasters. I’m sure Apple will be tweaking the settings in the future.

specs

The iPhone 14 Pro runs the new A16 Bionic processor with a six-core processor, five-core graphics processor and a 16-core Neural Engine.

It has Face ID to unlock the phone and for Apple Pay.

It has mmWave and sub-6 5G, as well as Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.3.

I had no trouble getting a full day out of the battery. Apple doesn’t release the battery size, but they do say the 14 Pro’s battery can get up to 23 hours of video playback or 75 hours of audio playback.

It has wireless charging, including MagSafe. It is capable of fast charging up to 50 percent in 30 minutes with a 20-watt charger (not included).

The phones are dust and water resistant (IP68). They can be dunked in water up to 6 meters deep for up to 30 minutes.

The 14 Pro models are available in Space Black, Silver, Gold and Deep Purple with storage ranging from 128 gigabytes up to 1 terabyte.

Conclusions

Should you update to the 14 Pro or Pro Max?

If you have an iPhone 11 or 12 model, and you’re ready for a new phone, I’d absolutely recommend upgrading.

Owners of the iPhone 13 Pro models (including me), have a harder choice.

The 14 Pro models are a nice step up, but there is nothing wrong with my year-old iPhone 13 Pro Max — in fact, I’m still paying for it.

Next year promises to be an interesting one, as the European Union has passed a law mandating all phones in Europe to have a USB-C port, which Apple has acknowledged will be included in the iPhone15 models.

I can’t wait to see if 2023 iPhones will be more of a redesign, rather than a bump feature.

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