Apple iPhone 14 Plus review: bigger screen, smaller updates

The new Apple iPhone 14 Plus is priced in India starting Rs 89,990. Read our full review of the device

Review Summary

Expert Rating4/5

Design
★★★★★
★★★★★
Display
★★★★★
★★★★★
Software
★★★★★
★★★★★
Camera
★★★★★
★★★★★
Performance
★★★★★
★★★★★
Battery
★★★★★
★★★★★

Pros

  • Capable performer
  • Capable point-and-shoot cameras
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Slow wired and wireless charging speeds
  • No high refresh rate screen

Verdict

The iPhone 14 Plus is a healthy addition to this year’s lineup of Apple smartphones, especially for users who want a large screen experience but aren’t willing to shell out a premium for the iPhone 14 Pro Max (review). Apple has taken last year’s iPhone 13 (review) and garnished it with some nifty upgrades internally that make the 14 Plus’ overall experience better. At the same time, it should be considered that the iPhone 14 Plus’ Rs 89,990 starting price tag is not cheap in itself. Consequently, unless you’re hellbent on buying a large-screen iPhone, competing Android flagships retailing for the same price (and even lower) will likely offer better features.

  • Display: 6.7 inches OLED
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz
  • Processor: A15 Bionic (Hexa core)
  • GPU: Apple GPU (Five core)
  • Rear cameras: 12MP wide-angle, f/1.5 + 12MP ultra-wide, f/2.4
  • Front camera: 12MP wide-angle, f/1.9 with auto-focus and OIS
  • Battery: 4,300mAh
  • Software: iOS 16

Buyers vying for pocketable iPhones will indubiously be distraught by the company’s latest iPhone 14 lineup. I say this, as the brand decided against launching a refreshed iPhone mini, and instead chose to bring back the super-sized iPhone 14 Plus alongside the regular iPhone 14, the iPhone 14 Pro and the iPhone 14 Pro Max models. Priced at Rs 89,990 for the 128GB variant, the iPhone 14 Plus looks like a compelling option which could sway gamers and media buffs over to its doorsteps. As a matter of fact, Apple is promising the biggest battery life ever on an iPhone with the device. So, is this the right phone for you? Let’s try and find out in this review.

What’s good

  • Let’s start with what works in favour of the iPhone 14 Plus. You see, I have an affinity for smartphones that can handle oodles of computing and the A15 Bionic chipset powering the iPhone 14 Plus really hits it out of the park. I have a few benchmark numbers that will paint a better picture including Geekbench 5, which tests the smartphone’s CPU performance. Suffice it to say, the 14 Plus’ numbers are solid and the handset comfortably outperforms competing Android smartphones backed by Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC as well.
  • Now, you could make a case against the smartphone’s Antutu score, which isn’t as remarkable as say, the score outputted by the 8+ Gen 1-backed OnePlus 10T. Don’t get me wrong, the 14 Plus did overturn 846,865 points, which is superb. Having said that, comparing it to an Android phone’s Antutu score wouldn’t paint a clear picture as the difference in the kernel between the two platforms forces Antutu to run significantly different tests on the devices. In fact, iOS devices use Apple’s Metal API while Android phones run OpenGL ES and Vulkan API for GPU tests.
  • In any case, I can assure you that during my usage, which included heavy-duty gaming, video editing, and more, the device did not miss a beat. A small but significant detail revolves around the use of an extra GPU core on the iPhone 14’s A15 Bionic chipset as compared to the iPhone 13’s A15 Bionic SoC. As for memory needs, the iPhone 14 Plus has 6GB of LPDDR4X RAM and up to 512GB of UFS 3.1 storage.
  • I also like how rich the smartphone’s stereo speaker setup sounds. In fact, unlike some competing devices, the iPhone 14 Plus’ speakers have not been tuned by big-name players in the audio space like Harmon Kardon. Nevertheless, the iPhone 14 Plus’ speaker setup rivals the best devices in the segment. For authentication purposes, Apple’s Face ID works flawlessly too, irrespective of the lighting conditions.
  • iOS still remains a tightly controlled interface by Apple and the current version of iOS 16 draws a lot of parallels from the last iteration. Bar a few bugs here and there, the software experience is highly refined and intuitive. Of course the major change this time around is customising and creating multiple lock screens for different functionalities.

  • Notifications have been relocated to the bottom of the screen for a cleaner look as well. And, if you’re a fitness enthusiast, then you will be able to leverage a Live Activities widget that keeps a track of your workouts. A more detailed look at the new features on iOS 16 can be read here. The icing on the cake is that the smartphone will get software updates for five years or so and consequently, you should be able to use the iPhone 14 Plus running the latest software till at least 2027, which is great.

  • The iPhone 14 and the iPhone 14 Plus bring marginal camera improvements over the iPhone 13 too. To wit, the handset ships with a 12MP primary shooter along with a 12MP ultra-wide camera and a 12MP selfie snapper up front. On paper, the camera specs might seem similar, however, this time around, the primary sensor’s size has been upgraded to 1.9µm and the unit boasts a larger f/1.5 aperture. Suffice it to say, for general photography purposes, Apple accomplishes a lot without stuffing in huge lenses with unreasonable megapixel counts.
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  • The daylight shots are sharp and crisp with oodles of dynamic range to back them up. Like last time around, you can select a camera shooting profile between standard, rich contrast, vibrant, warm and cool. The sample shots I clicked with the phone employed the rich contrast profile as they looked more appealing to my eyes. Focusing speeds were excellent and I particularly enjoyed how well the focus shifted when moving closer to a subject. 
  • Low-light snaps inculcate years of computational photography implemented by Apple and the results are evident. The newly introduced Photonic Engine especially helps in gathering more details and brightness at night. I tested the iPhone 14 Plus camera under a variety of challenging conditions and the device did not disappoint in the slightest. The dedicated Night mode kicks in based on the lighting and – provided you keep your hand reasonably still – outputs a snap that won’t be amiss of good detailing. What’s more, the shadowy areas of the frame retain a natural look and bring out the details of the subjects without seeming too garish or overprocessed.
  • Even the ultra-wide shooter gets the benefit of the Photonic Engine and captures more than reasonable nighttime shots. In daylight, the quick focus speeds, combined with an affinity towards greater detailing, allow the phone to snap some of the best ultra-wide shots I have seen.
  • The front-facing 12MP shooter comes with autofocus capabilities, something that was absent from last year’s iPhone 13. I wholeheartedly support Apple’s facial detailing and skin tone choice when it comes to selfies. The iPhone 14 Plus churns out a slightly contrasty look but captures the various facial features immaculately. The autofocus comes into play with several faces in the frame, each of which gets snapped with near perfection. 
  • When it comes to video, the iPhone 14 Plus knocks it out of the park with its stability, colour science, and a measured shift in focus. The Cinematic mode can now do 4K 30fps and it is no longer just a gimmick. The Action Mode worked like magic too and the utility offered incredible stability when I was running and filming at the same time. Suffice it to say, for routine video recording shenanigans, I feel that the iPhone 14 Plus is a remarkable device that is only one-upped by the pricier iPhone 14 Pro range. 
  • The iPhone 14 series also comes with crash detection which is a feature exclusive only to the lineup. Several sensors such as the gyroscope, GPS, barometer and microphone among others work in sync to detect if you have been in a car crash and alert emergency services automatically towards your location. You can turn the feature off in settings.
  • The nifty Emergency SOS via Satellite feature can be a very useful feature when you are stuck in an area with no cellular connectivity. Your iPhone 14 series device can connect with a passing overhead satellite on a clear sky and send emergency text messages to the nearest station. However, if this area is outside the US and Canada, then you are out of luck. Let’s hope Apple can bring this rather unique feature to India in the near future too.
  • Apple is promising the largest battery life on an iPhone ever with the 14 Plus. The company never really provides quantitative battery mAh figures and instead, relies on stats like video playback time. The capacity of the cell inside the iPhone 14 Plus is likely a 4,300mAh unit, which is slightly smaller than the 4,350mAh on the 13 Pro Max.
  • Even so, without having to contend with a 120Hz panel or the newly introduced Always-on display on the 14 Pro Max, the iPhone 14 Plus really does last a long time. In fact, it is so good that I had to charge the phone only once every two days. I usually finish my first day with up to 50 percent battery in the tank and that’s despite playing CoD: Mobile for multiple hours. Needless to say, power users will find plenty to like about the iPhone 14 Plus’ battery backup. 

What’s not so good

  • Having talked in detail about the various strengths of the iPhone 14 Plus, it’s now time to get into some of the drawbacks. Unsurprisingly, I am in two minds about the display on the phone. Don’t get me wrong, the smartphone’s 6.7-inch AMOLED panel with its 1,200nits of peak brightness and Dolby Vision support makes it a fabulous visual aid. However, for a device that is priced at Rs 89,990, I would’ve liked to see support for a high refresh rate screen too.
  • The lack of 120Hz ProMotion, a staple on last year’s and this year’s Pro models, can become evident if you are switching from a higher refresh screen prevalent on most Android phones these days. Also, the notch design is really dated in the current landscape but I don’t expect Apple to remedy this anytime soon on its regular iPhone lineup.

  • The iPhone 14 Plus also lacks variety in its camera setup, specifically in the telephoto department. Comparable Android phones are packed with 10X zoom lenses, periscope lenses and more. 
  • While the battery life may be excellent, the charging speeds are certainly not. It takes about 30 minutes for the iPhone 14 Plus to charge up half of its battery in a wired setup. Several Android phones in the price range can juice up the battery fully in that much time and a few can achieve the same feat wirelessly too. 
  • Apple is still sticking with its proprietary Lightning port on all the iPhones launched this year instead of adopting the universal USB Type-C standard, which is a bummer. Making matters worse, there are rumours of a Type-C iPhone launching as soon as next year floating on the interwebs too. 

Final verdict

Apple hasn’t really hasn’t experimented too much with the iPhone 14 Plus except for the form factor. In fact, barring the slight improvements in camera, battery life, and processing capabilities, along with the addition of features like crash detection, the smartphone is – for all intents and purposes – a super-sized iPhone 13. There’s no indication when the Emergency SOS via Satellite feature will come to India. 

That’s not all as while the smartphone ships with a big, bright and colourful display, the device doesn’t benefit from silky, fluid animations enabled by an HRR screen either. On the upside, the smartphone performs well, clicks stunning photos with its camera setup and thanks to Apple’s longevous software update roadmap, will undoubtedly stand the test of time. In the end, if you are looking to upgrade from the iPhone 12 or 11 and want a big-screen experience to make the most of your gaming and binge-watching sessions, then the iPhone 14 Plus is the way to go. 

Editor’s rating: 4 / 5 

Pros: 

  • Capable performer
  • Capable point-and-shoot cameras
  • Long battery life

Cons:

  • Slow wired and wireless charging speeds
  • No high refresh rate screen