Apple sets a new benchmark each year with the launch of its annual iPhone flagships. This year, the iPhone maker went all out in delivering some major upgrades — be it in terms of the camera or the display, or even the much-talked-about Dynamic Island. Well, there's more to the iPhone 14 Pro and you'll find out just that in this article.
iPhone 14 Pro is still accompanied by its larger sibling, iPhone 14 Pro Max, which is for those who want a big screen and longer battery life. The rest of everything is shared across both devices. With the big screen, the iPhone 14 Pro Max is a tad heavier, and may even be challenging for single-handed use if you're not accustomed to it. The iPhone 14 Pro fixes that.
Before we get to the review, glance through a few crucial details about the iPhone 14 Pro below:
- 128GB: Rs 1,29,900
- 256GB: Rs 1,39,900
- 512GB: Rs 1,59,900
- 1GB: Rs 1,79,900
The iPhone 14 Pro comes in four color choices, Deep Purple, Gold, Silver, and Space Black. The Deep Purple is the most popular choice in this year's iPhone color palette and you cannot go wrong with it. Apple has shared with us Space Black iPhone 14 Pro with 1TB storage for review purposes. The Space Black is also a new addition, which in our opinion looks classy for everyone's taste.
iPhone 14 Pro brings a lot to the table, but a major design overhaul isn't one of those things. Taking inspiration from the iPhone 13 Pro, the 14 Pro gets a similar design, complete with flat sides and a matte glass back. The stainless-steel frame complements the color you pick for a uniform look, which looks and feels premium.
The positioning of the physical buttons, SIM tray, Lighting port, speaker grille, and the earpiece is the same. The rear camera module may look identical, but it is in fact a larger bump. The biggest visual differentiator is Dynamic Island, which replaces the old notch and unlocks a whole new world of opportunities.
During our time with the iPhone 14 Pro, we noticed the handset is durable enough to keep scratches at bay. We used the phone without any case or screen guard to get a fair idea of its durability and the results are impressive. Even the display, which has a ceramic shield coating, offers an extra layer of protection. It's safe to say the iPhone 14 Pro is the most durable premium flagship in the market.
Having used the iPhone 14 Pro without a case for a month now, it's incredibly satisfying. But we'd advise against it if you're not extra careful and constantly aware of your surroundings. However, the phone's handy size made it a lot more comfortable to carry without a case, which I'm guessing cannot be said about the iPhone 14 Pro Max. The iPhone 14 Pro is a bit on the heavier side, weighing 206 grams and those extra grams did add a premium touch to the phone. To top it all off, the iPhone 14 Pro is IP68-rated, which helped us get some cool underwater shots and videos without worrying much.
iPhone 14 Pro continues the same design language as the iPhone 13 Pro and we didn't find any reasons to complain. Why fix it when it ain't broken? Although, we hoped to see a USB Type-C replace the Lightning port this time around.
iPhone 14 Pro's screen size is the most ideal, measuring 6.1 inches diagonally. The absence of bezels on all sides makes it even more beautiful. But what's far superior is the LTPO Super Retina XDR OLED display, which boasts 1179x2556 pixels and 460ppi. In simple terms, viewing content on the iPhone 14 Pro's display is stunning.
Apple also offered the ProMotion technology with up to 120Hz refresh rate, but it can also go as low as 10Hz depending on the content that you're viewing. As one can expect, the display supports Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG, which ups the ante on the mobile viewing experience. We watched a few TV shows and movies on Apple TV+ like Jason Momoa's SEE, and Jennifer Lawrence starrer Causeway and it was an absolute delight to see the content come to life in 4K. The colors are vibrant and dark scenes are lit up just right to deliver the content in its natural form.
We tested the screen under different ambiance settings and it seemed to excel in all. Even under harsh light conditions, the screen can get really bright so the content is viewed with ease. In fact, we haven't seen any other phone get as bright as the iPhone 14 Pro.
For years, Apple held back from the Always-on display. But all those years later, when it finally brought the AOD, it made sure there was something worth appreciating. The Always-on Display on the iPhone 14 Pro dims the lock screen of your phone but has all the notifications and widgets just bright enough to be viewed with ease. But that's not the only reinvention iPhone 14 Pro will be known for.
Apple's adaptation of the punch-hole display is remarkable. The Dynamic Island is an interactive pill-shaped notch, which houses the front camera and Face ID sensor but does a lot more. This novel idea will catch on as other brands will follow Apple's lead. Dynamic Island is always running and shows background activities. If music is being played, it will show a tiny music animation on one side and the artist's picture on the other end. When you tap and hold it, you'll get controls like pause, skip forward, etc. We found this feature to be a real stand-out and one that sets the iPhone 14 Pro apart. But it would be far more incredible if more and more apps find new use cases for Dynamic Island and in such a way that it's not so in the face of users. There are no dead spots for touch detection on Dynamic Island, so you might smudge the lens.
iPhone 14 Pro's display is the best one yet. In fact, it is a real threat to the displays we've seen and loved in the Samsung flagships. Until Samsung finds a way to one-up Apple on this front (probably with the S23), the iPhone 14 Pro is the champ.
The best thing about the iPhone 14 Pro is its camera and there's no denying Apple has outdone itself on so many fronts. The rear camera module still has three sensors, but for the first time in Apple's history, there's a 48MP sensor as the primary lens, which is 65 percent bigger than the one we've seen on the iPhone 13 Pro. There are 12MP ultra-wide and 12MP telephoto shooters with 3x optical zoom and 9x digital zoom.
Let us jot down the key features you get with the iPhone 14 Pro's camera that actually make a noticeable difference.
- You can capture 48MP shots using ProRAW mode
- New 2X optical zoom option (including Portrait)
- Action mode
- Auto focus in front camera
- Shoot in 4K at 60fps using ProRes
Having upgraded from iPhone 13 Pro to the iPhone 14 Pro, the improvements in the camera quality were quite evident. In fact, this is the first major camera upgrade we've seen in the iPhone in years. The iPhone 14 Pro is capable of taking detailed and vibrant photographs in ideal lighting conditions, but even in low light, the results are remarkable. The colors are retained in their natural form, without artificial retouching. Apple's new Photogenic Engine does a fantastic job with dynamic range, enhancing the overall quality of an image.
The primary 48MP sensor is the show-stopper, but Apple maintains consistency in colors and details in all three lenses. The zooming capabilities have been vastly improved, especially in low light and it is finally at par with the Samsung Galaxy flagships. The RAW images come in handy for post-processing images, but I doubt it's going to be useful for the masses. But having the option that caters to professional photographers goes on to show just how serious Apple is about photography.
Low light performance is excellent with the primary lens, but when you switch to ultra-wide or zoom-in to get 2x or 3x shots, the quality takes a dip. The shots tend to lose their details and pick up visible grains if using zoom or ultra-wide. But to get the best results, the 1x mode is the ultimate choice. The details are great, the dynamic range is excellent and subjects are captured with good colors. Even snapping back-to-back images in night mode is a seamless task, all thanks to Apple's new powerful chipset.
But if you're shooting during the day or in well-lit settings, the iPhone 14 Pro will leave you impressed. We managed to get excellent shots, with a great amount of detail, solid dynamic range, exposure and crisp subjects with vivid colors. The details picked up in ProRAW shots are incomparable, leaving so much room for post-edits.
The ultra-wide mode worked well in daylight, and so did the macro. But there's extra effort required in macro to get that ideal shot. The macro mode switches back and forth as you try to frame your subject, but you can always use the manual trigger for an easy shot. The macro shots could use some improvement as we didn't see much difference compared to shots from iPhone 13 Pro.
We really liked the introduction of the 2X optical zoom function, which is a mid-way point between standard and 3X zoom. In fact, it was much-needed in cases of portraits. The optical zoom works great in well-lit scenes, capturing good details, and vibrant colors and most importantly maintaining consistency in quality with the main lens.
The portrait mode has also stepped up its game in the iPhone 14 Pro, capturing natural skin tones and perfect bokeh. The depth effect is more natural now and with different Lighting modes, you can get desired results. The portrait mode works quite well on the front camera as well. Even in low-lights, the front camera performance is noticeably improved, but the day-light selfies are captured with great details and sharp colors. The addition of autofocus on the front camera comes in handy and avoids hazy selfies.
Photography aside, the big money is on the video. Apple really stepped up its game here. From shooting 4K video at 60fps in ProRes to offering 4K 30fps support to Cinematic Mode, the iPhone 14 Pro is the king of mobile videography. The new Action Mode is a thoughtful addition, which captures stable videos in a turbulent situation. In fact, it comes so close to replacing a gimbal, you'll be impressed. For instance, a simple video shot using Action Mode while running can be so stable compared to one without this new mode, it's just impressive. This is a boon for content creators as it can record in HD or 2.8K resolution. But its only challenge is low-light, which limits the mode's functionality to daylight shooting.
The Cinematic mode is still a great mode and the seamless transitioning between subjects gives a professional movie-shooting experience. But the Cinematic mode still doesn't get Ultra-wide lens support, which means you only get to shoot either in 1X or 3X. We wish Apple added an option to magnify while shooting in Cinematic mode, which could mean a great deal of convenience.
After having used the iPhone 14 Pro's camera on various occasions, from road trips to concerts and functions to product shots, it's safe to say Apple is an undefeated champion when it comes to mobile photography. The competition is fast growing and 2023 could bring some solid contenders to overthrow Apple from its dominance, but that's just the cycle of life.
Check out some of the photos shot on iPhone 14 Pro:
(Shot using RAW mode)
(Zooming capabilities explored below)
(Shot and edited on iPhone 14 Pro)
(Ultra-wide, 1x, Portrait and Macro shots below)
iPhone 14 Pro's performance is driven by Apple's latest A16 Bionic chipset, which gives its competitors a tough run for their money. Built on 4nm architecture, the chip features 6-core CPU, 5-core GPU and 16-core Neural Engine. Simply put, it pumps raw power into the iPhone 14 Pro for you to enjoy a seamless experience. Having used the flagship for over a month, we can vouch for the iPhone's unparalleled performance.
We are talking graphics-intense gaming, 4K video streaming, multi-tasking, extensive camera, and video testing, and beyond. But if you're coming from iPhone 13 Pro, you won't notice anything monumental. But the heat dissipation in the iPhone 14 Pro is better, which makes extended use of the phone a delight.
We ran multiple games on the iPhone 14 Pro and seemed to handle them quite well. Except for the lack of screen real estate and extra battery capacity, there's nothing worth complaining about. Core gamers will find the iPhone 14 Pro Max's large display much more suitable for gaming and the bigger battery for those gaming marathons as compared to the iPhone 14 Pro. Regardless, games like Call of Duty: Mobile, Asphalt 9: Legends, Diablo Immortal, and Genshin Impact ran with ease. The graphics were rendered without breaking a sweat and we rarely noticed frames drop. The gaming performance is extremely smooth, which proved the A16's prowess efficiently.
Video streaming was one other area where the iPhone 14 Pro excelled. Apple TV+, Netflix, and Disney Hotstar were frequent pitstops during our period of the review and streaming was a treat. Though the screen is small, we didn't feel the need for a bigger display as the content looked lively and crisp.
If we had to go by the benchmark tests, the A16 Bionic came ahead of its competition, Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. In fact, the improvement is evident if you are using the iPhone 14 Pro or any Android flagship powered by SD 8+ Gen 1
Although the iPhone 14 Pro handled heavy tasks with ease, we did notice some unusual frozen screens, which were completely random. But Apple released a series of bug fixes and with iOS 16.1.1, all those issues we faced in the initial days became history. Our daily tasks included internet browsing for research, communication via IMs (Slack, WhatsApp and even emails), calls and social media.
When iOS 16 was revealed, it turned many heads. Though the software arrived for older versions of iPhones, using the iPhone 14 Pro powered by iOS 16 unleashed some real potential of the features. The iOS 16 on the iPhone 14 Pro is responsive, smooth, and glitch-free. During the course of our review, the iPhone 14 Pro received a few minor updates and finally got us up to iOS 16.1.1, which fixed a lot of issues we faced initially. For instance, the screen would freeze occasionally or go unresponsive while on a call screen. Some third-party apps like Instagram would also freeze, and start working again after re-launching.
While many iOS 16 features like the Always on Display, option to edit and unsend texts, reimagined Lockscreen, and more are a welcoming addition, we found the battery percentage execution could have been better. The battery percentage is displayed inside the battery icon, which doesn't deplete. So you'll have to gaze in carefully to see the exact battery percentage instead of a glance. We turned the feature off to rely on the animation alone.
But what we really admired is how beautifully the Dynamic Island animations work. Although limited, the idea of repurposing the notch in a way that shows important notifications like music playing, maps, and timer in the background is just immersive. We've gotten pretty accustomed to the Dynamic Island and never has Apple justified the presence of a relatively big-notch housing Face ID sensor and camera so well. Apple even made the notch area touch-activated, so you get responsive feedback at the risk of smudging over the lens. Also, Dynamic Island can also split into two if you have two compatible apps running and need to show up on the notch area.
Dynamic Island is useful while sharing files over AirDrop, AirPods connection confirmation, and Face ID recognition. Apple doesn't include an option to disable Dynamic Island or an option to customize it based on certain apps. It would be a useful addition.
Apple's Always-on Display is only a dimmer version of the lock screen, which doesn't enter a screensaver-like mode as seen in many Android phones. Though it is useful this way and when you are working and simply need to glance at it without getting your face in the frame of the iPhone, it was a bit confusing at first. After we got used to it, the feature actually came in quite handy. It's nice that the AOD turns itself off when the iPhone is face down or obstructed from view.
Seeing how the software and hardware are closely knitted, Apple is sure to maintain its dominance in the software front despite its high-rise walls. In a way, all the restrictions in place are what make the iPhone incomparable, and operations are carried out in such entirety.
Battery & charging
iPhone 14 Pro, with its compact size, has a smaller battery compared to its Max counterpart. Apple really stepped up its battery game with the iPhone 13 Pro, which was an impressive feat. With the iPhone 14 Pro, we didn't notice any instrumental difference, but it sure comes with certain improvements.
Given how peak performance takes a front seat and features like Always-on Display may seem to dent the battery life, the iPhone 14 Pro performs surprisingly well. It can last a whole day with mixed usage and with heavy use (which was our case during testing the camera, streaming, etc), the juice might run out sooner. Even so, we easily got 6.5 hours of average screen time, which translated to a full day's worth of use. So if you start your day at 8 a.m., rest assured your iPhone will run till 8 p.m. on a single charge and if your screen time is lower, you can even go as long as 10 p.m. But as we noticed, extensive camera use, streaming on OTT on mobile data, and navigation drained the battery sooner. It is advisable to carry a power bank if you're traveling.
As days passed, the iPhone 14 Pro learned our habits and made improvements accordingly. A month later, the iPhone has learned our daily charging routine to finish charging as it pauses at 80 percent and waits until we just need to use it to fully power up the iPhone. Even using the AOD feature didn't impact the battery, which is a real winner for us. The iPhone 14 Pro's battery improved with time as it learned our usage.
As for charging, Apple hasn't made any strides here. You still don't get an adapter in the box, which means you'll need to buy Apple's 20W charger (Rs 1,900) separately. With a compatible adapter, you can fully charge the iPhone 14 Pro in less than an hour. If you're in a rush, you can get 65 percent in just 30 minutes, that is if you haven't drained your iPhone completely. The phone does get warmer at times, during which the charging is disabled even if the phone is plugged in. It's quite a safety feature. The charging resumes once the phone's temperature is down.
The iPhone 14 Pro also supports 15W MagSafe wireless charging and Qi wireless charging support. The only time we used the feature is when the phone accidentally had liquid exposure and an error was displayed when plugged in to charge. Yes, the iPhone 14 Pro is IP68 rated, which eases so many worries, but don't get wild ideas as there are many things Apple advises against.
iPhone 14 Pro is what a polished flagship powerhouse looks like. If you haven't boarded the iOS ship yet, this is the right place to start, provided the budget is not an issue. The iPhone 14 Pro delivers the best camera, performance, software and design.
The iPhone 14 Pro's display is class apart, and the most dominant part of it is the Dynamic Island, which visually sets the 2022 flagship apart from its predecessors. In India, iPhone 14 Pro misses out on satellite-based emergency messaging, but its functionality is limited to certain types of users, which doesn't impact the masses. Even the crash detection feature, which has had its glitches, is irrelevant here in India.
iPhone 14 Pro makes quite an impression with its camera capabilities, right from low-light photography to videography and Action Mode. Software-wise, the iPhone 14 Pro gets the best of the lot. The most refined, feature-packed iOS 16 makes strides on many fronts.
We hoped to see some sort of improvements on the fast-charging front and data transfer, but it's all in due time if we know Apple at all. Overall, the iPhone 14 Pro is the ideal flagship and makes perfect sense to upgrade from iPhone 11 and even iPhone 12 onwards. Android users can definitely get a taste of premium iOS goodness with the iPhone 14 Pro. But it all boils down to pricing in most cases, but this year, there has been extreme demand for the handsets themselves. So getting your hands on the iPhone 14 Pro or the Max hasn't been easy for the last few weeks. This, however, could change soon, and if it gets paired with some seasonal discounts, the iPhone 14 Pro can be a worthy purchase.
Great, bright display
Excellent photography and videography
Strong software (iOS) game
Dynamic Display - a novelty
No USB Type-C port on iPhone
Little visual characteristics to set it apart from predecessors