iPhone 14 Plus Review – Overshadowed Excellence
The Apple iPhone 14 Plus replaces the Mini in the lineup where you don't have to spend "Pro money" to get a large display, making it more accessible to the masses. Is it worth your money? Let's find out.
+ Class-leading battery life
+ Excellent performance despite using last year's chip
+ Great cameras
+ Large, bright display with punchy colours
+ Smooth, user-friendly UI
+ Magsafe is a blessing
+ Mute switch is still here
+ Surprisingly light for its size
+ Loud and clear audio
- For the money, makes more sense to buy iPhone 13 Pro Max
- No telephoto camera
- No Dynamic Island
- No high / adaptive refresh rate
- Still uses Lightning instead of USB-C
Unboxing the iPhone 14 Plus
Let’s kick off our Apple iPhone 14 Plus review with the unboxing. It doesn’t look any different from your standard non-Pro model packaging, clad in white with a minimalist design. Inside the box, you can find the following items:
- USB-C to Lightning cable
- User guide
- SIM ejector pin
- Apple sticker
- The iPhone 14 Plus itself
We also got ourselves an official silicone case by Apple with MagSafe support. This is a separate purchase, in case you were wondering. Just like before, no charger is included in the box.
|CPU||Apple A15 Bionic
2 x Avalanche @ up to 3.23GHz (Performance cores)
4 x Blizzard @ up to 1.82GHz (Efficient cores)
|Display||6.7″ 2778 x 1284 Super Retina XDR OLED display with Ceramic Shield glass
HDR10, Dolby Vision, 1200 nits max brightness
|Audio||Spatial audio playback, stereo speakers|
|Camera||12MP f/1.5 wide angle, 1.9µm pixels, 7P lens, sensor-shift OIS, dual-pixel AF
12MP f/2.4 ultra-wide angle, 1.0µm pixels, 6P lens, 120˚
Video: Up to 4K60 HDR video with Dolby Vision, 4K30 Cinematic mode, 1080p240 slow-mo
|Selfie camera||12MP f/1.9 wide angle, PDAF
SL 3D (depth / biometrics)
Video: Up to 4K60, 1080p120 slow-mo, gyro EIS
|Connectivity||WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax, WiFi 6
Ultra Wideband chip
5G Band n1, n2, n3, n5, n7, n8, n12, n20, n25, n28, n30, n38, n40, n41, n48, n66, n77, n78, n79
LTE Band 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 46, 48, 66
20W fast charging
15W MagSafe wireless charging, 7.5W Qi wireless charging
USB PD 2.0
|Dimensions||160.8 x 78.1 x 7.8 mm|
|Ingress protection||IP68 (6m deep for 30 minutes)|
Starting off our benchmarks with Geekbench 5, the iPhone 14 Plus may be using last year’s A15 Bionic chip but it’s still a very capable device as it beats out every single Android smartphone, including this year’s flagships. While the iPhone 13 seems to be higher, the difference is so small that it’s negligible. It’s also worth noting that the newer A16 Bionic is definitely stronger, but not by a huge margin.
In Antutu v9, the iPhone 14 Plus managed a healthy score of 844,709, putting it on par with last year’s iPhone 13 series. This shouldn’t be a surprise since it uses the same chip. In comparison, the iPhone 14 Pro that we tested recently scored a whopping 970,635.
Lastly in 3DMark, it managed a buttery smooth 67.5FPS on average at its resolution in Wild Life Unlimited, so we can omit it from future tests. Wild Life Extreme on the other hand really tested its limits as it only 16FPS on average. In comparison, the iPhone 14 Pro only manage 2FPS higher at an average of 18.1FPS.
As for the stress test, it’s one of the most beautiful graphs I’ve seen thus far as it had that slight dip, and then maintains a consistent performance until the end. This gives it an admirable stability rating of 74.6%. In case you were wondering, it was barely warm at the end of the stress test.
This might not necessarily be the best battery life on an iPhone, as many claimed that the title belongs to the 13 Pro Max or the 14 Pro Max due to specific features like adaptive refresh rate. However, I can definitely say that the iPhone 14 Plus has class-leading battery life, especially for large display smartphone with a fixed refresh rate of 60Hz.
As you can see from the graphs above, I actually struggled to drain the battery life with me having about half left by the end of the day on average. This is me going out of my way to play mobile games longer than I normally would, on top of social media, Waze for GPS, short phone calls, media consumption, and more. In short, it’s simply phenomenal.
There are a lot of good things that can be said about the iPhone 14 Plus. The first of course is the large display, which is the 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display with Ceramic Shield glass. Putting aside the lack of refresh rate options and the notch, it’s certainly an excellent display with punchy colours that puts it at the top of its game. If you often use your smartphone to watch videos or play games, this is a treat for the eyes.
Another case of it being a multimedia powerhouse is its stereo speakers. It’s actually pretty loud but it doesn’t come at the cost of quality either. With clarity and audio being directed towards you, it’s certainly an enjoyable experience for both videos and mobile games. Sure, bass is lacking but that’s only to be expected from built-in speakers from any device.
Out of the box, the iPhone 14 Plus was running on iOS 16. Just as before, it’s smooth and user-friendly, with most of your apps available on the Home Screen but if you’d rather have an app drawer, simply go to the right-most screen and all your apps will be there. In case you have been on Android for too long, iOS does have widgets, though its customizability is still limited in comparison.
One thing I really like, and I hope this doesn’t ever get omitted from future iPhones, is the mute switch. As the name implies, there’s a switch above the volume rocker which will let you quickly set your iPhone in and out of mute. Sure, you can do that on other smartphones by going to Settings but this is far more convenient and time-saving.
When it comes to large display devices, the biggest issue is usually on holding it. In the case of the iPhone 14 Plus, it’s still very easy to use with one hand. This is because it’s not particularly wide, and it’s surprisingly light given its size. In comparison to the 13 Pro Max and 14 Pro Max, it’s about 37g lighter, and the difference is pretty significant when you hold the devices with your hand.
The best thing about it, and this is shared with other recent iPhone models, is MagSafe. The most obvious use is wireless charging, and the magnets always ensures that you have it connected properly. However, there’s more to it as it opens up a lot of accessory potential, even from 3rd party brands. This includes MagSafe powerbanks, wallets, phone stands, car mounts, and more. Once you’ve experienced MagSafe, it’s hard to go without it.
As good as the iPhone 14 Plus is, it does have its share of drawbacks. For starters, it’s a non-Pro model, so it lacks a number of features. The first, and most obvious one is the lack of a Dynamic Island. We are practically stuck with the same dated notch display, which also makes it hard to tell that it’s a new 2022 model. It also means that we’re missing out on the extra functionality that comes with the Dynamic Island.
Then, we have the lack of a high and adaptive refresh rate option. While the display is still great in terms of visual prowess, the ProMotion display is reserved for the Pro models. As such, we are stuck to just 60Hz. This is perfectly fine in my opinion but the ability to scale down to as low as 1Hz when possible means we’re also missing out on potential battery savings. The saving grace here is that the battery life is already excellent so it doesn’t feel bad.
I personally won’t complain about the lack of a charger but the last pain point for me is that they’re still sticking to Lightning instead of moving to USB-C. Sure, all signs are pointing towards next year’s model finally making the transition but that also means that if you plan on buying a Lightning-based accessory like a vlog microphone, you’d have to think twice. Not to mention, using a single cable to charge everything, including the iPhone, would be great.
Just like its previous models, the iPhone 14 Plus has an easy to use, straightforward camera UI. All of the shooting modes and options are there, and the lack of the features from the Pro makes it even easier to make full use of. All you have to do is simply point and shoot to your heart’s desire, so even the technologically inept would be able to make great use of this. Just keep in mind that if you want to change formats, video resolution or anything similar, you’ll have to go to Settings > Camera.
As for the camera performance itself, it is certainly excellent to say the least. Pictures are in focus, colours are punchy with good contrast, and noise is minimal even when lighting isn’t favourable, and this applies to all camera modules on it. The only issue I have is the lack of a telephoto camera as digitally zoomed shots see a noticeable decline in quality after 3x magnification. It’s not a dealbreaker but given how good the 13 Pro’s telephoto camera was, it’s hard to live without it when you’ve gotten used to having it.
iPhone 14 Plus Verdict
If you look at the iPhone 14 Plus on its own, it’s an excellent smartphone no matter how you spin it. When you consider other iPhones and its price, which starts at RM4,699 for the 128GB variant, it makes more sense to get the iPhone 13 Pro Max for the extra camera and adaptive refresh rate as it’s just a difference of RM300 for the same capacity. After all, you practically won’t be missing out on anything with the 13 Pro Max.
Realistically, the iPhone 14 Pro Max would trump it in almost every way with the new Dynamic Island, improved ProMotion display, the newer A16 Bionic, and more. However, it is also much more pricey so the 14 Plus hits a strong value proposition for consumers. If you’re okay with missing out on some features and / or would prefer to save some cash on a large screen device, you would definitely be more than happy with the all-new iPhone 14 Plus.
At the end of our iPhone 14 Plus review, I award this smartphone with our coveted Gold Pokdeward.
Check out our review of the iPhone 14 Pro by clicking right here.