Dynamic Island is a great feature
Similar to the iPhone 13 Pro
First impressions and design - Not much has changed looks wise, but Apple's flagship smartphone still shines.
Camera - Camera upgrades deliver sensational photos.
Performance and battery life - Better processor, bigger battery.
Value and verdict - If you look past the price tag, it's the best smartphone you can buy.
The iPhone 14 Pro is arguably the biggest upgrade to Apple’s flagship iPhone model in years. The handset brings an even brighter Super Retina display with an Always On option, a brand-new A16 Bionic processor, and it’s the first iPhone to ditch the notch since the iPhone X.Once an eyesore, the notch is now a floating cutout known as the Dynamic Island - a unique feature that other brands are already copying. While it offers a bunch of new features and a more refined design than the iPhone 13 Pro, the iPhone 14 Pro holds on to a number of characteristics that long-time iPhone users have come to love.
Face ID remains intact, the cameras, though upgraded, offer a familiar shooting experience. And much to many users’ annoyance, Apple still hasn’t ditched its proprietary Lightning connector in favour of widely-adopted USB-C.
The iPhone 14 Pro design is familiar and cool. Apple has stuck to its tried-and-tested formula of an industrial, angular design crafted from a combination of a stainless steel and glass. It feels weighty and delivers an all-around solid, premium feel.
The iPhone 14 Pro is also IP68 water and dust-resistant like its predecessor, though it’s not so resistant to fingerprints and grime.
While it looks almost identical to last year’s model, albeit for the all-new Deep Purple colour option, the dimensions are slightly larger than previous models, which means your old iPhone 13 Pro cases won’t fit this handset.
The changes become more evident once you flip the iPhone 14 Pro over. The much-maligned notch has gone, with Apple replacing it with an all-new Dynamic Island, an animated pill-shaped cutout that dramatically changes how you interact with the device.
The Dynamic Island expands and contracts to accommodate system alerts and notifications, such as charging status, album art, or a countdown timer. Tapping and holding the notch reveals more of the notification, such as music playback controls, and just a tap opens the app.
With the Dynamic Island, Apple has taken something that’s traditionally an annoyance and turned it into something innovative and genuinely useful.
Another significant development is the new Always On option. While Android devices have had always-on displays for years, Apple’s approach is slightly different. It displays a dimmed version of the lock screen, including notifications and widgets in full colour rather than a simple clock or similar.
The display itself is the best you’ll find on any smartphone in 2022. The size remains the same as the iPhone 13 Pro, which means you’re looking at a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display. Though Apple has bumped the resolution to 2556 x 1179 which results in a pixel density of 460ppi.
The iPhone 14 Pro also hits a peak brightness level of 2,000 nits, besting the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, which means it’s not only crisp and detailed but also much easier to navigate in direct sunlight.
The iPhone 14 Pro sticks to a triple-camera setup, though the sensors have seen a bit of an upgrade. The handset packs a 48MP sensor that’s 65% larger than the one on last year’s iPhone 13 Pro, alongside a 12MP ultra-wide sensor and a 12MP 3X telephoto lens.
The main sensor, by default, shoots 12MP images, combining four pixels on the sensor into one pixel in the final image. This feature, known as pixel binning, has been on Android phones for years, but it’s nice to see it finally arrive on the iPhone, with images shot on the iPhone 14 Pro noticeably brighter and more detailed than before.
You can also opt to shoot at the full 48MP in ProRAW mode, and while the results are great, we found this mode to be quite slow - and images take up a lot more storage.
We also noticed improvements in low light conditions compared to last year’s iPhone 13 Pro. Not only are images noticeably crisper, but Apple’s night mode appears to kick in faster on the iPhone 14 Pro, which means it’s easier to capture the perfect shot.
Unlike the standard Apple iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus, which continue to rock last year’s A15 Bionic CPU, the iPhone 14 Pro sees features the all-new A16 Bionic chip.
As you’d expect from a phone on this level, the iPhone 14 Pro handled every task we threw at it with ease, be it multitasking, gaming, or streaming video. In Geekbench 5, the handset racked up a single-core score of 1,873 and a multi-core score of 5,456, a noticeable improvement over the iPhone 13 Pro.
The iPhone 14 Pro has also been treated to a battery upgrade too, promising up to 23 hours of video playback compared to up to 22 hours from the iPhone 13 Pro.
While results are user dependent, we found the device lasted an hour or two longer than our iPhone 13 Pro, on average, easily lasting an entire day. The 14 Pro supports 20W charging speeds, the same as the iPhone 13 Pro.
On the software front, iOS continues to offer a slick, familiar user interface, with the addition of a few smart new features such as the aforementioned Dynamic Island and Always On.
However, Apple has also added a handful of other features that might be less noticeable on first impressions. There’s Crash Detection, for example, a feature that can detect if you end up in a serious car crash and will automatically call emergency services.
There’s also new SOS via satellite functionality, though this feature is currently limited to the US and Canada.
Storage options are the same as the iPhone 13 Pro for the iPhone 14 Pro - and iPhone 14 Pro Max - starting at 128GB, with 256GB, 512GB and 1TB options. As has been the case since the iPhone launched, there is no microSD support for storage expansion, although Apple has added eSIM support for the first time.
On the face of it, the iPhone 14 Pro might not seem like much of an upgrade, and for those currently wielding an iPhone 13 Pro, that may well be the case. However, with the addition of the Dynamic Island and Always On display, it feels like Apple has made some significant changes that will likely change how you interact with your iPhone for good - and for the better.
The animated interface makes the phone feel more reactive and alive, and the Always On display when combined with the redesigned lock screen from iOS 16 feels similar with its live notifications and widgets.
There are some other notable improvements on the hardware front, from the new 48MP main camera sensor - a vast upgrade compared to the 12MP sensor on last year’s model to the A16 Bionic CPU that makes this handset one of the slickest on the market.
The Retina Display has also seen an upgrade-worthy improvement, with the increase in brightness making it far more legible in direct sunlight.
Of course, as is the case with every flagship iPhone, there is one major downside: the price. The iPhone 14 Pro starts at £1,099 in the UK, increasing to £1,649 for the 1TB model.
But while it costs a pretty penny, the quality is certainly there, and for those who’ve been waiting for an upgrade the iPhone 14 Pro stands out at the top of the premium smartphone market.
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