A large entry-level iPhone is a major novelty! The iPhone 14 Plus recycles, like the iPhone 14, the technical platform of the previous generation. But, if not exciting, it is still a very good smartphone, whose autonomy seems promising.

THE OPINION OF MACBOUND.COM

Apple iPhone 14 Plus

MOST

  • + The design and finish
  • + The size and quality of the screen
  • + Performance
  • + Small progress in photography
  • + Autonomy?

THE LESSERS

  • – The high-performance but the recycled configuration
  • – The photo partition still limited to two rear modules
  • – The screen is not even ProMotion
  • – The price

For the third consecutive year, Apple declines its iPhone of the year in four copies. With a change, however, the iPhone 14 now occupies the entry level, with no mini in front of it to lead the way, and with a star-of-the-day iPhone 14 Plus above it.

As if the place previously occupied by the iPhone mini was that of the dead, a bit cursed, the iPhone 14 was this year as if struck by an alignment of bad planets. However, by way of jettattura, a distinct lack of novelties, except for a redesigned interior to make the device more repairable., is an excellent but little renewed configuration that makes your teeth cringe in a device over 1,000 euros.

In short, we had the opportunity to say everything we thought about the iPhone 14. However, when it comes to testing the iPhone 14 Plus, a question now arises, is this new big brother affected by the same evil for the same effects?

The iPhone 14 Plus, surrounded, on the left, by the iPhone 14, and, on the right, by the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
The iPhone 14 Plus, is surrounded, on the left, by the iPhone 14, and, on the right, by the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

Big And Light

After trying to think small for two years, Apple wants its entry-level to go big. In fact, the iPhone 14 Plus displays a 6.7-inch panel, like the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

As you can see in the table above, the two brothers have substantially identical proportions, which allows them to offer the same grip. Better to have big fingers or two hands to use it comfortably – but that seems to be the price to pay for having such a large display in your pocket.

The front of the iPhone 14 Plus is in Ceramic Shield, and its back in ultra-resistant ionized glass.
The front of the iPhone 14 Plus is in Ceramic Shield, and its back is ultra-resistant ionized glass.
The iPhone 14 Plus still offers a Lightning connector, it may be the last.
The iPhone 14 Plus still offers a Lightning connector, it may be the last.

However, there is one point that distinguishes the two iPhones: it is the weight. Take them both in hand and you’ll immediately notice that the 14 Plus is light, much lighter. A very pleasant difference in everyday life. 

These 37 grams of difference are explained by the strapping in aluminum – and not in steel – which surrounds the device and forms its vertical and frank slices, pleasant to grasp and keep in hand. But also by the presence of two photo modules only at the back. We will come back to it.

The iPhone 14 Plus and its notch. Behind, the iPhone 14 Pro Max is smart and photo bombing with its Dynamic Island.
The iPhone 14 Plus and its notch. Behind, the iPhone 14 Pro Max is smart and photo-bombing with its Dynamic Island.

Be that as it may, the 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR panel is a real eye-catcher and provides incredible visual comfort, displaying… more. It also displays an average brightness of 816 cd / m2 (for 800 announced by Apple), which is a little worse than the average smartphone of over 1,000 euros tested over the past 12 months. 

But that was already the case last year…with one significant difference, the 2021 iPhone fared better comparatively, as it competed in the sub-$1,000 smartphone category, given its starting price. Anyway, to stay on screen it was and still is very comfortable even in direct sunlight. 

Moreover, the panel has some underfoot since the 01Lab measured luminous peaks in HDR of 1,204 cd/m2, which is much better and very slightly above the 1,200 nits announced by Apple. The contrast is considered infinite, since it is an OLED panel, we will not come back to it.

As usual, Apple manages to put a panel with excellent colorimetry before our eyes. The Delta E 2000 measured by 01Lab is 3.09 in DCI-P3 and 1.9 in RGB. It’s absolutely flawless.

If we can understand from a marketing point of view that Apple keeps the Dynamic Island – hello again! – and the screen always lit for its top-of-the-range, we regret however that the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus are denied access to ProMotion technology. For the record, it allows you to vary the refresh rate of the display according to the content on the screen. Thus, a game reaches 120 Hz (120 frames per second), but a Web page is satisfied with 10 fps when it is static, etc. The two iPhone 14s recycle the chip from the iPhone 13 Pro… Perhaps they could have recovered their slab in the same movement.

iPhone 14 Plus offers the same screen size as the iPhone 14 Pro Max… but does not have the photo weight.
iPhone 14 Plus offers the same screen size as the iPhone 14 Pro Max… but does not have the photo weight.

Configuration And Performance.

Precisely, let’s talk about the SoC embedded in this new giant. Like the iPhone 14, the 14 Plus is entitled to the A15 Bionic as it was present in the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max. Namely SoC with six CPU cores (two high performance, and four low power), five GPU cores, compared to four for the iPhone 13 and 13 mini, and 16 cores for the Neural Engine, responsible for executing the machine learning algorithms. The SoC is associated with 6 GB of RAM, as of the most expensive models of last year.

Unsurprisingly, the A15 Bionic is less capable than the A16 Bionic – otherwise, what’s the point of generational leaps? However, this chip was excellent last year, and if it no longer offers the best, it provides much more than the essentials.

A quick tour of Geekbench allows us to see that the A15 Bionic still holds up well against the competition, even against smartphones equipped with the latest chip produced by Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 +.

And even if the A16 Bionic does better, the uses in one year have not evolved enough to upset the use of a smartphone in the years to come, except for the introduction of major technology, such as ray tracing on mobile, for example.

In any case, the “iPhone experience” made of flexibility and fluidity is there and should be for a while yet. Even if we can regret that Apple did not offer it an A16 Bionic, the iPhone 14 Plus is more than powerful enough for all daily uses. The game, for example, makes good use of its large screen and its GPU.

On this subject, the iPhone 14 Plus has also benefited from a complete overhaul of its internal architecture, like the iPhone 14. This makes it easier to repair, so much the better, but that is not the point here. . This rearrangement of components also allows for better heat dissipation, according to Apple.

And, in fact, if we compare the results of the 14 Plus with those of the 13 Pro Max (to have the same SoC and the same form factor), we note better results with the extreme stress test tool of 3Dmark Wild Life. A test tool that runs a series of graphics renders through 20 loops, which in total takes about 20 minutes.

The iPhone 14 Plus scores higher than the 13 Pro Max for both its best loop and its worst. The proof that the chip manages to load more without heating up as much, even if, ultimately, the stability of the performance is less good. By little, since the performance stability percentage is 78.8 for the 13 Pro Max and 76.7 for the 14 Plus.

Now let’s push this little comparison game and extend it to the very high-end iPhone 14 Pro Max of the 2022 season. We then see that the A16 Bionic grants better performance for the best loop, but that the new Apple’s SoC heats up more, with a “worse” loop that gives the advantage… to the iPhone 14 Plus!

In other words, the new “entry-level” giant smartphone is less efficient but provides more stable performance when it is used for a long time, which means that it can do better than the Pro Max… Interesting for regular gamers, can -be.

According to Apple, the best heat dissipation also allows the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus to offer an interesting function that the iPhone 13 Pro is deprived of, it is the Photonic Engine, and here is a ready-made transition to switch to the Photo.

The iPhone 14 Plus has two rear photo modules.
The iPhone 14 Plus has two rear photo modules.

Photo: Better, But Still Not Enough

In addition to the Photonic Engine, other functions, such as Cinematic mode in 4K at 30 frames / second, are made possible thanks to this renewal of the bowels of the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus. The heat released by these intensive calculations can indeed be dissipated, which would not a priori be the case on the iPhone 13 Pro.

2021 models from which the iPhone 14 Plus borrows its main camera module. The wide-angle lens, equivalent to a 26 mm, now opens at f / 1.5 against f / 1.6 previously, but the change comes mainly from the associated sensor.No, it’s not the 48 Mpix enjoyed by the 14 Pro models, and that’s a shame. 

We find the 12 Mpix sensor with photosites of 1.9 micrometers (against 1.7 previously) which means more light, there too, but fewer novelties than what we would have liked.

For self-portrait aficionados, the good news, the TrueDepth camera on the front is also progressing, and gains in focal aperture (f / 1.9), which ensures that it captures more light. It also gains autofocus, a first. 

And in fact, it saves some portraits with friends (or family) by reducing the shots and the number of blurred faces. Especially in the evening, when the light is dim or the hands less sure.

The ultra wide-angle, in full light, is in its business, with a beautiful reproduction of colors and a beautiful homogeneous exposure even in almost backlight.
The ultra wide-angle, in full light, is in its business, with a beautiful reproduction of colors and a beautiful homogeneous exposure even in almost backlight.
The wide-angle of the iPhone 14 Plus is a good basic module, but it clearly lacks being accompanied by one or more telephoto lenses.
The wide-angle of the iPhone 14 Plus is a good basic module, but it clearly lacks being accompanied by one or more telephoto lenses.

So much for the major new hardware and software. But before going into detail and saying what we think of the photos, let’s come back to a point that saddens us enormously and that these few updates cannot compensate for.

In a smartphone sold for 1,169 euros, we are still only entitled to two photo modules, an ultra wide-angle (13 mm equivalent, associated with a 12 Mpix sensor) and a wide-angle, which we have already given the details above. It is very little. 

A third module is missing, either to produce better portraits or to zoom in more on detail. A true telephoto lens becomes more than a luxury or a range differentiator. When you pass the 1,000 euro mark, this seems to us a minimum, especially since the material offer has changed little for a few years now. 

Unfortunately, we fear that this state of affairs will continue for a few more years, the Pro models would have to make a considerable leap forward for Apple to consider further beefing up its entry-level offer. But we can always hope.

That said, armed with these two camera modules, we find the usual strengths of Apple, with good exposure of the shots and color consistency from one module to another. The slightly yellow rendering of colors and lights seen on the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 is also present. 

This is the effect of the “new” image processing provided by the Photonic Engine, which involves Deep Fusion earlier in the process of generating a photo, before the compression of the shots. In bright light, the shots are very pleasant to watch on the screen. 

When they are enlarged a little, there is always a bit of the watercolor effect suffered by previous generations of iPhone, but the outlines of objects, trees, and buildings seem to gain in detail, in precision.

By night, as by day, we appreciate that the autofocus is still just as fast. We also welcome the progress made in the rendering of nuances and contrasts. The photos above, taken in the early morning, manage to display some details in the dark areas that we could barely see with the naked eye, while the sky is rather well rendered, with both more clarity and also a respect for nuances. The result is all the more commendable as the photos were taken in Night mode, freehand.

On the front part, the selfies gain a little in sharpness and especially in speed and accuracy of development. The result – and we are not talking about the subject! – is rather pleasant and detailed. In full light anyway.

Frankly, the result is satisfactory in most cases. The shots are pleasant, without however being the best that a smartphone of this price can produce. It is, ultimately, the iPhone of those for whom the photo is not a capital point.

Autonomy Always Runs

Sometimes there isn’t enough time to do everything, and iPhones, with their increasingly long battery life, don’t help us. The iPhone 14 Plus, with its 4,325 mAh battery, really doesn’t make it easy for us. 

On several occasions, interlocutors crossed at Apple and even suggested to us that it could do better than the reference in the matter, the Pro Max. Even if we are in doubt, we can credit them with the fact that the battery of the 14 Plus is slightly larger than that of the Pro Max. 

It remains to be seen on which side the differences in SoC and screen will tip the scales. However, this once again made an impression. It takes first place in our versatile battery life test, with 27:21, and ranks second, behind the iPhone 13 Pro Max, for video streaming battery life, with 22:57. 

Suffice it to say that if the iPhone 14 Plus manages to do better, or even just as well, there will be cause for celebration. Because of a giant quality screen, more than enough power, and record autonomy in a slightly more affordable device, we see no reason to deprive ourselves of it. 

For the moment, however, you will have to content yourself with your feelings and our observations. The iPhone 14 Plus lasts a whole day, without a hitch, except to navigate in GPS from morning to evening, of course, or to skim all the content of TikTok in 5G. 

As part of a classic use made of surfing, listening to music, playing videos, surveying social networks, and mobile games, always, yes, the “Plus” format from Apple should give you satisfaction. But let’s wait for the results of our tests to be sure and put a note on this smartphone which promises a lot on this point.

Apple iPhone 14 Plus Technical Sheet

SystemiOS 16
ProcessorApple A15 Bionic
Size (diagonal)6.7″
Screen resolution458 dpi

MOST

  • + The design and finish
  • + The size and quality of the screen
  • + Performance
  • + Small progress in photography
  • + Autonomy?

THE LESSERS

  • – The high-performance but a recycled configuration
  • – The photo partition still limited to two rear modules
  • – The screen is not even ProMotion
  • – The price

Apple iPhone 14 Plus Verdict

The iPhone 14 Plus resurrects the label that disappeared in 2020 with the iPhone 8. Apple gives it a major asset… its size. With its 6.7-inch OLED display, not always-on and no more ProMotion, the iPhone 14 Plus is the iPhone 14 Pro Max for those who don’t want to pay full price, don’t need the latest generation of Apple Silicon SoCs, and do not really have much interest in smartphone photography.

The iPhone 14 Plus does not innovate more than the iPhone 14. It is a kind of downgraded 13 Pro Max, nevertheless, it manages to arouse more interest. The promising autonomy, which is still a point to be determined by our tests and makes us reserve our final opinion, could give it more appeal, and help justify its really high price positioning. It is indeed the only certainty, at only 90 euros less than the iPhone 13 Pro Max released last year, it is not only on the screen that Apple sees big!

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Abram left his e-business studies to devote himself to his entrepreneurial projects. In 2017, he created the company Inbound Media and wrote articles about high-tech products for his Chromebookeur site. In 2019, Chromebookeur was renamed Macbound and became a general purchasing advice site. Today, Abram manages the development and growth of Macbound, surrounded by a young and talented team.

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