The iPhone 14 is a capable smartphone with a seriously snappy CPU, lovely screen, and good cameras. It pales in comparison to the iPhone 14 Pro, but then you’re also saving $200 / £250 / AU$350. If you’re not looking for a big screen on a budget (for that, see the new iPhone 14 Plus), this solid, if unspectacular iPhone – with a couple of really cool next-gen features that you may never use – might be for you.
Familiar design and quality build
New heat dissipation interior
Better TrueDepth camera
Emergency satellite communications
The notch remains
Last generation A15 Bionic chip
Mostly minor upgrade
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It’s a little hard to get excited about an iPhone that features last year's design, last year’s screen, and last year’s CPU, but taken on its own – out of the substantial shadow of the new iPhone 14 Pro – Apple’s new iPhone 14 looks like a pretty darn good smartphone.
Even though the iPhone 14 looks a lot like the iPhone 13, there are numerous upgrades under the hood that promise to deliver an improved experience overall.
The phone's two rear cameras – a 12MP wide and 12MP ultra-wide – have new sensors, and the 12MP TrueDepth camera gobbles up more light and can now autofocus. All the lenses are backed by Apple’s new Photonic Engine ("photonic" refers to the management of photons, or light particles – read more about it in our iPhone 14 camera explainer). In a practical sense, it’s a reordering of Apple's imaging pipeline, which now applies the Deep Fusion neural engine image processing to uncompressed images (rather than compressed ones, as it did previously).
What you won’t find here is a 48MP sensor with quad-pixel binning or any kind of zoom. For those, you need to upgrade to the iPhone 14 Pro or iPhone 14 Pro Max.
There’s still the excellent Super Retina XDR OLED screen, but if you’re not a fan of that notch you may again want to go for the 14 Pro or Pro Max, which are rocking Apple’s nifty new Dynamic Island, along with an adaptive refresh rate and always-on display.
Apple also made the decision to keep the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus on last year’s Apple silicon. Granted, it’s not the same A15 Bionic that ran last year’s iPhone 13 and 13 mini. Instead of a four-core GPU, this A15 Bionic has a five-core GPU. It’s essentially the same chip that was in last year’s iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max, and should promise improved performance over the iPhone 13’s chip.
For all that hasn’t changed, there are some cool new (though hard-to-test) features, like crash detection; where the phone will know if you’re in a car crash and automatically alert emergency services and key contacts. In a similar vein, the iPhone 14 can now use satellite communications to contact emergency services. It’s an industry first, and it’s good to see that even Apple’s entry-level iPhone 14 got this new ability.
There are some other significant under-the-hood updates, specifically a new heat dissipation system that will help the phone manage temperatures better, and work more efficiently (this phone has better battery life than the iPhone 13). Apple also contends that this iPhone is easier to repair than previous models, as – among other things, the back glass can now be replaced without have to swap out the entire enclosure.
Apple iPhone 14 price and availability
- 128GB: $799 / £849 / AU$1,339
- 256GB: $899 / £959 / AU$1,579
- 512GB: $1,099 / £1,179 / AU$1,899
Apple unveiled its entire iPhone 14 line – the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max – on September 7, 2022.
The iPhone 14 went on pre-order on September 9 and is now available, as of September 16. It starts at $799 / £849 / AU$1,399 for the 128GB model, but you can get it with up to 512GB of storage (check out our best iPhone 14 deals if you're already interested).
Unlike most Android phones, there are no options for additional RAM, beyond the baseline 6GB, although that is more than the base iPhone 13, which had only 4GB.
In some cases, the latest Apple promo codes can help you save towards the cost.
- Value score: 3.5/5
Apple iPhone 14 review: Specs
The Apple iPhone 14 comes in three storage configurations – 128GB, 256GB and 512GB – with 6GB of RAM offered across the board.
|Header Cell - Column 1|
|Dimensions:||71.5 x 146.7 x 7.8mm|
|Screen:||6.1-inch Super XDR OLED|
|Resolution:||2532 x 1170 pixels|
|Storage:||128GB / 256GB / 512GB|
|Rear Cameras:||12MP main (26mm, f/1.5), 12MP ultrawide (13mm, f/2.4)|
|Charging:||20W (wired) + MagSafe & wireless|
|Colors:||Midnight, Starlight, red, blue, purple, yellow|
Apple iPhone 14 design
- Near-identical design to iPhone 13
- The SIM slot is gone (US-only)
- Same notched Super Retina XDR display
Aside from new colors – we tested the tasteful pale blue model – the 6.1-inch iPhone 14 looks very much like the iPhone 13. Its aluminum frame, button placement, stereo speaker grilles, Lightning port, and even the screen, all appear unchanged. There are, though, tiny structural differences.
At 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.8mm, it’s just a hair thicker than the iPhone 13. It’s also two grams lighter than the last phone, which we assume is down to the new thermal architecture inside the device. Despite the chassis similarities, the iPhone 14 doesn’t quite fit in an official iPhone 13 MagSafe case – the body slides in just fine, but the iPhone 14’s two-lens camera array is slightly larger (as are the lenses themselves).
All the materials – including the Ceramic Shield covering the display – are the same, and the dust and water resistance remains unchanged from the iPhone 13, as well. Naturally, we ran our iPhone 14 through a sprinkler, just to ensure it could handle it. It was fine – and it may have enjoyed the respite from the New York heat.
Design score: 4/5
Apple iPhone 14 display
- Familiar 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR
- The notch persists
- No adaptive refresh or always-on functionality
- Still a high-quality OLED display
With a 2532 x 1170, 460ppi resolution, the iPhone 14’s Super Retina XDR display is almost entirely unchanged from the iPhone 13. The notch that’s been banished from the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max lives on in this now somewhat aging design. It encompasses an updated TrueDepth camera (it’s still 12MP, but backed by a better light-gathering sensor and has the ability to autofocus), an IR sensor, flood illuminator, and, above it all, the top speaker (the other speaker is on the bottom of the phone). This is likely the last hurrah for the notch, as it seems hard to believe that it’ll survive in next year’s anticipated iPhone 15.
Even though this is a bright (up to 1,200 nits) and colorful (Wide Color) display with (thanks to OLED) inky blacks (boasting a 2,000,000-to-1 contrast ratio), it automatically feels out of step with the latest in Apple display technology. There’s no adaptive refresh rate, and not even the120Hz ProMotion that we first met on 2021's Pro models. Just 60Hz. That might be hard to swallow when the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max offer adaptive refresh rates that range from 10Hz to 120Hz. Plus, those phones have a new always-on display mode that can stop down to just 1Hz, for extra power efficiency. Again, this is what you pay extra for.
- Display score: 3.5/5
Apple iPhone 14 cameras
- Familiar 12MP main + ultrawide on the back
- New sensors across the board
- Photonic Engine further improves image quality
- New Action mode
The iPhone 14 has just two rear cameras:
- A 12MP main (26mm, f/1.5)
- A 12MP ultrawide (120-degree field of view, 13mm, f/2.4)
These are good cameras with better sensors and overall low-light performance compared to their predecessors. The front camera – also 12MP – now has autofocus too, which should make group selfies somewhat easier.
All the cameras benefit from a new imaging pipeline. The Photonic Engine prioritizes Deep Fusion neural image processing earlier than previously, so it can work with uncompressed images.
Photography with the iPhone 14 is good, though having also tested the iPhone 14 Pro, we do miss having optical zoom and macro abilities at our fingertips. Even so, this level of photographic capability and the high-quality output should satisfy most users.
Like the rest of the iPhone 14 line, this model can shoot up to 4K video, and Cinematic Mode has now been pumped up to support 4K at 30fps.
Brand new is Active Mode, which is enabled by selecting the running person icon in the top right-hand portion of the camera app’s viewfinder. This is a surprisingly effective way of removing much of the shake from action videos. No, there isn’t a new gimbal in the iPhone 14; instead, Apple employs over-scan and advanced roll detection – which is a fancy way of saying it rapidly and on-the-fly crops the video to keep the center (usually a subject) more smoothly in-frame. This processing does discard some video information (resulting in a cropped frame), but the results are GoPro-smooth. I’m not sure how wildly useful this is, but if you’re an action fan it might be a godsend.