Review: Apple iPhone 14 Pro

Review: Apple iPhone 14 Pro

The iPhone 14 Pro, Apple’s flagship, has received updates in the form of design and camera sensors.

The controversial notch is finally gone and replaced by what Apple calls Dynamic Island, a pill-shaped cutout that can change size or shape based on notifications. It is only available on iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models.

The camera sensors have been increased to 48 megapixels, while its predecessor, the 13 Pro, was 12 MP.

Other changes include an always-on display, increased screen brightness of up to 2,000 nits, a new A16 Bionic chip, and pixel binning, a feature in which adjacent pixels are grouped together to form larger “super pixels” that enhance images with low light.

When the iPhone 14 Pro went on sale just over six weeks ago, it was nearly 20% more expensive than the 13 Pro at launch. It subsequently saw a price increase from R25,699 in mid-September to R26,899 for the base 128GB model.

For anyone who’s held on to an iPhone model from the 12 Pro and earlier, the 14 Pro feels like a new phone. At a minimum, you’ll get a 120Hz ProMotion display refresh rate, no notch, brighter display, longer battery life, camera improvements, and WiFi 6E.

The iPhone 14 Pro is powered by Apple’s latest A16 Bionic chip, with storage options ranging from 128GB to 1TB, 5G support, eSIM connectivity, and a 3,200mAh battery with up to 20W fast charging. Apple notoriously doesn’t include a plug in the box.

Design-wise, the device measures 6.1-inches, weighs 206g and comes in a new deep purple hue. It’s the perfect size for an iPhone, which falls between the 14 and Pro Max. It still features a trio of bulky, protruding lenses that don’t sit flat on a surface and can wobble. If this bothers you, the right cover will make it flush.

Whereas before the notch was something you got used to, Dynamic Island has the opposite effect. Naming convention aside, you’ll appreciate how useful and brilliant the design is. It is touch sensitive, you can access notifications.

It houses the 12MP TrueDepth camera that enables Face ID, bokeh selfies, cinematic 4K videos, and 3D facial mapping for AR features. But it also cleverly combines hardware with innovative software that adapts and changes in real time to send alerts or notifications.

Instead of checking the notification screen manually, the information will appear in the Dynamic Island, which expands where needed. These could include music or audio playback, an AirDrop connection, directions in Maps, a timer, Apple Pay confirmations, privacy indicators for the microphone and camera, plus battery and charging status.

Apple runs Dynamic Island brilliantly, and it’s unlike anything I’d have experienced in an Android notch.

The other big improvements come in the form of the camera. Triple rear cameras comprise 48MP wide, 12MP ultra-wide, and a 12MP telephoto lens. But the camera will only shoot at 48MP after going into settings and turning on ProRAW. It should also be enabled in the viewfinder in good light.

File sizes are large and shooting RAW is only recommended if you want to edit the images in Lightroom or similar, and are going to print them. For the rest of the time, the default setting that shoots at 12MP will suffice for everyday use.

Previously, the iPhone 13 Pro used to automatically switch between lenses and caused some frustration when taking certain photos, for example, from an airplane window, but with the 14 Pro, you can control the automatic switching between lenses by activating Macro Control.

videography

For any videographer, it offers a video stabilization mode and a 4K setting for cinematic mode. Overall, the camera improvements are a big jump if you’re coming from an iPhone 12 range or earlier.

Battery life on an iPhone has always been a sore spot, not great, but the 3,200mAh battery should last a day. If you want a bigger battery, this is one reason to get the bigger Pro Max. A recent update to iOS 16.1 fixes a battery drain issue caused in iOS 16.

The cost of living in South Africa and the exchange rate against the US dollar have made the iPhone 14 Pro an expensive phone to buy. The phone has notable improvements and can be justified if you are coming from an older phone intending to keep the iPhone 14 Pro for more than a 24-month cycle.

Given the quality of the new cameras, consider the 256GB storage option, but be prepared to shell out R29,499, otherwise a postpaid option may be more cost-effective.

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