Comes in a variety of colors, now including yellow
Fantastic battery life
Terrific performance and video quality
Image processing no longer best-in-class
Not much of a leap over the iPhone 13
The problem with the iPhone 14 Plus is its price. It’s a very good phone, a modest but welcome upgrade over the iPhone 13. But it doesn’t justify its $900 price tag, especially when it’s so closely priced to the Pro models that give you so much more.
It has been almost half a year since the release of the iPhone 14 Plus, and since Apple is refreshing the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus with a new yellow color, and we didn’t test and review the iPhone 14 Plus upon release, this felt like a good time to check in on it.
In general, what applies to the iPhone 14 applies to the 14 Plus. It’s the same phone, only larger. The larger battery makes it last longer, but it is otherwise just a choice about the phone/display size that’s best for you.
This is a good phone and a decent upgrade (especially if you’re coming from a model at least two or three years old), but it’s sort of hard to recommend. Starting at $900, it’s only $100 short of the regular-sized iPhone 14 Pro. The Pro models always offer more, but this year the gap is wider than ever as the Pro models have a newer processor in the A16, a brighter display with an always-on feature, Dynamic Island, telephoto camera, and 48MP main camera.
Apple’s pricing and product differentiation strategy puts the iPhone 14 Plus in a tough spot, where it is far too expensive to be the “affordable big phone” choice, and too limited relative to the iPhone 14 Pro to justify its high price.
It sure is yellow
The new yellow color is not for everyone. My wife saw my test phone on my desk and said “you got a yellow iPhone case?”
“No, it’s a yellow iPhone. I’m testing it,” I said.
“It’s awful. Why did they make this?” she replied, turning it over in her hands.
Some will love it, some will hate it. It’s yellow. It is hard to describe it another way, because that’s what it is. Close your eyes and picture “yellow.” You nailed it! When Crayola makes a crayon that is yellow—not “sunglow” or “canary” or “laser lemon”—it’s this color. It’s not “yellow but with a hint of.” It is “no-modifier” yellow. Thankfully it’s just one option you have among five other colors: midnight, starlight, blue, purple, and red.
It is otherwise very much a modern iPhone. There’s a notch where the front camera and Face ID stuff goes (rather than the pill-shaped Dynamic Island of the Pro models), a rounded-circle camera bump on the back with two cameras (12MP wide and 12MP ultra-wide), buttons on the side, and lightning port on the bottom. The 6.7-inch display makes it pretty large, and small phone fans are definitely upset that the iPhone 13 mini was replaced by this bigger, more expensive, model.
The new battery life champ? Not quite!
There’s little reason to dive deeply into the specific features and performance of the iPhone 14 Plus, other than to confirm that, yes, it is exactly like the iPhone 14. If you’re curious about camera quality, performance, display quality, and all those other specifics refer to our iPhone 14 review. The iPhone 14 Plus is identical–or close enough not to matter.
With one exception: battery life. With a larger battery and display, one can reasonably expect the iPhone 14 Plus to have different battery life than the smaller model. Apple says it has the longest battery life of any iPhone, including the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
In our testing, that didn’t quite pan out. The iPhone 14 Plus is the second-longest-lasting iPhone, behind the iPhone 14 Pro Max, more or less tied with the iPhone 13 Pro Max. When you consider that the iPhone 13 Pro Max has a similar display and A15 processor, that makes a lot of sense.
Note that we test with a different methodology than Apple does. We use the Geekbench 4 battery test, which continuously runs that (now aging) benchmark with the display on. We set the display to a measured brightness of 200 nits. Apple uses a different brightness setting and measures standby, video playback, audio playback, and phone call duration. Our tests tend to put a lot more stress on the CPU and GPU than Apple’s.
The iPhone 14 Plus is not, in our testing, the longest-lasting iPhone available, but it still provides really excellent battery life. It’s impressive how battery life in Apple’s largest phones has grown by over 60 percent in just a few years, even while vastly improving performance and display quality.
A good phone that’s hard to recommend
There’s no doubt that the iPhone 14 Plus is a good phone. It’s got fantastic performance, battery life, and an excellent camera.
But is it nine hundred dollars good? That’s a little less clear. It certainly stings that this model replaces the iPhone 13 mini, which not only swaps the only small phone in Apple’s lineup for a larger one but replaces a $699 phone with a $899 one.
Perhaps more important, though, is that the iPhone 14 Pro can be had for just $100 more, and it gives you quite a lot: the more powerful A16 chip, always-on display, higher maximum brightness, Dynamic Island, telephoto camera, and 48MP wide camera. The non-Pro iPhone 14 models aren’t a big leap over the iPhone 13, frankly, while the iPhone 14 Pro is.
If you can spend $900 on this, you can spend $1,000 on the Pro. Even $1,100 on the iPhone 14 Pro Max is probably a better idea if you really need a bigger iPhone. If you plan to keep your iPhone for at least a couple of years (and you probably should), you’ll appreciate all the things the Pro and Pro Max models give you for a relatively small investment.
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