There are three constants in life: death, taxes and a new iPhone launched every September or so. However, following the debut of the iPhone 14, fans of Cupertino were, to put it lightly, underwhelmed by the lackluster changes made to it, as while the iPhone 14 Pro series got all the new stuff, the iPhone 14 itself seemed to have been left behind a bit. Even Steve Jobs’ own daughter Eve Jobs took a swipe at Apple, posting and then deleting the following story on Instagram:
I guess that begs the question: is the iPhone 14 really that bad? Well, let’s take a deeper look at just how the iPhone 14 lineup stacks up against last year’s iPhone 13.
1. Design and display
It’s the same. Moving on….
…just kidding. There’s actually a pretty big change here—literally. Gone is the 5.4-inch iPhone Mini option, instead replaced by the larger 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Plus. It seems as though the iPhone 13 Mini just didn’t sell enough units as Apple would’ve liked, and with most people preferring a bigger battery life and larger display, Apple has finally given users an option for a larger smartphone without needing to get the Pro Max devices.
However, that really does seem to be the only major change. The base iPhone 14 is still packing the same 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display as the iPhone 13, with the same 2532 x 1170p resolution and the same 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio. The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus also have a max typical brightness of 800nits, rising to 1,200nits of peak brightness during HDR mode—again, exactly the same as the iPhone 13. You’re still limited to 60Hz here too as ProMotion again remains a feature only for the iPhone Pro models.
Beyond the display, you’re also looking at the exact same body with flat sides, diagonal camera layout and notch design. There’s no Dynamic Island here like their Pro siblings, so the iPhone 14 keeps the notch seen on the iPhone 13. It also has the same dimensions as the iPhone 13, with a tiny increase in depth size from 7.65mm to 7.80mm and a 1g reduction in weight, from 173g to 172g. The larger iPhone 14 Plus meanwhile weighs in at a heavier 203g.
Okay, so Apple has really shown off their eco-friendliness here by ‘recycling’ the A15 Bionic from last year’s iPhone 13 range to the iPhone 14 series, but it’s not exactly the same A15 Bionic. Instead, the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus will be coming with the A15 Bionic found in the iPhone 13 Pro series. The key difference here is that it packs a 5-core GPU, compared to the A15 Bionic in the non-Pro iPhone 13 which has just 4 GPU cores.
At first glance, the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus seems to have the exact same dual-camera setup as the previous iPhone 13, but there are some minor tweaks in the camera department. The new iPhone 14 series comes with a main 12MP shooter with a larger f/1.5 aperture and a larger sensor too. In comparison, the iPhone 13 had a 12MP, f/1.6 main camera. Next to it is the same 12MP, f/2.4 ultrawide camera, and feature wise you also get the same Deep Fusion, Sensor Shift and Cinematic Mode seen last year.
There are some new features though, such as Photonic Engine, which Apple says will be able to improve low light performance by up to 49% compared to the iPhone 13. Then there’s also Action Mode, a video stabilisation feature that lets you record intense scenes during the heat of the action without worrying about too much shaking and vibrations.
As for the front camera, Apple has also given it some upgrades, replacing the 12MP, f/2.2 TrueDepth front camera from the iPhone 13 with a 12MP, f/1.9 TrueDepth selfie shooter instead. It too gets the new Photonic Engine feature, and can also shoot up to 4K HDR at 30fps when using Cinematic Mode. Apple has even added autofocus to its front facing cameras for the first time ever.
Apple never reveals the actual battery capacity of their iPhones, but does give us an estimated battery life for them. With the iPhone 14, Apple says that you should be good for up to 20 hours of video playback, an hour more than what the iPhone 13 could do. Meanwhile, the iPhone 14 Plus will last you for up to 26 hours of video playback. They’ll also be able to charge up to 50% in just 30-35mins using a 20W charging brick—one that won’t come with the box again.
5. Safety features
While most of the device remains similar to the iPhone 13, the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus do have a couple new safety features up its sleeve. For starters, there’s the new Emergency SOS via satellite, an emergency messaging service that leverages communication satellites so that you can send a message in the event of an emergency when you’re without any cellular reception of WiFi. It’ll guide you through a number of questions and that help you aim your iPhone 14 towards a satellite to get your message to others. It also lets you share your location on Find My using Emergency SOS via Satellite. This new feature will launch in November to North America first, and the first two years of the service will be free.
Then there’s also the new Crash Detection, a feature that Apple ‘wishes you’ll never have to use’. Basically, Apple has put into the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus a new high dynamic range gyroscope and a dual-core accelerometer that can measure G-force at up to 256Gs. This lets your iPhone know if you’ve been involved in a severe car crash, and will automatically contact emergency services.
Alas, while Apple has maintained the USD799 starting price for the iPhone 14—with the iPhone 14 Plus getting a USD899 price tag replacing the USD699 iPhone 13 Mini—the situation is a bit more unfortunate in Malaysia. We’ve covered it in more detail here, but essentially due to reasons like the weakening ringgit, prices for the new iPhone 14 are much higher than before.
The iPhone 14 now starts at RM4,199, compared to RM3,899 for the iPhone 13 last year. The iPhone 14 Plus meanwhile will be available from RM4,699 onwards. This means that for the first time ever, there’s no new iPhone priced at below RM4,000 in Malaysia. If you still want one though, pre-orders for it begin on 16 September in Malaysia.
For more details on the new iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus, you can check out our coverage of it here.