Apple iPhone 14 Plus Review
An iPhone 14 with a bigger screen – and far better battery life.
- Excellent battery life
- Light design works well with the big screen
- Fast and reliable performance
- Some sacrifices for a high price
- No ProMotion
- No telephoto camera
- UKRRP: £949
- USARRP: $899
- EuropeRRP: €1149
- CanadaRRP: CA$1249
- AustraliaRRP: AU$1579
- Big Screen6.7-inch display is great for video, games and photos
- Numerous Safety FeaturesEmergency SOS via satellite and Car Crash Detection
- Long Battery LifeThe best battery life you’ll find on an iPhone 14 model
The iPhone 14 Plus is the outlier in Apple’s 2022 smartphone line-up – but it might just be the easiest one to recommend.
This is the only iPhone 14 model that offers something different from what I’ve had before. While the iPhone 14 and both the Pro models tweaked what was already there, the iPhone 14 Plus, for the first time, takes the regular model and ups the screen size.
Replacing the Mini series, the iPhone 14 Plus combines a big screen with a light body and a price that undercuts the high-end iPhone 14 Pro Max. It’s a tempting prospect.
Screen and Design
- Much lighter than the iPhone 14 Pro Max
- An excellent combination of size and weight
- Various colour options
In the most basic terms, the iPhone 14 Plus is just a bigger iPhone 14. The overall design, size aside, is the same one Apple has been using for a few years now. The back is covered in glossy glass, the sides are flat and matte, and the screen houses a notch at the top – rather than the Dynamic Island you’ll find on the Pro models.
It looks very familiar, but it doesn’t feel familiar – and that’s really what sets this phone apart. I’ve always enjoyed the size of the iPhone Pro Max series, yet the hefty weight often put me off using the biggest of the iPhones once I had finished testing them each year. That meant I had to deal with the smaller display on the other models, which is hardly ideal for gaming or video watching.
The iPhone 14 Plus is surprisingly light and comfortable to hold in a way that the Pro Max isn’t. The former’s 203g weight is 37g lighter than the 14 Pro Max and, also, ever so slightly thinner. It just feels great – the perfect combination of the other iPhones.
The design itself is nothing to get excited about, yet it still looks good. The colours are nice and tasteful – although I do find the Red model a little too red – and it’s surprisingly durable. I’ve found the Ceramic Shield does a good job of keeping the screen intact after drops, though it’s still very prone to scratches. IP68 dust and water resistance is always welcome too.
The screen is now 6.7 inches, as opposed to 6.1 inches on the regular iPhone 14, and it feels far roomier. Apps have more space to spread out, video is more immersive and games are less cramped – it’s just a much more comfortable size, at least in my opinion.
Size jump aside, the rest of the screen is very much the same as the iPhone 14. It’s a sharp OLED panel with a max brightness of 800 nits, according to Apple. However, in my screen tests, it was closer to 600 nits in maxed-out regular use. Put it next to the iPhone 14 Pro Max, and it’s no surprise the pricier models do a better job at reproducing HDR content, with a lot more kick to brighter scenes.
The notch remains – rather than the more functional Dynamic Island – and the max refresh rate is stuck at 60Hz, rather than the 120Hz on the Pros. For a phone that’s close to breaking the £1,000/$1,000 barrier, this display is missing some features that have now become common across the best Android phones. The Pixel 7 Pro, for example, is a lot cheaper and has both a 120Hz refresh rate and higher brightness levels.
- Same camera array as the iPhone 14
- Two rear sensors
- Good selfie camera and excellent video
The camera system on the iPhone 14 Plus consists of two rear snappers, along with another on the front. On the back, there’s a duo of 12-megapixel sensors, one with a regular wide lens and another with an ultrawide lens.
It’s a setup I’ve seen on non-Pro iPhones for a number of years now, and it mostly gets the job done. However, with similarly priced competition from Samsung – like the Galaxy S21 Plus – offering a telephoto too, the iPhone 14 Plus can again feel a bit stingy.
The cameras are all the same as on the iPhone 14 and only marginally different to those on the iPhone 13. The main sensor is slightly larger and has a faster f/1.5 aperture, while there’s also been tweaking on the software processing side of things.
After a few weeks of shooting with both the iPhone 14 and the iPhone 14 Plus, the biggest upgrades over the iPhone 13 are in tougher conditions. There’s more detail retained in dark scenes and the Night Mode doesn’t need to kick in quite so often. The ultrawide camera is better in poor conditions too, and as the same sensor is being used here, this is clearly the superior image processing kicking in.
Selfies are much better too, with the iPhone 14 Plus bringing out more facial detail and natural skin tones. If you take a lot of selfies, you’ll welcome the upgrades here.
In daylight conditions, the iPhone 14 Plus is an excellent camera, and you’ll really notice the jump in quality if you’re coming from something like an iPhone 11. Colours are rich and natural, and detail is good – unless you start zooming in. There’s also a more natural-looking background blur thanks to the larger sensor. Overall, it’s a great camera, but don’t expect much difference in daylight when compared with the iPhone 13.
The television adverts for the iPhone 14 Plus highlight the new Action Mode quite heavily, and this is just another string in the phone’s impressive videography skillset.
Action Mode aims to add some extra stabilisation to video, in the same way that a GoPro would. It works, to a point. If you’re in bright situations in a bouncing off-road car, then the footage is a lot more stable than with the mode turned off – you just have to deal with a lower resolution and a slightly cropped view. But it’s basically useless in darker conditions, so keep that in mind.
- Not the latest chipset, but still has fast performance
- 5G, three storage sizes
In a move that seems decidedly un-Apple, the iPhone 14 Plus doesn’t have the best chipset going. The A16 Bionic has been reserved for the Pro series this year, leaving the 14 and 14 Plus with the same A15 Bionic that powered last year’s iPhone 13 Pro.
While this might be a shame for those who value specs above all, I don’t think anyone will be disappointed with the performance in real-world use. Every game or app I tried ran with ease, with even intensive titles allowing full control of graphical settings. If I was told this was a new flagship chipset, I would believe it.
My only concern about the older chip is that it could shorten the lifespan of the phone in regard to software updates. I’d hope this is supported for as long as the iPhone 14 Pro is around, but at this stage, there’s no way of telling.
There are three storage configurations: 128GB, 256GB and 512GB. I’ve been reviewing the top model and I’ve filled up about 100GB with numerous games, photos and videos, so I think the 256GB option is the safest bet.
5G is standard across the board, and if you’re in the US, the phone relies solely on eSIM tech. That means there’s no physical slot to pop in a nano SIM – a significant change. While the UK and European devices still have the slot, I would say this is a sign of things to come with future iPhones.
While the chipset is the same as on the iPhone 13 Pro, there are some new additions here. Car Crash Detection and Emergency SOS are two new safety features, designed to give you easy, or automatic, ways of contacting help if you’re stranded.
Emergency SOS hasn’t arrived in the UK yet, although a wider launch is coming soon. This lets you get in touch with help via Apple’s satellites, rather than your phone network, and could be a lifesaver if you find yourself caught up in the mountains or a forest. It’ll be free to begin with but will eventually require a subscription.
As with every previous iPhone I have reviewed, the basics are handled well. Call quality is strong, the Wi-Fi connection is stable (although there’s no Wi-Fi 6E) and the onboard speakers sound great. As ever, the lack of a headphone port means you’ll need some wireless cans, Lightning buds or a dongle.
- The best iPhone for battery life by some distance
- No charger included
- The final iPhone to use Lightning?
If you’re after the iPhone with the best battery life, then the 14 Plus is the way to go.
It lasts longer than both the iPhone 14 and the 14 Pro Max in my tests, and it’s the only current iPhone that can – with some slight usage management – last two days.
An hour of Netflix took off 6% (down from 8% on the iPhone 14), and even on busy days, I had 40-50% left at the end of the day. I haven’t seen battery life like this on iPhones for a few years, and it’s fantastic to behold.
A full charge with an official Apple 20W charger (not included) and a USB-C to Lightning cable (included) took just over 90mins, while an 80% charge took just over an hour. Plugging the phone in for 30mins took me to 45%. There are a few wireless solutions too, although none are quite as quick.
This could very well be the final iPhone to use Lightning, as Apple looks all set to switch to the USB-C standard next year, in line with EU regulations.
Should you buy it?
You want an iPhone that lasts (and lasts): Out of all the iPhone 14 models I’ve reviewed this year, this is the best for battery life.
A fast screen is key: While the iPhone 14 Plus’s screen is bigger, it still lacks some of the skills of the Pro models. There’s no ProMotion for fast refresh rate, for example, which feels a bit of a miss for a phone of this price.
I really like the iPhone 14 Plus and it’s easily one of the best iPhones around. It’s the one new iPhone that’s a little different, combining some of the best bits from the cheaper iPhone 14 and the pricier Pro models into a tempting proposition.
While it’s far from the most feature-rich iPhones, having a bigger screen in a lighter shell is welcome.
How we test
We test every mobile phone we review thoroughly. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly and we use the phone as our main device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Used as main phone for 3 weeks
Taken hundreds of photos in various conditions
Compared against the iPhone 14
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There is no charger included, just a USB-C to Lightning cable
The iPhone 14 Plus is available in Blue, Red, Midnight, Starlight and Purple