Apple (AAPL) - Get Free Report began shipping the iPhone 14, 14 Pro, and 14 Pro Max just a few weeks ago. Certainly a nice trio, but the iPhone 14 family is meant to be a new quartet. And this Friday, Oct 7, the iPhone 14 Plus will officially launch and I’ve spent the last few days with the bigger screened affordable iPhone.
And here’s some good news -- it’s essentially the same great experience as the iPhone 14. Namely that it can capture excellent images and can handle pretty much anything you’d want to accomplish on an iPhone. But for $100 more at $899 starting, it boasts a larger screen and a bigger battery.
Essentially, a bigger iPhone for the masses that doesn’t carry the “Pro” tax. Oh, and it’s also the first “Plus” iPhone since the iPhone 8 Plus.
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Bigger and Lighter
The most shocking thing, in a delightful way, about the iPhone 14 Plus is just how light it is. Apple’s managed to keep the weight here to just 7.16-ounces (203-grams or 0.44-pounds). In comparison, the 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max comes in at 8.47-ounces (240-grams or 0.53-pounds). It’s super light in the hand and super portable, even more so than some other larger screen smartphones.
Safe to say though with a 6.7-inch screen, it will create a bulge if you rock it in the front pocket of pants. It can also fit in bags and backpacks, along with knapsacks with some room, though it’s not as truly pocketable as the iPhone 13 Mini.
Why is the iPhone 14 Plus so much lighter than the 14 Pro Max? Well, it comes down to the materials. Like the standard 14, the 14 Plus is built with an aluminum frame along with a front or glass back. It’s a lighter material than stainless steel on the Pro.
And while the iPhone 14 Plus is larger than the 14, it opts for the same modern look. While it is similar to that of the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 13, this is the first time we’ve seen this look in a bigger footprint. The matte aluminum edges are easy to hold onto in both a horizontal or landscape orientation, and they don’t show fingerprints.
Volume up, volume down, and the silencer switch live on the left top, while the power button lives on the right. There is a Lightning port on the bottom flanked by several cutouts for speakers and microphones. Remember in the United States the entire iPhone 14 family has ditched the physical SIM card slot as well.
The rear contains the main camera module in the form of a relatively small square. I write relatively, as it looks small on the size of the iPhone 14 Plus. Like the 14, this features a 12-megapixel wide lens and a 12-megapixel ultra wide lens. For easier authorized repairs, the rear glass can be removed separate from the rest of the body of the device.
The iPhone 14 Plus comes in Midnight, Starlight, (PRODUCT) RED, Blue, and Lavender. I’ve been testing the latter and it’s really a lovely light shade of purple. Over on the front there’s a classic Face ID Notch which cuts into the top of the 6.7-inch display. There are also slim bezels all around.
A Larger iPhone for Everyone
This 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display looks great with a keen ability to produce vibrant colors and packs in details. Specifically, it’s a 2778 x 1284 resolution and 458-pixels per inch with a peak brightness of 800-nits. While it can’t get as bright as the Pro models, this is plenty for use in direct sunlight or under bright lights indoors.
The main screen technology missing here is a high-refresh-rate and I really wish it was here, as it would let you get an even better view on this larger screen. Instead of scaling to 120Hz or even low to 1Hz, the iPhone 14 Plus -- like the 14 -- gets a 60Hz refresh-rate.
In terms of the user experience with the larger screen, it really lets you present more on the screen. For instance, when reading a story on the web you won’t need to scroll as often to see more and the same goes for a conversation in Messages. Playing games on Apple Arcade was great here, I really enjoyed Mini Motorways as well as AirTwister. Both of these presented a clear gameplay experience and allowed for the colors to really pop here.
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Critically though, what Apple is doing here is bringing the price for a larger screened iPhone down to a more affordable price: $899 vs $1,099. So if you’re after the larger screen, but don’t need the latest processor, a triple camera setup, or the “Dynamic Island” notch, this does fit the bill. It also offers much more room to accomplish things, specifically 22% more active area over the iPhone 12, 11, and XR. So if you’ve been holding onto an older device, this could be the one to get.
Some good news, thanks to iOS 16, is that Face ID will recognize your face for unlocking and authentications regardless of the orientation of the phone. The upgraded 12-megapixel lens in this sensor stack delivers better looking selfies. You’ll notice less blur and more details, plus it finally gets autofocus for group shots.
Battery Life Isn’t a Concern
Since the Cupertino-based giant unveiled the iPhone 14 Plus on-stage in Sept. 2022, Apple’s been promising that it offers the best battery life of any iPhone. And after six days with it, that claim is not a lie. It’s quite hard to make the iPhone 14 Plus die and I am frequently getting two full days of use out of it, even longer on standby.
Let’s talk about some specific runtimes though. Apple says that it offers 100 hours of audio playback, which is the longest of any iPhone and jumps past the iPhone 11 by an additional 35 hours. Those coming from an iPhone 11, can expect 10 hours longer video playback.
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And I’m still putting it through our battery test in which we run a 4K movie on a loop with the brightness set to 50% and airplane mode engaged. It’s currently well past 16-hours, which beats the 14, 14 Pro, and 14 Pro Max, but I’ll update this once the test wraps.
Additionally, the iPhone 14 Plus supports three ways of charging: by Lightning cable, a Qi-enabled wireless charger, or a MagSafe charger. With a physical cable and at least a 20-watt plug, you can get a 50% charge in just 30 minutes. And by using a MagSafe charger over a standard wireless charger you get up to 12.5-watts of charge. Pairing the iPhone 14 Plus with Apple’s MagSafe Battery Pack will give you up to a 40% charge on the phone.
It’s safe to say though, you won’t have to worry about battery life on the iPhone 14 Plus. It just isn’t a concern.
Smooth Performance and Great Cameras
Aside from the larger screen, bigger overall footprint, and better battery life, the rest of the iPhone 14 Plus story is very similar to that of the iPhone 14. Powering iOS 16 and everything you do on the larger iPhone is Apple’s A15 Bionic chip.
It’s not the new for 2022 chip—that’s the A16 which is in the 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max— but that doesn’t really create any performance problems. By all accounts, measurements, and tests, the iPhone 14 Plus is really just as capable as any other smartphone released in 2022. You can easily multitask between apps, like having a FaceTime call open while jumping between Messages, Mails, Safari, TikTok, and some games.
The A15 Bionic is made up of a 6-core CPU, a 5-core GPU, and a 16-core Neural Engine and it really gets any conceivable job done. And given the performance of this 5-nanometer chip, I don't suspect any longevity issues here. iPhones are known for a long life and the 14 Plus should stack up just the same. It’s clearly running very efficiently to stretch the battery life out as well.
It’s also powering two new safety features, along with some custom motion sensors. Car Crash Detection uses a bevy of onboard technology to detect and be sure if you’re in a car crash to help you get the help you need. In the case of a severe crash, that’s getting you in contact with emergency services and sharing your location. Though you should hope to never have to use this.
Secondly, Emergency SOS via Satellite will arrive in Nov. and allow you to make calls to emergency services when you’re out of reach of Cellular or Wi-Fi. By essentially having you point your iPhone towards a satellite in the sky as the device crunches your data down to send it off.
I’ve already covered the front-facing lens and the two main cameras in the iPhone 14 review, and I’d recommend you check that out for a photo walk and some in-depth analysis. And the experience on the iPhone 14 Plus is nearly identical. The 12-megapixel wide lens, which is essentially taken from the 13 Pro Max, lets you capture pretty epic shots with a tremendous amount of detail. The addition of optical-image-stabilization and the larger sensor with the new Photonic Engine (aka the software instructions for how the iPhone shots) packs a lot more into a given image. Specifically for lower-light captures, you’ll notice a big difference.
The ultra-wide 12-megapixel lens pretty much makes the blurry edged fish-eye effect a thing of the past and lets you capture more in any given scene without moving. It also boasts a high-level of clarity and delivers accurate colors. Both of the lenses give you a versatile set to shoot with while on-the-go. In terms of video, you can also capture in Action Mode and Cinematic Mode on the iPhone 14 Plus.
Bottom Line: Is the iPhone 14 Plus Worth it?
And that about sums up the iPhone 14 Plus. It’s just as fast as any other modern smartphone, letting you accomplish pretty much anything in iOS, but in a larger size. The 6.7-inch in screen aside from refresh rate is terrific and great for gaming while on the go. The best news though is probably the battery life which can last for days.
So if you’re after a bigger iPhone, but don’t want to pay the extra cost associated with going Pro, the 14 Plus makes a lot of sense. Especially if you’ve been holding onto say an iPhone 7 or 8 Plus, or even coming from an XR or 11 but have been wishing for a larger screen.
You’ll get a lot more real estate and all the latest tech, plus you can still trade-in your current iPhone to a service like Decluttr to make the cost a bit easier.
Apple’s iPhone 14 Plus is up for preorder now and will begin shipping on Oct. 7. It comes in three storage sizes--128GB, 256GB, or 512GB--, and in your choice of five colors.
Prices are accurate and items in stock at time of publishing.