Apple iPhone 14 Plus Hands-on: The Pro Max on a Budget
October 6, 2022 Andrew Cheng

While the iPhone 14 Pro was the highlight of Apple’s September launch event with its neat new features – the shape-shifting Dynamic Island notch and revamped camera system, for example – the iPhone 14 Plus is quite interesting in its own right too. In a way, it is basically an iPhone Pro Max on a budget.

Yes, it doesn’t get the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s smooth 120Hz display or the new Apple A16 Bionic chip, but what the iPhone 14 Plus does get is the same 6.7-inch display and even better battery life…for less money. If you’ve been waiting for an iPhone with a large screen and excellent battery life without spending top dollar, the 14 Plus could just be for you.

First, let’s talk about the chip powering the iPhone 14 Plus. Unlike the iPhone 14 Pro, the 14 Plus features last year’s Apple A15 Bionic chip, but this is the actually the same one found in the iPhone 13 Pro models with a 5-core GPU. In comparison, the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini’s A15 Bionic had a 4-core GPU instead.

With that in mind, this is technically an upgrade for the more affordable iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus. If you do a lot of mobile gaming, you’ll definitely appreciate the faster GPU. Naturally, it can run Genshin Impact very well at 60fps with maxed out graphics settings – something that many flagship Android devices struggle to replicate.

Why only 60fps? Well, the iPhone 14 Plus doesn’t have the Pro’s ProMotion technology, so the refresh rate of its 6.7-inch 2778 x 1284 Super Retina XDR OLED display is limited to 60Hz. Of course, this refresh rate can still provide a smooth gaming experience.

However, if you’re coming from a phone with a higher refresh rate than 60Hz, you will notice that animations are not as smooth while navigating through the phone’s user interface. There is one benefit to this though: lower power consumption.

After all, the iPhone 14 Plus is said to offer “the best battery life ever” on an iPhone. Thanks to the 60Hz OLED panel and large 4,325mAh battery – as reported by MacRumors – I’m inclined to take Apple’s word for it. I’ve been using the 14 Plus for a few days now, and it does feel like a very long-lasting phone.

Coming back to the display, there’s no denying that the iPhone 14 Plus’ 6.7-inch OLED panel is one of its best qualities, especially for folks who have waited for the Pro Max’s large screen to trickle down to the more affordable standard iPhone. Not only does the expansive display make for a more enjoyable gaming experience, it can also show more content of an email or webpage.

Despite its large dimensions, the iPhone 14 Plus is surprisingly lightweight! It tips the scales at only 203g, making it 3g lighter than even the smaller iPhone 14 Pro. Though one-handed use with this big phone can be quite challenging, it does not feel unwieldy at all.

And then we have the camera performance of the iPhone 14 Plus. Though it’s still a dual camera setup – no telephoto lens here – the 12MP primary and 12MP ultra-wide angle shooters have been improved to deliver better results in low light conditions.

I took some nighttime shots with the 14 Plus to see how it would fare, and the results do look promising. I’ll definitely put the new dual camera system through its paces in the full review.

All things considered, the iPhone 14 Plus is quite an exciting entry to the 2022 iPhone lineup. It has the large display of the Pro Max iPhones, excellent battery life (so far), a new and improved camera array, and of course, fast performance out of the A15 Bionic chip. Even if this is last year’s processor, it is still a very, very capable chip that is still unmatched by the Android competition.

However, retailing from RM4,699, the iPhone 14 Plus is not affordable either. Besides that, you’re only getting the 128GB variant of the phone for that kind of money; the 256GB and 512GB models are priced at RM5,199 and RM6,199 respectively.

Nonetheless, as far as first impression go, I definitely see the appeal of the iPhone 14 Plus. It is costly, yes, but you’re also getting a complete phone with a large display for that kind of money. I won’t quite say it is worth the money just yet – that’s best left for the full review – but I will say it I’m enjoying using the phone as my daily driver so far.

The iPhone 14 Plus will hit store shelves in Malaysia tomorrow on 7 October. If you’re keen to get it, you can check out the 14 Plus in person at your favourite retailer then.