Review, Smartphone

Apple iPhone 14 Plus Review: The New Default iPhone

Over the past couple of years, those who are looking to get a non-Pro iPhone were limited to the standard sized iPhone or the smaller iPhone mini. But this year, Apple decided to replace the mini model with the iPhone 14 Plus, which is…well, essentially an iPhone Pro Max on a budget.

Granted, it doesn’t have the smooth 120Hz screen or the latest Apple A16 Bionic chip of the 14 Pro Max, but what the iPhone 14 Plus does offer is the big 6.7-inch screen of the former…for less money. There’s also the fact that the 14 Plus offers incredibly long battery life.

This excellent battery life, combined with its expansive display, make the iPhone 14 Plus the new default iPhone – in my opinion, anyway.

What It Is

Display6.7-inch Super Retina XDR OLED (2778 x 1284)
ChipsetApple A15 Bionic (6-core CPU; 2 performance and 4 efficiency cores)
GPUApple A15 Bionic 5-core GPU
Storage128GB/256GB/512GB, non-expandable
Camera (rear)12MP f/1.5, 100% Focus Pixels, sensor-shift OIS
12MP f/2.4 (ultra-wide)
Camera (front)12MP f/1.9, autofocus with Focus Pixels
Dimensions160.8 x 78.1 x 7.8 mm
OSiOS 16
Bluetooth 5.3
WiFi 802.11ax
Lightning port
PriceRM4,699 (128GB), RM5,199 (256GB), RM6,199 (512GB)

At a glance, the iPhone 14 Plus seems quite similar to last year’s iPhone 13, but there are some distinct differences here. Its familiar Apple A15 Bionic chip, for example, is actually the same one found in the iPhone 13 Pro models with a 5-core GPU instead of the standard iPhone 13’s 4-core GPU.

With that in mind, this is technically a chipset upgrade for the iPhone 14 Plus. If you do a lot of mobile gaming, you’ll definitely appreciate the faster GPU. Beyond that, there are also the two main appeals of the 14 Plus: its large 6.7-inch display and generous 4,325mAh battery.

The Good Stuff

If you want an iPhone with the absolute best battery life, look no further than the iPhone 14 Plus. Throughout the review period, the 14 Plus consistently delivered all-day battery life, no matter what I throw at it. Under heavy use with lots of gaming, navigation, and online meetings, I can easily get between seven to eight hours of screen on time on a single charge.

Apple said that the iPhone 14 Plus offers “the best battery life ever” on an iPhone, and I wholeheartedly agree with this. Even when I was using the iPhone 13 Pro Max as my daily driver, I couldn’t quite get this level of battery life, though the 13 Pro Max does have a faster, more power-intensive 120Hz display.

Although the iPhone 14 Plus doesn’t have the 13 Pro Max’s 120Hz display, it does feature the latter’s large 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR display. This is quite a compelling selling point, given that if you wanted a screen this big on an iPhone previously, your only option is to get the more expensive Pro Max iPhone.

As for display quality, the iPhone 14 Plus naturally has a pleasant screen to look at. As it is an OLED panel, it offers vibrant colours, deep, true blacks, and wide viewing angles. These qualities, combined with the large size of the display, make it great for both content consumption and gaming.

Speaking of which, it’s no surprise that the iPhone 14 Plus provides a very pleasant gaming experience. I always fire up Genshin Impact to gauge the performance level of any given smartphone, and I’m happy to report that the 14 Plus can run the game very well at 60fps with maxed out graphics settings.

It’s worth noting that many, many flagship Android devices struggle to replicate this level of performance. Even if the iPhone 14 Plus’ A15 Bionic isn’t the latest chip from Apple, there’s no denying that it is still a very capable processor that competing chips from both Qualcomm and MediaTek can’t quite match now.

And then there’s the camera performance of the iPhone 14 Plus. Sporting a dual camera system made up of a 12MP primary and 12MP ultra-wide angle shooters – still no telephoto lens, unfortunately – both sensors have been improved to deliver better results in low light conditions.

Though the low light performance of the 12MP ultra-wide could use some work, the 12MP primary sensor can take great-looking shots no matter the lighting condition. Of course, the camera performance of the 14 Plus isn’t quite in the same league as the iPhone 14 Pro, but it’s still very much a flagship-tier camera system with a very responsive interface.

Beyond camera performance, it’s also worth mentioning that the iPhone 14 Plus is a (surprisingly) lightweight phone despite its large dimensions. 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.

The Bad Stuff

As much as I love the long battery life and large display of the iPhone 14 Plus, it does have a number of shortcomings, such as its lack of ProMotion technology. This limits the display’s refresh rate to only 60Hz, so the 14 Plus doesn’t feel as “smooth” as other phones with a faster display, such as the aforementioned 14 Pro.

Aside from that, there’s also the lack of a telephoto lens on the iPhone 14 Plus. With only two focal lengths to choose from – the 12MP primary and 12MP ultra-wide shooters – the versatility of the camera system is quite limited, especially if you want to zoom in on a subject that’s farther away.

Last but not least is the steep asking price of the iPhone 14 Plus. The base 128GB model retails at RM4,699, while the more practical 256GB and 512GB variants are priced at RM5,199 and RM6,199 respectively. At these price points, the 14 Plus has to contend with other highly refined phones too, including the iPhone 14 Pro lineup itself.

Is It Worth It?

It depends on what you want out of an iPhone. If you don’t fancy the latest iPhone features – such as the Dynamic Island notch, an always-on display, or the new 48MP main camera – and all you want is a big iPhone with incredibly long battery life, the iPhone 14 Plus fits the bill.

Yes, the iPhone 14 Plus is not exactly affordable with a RM4,699 starting price, but you are getting a long-lasting, big iPhone with one of the fastest performances in the market now. This is despite the fact that it’s powered by last year’s A15 Bionic chip, which can still rival (and even surpass) the performance level of today’s best flagship devices.

It would’ve been great if the iPhone 14 Plus also had the 14 Pro’s 120Hz display and more sophisticated camera array, but some folks may not mind the absence of these features at all. For that reason, the 14 Plus is, in my opinion, the new default iPhone.

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