The latest iPhone is a nice step up - if you need it

The latest iPhone is a nice step up – if you need it

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My personal phone is the iPhone 13 Pro Max. For me it’s the perfect phone – it’s fast and has a great screen and great cameras.

When Apple introduced its new iPhone 14 models in September, I was curious to see how it would improve on last year’s phones.

The new phones look identical to last year’s, but as usual there are some nice updates inside.

Apple sent me an iPhone 14 Pro for this review, and it was interesting to go back to a smaller phone.

Four models

As a reminder, Apple is offering four new iPhone models: the 6.1-inch iPhone 14, the 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Plus and the two pro models, the 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro and the iPhone Pro Max 6.7 inches.

The features and specs I write about here are for the 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max. iPhone Pros are the same except for screen size and battery size.

iPhone 14 models do not use a physical SIM card; they use an eSIM, which is a virtual SIM card. Usually I just pop my SIM card into a new phone and I’m good to go. This time I had to transfer my number from my SIM card to the iPhone 14 Pro eSIM, which deactivates the old SIM card. Guess I’ll have to get a new SIM card from my provider when my testing is done.

The 14 Pro has an always-on display, which is a fit for me. I’m not used to seeing my phone screen on all the time. It feels like it’s wasting battery life, but the new adaptive refresh rate runs at just 1 Hertz (refresh per second). The screen can refresh at rates from 10Hz to 120Hz, depending on the content on the screen. If you turn it face down, the display will turn off.

The OLED display is also super bright, up to 2,000 nits outdoors.

Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro. Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro. (Apple/TNS)(Apple / TNS)

dynamic island

The 14 Pro models lack the usual screen notch for front cameras. Instead, Apple developers have turned the notch into a feature called Dynamic Island that moves the old notch opening a few pixels down from the top of the screen. The opening now has rounded ends, and it expands to become a place to display things like incoming calls, volume changes, music playback information, and notifications. The island is even available for app developers.

I have downloaded a sports scores app which shows live match results in the dynamic island.

It’s a unique solution to an area of ​​the screen that people were complaining about.

The 14 Pro’s main camera features a 24-millimeter wide-angle lens with a 48-megapixel sensor. It’s a big improvement over last year’s 12-megapixel camera.

The other two cameras are similar to last year’s – a 12-megapixel telephoto still has 3x optical zoom and the 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera. All three cameras have new lenses and better sensors for truly impressive low-light photos.

Overall, the cameras are some of the best I’ve ever used on a phone, but I was hoping for a bigger telephoto zoom range.

The selfie camera has a 12-megapixel sensor, and Facetime photos and calls are fantastic.

Oh, and the camera lenses are a bit larger than last year, which makes the camera bump more pronounced. Adding a case helps minimize wobble when you put it on a flat surface.

The main camera of the Apple iPhone 14 Pro has a 24 millimeter wide-angle lens with...
The Apple iPhone 14 Pro’s main camera features a 24-millimeter wide-angle lens with a 48-megapixel sensor. (Apple / TNS)

Emergency SOS Satellite Messaging

If you’re out of cell range and need help, iPhone 14 models can now send text messages via satellite.

Before sending the message, the phone will ask you a few questions to assess the situation, then show you which direction to point the phone for the satellite connection.

When connected to satellite, the phone will automatically send your information including location, medical ID (if you have created one in phone settings) and your phone’s battery level to a dispatcher .

You cannot text your friends via satellite, just the emergency dispatch service.

You must be outside with a clear view of the sky, and sending and receiving messages can take up to a minute.

The emergency SOS service is free for two years.

You can also use the Find My app to share your satellite location with people who have permission to see your location.

The Apple iPhone 14 Pro can now send emergency text messages via satellite.
The Apple iPhone 14 Pro can now send emergency text messages via satellite.(Apple / TNS)

Collision detection

There is a new high g-force accelerometer that can detect extreme accelerations or decelerations. This new sensor and a few others work together to determine if you’ve been in an accident.

There are sensors that can measure sudden changes in cabin pressure, sudden changes in direction and loud impact noises.

If the phone thinks you’ve had an accident, you’ll see a screen asking if you’re okay. If you do not acknowledge that you are well, a call will be made to the local emergency services stating your location and advising them of a need for assistance.

Fake crashes have been detected since the introduction of phones, especially on roller coasters. I’m sure Apple will change the settings in the future.


The iPhone 14 Pro runs the new A16 Bionic processor with a six-core processor, five-core GPU, and 16-core neural engine.

It has Face ID to unlock the phone and for Apple Pay.

It has mmWave and sub-6 5G, as well as Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.3.

I had no trouble getting a full day out of the battery. Apple doesn’t publish the battery size, but it says the 14 Pro’s battery can get up to 23 hours of video playback or 75 hours of audio playback.

It has wireless charging, including MagSafe. It is capable of fast charging up to 50% in 30 minutes with a 20 watt charger (not included).

The phones are dust and water resistant (IP68). They can be submerged in water up to 6 meters deep for up to 30 minutes.

The 14 Pro models are available in Space Black, Silver, Gold, and Deep Purple with storage ranging from 128 gigabytes to 1 terabyte.

Is this for you?

Should you upgrade to the 14 Pro or the Pro Max?

If you have an iPhone 11 or 12 model and are ready for a new phone, I absolutely recommend upgrading.

Owners of the iPhone 13 Pro models (including me) have a tougher choice.

The 14 Pro models are a nice step up, but there’s nothing wrong with my year-old iPhone 13 Pro Max – in fact, I’m still paying for it.

Next year promises to be interesting, as the European Union has passed a law requiring all phones sold in Europe to have a USB-C port, which Apple says will be included in iPhone models. 15.

I can’t wait to see if the 2023 iPhones will be more of a redesign rather than a feature upgrade.

Jim Rossman is a technical columnist for Tribune News Service. He can be reached at

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