iPhone 14 Plus and iPhone 14 first impressions: Bigger screen, but not much has changed

It seems that over the past year, the iPhone 13 Pro Max was the second most popular among all its siblings despite being the most expensive. Now, Apple is targeting those who want a bigger screen but don’t need (or don’t want to pay for) all the premium features of the Pro models. The new iPhone 14 Plus is a clear sell, intended to entice iPhone buyers and developers to spend a bit more than they would otherwise. Android phones with screens larger than 5.5 inches now consist of More than 50 percent out of the market in some countries, so it makes sense for Apple to score lower price points with a great phone. This is one of the ways Apple has fallen behind in the Android world, going back to the iPhone 5.

iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus price in India

Apple launched the iPhone 14 at the same price as the iPhone 13 (review) last year, which is unusual because the iPhone 14 Pro siblings have become more expensive, and other models have undergone upward price corrections as well, thanks to international exchange rate changes. You will pay Rs. 79900 for 128GB storage, Rs. 89,900 for 256GB or Rs. 1,09,900 for 512 GB. iPhone 14 Plus costs Rs. 10,000 more per tier, thus prices follow the same pattern: Rs. 89,900 rupees. 99,900 and Rs. 1,19,900 respectively.

There is no alternative to the iPhone 13 mini, but considering that it hasn’t changed much between generations and the fact that it’s now priced lower, it still serves the same target audience as well. iPhones usually get software updates for more than five years, that way entry-level buyers and those who just want something small because they’re used to older phones can still be satisfied.

iPhone 14 Plus Purple ndtv iPhone 14

The new violet color option is subtle and soft, but it will stand out

iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus: What’s new?

We’re at a point where there isn’t much that smartphone manufacturers can do to make them feel fresh and excited. The iPhone 14 is an efficient iterative move beyond the iPhone 13, but it doesn’t break any new ground and won’t make anyone rush to buy it. The iPhone 14 Plus, on the other hand, is a brand new offering and if you can afford it, you might be tempted to upgrade.

The most attractive aspect of the iPhone 14 Plus to me is the fact that it is a bit lighter than the iPhone 14 Pro Max, at 203g compared to 240g. If you’ve been put off by the bulky and impractical size of the flagship models, you might find this new option a nice compromise. iPhone 14 is still one of the lightest in its class and easy to handle.

What’s also interesting is that the iPhone 14 Plus promises the best battery life of any iPhone ever. It can outperform its premium siblings in this regard thanks to its display and other less demanding hardware.

The camera system has been improved, with a larger sensor and f/1.5 aperture for the new 12MP main camera. The biggest news is that the front camera now supports autofocus so you can get more creative with selfies. Low-light performance is said to be at least twice as good across all cameras, and it’s really been great with the iPhone 13 series. Between the camera hardware, processor, and iOS, there’s a new set of capabilities that Apple calls the “Optical Engine.” This basically means that HDR processing, in which details from multiple exposures are combined to get to the final shot you see, is now happening very early in the capture and processing pipeline. By working on uncompressed data, Apple says focus lock is faster, colors appear more realistic, and details are greatly improved. Action Mode is a new video stabilization option that uses the sensor area outside the frame of what you’re shooting and then clips each frame to compensate for movement, achieving results that Apple says are comparable to using a gimbal.

Fault detection is a new feature based on the most advanced accelerometer and gyroscope that all iPhones of this generation have. It can detect sudden slowdowns and recognize sounds, which causes emergency services and trusted contacts to be called for help if needed. Satellite-based emergency SMS communications are currently limited to the United States and Canada, and Apple hardware and software are also used to locate satellites without a bulky antenna. It’s very slow and limited in functionality, but could be a lifesaver if you’re stranded without cellular network coverage. It will be a paid service, but we don’t know the cost yet, and the first two years are free.

The Starlight and Midnight color options continue from last year, and there’s a brighter (Product) Red option. The new colors for this year are a denim-like light blue and a very pale lilac.

iPhone 14 Plus red ndtv iphone 14

The larger iPhone 14 Plus (right) gives Apple a new way to compete with today’s mainstream Android phones

iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus: What not to get

Apple feels that last year’s core hardware is still good enough to be used in the latest iPhones. The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus both work with the A15 Bionic SoC, although it’s a slightly more capable version than last year’s Pro models, with an extra GPU core, so there’s still a bit of an upgrade. This is the first time Apple has divided its professional and non-professional models into completely different layers – this could be due to supply chain and manufacturing issues, or it’s a sign that we’ve already reached a point of diminishing returns in terms of CPU power for phones.

The big disappointment is that the 120Hz ProMotion display feature didn’t seep from last year’s Pro models into this year’s iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus. The resolution, brightness and color capabilities are exactly the same as last year. Of course you don’t get the cool new Dynamic Island functionality or the always-on display either. Apple has also kept the 48MP main camera sensor and 2nd generation sensor stabilization for the premium models.

In the US, you don’t get a SIM tray at all because Apple now does everything on eSIMs. This isn’t necessarily a good thing, but Android manufacturers will likely follow suit. Other than being a bit thicker, the physical design of the iPhone 14 is pretty much identical to that of the iPhone 13 with a glass back, ceramic front, and aluminum frame. There are no new claims about durability, no improvement in MagSafe or wired charging speed, and no USB Type-C port.

The iPhone 14 Plus will probably sell well simply because it’s a bigger iPhone that isn’t as expensive as the Pro Max models. Although the vanilla iPhone 14 is likely to have a considerably smaller audience as it doesn’t offer anything noticeably new.

Disclosure: Apple sponsored the reporter’s trips and hotel stays for the launch event in Cupertino.

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