Apple iPhone 14 Plus review: It’s an iPhone, but bigger

Every year Apple has a surprise or two in store for its lineup of devices, and for 2022 one of those twists is the iPhone 14 Plus. That’s because, instead of continuing to make a mini version of the base iPhone, Apple has finally created a more affordable big-screen option starting at $899 for anyone who doesn’t need or want to pay for a $1,099 iPhone 14 Pro Max.

However, we have already looked at the vanilla iPhone 14 extensively. So rather than rehashing essentially the same phone but with a larger display, this review will focus on the key components and differences in this year’s new Plus model.

Apple iPhone 14Plus

advantages

  • Larger 6.7 inch screen
  • Excellent battery life
  • Cheaper than the iPhone 14 Pro Max

Disadvantages

  • No 120Hz refresh rate
  • Still no USB-C port

The basics

With a 6.7-inch OLED screen with a resolution of 2778 x 1284, the iPhone 14 Plus is the same size as the Pro Max but has a much lighter body (203 grams vs. 240 grams). In fact, the iPhone 14 Pro actually weighs a bit more (206 grams) than the 14 Plus, despite having a significantly smaller screen, due to things like its triple rear cameras and heavy stainless steel frame.

Like the standard model, the iPhone 14 Plus only has two rear cameras.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

The iPhone 14 Plus has the same basic features as the standard iPhone 14. You get a more playful range of colors (Blue, Purple, Midnight, Starlight, and Red) than the Pro line, but lose some more sophisticated tech like Apple’s Dynamic Iceland, the new A16 Bionic Chip or a dedicated telephoto camera. Instead, you get an A15 Bionic processor (the same as last year’s models), just two rear cameras (including the iPhone 13 Pro’s 12-megapixel main sensor), and a new 12-megapixel TrueDepth selfie camera up front.

The phone still feels premium and has more than enough power to handle anything you can throw at it. And as an added perk for all you folks with butter fingers out there, the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus have a new midframe that makes it easier to swap out front and back glass panels in the event of an accident.

The iPhone 14 Plus (203 grams) is significantly lighter than the iPhone 14 Pro Max (240 grams).

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Just don’t try to take over the physical SIM card from your previous phone, as the Plus, like the rest of the iPhone 14 range, only works with eSIMs. This change shouldn’t be a big deal as Apple has supported eSIMs on its phone for years. But for those who haven’t made the switch yet, remember to save time to contact your carrier to convert your physical card to a virtual one.

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The most obvious benefit of the iPhone 14 Plus’ increased dimensions is its ability to fit on a larger screen, and over the course of a week or so it’s been a joy to use. When viewing HDR content, peak brightness can reach up to 1,200 nits, according to Apple. Meanwhile, using a light meter, I found that our review unit actually exceeded its claimed typical brightness of 800 nits, clocking in at just under 825 nits. And since it’s an OLED panel, you get great contrast and vibrant colors.

Thanks to its OLED panel, the iPhone 14 Plus outputs bright, vivid images.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

To be honest, at times I’m pleasantly surprised that a phone with such a large and vibrant screen is as light as it is. That reduction in weight makes it a little easier to hold when watching movies than the Pro Max or similar big-screen phones. The only downside here is that the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus still have 60Hz panels. Display lovers might find it easier to notice that quick actions or UI animations don’t look quite as smooth as they do on an iPhone or iPad with a 120Hz ProMotion screen.

Battery life

The iPhone 14 Plus’ other big upgrade over the standard model is the battery life, which is just fantastic. Many device makers talk about making phones that can last for days, but in my experience the iPhone 14 Plus is one of the few that actually delivers. Even if I’m going through the default setup, running a bunch of benchmarks, watching a handful of YouTube videos, and plowing my way through a series of levels in Ustwo’s charming tactical game Desta, I still ended the day with more than 45 percent juice left. This meant that even with moderate use, I didn’t have to worry about charging until I went to sleep the following night.

Unfortunately, the iPhone 14 Plus still relies on a Lightning connector for wired charging and data transfer.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

And while I’m primarily an Android user, I’d also like to commend the excellent standby times you get from iPhones. I’m usually used to phones losing between three and five percent battery overnight, but with the iPhone 14 Plus I’m seeing one, maybe two percent. I know that doesn’t sound like a ton, but it really shows how efficient Apple’s phones are. And in our standard video rundown test, the iPhone 14 Plus lasted a whopping 21 hours and 17 minutes, which is the second-longest time we’ve seen from a phone this year, behind only the OnePlus 10T’s mark of 22:59 .

cameras

Unlike the Pro line, the iPhone 14 Plus only has two rear cameras: a 12-megapixel primary camera and a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera with a 120-degree field of view. In daytime shots, the iPhone captured rich, bold colors and plenty of detail that doesn’t leave much room for criticism. However, if I’m being really picky, I noticed that the iPhone 14 Plus occasionally overexposed some shots compared to the Pixel 6 Pro, resulting in slightly more washed-out colors and a bit less dynamic range.

Thanks to its larger 6.7-inch display, watching movies and taking photos on the iPhone 14 Plus is much more fun compared to its smaller brother.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

In low light, the iPhone 14 Plus almost matched the performance of Google’s Night Sight mode on the Pixel 6 Pro, capturing bright images with good detail. In a late-night shot of Grogu (aka Baby Yoda), the iPhone 14 Plus captured a beautiful golden glow from nearby lights. Unfortunately, this effect was a bit overdone, as shown in the image of the Pixel 6 Pro, which looks more balanced while showing slightly sharper detail on Grogu’s robe and the plants behind it.

However, I think the biggest upgrade to the iPhone 14 Plus’ overall photo experience is the Photonic Engine. Low-light photo processing is up to two and a half times faster, meaning less waiting between shots, and more importantly, there’s also less chance of missing that magical moment.

Gallery: iPhone 14 Plus camera samples | 6 photos


Apple’s improved camera experience carries over to the iPhone 14’s 12-megapixel front camera too. That’s because the addition of a true autofocus system (rather than a fixed focus distance like many other phones) lets you take sharper selfies with a lot less effort. And for someone like me who doesn’t have a tried and tested selfie pose like our resident selfie queen Cherlynn Low does, this makes it a lot easier to get a decent-looking shot when I do.

Wrap up

Now I know that adding a slightly larger base iPhone to the lineup is anything but a game changer. But the arrival of the iPhone 14 Plus really fleshes out the lineup. Back in the day, if you wanted an iPhone with a big screen, you had no choice but to pay for the Pro Max model, which costs over $1,000. But the 14 Plus lets you get the same screen size without having to pay for fancy features that you might not want or need. As a bonus, its heat management is even better than the standard model, so you almost never have to worry about sweaty hands.

Thanks to a new midframe, the 14 Pluus is said to be much easier to repair compared to previous generations.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

I’m still a bit taken aback that it looks like the Mini line will have to die to make way for the Plus, because then the iPhone family would have a really wide range of sizes and prices. I should also point out that Google is offering a similarly sized screen and dedicated telephoto lens for the same price in the Pixel 6 Pro (and likely soon, the Pixel 7 Pro). But I know that asking longtime Apple users to switch operating systems is pointless. So for all you iPhone fans who just want a familiar device with a bigger screen and great battery life, then you’re in luck because the 14 Plus is your new champion.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independently of our parent company. Some of our stories contain affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may receive an affiliate commission. All prices are correct at time of publication.

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Russell Falcon

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