iPhone 14 Plus Review: The clever choice

    The iPhone 14 Plus offers a large display and the luxury of good battery life, and that does the trick for most. Read our review.
    By: AMRITANSHU MUKHERJEE
    | Updated on: Nov 23 2022, 19:43 IST
    Apple iPhone 14 Plus Quick Look: Big screen experience for iPhone fans
    image caption
    1/5 The iPhone 14 Plus starts at a price of Rs. 89,900 for the base 128GB variant. You get it is the same colour variants as the iPhone 14. And the display notch is still present. (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
    image caption
    2/5 iPhone 14 Plus gets two 12MP cameras on its back (main and ultrawide). Sensor shift stabilisation and Photonic Engine promise better photography and videography on the iPhone. (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
    iPhone 14 Plus
    3/5 iPhone 14 Plus gets a big battery which Apple promises to deliver the best battery life on any iPhone. The 6.7-inch display also makes the phone almost as big as the iPhone 14 Pro Max. (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
    iPhone 14 Plus
    4/5 The iPhone 14 Plus relies on the A15 Bionic chip with the 5-core GPU and 6GB RAM. That makes it as powerful as last year's iPhone 13 Pro Max. (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
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    5/5 The main reason to get the iPhone 14 Plus is its 6.7-inch display. Apple is still using a 60Hz OLED panel with support for Dolby Vision support. Not the smoothest display yet and the display notch is still present here. That 2000 nits of peak brightness is also not present here. (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
     Apple iPhone 14 Plus
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    The Apple iPhone 14 Plus starts at a price of Rs. 89,900 in India. (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

    Before you bombard us with hatred, there is a reason we consider the iPhone 14 Plus to be a clever choice. In fact, there are a multitude of reasons why the iPhone 14 Plus may be the best no-frills iPhone to buy until the iPhone 15 Plus drops. Surely, at a starting price of Rs, 89,900, it is quite an expensive phone and compared to its Android rivals, it just looks dull. The dated design also adds to the misery, pushing customers towards the iPhone 14 Pro. The iPhone 14 Plus is actually doing its job well – it's not a flop show for Apple.

    Look cleverly and it is not a flop show for you either. It fills in the huge price gap between the iPhone 14's Rs. 79,900 price and the iPhone 14 Pro's Rs. 130,000 price. This is a crucial one and could make many consider this as a smarter option. You save enough money and you gain Apple's largest iPhone display. What's bad about that, right? To assure the notion, I spent two weeks with the iPhone 14 Plus to find out.

    Design

    Technically, the iPhone 14 Plus is a brand new phone in a long time – it has the Pro Max's 6.7-inch size display. However, Apple did the bare minimum, or almost nothing, to the design of the iPhone 14 and the iPhone 14 Plus is just a bigger version of the same. Hence, the excitement of the new phone is lacking; my office colleagues mistook it for the iPhone 13. The same diagonal camera lenses, the same flat sides, the same old notch – iPhone fans have seen this already.

    Not sure which
    mobile to buy?
    iPhone 14 Plus
    iPhone 14 Plus (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
    iPhone 14 Plus
    iPhone 14 Plus (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

    On the “plus” side, this is still a handsome phone to look at, especially in the right colours. My Purple variant is pretty and I dig the Product Red variant. As long as the notch isn't visible, this is a modern looking big smartphone that commands attention. Coming from the iPhone 14 Pro Max, I love the matte aluminium rails, the glossy back, and the lightweight build; it feels featherweight in comparison to the Pro Max. It is durable too – my car keys and my irresponsible colleagues weren't able to scratch the phone, or chip the paint yet.

    Display

    This is one of the main reasons why you may consider the iPhone 14 Plus. At 6.7-inches, this is a “normally-sized” large display using a beautifully tuned OLED display of a very high resolution. Be it under the sun or inside your living room, the iPhone 14 Plus' display is pleasant to look at. Colours look natural and the brightness is great; the typical iPhone tuning. If you love watching movies or scrolling through Instagram, you are going to love this display. Except…

     Apple iPhone 14 Plus
    Apple iPhone 14 Plus (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
     Apple iPhone 14 Plus
    Apple iPhone 14 Plus (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

    The refresh rate! 60Hz of refresh rate is fine for daily use and you eventually get used to it. But for a phone that costs almost Rs. 1 lakh, this feels unjust. Even the cheapest Android phones have 120Hz OLED screens these days! And no, I don't see any of the “Apple's-60Hz-is-better-than-Android's-120Hz” notion. It just looks jittery. The notch only adds to the unpleasantness.

    Performance

    We will charge Apple guilty of giving us an old chipset in its flagship-class phone – the height of cost cutting. But, once the irritation of missing out on the new stuff fades away, I don't see any reason as to not choosing this iPhone for its performance. The A15 Bionic is still a fast chipset by all means – after all, those iPhone 13 Pro models are still running strong and doing everything nicely. With a 5-core GPU and 6GB RAM, the iPhone 14 Plus has the better A15 Bionic variant and it works as advertised.

    Apple's stronghold is its optimisation and iOS 16 on this iPhone runs smooth, except for some bugs. I have thrown everything in my might to have an “Ahaaaan!” moment with the A15 Bionic, trying to see if it struggles – I have only failed here. Be it the incredibly complex Apex Legends or editing a 4K footage on iMovie, this iPhone took it all like a Pro. It stays cool and keeps managing all kinds of loads with ease. Games like COD Mobile and Apex Legends just work in their best of ways.

     Apple iPhone 14 Plus
    Apple iPhone 14 Plus (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
     Apple iPhone 14 Plus
    Apple iPhone 14 Plus (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

    As for iOS 16, the customisation options have made it an interesting OS to choose. That along with Apple's tightly knit ecosystem guarantees a superb experience with AirPods, Apple Watch, and the Mac. You only miss out on the Always On Display and that isn't a big deal in my opinion.

    iPhone 14 Plus also left me impressed with its loudspeaker performance. The audio output is loud and there's ample depth to enjoy the bass but it is all tuned for higher volume. Then there's the network performance, which is good enough. On my Jio 4G LTE network, the iPhone 14 Plus kept hold of the network but dropped it in the basement (Google Pixel 7 Pro latched on to the network). There's support for 5G too but Apple will release the update by December 2022 to enable 5G reception.

    Cameras

    iPhone 14 Plus
    iPhone 14 Plus (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
    iPhone 14 Plus
    iPhone 14 Plus (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

    Be it still photography or videography, the iPhone 14 Plus is simply brilliant if you want strong cameras. The 12MP main and 12MP ultrawide camera sensors are borrowed from the iPhone 13 Pro but tuned even better, thanks to the Photonic Engine.

    Similar to the iPhone 14 Pro Max, the main camera is tuned for keeping the colours closer to the natural tones, the brightness up, the shadows crushed, and extracting details. For social media and phone screens, these photos look great – everyone in my team loved the Diwali photos taken on the iPhone. However, pixel peepers were pointing out the oversharpened look, and how the Pixel 7 Pro creates contrast and keeps skin tones more natural.

    Image Samples

    See all photos

    This also applies on selfies, where the photos appear oversharpened and the skin tones looking unnatural. In low light, it only gets worse. Night time photos are sharp enough and I love how the exposures are well maintained. Portrait mode also suffers from irregular subject cutouts but I love the foreground blur effect. Unlike the iPhone 14 Pro Max, there is no present 2X lossless digital zoom, and the lack of a telephoto camera restricts you to blurry zoomed in photos. For overall still photography, this is a great camera for both casual and professional shooters.

    Check out sample photos from the iPhone 14 Plus

    As for videography, there isn't any competition – the iPhone 14 Plus dominates. Both 4K and 1080p videos have great clarity, wide dynamic range, good noise suppression, excellent stabilisation and smooth processing. The Cinematic mode is more useable in 4K while the Action mode is handy with its great stabilisation and a usable 2.5L resolution, although it uses the inferior ultra-wide camera to record it.

    Battery Life

     Apple iPhone 14 Plus
    Apple iPhone 14 Plus (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
     Apple iPhone 14 Plus
    Apple iPhone 14 Plus (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

    For a sub- 1 lakh phone, the iPhone 14 Plus offers tremendous battery life. With my moderate usage involving office calls, mails, texting, occasional photography, and 2-3 hours of browsing, the iPhone 14 Plus lasts me an entire day and stretches over to the next afternoon. Best battery life on any iPhone? I don't think so. The battery life is more on par with the iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone 13 Pro Max, which is not a bad deal. Movie and selfie lovers may drain the battery fast but even in the worst case scenario, the iPhone 14 Plus is more than a 1-day phone. Charging is a slow process here, with my 30W Apple charger taking just over an hour from 30 percent of charge. MagSafe wireless charging is a boon if you have that magnetic puck on you.

    Verdict

    iPhone 14 Plus
    iPhone 14 Plus (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
    iPhone 14 Plus
    iPhone 14 Plus (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

    The iPhone 14 Plus is controversial in the way it is designed and hence, it might not be an easy pick for many. There is a large group of people who love the modern frills such as a high refresh rate display with no big notch, a triple camera setup with a zoom camera, fast sub-30 minute charging time, and a flashy design – especially when the asking price is around Rs. 1 lakh. The iPhone 14 Plus has none of that, and hence, it may push buyers towards a Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus, or a Google Pixel 7 Pro. Don't discount the iPhone 14 Pro for the well-heeled!

    But then there's also a group of people who just want a solid iPhone experience; Just a big display would be of colossal help. This is whom the iPhone 14 Plus is built for. The user experience is refined and you get to enjoy Apple's ecosystem with the luxury of a 6.7-inch display. That, and the presence of brilliant cameras, fast and reliable performance, a stellar battery life, and a sub- 1 Lakh starting price to top it off – the iPhone 14 Plus is the most clever iPhone you can buy today if you don't seek the geeky and gimmicky stuff.

    Rating
    4 out of 5
    Price
    INR 89,900/-
    Product Name
    Apple iPhone 14 Plus
    Brand Name
    Apple
    Pros
    • Large and good display
    • Great battery life
    • Solid performance
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Only 60Hz display
    • Dated design
    Specifications
    • Display
      6.7-inches OLED 60Hz
    • Chipset
      A15 Bionic
    • OS
      iOS 16
    • Rear Cameras
      12MP + 12MP
    • Front Camera
      12MP
    • Battery
      4323mAh
    • Charging
      20W wired, 15W MagSafe wireless

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    First Published Date: 23 Oct, 11:31 IST
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