Early reviews of the new iPhone 14 are rolling in. The consensus? It’s a capable iPhone — basically an iPhone 13 with minimal improvements (and nowhere near as cool as the feature-rich iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max).
So it’s not quite worth an upgrade from an iPhone 13, or maybe even the fairly similar iPhone 12. Only people holding iPhone 11 and older have something to get excited about.
But for some who want the big screen of the iPhone 14 Plus — not yet in the hands of reviewers — an upgrade from a recent handset may be worth it.
iPhone 14: A good choice if you really need to upgrade, but it’s like an ‘iPhone 13S’
Reviews of iPhone 14 are largely positive in that it’s a good iPhone, but negative in that it’s not enough an improvement over what came before and not nearly as interesting as the iPhone 14 Pro models.
Compared to iPhone 13, the base iPhone 14 sports middling front-and-back camera upgrades and the new emergency features — car-crash detection and satellite SOS. Other than that, it’s practically the same handset.
TheVerge, citing the above, wrote “meet the iPhone 13S” right in its review’s headline. The review pointed out the paucity of upgrades and the fact that iPhone 13 is still selling, and at $100 cheaper than iPhone 14.
And it even added a touch of insult to injury, pointing out that the slightly greater bulk of the iPhone 14 camera bump means your iPhone 13 case won’t fit.
Most reviews mention the gulf between the standard iPhone 14 and the Pro models, feature-wise, with a focus on the latter’s always-on display and Dynamic Island notifications (the flashy stuff).
CNBC said, flat-out, “Get the Pro model.” After all, in addition to falling short of the Pro models in several other areas, iPhone 14 even lacks iPhone 13 Pro’s ProMotion display for smoother scrolling.
Still, it’s a good upgrade for many people
A video review by CNET took a somewhat more charitable view of the iPhone 14, calling it “a good upgrade for most people.”
“Familiarity is an underrated quality and the iPhone 14 is filled with it,” said the reviewer, saying iPhone 12 and 13 users will be “right at home with it.”
But he also said, “It’s an iPhone 13 Pro without the telephoto camera.”
If you have an iPhone 11 or older, “the iPhone 14 is a great upgrade that gives you better battery life, increased performance, a much better screen, better durability and cameras, as well as safety features like crash detection and emergency SOS via satellite,” the review noted.
“The iPhone 14 is like comfort food that will hit the spot for most people,” it added.
Move to eSim plus possibly easier repairability
Some reviews made note of another change in all iPhone 14 models, the move to eSim. It means no more Sim tray or card. The jury seems to be out on how good, neutral or bad that will be for users.
However, another change to iPhone 14 may result in better heat dissipation and easier and less-expensive repairs, as Engadget‘s review pointed out:
Apple [said] it redesigned the iPhone 14’s internals by separating the aluminum housing and the glass of the phone’s back so they’re no longer one enclosure. This brings two benefits: more efficient heat dissipation and improved repairability. If you crack the iPhone 14’s back glass, you’ll no longer have to get the entire housing replaced. This makes fixing a broken iPhone not only easier, but also cheaper, especially when your phone is out of warranty.
But, even so, the review lamented iPhone 14’s lack of substantial upgrades and called 2022 “not an upgrade year for most.”