iPhone 14 Plus review: Go big or go home


iPhone 14 Plus review: Go big or go home★★★★
The iPhone 14 Plus offers a big, beautiful display and impressive battery life at a nice price.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The iPhone 14 Plus combines two popular phone features: larger screens and lower prices. With a 6.7-inch screen, it offers Apple’s largest display but for a lot less money than any previous model this size.

I replaced my iPhone 13 with the larger Plus. The large screen and lengthy battery life make me happy with the change, and they’re why I recommend others choose a larger iPhone, too.

iPhone 14 Plus merges two other Apple handsets

The iPhone 14 Plus is not a direct successor to any earlier iOS device. Its 6.7-inch display and processor is taken from the iPhone 13 Pro Max, but it has the same cameras and other features as the 6.1-inch iPhone 14.

Traditionally, it’s the “standard” iPhone that’s Apple’s top seller. And the largest model is in second place. A combination of the two makes a lot of sense.

For iPhone screens, bigger is better

The iPhone 14 Plus has (mostly) the same display panel as the 2021 Pro Max. That means a resolution of 2,778 by 1,284 pixels at 458 ppi.

We’ve become so accustomed to beautiful screens in Apple computers that we expect them. Overlook them, even. But I have to point out that the OLED in the Plus looks gorgeous. Anyone upgrading from an iPhone XR will be blown away.

Size is important, too. The iPhone 14 has a 6.1-inch display versus the 6.7-inch one in the 14 Plus. A 0.6-inch difference might not sound like much, but it translates into 21% more screen area. That’s a significant increase, and it’s immediately noticeable.

It’s ideal for exchanging email on the go, or accessing websites. It makes a great e-reader too. Watching video on a bigger screen improves the experience, and the same goes for playing games. Really, there’s nothing about using an iPhone that’s not improved by a larger display.

Also, to be candid, my eyes aren’t what they used to be. With this new model, I find myself pulling my reading glasses out a lot less.

While the Plus has the same size screen as the iPhone 14 Pro Max, it doesn’t have all the same features. Obviously, there’s no Dynamic Island, but anyone like me who has spent years with the static peninsula (aka the notch) probably stopped noticing it long ago. Especially as this is the smaller notch that debuted in 2021.

The iPhone 14 Plus screen also does not come equipped with Apple’s ProMotion technology, so the refresh rate tops out at 60 Hz. This is a deal breaker for some people but I’m not one of them. I constantly switch back and forth between an iPad Pro with a ProMotion display and an iPhone without, and I don’t notice the difference.

And this is not an always-on display. Meh.

To me, the iPhone 14 Pro’s always-on screen with the Dynamic Island and ProMotion is nice, but the additional features don’t dramatically affect daily use of the iPhone. The Plus is fine without them. So ask yourself, are they worth paying $200 more to upgrade to the Pro Max?

Not too much bulk

iPhone 14 Plus vs. iPhone 14
The Plus is undeniably bigger than the 6.1-inch iPhone 14.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

If you’re waffling between the 6.1-inch iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus, the additional bulk is undoubtedly a factor. I understand, my iPhone goes everywhere with me, too.

I thought hard about how the Plus is 18% heavier than the standard model. And it’s 10% taller and 9% wider. Holding the device in my hand and comparing it to the 6.1-inch model, I decided the additional bulk was worth the larger display. That’s a personal decision, so YMMV.

If your decision is between the Plus and Pro Max, note that the more expensive device weighs 18% more.

An iPhone with multi-day battery life

Larger screens make room for big batteries. And the new Plus turns that into a lengthy battery life. The company even claims, “iPhone 14 Plus boasts the best battery life ever in an iPhone.”

In my testing, after a typical day  during which Settings > Battery says I used the device about four hours I went to bed with 45% battery level remaining.

That’s outstanding. It means that if you forget to charge your iPhone at the end of a typical day, there’s no problem in the morning. You almost certainly have enough power to last hours – long enough to conveniently charge the device.

On a day of unusually heavy use, with the screen on for over 8 hours, I still never ran out of power. The Plus hit the 20% warning as I was reading in bed. And the day including gaming, video, email, web and ebooks.

Low-light camera is better than ever

iPhone cameras are already brilliant, so Apple’s goal with the iPhone 14 Plus was to improve taking pictures in low light. This makes sense to me. My previous iPhone takes excellent pics in adequate lighting but struggles a bit in dim areas.

Apple gave the 12 megapixel main camera a larger sensor and larger pixels at 1.9 microns. It has a faster ƒ/1.5 aperture, too. And Apple promises its computational photography software delivers “brighter, more true-to-life colors and beautifully detailed textures in mid- to lower-light scenes.” In my testing, the Plus delivers on the promise.

In 2019, I used an iPhone XS Max to take a picture in the late evening to test its camera. I re-created the picture with the iPhone 14 Plus to test how much better it is in low light. I turned off Night Mode for this test.

I promise you, both those pics were taken in very similar conditions — just a bit before full dark. You can’t miss the huge improvement in the new handset.

Low-light camera is better than ever
iPhone 14 Plus camera takes outstanding low-light images. Far better than older Apple handsets.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

And if you add in Apple’s Night Mode, low-light photography is outstanding. And the flash is 10% brighter when you go that route.

The iPhone 14 Plus camera has sensor-shift optical image stabilization so there are fewer blurry pictures caused by camera shake.

Then Apple doubled down on that with a new Action mode for smoother-looking video. The feature works very well. I shot a video of my cat walking toward me while I walked backward down the driveway bent over holding the handset. The video is almost rock steady.

All the improvements aren’t in the rear camera. The front-facing shooter has an ƒ/1.9 aperture for better selfies in low light, too.

With these advanced features, don’t overlook the fact that the iPhone 14 Plus takes outstanding pictures in good lighting, too.

iPhone 14 Plus takes outstanding pictures in good lighting
Most pictures are taken in normal lightning. iPhone 14 Plus handles these beautifully.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The pricier iPhone 14 Pro models absolutely offer more advanced cameras. But I doubt you need them to snap pictures of your family, friends or pets. So the question is, are you willing to pay $100 – $200 more for a 64MP camera?

More than adequate processor performance

Perhaps the most controversial feature of the 2022 non-Pro models is that they use the A15, the same Apple processor as last-year’s iPhone 13 Pros. That’s a flaw to anyone who just has to have the latest and greatest but has little real-world effect on typical use of the handset.

Consider that the Plus scored 4733 when I ran the multi-core test of Primate Labs Geekbench 5 on it. Samsung’s current flagship model, the Galaxy S22 Ultra, scored 3433 on the same test.

A chip that’s 38% faster than Samsung’s best is easily capable of keeping up with you. In day to day use, everything on the iPhone 14 Plus is quick and smooth. Most applications are open almost as soon as you tap their icon, and respond instantly.

I do wonder if using a 2021 processor in a 2022 handset means this device will get a year fewer of iOS upgrades. Down the line, iOS 21 might be available for the two Pro versions but not the Plus.

The 6GB of RAM built into the handset helps when switching between apps. They don’t need to reload – there’s plenty of room to hold them in RAM.

And there’s more to quick performance than the processor. The iPhone 14 Plus includes 5G cellular wireless networking. If you’re upgrading from a 4G handset, you’ll notice a significant increase in online speeds… enjoy.

Crash Detection and SOS by Satellite

The Plus includes some features that might have been reserved for the Pro models. There’s crash detection – your iPhone can sense that you’ve been in a car accident and automatically call emergency services.

And any iPhone 14 model in the U.S. or Canada can exchange text messages with emergency responders by contacting satellites in low-Earth orbit. Launching in November, SOS by Satellite will be free for two years and available anywhere there’s an open view of the sky.

Sorry, I can’t test either one. There’s tragic, real-world evidence crash detection works, though. SOS by Satellite isn’t available yet, but I’ll test it as soon as I can.

iPhone 14 Plus final thoughts

iPhone 14 Plus
The iPhone 14 Plus real potential to be a huge success.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The iPhone 14 Plus is for those who’d be happy with the “standard” iPhone but would like a larger screen. An alternative way to look at it is that the Plus is for people who want a big display but don’t want to pay for all the other improvements that come with the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

Or it could be for those who want the best battery life of any iPhone.


The Plus uses last year’s processor though, so it’s not quite as good as it could be.


Pricing starts at $899, and that’s a critical feature. As noted, the iPhone 14 Plus is designed to appeal to people who aren’t willing to pay $200 more for the Pro Max.

You will have to pay an extra $100 over the cost of the 6.1-inch iPhone 14 to get the bigger screen and longer battery life. To me, it’s cheap at that price.

Speaking of paying extra, the base model has 128 GB of storage. Going to 256 GB adds $100, or having the handset configured with 512 GB of storage increases the price by $200.

The handset is available now from Apple.com. Your color choices are midnight, blue, starlight, purple and (PRODUCT)RED.

Buy from: Apple

Those still debating between Apple’s two biggest handsets shouldn’t miss Cult of Mac‘s iPhone 14 Plus vs. iPhone 14 Pro Max comparison.


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