Apple’s flagship iPhone 14 Pro has been given upgrades in the form of its design and camera sensors. (Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Apple’s flagship iPhone 14 Pro has been given upgrades in the form of its design and camera sensors.
The controversial notch is finally gone, and has been replaced with what Apple calls a Dynamic Island — a pill-shaped cut-out that can change in size or shape depending on notifications. It is only available on the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models.
The camera sensors have been bumped up to 48-megapixels, whereas its predecessor, the 13 Pro, was 12MP.
Other changes include an always-on display, higher screen brightness up to 2 000 nits, a new A16 Bionic chip, and pixel binning — a feature where adjacent pixels are grouped together to form larger “superpixels” which improves low-light images.
When the iPhone 14 Pro went on sale just over six weeks ago, it was nearly 20% more expensive than the 13 Pro at launch. It has subsequently undergone a price increase from R25 699 in mid-September to R26 899 for the entry-level 128GB model.
For anyone who has been holding on to an iPhone model from the 12 Pro and older, the 14 Pro feels like a new phone. At the very least, you will get a ProMotion 120Hz screen refresh rate, no notch, brighter display, improved battery life, camera improvements and WiFi 6E.
The iPhone 14 Pro runs on Apple’s latest A16 Bionic chip, with storage options ranging from 128GB to 1TB, supports 5G, eSIM connectivity, and a 3200mAh battery with up to 20W fast charging. Apple notoriously does not include a plug in the box.
On the design front, the device is 6.1-inches, weighs 206g and comes in a new deep purple shade. It is the perfect size for an iPhone, which sits between the 14 and Pro Max. It still features a bulky, protruding trio of lenses that don’t sit flat on a surface and can be wobbly. If this bothers you, the right cover will make it sit flush.
Whereas previously the notch was something you eventually got used to, Dynamic Island has the opposite effect. Naming convention aside, you will appreciate how useful and brilliant a design it is. It is touch-sensitive, you can tap into notifications.
It houses the 12MP TrueDepth camera that enables Face ID, bokeh selfies, 4K cinematic videos and 3D facial mapping for AR features. But it also cleverly blends the hardware with innovative software that adapts and changes in real-time to deliver alerts or notifications.
Instead of checking the notification screen manually, information will appear on the Dynamic Island, which expands where necessary. These could include music or audio playing, an AirDrop connection, directions on Maps, a timer, Apple Pay confirmations, privacy indicators for the microphone and camera, plus battery and charging status.
Dynamic Island is executed brilliantly by Apple, and unlike anything you would have experienced on an Android notch.
The other big improvements come in the form of the camera. The triple rear cameras comprise 48MP wide, 12MP ultra-wide, and a 12MP telephoto lens. But the camera will only shoot in 48MP after you go into settings and turn on ProRAW. It also needs to be enabled on the viewfinder in good light.
The file sizes are large and shooting in RAW is only recommended if you want to edit the images on Lightroom or similar, and if you are going to print them. For the rest of the time, the default settings that shoot on 12MP will suffice for daily usage.
Previously, the iPhone 13 Pro used to automatically switch between lenses and caused some frustration when taking certain shots, for example, from a plane window, but with the 14 Pro, you can control the automatic switching between the lenses by turning on Macro Control.
For any videographers out there, it offers video stabilisation mode and a 4K setting for cinematic mode. Overall, the camera improvements are a big jump if you’re coming from an iPhone 12 range or older model.
Battery life on an iPhone has always been a sore point, it’s not great but the 3200mAh battery should last a day. If you want a bigger battery, this is a reason to get the larger Pro Max. A recent iOS 16.1 update fixes a battery drain issue caused on iOS 16.
The cost of living in South Africa and the exchange rate against the US dollar has made the iPhone 14 Pro an expensive handset to purchase. The phone has notable improvements and can be justified if you’re coming from an older handset with intention to hold onto the iPhone 14 Pro for longer than a 24-month cycle.
Given the quality of the new cameras, consider the 256GB storage option instead, but be prepared to fork out R29 499 for it, otherwise a post-paid option may be more cost effective.