Apple iPhone 14 Pro review: Oh so Pro and more
Apr 26, 2023, 11:16 am
9 min read
Apple launched its new iPhone 14 series in India a while ago. While the iPhone 14 seemed pretty much a rebadged iPhone 13, the Pro model does offer a few novelties. Well, the 14 Pro may look like its predecessor in terms of aesthetics, and it does borrow a lot of other elements from it too, but there are quite a few enhancements in several departments that add up to give this phone its unique identity.
Be it finally letting go of the famous notch (partially) or the blazing fast processor or the brand-new primary camera, there are some notable additions for sure. After having experienced the phone for a considerable amount of time, here’s everything you need to know about the Apple iPhone 14 Pro in this long-term review.
Premium design, rugged build, excellent display with 120Hz refresh rate
The iPhone 14 Pro feels premium due to its stainless steel frame, glass back and rounded corners; in many ways a typical iPhone design that still looks great. The screen and the back are protected by a layer of scratch-resistant glass. Fingerprints are visible on the glossy metal frame, but the glass back has a matte finish that makes it pretty much smudge-free. It has an IP68-rated ingress protection. The phone is fairly compact but weighs over 200 grams and feels heavy in hand.
The back of the phone looks exactly like that of the iPhone 13 Pro with a squarish island at the top left that hosts the three rear cameras and flash unit. The volume rocker, an alert slider and a SIM tray are placed along the left edge of the phone, while the power button can be found on the right edge. A Lightning connector for charging the device and a speaker are located on the bottom edge.
The Apple iPhone 14 Pro has a 6.1-inch LTPO Super Retina XDR OLED display with a resolution of 1179×2556 pixels and a peak brightness of 2,000-nits. The HDR10 and Dolby Vision-compliant screen has a 120Hz refresh rate for flicker-free scrolling. Given that Apple has used an LTPO display here, it dynamically throttles the refresh rate, and even drops it to 10Hz when checking images for instance, to save battery. The sharpness, color reproduction and contrast are top-notch.
Speaking of notch, Apple has finally done away with the famous notch at the top of the screen which the company introduced in the iPhone X. It has been replaced with a pill-shaped entity called Dynamic Island. While it’s a definite improvement over the outdated notch and has a novelty factor, Apple could have done something more innovative. But it does have some smartly implemented elements which we will talk about in the software section.
Apple’s A16 Bionic chip is extremely powerful with great headroom
The iPhone 14 Pro is powered by Apple’s latest A16 Bionic processor and is accompanied by 6GB RAM. Internal storage options range from 128GB to 1TB. Apple does not play the specifications game, and comparing the A16 directly to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon SoC on Android phones wouldn’t exactly be an apples-to-apples comparison (pun unintended). Having said that, it is at least as powerful as anything around.
On the iOS platform, it should be good enough to run the device smoothly for the next few years at least and handle another 3-4 major OS updates that the 14 Pro will receive over time. The day-to-day performance of this phone is as smooth as it gets. The performance hasn’t dipped one bit over the past six months. Be it switching between multiple apps, browsing, chatting, photography or gaming, things just worked as expected without a stutter.
The phone barely heats up during general use. It does get a little warm if you indulge in half an hour of gaming, but nothing alarming. On the topic of gaming, you can play all the recent games on it at the highest settings comfortably. This phone has dual speakers, one behind the earpiece and the other along the bottom edge. They are loud and clear with a more than decent stereo separation. The 3.5mm headphone jack became extinct on the iPhone a long time ago, but you do get Bluetooth 5.3 here to connect wireless earphones and speakers.
You also get dual-band Wi-Fi with support for a/b/g/n/ac/6 standards. The call quality and reception were perfectly fine on this 5G-ready phone during our testing. Like all other Apple flagship phones over the past several years, there is no fingerprint scanner here, and Face ID takes care of your biometric security. Face ID is easy to set up, more secure than the face unlock feature on Android phones and works very well.
Latest iOS 16, decent battery backup, slow charging, no charger
The Apple iPhone 14 Pro launched with the iOS 16 and now runs the latest iteration of the OS (16.4.1). If you have used an iPhone before, there is no new learning curve here with the standard iOS user interface. The UI is smooth and lag-free as expected. While iOS 16 doesn’t bring forth anything radically different from the previous version, there are some incremental updates in many departments, right from the lock screen to messaging.
That combined with the new things that iPhone 14 Pro brings to the table freshens things up. For instance, the 14 Pro has an always-on display, which in combination with iOS 16’s notifications management feature on the lock screen makes things clear and better organized. You still don’t have an app drawer like in Android (something I dearly miss). Please don’t ask me which of the two OS is better; it remains a matter of individual taste. Switching from one to the other does take a bit of getting used to.
iOS 16 puts Dynamic in the aforementioned Dynamic Island. It smartly plays around with the screen cutout by adding things on either side of it and below creating an illusion of the island growing bigger or changing shape. Certain apps like the music player make use of it in a cool way.
The battery backup on the iPhone 14 Pro sees a bit of improvement. The 3,200mAh battery keeps it powered for over a day of moderate use comfortably. The charging speed is nowhere close to the fastest around. And of course, Apple does not bundle a charger in the package. The maximum fast charging supported stands at 27W, which means chargers offering more than 30W output provide no benefit. We tried a couple of compatible chargers, and the fastest charging time was 93 minutes (1-to-100% charge) using a 30W USB-PD charger. A 65W charger couldn’t charge it any faster.
Versatile cameras offer excellent image quality; even better video quality
The rear camera department comprises a new 48MP primary camera with optical image stabilization (OIS), a 12MP telephoto camera with OIS and a 12MP ultra-wide camera with 120-degrees FOV and auto-focus. The 12MP front camera does a great job with selfies, with close-to-natural tones and broader FOV. All cameras can record 4K videos at 24/30/60fps, and can shoot 1080p slo-mo videos up to 240fps. OIS, EIS and HDR support are available on the main camera and the captured footage is sharp and perfectly stabilized.
Video recording has been the forte of iPhones for years and it continues to lead the pack. As expected, the iPhone 14 Pro does a stellar job in still photography too. The main camera captures some great shots in normal as well as low light. The contrast and dynamic range are excellent, but the colors are slightly more saturated. They don’t look unnatural but aren’t the exact shade either.
At times, the captured images look better than the actual subject/scene; something that the social media crowd prefers. The low light performance is equally impressive across the board with excellent detail and low noise. When the light drops below a point, the phone automatically switches to Night Mode which brightens up the image without blurring the detail. Low-light photos using the telephoto camera and ultra-wide camera come out well too; something one expects from an ultra-premium device like this.
The 12MP telephoto camera offers 3X optical zoom and the captured images have a great amount of detail. OIS compensates for minor shakes. One can use the 3X zoom in low light too and the captured images are pretty good. The iPhone 14 Pro has one of the best ultra-wide cameras among phones and the colors and dynamic range are almost as good as the primary camera. It also captures some excellent macro shots. Last but not least, one can capture some impressive portrait shots too.
Among the very best currently, if you can afford it
The Apple iPhone 14 Pro can be purchased in India starting at Rs. 1,19,999 for the 128GB storage variant, going all the way up to Rs. 1,69,999 for its top variant with 1TB storage. That makes it one of the most expensive smartphones in India, surpassed only by the iPhone 14 Pro Max which is essentially the same phone with a larger screen and battery. You get a one year warranty on the product.
Don’t think that’s much of a surprise given the pricing of the iPhone Pro models over the past few years. It makes little sense to have a value-for-money conversation here. The Apple iPhone 14 Pro is more of an aspirational product, and it has the performance to match. The A16 Bionic chip is as powerful as they come. Add to that a rugged and premium design, super smooth software experience and guaranteed OS updates for half a decade at least.
And yes, I am coming to it – the cameras. The camera department not only offers great versatility from macro to optical zoom, but each of the cameras excels in their respective jobs and don’t just make up the numbers. And that applies to photography and videography both. As for alternatives, you have the Samsung Galaxy S23 series and of course the Google Pixel 7 Pro.
The Pixel 7 Pro can be purchased for well under Rs. 75,000 now using a variety of credit and debit cards, and has a comparable camera performance, but you will have to make do with 128GB storage as that’s the only option available for the phone. So should you buy the Apple iPhone 14 Pro? Why not! Go ahead and get one if you have the money to spare.
Apple iPhone 14 Pro review at a glance