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6 things to know about the iPhone 14 before you buy one

By Kenny Yeo - 17 Sep 2022

6 things to know about the iPhone 14 before you buy one

Note: This feature was first published on 14 September 2022.

The iPhone 14 is the "entry-level" model of this year's lineup.

I haven’t had much time with the new iPhone 14 but seeing that the phone is already available to pre-order and that it goes on sale this Friday. I thought I share some quick thoughts about it. And if you want to know more, stay tuned for the full review.

 

1. It looks and feels just like iPhone 13 

Like the iPhone 13, the iPhone 14 has an aluminium body with flat sides that have a matte finish. The location of all the buttons are unchanged but their positions are slightly different.

This shouldn’t be surprising at all given that the two have the same design, are made of the same materials (aluminium and glass), and have the same number of cameras. In fact, if you pore over the spec sheet, you’d find that the iPhone 14 is just a smidge thicker (0.2mm) – height and width are unchanged. Some are understandably upset given that this design has been with us since the iPhone 12 from 2020, but the upside is that the iPhone 14 still looks and feels like a very high-quality smartphone.

Can you fit an iPhone 13 case on an iPhone 14? That depends. Even though their physical dimensions are almost identical, the positions of the buttons have been moved very slightly. It all depends on the case. For example, I could get a third-party iPhone 13 case to fit on the iPhone 14, but I couldn’t get Apple’s own MagSafe case for the iPhone 13 won’t fit.

 

2. It’s powered by the same A15 Bionic chip as the iPhone 13 Pro

The A15 Bionic might be a year old but it's still very fast.


Only the “Pro” iPhones are getting a new chip this year. This means the iPhone 14 is powered by last year’s A15 Bionic, specifically the variant with five GPU cores that’s also found in the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max. I’m sure some will be disappointed but Apple is confident that it will deliver more than enough performance for most users and said during the unveiling that A15 Bionic is still faster than whatever the competition can muster. Well, I ran a couple of quick tests and it seems that Apple wasn’t kidding. The A15 Bionic still performs noticeably better than Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1.

iPhone 14 comparison
Model iPhone 14 iPhone 14 Pro Max iPhone 14 Pro Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 5G
Geekbench
(single-core)
1736 1877 1875 1317
Geekbench
(multi-core)
4712 5438 5466 3850
3DMark Wild Life Unlimited 11,647 12,381 12,434 10797

 

3. The main camera seems to have come from the iPhone 13 Pro

Apple says the iPhone 14 has an improved main wide camera and although they didn’t explicitly say it, it looks like this main camera was plucked straight out from the iPhone 13 Pro. They share the same pixel size and both have 7-element lenses. Not that there’s anything wrong with that because the iPhone 13 Pro took excellent photos, and it looks like this year’s iPhone 14 will too (just look at the sample photos below). As for the ultra wide camera, it appears that the iPhone 14 shares the same hardware as last year’s iPhone 13.

Click to see the image in its full resolution.

 

4. The display is its biggest weakness because it isn't always-on and it doesn't have ProMotion

The lack of ProMotion and the inability to stay on indefinitely are the iPhone 14 display's biggest weaknesses.

The display is OLED and it’s the same 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display with a resolution of 2532 x 1170 pixels and support for P3 wide colour. Peak brightness is unchanged at 800 nits typical and 1,200 nits when viewing HDR content. It is, by most accounts, a great display. Crucially, it looks sharp and vibrant.

However, the lack of ProMotion is disappointing very noticeable if you use it next to an iPhone 14 Pro or even iPhone 13 Pro. Displays with high refresh rates are now a staple among Android phones in the same price range and it seems like a terrible oversight for Apple to not include it on the iPhone 14. We know the iPhone 14 isn’t Apple’s flagship phone but surely its price justifies the inclusion of such a feature.

And don't get me started on the lack of an always-on display. This is another feature that Android phones have had for years. One gets the sense that Apple is intentionally keeping these features for the "Pro" iPhones.

 

5. The iPhone 14 Plus is only going to be available in October

The larger iPhone 14 Plus is only going to be available in early October.

Looking for the larger iPhone 14 Plus? Though it’s available to pre-order now, it’s only going to be available in retail on 7 October

The size is not unfamiliar, however, because it’s the same as the “Max” phones that we’ve had for a couple of years now. I’ve had the chance to handle an iPhone 14 Plus briefly at the event and it feels very familiar. I think some users are going to find it enticing because its aluminium body means it’s a lot lighter than a “Pro Max” and its arrival means iPhone users finally have the option of a more affordable “Max-sized” phone. 

 

6. Maybe consider the iPhone 13 Pro?

The iPhone 13 Pro is still a very attractive proposition, if you ask me.

I'm not saying the iPhone 14 is bad and you shouldn't buy it – I'll need more time to test and ascertain its capabilities and value proposition– but it seems like I’m not alone in thinking that the updates to the iPhone 14 were mostly underwhelming.

Prominent Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently wrote that pre-order sales of the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus have been disappointing and trail even the iPhone SE and iPhone 13 Mini. And once you start looking at prices, you have to wonder if the now-discontinued iPhone 13 Pro isn’t better value. They are not difficult to find and cost about the same as an iPhone 14.

Prices of the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus will start at S$1,299 and S$1,499 respectively. And here's how they compare against the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max.

Apple iPhone 14 and 14 Pro series in Singapore
  Apple iPhone 14 Apple iPhone 14 Plus Apple iPhone 14 Pro Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max
128GB S$1,299 S$1,499 S$1,649 S$1,799
256GB S$1,469 S$1,699 S$1,819 S$1,969
512GB S$1,799 S$1,999 S$2,149 S$2,299
1TB NIL NIL S$2,479 S$2,629
Colours Blue, Purple, Midnight, Starlight, PRODUCT(RED) Deep Purple, Gold, Silver, Space Black 


You can pre-order the iPhone 14 from the Apple Online Store, Amazon, the Apple Flagship Store on Lazada, or the Apple Official Store on Shopee.

 

Be sure to check back for my full review of the iPhone 14. In the meantime, for more iPhone 14 coverage, check out the following articles:

  1. Hands-on with the new iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max
  2. What's new with the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max
  3. Apple iPhone 14 and 14 Pro series buying guide 
  4. Hands-on with the new iPhone 14 and 14 Plus
  5. Should you get the iPhone 13 instead?
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