A little backstory. I have been an iPhone user for over a decade now, but recently, I have developed an affinity for the iPhone mini and the iPhone SE. Those who follow my writing know how much I love compact phones. So the decision to use the new iPhone 14 wasn’t an easy one. Despite initially resisting change, I decided to take a leap of faith and agreed to review the iPhone 14. I have spent the past week with the iPhone 14 as my primary phone, and I am here to share the fascinating and frustrating experience of switching from a compact phone to a larger device.
Apple iPhone 14 (128GB) price in India: Rs 79,900
For the first three days, I was like “give me my iPhone 13 mini back”. Only on the fourth day, did I start getting used to the 6.1-inch screen on the iPhone 14. Yes, it will be a big change if you are coming from older iPhones like the iPhone 8. I usually struggle to adapt to a new environment and in this case, I was giving up on something I loved, the compact form factor.
The iPhone 14 makes the iPhone 13 mini look tiny. The different form factors and screen sizes do change the experience of using a phone. Getting to the top of the screen one-handed on the iPhone 14 is nearly impossible for me in sharp contrast to the mini. The iPhone 13 mini is also a light phone and I can scroll through indianexpress.com or check emails without ever feeling the strain of holding a device for long. The iPhone 13 mini also fits so much better in those skinny jeans with small pockets.
The two phones interestingly are the same when you look at specs, but the size makes a lot of difference when it comes to usability.
The additional display space provides a lot of benefits that an everyday user would appreciate. For one, I am able to edit copies on the go which is frustrating on my iPhone 13 mini due to its small 5.4-inch display. Secondly, the iPhone 14’s 6.1-inch display is useful for handheld gaming as the controls would be much easier to reach with your fingers.
In Books, it’s an extra two to three paragraphs meaning fewer page turns. Typing on the keyboard on the iPhone 14 is noticeably better and those bigger keys are so much helpful. Reaching for buttons on the bottom corner of the iPhone 14 is also better compared to the iPhone 13 mini.
Though these are minor differences, they make for a much more pleasant experience. I would find the iPhone 14 handy, especially if I were to take notes or write stories on Google Docs.
The iPhone 14’s display might be bigger, but that doesn’t mean the screen is brighter, text is sharper, colours are more vivid, and photos have more definition. Coming from the iPhone 13 mini, which also uses an OLED screen as vibrant as the one on the iPhone 14 but only smaller, I see no difference in the viewing experience. Apple kept the 60Hz refresh rate on the iPhone 14, the same as the iPhone 13 or iPhone 12. I am not disappointed that Apple didn’t put a 120Hz refresh rate on the iPhone 14’s screen.
The always-on display is also not there on the iPhone 14, which is currently reserved for the high-end iPhone 14 Pro. The notch at the top of the screen is still a part of the design, just like the iPhone 13.
The iPhone 14 feels great in your hands and the design feels premium and expensive. From a usability standpoint, the flat edges make the iPhone 14 easier to grip. I had the blue iPhone 14 for review and it looks stunning. Its shape and size are almost the same as last year’s iPhone. Apple continues to use its tough ceramic shield on the front, aluminum frame, and water resistance.
Interestingly, the iPhone 14 is much easier to repair compared to other recent models. Older iPhones required the screen to be removed even if the back glass was the only broken component. With iPhone 14, the back panel can be removed individually to make for a less costly repair. It’s a win for repairability.
The iPhone 14 boasts the flagship-level performance one would expect from an iPhone. Unsurprisingly, there are no performance gains over my iPhone 13 as this has the same A15 Bionic chip as last year’s models. The difference is that the iPhone 14 has a version with extra GPU cores (the same found on the iPhone 13 Pro Max). As a flagship phone itself, daily tasks such as browsing, video streaming and even gaming are a breeze to handle. So far, I haven’t experienced any lag while using it for different tasks.
Apple’s latest iOS 16 comes preloaded when you buy the iPhone 14. There are many new features in iOS, including the ability to customise the lock screen with widgets, but one feature that I think is useful in my life is tracking medication on my iPhone. It will nudge you to take your pills when it’s time.
The iPhone 14 still comes with a dual-lens camera system — main and ultra-wide — both with a 12-megapixel sensor. Again, on the surface, it may seem the same as the iPhone 13; the 14’s main camera actually has a larger sensor and a new lens with a faster f1.5 aperture. Photos in good light are detailed, sharp and well balanced. Low light performance is greatly improved, and you can clearly see the difference in (below) camera shots.
The hardware combined with Apple’s new “Photonic Engine” does a great job in improving image quality, especially when taking photos in low light. In my testing, I got the results in line with what Apple has been promising. I was also surprised to see high-quality shots while zoomed in. Check out the below photo of a cat. Just notice how the iPhone captures the texture and detail in the cat’s hair.
Apple’s also introducing an Action Mode for videos which delivers gimbal-like stabilisation. It’s a software-based solution that lets you capture videos even if you have shaky hands. It isn’t as effective as Apple claims but it’s a fun feature nonetheless on an iPhone.
The iPhone 14’s camera shoots amazing videos, which has constantly been rated high among smartphones. The selfie camera with autofocus delivers better results in terms of detail and colour credibility.
The biggest change I felt after using the iPhone 14 was how much I missed the longer battery life on the iPhone 13 mini. Apple isn’t sharing the exact size of the battery, but on a battery test, it lasted close to 15 hours. That means the phone can just about make it from the morning of day one until the morning of the next day. The battery life on the iPhone 14 is impressive. It also supports fast charging and Qi wireless charging. If you are switching from the iPhone XR or iPhone 12 mini, then the bigger iPhone 14 might be more worth considering it has a bigger battery.
As an iPhone 13 mini user, I don’t see a genuine reason to upgrade to the iPhone 14 until people like myself change their minds and want a bigger-screen phone. Even if you are an iPhone 12 or 13 user, you won’t see a big difference since there aren’t many changes. I think a lot of users who are still using an iPhone 11 or older iPhone might see a lot of value in the iPhone 14. It’s still a great smartphone with faster performance, longer battery life, better cameras, 5G support, and increased durability and cameras. The iPhone 14 is a more mainstream smartphone and is made to appeal to a wide user base.