- Apple’s iPhone 14 series is now official.
- Unlike the previous years, though, this year’s lineup doesn’t have an iPhone mini. Instead, Apple’s replacing it with a new and bigger iPhone, the iPhone 14 Plus.
- Apple has positioned the iPhone 14 Plus between the iPhone 14 and the iPhone 14 Pro. It costs $100 more than the regular iPhone 14 and offers a larger display and a better battery life. But are these added benefits worth the extra $100?
Apple’s 2022 iPhone lineup is here! And, just like the previous years, Apple has four new models again. However, this time, it’s replacing the “mini” with a “Plus.” Ergo, the lineup: iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 14 Pro Max, and the all-new iPhone 14 Plus.
Apple’s idea behind the iPhone 14 Plus is simple: bring a large-screen iPhone to the market at a relatively low cost to provide people, who always desired an iPhone with a bigger display, but couldn’t afford the Pro Max model, a suitable option.
However, with this release also comes the demise of Apple’s “mini” form-factor iPhone from the iPhone 14 lineup. In part, this change in strategy comes as a consequence of the poor iPhone 13 mini sales—primarily in the US. (According to a CIRP report, the iPhone 13 mini made up just 3% of the total iPhone sales in the previous quarter). At large, this move makes more sense going forward, as the mini form factor always had a niche audience, and the Plus-size iPhones have generally, over time, proven to appeal more to a broader audience.
Apple has positioned the iPhone 14 Plus between the vanilla iPhone 14 and the iPhone 14 Pro. It’s $100 more expensive than the iPhone 14, coming in at $799, and $200 cheaper than the top-of-the-line iPhone 14 Pro Max, which carries a price tag of $1099.
So what exactly do you get for $100 extra if you buy the iPhone 14 Plus over the iPhone 14? And who should buy the iPhone 14 Plus? Let’s find out.
Apple iPhone 14 Plus vs iPhone 14: What’s Similar?
Generally speaking, Apple’s newest form factor iPhone—the iPhone 14 Plus—has a lot going on, and it shares most of its specifications with the vanilla iPhone 14. Both of which have a lot in common with the iPhone 13 series.
Starting with the design, the iPhone 14 and the iPhone 14 Plus share the same design. It’s the same old design you’ve seen on the iPhone 13, with an aluminum chassis and a glass back dating back to the iPhone 12 series. Towards the front, both models have a Super Retina XDR display, similar to the non-Pro iPhone 13 models from last year. The display also gets support for HDR and True Tone, and additionally, it also comes with a Ceramic Shield on top for better protection against drops and general scratches.
At its core, both iPhone 14 models run on the A15 Bionic chip—the same SoC powering the iPhone 13 lineup—and start with a 128GB base storage option. You also get 256GB and 512GB storage options for those who desire more storage.
Although the iPhone 14 and the iPhone 14 Plus still draw power from the same A15 Bionic chip as the iPhone 13 series, there’s one minor difference in the A15 Bionic used time around. Unlike the A15 chip on the iPhone 13 series, which had a 4-core GPU, the A15 Bionic powering the iPhone 14 and the iPhone 14 Plus has a 5-core GPU.
Apple says the addition of a new core will improve graphics performance and offer better efficiency with demanding workloads on both iPhone 14 models. As a result, graphics-intensive tasks like video editing and gaming are expected to be smoother on the iPhone 14 and the iPhone 14 Plus than on their predecessor. As for other aspects of the SoC, they remain the same as that of the iPhone 13 series.
Extending the similarities further, the iPhone 14 Plus gets the same 12MP dual-camera setup at the back as the regular iPhone 14, handed down from the iPhone 13 series. However, this time around, the main sensor is slightly bigger, coming in at an f/1.5 aperture as opposed to the f/1.6 aperture on the predecessor. Apple says this lets more light hit the lens, which, in turn, allows for photo and video improvements in different lighting conditions, including low-light scenarios; not to mention, this also promises to reduce noise in low-light photography.
Speaking of low-light performance, the improved True Tone flash is another factor contributing to better night-time shots on both the iPhone 14 models. The flash on the iPhone 14 and the iPhone 14 Plus is a 10% brighter flash. It offers better uniformity, provides more consistent lighting in low-light scenarios, and helps maintain natural skin tones.
Similarly, the iPhone 14 Plus and its regular sibling also leverage Apple’s all-new Photonic Engine. The Photonic Engine essentially uses computation photography to deliver better low-light performance. According to Apple’s claims, it allows up to 2.5x better low-light performance on the main camera and up to 2x on the ultra-wide sensor.
Camera improvements on the iPhone 14 and the iPhone 14 Plus aren’t limited to just the rear sensors. Compared to its predecessor, you also get a significantly wider (f/1.9 aperture) TrueDepth front-facing camera on the iPhone 14 Plus. Apple says this should result in sharper and brighter images, even in low-lighting scenarios.
Shooting videos on the iPhone 14 Plus is also said to be a different experience, courtesy of the new Action Mode. As the name suggests, Action Mode adjusts the shakes, vibrations, and motion while filming to offer a smooth-looking video. So if you shoot a lot of moving objects, this can help you film them better.
Another major change on the iPhone 14 Plus (and the rest of the iPhone 14 models) is the omission of the SIM card tray. Apple is ditching the physical SIM card in favor of two eSIMs on all iPhone 14 models in the US. Although most people should be fine with this change since eSIMs have become more convenient in recent times, it can be an inconvenience to those on a carrier that still doesn’t offer eSIM or those who switch between Android and iPhone frequently.
Lastly, the iPhone 14 and the iPhone 14 Plus also get a couple of extra features, like Crash Detection and Emergency SOS via Satellite, which makes them stand out from the last year’s lineup. These features are common across all iPhone 14 models and are said to provide emergency assistance when you need it.
With the Crash Detection feature, your iPhone can detect a severe car crash as it happens and automatically calls up emergency services so they can come to the rescue in time. To achieve this, the feature uses existing components on your iPhone, like the barometer: to detect cabin pressure, the GPS: to get your coordinates, and the microphone: to recognize severe car crashes via noise.
On the other hand, the Emergency SOS feature enables you to use satellites to send messages to emergency services when you’re in a place with no cellular or Wi-Fi coverage. It’s slated to roll out to the US and Canada later this year with two years of free coverage.
Apple iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Plus: What’s Different?
Despite sharing a lot of similarities with the iPhone 13 series and the regular iPhone 14, the iPhone 14 Plus has some subtle changes as far as some of its specifications go.
For one—and the major one—the iPhone 14 Plus gets a 6.7-inch display, which is significantly larger than the 6.1-inch screen on the regular iPhone 14. A larger display means the iPhone 14 Plus can fit more content on the screen and make tasks like gaming, texting, and watching content a more pleasant experience.
However, despite a larger display, the phone isn’t as hefty as the iPhone 14 Pro Max, which also has a large 6.7-inch screen—at least it doesn’t seem to be, on paper: the iPhone 14 Plus weighs 203 grams, which is heavier than the iPhone 14 at 172 grams but lighter than the iPhone 14 Pro Max that weighs about 240 grams.
Part of the reason for this difference in weight is the choice of material used in the build of the two models. Unlike the iPhone 14 Pro Max, which is built out of surgical-grade stainless steel to offer a premium finish and better durability, the iPhone 14 and the iPhone 14 Plus use lighter, aerospace-grade aluminum. Hence, they’re lighter. Of course, how this difference in weight translates to real-life usage remains to be seen.
Another aspect where the iPhone 14 Plus stands out from the vanilla iPhone 14 is the battery performance, which is said to have been improved on the entire iPhone 14 lineup. In fact, Apple says the iPhone 14 Plus, in particular, has the “best battery life in an iPhone.” While the exact battery capacity isn’t known, Apple has shared some numbers to support its claim.
According to Apple, the iPhone 14 Plus battery is rated for up to 26 hours of video playback and up to 100 hours of audio playback. Compared to the regular iPhone 14, which gets you 20 hours of video playback and up to 80 hours of audio playback, these numbers are significantly better, and the company’s claim makes sense. However, the iPhone 14 Pro Max still tops the list and offers even better performance than the iPhone 14 Plus—possibly due to the A16 Bionic chip inside, which is more efficient than the A15 Bionic.
Should You Buy the iPhone 14 Plus?
Apple launched its first iPhone with the “Plus” moniker back in 2014. It was called the iPhone 6 Plus, and it featured a bigger display than its sibling—the iPhone 6—and was meant for those who wanted that extra screen estate and long battery life.
Eight years later, Apple has reintroduced the Plus moniker. And, this time, too, it’s targeted more or less toward the same audience. The iPhone 14 Plus, at large, shares most of its specifications with the vanilla iPhone 14 and costs $100 more. However, for this extra $100, you get a bigger device with a bigger display—equivalent to the iPhone 14 Pro Max, minus its weight and price—and extended battery life.
If you’re looking to buy the latest iPhone—one you can game or watch content on without worrying about the battery—and don’t wish to spend over $1000 on an iPhone, then the iPhone 14 Plus is the perfect choice for you.
However, if you want the latest SoC and don’t mind a smaller iPhone, there’s the iPhone 14 Pro, and for those who don’t mind splurging $200 extra, the iPhone 14 Pro Max is the best iPhone you can get right now. With both these models, you get an always-on display, 120Hz ProMotion display, a pill-style notch (Dynamic Island), and a 48MP triple-camera system.
On the other hand, since Apple has now discontinued the iPhone 13 Pro and the iPhone 13 Pro, you can soon find them on sale for discounted prices. So if you’re coming from an older iPhone and don’t mind losing a few features (Crash Detection, Emergency SOS via Satellite, and a few minor camera and performance updates), you can buy one of the iPhone 13 Pro models for around the same price, which gets you a better build, triple cameras, ProMotion technology, and a few other benefits over the iPhone 14 and the iPhone 14 Plus.