iPhone 14 first impressions: Big features, familiar design


iPhone 14 review: We got an early look at the latest iPhone during the launch event in California (Image: APPLE • GETTY • EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS )

Apple has unveiled its new iPhone 14 range earlier this week alongside the , , and . While the design of the iPhone 14 looks very familiar, there’s definitely more to these devices than first meets the eye.

Express.co.uk was in the audience for the latest Apple Event in Cupertino, California and has already had our hands on the two new handsets included in the iPhone 14 series. Pre-orders open in a few hours, so if you’re thinking about placing an order …you might want to read our first impressions of the iPhone 14 below.

iPhone 14 review

For the first time, Apple is offering a 6.7-inch “Plus” version of the standard iPhone lineup (Image: APPLE)

If you were hoping for a major design refresh this time around, there’s both good and bad news. While the iPhone 14 looks identical to the (and before it) with the same flat edges, toughened Ceramic Shield glass, and a dual-lens camera that sits in a diagonal pattern. However, Apple has refreshed the colours available, with the lineup including Midnight, Blue, Starlight, and Purple but, when it comes to a major refresh, that’s about it.

Although there are no major changes to the look of the iPhone 14 fans can now choose to buy this device with a bigger 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR screen thanks to the launch of a Plus model. This supersized device joins the regular 6.1-inch screen size – there’s no Mini this year with Apple ditching that diddy device from the lineup.

We really like the more expansive experience found on the Plus, and Apple has managed to create this bigger phone without making it feel too cumbersome. In fact, it feels surprisingly light and very usable in your hands. The firm is also promising longer battery life from the Plus model although we’ll need to spend more time with the device before confirming how much extra power users can expect.

iPhone 14

Express.co.uk’s Technology Editor, David Snelling, takes a look a the new iPhone 14 plus (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

Talking of power, both iPhone 14 models get last year’s A15 Bionic processor although things have been boosted thanks to a 5-core GPU that enables smoother graphics for video apps and better gaming. That’s actually the same brain that currently powers the iPhone 13 Pro Max and we’ve had no complaints with that device over the past year.

It’s a shame that the new iPhone 14 isn’t getting the latest and greatest A16 Bionic chip, which is now exclusive to the Pro models, but these devices will still be hugely powerful and we doubt you’ll find anything they can’t cope with.

Although there’s no huge change when it comes to performance, users should expect much better images when shooting photos and video on their iPhone.

Apple has fitted its new handsets with a dual-camera system made up of an ultra-wide lens and a new 12-megapixel main camera with f/1.5 aperture and sensor-based stabilisation. That tech enables something called Action Mode, which smoothes out your video footage as you jog or sprint …like using an accessory like a gimbal or an action-focused camera, like GoPro. We’ve seen numerous demos of this feature and it looks mightily impressive. We’ll be running our own tests soon so watch this space.

Apple iPhone 14

The Apple iPhone 14 comes in two sizes (Image: APPLE)

We’ve also checked out images snapped on the camera system with improvements in low light image quality and that Night mode appearing super impressive. In fact, the test snaps genuinely appear to look like they’ve been shot on a professional camera.

Anyone who loves a selfie will also be pleased to hear that Apple has fitted a new 12-megapixel TrueDepth camera, which boasts autofocus and the Deep Fusion image processing system for the first time. Photos of your face will never look so good!

Some new features we’ve not been able to test is the satellite technology which lets you send texts even when there’s no mobile signal. It’s a US-only function at launch but hopefully more areas will get it soon.

Crash Detection, which alerts the emergency services after an accident is also something we’ve not tried and hope we never need to. Apple has explained that this function works via sensors in the phone that can feel forces felt during a smash with the device instantly kicking in and sending directions to your location.

Apple iPhone 14

The new iPhone 14 gets the ability to send texts via satellite and there’s car crash detection (Image: APPLE)

Of course, the iPhone 14 range also gets fast and wireless charging, good speakers, market-leading Face ID unlocking and access to 5G data speeds.

There’s plenty to like on the new iPhone 14 range but those opting for the Pro models will find bigger upgrades including a camera notch that’s now interactive thanks to an update called the Dynamic Island. For example, when a call comes through the little black bar on the screen expands to let you answer it. There are also animations for things such as timers and music playback. It’s a neat update that only those with bigger budgets will be offered this year.

iPhone 14

The dual-lens camera gets a big upgrade this year (Image: APPLE)

Those more expensive devices also get Apple’s ProMotion display which makes things look silky smooth and stutter-free – that technology still can’t be found on the iPhone 14.

One final thing to note is the price as things have gone up this year. Those wanting the standard model will need to pay £849 whilst the Plus version costs £949.

We hope to bring you a full review soon, but the early signs from Cupertino are good.

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