On the surface, the iPhone 14 looks like a very small upgrade. But the internal redesign makes it easier and cheaper to fix, which marks a big change in direction for Apple.

The low currency compared to the dollar means the new iPhone is £70 (A$50) more expensive than its predecessor, priced at £849 (A$1,399) despite the same $799 price in the US. It’s a story unfortunately familiar to all current Apple products, and some will likely be released this year.

Externally, the iPhone 14 is identical to its predecessor with a 6.1-inch 60Hz OLED screen, aluminum panels and glass back. It even has the same A15 chip as used in last year’s 13 Pro models, and a single battery life of about 44 to 48 hours between charges. Use it sparingly and you’ll get about two days between charges.

iPhone 14 back glass.
The back glass can be easily replaced if it is cracked, making it quick and cheap to repair. Photo: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Major changes are hidden from view. Previously, the back glass screen was actually attached to the frame, making it replaceable when it was broken in an interesting process that required the complete disassembly of the device from the front. Now the iPhone 14 has a new central design that allows it to be opened from the front and back. It’s not exactly the modern, user-friendly dream that Fairphone showed, but it’s a big step in the right direction for Apple.

For the user, this means better heat dissipation so you can play longer. But for repairs it means you can replace the back glass as easily as you can the screen, which is a big improvement to the longevity of the device. The result is that the rear glass repair costs £169, down from £300-plus from Apple. Third parties are likely to charge less.

Like the iPhone 14 Pro, the new phone ships without a SIM card tray in the US, relying entirely on digital eSims, but it continues to have a SIM tray outside the US, including the UK. Satellite Emergency SOS is coming out in November, but only for phones sold in the US or Canada.

Specific information

  • Screen: 6.1in Super Retina XDR (OLED) (460ppi)

  • Controller: Apple A15 Bionic

  • RAM: 6GB

  • Storage: 128, 256 or 512GB

  • Schedule: iOS 16

  • Camera: dual 12MP back with OIS, 12MP front camera

  • Unity: 5G, wifi 6, NFC, Bluetooth 5.3, Lightning, UWB and GNSS

  • Water resistance: IP68 (6 meters for 30 minutes)

  • Bulk: 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.8mm

  • Weight: 172g of you

Lightning port on the bottom of the iPhone 14.
The phone takes 110 minutes to fully charge, hitting 50% in 25 minutes using a Lightning cable attached to a 20W USB-C power adapter (not included). It also supports 15W wireless charging. Photo: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Durability

Apple doesn’t provide an expected lifespan for the battery but it should last over 500 full charge cycles with at least 80% of its original capacity and can be replaced for £105. Non-warranty screen repairs cost £289, while rear glass repairs cost £169. Repair experts iFixit awarded the phone a seven out of 10 for repairability, praising the new interior design.

The 14 contain recycled gold, plastics, rare earths, tin and tungsten. The company breaks down the phone’s impact on the environment in its report. Apple offers a free trade-in and recycling system, including for non-Apple products.

iOS 16

The rear camera system on the iPhone 14.
The dual camera setup on the back of the iPhone 14 is slightly larger than its predecessor meaning the older cases won’t fit the new phone. Photo: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

14 units ship with iOS 16, which is a better version of Apple’s software and has a redesigned lock screen among other new features. You can expect at least five years of software and security updates and possibly as many as seven.

New for the iPhone 14 line is car crash detection, which senses the impact of a traffic accident and automatically calls emergency services if you don’t respond within 20 seconds.

Camera

Camera app on iPhone 14.
The camera app is one of the easiest to use with new features such as photo style, action camera and improved photo modes obtained through experience. Photo: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The 14 has the same dual camera setup on the back without optical zoom, as with previous non-Pro iPhones. But the 12MP main camera sensor is actually bigger than its predecessor, improving low-light performance by up to 49%. Shots made in medium-to-low light, such as indoors, are much more intense than before and dedicated night scenes are required less frequently.

The wide-angle camera has the lowest light performance thanks to improved software controls but remains unchanged. Both are definitely good cameras, but the lack of optical zoom is disappointing compared to rivals.

The selfie camera has been improved for the first time in years on the iPhone, now with twice the low-light function, autofocus and a sharp lens. Photos benefit with better detail, especially in low light or unstable conditions, as is the case with most selfies.

Videography was the guide. A new mode adjustment system works wonders in bright light, but it suffers from something.

Overall the 14 cameras are good, but not great for the price.

The price

The iPhone 14 costs from £849 ($799/A$1,399) with 128GB of storage.

For comparison, the iPhone 14 Plus costs £949, the iPhone 14 Pro costs £1,099, the Samsung Galaxy S22+ costs £949, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 costs £999 and the Google Pixel 6 costs £599.

Condemnation

At first glance the iPhone 14 is basically the iPhone 13 with improved cameras. It has the same screen, chipset, battery life and design. But it hides a change for Apple with a guts redesign that allows it to be fixed easily and minimally. It’s a definite upgrade for longevity, even if it’s not a whizz-bang feature, and hopefully something that rolls over to the rest of Apple’s phone line soon.

While it’s certainly not worth upgrading from recent models, if you’re looking to replace an old device that’s coming to the end of its life, the iPhone 14 is a great, reliable phone with all the features that make iPhones some of the best on their own. market. Cash-driven prices are rising, but trade-ins can help soften the blow.

Pros: easy and cheap to repair, better cameras, water resistant, face ID, long battery life, good performance, good screen, durable and easy to hold, long software support.

Cons: no USB-C, need your own charger, no telephoto camera, screen slower than the competition and the 14 Pro, price increase outside the US.

The iPhone 14 held in the hand shows the home screen.
The 6.1in size of the iPhone 14 is still the best measure of a large enough screen and a compact body to carry and use. Photo: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian



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