When the iPhone 14 Pro launched in 2022, many headlines focused on changes Apple introduced to the display. Be it the Dynamic Island — with its marriage of hardware and software — or the unique Always On Display implementation that is literally “always on.” But a display attribute that wasn’t on the front pages much is what the title of this piece alludes to!
Let’s dive into this long-term assessment of the iPhone 14 Pro to see how the device has aged and whether you should consider picking one up in 2023.
My favorite iPhone 14 Pro feature
I won’t keep the suspense around for too long and say that my favorite iPhone 14 Pro feature — which didn’t receive much attention — is the high brightness levels OLED display can achieve. And what’s more attractive is that it can reach and maintain these levels, improving the user experience.
The panel on the iPhone 14 Pro is capable of three brightness tiers: 1000 nits in typical use, 1600 nits in HDR mode, and 2000 nits when outdoors. The previous model, the iPhone 13 Pro, only had two brightness tiers in its spec sheet, 1000 nits in typical use and 1200 nits when viewing HDR content.
And you’re bound to notice the impact of this upgrade when you’re out and about trying to see what’s on your phone while the sun shines brightly. With most devices, the sun would make it hard to see what’s on the screen.
Other display features: Dynamic Island and Always On Display
As for the other iPhone 14 Pro display features, both Dynamic Island and Always On Display have significantly improved to offer more to users since launch. The former showed a new way to multitask on iPhone and now has better application support, each leaving vital information at the top of the display. Dynamic Island’s use by food delivery applications and ride-hailing services has been the most useful outside Apple’s first-party integrations.
As for the Always On Display on iPhone, while its core functionality has mostly stayed the same, Apple did rework the feature to offer a more traditional experience with a blacked-out wallpaper. You can also leave notifications visible or remove them if you’d only want to see the clock at all times.
The other attributes of the iPhone 14 Pro
Now, I’ve been using the iPhone 14 Pro since launch, and if you look past the display, Apple made the next most notable upgrade to the camera hardware. Heading the array is a 48-megapixel wide camera, with 12-megapixel ultrawide and telephoto sensors supporting it. These lenses are all highly capable and manage to capture some great images, but Apple is struggling with oversharpening the captured images with this generation. We hoped software updates would fix this, but the situation has yet to improve; HDR performance is also hit-and-miss.
Nevertheless, if you’re someone who touches up their images with a post-processing workflow, the iPhone 14 Pro captures a lot of detail that will let you edit your pictures to your liking. And its ProRAW mode takes this to another level.
But we hope with the upcoming generation, Apple brings substantial upgrades to its ultrawide and telephoto hardware, too, and can better its computational photography algorithms to process images better.
Lastly, if you want to use a smartphone for video recording, it doesn’t get better than the iPhone 14 Pro. Even in 2023, finding a device that will match the iPhone toe-to-toe is hard.
Performance and Battery
Packaged inside the iPhone 14 Pro is the latest A16 Bionic processor. Like in previous years, this piece of hardware has kept its lead compared to rivaling processors on the market. However, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 has reduced Apple’s advantage.
Nevertheless, you can easily rely on it to be an efficient performer on a long day and transition into a powerful performer when you want to play games or edit on the go.
As for battery life, the iPhone 14 Pro has left me wanting more. In my initial review of the iPhone 14 Pro, I spoke about how the device had good battery life but nine months in, my battery health is no longer at 100%, and getting days with 8 to 10 hours of screen on time has become quite rare. When I switched to a Pro-grade iPhone from the iPhone 12, I had higher expectations after all the praise I had heard for the iPhone 13 Pro. I hope the next Pro model I get fares better.
Also, I’m probably part of the minority, but I haven’t found an issue with charging speeds on the iPhone 14 Pro, as it is quite an efficient device for daily use. It takes over an hour to charge up to 100%, but if Apple is looking to upgrade its charging hardware with the next iteration’s rumored switch to USB-C, I wouldn’t mind the change.
iPhone 14 Pro long-term review: My thoughts
Overall, the iPhone 14 Pro has been a pleasant device to use. Its bright display makes it convenient to use when on the go, and the camera doesn’t disappoint as I’m more of a video person than a still-shooter. I really hope Apple can improve the battery life on this device, either via the upcoming iOS 17 software update or with improvements to its processor that will come with the next-generation iPhone.