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The wait was worth it – iPhone 14

I’d waited two years to trade-up…has iPhone 14 delivered?

iPhone 14
image courtesy of author

It’s going to be a busy one

iPhone 14 has been everywhere over this last week. September has been iPhone month for as long as I can recall, and for the first time, I have been a part of the hype.

Since I started to write, and began the YouTube channel, staying abreast of the latest Apple news has been pretty central to my every day, working life. I kind of need to know what is going on. That said, I think you’d have been living under a rock this last week, not to have noticed that iPhone 14 was released in to the wild last Friday.

iPhone 14 was central to Apple’s Far Out event from earlier this month, but it was actually the other two stars of the show that interested me more, going in to it.

My first Apple Watch arrives tomorrow, as of writing, then later this week, AirPods Pro 2 should be with me.

The phone, being the most expensive of the items, took some careful consideration, but, as you’ll have read yesterday, I weakened, and bought one of those too. It was not bought on a whim, at all, rather an item that, I think, will be central to what I do every day. The camera was what it was all about for me, and that should start to earn its keep this week, I hope.

But, having been using it for the past two days now, what have I made of it?

It’s a heavy thing

I am coming from a standard iPhone 12 to this, my first Pro iPhone. The 14 is, a big old lump, for sure. I had wanted the Pro Max, but now, I am thinking that would have been even more heavy & cumbersome. If, you, like me, are coming from an older, non-pro iPhone, expect the weight to be one of the first things you notice.

I am not saying it in a detrimental way at all, it’s just fact. It feels quality, and almost what you’d want when handing over that kind of money. The weight, though, is very much top-heavy. In fact, to be even more accurate, it is one corner heavy, and it’s all centred around that camera.

Everything you’ve heard, read, or seen about the camera bump is true. To fit in all the clever bits & bobs that make the camera system so complete, it comes at a price. That price is the way the lenses sit, about 4mm or 5mm proud of the phone’s body. On the desk, the phone will sit at an angle, but it does not rock, which surprised me. The layout of the lenses, has been engineered carefully, and spaced out well enough to mean it sits very solidly when placed down.

I’ve been a case free kind of guy for ages now. That may change though with the iPhone 14. For starters, I had a tiny accident with my 12, just a week ago. Not terrible, but enough to crack the back glass. So, with that in mind, and the price of this new iPhone, I have bought an official Apple leather case. I intend to be case free at home or in the studio, but pop it on when heading out the door. The case also acts to protect those precious camera lenses as well.

Finish

I chose the deep purple colour. Having seen the other colours first hand, in store, I ‘m happy with the choice. The back feels more matte, than I’ve been used to, and, attracts way less fingerprints. The stainless-steel bands around the edges do attract some unwanted smudges, but not badly enough to annoy.

I don’t know how they work with the other colours, but on my purple phone, the bands almost take on the hue of the purple. It’s odd, but you really have to look hard to pick out they are, in fact, not colour-coded.

In the UK, for the moment at least, we still have the SIM card tray that you’ll be familiar with. It could be this will be the last year for that before we inevitably follow the States and opt in with an all eSIM future.

The other buttons on iPhone 14 are as per my old 12, and it is sadly still packing a Lightning port for charging. Again, hopefully, much like the SIM tray, this too will be the last year for that port, before USB-C becomes the charging standard across all devices.

And so to the front of the 14 Pro.

That Island

Do you know, for all the talk about the Dynamic Island, it has made little impact on me so far. I am sure you’ve heard all about it. It is Apple’s somewhat ingenious way of reinventing the notch for the 14 Pro and Pro Max.

I was so focused on learning about the cameras, and making sure I understood that side of iPhone 14, I had actually, totally forgotten about it. I have forced it in to action a few times, just to see it at work, and sure, it’s a neat party trick. I’ll let you know, in future blogs, how much use it is in the real world. The old notch didn’t offend me that much before, anyway, and I was not one of the baying crowd clamouring for its redesign or demise.

The bezels are neater on this new phone, for sure. Slightly slimmer, and they also better follow the shape, and contour of iPhone’s body. The display is nothing short of stunning. Seriously, it is a whole new level.

The 120Hz refresh rate, almost seems more obvious on the phone than it does on the MacBook Pro. Every on-screen movement is seamless now. It is an OLED, Super Retina XDR panel, with eye-watering brightness. In bright daylight, those 2000 nits really do count, and make a massive difference to its usability. Colour accuracy and reproduction, matches that of my MacBook…really, I cannot lavish much more praise than that.

The front-facing camera is so much better as well. It is now a TrueDepth camera, which gives a subtle, depth of field and is hugely improved in low-light conditions. So, if the selfie-camera is big in your life, this is one improvement, you’ll love!

Always-on

Now, this has taken some getting used to.

Although it can easily be disabled in Settings, I have left it on. In my opinion, it is not too bright, as others have mentioned. I had even heard read some tweets, where folks were saying it was keeping them awake at night. Well, don’t believe that nonsense at all. It’s fine, promise.

But…as I said, it does take getting used to. It’s as if it is constantly dimming, and about to switch off – yet it never does! It also makes me think I have just had a notification turn up. That said, sitting to one side of my MacBook as I write this, it is cool that the time is now staring at me.

Those new lock screens come in to their own on iPhone 14’s always-on display. The fact you can personalise the widgets, means whatever info is essential to you, it’s always visible. Yeah, give me a few more days with it, but I think I will really like this always-on display feature.

Battery life has been just fine so far, and noticeably better than my old iPhone 12, as, perhaps, you’d expect. The always-on tech does not seem to be affecting it, and it easily gets through a day without needing a charge. Speaking of charging, the new battery icon, which shows you the percentage, is another neat feature in iOS 16, that works so well on iPhone 14’s menu bar.

iOS issues

I have seen alot about all sorts of issues with iOS 16 and the Pro phones over the past few days. Well, I don’t want to shout too loudly, but so far, I have not experienced any issues at all.

AirDrop is fine, and the camera app is working perfectly, even with third-party apps. If you are experiencing any of those camera module shakes, though, be cautious. Apparently, it can do lasting damage to your camera, so, for the moment, avoid using those apps. It’s all to do with the new stabilisation algorithm, and updates from the offending apps and Apple are thought to be on their way within the week.

Wrapping up

Two days in, and all is good in iPhone 14 world.

It’s super quick, highly responsive and seems built to last the day. Sure, it is heavy, but then again, you are fitting a lot of tech in to your pocket with this phone. Going Pro has made a huge difference in the phone’s daily capabilities.

The camera I went through yesterday, and am really looking forward to using it at full chat this week. As for the rest of the phone, I’m delighted. I am waiting for the Dynamic Island wave to hit, and I will be sure to let you know if it does come crashing down on me.

I’ve not felt it get hot yet, and the battery life is the best I have experienced on a phone. The always-on display, although not new for android users, is new for us in iOS land, and again, makes the phone feel that much more personal, and involved.

If you have an older iPhone, as I did, then boy, you are in for a treat if you’ve got an iPhone 14, Pro or non-Pro, on its way to you. If yours arrives, soon, let me know your experiences from set-up, to battery life and what you think of the camera and weight.

All I can tell you, is after the guilt I felt buying it, this phone has started to now feel like it’s really mine, and was certainly worth the trade up.

Don’t forget, I’ve got lot’s more coming this week, as I get to grips with the Apple Watch 8 and AirPods Pro 2.

It’s going to a busy one!

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