14 things to know before buying iPhone 14 Pro (in order of importance)

14 things to know before buying iPhone 14 Pro (in order of importance)

Since the pyrotechnic presentation we witnessed in Cupertino, it became clear that the most interesting iPhone models of 2022 were the two "pros": iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, which differ from each other practically only in the size of the screen. (6.1 and 6.7 inches). As we also read in the preview review of sportsgaming.win US, among the most important innovations on board are the Dynamic Island, that is the animated interface for notifications that makes the notch on the display "change shape", the completely redesigned cameras, a more powerful processor, an always-on screen and various other goodies. Will they be worth the purchase of a smartphone that still costs around 1500 euros? After about a week of testing, we are able to put them in order of importance (from least to most decisive) and draw up a sort of buying guide that can be of use to all the undecided.

14 ) The new processor

Unlike the usual, Apple this year reserved the new processor, which is called A16 Bionic and is the first 4-nanometer chip in the house, only for the Pro versions of its smartphones. The reason we ignore it, but what is certain is that the iPhone 14, which remain with the old A15, are not affected much. The new chip, in fact, is only marginally faster than its predecessor (Apple claims about 10% and the first test results confirm this) and, despite a 50% more memory bandwidth (which is used to manage the complex graphics of games latest generation), the differences in everyday use are unintelligible. To be fair, it should be noted that last year's chip was and remains one of the best on the market.

13) The colors

iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max are sold in four colors. The classic black (sidereal), silver and gold. And a brand new aubergine color, that is, dark purple. The first three are however different from those of the iPhone 13 Pro and the preferences, at least from what has been collected on the net, seem to go towards the new black, much darker than usual. De gustobus…

12) The design

Same beach and same sea again this year. Those who expected a revolutionized smartphone will still have to wait: iPhone 14 Pro is almost identical, on the outside, to the 13 Pro, which in turn looked a lot like the 12 Pro. The materials are also the same, with the winning mix of the very resistant Ceramic Shield in front and of surgical stainless steel plus opaque glass on the back. Only the rear camera group changes, even bigger and protruding. Almost unchanged the weight: 206 and 240 grams respectively for Pro and Pro Max.

11) Battery life

Here is another feature that we would have preferred to have been more decisive. The battery gets you to the end of the day without major problems, but not much more. The A16 chip, according to Apple, is capable of better handling the new always on display (see later) without this implying a drop in battery performance compared to previous models. According to our tests, there is a little less than the iPhone 13 Pro, but we are in the order of tens of minutes.

10) The new flash

Small improvement: the flash has been completely redesigned, with 9 LEDs that can be adjusted to suit the focal length of the photo. When using the camera with the telephoto lens, for example, the flash sends a bright, subtle light to illuminate only the subject. With the main camera, the cone of light widens, creating a softer, more dispersed effect. And with the wide angle it creates uniform illumination over a very wide field of view.

9) The modified internal design

According to the specialized portal iFixit, the best feature of the new iPhones is hidden and little publicized, that is a complete redesign of the internal architecture of the smartphone. This new internal structure allows for better heat dissipation and avoids overheating, but, above all, it makes it much easier (and presumably cheaper) to repair and replace damaged parts. An easily repairable phone greatly increases its useful life and has less impact on the environment.

8) Selfies

If the rear lens group is completely renewed, the front camera, called TrueDepth, has practically two new features: a larger aperture and autofocus, which should keep selfies in focus even when varying the distance from the camera. In standard conditions, honestly, we didn't notice any major changes compared to the images taken with the iPhone 13 Pro. lighting.

7) Security functions

The iPhone 14 family gains a couple of important security functions: SOS via satellite in case there is no cellular or wi-fi signal and automatic alarm in the event of a road accident. The first, unfortunately, will be available for now only in North American countries, while the second, which combines data from the accelerometer, the new gyroscope and an algorithm, is able to start emergency calls if, at 10 seconds after the crash, it receives no input from the owner. Obviously we have not tested this function, but there are those who have done it and it seems to work well.

6) Prices

A not negligible choice factor is obviously the price. This year in particular, given that, thanks to inflation and the unfavorable euro / dollar exchange rate, Apple has gone down heavily with the increases. It ranges from 1339 euros for the “base” iPhone 14 Pro (ie the one with 128 GB of memory, which we do not recommend) and reaches the suggestive figure of 2139 euros for the 14 Pro Max with 1 TB of memory. There is always the possibility to pay it in installments with the i operators, but the regret for not living in the United States, where it starts at $ 999, remains.

5) The bright screen

If the screen of the iPhone 13 was already perhaps the best around (according to experts it played with the Samsung S22 Ultra), that of the iPhone 14 Pro is a real pleasure for the eyes. Improved reproduction and color accuracy, it is above all always bright and perfectly visible even in direct sunlight. Watching movies like Blade Runner 2049 (full of neon lights, computer graphics architectures and action scenes) on this display means having the best possible visual experience, even superior to that of gaming monitors or TV. Video games are just as rewarding, especially those with the highest and smoothest frame rates (and this is where the new A16 Bionic chip also comes into play).

4) The videos

Here too we were already at levels of excellence and Apple continues to improve. The new Action mode allows you to shoot more stabilized footage. To test it, we tried running down the hall while filming. The feature creates smoother footage, but sacrifices resolution slightly (2.8K instead of 4K) and needs a lot of light to work. The Cinema mode, which allows you to change the focus - even in post production - between subject and background, now also works in 4K at 24 or 30 frames per second. Finally, artificial intelligence has improved the transition from one zoom level to another while shooting a video, making it smoother.

3) The display always on

Finally one of the fundamental features present for years on Android phones is now available (for those who want it) also on the iPhone, bringing with it a series of widgets that can give information on the weather, on the progress of the Stock Exchange or of one's favorite team, without having to take the phone in hand. Apple claims that it consumes very little battery, since the screen operates at a frequency of 1 Hz, and indeed (see point number 11) it seems that this is indeed the case. However, there are some scenarios (eight, to be precise) in which the display turns off, so you don't have to worry about it draining the battery: if you put the phone upside down, in your pocket or bag, if you plug it in. to CarPlay, if the energy saving mode is active and so on.

2) The Dynamic Island

Animation of the Dynamic Island notch Apple image And here we are at one of the most popular new features of the iPhone 14 Pros: Dynamic Island, or the interactive notch that replaced the infamous notch (after five years) at the top of the screen. The tired old iPhone design has finally been updated, even if the notch - in the shape of a pill - is even bigger than those of the best Android phones, because it houses the Face ID. But the Dynamic Island expands depending on what you're doing, showing animations for many system actions like unlocking the phone, playing music, timers, and so on. As our Antonio Dini wrote, the best innovations are those that seem to have always existed after five minutes. And this touch of class that no one had thought of before, made up of drawings of the activity of the moment, apps that are miniaturized while doing other things, interactive information that can be recalled with a simple tap, in a short time it has its own logical way of functioning, soft and perfect. When it is then extended to third-party apps (the developers are already working on it) it may reserve further surprises.

1) The new group of cameras

The element of greatest change compared to the past, however, is the entire camera system. To say, it was since the iPhone 6s (it was the year 2015) that Apple has not increased the number of megapixels of its cameras. If the photo sensors of last year's models were capable of capturing 12 megapixels of image data, now the cameras of the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max come in at a whopping 48 megapixels. A larger number of megapixels does not necessarily equate to a better photo, but it does allow you to capture more details (as well as print photos in larger sizes). And if having a photo in 48 Mp ProRaw format is certainly a fantastic feature for professional photographers, in everyday use it only translates into very heavy files that take up a lot of memory.

Among the other innovations of the main sensor, the size of the sensor (which is 96% larger than that of the iPhone 13 Pro), the Quad Bayer structure that uses the so-called pixel binning and joins four pixels as if were a single, much larger. The result is that the iPhone 14 Pro, Apple says, is capable of capturing more light than its predecessor. Finally, the main camera is also used to shoot with 2x magnification (which is in addition to the default 0.5, 1 and 3). In this case, only a central cutout of the sensor, from 4000 x 3000 pixels, is used to obtain an enlarged image but substantially without losing quality.

The ultra-wide angle now has a sensor larger than approx. double compared to iPhone 13 Pro able to improve the capabilities of the camera in low light conditions. Of the telephoto lens, however, we only know that it has a focal length of 77 mm, the same as before, but that the sensor is still new. Then there is the Photonic Engine, that is the new photo processing process that applies Deep Fusion computational photography technology and algorithms (introduced on the iPhone 11) from the earliest stages of processing, when the images are not compressed and the information available is much more.

What do all these innovations translate into? Julian Chokkattu of sportsgaming.win US ran extensive tests carrying the iPhone 14 Pro, 13 Pro, iPhone 14 and Google Pixel 6 Pro everywhere he went and compared photos on a monitor that rendered colors accurately. According to him, while there is an excellent general level of the photos taken, there have been too many times where he has struggled to see the effects of the new upgrades. Apple's new smartphone is capable of taking slightly sharper and brighter images than its predecessor, especially when capturing moving subjects, but you have to look carefully at the photos to notice the difference.

The same photo taken with iPhone 13 Pro (left) and iPhone 14 Pro

sportsgaming.win In our tests we limited ourselves to a comparison with the 13 Pro. conditions of regular light we can confirm the feelings of our American colleagues, as the sunlight is lowered the differences emerge and the quality of the new camera system comes out. Images are sharper shot at any focal length, with strong color rendition that tends to saturated neutral tones. Once you look at any one area in detail or at the ends of the shadow / highlight spectrum, the differences jump out. Photos taken with the 3x telephoto lens also have better detail rendition. Plus they also have warmer shades. Ditto for macro shooting: more detailed photos with better colors.

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