We Tested the iPhone 14 Plus. Here Are Our 4 Major Takeaways.
WHEN I FIRST heard the news Apple would not be releasing an iPhone 14 mini, I was bummed out.
I thought back to the first days after I bought my iPhone 13 Mini, the pint-sized smartphone that Apple neglected to update this year with its most recent generation of handsets. Small things that I loved about the “minimized” smartphone experience, like being able to quickly fire off one-handed texts and taking outfit pics in the mirror without having to stretch my fingers like a bird’s claws. My favorite part about owning an iPhone 13 Mini? The supreme ease of tucking my device into my back pocket on a night out and being able to forget about it completely.
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Instead, if I wanted one of the new iPhone 14s, I’d have to upgrade well beyond the limits of the 5.4-inch display of my beloved Mini. When I was presented with the opportunity to test the iPhone 14 Plus, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The Plus would be the biggest phone I’ve used, a full inch bigger with a 6.7-inch display and a weight of 7.16 ounces, making it a much different handheld experience.
- Display: 6.7 inches
- Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
- Colors: Midnight, Blue, Starlight, Purple, and (PRODUCT)RED
- Price: Starting at $899
Regardless of what I felt in my heart about my 13 Mini, my brain knew it was time to move on. So I scooped up a 14 Plus in the new purple color (because real dudes rock purple) and took a trip to upstate New York for a fall getaway to test the last release of the iPhone 14 lineup.
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Here are four of my biggest takeaways about my time testing the iPhone 14 Plus.
The iPhone 14 Plus Battery Is Unreal
The main highlight for this iPhone model is the battery life, which Apple calls the longest-lasting of any of its smartphones and estimates that it can provide up to 26 hours of video playback on a single charge. This immediately had me thinking about streaming movies on flights, listening to music and podcasts through the workday, and watching of impromptu YouTube vids at the coffee shop or at my friend’s house without any power anxiety.
For me, the extended battery life of the 14 Plus helped maximize other apps I subscribe to like YouTubeTV and The Athletic. I pay about $65 a month for YouTube TV to watch prime-time sporting events from all of my devices—but I’ve only used the app on my television and laptop. Rarely have I used the apps’ best feature; the ability to stream live TV from your phone.
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As I was taking a train to upstate New York for a few days, I realized I could break out my 14 Plus to catch some Sunday Night Football. This would have never been the case in the past, as I’d only watched YouTubeTV on my 13 Mini to check last minute sporting moments (like the bottom of the 9th in a Kansas City Royals game or the 4th quarter of a Kansas City Chiefs game). With the 13 Mini the problem was power. The device couldn’t handle the power drain of a live game and then carry on without a charge for the rest of the day.
I used the 14 Plus to watch two hours of an NFL game on the train and my battery life barely moved a a millimeter. I was able to use my phone freely for an entire afternoon and evening until I popped my phone on the charger before bed. I finally was able to use my YouTubeTV subscription to its full potential, diving into prime time sporting events as I pleased with zero low-battery anxiety.
I have so much battery life on my 14 Plus I just might start diving into gaming on my phone again.
The 14 Plus Is One of the Lightest ‘Big’ Phones Out There
It’s easy to say the 14 Plus is light, but until you hold the phone yourself you won’t truly be able to appreciate its feathery feel. I (like most people) am guilty of using my pinky to prop my phone up for one-hand use. Will holding my phone this way deform my pinky the same way a cowboy’s lip makes a permanent pouch for his chewing tobacco? Probably. Do I care much about the consequences now? Not until the weight of my phone bears down on my fingers for too long and starts to get achey.
- iPhone 14 Weight: 6.07 ounces
- iPhone 14 Plus Weight: 7.16 ounces
- iPhone Pro Weight: 7.27 ounces
- iPhone Pro Max Weight: 8.47 ounces
This is all to say the first time I noticed the weight of the 14 Plus was the fact it took longer for my hand to get sore. But on a more serious note, I also felt the phone’s weight (or lack thereof) when taking it out of my pocket to pay for my subway fare and for taking one-handed photos.
The lofty weight of the 14 Plus gets major brownie points coming from someone who was using the 13 Mini for consistent one-handed use.
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The Camera Upgrade Is *Chef’s Kiss*
It’s no secret that iPhones take beautiful photos, but thanks to an updated 12-megapixel sensor and wide angle lens that lets in more light, the 14 Plus really shines when taking low light photos (like inside a coffee shop or outside when the weather is less than ideal). The camera worked especially well for me while spending time on my camping trip that was plagued with rain for two days straight.
In the moments of light drizzle and short stoppages, I whipped out my 14 Plus and snapped a few photos for my IG stories and to keep for personal memories. Not only did I notice the camera of the 14 Plus pulling out the cold gray tones bad weather can bring, but also when I used the “Auto Edit” function in post production my photos were shockingly pleasing to look at. So of course the improvement of low light photography will work great whenever indoors, but the hidden gem I found on the 14 Plus’ camera was how good it worked when taking photos outside in crappy weather.
No matter if you’re going on a vacation or visiting family, I believe it’s always important to get photos to help remember the good times. All you have to do is get yourself to the point to take those photos and the 14 Plus will work its magic from there.
The iPhone 14 Plus Has the Best Overall Value
If I’m comparing the 14 Plus to all the other price points of the latest iPhone models, then the 14 Plus provides the best bang for your buck. When put against the 14 Pro Max (the only other 6.7” display of the new models) the 14 Plus is lighter and cheaper ($999 256GB for the 14 Plus vs. $1,199 256GB for the Pro Max). Sure, you sacrifice the new Dynamic Island, processing power, and superior camera of the Pro Max, but you still get a knockout camera and beastly battery of the 14 Plus. If you think a $200 difference isn’t that significant, or if you want the cream of the crop camera, I’d probably recommend going up to the Pro Max then—it’s the best of the best after all.
- iPhone 14 Price: Starting at $799
- iPhone 14 Plus Price: Starting at $899
- iPhone Pro Price: Starting at $999
- iPhone Pro Max Price: Starting at $1099
But for someone like myself who knows good value when I see it, I’d go with the 14 Plus any day and then use that difference in cost to secure myself a few other phone accessories or streaming subscriptions to really play up the experience of having a big display.
Read more: Apple iPhone 14 & iPhone 14 Pro Max Review
Final Thoughts on the iPhone 14 Plus
In a new generation of the latest and greatest iPhones, the 14 Plus invites the user to take advantage of all its capabilities without needing a full tech tutorial. It’s a phone that you can do more on without the worry of draining your battery—and without the top shelf price you might expect to pay for the biggest display.
Will I miss the portability of my 13 Mini? Perhaps, but only in the aspect of easily carrying the phone in my pocket when out on the town. But now I know the limitations that can come when buying a one-trick-pony smartphone.
Au revoir iPhone 13 Mini and hello 14 Plus. I’m off to stream my NFL games and snap big time fit pics!
John Thompson is the Gear and Commerce Editor at Men’s Health, where he covers fashion, grooming, gear, and technology. He was previously the Style & Gear Editor at BroBible.com, and a commerce writer for TheManual.com. His interests include shopping for rare vintage clothes and following his favorite baseball team, the Kansas City Royals.
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