Apple iPhone 14 Plus review: Pros and cons

The iPhone 14 Plus delivers an immersive 6.7-inch display and extra-long battery life in a refreshingly lightweight design.

iPhone 14 Plus shown held in hand
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Tom's Guide)

Tom's Guide Verdict

The iPhone 14 Plus is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a big-screen experience for a relatively affordable price. For $899, you get an immersive 6.7-inch display along with extra-long battery life, which will make this a more compelling option than the regular iPhone 14 for some buyers. While the cameras are stellar, the lack of optical zoom and a 120Hz display are bummers when compared to Android flagships at this price.

Pros

  • +

    Big screen for a good price

  • +

    Long battery life

  • +

    Great cameras with Action mode video

  • +

    Strong performance

  • +

    Lightweight design

Cons

  • -

    Lacks 120Hz display

  • -

    No telephoto lens

  • -

    Charging could be faster

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The iPhone 14 Plus replaces the mini model in Apple’s lineup, and it’s designed to give iPhone shoppers exactly what they’ve supposedly been waiting for: a big-screen iPhone without the Pro premium.

For $899, the iPhone 14 Plus sports a large 6.7-inch display — the same size as the iPhone 14 Pro Max — for $200 less (check out our iPhone 14 Plus vs iPhone 14 Pro Max showdown). You also get the same great cameras in the regular iPhone 14, an upgraded A15 Bionic processor for better graphics and a slick new Action mode video along with very impressive battery life.

So what do you give up? Quite a bit actually, including features that competing Android phones offer for around the same price, such as an always-on display, fast refresh rate and telephoto zoom.

Now that I’ve been using the iPhone 14 Plus, I’d say that it’s one of the best iPhones and best phones overall. But there are some minuses here for sure, and it looks consumers are not as excited about the iPhone 14 Plus as Apple anticipated (opens in new tab) based on various reports. 

Let’s break down the pros and cons in my iPhone 14 Plus review. 

iPhone 14 Plus review: Price and release date

iPhone 14 Plus display showing video of waterfall

(Image credit: Future)

The iPhone 14 Plus has a release date of October 7. The base price for the iPhone 14 Plus is $899 (£949 / AU$1,579), which gets you 128GB storage. That's $100 more than the 6.1-inch iPhone 14. But it's also $100 less than the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus

The 256GB version of the iPhone 14 Plus costs $999 (£1,059.00 / AU$1,749) and the 512GB model will cost you $1,199 ( £1,279.00 / AU$2,099). See our iPhone 14 deals page to find all the biggest discounts. 

iPhone 14 Plus specs

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 Row 0 - Cell 1
Starting price $899 / £949 / AU$1,579
Display 6.7 inches
CPUA15 Bionic
Storage 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Rear cameras12MP main (f/1.5), 12MP ultra wide (f/2.4), 5x digital zoom
Video 4K at up to 60 fps
Front camera 12MP (f/1.9)
ColorsMidnight, Purple, Starlight, Blue, Red
Size 6.33 x 3.07 x 0.31 inches
Weight 7.16 ounces

iPhone 14 Plus review: Design

There’s something refreshing about the iPhone 14 Plus’ design despite the fact that it has the same overall look as the iPhone 13 series, and that’s the weight of this handset. The iPhone 14 Plus is remarkably light for a phone sporting a 6.7-inch display. It weighs just 7.16 ounces, which is considerably less than the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s 8.47 ounces.

iPhone 14 Plus shown on table

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Granted, you are giving up one rear camera, but I really like how effortless the iPhone 14 Plus feels given the amount of real estate here. I also felt like I was carrying less bulk in my pocket, even though the dimensions between the iPhone 14 Plus and Pro Max are nearly identical.

iPhone 14 Plus shown held in hand

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Galaxy S22 Plus is a bit lighter at 6.9 ounces, though it has a somewhat smaller 6.6-inch display. 

Unfortunately, the notch is very much still present on the iPhone 14 Plus display; the sleeker Dynamic Island for displaying alerts and live activities is reserved for the iPhone 14 Pro series. But this definitely looks and feels like a premium flagship, complete with the Ceramic Shield glass back for durability and IP68 water resistance.

iPhone 14 Plus shown held in hand

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The iPhone 14 Plus colors are Midnight, Starlight, Blue, Purple, and Red. I tested the purple model, which seemed a bit pale for my tastes. I prefer the blue version.

iPhone 14 Plus review: Display

The bad news is that Apple sticks with a 60Hz refresh rate on the iPhone 14 Plus at a time when you can get a 120Hz panel from the likes of the Galaxy S22 Plus and other Android phones. Even a 90Hz screen would make for smoother scrolling and gameplay. But like Dynamic Island, the ProMotion display is an iPhone 14 Pro feature.

iPhone 14 Plus shown held in hand

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The good news is that this 6.7-inch OLED panel (2778 x 1284 pixels) is bright and richly colorful. When watching the trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the gold in Angela Basset’s dress and hair shimmered against her brown skin. And I was mesmerized by the water droplets atop a pink impatiens flower in the Photos app as I zoomed in. 

Another key plus for the Plus is its size versus the regular iPhone 14. Watching movies and shows is just more engaging on the iPhone 14 Plus, and you can see more text when surfing the web without having to scroll as much.

iPhone 14 Plus shown held in hand

iPhone 14 Plus (left) and iPhone 14 (right) (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

In our lab tests, the iPhone 14 Plus hit a max of 1,100 nits, which is quite bright but short of the 1,326 nits reached by the Galaxy S22 Plus. The iPhone 14 Plus’ panel registered 120.6% of the sRGB color gamut and 85.4% of the more demanding DCI-P3 color space. By comparison, the S22 Plus reached 128.3% and 212.1% for sRGB in natural and vivid mode, respectively and 90.9/150.2 for DCI-P3.

The color accuracy of the iPhone 14 Plus’s display is quite good, as it notched a Delta-E rating of 0.25 where 0 is perfect. But the S22 Plus was slightly better at 0.23. 

iPhone 14 Plus review: Cameras

Despite having the same 12MP resolution as the iPhone 13, the main camera on the iPhone 14 Plus gets a notable upgrade, thanks to a larger sensor with 1.9 micrometer pixels and a faster f/1.7 aperture. As a result, you should expect better performance in low light and faster action shots.

iPhone 14 Plus shown held in hand

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

There’s also a 12MP ultrawide camera that’s designed to capture 4x more of the scene while delivering 2x better low-light performance. And the front 12MP TrueDepth camera gets autofocus plus a faster f/1.9 aperture than Apple previously featured with its front camera. Add it all up, and you have one of the best camera phones around, with the exception of zooming.

iPhone 14 Plus shown held in hand

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The other notable iPhone 14 Plus camera upgrade comes from Apple’s Photonic Engine, which helps capture brighter images across all of the lenses.

Starting with this photo of Halloween decorations for a series of photo comparisons with the Galaxy S22, I give the nod to the iPhone 14 Plus. The orange in the pumpkin figure on the left is richer, and you can make out more detail in the real pumpkins on the right side of the frame. The Galaxy S22 does a better job exposing the skeletons in the shadowy background but overall its image is a bit hazier.

In this next shot the iPhone 14 Plus does a remarkable job capturing this pink impatiens flower in the rain, as the raindrops have more dimension to them versus the S22’s photo. The color is also oversaturated in the Samsung pic, whereas there’s more subtlety and contrast in the iPhone 14 Plus’ image.

When it comes to portraits, I also give the iPhone 14 Plus an edge. My jacket looks sharper as you zoom in, and the red is more realistic looking whereas it vibrates in the S22 Plus’ shot. The iPhone also does a better job of keeping the edges sharp while blurring out the background.

Turning to food, I took this shot of peppers at a nearby market, and once again the iPhone 14 Plus pulled ahead. There’s more texture, and you can make out more of the grooves in the iPhone’s image.

Here's one scenario where the iPhone 14 Plus falls a bit behind. In this photo of pumpkins I prefer the Galaxy S22's shot because you can make out more of the hay in the shadows, even if the image runs a bit warm. The oranges and other colors are more accurate through the iPhone but you can't even see the pumpkins in the background. 

Heading indoors, I used the Night mode for both the iPhone 14 Plus and Galaxy S22 for this shot of a Halloween cat atop some magic books. The iPhone 14’s image is brighter overall though it could be sharper. The S22 does a better job of rendering the painting in the background.

The Galaxy S22 has a major advantage over the iPhone 14 Plus when it comes to zooming, sporting a 3x optical zoom and 30x Space zoom (digital), compared to just 5x zoom for the iPhone 14 Plus. At 5x zoom, the S22 delivers more detailed letters in the Wooley’s Fish Market sign, whereas the iPhone’s shot is blurrier.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus zoom photo of sign

The Galaxy S22 Ultra offers a 30x digital zoom, compared to just 5x for the iPhone 14 Plus.  (Image credit: Future)

While there’s certainly noise when you push to 30x on the Samsung, it’s neat that you can zero in on the specials sign from across the highway. It would be nice to see the iPhone 15 Plus up its zoom game. 

As for selfies, I might be more likely to share the Galaxy S22’s photo because it’s a more flattering portrait, smoothing out the lines in my face a bit more while showing less gray hair. But the iPhone 14 Plus’ shot is crisper in my hair, face and jacket.

iPhone 14 Plus review: Video

One of the coolest features of the iPhone 14 Plus — and indeed, of any iPhone 14 model — is Action mode, which is designed to deliver smooth action (similar to a gimbal). You just toggle a button in the Camera app to turn it on. With Action mode enabled, you can see a dramatic difference between footage from the iPhone 14 Plus and iPhone 13.

As I run up a hill in the rain, the iPhone 14 Plus’ footage is steady while the iPhone 13’s clip is very shaky. You’ll also notice that the iPhone 14 Plus’ video is more zoomed out, as it leverages the ultra-wide camera for Action mode and then crops in.

In terms of overall video quality, the iPhone 14 Plus impressed me more when I shot this fountain and pool of fish below. At least when viewed on an HDR display, the running water, surrounding foliage and fish all popped more through the iPhone. 

iPhone 14 Plus review: Performance 

The iPhone 14 Plus packs the same A15 Bionic processor as last year’s iPhone 13 Pro series, so you get the same CPU muscle but more graphics power than the standard iPhone 13 enjoyed. And I definitely appreciated the extra oomph while playing Mortal Kombat. I loved the level of detail as I tossed a fireball through an opponent to “finish him” and his heart then dangled in the hole I left.

I also enjoyed playing Asphalt 9 Legends. Even with several other cars jockeying for first place, the graphics stayed smooth as I raced around San Francisco and jumped off various ramps.

iPhone 14 Plus shown held in hand

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

On Geekbench 5, which measures overall performance, the iPhone 14 Plus averaged 1,735 in single-core and 4,473 in multi-core. That’s well above the Galaxy S22 Plus’ respective scores of 1,214 and 3,361 with its Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip.

The iPhone 14 Plus also boasts stronger graphics performance, though the delta isn’t as great. On 3DMark Wild Life Unlimited, the iPhone 14 Plus reached 69 fps and 11,512, compared to 60 fps and 10,027 for the S22 Plus.

Last but not least, the iPhone 14 Plus needed about half the time to transcode a 4K video to 1080p in the Adobe Premiere Rush app, which is our video editing test. The iPhone needed just 25 seconds to the S22 Plus’ 48 seconds. 

iPhone 14 Plus review: Safety features and iOS 16

Apple is touting two safety features for the iPhone 14 Plus. The first is Crash Detection, which leverages the iPhone 14’s improved accelerometer and gyroscope to detect whether you’re in a car crash. From there, it can automatically dial emergency services, as well as notify your emergency contacts you designate.

iPhone 14 crash detection and emergency SOS via satellite

(Image credit: Future)

In November, Apple will launch Emergency SOS via satellite, which combines new antennas and software to connect to satellites when you can’t get a cellular or Wi-Fi signal. You’ll then get help from emergency services to your location.

The iPhone 14 Plus runs iOS 16 by default, and there’s a lot to like in this new software update. You can customize the iPhone’s lock screen with widgets, photos and more. Other highlights include the ability to unsend texts and edit them, a replacement for passwords called Passkeys, a new Fitness app and (finally) the return of the battery percentage indicator.

Soon iCloud Shared Photo Library will make it easier to share photos with family members. For more see our iOS 16 review and how to use iOS 16 guide.

iPhone 14 Plus review: Battery life and charging

Apple says that the iPhone 14 Plus offers “the best battery life on iPhone.” We’re still in the process of testing that claim, but the endurance is excellent — and it’s a key reason to buy the iPhone 14 Plus over the regular iPhone 14.

iPhone 14 Plus shown on table

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

On the Tom’s Guide Battery Test, which involves continuous web surfing over 5G at 150 nits of screen brightness, the iPhone 14 Plus lasted an excellent 11 hours and 57 minutes. That’s a lot better than what the iPhone 14 averaged at 9:28. The iPhone 14 Pro Max endured for an even longer 13:39.

By comparison, the Galaxy S22 Plus lasted a max of 10 hours and 26 minutes in standard mode (60Hz) and 9:46 in adaptive mode (120Hz). 

Alas, the iPhone 14 Plus once again offers relatively slow charging, reaching 46% in 30 minutes based on our testing with a 20W power adapter. The Galaxy S22 Plus reached 70% in the same amount of time, so Apple needs to catch up here. 

iPhone 14 Plus review: Verdict 

The iPhone 14 Plus is the best iPhone for those who want a large display but are not willing to spend more than a grand for a new handset. And while $899 isn’t cheap, the Plus justifies its premium over the regular iPhone 14 with about 2.5 hours more battery life on a charge. I personally prefer the larger display, which makes watching videos more immersive and gives you a bigger viewfinder and canvas for taking and editing photos.

iPhone 14 Plus shown held in hand

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

On the other hand, for $200 more the iPhone 14 Pro Max is a superior phone because it gives you a telephoto zoom, always-on display, 120Hz refresh rate and the new Dynamic Island. It’s the phone I would choose with my own money. But if you have less to spend, the iPhone 14 Plus is a great value.

So what about the competition? You can get some of those same Pro-level features in Android flagships — like 120Hz, optical zoom and always-on displays — in the Galaxy S22 Plus and upcoming Google PIxel 7 Pro. So, yes, you will have to give up some hardware goodies if you go with the iPhone 14 Plus. But if you want to be in the iOS ecosystem you should be mostly happy with this handset. 

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.