Apple’s iPhone launch event in September was notable for two things: the demise of the highly praised but poorly selling iPhone mini; and the re-emergence of the iPhone Plus – a phone Apple last launched in 2017, the same year the England women’s football team won the World Cup and Prince Harry got engaged to Meghan Markle. How times have changed.
While the 2017 iPhone 8 Plus sported a 5.5in Retina HD display, A11 Bionic chip and up to 256GB of storage with prices starting $799 / £799, the 2022 version is a much more enticing proposition, thanks to a 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR display, an A15 Bionic chip (borrowed from last year’s iPhone 13 Pro), and up to 512GB of storage with prices starting at $899 / £949 – that means it costs $100 / £100 more to start with than the iPhone 14 (with its 6.1in display), but $200 / £250 less than the identically-sized iPhone 14 Pro Max, which starts at $1,099 / £1,199 for a model equipped with an A16 Bionic chip and 128GB of storage.
iPhone 14 Plus: display
The larger screen size aside, the iPhone 14 Plus is identical in every way to its smaller sibling, the iPhone 14, boasting the same camera system – comprising a 12MP main camera with Wide and Ultra Wide lenses – and coming in the same range of colour finishes: Blue, Purple, Midnight, Starlight and (Product)Red. So why buy one?
One reason, of course, is that much bigger display – which not only acts as a showcase for everything from TikTok videos to Apple TV+ streaming content, but also enables you to see much more on-screen at once. This is especially handy in apps such as Mail and Safari (which benefit from additional features in landscape mode) – and where you really notice the added screen real estate – with the pixel count rising from 2532 x 1170 (2,962,440 pixels) to 2778 x 1284 (3,566,952 pixels), an increase of 604,512 pixels – meaning you’ll do less scrolling, even if the pixel density at 458ppi is more or less the same as the stock iPhone 14.
iPhone 14 Plus: battery life
The other big benefit is longer battery life. While the standard iPhone 14 can last for up to 20 hours between recharges while playing video, the iPhone 14 Plus gives you an extra six hours – and that has benefits for other use cases too – from the aforementioned web surfing in Safari to photo editing (something which is also easier to do on the larger screen). Plus regular day-to-day use, where you’ll spend less time hunting for a wall charger or having to carry a backup power bank around.
iPhone 14 Plus: performance
Aside from the bigger screen and longer battery life, the iPhone 14 Plus is in every other important respect the same as the iPhone 14. The performance of its A15 Bionic chip is identical, and this model is just as adept at handling new iOS 16 features – from Lock Screen widgets to iCloud Shared Photo Library.
The phone itself, doesn’t feel too unwieldy either, despite its larger size (160.8 x 78.1mm against the iPhone 14’s 146.7 x 71.5mm) – you’ll need slightly deeper pockets and a little more room in your bag, but it’s equally slim at 7.8mm and feels just as solid, smooth and beautifully made. Even the larger screen size isn’t too much of an obstacle thanks to iOS 16’s Reachability mode (which can be turned on from Settings > Accessibility > Touch), which places some display elements nearer to the bottom of the screen when you’re using the iPhone in portrait orientation.
iPhone 14 Plus: camera and storage
Of course, there are plenty of things you don’t get too. Like the iPhone 14, the iPhone 14 Plus doesn’t benefit from the iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max’s 48MP triple-lens camera system and you don’t get the new Dynamic Island. You’re also limited to a maximum storage capacity of 512GB (for $1,099 / £1,279), whereas the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max can hold up to 1TB (for $1,499 / £1,649 and $1,599 / £1,749 respectively).
iPhone 14 Plus: the verdict
Still, the iPhone 14 Plus is a brilliant phone for most of us, especially if you want the larger screen and battery life of the iPhone 14 Pro Max, but don’t want to pay the ‘pro’ premium, or own an older iPhone such as an iPhone 11. However, owners of newer models may want to hold out for the iPhone 15.
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