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iPhone 14 review roundup: Pro models outshine the cheaper entries

The iPhone 14 Pro's new notch: Dyanmic Island.

The first reviews for the iPhone 14 series hit the internet on Wednesday morning. They were predictably split, as the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus lack all of the big upgrades and design changes Apple brought to the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. Below, we rounded up some of the top reviews from popular sites and critics.

iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro review roundup

iPhone 14 color options.
iPhone 14 color options. Image source: Apple Inc.

Most of the reviews we read sounded less than impressed by the standard iPhone 14. These appear to be great phones for consumers in desperate need of an upgrade. But it’s probably not worth shelling out $799 if your iPhone 12 or iPhone 13 is still in working condition. Here are a few quotes from iPhone 14 reviews:

  • The Verge: “The iPhone 14 is a very good phone, with a handful of useful upgrades over the 13. But it’s a small handful, and that leaves the 14 in a tight spot. The iPhone 13, which came out a year ago and Apple is still selling, is nearly identical to the 14 and $100 cheaper, while the iPhone 14 Pro introduces a lot of interesting new features.” – Allison Johnson
  • CNET: “I enjoyed my time with the iPhone 14. Standard upgrades like the ones found in the iPhone 14 are geared at people who just want a new iPhone and are upgrading from models that are years old. While the iPhone Pros have the flashiest new features, it’s easy to overlook the improvements Apple made to the iPhone 14. But the familiar iPhone 14 is like comfort food and will definitely hit the spot for most people.” – Patrick Holland
  • TechRadar: “The iPhone 14 is a capable smartphone with a seriously snappy CPU, lovely screen, and good cameras. It pales in comparison to the iPhone 14 Pro, but then you’re also saving $200 / £250 / AU$350. If you’re not looking for a big screen on a budget (for that see the new iPhone 14 Plus), this solid, if unspectacular iPhone – with a couple of really cool next-gen features that you may never use – might be for you.” – Lance Ulanoff

Meanwhile, here’s what those same publications said about the iPhone 14 Pro:

  • The Verge: “That’s the easiest way to think about the iPhone 14 Pro — it feels like the first step toward a lot of new things for Apple and the iPhone and maybe the first glimpse of an entirely new kind of iPhone. But that doesn’t mean all these things are perfect yet.” – Nilay Patel
  • CNET: “Taken in total, the Dynamic Island, the new lock screen layout and the always-on display make the 14 Pro the most approachable iPhone for managing alerts and notifications. And I imagine that experience will only get better once live activities for the lock screen in iOS 16 is available in full.” – Patrick Holland
  • TechRadar: “The iPhone 14 Pro is the sweet spot for the best of Apple’s iPhone technology. This 6.1-inch device isn’t too big, and its front has been transformed with the new Dynamic Island and an excellent always-on display. It maintains the performance lead or rivals with a faster and more efficient A16 Bionic chip, and the updated camera array should please all but the most demanding smartphone photogs.” – Lance Ulanoff

Reviewers are heaping praise upon the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max:

  • Tom’s Guide: “The iPhone 14 Pro Max isn’t just the most powerful phone around. It’s a joy to use, thanks to the clever new Dynamic Island for displaying notifications and live activities. Apple’s largest Pro model also delivers fantastic cameras — including a new 48MP main shooter — an always-on display, compelling Action mode for video and obscene battery life. It’s pricey, but it’s also the best phone money can buy.” – Mark Spoonauer
  • Gizmodo: “I scoffed a bit when I heard Apple added an always-on display to the iPhone. I said, “Ha! That’s something Android’s had for a while.” And while it’s true that I first fell for the idea of the AOD, as it’s abbreviated, on Motorola’s 2013 release, the Moto X, the iPhone 14 Pro and its customizable Lock Screen make me wish Samsung and Google were doing a little more with their respective versions of the tech.” – Florence Ion
  • Wired: “Powerful phone with a bright screen, daylong battery life, and great build quality. Features are the same across both sizes. Dynamic Island is fun. Finally has an always-on display. The camera system is great overall.” – Julian Chokkattu

It’s not often that opinions vary this significantly between Apple’s standard and Pro models. The iPhone 14 is, as many reviews suggest, a souped-up iPhone 13. If the minor camera and performance boosts aren’t important to you, you can save $100 by picking up the iPhone 13. If you want all of the coolest new features like the Dynamic Island, an always-on display, the A16 Bionic chip, and a 48-megapixel camera, you’ll have to go Pro.

Finally, here are a few video reviews if you want to see more of the iPhone 14 in action:

Wall Street Journal


Marques Brownlee


Engadget

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.