iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 14 Pro Max: Early impressions

The wait is over for the brand new shiny iPhones as Apple unveiled four new devices at the Far Out event. The ‘stars’ of the show were the premium and most expensive iPhones — iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. We got our hands on the two new iPhones for a very short while and here are our early impressions:
iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 14 Pro Max: Display with a ‘twist’
In terms of looks, the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max resemble their predecessors a lot. It does speak volumes about Apple’s confidence in its iPhones that it has managed to keep the same design philosophy for the third year in a row. Can you imagine any other brand doing it and still managing to see their phones in millions? The back remains flat, the curved sides make it very familiar to hold. There’s one big change — not in India though — as the SIM card tray has been completely removed from the iPhone 14 series. The cameras at the back look really huge, which means if you plan to buy these phones, older cases/covers will not work with them.

Two new colours have been added — Deep Purple and Jet Black. The purple one looks really good as it is a different shade of the colour, which we saw with the iPhone 12.
What’s totally different is the pill-shaped cutout on the iPhone 14 Pro variants. In true Apple style, it is called Dynamic Island. Trust Apple to do this. Dynamic Island is peak Apple — take something that has existed for a while and give it its own unique twist. The pill-shaped cutout isn’t new and has been in fact ‘rejected’ by Android phone makers. Apple has not only called it Dynamic Island but added exceptional utility to it. The pill-shaped cutout on the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone Pro Max is now home to a lot of features — you can change music tracks, add a timer and do a lot more. Further, it gets third-party app support, which means there’s a lot more that can be done in a space that was looked, well, like a waste of space.
This is a stunning display to look at and offers upto 1600 nits peak brightness. If you are outdoors, then it offers upto 2000 nits of peak brightness. No other smartphone in the world comes close to this level of brightness.

What’s also new is the always-on display, which looks exceptionally good. The difference here is the way Apple has gone about implementing the feature. Apple relies heavily on machine learning and the always-on display makes your lock screen dimmer, which means you can see a lot more than the ones we have seen on Android phones. Here again, it’s not a new thing but the way Apple has implemented it makes it stand out.
Faster processor, better performance
Every year Apple improves the performance of the iPhones with a new processor. The iPhone 14 Pro models rely on the all-new A16 Bionic processor to get the job done in some style. While we can’t really comment on how good the performance is, Apple claims no other smartphone can even come close to the A16 Bionic processor. Somehow it’s easy to believe this as our past experiences with A-series Bionic chips tell us that the A16 will knock out it of the park. What the A16 Bionic also does is that improves the battery life on iPhone 14 Pro models. The iPhone 14 Pro Max can now deliver a whopping 29 hours of battery life whereas the iPhone 14 Pro can last for 23 hours. This needs to be tested but if true then it would really be something else.
Apple joins the megapixel race
Apple showed us some of the images that were clicked on the iPhone 14 Pro and they looked excellent. A lot of it is down to the new 48MP sensor — the biggest ever — in the iPhone 14 Pro. Apple does use the pixel binning method but using ProRAW users can get images in 48MP. There’s an all-new Action mode which brings a gimbal-like experience to the iPhone for the first time. We will have to wait and experience the iPhone 14 cameras to give a proper verdict on how much better they are than last year’s iPhones.

What we think
The two iPhone 14 Pro models are one of the most expensive smartphones you can buy. The iPhone 14 Pro starts at Rs 1,29,900 and the iPhone 14 Pro Max starts at Rs 1,39,900. Look at it any which way, that’s some serious cash that one will have to spend on a phone. Apple’s aspirational value, iPhone’s improved performance, and the Dynamic Island — will they be enough to convince buyers? Wait for our review to find out the answer to that question.

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