The iPhone Mini is apparently dead, but in its place is the large-screened iPhone 14 Plus. The 6.7 inch device offers a cheaper alternative to Pro Max model, and comes with a battery that will comfortably last you the day.
If you were a fan of the Mini, it may not really feel like a fair swap. After all, the main appeal of the Mini was its size, given that there was little difference between it and the standard iPhone. But the iPhone 14 Plus may win over more people yet.
There are two main advantages to this super-sized phone. First, the larger screen means you can do more with it, and more comfortably. That extra screen space means you can either see more - on your email, your web browser and so on - or see it bigger without losing content from the screen, which is a bonus for those whose vision isn’t quite what it used to be.
The second is battery life, which is currently lasting me more than a day. That means some sacrifices of course. There is no always-on display for a start, and the iPhone 14 Plus also skips the Pro Max’s ProMotion display, which offers adaptive c=screen refresh rates, going as low as 10Hz if you are reading text that doesn’t require the screen to be refreshed quickly and up to 120Hz for fast moving video or gaming. The 14 Plus sticks with the standard 60Hz refresh rate, but you’ll only really feel the difference if you are a gamer.
There are some things to note. Apple has decided that its latest chip, the A16 Bionic, will be reserved for the Pro models of it phone - at least this time around. The A15 Bionic in the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus is last year’s version, although it still holds up very well. There were no stutters or faltering when trying to work across multiple apps. It’s a slight step up from the A15 chip that was in the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini, with a 6-core CPU and 5-core GPU, and it’s enough to keep the phone at the top of its game all day.
The iPhone 14 Plus, like the 14, has a dual camera system. That means you get a 12 megapixel main lens and an ultrawide lens. The missing piece is the telephoto lens, which you’ll have to buy the Pro model to get. There’s no RAW shooting either, and ditto on the video front, with ProRes shooting only available on the 14 Pro and Pro Max.
But you’d hardly notice the lack of those features, perhaps with the exception of the telephoto lens. You get most of the rest of the photographic technology - Photonic Engine, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 4 for photos - and for the most part, photos look great. The lack of a night portrait feature that came with the iPhone 14 Pro Max isn’t a deal breaker, but I missed that particular low light capability at times.
The dynamic island that Apple proudly showed off the the 14 Pro and Pro Max is also absent here; it’s a nice feature that has become more commonly used the longer I have the iPhone 14 Pro, but not essential. However, if you were dying to see the back of the notch, the iPhone 14 Plus isn’t the phone for you.
You get extra screen space and a bigger battery for less than you’d pay for the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Battery life is better too, because you don’t have extras sucking up the additional capacity, so you’ll get a whole day from the device and more.
The not so good:
The iPhone 14 Plus may look like the Pro Max, but it doesn’t have the more advance photography features that the more expansive handset has. You can’t have everything though; in this case, the price trade-off might make it worth it.
The iPhone 14 Plus comes in midnight, starlight, blue and a pale purple that is currently the favourite of the bunch. The Product Red version is also available. Storage tops out at 512GB, meaning if you need 1TB iPhones you’ll have to go for the Pro model.
In general, the 14 and 14 Plus are more upgrades than evolution for the iPhone. But if you have held off on shelling out for a new phone for a few years in the vain hope of a serious price drop on the Pro, the iPhone 14 Plus might be the one to go for.