iPhone 14 Professional packs much more innovation for a similar worth as final 12 months

Apple iPhone 14 Professional 4.5 / 5 Superb execs and cons Execs Dynamic Island is contemporary and extra sensible than the notch

New 48-megapixel digicam is a Professional-level improve

A16 Bionic chip continues to impress

iPhone worth stays unfazed by inflation Cons Forcing eSIM adoption is an anti-consumer transfer

Subpar battery life on the smaller Professional

At all times-on show may be vibrant and distracting

3X optical zoom lags behind the competitors $999 at Apple $999 at Finest Purchase $999 at AT&T extra shopping for decisions

With the 2022 lineup of latest iPhones, Apple poured virtually all of its greatest improvements and upgrades into the Professional fashions. The truth that Apple saved the identical base costs for all the iPhone 14 lineup is a win for shoppers in as we speak’s high-inflation surroundings the place all the pieces feels prefer it prices extra.

For the primary time shortly, the choice to improve to the latest iPhone is extra about performance and fewer about aesthetics.

Should you’re shopping for the 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Professional or the 6.7-inch iPhone Professional Max, you are going to get much more for a similar worth this 12 months. You get the Automobile Crash Detection and Emergency SOS through Satellite tv for pc that are available in the usual iPhone 14 fashions. However you additionally get a complete new set of digicam options, a robust new display that may be considered in full daylight and dim right down to virtually nothing as a part of the brand new always-on show, and a brand new notification and multitasking characteristic referred to as Dynamic Island that’s a lot cooler than its title.

For this 12 months’s flagship iPhone evaluate, we teamed as much as offer you a ZDNET evaluate with two views. June has been testing an iPhone 14 Professional loaned from AT&T and I (Jason) have been testing an iPhone 14 Professional and iPhone 14 Professional Max loaned from Apple. Two heads are all the time higher than one, because the saying goes, and we’re assured this method will provide you with even higher shopping for recommendation for one of the crucial essential merchandise of the 12 months.


iPhone 14 Professional iPhone 14 Professional Max Show 6.1-inch OLED with 120Hz 6.7-inch OLED with 120Hz

Dimensions 71.5 x 147.5 x 7.85mm 77.7 x 160.7 x 7.85mm

Weight 206g 240g Processor A16 Bionic Chip A16 Bionic Chip Reminiscence and storage 6GB RAM with 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB 6GB RAM with 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB

Digicam 48MP (f/1.78) Vast, 12MP (f/2.2) Extremely-wide, 12MP (f/1.78) 2X Telephoto, 12MP (f/2.8) 3X Telephoto, 12MP (f/1.9) entrance 48MP (f/1.78) Vast, 12MP (f/2.2) Extremely-wide, 12MP (f/1.78) 2X Telephoto, 12MP (f/2.8) 3X Telephoto, 12MP (f/1.9) entrance

Battery As much as 23 hours of video playback As much as 28 hours of video playback

Sturdiness IP68, Ceramic Defend IP68, Ceramic Defend

Software program iOS 16.1 iOS 16.1

Colours Area Black, Silver, Gold, Deep Purple Area Black, Silver, Gold, Deep Purple

Worth Beginning at $999 Beginning at $1,099

Stranded on Dynamic Island

Jason: The notch by no means actually bothered me. I rapidly bought used to it because it turned a part of the distinctive profile of Apple gadgets — particularly after it bought added to the MacBook Professional line in 2021. When Apple introduced that it was changing it with a pill-shaped black oval and calling it the “Dynamic Island,” my first thought was “Why waste vitality and sources on one thing so inconsequential?” I used to be positively fallacious about that.

Regardless of its foolish title, Dynamic Island is each purposeful and elegantly designed. Although solely a handful of apps and options are making the most of it at this level, it is clear that that is on its method to turning into one of many subsequent signature options of an iPhone.

Dynamic Island can show two dwell actions at a time. June Wan/ZDNET

Whenever you’re enjoying a podcast, a track, or a YouTube video and also you swipe as much as go to a different app, the participant mechanically docks on the island with a small audio visualization displaying that it is nonetheless lively. Whenever you’re prepared to return to it, simply faucet and also you’re again in. And there are actually delicate and helpful new animations for a complete host of actions, from FaceID unlock to AirPods pairing to telephone calls and so many extra. I hold discovering new ones and getting slightly delighted on the playful animations. This characteristic received me over rapidly. And, June’s wonderful Dynamic Island photographs just like the one above are a reasonably clear indication of how he feels, too.

June: I believe it is protected to say that “Dynamic Island” is the worst title for what is perhaps one of the best iPhone characteristic in a very long time. Additionally, a pill-shaped notch main the best way for iPhone multitasking was not on my 2022 bingo card. However right here we’re, an inch of pixels that really makes me really feel like I am taking full benefit of the iPhone’s wonderful OLED show. You recognize the remainder; dwell exercise toggles are refreshing to make use of, it is a lot simpler now to skip to the “Na, na, na, nananana” a part of Hey Jude, and the general animations are enjoyable, mesmerizing, and pixel-perfect.

That mentioned, it’s my ethical obligation as a Gen Z to substantiate that after every week of tapping and swiping on the Dynamic Island, smudges are minor and selfies are nonetheless king.

Extra: iPhone 14 hands-on: The digicam is the place all of the Motion is

At all times-on show is not all the time good

Jason: The arrival of house display widgets in iOS 16 made an always-on show really feel inevitable and the implementation within the iPhone 14 Professional largely will get it proper. The iPhone partially has the Apple Watch to thank for this. I did not love the preliminary always-on implementation on the Apple Watch and rapidly turned it off. Nonetheless, it is advanced to grow to be rather more helpful and battery-friendly within the newest Apple Watch Collection 8 {hardware} and WatchOS 9 software program. The iPhone 14 Professional takes an analogous method to always-on. On this case, it merely dims the lock display right down to about 10-20% brightness.

The iPhone’s always-on show is eye-candy in comparison with others’ interpretations. June Wan/ZDNET

Whereas it appears nice, it is slightly regarding from a battery perspective as a result of it makes me assume the iPhone 14 Professional’s always-on show is utilizing much more energy than a competitor just like the Samsung Galaxy S22 Extremely. I am additionally hoping much more builders purchase into this and produce extra helpful house display widgets. That would be the key to this turning into a giant win for customers.

June: Pricey Apple, here is the repair: enable us to manually set the dimness stage of the always-on show or just transition the house display right into a blacked-out screensaver (with the date and time, after all).

Except you will have a darker, much less noisy background, to start with, the ambient mode may be distracting. For the previous decade, iPhones have conditioned me to peek on the show each time a notification wakes it up. And now, Apple needs all of my undivided consideration by giving me a show that stays on ceaselessly.

It looks like each new characteristic on the iPhone is only a polished model of one thing Android gadgets have had for years. Working example, the iPhone 14’s always-on show is spectacular and simply as sensible.

Extra: Easy methods to get probably the most out of your iPhone’s new lock display

It is all about eSIM…within the US

Jason: Make no mistake, if all goes easily then the eSIM course of on the iPhone 14 makes it far smoother and quicker to switch your telephone quantity out of your outdated iPhone to your new one. Mine took lower than 30 seconds in testing it with Verizon. And for almost all of customers, I believe they will be okay with this and can see it as an enchancment generally — when it really works.

The issue is the sting circumstances and my objection is Apple eradicating the bodily SIM tray and forcing an eSIM-only model on US clients to start out. That is an anti-consumer transfer as a result of there are a number of fine the reason why some individuals will nonetheless want or want a telephone with a bodily SIM card. The highest motive is privateness. That is very true for some journalists and populations vulnerable to persecution all over the world. For an organization that calls privateness a human proper, Apple eradicating the bodily SIM card possibility reduces privateness for thousands and thousands of individuals, particularly a few of the most susceptible.

With eSIM, the iPhone does away with one other port. June Wan/ZDNET

June: Like Jason, my eSIM expertise was easy. I am one of many extra lucky customers who solely wanted a carrier-provided (AT&T) QR code to register my iPhone 14 Professional tester. I’ve additionally heard sufficient accounts from fellow iPhone 14 customers to know that success isn’t assured when switching over to eSIM domestically, not to mention throughout worldwide journey. As soon as it’s arrange although, you will be shocked how rapidly you overlook that eSIM is even a factor — similar to how rapidly we have all forgotten about 5G.

Extra: The worst factor concerning the eSIM-only iPhone 14

Placing the “Professional” in processor

Jason: For years, iPhones have had extra processing energy than most individuals will ever want in each day use. This 12 months’s A16 Bionic is identical. Should you’re caught ready, it is normally due to Wi-Fi, 5G, or a slow-loading app or web site.

Nonetheless, there’s one space the place I discovered the A16 Bionic to be noticeably quicker than final 12 months’s mannequin and that is FaceID unlock. Generally, FaceID works significantly better and faster on the iPhone 14 Professional. A part of which may be because of the new front-facing digicam, however I chalk up a variety of its velocity to the A16 Bionic. Regardless of the case, I am grateful for it, as a result of I am a type of who has usually discovered a very good fingerprint reader on gadgets just like the Galaxy S22 to be quicker and extra dependable than FaceID on the iPhone. That hole has closed this 12 months.

A well-recognized web site on the iPhone 14 Professional. June Wan/ZDNET

June: Apart from the enhancements to FaceID, I have not observed any main step-ups between this 12 months’s A16 Bionic and final 12 months’s A15. That is one other manner of me saying that the iPhone 14 Professional remains to be highly effective, nonetheless environment friendly, and can nonetheless be dependable for years down the road.

The brand new engine actually involves play once I’m snapping these 48MP ProRAW photographs and need to make edits straight from the iPhone. The A16 Bionic handles picture and computational processing gracefully, with the shutter velocity taking seconds quicker than the 13 Professional to seize high-res and low-light photographs.

Extra: The 5 greatest telephones you should buy proper now

Lights, digicam, Motion mode

Jason: I really like taking photographs with smartphones and the iPhone has been my major digicam since 2009 when the iPhone 3GS bought ok to exchange my tiny Canon ELPH that I all the time carried in my pocket. At present, I additionally shoot on Sony mirrorless cameras and the Samsung S22 Extremely (my present work telephone). However, yearly I nonetheless take extra photographs on the iPhone than another digicam. I’ve received awards for the video of my greatest digicam telephone suggestions and in 2017 I shared my 25 all-time favourite iPhone photographs (as much as that time). That is a good distance of claiming I pay very shut consideration to the digicam upgrades yearly.

Yearly, the iPhone digicam will get larger and higher. From left to proper: iPhone 11 Professional, iPhone 12 Professional, iPhone 13 Professional, iPhone 14 Professional Jason Hiner and June Wan/ZDNET

Each new iPhone is technologically one of the best iPhone digicam ever. And every year, Apple offers us further capabilities for taking extra sorts of photographs and movies with the iPhone and fewer with large, fancy digicam rigs — for these of us nonetheless into these issues. This 12 months, the Professional fashions bought a robust new set of upgrades. Probably the most noticeable one for many customers would be the upgraded front-facing digicam, which is lastly dwelling as much as the standard of its siblings on the again.

The earlier than (left) and after (proper) of modifying a ProRAW picture. Jason Hiner/ZDNET

June: Whereas the iPhone 14 Professional’s new front-facing digicam is healthier than ever for “slofies,” the rear 48MP shooter is what sells the digicam expertise for me. Because of the bigger pixels through pixel-binning, there’s a rare stage of element in photographs and movies that I’ve by no means seen earlier than on an iPhone.

ProRAW Decision, which leverages the total 48 megapixels, is turned off by default, so you will must dig into your digicam settings to hit the change. As soon as it is on, although, you will be shocked by how far you possibly can pinch into photographs with out shedding readability.

The 48MP digicam depicts the managed chaos of a dim sum restaurant completely. June Wan/ZDNET

Jason: For pictures and video fans, the Motion mode (to exchange some gimbal pictures), the 48MP ProRAW possibility (for getting element and modifying management like a DSLR or mirrorless digicam), and the brand new 4K 24fps possibility for Cinematic Mode movies are going to be a variety of enjoyable to start out creating with. I am planning extra testing to cowl these in larger depth, however positively check out June’s gimbal-busting check.

June: I devoted most of my time testing Motion mode, pitting the iPhone 13 Professional’s commonplace video recording with the iPhone 14 Professional’s enhanced video characteristic. The advance between the added hyperstabilization and final 12 months’s tech was noticeable by a large margin.

In my strategy of turning into the bizarre neighbor who runs round with two telephones, listed below are my three Motion mode takeaways that it is best to find out about: 1). It will probably solely document as much as 2.3K decision at 30 fps, 2). the framing will likely be noticeably cropped in for probably the most optimum stabilization, and three). the iPhone will nudge you for extra lighting even if you happen to’re in a sun-filled lounge.

Lastly, enable me to provide a nod to the unsung hero of the iPhone 14 Professional digicam expertise: the improved, 1,600 nits of peak HDR brightness. In comparison with final 12 months’s 1,200 nits (with HDR), taking photographs and movies open air has been rather more pleasurable with the newer iPhone. (The improved brightness additionally made it clearer to inform whether or not Motion mode was toggled on earlier than I went on my loss of life dash down the hill.)

Additionally: iPhone 14 Professional innovation scorecard: The homeruns and the strikeouts

Maxed-out battery life

Jason: As talked about above, the always-on show on the iPhone 14 Professional retains much more pixels lively than most of its opponents, and that involved me with battery life. After I realized that the iPhone 14 Professional Max – the mannequin I’ve spent most of my time testing — has a battery 1% smaller than my iPhone 13 Professional Max from final 12 months (4,323mAh vs. 4,352mAh), I used to be much more frightened.

Nonetheless, in apply, the iPhone 14 Professional Max’s battery life is roughly equal to the iPhone 13 Professional Max in each day use. With each, I sometimes finish a full day with 25-30% battery life nonetheless remaining. The truth that the 14 Professional Max has a barely smaller battery and the always-on show is an effective signal that it is merely extra optimized and environment friendly. Nonetheless, June had a unique expertise with the 6.1-inch Professional.

The iPhone 14 Professional Max (left) subsequent to the iPhone 14 Professional (proper). Jason Hiner/ZDNET

June: Coming from the iPhone 13 Professional, I had excessive expectations for the iPhone 14’s battery life. With a extra power-efficient A16 Bionic chip, an LTPO OLED show that may dial right down to a hertz, and an hour longer of video playback, in accordance with Apple, what might go fallacious?

From my week of use, I ended most of my days with round 18-25% battery, which isn’t as spectacular as my iPhone 13 Professional’s 30-35% endurance. Maybe it was the 5G modem struggling to tug cellular knowledge between subway station tosubway station or the brand new 48MP sensor that is racking in all that element on the expense of energy. I am left wanting extra from my Professional gadget and really a lot envy Jason’s expertise with the Max mannequin.

Backside line

There’s lots to love concerning the iPhone 14 Professional, together with all of the elements that make it much like earlier generations. But it surely’s the forward-looking options, like Dynamic Island, Motion mode, the brand new digicam sensors, and the speedy eSIM quantity transfers that may excite tech fans and professionals probably the most.

For the primary time shortly, the choice to improve to the latest iPhone is extra about performance and fewer about aesthetics. Apple is not attempting to entice you with flashy new colours, although we would not maintain it towards you if you happen to’re a fan of “Deep Purple”. As a substitute, the 14 Professional and Professional Max usher in new methods — good and dangerous — to expertise the iPhone, making this improve cycle all of the extra significant.

There are a lot of “firsts” with the iPhone 14 Professional, and we totally anticipate options like eSIM speedy portability, always-on show, and Dynamic Island to hold over to the remainder of the Apple ecosystem — and competing merchandise, too. Should you’re able to embark on that subsequent wave, then the iPhone 14 Professional is one of the best place to start out.

Options to contemplate