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iPhone 14 Plus Review: If You Just Want a Huge Screen, Here's Your Upgrade

A big iPhone without the big price tag.

This story is part of Focal Point iPhone 2022, CNET's collection of news, tips and advice around Apple's most popular product.

The $929 iPhone 14 Plus is either a big iPhone 14 or a scaled-back iPhone 14 Pro Max, depending on your perspective. With the arrival of the iPhone 14 Plus, Apple now has the most straightforward iPhone lineup in years. There are just two iPhone sizes: one with a 6.1-inch screen and the other with a 6.7-inch display. After you pick a size, you just need to decide between getting a regular iPhone or a Pro model.

The iPhone 14 Plus starts at $929 for a model with 128GB of storage, or $899 if you activate with a carrier. That's $200 less than the iPhone 14 Pro Max and just $100 more than the regular iPhone 14. But that still makes it out of reach for many people. And that's disappointing, especially when you consider that the Android landscape is littered with large-screen, rectangular slabs that can be bought at nearly any price.

8.7

Apple iPhone 14 Plus

You're receiving price alerts for Apple iPhone 14 Plus

Like

  • Autofocus selfies are decent
  • Weighs less than iPhone 14 Pro Max
  • Main camera is good
  • Longer battery life than the iPhone 14 (so far)

Don't Like

  • Needs more iOS features for its larger screen
  • Costs less than a 14 Pro Max, but still expensive
  • Lacks a high-refresh-rate display

Ever since the iPhone XS Max launched in 2018, there has been only one option for those who love big screens: Pay top dollar and get a Max model with extra features you might not necessarily need, like a telephoto camera or a high-refresh-rate display. I know many CNET readers, friends and co-workers who have shelled out $1,100 or more for an iPhone 12 Pro Max or 13 Pro Max because it was the only way to get a phone in the size they wanted. But that all changes now.

If you own an iPhone XS Max or older and are only interested in having a bigger screen, you will be blown away by the iPhone 14 Plus. You're getting a higher quality display, faster processor, better cameras, improved battery life, more durability and all the new emergency features. If you are coming from a Plus model phone, like an iPhone 7 Plus with a 5.5-inch screen, the 14 Plus will seem like Big Daddy Don Bodine's truck, The Behemoth.

iPhone 14 Plus off-contract prices

Phone US price UK price AU price
128GB $929 £949 AU$1,579
256GB $1,029 £1,059 AU$1,749
512GB $1,229 £1,279 AU$2,099

The iPhone 14 Plus goes on sale starting Friday. Apple and carriers have a number of deals to make that $929 price sting a bit less.

The iPhone 14 Plus is just a big iPhone 14

The 14 Plus has all of the iPhone 14's features -- some of which you may never see or use -- and that's not necessarily a bad thing. That includes Crash Detection, which can notify emergency services when you're in an automobile accident. Starting in November, you'll get Emergency SOS via Satellite that lets you use a satellite to message emergency services. You also get a new selfie camera and a new main camera.

Like all phones in the iPhone 14 series, the 14 Plus can only use eSIMs in the US. Setting up an eSIM or transferring one is mostly straightforward. It took a few tries with my Google Fi SIM card, but I eventually got it to work by using a QR code.

iPhone 14 and 14 Plus

Both the iPhone 14 (left) and 14 Plus have the same amount of widgets and apps on the home screen. But notice how much bigger they are on the 14 Plus.

Patrick Holland/CNET

The inside of the Phone 14 Plus got the same redesign as the regular iPhone 14, which improves thermal management. The back glass on the rear is easier and more affordable to repair since it's no longer attached to internals.

The iPhone 14 Plus has an aluminum body with matte-finish sides and a glossy glass back. I tested the purple model, which in some situations looked nearly white and in others had a bright spring aesthetic, similar to the purple iPhone 11. Of course, most people will likely put a case on their 14 Plus, but luckily Apple makes a silicone case that's also purple.

The iPhone 14 Plus vs. 14 Pro Max

Like the 14 Pro Max, the iPhone 14 Plus has a 6.7-inch display that gives you a larger canvas for watching videos, playing games and taking photos. One way to think of the 14 Plus is that you can fit more onto the screen. For example, when you hold the phone vertically, the screen can show one more message preview than the regular 14. The iPhone 14 Plus also shows a list of message previews on the left side of the screen when using the Mail app in landscape orientation. It's a nice, simple change to the interface, but it's not new and was first introduced six years ago with the iPhone 6 Plus.

I wish there were more iOS 16 features that took advantage of the 14 Plus' giant screen. A side-by-side app view would be incredible on this phone.

iphone-14-plus-0298

Your big, slightly more affordable iPhone has arrived.

James Martin/CNET

Another way to think about the 14 Plus' screen is that it can show everything the iPhone 14 can, just larger. A magnified view seems like such a mundane feature, yet as my eyes get older, I definitely welcome it. And I know I'm not alone.

The 14 Plus and 14 Pro Max both have 6.7-inch screens but are very different. The 14 Pro Max has the new Dynamic Island cutout for system alerts, an always-on display that keeps essential info lit up when your phone is locked, and it has 39,888 more pixels. The Max's screen has an adaptive refresh rate that can go as low as 1Hz to save battery life and as high as 120Hz for gameplay and system animations.

A higher refresh-rate screen looks more immersive, whether you are playing a game or just scrolling on Twitter. The 14 Plus' screen is locked in at 60Hz. I wish Apple had included a higher refresh-rate display on the 14 Plus, even if it's a more modest 90Hz. And it's strange that only the Pro models get an adaptive refresh rate.

iPhone 14 Plus next to an iPhone 14 Pro Max

On the left is the iPhone 14 Plus in purple and on the right is the iPhone 14 Pro max in deep purple.

Patrick Holland/CNET

The 14 Plus' screen looks good, but the one on the 14 Pro Max looks better. Some of that is about the refresh rate, but some of it is that the 14 Pro Max can get much brighter. In my time testing the 14 Plus, I didn't have any issues being able to see the screen outdoors. But I live in San Francisco, so in a sunnier locale that could be more of a challenge.

Despite the 14 Plus and 14 Pro Max being roughly the same size, there is a big difference in terms of weight. The 14 Plus is 36 grams lighter than the 14 Pro Max, and the discrepancy is instantly noticeable. Interestingly enough, the 14 Plus is 3 grams lighter than the smaller 14 Pro.

A lot of that weight savings comes from the Plus' aluminum body compared to 14 Pro Max's stainless steel chassis. I imagine the Pro Max's extra camera also adds to its heavier-in-the-hand stature.

iphone-14-plus-0368

The iPhone 14 Plus has an ultrawide camera and an updated main camera.

James Martin/CNET

The iPhone 14 Plus has three cameras

In my review, I described the iPhone 14 as if Apple had repackaged the iPhone 13 Pro's A15 Bionic chip and main camera into an iPhone 13 body. And the same applies to the Plus, except the body is bigger.

Like the standard iPhone 14, the iPhone 14 Plus has an ultrawide as well as a main camera. Photos and videos shot on the iPhone 14 Plus look good, even in dimmer situations, and I like having a larger screen to frame up a scene.

One of the most underrated features on the 14 Plus might be the new TrueDepth camera, which now has autofocus. I don't take many selfies regularly, but I was shocked to see how much better iPhone 14 Plus selfies looked compared to ones I took with an 13 Pro. Take a look below at selfies from each. You can see that the 14 Plus' photo has tack-sharp focus. The 13 Pro's selfie looks a touch soft.

To Patrick Hollands

Left: iPhone 14 Plus selfie, right: iPhone 13 Pro selfie.

Patrick Holland/CNET

Below are some more photos I took with the iPhone 14 Plus.

Under an overpass

iPhone 14 Plus ultrawide camera.

Patrick Holland/CNET
A gray cat

iPhone 14 Plus main camera.

Patrick Holland/CNET
A woman wearing sunglasses laughing

iPhone 14 Plus main camera portrait mode.

Patrick Holland/CNET
A bar covered in black and white artwork

iPhone 14 Plus main camera.

Patrick Holland/CNET
A navy grog drink

iPhone 14 Plus main camera night mode.

Patrick Holland/CNET
Outdoor dining at sunset

iPhone 14 Plus main camera.

Patrick Holland/CNET
The colorful decor of a tiki bar

iPhone 14 Plus main camera night mode.

Patrick Holland/CNET
Downtown San Francisco

iPhone 14 Plus ultrawide camera night mode.

Patrick Holland/CNET
A smart talented editor

iPhone 14 Plus portrait mode selfie.

Patrick Holland/CNET

iPhone 14 Plus cameras vs. 14 Pro Max, XS Max and 8 Plus

Since there are likely a lot of people with old Plus and Max iPhone models who might be pondering an upgrade, I decided to take the iPhone 14 Plus, 14 Pro Max, XS Max and 8 Plus (all running iOS 16) out to take photos and videos. Let's see how they compare.

All four phones can take decent photos in daylight. In the photos of a path above, notice the building on the left, and how well the 14 Pro Max rolls off the highlights. The building's details aren't as crisp in the photos from the XS Max and 8 Plus as they are in the snaps taken on the 14 Plus and 14 Pro Max, which both captured the texture of the stone better. Look closely at the leaves on the left side. In the 8 Plus' photo, the leaves look soft and the detail is muddy. It's slightly better in the XS Max.

Above is another series of daylight shots this time featuring my pal and CNET colleague, Jessica Fierro. Again, all look like decent pictures. Notice that in the background of the 8 Plus photo, the building's highlights are blown out to white. If we take a closer look at the photos, we start to see more differences. There is a lot of contrast in the 8 Plus' photo, and details look soft in the XS Max photo. And it's hard to see any real differences between the 14 Pro Max and 14 Plus. If I was super-duper picky, I'd say the 14 Pro Max's photo has slightly better definition and clarity. Slightly.

And last, we have the photos above of a fire escape at night. Right off the bat, you can tell there is a big difference between half of the photos. Both the 14 Plus and 14 Pro Max have night mode to brighten up photos taken in low-light. The XS Max and 8 Plus don't, which results in darker photos with more image noise and softer details. The photos from the 14 Plus and 14 Pro Max are hard to tell apart. If I view them at 100%, the 14 Plus' picture has less noise in the night sky compared to the photo from the 14 Pro Max. But take a close look at the red sign on the fire escape. The letters look crisp and sharp in the 14 Pro Max picture, but they look a little soft in the 14 Plus photo. All of these photos were taken handheld rather than on a tripod, so some of that could be from hand shake.

The iPhone 14 Plus has last year's A15 Bionic chip

In terms of battery life, the iPhone 14 Plus easily made it through a day and a half on a single charge. I've only had the phone for five days, but in that time I was able to conduct an endurance test. Over the course of 45 minutes, I played a variety of video games (Mario Kart Tour, Asphalt 8: Airbourne Plus, PUBG Mobile), as well as watched YouTube videos, took a FaceTime video call and scrolled through TikTok. The battery dropped from 100% to 95%. I ran the same test on the regular 14 and the battery dropped by 10%.

iphone-14-plus-0305

The iPhone 14 Plus has a Lightning port but US models lack a physical SIM card tray.

James Martin/CNET

Both the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus run on the same A15 Bionic chip found in the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max. In everyday use, the 14 Plus felt fast. I'm curious to see if the 14 Plus will get grouped with the iPhone 13 series in terms of long term iOS support, or if it will get an additional year.

In benchmark tests, the 14 Plus scored better than any Android phone we tested and on par with other models in the iPhone 14 series. While that performance power isn't necessarily used fully now, it should help keep the 14 Plus future proofed as new features roll out years down the line.

Geekbench V.5.0 single-core

Apple iPhone 14
1,730
Apple iPhone 14 Plus
1,748
Apple iPhone 14 Pro
1,880
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max
1,877

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Geekbench V.5.0 multicore

Apple iPhone 14
4,624
Apple iPhone 14 Plus
4,605
Apple iPhone 14 Pro
5,488
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max
5,521

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

3DMark Wildlife Extreme

Apple iPhone 14
2,777
Apple iPhone 14 Plus
2,592
Apple iPhone 14 Pro
3,364
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max
3,361

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Should you get an iPhone 14 Plus?

If you are deciding between the iPhone 14 Plus and the iPhone 14 Pro Max and you don't need a telephoto camera or a high refresh rate screen, I say go with the 14 Plus and save $200. Yes, the Pro Max has a better processor, but the one inside the iPhone 14 Plus is still fast. And yes, the iPhone 14 Pro Max can take 48-megapixel photos, which most people don't need.

iphone-14-plus-0367

The iPhone 14 Plus offers many people a chance to get a large screen without paying $1,100 for a 14 Pro Max.

James Martin/CNET

If you currently have a 12 Pro Max or 13 Pro Max, the Plus might not meet all of your needs. The Plus lacks a telephoto camera, and it doesn't have a high refresh rate display like the 13 Pro Max. If you're on an 11 Pro Max and don't think you'll miss that telephoto camera, the 14 Plus is a nice upgrade, but you could probably hold off for another year.

And if you are rocking an iPhone XS Max or an iPhone 8 Plus or older, the 14 Plus is definitely worth an upgrade. If you're coming from the XS Max specifically, remember you'll be giving up the 2x telephoto camera for a 0.5x ultrawide camera. But in nearly every other way, the 14 Plus is an upgrade.

iPhone 14 specs vs. iPhone 14 Plus, 14 Pro, 14 Pro Max


iPhone 14 iPhone 14 Plus iPhone 14 Pro iPhone 14 Pro Max
Display size, resolution 6.1-inch OLED; 2,532x1,170 pixels 6.7-inch OLED; 2,778x1,284 pixels 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR, OLED display, 2,556x1,179 pixels 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR, OLED display, 2,796x1,290 pixels
Pixel density 460 ppi 458 ppi 460 ppi 460 ppi
Dimensions (Inches) 5.78 x 2.82 x 0.31 in. 6.33 x 3.07 x 0.31 in. 5.81 x 2.81 x 0.31 in. 6.33 x 3.05 x 0.31 in.
Dimensions (Millimeters) 147 x 72 x 7.8mm 161 x 78 x 7.8mm 147.5 x 71.5 x 7.85mm 160.7 x 77.6 x 7.85mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 6.07 oz.; 172g 7.16 oz.; 203g 7.27 oz.; 206g 8.47 oz.; 240g
Mobile software iOS 16 iOS 16 iOS 16 iOS 16
Rear cameras 12MP (wide), 12MP (ultrawide) 12MP (wide), 12MP (ultrawide) 48MP (wide), 12MP (ultrawide), 12MP (telephoto) 48MP (wide), 12MP (ultrawide), 12MP (telephoto)
Front-facing camera 12-megapixel 12-megapixel 12-megapixel 12-megapixel
Video capture HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 4K at 60 fps HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 4K at 60 fps HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 4K at 60 fps HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 4K at 60 fps
Processor Apple A15 Bionic Apple A15 Bionic Apple A16 Bionic Apple A16 Bionic
Storage 128GB, 256GB, 512GB 128GB, 256GB, 512GB 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
RAM Undisclosed Undisclosed Undisclosed Undisclosed
Expandable storage No No No No
Battery Undisclosed; Apple lists 20 hours of video playback Undisclosed; Apple lists 26 hours of video playback Undisclosed; Apple lists 29 hours of video playback Undisclosed; Apple lists 29 hours of video playback
Fingerprint sensor No (Face ID) No (Face ID) No (Face ID) No (Face ID)
Connector Lightning Lightning Lightning Lightning
Headphone jack No No No No
Special features 5G enabled; MagSafe; water resistant (IP68); wireless charging; dual-SIM capabilities (e-SIM) 5G enabled; MagSafe; water resistant (IP68); wireless charging; dual-SIM capabilities (e-SIM) Dynamic Island; Always-On display; 5G enabled; MagSafe; water resistant (IP68); wireless charging; dual-SIM capabilities (e-SIM) Dynamic Island; Always-On display; 5G enabled; MagSafe; water resistant (IP68); wireless charging; dual-SIM capabilities (e-SIM)
Price off-contract (USD) $799 (128GB), $899 (256GB), $1,099 (512GB) $899 (128GB), $999 (256GB), $1,199 (512GB) $999 (128GB), $1,099 (256GB), $1,299 (512GB), $1,499 (1TB) $1,099 (128GB), $1,199 (256GB), $1,399 (512GB), $1,599 (1TB)
Price (GBP) £849 (128GB) £949 (128GB) £1,099 (128GB) £1,199 (128GB)
Price (AUD) AU$1,399 (128GB) AU$1,579 (128GB) AU$1,749 (128GB) AU$1,899 (128GB)