So as a surprise to no one I decided to give the iPhone 14 Pro a whirl, be it FOMO or just needing a distraction I wanted to see what a bigger phone felt like in 2022. My iPhone 13 Mini wasn’t happy about this but I picked up a 128GB 14 Pro to see that the all the fuss was about.
Now it’s been a few days I wanted to share some initial impressions of using it.
It’s a heavy phone
Working in IT in my day job and then writing here I am on a computer a lot during the day, this all adds to RSI and hand discomfort for me. I switched to a vertical mouse and the iPhone 13 Mini (which seemed to do the trick). Only a few days in with the iPhone 14 Pro and I’m coming to the conclusion that this isn’t going to work out for me. At 206 grams it’s not a light phone, my previous big iPhone 11 was 194 grams and my Mini only 141 grams so moving up to over the 200 gram mark hasn’t been the most comfortable experience. This added with the extra stretching to reach things it’s not ergonomic for me personally. I’m coming to the conclusion that if I want a bigger screen then the stainless steel of the Pro isn’t the way to go, the standard 14 is 172 grams with it’s aluminium rails might be better. I’ve been spoilt with the Mini and it’s hard to move to anything else. This is something that I think you either get used to or exchange for something lighter and more comfortable. For me the Mini is the better option in the size and ergonomics department at the moment.
Always on display
The always on display has been fine for me, I haven’t felt the urge to turn it off and it hasn’t had a big effect on the battery life. It’s been useful having it propped up in front of my work monitor showing me the time and any appointments. I will say though that my work Samsung A52 has an always on display too so maybe I’m used to using one. I wouldn’t say it’s something to upgrade for but a nice to have.
The camera was the main reason I wanted to give one a try and I’m very mixed on how I feel about it. I liked having the 2x and 3x zoom and the low light performance is definitely a bit better than the 13 but are these enough for me to deal with the worsened ergonomics of the Pro? At the moment it’s a no (I think), the Mini is still a great camera and whilst I’d miss the zoom of the Pro I tend to take my Canon DSLR out when we go out on day trips or I am purposely out taking photos. The compromise (for me) of having an unwieldy device that I need to manage in my hand or sticking out of my pocket is something I don’t think I’m willing to stick with.
The 48MP ProRAW is nice, you can definitely see some more detail zooming in but for me, again I have a DSLR that I use a lot so that is what I use when I want to get good pics using RAW. To be honest though this is pretty rare, even when I go to an Airshow these days – I guess I’ve stopped bothering to pixel peep and just appreciate the photo as a whole. I dropped the ProRAW down to 12MP from the 48MP so that my MacBook could edit them ok and there isn’t a great deal of difference. I’d recommend changing this setting to use 12MP ProRAW, not 48MP ProRAW in the camera settings.
On thinking about a day to day camera, most iPhone models do a great job these days. I feel that the 11 and 11 Pro was the biggest step up in the camera that I have seen for years and feel that the 14 and 14 Pro are there for those users currently on a XS or earlier. The 13 Mini that I use can do great astrophotography, I get good general photos around home and when I don’t take my DSLR but I do miss the zoom of the Pro. Decisions, decisions…
I’m a bit meh on the dynamic island. I wouldn’t say it got in the way anymore than the notch, it was just a thing that sits up top. It didn’t do anything for me, seeing music up there or a timer is like “err, ok” but I think it needs apps to update to make it any sort of use. It’s definitely not something to get a 14 Pro over, it’ll get there over time but at the moment like I say it’s a bit meh.
Overall the iPhone 14 Pro feels iterative, not a must have upgrade unless you’re on a XS or older and in the market for a new device. Most iPhones do a good job of taking day to day photos and iOS 16 is supported on a lot of older devices so don’t feel the need to get this one.
The camera isn’t the jump I would have thought for having a larger 48MP sensor and I doubt many users will dip into the ProRAW.
For me it comes down to having a bigger screen but at the 206g weight with the stainless steel build of the Pro it’s not going to work in terms of ergonomics. If you’re like me with this I’d recommend you give the iPhone 13 a try. It’s the same screen size but lighter so might be the right choice for a lot people.
At the moment I’m still not sure what to use to get a combination of a larger screen at a weight and size that’s comfortable, it’s not this 14 Pro though.