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Hands-on with iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max

Straight from this year's Apple Event, we've got our first hands-on impressions of the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.

iPhone 14 Pro
Starts at
$1,749
Processor
A16
Cameras
48MP + 12MP + 12MP
Alex Choros
Sep 08, 2022
Icon Time To Read2 min read

The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are the clear showstoppers from this year's iPhone event, adding some heavily requested features like a camera bigger than 12MP and some we didn't expect, like just how that new "notch" works. Here are some initial thoughts based on some quick hands-on time after the launch.

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max

iPhone 14 Pro Max 128GB plans (36 months)

Initial pros

  • The dynamic island is kinda neat. The name is weird, but Apple's new pill-shaped notch alternative seems pretty useful. Rather than solely housing the selfie camera and Face ID sensors, it can expand to fit other information. For example, if you're playing music, the dynamic island will expand to show the album art. Tapping it will then open up the music app. It also works with timers, directions, and more. The dynamic island can display up to two apps at once. The idea of a persistent UI element for background activity is pretty neat, and could speed up multitasking. It's one of those features that makes a lot more sense when you actually try it.
  • Always-on display. It's about time the iPhone got an always-on display, and the implementation is pretty neat. Instead of just showing information on a black screen, you get a darkened version of your lock screen. It's similar to how the always-on display on the Apple Watch is implemented. 
  • An even more flexible camera. It's hard to test a camera on in a quick hands-on, but Apple's improvements seem like they'll make the iPhone 14 Pro an even more versatile camera. The 48MP primary lens can shoot 48MP RAW images (that measure in an 80MB or so per shot) if you want as much detail as possible, but can also crop in for what's effectively optical 2x zoom. 
  • Deep Purple. The iPhone 14 Pro has the same high-end fit and feel as the previous generation models, but the Deep Purple finish is especially lovely. 

Initial cons

  • Price. The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are again some of the most expensive phones you can buy, starting at $1,749 outright. The starting prices are also $50 higher than last year. 
  • All the most interesting new features are Pro exclusives. If you want the dynamic island or the always-on display, you need to fork out for an iPhone 14 Pro. 
  • No satellite connectivity in Australia. While the iPhone 14 family are able to connect to satellites to send messages in an emergency, this functionality will be limited to the United States and Canada initially. 
  • Telephoto didn't get much of an upgrade. The zoom lens on the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max is still capped to 3x optical zoom, and Apple doesn't appear to have improved the hardware. Apple does however say that new software gives it better low light performance than last year, but we're going to need more time with the phones to see how this works in practice. 
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First thoughts

The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max seemingly take a good thing and make it better. While last year’s Pros were already the phones to beat on camera, the addition of an always-on display and the dynamic Island make the models feel fresher and more compelling. They’re more than just an annual spec bump. 

Disclaimer: This author owns shares in Apple

Hands-on photos

Alex Choros
Written by
Alex Choros
Alex Choros is the Group Reviews Editor for Clearlink Australia's local websites - Reviews.org, Safewise, and WhistleOut - and the Managing Editor for WhistleOut Australia. He's been writing about consumer technology for over eight years and is an expert on the Australian telco sector, to the point where he knows far too many phone and internet plans by heart. He also contributes to Gizmodo and Lifehacker, and makes regular appearances on 2GB. Outside of tech, Alex loves long hikes, red wine, and death metal.

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