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iPhone 14 & iPhone 14 Pro review roundup: Pro is the way to go

The iPhone 14 Pro steals the spotlight in this review cycle

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The first reviews for Apple's iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro, lineup are here, and they heavily favor the pro lineup with its camera and display changes.

Apple announced the iPhone 14 lineup on September 7 during its Far Out event. The iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max ship to customers on Friday, September 16.

The new devices tend to go to large press outlets and YouTube personalities soon after the announcement, giving them just enough time to create first impressions or a full review. As expected, most were excited by the iPhone 14 Pro lineup and the variety of updates provided to it, while the iPhone 14 received tepid reactions.

CNET called the iPhone 14 a familiar device that acts as comfort food. The modest updates across the device add up to one of the most minimal year-over-year upgrades in Apple's history.

For the pro lineup, CNET says the Dynamic Island has become one of their favorite features. The always-on display is a bit overwhelming and they wish for an option to just show minimal content like the clock. The camera improvements are notable as complex lighting is handled much better.

The iPhone 14 has mostly been panned as a minor upgrade
The iPhone 14 has mostly been panned as a minor upgrade

Wired says Apple over-exaggerated some of the upgrades in the iPhone 14 Pro lineup. After taking over 250 photos and comparing them to the iPhone 13 Pro's, results were marginal at best in most situations.

Dynamic Island and the insanely bright display are stand out features. However, Wired says that iOS 16 is the true star of the show, so maybe just update your software rather than buy a whole new device.

The Verge calls the iPhone 14 the "iPhone 13S," as it got a camera upgrade, safety features, and not a whole lot else. They say it's a good phone, but people may be better off buying a discounted iPhone 13.

The tone is switched for iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. The Verge sees a lot of potential in Dynamic Island, at least once third-party developers get ahold of it and refinements are made.

The camera improvements show in photos, but only if you go looking for them. Apple's tendency to heavily de-noise dark images makes it lose detail where Android devices keep them.

YouTube creator MKBHD pointed out that the external design was similar enough that most people will not notice it's the iPhone 14 Pro. The brighter display is instantly noticeable in bright sunlight, but other aspects like thinner bezels and higher pixel density won't be noticed.

The always-on display looks great and is very Apple in its execution. It feels like it could use some customization options, and he will be keeping it off.

The variety of camera upgrades and improvements stand out, with MKBHD calling it the best camera system in a smartphone released in 2022.

iPhone's new safety features are cited as good to have, but not necessarily a reason to upgrade
iPhone's new safety features are cited as good to have, but not necessarily a reason to upgrade

Engadget says that the iPhone 14 is both controversial and underwhelming. Most people could easily pass on this phone, but anyone upgrading from an iPhone 11 or older would be happy.

For the pro models, Engadget reiterates similar conclusions to the other publications mentioned. The always-on display and Dynamic Island will draw an eye, but the camera improvements aren't as significant as hoped.

TechCrunch had overall praise for the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro lineup. Apple is leaning into its silicon prowess and camera hardware more than ever to take advantage of its strengths as a company.

While it gets increasingly difficult to recommend users upgrade every year, for those who have waited a couple of years, this is the year to upgrade now. Both iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro got material updates across their major feature sets.