iPhone 14 Plus review: "The big-screen is back"

iPhone 14 Plus
(Image: © Future)

GamesRadar+ Verdict

The Mini is out and the big-screen is back, the iPhone 14 Plus is the ultimate entry level smartphone in Apple's current lineup. Boasting an impressive battery life and reminding us just why we loved those larger screens in the first place - there's plenty to enjoy here.

Pros

  • +

    Only $100 more than the base model

  • +

    Vibrant, immersive display

  • +

    Long lasting battery life

  • +

    Super comfortable and lightweight

Cons

  • -

    Limited to 60Hz refresh rate

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Apple has swerved back to the idea of Plus-sizing its phones with the iPhone 14 lineup. The Pro and Pro Max are still here, of course, but if you’re after the stock experience in a larger form factor, the iPhone 14 Plus is there for you to feast your eyes on. Under the hood, the experience is largely the same as the base model. However, with boosted battery life and a 6.7-inch display the end experience is considerably different - all for just $100 more than the base model. We put the iPhone 14 Plus in all its big-screen glory to the test over the course of a month, to see just where it sits among today's best gaming phones in particular. 

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Key Specs
Screen size6.7-inch
Resolution2778 x 1284
ProcessorA15 Bionic
Cameras12MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 12MP TrueDepth front
Storage128GB / 256GB / 512GB
Water resistanceIP68
Dimensions160.8mm x 78.1mm x 7.8mm
Weight203g

iPhone 14 Plus design

The design of the iPhone has remained largely unchanged since the 12, but the iPhone 14 Plus still manages to shake things up. That's not so much in its outward appearance (though it has been a while since we've seen a larger Plus model on the market), but moreso in its feel. This is a particularly light iPhone, weighing in at just 203g. That's an 18% increase in weight over the stock 14 model - impressive considering there's a 9.8% increase in screen size and 26% increase in the battery life we observed during our testing. Numbers aside, this thing just feels great in the hand. After months of pockets sagging under the weight of the iPhone 13 Pro, I felt free slipping the 14 Plus into an (admittedly larger) pocket and not constantly feeling its presence. 

iPhone 14 Plus side

(Image credit: Future)

You are dropping a few of the design choices reserved for the Pro and Pro Max models here. That pesky notch still lingers at the top of the screen and doesn't benefit from the Dynamic Island features of the more expensive models, and the two-button camera array on the back doesn't carry quite as much gravitas as the boosted system found elsewhere in the iPhone 14 lineup.

However, this still feels like a premium device. The Ceramic Shield glass back keeps things risk-free and the Blue color variant we were sent has a crisp feel to it as well. The iPhone 14 Plus is also available in Midnight, Starlight, Purple, and Red, so there's a solid choice when it comes to matching an aesthetic.

iPhone 14 Plus display

The display on the iPhone 14 Plus is its very reason for being (battery life aside). The larger 6.7-inch screen feels excellent for movies, games, and everyday web browsing, offering a more immersive experience overall and plenty of extra details across all media. It's a simple fact, but one that makes these Plus-sized iPhones shine; with a larger screen you can see more. That means more of a webpage before having to scroll, and higher quality details in TV and movies. You're getting the same OLED panel as the 14 here, offering a rich depth and excellent color contrast, all set at a 2778 x 1284 resolution. 

iPhone 14 Plus display

(Image credit: Future)

Unfortunately, the iPhone 14 Plus does hold back in the power behind its screen. You're locked into a 60Hz refresh rate here, which was noticeable when moving between the 120Hz 13 Pro and the new model. That's frustrating considering similarly priced flagships from Samsung and other, more gaming-specific brands, offer a speedy refresh rate as standard. 90Hz would have been a sacrifice, 60Hz will be disappointing for mobile gamers.

Still, everything popped here and the larger screen size certainly made using the iPhone 14 Plus an excellent experience. I haven't used many larger Apple phones, but (thumb stretching aside), it's going to be difficult going back to a smaller screen after this.

iPhone 14 Plus camera

The iPhone 14 Plus shares the same camera system as the base model, with a main 12MP camera and a secondary 12MP ultrawide on the back. That's the same setup you'll find on the iPhone 13 as well, however it's working a little harder for you here. First up, a larger sensor means you'll enjoy higher quality low light shots - something I definitely noticed in everyday use. Colors hold up much better in darker rooms and even performance on darker days was improved with brighter contrasts.

It's here that I noticed the most predominant differences between the iPhone 14 Plus and the iPhone 13. However, portrait images remain as crisp and clear as ever, with wider landscape shots holding their own in clarity, color, and contrast as well. There's also a faster aperture in here which means far less blur in faster moving shots. All of that's helped by the Photonic Engine - software baked into all iPhone 14 models which brightens the image after shooting and also enhances certain colors as well.

The iPhone 14 Plus still holds its own in the video category as well, shooting silky 4K resolution at up to 60fps, but there are some additional extras to entice anyone upgrading here as well. If you're shooting particularly action-packed scenes, you'll benefit from the new Action mode. This attempts to achieve the same effect as a gimbal stand, smoothing out jumpy footage to create clean sweeps as you pan or jiggle the camera. In practice, I rarely used this feature outside of testing - it wasn't particularly necessary for everyday use. If you're a content creator feeling a pinch (and therefore not opting for the Pro or Pro Max model), it may come in handy every now and then, though. 

iPhone 14 plus gaming performance

That bigger screen makes for an excellent mobile gaming experience, even if the iPhone 14 Plus is rocking the same A15 Bionic processor as last year's 13-Series. I spent most of my time in Call of Duty Mobile and Magic The Gathering Arena, with a few escapes to the world of Game Pass streaming on top. While I did miss that 120Hz refresh rate when it came to more frantic CoD moments, the guts inside the 14 Plus performed admirably. Everything felt slick, smooth, and snappy - even when running on a lower battery percentage. 

iPhone 14 Plus Game Pass

(Image credit: Future)

The 14 Plus was able to keep up with Xbox Game Pass streaming well, with a solid wireless connection under its belt, and the OLED panel helped those graphics shine a little brighter despite being condensed for streaming. Loading times are a little strained when it came to larger native titles, but no different from my experience with the iPhone 13 Pro. Even with a heavy board and full animations flying around, Magic The Gathering Arena never stuttered once - which is something I can't say for many gaming phones I get my hands on.

iPhone 14 Plus battery

There's no doubt about it, the battery life on the iPhone 14 Plus is phenomenal. It's easily the best I've encountered in an Apple device and, while the unit I'm testing is still fresh out the box, it's certainly worth taking into consideration if you're torn between the base and the Plus. With general everyday use I was able to keep the 14 Plus chugging along for a whole weekend away without having to plug in. Even with more extended gaming sessions and video streaming, though, I was comfortably in the range of a day and a half's worth of battery. 

Should you buy the iPhone 14 Plus?

iPhone 14 Plus

(Image credit: Future)

The iPhone 14 Plus is Apple's entry level flagship for those who want more than an entry level smartphone. You're spending just a little more for a larger screen and extended battery life here, and the results are more than worth it. From immersive gaming and streaming to slick browsing, there are plenty of benefits to a larger display - many of which we've simply forgotten about since the days of the 7 and 8. Add to that the extended battery life and you've got yourself a quality of life winner across the board. 

Of course, the sticking point comes from the Pro model. The Plus may just be $100 more than the base model, but you could upgrade to the Pro with only another $100 on top. That gets you access to the Dynamic Island feature, an always-on display and a boosted camera system. Those aren't insignificant features considering the slight bump in price, but of course you're looking at a much higher sum if you want it all (including the larger screen) in the 14 Pro Max. 

How we tested the iPhone 14 Plus

I used the iPhone 14 Plus as my everyday device over the course of four weeks, running it for all work, everyday browsing and messaging, and gameplay. In that time I drained the battery fully on two occasions, once during everyday use and another through heavier use. I used Xbox Game Pass, Magic the Gathering Arena, and CoD Mobile to test gameplay primarily. For more information on how we test phones, be sure to check out our full GamesRadar+ Hardware Policy

We're also rounding up all the best gaming tablets if you're after an even bigger screen, or take a look at the best mobile controllers on the market for more thumb tapping adventures. If you're looking to round out your Apple setup, though, be sure to check out the best AirPods Pro deals available right now. 

More info

Available platformsHardware, iPhone
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Tabitha Baker
Managing Editor - Hardware

Managing Editor of Hardware at GamesRadar+, I originally landed in hardware at our sister site TechRadar before moving over to GamesRadar. In between, I've written for Tom’s Guide, Wireframe, The Indie Game Website and That Video Game Blog, covering everything from the PS5 launch to the Apple Pencil. Now, i'm focused on Nintendo Switch, gaming laptops (and the keyboards and mice that come with them), and tracking everything that suggests VR is about to take over our lives.