Apple iPhone 14 test: a smartphone still under control, but without surprises

The iPhone 14 sports a photo block very similar to that of the iPhone 13, with two modules aligned diagonally. We continue to lament the absence of a third focal length that would have helped to differentiate it from the previous model (it is reserved for the Pro models, at a much higher price). We note that Apple promises, on the wide-angle module side, the integration of a sensor with a definition still fixed at 12 megapixels, but whose pixels are announced at 1.9 μm, compared to 1.7 μm last year. The associated lens opens at f/1.5 instead of f/1.6. In short, small changes that give hope for better management of low light.

On the other hand, given the smartphones over €1,000 that compete with it, it should be remembered that the iPhone 14 lacks versatility: the telephoto lens of its competitors is reserved for Apple Pro models.

Wide-angle module: 12 Mpx, f/1.5, eq. 26mm

The iPhone usually shine in the exercise of the wide angle, and it is clear that it always succeeds. It must be said that against a Galaxy S22 that tends to make noisy shots, the iPhone 14 wins here. The accentuation is a little more pronounced and the readability of small elements increases. Colorimetry also gains in precision. If we compare the shots of this new iPhone with those of the iPhone 13, we see a slightly higher contrast, but not more.

Samsung Galaxy S22+ (f/1.8, ISO 64, 1/180s, 23mm equiv.)

iPhone 14 (f/1.5, ISO 40, 1/187s, 26mm equiv.)

the pixel bonding operated by the Galaxy S22+ shows its effectiveness against the iPhone 14. The exposure is better, the contrast more marked and the sharpness higher. The result is certainly correct, but behind the tenors of the market. Regardless, we notice that the smartphone performs a bit better than its predecessor, managing in particular to deliver less desaturated images.

Samsung Galaxy S22+ (f/1.8, ISO 200, 1/4 sec, 23mm eq.)

iPhone 14 (f/1.5, ISO 640, 1/30s, 23mm equiv.)

Ultra wide angle module: 12 Mpx, f/2.2, eq. 13mm

The iPhone 14’s ultra-wide angle delivers daytime shots that are satisfying, to say the least. They have a high level of detail, enough microcontrast to reveal the finest elements, despite some inaccuracies in terms of colorimetry. For comparison, shots from the Galaxy S22 (captured natively at 12MP) show less sharpness and treatment that favors color vibrancy in its accuracy.

Samsung Galaxy S22+ (f/2.2, ISO 80, 1/100 sec, 13mm eq.)

iPhone 14 (f/2.4, ISO 64, 1/199s, 13mm equiv.)

The trend is quite different at night, where the processing operated by Samsung allows more details to be found. Apple’s photo suffers from very noticeable noise, and to remove it, you need to go through a night mode that requires a long exposure… and increasing motion blur.

Samsung Galaxy S22+ (f/2.2, ISO 2500, 1/100 sec, 13mm eq.)

iPhone 14 (f/2.4, ISO 3200, 1/30s, 13mm equiv.)

Front and video module

The iPhone 14 benefits, like the iPhone 14 Pro Max, from a new front camera called, as always, TrueDepth and maintaining a definition of 12 Mpx. However, the sensor is associated with an optical aperture at f / 1.9 instead of f / 2.2 and gains a very useful autofocus. The images are well exposed, very detailed and the portrait mode retains its usual precision, with some hiccups, yes, in the disheveled hair. When it comes to selfies, Apple isn’t in the megapixel race, but it does allow you to achieve some of the most natural looking images on the market, with the added bonus of interesting lighting effects.

On the video side, the iPhone 14 shoots up to 4K HDR (Dolby Vision) at 60fps. A mode that does not happen on its own, because the smartphone takes advantage of the Cinematic mode (4K at 30 fps) which allows you to create a depth of field effect and launched last year, but also the Action mode. This stabilization promises to use the entire main sensor of the smartphone for stabilization inspired by action cameras. And we must admit that the effect is compelling. Be warned, you need a properly lit scene for the mode to work, and recording is capped at 2.8K at 60fps.

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