Externally, the iPhone 14 is identical to the iPhone 13. It has the same 6.1-inch display-diagonal with the exact same notch. Its general shape and curves are exactly the same, and so is the in-hand feel.
Measuring 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.8 mm, the iPhone 14 is just minutely thicker than the iPhone 13 by 0.1mm and is exactly identical in every other dimension. The two are so similar, in fact, that most iPhone 13 cases, except for the most precisely cut ones, do actually fit on the iPhone 14. The new model tips the scale at 172 grams - two grams lighter than its predecessor. Regardless, it still manages to pack a slightly bigger 3279 mAh battery (39 mAh extra).
The iPhone 14 comes in a rich selection of colors. Midnight is Apple's take on black, and Starlight is the company's signature silver/white hue. There is also a Product RED finish available, a new shade of Blue, and a whole new Purple color, which are slightly different from what we've seen before. Our review unit is in Apple's gorgeous baby or sky Blue.
Apple has a great track record when it comes to impeccable build quality. The iPhone 14 is no exception. Just like its predecessor, its body is a "glass sandwich" with scratch-resistant Ceramic Shield on the front of the device, an unnamed glass at the back and an aluminum middle frame to hold everything together.
The IP68 ingress protection rating is still in place. It promises that the phone will be ok after a dip in fresh water up to six meters for up to thirty minutes. Not too shabby at all.
Circling back to the "glass sandwich" analogy, it has arguably never been more fitting than for the iPhone 14. Apple didn't go into much detail during its announcement presentation, but it did mention that the internals of the phone have been redesigned, going from the iPhone 13 to the iPhone 14.
In reality, this redesign is quite major and very significant. Though the iPhone 14 definitely looks identical to the 13 on the outside, inside, Apple has done some major rearrangements, essentially flipping over the internals 180 degrees. You can check out the excellent disassembly video over at IFIXIT to get a better idea of what has transpired.
In a nutshell, Apple engineers have put a lot of effort into making the iPhone 14 more easily repairable than its predecessor by a big margin. The rear glass panel has been one of the most difficult parts to replace for a few iPhone generations now. On the iPhone 14, it is no longer tightly glued to the internals and instead comes off as a separate piece just like the display does (with a little heat and a bit of "encouragement"). This makes it super easy to replace.
As for the bit about the internals being flipped over - that now means that things like the battery are accessible from the back side of the phone rather than the front. The above photo, courtesy of IFIXIT, illustrates the change perfectly.
Credit where credit is due - Apple did actually spend a lot of effort redesigning the iPhone 14 in a major way, just not externally. Better and easier repairability is a major bonus for the user and a great eco-friendly measure.
To be clear, however, Apple's annoying practice of requiring official software activation for various replacement parts is still alive and present on the iPhone 14. Some reports even indicate that a back glass swap might require activation. So, Cupertino still maintains its dubious practices, and repairability is not all sunshine and roses.
There is almost nothing particularly interesting about the controls on the iPhone 14. The layout is your typical Apple affair. The right-hand side of the phone houses the power button.
On the opposite side are the two volume buttons and the signature iPhone alert slider above. Our unit has the nano-SIM tray a bit lower down the frame, but only because we have a European unit.
If you live in the US, this year, the entire iPhone 14 lineup just uses eSIM with no physical SIM slot whatsoever. Yet another case of Cupertino boldly taking the steps required to retire some I/O and set a precedent for the industry to follow.
The top of the iPhone 14 is empty, sans an antenna line on the aluminum middle frame.
The bottom houses the typical Apple lightning connector. It is disappointing that even in 2022, it is still only wired for USB 2.0 (480 Mbps max) data transfer and lacks fancy features like video output. It can do audio out, though and also supports USB Power Delivery 2.0 for charging.
Also, on this side, the main microphone and a dedicated bottom-firing speaker are found. The iPhone 14 has a hybrid stereo speaker setup with the earpiece acting like the second channel. It sits above the display.
Speaking of the front of the iPhone 14, its main and instantly-recognizable fixture remains the sizeable notch. Unlike the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, the vanilla 14 doesn't get the new Dynamic island. What the traditional notch does house, however, is the new and improved 12MP selfie camera now equipped with autofocus.
The FaceID tech is also crammed in there and works just as great as always. It is snappy and extremely accurate and, in our mind, makes up for the lack of a fingerprint scanner.
In case you were wondering, there is no notification LED on the iPhone 14.
Judging by our testing, there seems to be a proper proximity sensor on board, but it is likely placed underneath the display.
The iPhone 14 naturally has a lot in common with the iPhone 13 in terms of connectivity, given that the two share the same Apple A15 Bionic chipset. This includes things like SA/NSA 5G connectivity, Wi-Fi 6, GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, BDS and QZSS, NFC and Ultra Wideband (UWB).
The iPhone 14 has some new additions, like Bluetooth 5.3 and, more interesting still - satellite connectivity for emergency SMS-based communication while off the grid and outside network coverage. The tech is new and exciting and has many potential applications, but we are yet to see it in action since it will be available starting in November in the US and Canada.