iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max: Worth the upgrade?

Is it time to upgrade your iPhone? Here we discuss some of Apple’s latest changes to the iPhone 14 Pro including a debate on whether or not the addition of the Dynamic Island in lieu of the notch is worth the price tag.

With more added features like a better rear-facing camera, an always-on display, and a more efficient chip, are the latest iPhone Pro or Pro Max worth the upgrade? The general consensus among tech websites is: yes, after earning a 4.75 from Mashable, a 4.5 from TechRadar, and another 4.5 out of 5 stars from Tom’s Guide. But there are several controversial aspects that we’ve come to expect from Apple products. Let’s discuss the good, the bad, and the notchless.

iPhone 14 Pro


iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max?

While the iPhone 14 Pro is in a bit of a sweet spot for Apple tech, the 6.1-inch device isn’t too big, the front has an added Dynamic Island, and an always-on display has been added. However, if you want the largest iPhone screen available, you’ll want to go with the more expensive iPhone 14 Pro Max.

In short, the iPhone 14 Pro is essentially the same as the Pro Max, other than the screen size and battery life.

Now let’s dive into the features that the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max share.

What’s new – specs and aesthetics

The first iPhone in 5 years without a notch, the latest iPhone 14 Pro (and Pro Max) has a lot of fresh new designs. Although they haven’t reinvented the wheel with the new lineup of iPhones, these smartphones are a worthy refresh of the Apple line.

From the back, the iPhone 14 Pro mirrors the iPhone 14 Pro – both have a stainless steel frame, a brushed glass back, and Apple’s Ceramic Shield.

Uncommon for Apple’s new devices, the thicker chassis on the latest iterations make the 14 Pro just a hair longer and 2 grams heavier than the iPhone 13 Pro. However, it’s difficult to notice the difference with the naked eye.

One notable exterior difference for US customers: no SIM slot above/below the volume button. Instead, the entire iPhone 14 line is eSIM-only.

Although the camera lenses appear to be slightly larger, the camera array on the rear of the iPhone 14 Pro very much resembles the iPhone 13 Pro with its three lenses (48MP, 12MP ultrawide, and 12MP 3x telephoto) and LiDAR sensor. However, the lenses are backed by new sensors, including a new ambient light sensor and a redesigned flash.

What’s new – display


Although the screen resolution (2556×1179) hasn’t changed much, Apple has reinvited an iconic part of the display – ditching the notch that has been available for the last 5 years for a Dynamic Island. The oblong-shaped notch-replacement lives up to its name by seamlessly changing shape and utility based on which application is in use, whether notifications are being displayed, or gestures are being used.

Dynamic Island

Although the new Dynamic Island appears to expand and contract, that isn’t exactly what’s happening. The new island comprises a pill-shaped cutout, a circular cutout, and an island of black around both of them (with some active pixels between two physical screen cutouts).

Though the Dynamic Island may seem like a misnomer, behind those cutouts are a new 12MP selfie camera with new autofocus capabilities, an IR sensor, and a flood illuminator. On top of that, the TrueDepth module’s old proximity sensor is now behind the display.

On to the Dynamic Island: when registering a face for Face ID, it expands and changes shape in order to display a live image of your face. When playing music, the Island expands differently in order to show a live audio playback graph. When an incoming call is shown, it expands to show who is calling. Furthermore, you can touch the dynamic island to change activities – but be careful, your front-facing camera will now have finger smudges on it; although many reviewers claim that the phone’s oleophobic coating keeps the front relatively smudge-free.

Not only will the blend of hardware, software, and interface design work with native iPhone apps, but third-party ones can take advantage of the screen punch-holes like never before.

Refresh rate and display

Next, a newly upgraded ProMotion display adaptive refresh rate allows your phone to use less energy. When viewing more static content, the refresh rate is at 10Hz but goes up to 120Hz for games and videos. Although this kind of tech is difficult to test, the screen motion appeared smooth throughout most reported reviews.

On top of that, the refresh rate drops to 1Hz for the always-on-display. Although the always-on display may be devoid of color and brightness, it shows a variety of useful information like widgets, images, media playback information, and details from iOS 16’s new lock screen.

The always-on display automatically activates when your phone goes to sleep, though it can be deactivated with one press of the power/sleep button.

Although the baseline brightness is 1,000 nits, the Super Retina XDR OLED is capable of 1,600-nits HDR brightness while indoors and a whopping 2,000 nits when outside. Thanks to this new addition, users will almost never have trouble reading their phones when outside – although prolonged usage will surely drain battery life.


The iPhone 14 Pro has stereo speakers, one on the bottom edge and the other along the top – capable of getting incredibly loud without any noticeable distortion. On top of that, the speakers support spatial audio, which makes listening to the latest movies or Netflix shows even more entertaining than you can imagine viewing on a smartphone could be.

Battery Life

Although Apple hasn’t stated publicly what the capacity is for the iPhone 14 Pro batteries, they did promise 23 hours of playback (compared to 22 hours of playback with the iPhone 13 Pro). This efficiency likely comes from the new 4-nanometer A16 Bionic and new adaptive refresh rate – not from a larger battery.

Although 23 hours of video streaming appears possible, this will largely depend on how many nits of brightness your iPhone is using while streaming. Obviously, you’ll notice significantly shorter battery life if you stream movies or games at 2,000 nits of brightness outdoors.

As expected, the iPhone 14 Pro (and Pro Max) ships without a power adapter – just a USB-C to lightning cable. Without an updated adapter, don’t expect ultrafast charging with the iPhone 14 Pro.

MagSafe and Qi-based charging are supported.

Software – iOS 16

The latest iOS update is more than just a fresh coat of paint on an old operating system – it changes some of the fundamental aspects of the iPhone. 

As previously discussed, one of the biggest changes comes from the Lock Screen. In addition to having the option for multiple (all customizable) lock screens, it also features image segmentation technology.

What’s more, it also includes a Search button on the home screen, the ability to retrieve and edit text messages, send (and unsend) emails, view directions in Maps, view live text from videos, and grab the subject from virtually any photo in order to drop it into apps like Notes and Messages.

With tons of changes and new features to explore, iOS 16 definitely makes the iPhone 14 Pro even more enticing.

Should you choose an iPhone 14 Pro/Pro Max or stick with an older model?

The good:

  • Adaptive refresh rate, always on display, extended battery life.
  • The best camera available on a smartphone today, thanks to a 48MP sensor and new quad-pixel binning technology that enhances all of the shots you take, and 2x optical zoom.
  • Innovative new features like Dynamic Island.

The not-so-good:

  • Apple’s maximum of 3x optical zoom is dwarfed by the super-zoom capabilities of Samsung.
  • Charging technology hasn’t been upgraded and Apple’s iPhone is still stuck on the Lightning port, even with the EU pressuring them to use USB-C for all gadgets.

Rent iPhones Today

We’re eagerly awaiting the ability to ship iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Maxes to our customers! In the meantime, you can rent plenty of other Apple products including the iPhone 13 Pro, the latest iPad models, MacBook Pros (and lower tier models), iMacs, Mac Pros, Mac Minis, and more!

Apple products are a staple for Rentacomputer.com. In fact, they’ve been one of our most popular rental items throughout our 35+ year tenure in the event production and technology rental industries. Simply put, there is no better place to come for the best rental rates and the most knowledgeable technicians on all things Apple (and any other tech you’d like to use on a temporary basis).

Due to our longstanding relationships with vendors around the country, Rentacomputer.com will be one of the first technology rental companies to offer the latest iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max to our rental inventory – we’ll update you here and on social media when available.

Do you have more questions about technology rentals? Whether you’re wondering about product selection, price, delivery rates and frequency, or other technology or event-related questions, our Tech Travel Agents will be able to assist you in a timely manner.

Contact us today by filling out a free quote in order to chat with us via email, or you can call today at 1-800-736-8772 ext. 249. No matter which method you use, a friendly and knowledgeable representative will be with you within 15 minutes during business hours (M-F 8 am-5 pm EST).

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