In what seems to have become an annual tradition, the spring season will begin with a new iPhone.
No, it’s not a brand new model, but it’s a new seasonal color — yellow — that’s sure to catch your eye.
Available on the entire iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus range, this new yellow finish has just been released this week. Before the launch, I had the opportunity to spend some time with the iPhone 14 Plus in yellow.
Not only did I warm to the bold new color, but I was also impressed with the phone itself.
It might not be as powerful as the high-end iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. Still, it packs a lot into a lightweight, more affordable package (starting at $799) that should make it a hit with travelers.
Better battery life
If you’re like me, you might be (a wee bit) obsessed with not running out of juice on the road.
Personally, that means looking for power outlets at the airport or carrying around a power bank to make sure my phone is always charged. As a last resort, I’ll enable Apple’s “Low Power Mode” on the iPhone, but this feature comes with degraded performance to minimize battery usage.
Thankfully, travelers won’t have to worry about that with the larger iPhone 14 Plus. Apple claims that this model offers the longest battery life of any iPhone, and that claim is very much backed up by my experience.
I had no problem achieving nearly a day and a half of fairly consistent usage across productivity, social media, travel, and camera apps without needing to recharge.
That’s pretty impressive and maybe reason enough for some road warriors to opt for the iPhone 14 Plus over any other model.
If you opt for the entry-level iPhone 14, you can expect up to 20 hours of battery life, which should still get most travelers through their trip.
Bigger and better screens
“Plus” doesn’t just refer to a bigger battery. It also means the device has a 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR display, giving you even more space to enjoy content on the go.
Whether you’re using the extra screen real estate to immerse yourself in a game or browse in-flight entertainment programming, it won’t take long for you to appreciate the larger display.
Even better, I found the larger phone didn’t feel much bulkier. It weighs only 7.16 ounces and fits perfectly in my hand. I don’t mind sacrificing a bit of portability for a bigger screen and longer battery life, but that’s a personal decision that every traveler will have to make.
The 6.1-inch iPhone 14 also has a sharp Super Retina XDR display.
One feature of Apple’s high-end iPhones that you won’t find on the standard 14 and 14 Plus models is a ProMotion display. This allows content to scroll more easily between pages. Another downside is that the screen brightness on the entry-level models isn’t as high as on the more expensive Pro devices – a difference that’s immediately noticeable when the sun is shining outside.
For most casual travelers, though, those two features alone aren’t worth the $200 upgrade to a Pro model.
I recently attended a game showcase where some iOS developers showcased their latest games.
Although I am not a serious gamer myself, I left the showcase very impressed with the quality of Apple’s entry-level iPhone 14 models. While playing “Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile”, the iPhone 14 had no problem keeping up with the millions of internal calculations needed to display the game without lag or overheating.
That performance is powered by Apple’s proprietary A15 Bionic chip – the same pro-grade silicon that powered last year’s iPhone 13 Pro.
For the average user, A15 is very powerful. It only takes a few seconds to batch edit and render videos in iMovie – two advanced tasks that most casual travelers will have no trouble performing on these devices.
Touch wood, Satellite Emergency SOS is a feature you will hopefully never need to use. However, this feature could save your life if you unfortunately need it.
This feature allows you to connect to emergency services using satellites, even if you are far from the network without cellular service or Wi-Fi.
Every iPhone 14, including entry-level models, has built-in satellite connectivity – a game-changer for those who often trek or adventure off the beaten path.
Even if you buy your iPhone in the US, you can activate Satellite Emergency SOS in 12 countries (and counting) – including Canada and many of the larger countries in Europe. This makes it a great insurance policy for your summer vacation.
Even if you don’t need emergency assistance, you can use satellite connectivity to send your location to loved ones back home via the Find My app.
While you can’t call or text them, being able to send your location should help reassure your family and friends that you’re doing well on your camping trip.
To learn more about using Emergency SOS via satellite, don’t forget to consult TPG’s dedicated guide.
More physical SIM cards
For the past 15 years, every iPhone model has shipped with a physical SIM (short for Subscriber Identity Module) card slot.
These tiny chips contain the information needed to connect to the cellular network. However, they have become a pain to manage, especially when traveling overseas and struggling with multiple nano-sized SIM cards during your trip.
In addition, physical SIM cards are less secure. If your phone is lost or stolen, someone could remove your SIM card to start making calls and texts (and receiving two-factor authentication codes) with your phone number.
This year, every iPhone 14 sold in the US is ditching the physical SIM slot in favor of the new eSIM (or embedded SIM) standard.
Thanks to this innovation, you can store at least eight digital SIM cards directly on your phone. This means you won’t have to go around with multiple 9mm by 12mm chips.
You can switch between phone numbers right in iOS, and you can even download cheap international plans through apps like Airalo, Truphone, and GigSky.
In fact, both the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus support dual SIM, which means you can connect to two mobile networks simultaneously. This is a key feature to avoid pesky $10 a day roaming charges with AT&T and Verizon.
Over the past few years, Apple has been busy rolling out health and safety-focused features across its entire line of phones and watches.
With the introduction of Crash Detection to the iPhone 14 family, you will be reassured that your smartphone can detect a serious car accident and automatically call emergency services if necessary.
Just like Emergency SOS via satellite, this is a feature you hope never to use. Still, it can provide travelers with extra peace of mind when hitting the road.
At the end of the line
Apple’s iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus are phenomenal smartphones for the everyday traveler – and they’re now available in a bold new yellow color.
They both contain many must-have features, including the introduction of eSIM-only cellular connectivity. The real star of the show is the Plus model, which is Apple’s first entry-level model to feature a 6.7-inch touchscreen.
It also offers the longest battery life of an iPhone, making it a great option for travelers who are on the go frequently.
Satellite-based emergency SOS and built-in collision detection are two essential safety-related features that can be particularly comforting for solo travelers or those heading to remote destinations.
Of course, some heavy smartphone users and creatives might want to splurge for the higher-end Pro models. However, unless you need camera and display upgrades, the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus should do just fine.