Home Inside The Apple Product iPhone 14 Plus & The Problem with Benchmarks!

iPhone 14 Plus & The Problem with Benchmarks!

by Dewi Safitri


You would think that the most expensive, best iPhone is the one with the best battery life, right? Nope! This here is the new iPhone 14 Plus. It’s just the iPhone 14 but bigger, so the mini-sized iPhone is dead after two years and they’ve replaced it with this plus-size version which means a bigger screen and a bigger battery. I will say it is a bit lighter than you’d probably expect. That aluminum makes this big phone lighter than the smaller Pro with its stainless steel. But there’s not that much else interesting here, except that when Apple announced it on stage, they said that it would be the best battery life ever in an iPhone. And then they just moved on. I guess that does make sense though, right? It’s the same size as the iPhone 14 Pro Max, same battery size roughly, but with a dimmer 60-hertz display. So I guess, yeah! should last longer but is it substantially longer? When you get to Apple’s website, the iPhone 14 Pro Max is listed at 29 hours of video playback. Which is higher than the 14 Plus, listed at 26 hours. But then again, just for audio playback, the Plus will do a hundred hours for the first time. More than the Pro Max that just 95 hours.

Super useful for those of us doing five straight hours of audio playback IN airplane mode, right? But No! This is the first point I wanted to share this time, which is that in the smartphone world. These days, the benchmarks are less and less relevant than ever and I almost don’t even pay attention to them anymore. Unlike back in the day when they used to be important. Like years ago, new phones would come out and they would have huge year-over-year performance gains, which was exciting. But mostly because they would unlock new things that you could do with your phone. Things like shooting 4K video for the first time or playing HD games or taking HDR photos with a bunch of different exposures. So that big jump in raw performance year over a year meant before the jump, you couldn’t do a thing and then after the jump, you crushed a threshold and now you could, which was sweet. But smartphones are so evolved and so complete nowadays that basically, every smartphone can do all the fundamental things very well.

It’s more around the edges that they’re starting to optimize for certain tasks, certain things. So yes, the overall power and the Geekbench score still do go up a little bit year over year every year but that doesn’t mean nearly as much as it used to. It doesn’t mean anything significant other than maybe a few more frames per second in a game or launching an app slightly faster. Plus, in this phone’s case, it’s the same chip as last year, so it means almost nothing. But what’s happening now is companies are developing their silicon with special sections of their system on a chip designed to accelerate certain functions that they think will be a priority for their users. So with Apple, you know the A series chips in the iPhones mean big performance cores, small efficiency cores, but then a bunch of other stuff, things like a ProRes accelerator for faster video encoding. 

There is a neural engine for optimizing machine learning tasks, a special image signal processor for fusing different exposures into a photo very quickly, and a display engine that helps smoothly run those animations for the Pro phone on Dynamic Island. With Google, you’ve got the new Tensor chip in their Pixel phones. Again, big cores, small cores, but then dedicated pieces for machine learning for their crazy fast speech-to-text. There’s an image signal processor for HDR plus, and then more and more. Some Oppo flagships, even though they haven’t gotten to designing their silicon entirely, are still adding things like a specialized ISP to the Find X5 Pro for processing photos the way they want too much faster. And now it’s even starting to apply to all types of other devices. 

We already know about Apple Silicon Max! The M1 chip has a ProRes accelerator because that’s important to a lot of people using Pro Max. Also, the Steam Deck has a custom APU that lets it hit certain frame rates in lower power states. The point is these companies are now adding focused pieces of computing hardware when they design products based on what they think is a priority to their users and accelerate those things dramatically. And those pieces make a bigger difference than any benchmark will show. Here, this is a good analogy. I like a good comparison. So let’s say you need a vehicle for the fastest time around a track and you get to choose between vehicle A and vehicle B. All you get to choose from are benchmarks. So the benchmarks for vehicle A is it did a zero to 60 in 3.5 seconds, it got on a dyno and measured 502 horsepower and 339-pound feet of torque.

Then, vehicle B did the zero to 60 in three seconds flat. It measured 835 horsepower and 908 pounds-feet of torque. Just based on those numbers, a sensible person would probably lean towards picking vehicle B. That would mean you just picked the Rivian R1T, a very fast pickup truck, but you just picked that over the 2018 Porsche 911 GT3, one of the best track cars ever made! That’s how I feel about relying on basic general benchmarks these days. The benchmarks tell one story about the general overall capability, but you still should be picked based on the specific features and things you wanna do. If you wanna carry around lots of huge things, get the one with a huge trunk. Do you wanna make quick turns at high speeds? Get the one with the arrow pieces. Do you want to take lots of pictures and videos of yourself and your friends? Get the one with the best cameras. Do you want the one with the longest possible battery life? Get the big one. But speaking of battery life, I do actually wanna mention that I have noticed I’ve gotten better battery life on the iPhone 14 Pros after disabling the always-on display.

This is something we were wondering about from the review. I’ve had a couple of days or weeks now to do it, and yeah, it does make a difference, but that leads to the second part of the video when I wanted to go over a little bit more, which is the state of the iPhone 14s about a month later. So it’s been an interesting couple of weeks testing these phones and seeing what’s happening to other people with their phones. My reviews went out using the phone’s Apple loans for reviews. But since then, I’ve gotten my own that I’ve bought and started using full-time. I haven’t had any major issues, but it does seem like this has been one of the notably buggier launches of a new iOS and iPhone in the past couple of years. And even though it’s not happening to my phones, it’s hard to ignore. So there was a pretty famous camera jittering bug with the Pro iPhones before a quick iOS 16.0.2 update ironed that out. The only issue I’ve personally noticed on mine is my iPhone 14 Pro often takes forever to connect to wireless Car Play and often just fails and doesn’t connect.

But then again, I can’t tell if that’s just the new iOS or the Cadillac Lyric that’s causing this exact problem. But I asked on Twitter, “Hey, how’s everyone’s iPhone 14 experiences going so far, the first few weeks?” And of course, this is gonna be a pretty focused sample. Thousands and thousands of you chimed in and I spent quite a while reading through a lot of this stuff it’s almost a little bit surprising how many bugs I’ve been getting tweeted about. Here are the three most frequent things that I’m seeing from you guys in my Twitter mentions. So the first one is lock screen stuff. Specifically, it seems like there’s an auto-rotate bug when customizing your lock screen. Tons of people sent me screenshots of it, and videos of it. It hasn’t happened to mine, but it’s been annoying because then you kind of have to reset your phone, restart it, and start it again. But that’s the number one thing I saw most frequently. Then number two was Dynamic Island stuff. So a lot of people with the Pro phones have noticed weird bugs with Dynamic Island. The software bubble like moving to the wrong place or animating weirdly, getting stuck in animations, and quirky stuff like that.

I kinda expected that to happen a little bit at the beginning but that obviously kind of breaks the illusion of it just being this little seamless little pill box of software, that’s annoying. But then number three is battery drain and this is the one I am most concerned about. A sort of an alarming number of people. Just when I asked about it, it’s been floating around there already! But people just chimed in with like, “Yeah, the battery doesn’t last as long as I expected.” “It doesn’t last as long as a previous phone I had.” “It’s been draining and telling me that it’s been draining and I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and have a warm phone with a nearly dead battery.” Weird stuff. So that’s the one that I’m gonna keep my eye on that I think Apple’s probably also gonna be paying the most attention to. It’s the hardest one to fix! 

Source: https://youtu.be/35BkHichD2M

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