Not only do they have a next gen A16 Bionic chip, but also have a new type of display panel, which for other phones has been a game changer for battery life. Like to the point where I am low-key scared, because last time I ran one of these tests, the phone lasted so long that I only managed to get four hours of sleep. So so far after 30 minutes, it is kind of cool that you can already see the new phones start to create a lead. The 14 Pro Max is still on 99%, and the 14 Pro and the 14, they're not too far behind either. The SE though, is all the way down on 90%. So has apparently lost 10 times the amount of battery that the 14 Pro Max has. You might have realized that the one device that we don't have just yet is the iPhone 14 Plus, because it comes out later. Which is kind of a shame, because it is a phone that Apple's saying will have incredible battery life. But the good news is that because of how similar it is to the normal iPhone 14, in every other spec apart from battery size, we will actually be able to closely extrapolate its battery life by the end of this test. It's hard to say what I'm expecting at this point from the iPhone 14s, because the battery life on my 13 Pro Max was absolutely stellar when I first got it. Like genuinely, so good that I was sometimes finishing days with 40% left. And so it doesn't feel like a very Apple thing to do to make it even better. This company's not in the business of trying to cater to the niche 1% of users for who battery life was a limiting factor on that phone. But then equally, the other thing that I've noticed on my 13 Pro Max is that one year on, the battery life has fallen quite significantly. It's not quite the make it through anything hero that the phone once was. And so some part of me is still hoping that the 14 Pro Max can take battery life another step further, to just guarantee that battery capacity over its entire lifespan. So far it's looking possible. After an hour and a half, the 14 Pros are starting to separate from the rest of the pack, with still very healthy levels of charge left. Man. It's only when you have all the phones sat here on the same table at the same time that you realise how much more aesthetically pleasing Apple's new hole punch camera is. Or equally, how outdated the notch on the other phones looks. The screen borders are also thinner than ever on the 14 Pros, which is a difference that I've been really struggling to notice until I started recording this battery test. You can see it if you compare the left hand side bezel of the 14 Pro with the left hand side bezel of the 14. A subtle difference, but it is one of my favourite things to see get upgraded. Alright, two hours now. The Pros are comfortably ahead, and this is where I was expecting them to start to creep further ahead, because we're going to play some games. Up until this point, all of these phones' chipsets have been fairly idle, but these games will push them to work hard. And this should highlight any efficiency gains that Apple's made with them. For the last few generations of chips, Apple has been heavily focused not on pure performance, they've almost taken it as a given that they're already ahead in that, but more on performance per watt of power consumed. And the result of that should be a set of increasingly streamlined chips that each draw less power than the last while performing the same task. That said, it doesn't seem like a world of difference. Like the iPhone 12, with its two generation old A14 Bionic chip, it doesn't just suddenly start losing battery way faster than the 14 Pros, which are running the new A16 Bionic. It's a subtle upgrade. A lot of this is down to the way it's marketed to us. Like, when a company announces a brand new chip and they say it has 15% more performance per watt than last year, it kind of makes you think, " Wow, I'm going to get 15% more battery life, on top of all the other great performance improvements they promised too". But then you realise, not only will that 15% be a hand-selected best case scenario figure, but also, it doesn't factor in that if you're dialing up the performance at the same time, then even if your performance per watt is going up, you may still end up drawing just as much power, if not more than last generation. But this is the iPhone 14 Pro's second chance to completely pull ahead of everyone else. Internet browsing. Because here's the thing, the new DisplayTek on the 14 Pros lets them scale their refresh rate all the way down from the peak of 120Hz to just 1Hz now, if you're looking at something static. And I was convinced that this was going to be the nail in the coffin for every other phone. If you remember last year's iPhone 13 Pros, they had the option to scale their refresh rates from 120Hz all the way down to 10Hz. And even that was awesome for battery life. It basically allowed you to have a display that felt super smooth at 120Hz, with none of the battery life hit that usually came with that smoothness. So surely the fact that these new phones can go down even further to just 1Hz is going to stop power consumption in its tracks when you're just looking at non-moving website pages. Not really. Because for some reason, Apple has restricted the use of the 1Hz refresh rate just to the always-on display that you now get when you turn your phone off.
And don't get me wrong, that is a great new feature. But it's kind of a shame that they've built the hardware that we know is capable of some extreme power savings, but then not allowed you to fully capitalise on that like some other phones have. And now, just before we hit the 5 hour mark, the iPhone SE on the far right has decided to say its goodbyes. This is not what I'd call a strong position to be in. And actually while we're at it, if you're considering buying one of these iPhones, my advice is don't buy the SE. If you've got $429 to spend on a phone, you can get a far better experience with a Google Pixel or the Nothing Phone 1. $599 for the iPhone 12 is better, but still not tremendous value either, considering that that's 2 year old tech, and that it wasn't exactly bleeding edge even when it was launched. But the iPhone 13 mini and upwards, they make sense. They're more powerful, they've got better battery life for their respective sizes, better cameras, they're going to get updates for longer. What I'm saying is that I think the 13 mini is the lowest end iPhone you'd need to buy to get a good 2022 iOS experience. Okay, it is pretty safe to say at this point that I'm going to lose some sleep tonight. Look at this Pro Max. It's still in its 40s after over 5 hours, and has also now separated itself from the normal 14 Pro, which is in itself a tier above the base 14. By my normal battery benchmarks of 5 hours being just about good enough, 6 being very good, 7 being above and beyond, and anything over 8 being incredible, it's looking like the 14 Pro Max is going to be well beyond that. And the iPhone 14 Plus that we're going to estimate is also looking very strong indeed based on how the 14 is doing. So let's fast forward this test and get to the results to find out if they do that. Bear in mind by the way that on this test, every phone has had WiFi on, Bluetooth on, brightness matched to each other, but on the high side, they're all on light mode, and the speakers are set to 50% volume. So if anything, this is probably slightly more intense than a normal day, and if you're conscious about your battery, you could make each one of these phones last longer than it is doing right now. But then on the flip side, this test doesn't account for any battery that you might lose while your phone is on standby, in between when you're using it. But thankfully that doesn't change much because iPhones tend to lose very little when not in use. And that leads us to the results.
So, in 8th place, at just 4 hours 52 minutes, iPhone SE. The only time that I would recommend this phone is if you were A) completely sold on having a physical home button and never wanted to learn full screen gestures, B) willing to have a very small screen and a basic camera, and then C) are not a big social media user. For anyone who spends even a couple of hours a day on YouTube or Instagram, that will be half your battery gone.
Then, in 7th, surviving a landslide longer than that, we have the iPhone 13 mini. And this phone is good. I would recommend it. But only if you are specifically searching for a small phone. Assuming that you are, then there are very few that have managed to achieve this shrinking with such little compromise. But if you're not, then you can get much better battery life going for the full size iPhone 13.
The 12 was next though, but close enough to the 13 mini that it's give or take. It's roughly equivalent between them. Which, given that this phone also doesn't have the benefit of being tiny like the 13 mini, doesn't really have a place in my books. Funnily enough, next up was not the iPhone 13, but actually the iPhone 14, landing in at 7 hours and 13 minutes.
I wouldn't take that defeat too seriously. It only lost to the iPhone 13 by around 2 minutes. And the battery life is already in a very comfortable place. The reason you would get an iPhone 14 over an iPhone 13 is not really extra battery life, it's primarily cameras really. It has a better front camera and a better set of rear cameras. So then, at 7 hours 15, good old reliable iPhone 13. Firmly in the above and beyond category. And I know tons of people with iPhone 13s, and pretty much the top comments that I get from these people is, " That battery life is good innit"? Yeah, that's what my friends sound like.
This is probably the closest I've ever been to recommending last year's phone over this year's phone. But yeah, I mean you can take this as reassurance that the iPhone 13 is still a good purchase in late 2022.
Third place though, is a big jump. iPhone 14 Pro with 7 hours and 49 minutes. Even with a similar sized body and a similar sized battery, this phone managed to last a full 35 minutes longer than the base 14. Thoroughly impressed with this phone. And not just the battery, the cameras too. My full camera test is linked below in case you want to see it. But now we have the rogue one. At this point, I can say with a fairly high degree of certainty that the number two best battery life in a test like this will actually belong to the iPhone 14 Plus. Given that the iPhone 14 lasted 7 hours 13, and that Apple's own testing has found that the 14 Plus has an extra 30% battery life lead on the 14, that would place this phone at around 9 hours 23, if we'd run it through the same situation.
To have 30% more battery life than the base 14, makes this a very tempting phone in my books. But at the same time, it's actually sad because I don't imagine it's going to sell too well.
And that leads us with first, the iPhone 14 Pro Max at 9 hours and 31. It's not mind-blowing. It's actually slightly worse performance than the 13 Pro Max. But nonetheless, this is still on the top shelf of what current smartphones have to offer. Another interesting note regarding Apple is that it seems like as well as phones, they're also slowly but surely becoming an ad business. Over the last few years, they've started cracking down on how other companies, like Meta, are allowed to advertise to iPhone users. And turns out that's because Apple wants to advertise to iPhone users within their own Apple apps, like Maps. I only found out about this through Morning Brew, which is an email newsletter covering the latest business, finance, and tech news from around the world. All you have to do is to sign up by entering your email address. And from that point on, you never need to find the news again. The news finds you every morning, Monday to Sunday. Sign up for Morning Brew at morningbrew.com/mysteriestheboss or just hit the link in the description. It's free, it takes less than 15 seconds, and I've been subbed for like two years now, so I can vouch for it.