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iPhone 14 vs iPhone 13: is it worth upgrading to Apple's new iPhone?

iPhone 14 vs iPhone 13
(Image credit: Apple)

It's that time of year again: the summer is wrapping up, the leaves are starting to take on some color, and there is a new iPhone for you to decide whether to get or not. This year, we have the iPhone 14, which arrives right on cue, about a year after we got the iPhone 13.

As always, a lot is going to feel similar with the iPhone 14 – there's only so much Apple is going to fiddle with a winning recipe, after all – but you do get new features, more powerful hardware and, according to Apple, better performance to justify the existence of a new model.

While we haven't had our hands on the just-announced iPhone 14 just yet (watch this space!), we aren't short of information about the new iPhone. Here's how the iPhone 14 stacks up against last year's iPhone 13...

iPhone 14 vs iPhone 13: price

iPhone 14 and 14 Plus in new blue colour

(Image credit: Apple)

The iPhone 13 launched starting at £779 / $799, while the iPhone 14 will retail starting at £849 / $799. For those in the US, the price has remained the same, while if you're in the UK you'll have to bear a relatively modest price increase of £70. So you won't be paying significantly more for an iPhone 14 over last year's model, which is a relief considering some speculation leading up to the announcement tipped the iPhone for a higher price.

The iPhone 14 can be pre-ordered starting 9th September and will hit store shelves just a little later on 14th September. This is a fairly standard release window for iPhone, so nothing surprising here.

iPhone 14 vs iPhone 13: design

iPhone 14 in purple

(Image credit: Apple)

iPhone 13 didn't change much in the way of iPhone's core design as compared to iPhone 12, and the story is largely the same for iPhone 14: there haven't been any major changes to the look and feel of iPhone this time round. 

While less exciting than revolution (or even evolution), the iPhone 13 looks and feels great, so there isn't much to complain about here. As we said in our iPhone 13 review, "build quality is superb... the aluminium frame feels robust, while the smooth, flat edges give the phone plenty of purchase when it’s sat in the palm of your hand. It’s a nice thing to hold and it feels as though it’s going to deliver a premium smartphone experience."

Indeed, Apple saved any design progression for the more expensive iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, which both sport a new front design with a new TrueDepth camera. Unfortunately, the base iPhone 14 is not getting these redesigns and improvements as well, but what we're getting won't disappoint.

iPhone 14 vs iPhone 13: screen

iPhone 14 in all new colours

(Image credit: Apple)

The comparison here is once again pretty simple: on both iPhone 14 and iPhone 13 you're getting the same Super Retina XDR display with Dolby Vision support. Same, once again, might sound a bit uninspiring, but we thought the iPhone 13's display looked fantastic, so seeing it again is no great shame. That said, 120Hz support on this 'standard' model would have been nice.

Since we're getting the same display, you can expect superb colors, excellent blacks courtesy of OLED, and a bright, punchy representation in general. Regardless of what you're watching on iPhone 13 or iPhone 14, it's going to look fantastic thanks to Apple's continued dedication to image quality.

iPhone 14 vs iPhone 13: power

iPhone 14 display

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple has outdone itself and built the most powerful iPhone ever with iPhone 14, which won't come as much of a surprise to Apple loyals considering that iPhones consistently get more powerful every year. 

This year, you get Apple's A15 Bionic chip that comes with a 5-core GPU and a 6-core CPU alongside the 16-core Neural Engine. Apple promises a 15 per cent increase in GPU power for the gamers out there.

We are starting to see a decrease in the huge performance differentials we've traditionally seen gen-on-gen with iPhone, though, as iPhone 14 and iPhone 13 both use a 6-core CPU – and Apple isn't even talking about the performance differential in terms of CPU power from iPhone 13 to iPhone 14. 

While the iPhone 14 is more powerful on paper, we don't expect it to blow the iPhone 13 out of the water in practise.

iPhone 14 vs iPhone 13: camera

Rear camera iPhone 14

(Image credit: Apple)

This is one category in which the iPhone 14 is expected to massively outclass iPhone 13. With the iPhone 14, you're going to get a 12MP camera with a larger, faster aperture that Apple claims improves low-light performance by an impressive 49 per cent. The ultrawide camera makes a return in the iPhone 14, and the TrueDepth camera on iPhone 14 is getting 43 per cent better in low-light environments.

As far as video goes, the iPhone 14 is introducing 'Action Mode' that features improved video stabilization for what Apple promises to be smoother video. Plus, you'll be able to shoot in Dolby Vision and HDR on iPhone 14, making it a sweet choice for all those budding videographers out there looking to make movies for cheap.

While not particularly relevant for the average, casual photographer, these are some fairly substantial improvements, so if you're big into photo quality, this is one reason to opt for the iPhone 14 over the iPhone 13.

iPhone 14 vs iPhone 13: battery

Apple

(Image credit: Apple)

Battery life is getting an increase with iPhone 14, thanks to more efficient processing courtesy of the A15 chip. Accordingly, we're expecting the best battery life we've seen on iPhone yet. Apple hasn't released specific figures for this yet though, so we don't know how much better it will be.

The iPhone 13 had 19 hours of video playback or 75 hours of audio playback of battery life, so we can reasonably expect these numbers to increase. As the battery life on the iPhone 13 was already competitive, suffice it to say that any jump in endurance will be well received. 

iPhone 14 vs iPhone 13: early verdict

On paper, this year's iPhone 14 is better than the iPhone 13. Yes, a lot of it is the same, but there have been developments in key areas (camera) and incremental jumps (power and battery life) that make the iPhone 14 the best standard iPhone model ever. 

How much these differences translate into real-life advantages is for us to find out very soon. You'll have to wait for our full review later on this year for a final verdict, but you can reasonably expect the iPhone 14 to be the better buy over the iPhone 13 considering the small price difference between the two.

With a more powerful processor, better GPU, nicer camera, and improved battery life over an already excellent predecessor, the iPhone 14 is set to be a powerful, capable smartphone – just like its 14 Pro and Pro Max siblings.

MORE:

Check out our iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Max preview

All the details on the iPhone 14 line-up

The AirPods Pro 2 are official too

Ruben Circelli
Staff Writer

Ruben is a Staff Writer at What Hi-Fi? and longtime consumer technology and gaming journalist. Since 2014, Ruben has written news, reviews, features, guides, and everything in-between at a huge variety of outlets that include Lifewire, PCGamesN, GamesRadar+, TheGamer, Twinfinite, and many more. Ruben's a dedicated gamer, tech nerd, and the kind of person who misses physical media. In his spare time, you can find Ruben cooking something delicious or, more likely, lying in bed consuming content.