Apple has unveiled four new iPhones for 2022. The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus are the affordable models; the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max are the flagships. But should you stick with the standard model or go Pro?
Below, we'll take you through the pros and cons, to help you get your head around the iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro debate. From features to prices to cameras to screens... there's plenty to think about here.
Read on and well help you decide whether it's worth opening your wallet wider for the iPhone 14 Pro...
- Considering last year's model? iPhone 14 vs iPhone 13
iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro: price
The 6.1-inch iPhone 14 (128GB) is your cheapest option. It starts at $799 / £849 / AU$1399.
The larger, 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Plus (128GB) will set you back $899 / £949 / AU$1579.
Want to go Pro? Be prepared to shell out more. The 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro (128GB) is $999 / £1099 / AU$1749.
Want Apple's "ultimate" Pro model? The 6.7-inch 14 Pro Max (128GB) starts at $1099 / £1199 / AU$1899.
The iPhone 14 is available in 128GB, 256GB and 512GB storage options. But only the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max offer storage options up to 1TB.
iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro: design and colours
The iPhone 14 looks almost identical to the iPhone 13, save for a larger camera on the back. The same flat aluminium frame sandwiched between two sheets of glass remains, with the same 6.1-inch OLED Super Retina display up front. The 14 does come in some new colours, however, with Midnight (black/navy), Starlight (silver), and Product Red being joined by two soft pastel shades of Blue and Purple.
The iPhone 14 Pro is a little more luxe. It ditches the notch in favour of a pill-shaped "Dynamic Island", which seemingly expands to provide notifications. It's a much neater solution that the hated notch. It’s a neat and inventive solution, though there are occasions where its dynamic actions look awkward, such as when it expands to a square when doing a Face ID check.
The iPhone 14 Pro's metal surround is made from extra-durable surgical steel (cue oohs and aahs). The Pro models come in four colours: Silver, Gold, Deep Purple and Space Black.
iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14: display
The excellent Super Retina OLED display of the iPhone 13 returns to the iPhone 14. HDR10 and Dolby Vision support also return, while HLG is added. The one obvious disappointment? ProMotion is yet to trickle down to the non-Pro iPhones, so the 14 is stuck at 60Hz. Still, the impeccable contrast and sharply defined edges result in a picture that oozes three-dimensional depth.
As you'd expect, the flagship iPhone 14 Pro models are far more advanced. Both have a new Super Retina XDR display with a peak brightness of 1600 nits – significantly higher than last year's 1200 nits – and Pro Motion. The latter allows iPhones to reduce their refresh rate to just 1Hz; useless for watching content but perfect for conserving battery power.
The iPhone 14 Pro's extra brightness is immediately obvious. You can expect richer tones and more authentic, subtle dark shadows. The iPhone 14 Pro models also boast "always on" tech that enables a new custom Lock Screen. A nice addition, although we found that it takes some getting used to.
iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro: power and storage
This year marks the first time that Apple's souped-up Pro models have snagged a faster chip than the stock models.
Thus, the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max have an A16 chip. Apple says its CPU uses 20 per cent less power than the A15, while its GPU is said to boast 50 per cent more memory bandwidth. Certainly, the new Pro Max is flawlessly fast and stutter-free in use, but it’s not as if last year’s model ever felt sluggish.
The cheaper iPhone 14 and 14 Plus make do with an enhanced version of the A15 Bionic chip that featured in the iPhone 13. This is backed by an extra 2GB of RAM, which should keep daily use and multitasking running smoothly, and the 14 apparently has more sophisticated cooling to ensure the processor doesn’t overheat – but it is hard to ignore the fact that the guts of the 14 are almost identical to those of the 13.
All four iPhones 14 handsets are available in 128GB, 256GB and 512GB storage capacities. Need extra space for apps and videos? The Pro models offer 1TB storage options.
iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro: camera
The upgrade that truly differentiates the iPhone 14 from the 13 is the camera system. The front camera now includes digital autofocus for clearer selfies, while the rear cameras are now bigger and faster. Still comprising a pair of 12MP shooters, including a standard wide and ultrawide lens, the main sensor now features bigger pixels and a faster aperture, resulting in improved performance in both daytime shots and Night Mode.
Not bad, but the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max blow the stock models out of the water with three cameras, including a colossal 48MP main camera with a quad-pixel sensor (a huge upgrade on 12MP main camera found on the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max). You also get a new 12MP Ultra Wide camera, an updated Telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom, the latest front camera and a redesigned Adaptive True Tone flash armed with nine LEDs.
When employed for macro photography, the ultrawide camera is more detailed and more vibrant as a result of the upgrades. And in general, the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s photos are marginally better than those taken on the 13 Pro Max, particularly in low-light conditions.
All four iPhone 14 models boast Apple's clever new Action mode, which promises to replicate the effect of a gimbal. If it works as Apple says it does, you can expect smooth footage even when your hands are shaking.
iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro: battery
Apple has announced that its latest iPhones offer "the best battery life of any iPhone".
As such, iPhone 14 battery size has also been increased slightly, from the 13’s 3240mAh to 3279mAh. While this isn’t earth-shattering by any means, the 14 easily makes it through the day without having to resort to battery-saving measures.
Digging into Cupertino's iPhone comparison site reveals that iPhone 14 offers "up to 20 hours video playback". The iPhone 14 Pro tops that with "up to 23 hours video playback" – one hour more than the iPhone 13 Pro.
The iPhone 14 Plus supposedly does better still: "up to 26 hours with video playback". But iPhone 14 Pro Max is the clear winner – it promises "up to 29 hours with video playback", one hour more than the iPhone 13 Pro Max.
iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro: sound
The audio performance of the 14 is strikingly similar to that of the 13. The iPhone still requires a Lightning to 3.5mm audio adapter (not included in the box) since it ditched the headphone socket back with the iPhone 7, but Bluetooth is always an alternative for those wanting a wireless solution.
Timing is snappy and the loudspeakers are very good by smartphone standards. Vocals are clear and punchy, utilising the stereo set-up to create a more spacious arrangement than you get from the vast majority of phones. Bass could be slightly better as it lacks impact at times, but it still outperforms other phones at this level.
Although we haven't reviewed the iPhone 14 Pro, the Pro audio performance of the Max blew us away. It's clearly punchier, more rhythmic, weightier, clearer and more dynamic than its predecessors, and there's slightly more warmth. These improvements mean the iPhone 14 Pro Max sounds even better than Sony’s Xperia 1 IV, which until now was the best-sounding smartphone we’d tested.
iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro: early verdict
The iPhone 14 is a five-star device that offers a better camera, but its AV performance is essentially identical to that of the iPhone 13. If you're not interested in the upgraded camera, you might be better off going for last year's model, which Apple has now reduced.
The iPhone 14 Pro is a different story. It offers a selection of worthwhile upgrade that elevate video performance to new heights. It's also the best-sounding smartphone we've ever tested.
If you're a movie or music lover, and have the budget, Apple's latest Pro and Pro Max handsets offer a truly spectacular experience.
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