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iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro: which is better?

iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro: which is better?
(Image credit: Apple)

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 go Pro? Or stick with a standard model?

Below, we'll take you through the pros and cons of the various models, 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...

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. 

Pre-orders start on the 9th September. Availability starts on 16th September (the Plus will be a latecomer – it's not due in stores until 7th October). 

 iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro: design and colours

iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro: which is better?

(Image credit: Apple)

The iPhone 14 looks almost identical to the iPhone 13, save for a larger camera on the back. The larger 6.7-inch Plus version could be a better option for streaming and gaming on the budget. Both the standard models use durable, aerospace-grade aluminum and come in five finishes: midnight, blue, starlight, purple and (Product Red).

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 looks like a much neater solution that the hated notch. The phone's metal surround is made from even more durable surgical steel (cue oohs and aahs). The Pro models come in four colours: Space Black, silver, gold and deep purple. 

 iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14: display 

iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro: which is better?

(Image credit: Apple)

The standard iPhone 14 models boast Super Retina XDR (OLED) displays that support 1200 nits of peak HDR brightness, a 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio and Dolby Vision. Apple made no mention of a 120Hz refresh rate, which means performance tops out at 60Hz (so, no improvement on the iPhone 13 or 13 mini).

As you'd expect, the flagship iPhone 14 Pro models are far more advanced. Both have a new Super Retina XDR display that features "always on" tech that enables a new custom Lock Screen. This keep certain elements visible but dimmed – saving power whilst provide easy access to key information. 

Like the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max, the new Pro models boast variable refresh rate screens, which means they can scale from 1Hz to 120Hz as required. The displays also boast a peak brightness of up to 2000 nits – that's twice as bright as last year's iPhone 13 Pro. You should have no trouble seeing them in bright sunshine...

 iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro: power and storage 

iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro: which is better?

(Image credit: Apple)

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, which aims to stretch battery life whilst powering Apple's 48MP camera, Action mode video-stabilising tech and 5G connectivity. The speedy new silicon should come in handy when gaming, too. The chip's 5-core graphics processor works with a 16-core Neural engine that is capable of "17 trillion operations per second". The result? Silky-smooth gaming on the go... in theory, at least.

The cheaper iPhone 14 and 14 Plus make do with an enhanced version of the A15 Bionic chip that featured in the iPhone 13. For reference, the A15 Bionic has a 16-core Neural Engine capable of a mere 15.8 trillion operations per second. Hardly surprising – the A15 uses 5nm architecture whereas the A16 chip benefits from cutting-edge 4nm architecture.

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 

iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro: which is better?

(Image credit: Apple)

Like the iPhone 12 and 13, the iPhone 14 has a dual camera setup comprising of a 12MP wide camera and 12MP ultra wide camera. As for upgrades, the iPhone 14 promises a "49 per cent improvement" in low-light performance and sports a new front camera that – for the first time – uses autofocus.

Not bad. But the iPhone 14 Pro blows 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.  

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 

iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro: which is better?

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple has announced that its latest iPhones offer "the best battery life of any iPhone", which sounds rather vague.

Digging into Cupertino's iPhone comparison site reveals that iPhone 15 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 does better still: it can manage "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: early verdict

iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro: which is better?

(Image credit: Apple)

Despite some solid upgrades, the iPhone 14 looks a lot like the iPhone 13 and boasts a similar camera. Still, while it doesn't appear to be a gigantic leap into the future, it's worth remembering that Apple has kept the price comparable to that of the iPhone 13. Which could make it something of a bargain.

That said, if you can scrape together a slightly bigger budget, it looks like you'll be richly rewarded by the iPhone 14 Pro (and Pro Max). More megapixels, faster internals, a 120Hz 'always on' display and a slick 'Dynamic Island' in place of that ugly notch sounds pretty tempting if you ask us.

You can’t review a phone by looking at its specs though. So while the iPhone 14 Pro seems to have the edge in this initial comparison, we'll reserve judgement until we've put these handsets through their paces.

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Tom is a journalist, copywriter and content designer based in the UK. He has written articles for T3, ShortList, The Sun, The Mail on Sunday, The Daily Telegraph, Elle Deco, The Sunday Times, Men's Health, Mr Porter, Oracle and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include mobile technology, electric vehicles and video streaming.