Is the 2022 upgrade to iPhone 14 Pro worth the extra cash?
iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro: Is Pro worth the extra dough?
Ever since Apple began releasing a Pro model alongside its regular flagship smartphones, the difference between the two has varied every year. But this year, Apple has packed the iPhone 14 Pro with more reasons than ever to consider going premium while the standard iPhone 14 has been left with last year's specs.
So while the decision is much of a muchness most years, the average Australian punter will want to carefully consider the 14 Pro's benefits before buying it over the iPhone 14.
Quick look: Should you buy iPhone 14 or 14 Pro?
There are four key considerations if you're tossing up between iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro: Price, performance, features and colours.
The iPhone 14 is obviously more affordable, starting at $350 cheaper than the iPhone 14 Pro's lowest price. But this year, that premium price nets you some seriously tempting features.
For one, the fancy Dynamic Island is exclusive to the 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max, while standard 14 (and 14 Plus) users are stuck with the same old notch. It's the same story for ProMotion (High Refresh Rate) and Always-on Display, two more features reserved for the Pro range. The list goes on; iPhone 14 Pro/Pro Max users get the faster A16 processor, a 48MP camera (plus telephoto and 6x digital) zoom, while those looking to save with iPhone 14/14 Plus settle for a 12MP main shooter and 2x digital zoom.
Lastly, the Pro range's exclusive 1TB model might only appeal to a few but the colour options available for iPhone 14 might be a sticking point for fans: the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max come in that interesting Deep Purple, as well as Gold, Silver and Space Black, while iPhone 14/14 Plus users have the option of Purple, Blue, Midnight (Black), Starlight (White) and PRODUCT (RED).
Unless you're not willing to budge on colour, the iPhone 14 Pro is the best choice this year, in our opinion. If the iPhone 14 catches your fancy, you'd be better off saving even more money by opting for the recently discounted iPhone 13. If it is the iPhone 14 or iPhone 14 Pro you're after, you'll find the most popular plans available for each handset from Telstra, Optus and Vodafone below.
iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro price comparison
Since Apple cut the most affordable member of the iPhone family (last year's iPhone 13 mini cost $1,199 at launch) from the lineup, the entry price to this year's iPhone 14 is an extra $200. The standard iPhone 14 starts at $1,399 for the 128GB model. One size bigger will cost you $1,579 for the iPhone 14 Plus 128GB, and the Pro series will cost you at least $1,749 and $1,899 minimum for the 128GB iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, respectively.
The top-end of the iPhone 14 range is also more expensive this year, with the iPhone 14 Pro Max 1TB model coming in hot at $2,819 ($100 more than the iPhone 13 equivalent).
iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro plans
Both the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro are available on 24 and 36-month plans through Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. The cheapest plans available for all four iPhone 14 models is the Vodafone $40 Lite Plan which gets you 40GB per month, unlimited calls and text, $5 per day roaming, and 5G access.
See below for more plan options for the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro.
iPhone 14 128GB plans
iPhone 14 Pro 128GB plans
iPhone 14 256GB plans
iPhone 14 Pro 256GB plans
Does the iPhone 14 Pro have a better camera this year?
This year, the iPhone 14 Pro has an unequivocally better camera system than the iPhone 14. Not only does the iPhone 14 Pro finally introduce a 48MP main camera to the range, it also brings back the 12MP telephoto lens (which adjusts the focal length) and includes 6x optical zoom, and more options for photography and editing, such as Night mode portraits, macro photography and Apple ProRaw.
Whether those advanced technical specs make a siginificant enough difference to day-to-day photography is yet to be seen but keep an eye out for our iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro reviews for our hands-on experiences.
iPhone 14 Pro
|Main: Wide-angle lens
|2x optical zoom out, 5x digital zoom
|6x optical zoom, 15x digital zoom
|Main: ƒ/1.5 Ultra-wide: ƒ/2.4
|Main: ƒ/1.78 Ultra-wide: ƒ/2.2 Telephoto: ƒ/2.8
|True Tone flash
|Adaptive True Tone flash
|Night mode and Night portrait
|4K @ 24/25/30/60fps
|4K @ 24/25/30/60fps
|Macro video recording
|Yes, including slow-motion and time-lapse
|ProRes video recording up to 4K @30fps (1080p @30fps for 128GB)
Design and display differences
What are the most signficant design differences between the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro?
Display and design
iPhone 14 Pro
|Super Retina XDR display
|ProMotion (120Hz refresh rate)
|Water-resistant (IP68, 6m/30 mins)
Over the past few years, the standard iPhone and iPhone Pro models have looked nearly identical from the front but this year's Dynamic Island (hole-punch camera) is an aesthetically striking and functional feature found exclusively in the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. Meanwhile, the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus will still have the notorious notch camera cutout (more on that in a moment).
Besides the Dynamic Island difference, the displays aren't too different at a glance. Both are Super Retina XDR/OLED displays with the same Ceramic Shield protective glass. But they are functionally different.
Apple's ProMotion (adaptive refresh rate up to 120Hz) and brand-new Always-on Display are both exclusive to the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone Pro Max.
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max also offer higher peak brightness on average. The 14 Pro/Pro Max claim 1,000 nits max typical brightness compared to the iPhone 14/14 Plus's 800 nits max typical brightness. In HDR, the iPhone 14 Pro/14 Pro Max offer 1,600 nits maximum brightness, while the 14 and 14 Plus offer 1,200 nits maximum. The iPhone 14 also doesn't make any claims for outdoor brightness, whereas the iPhone 14 Pro/14 Pro Max offer a 2,000 nits peak brightness when you're outside.
The only other major design disparities are the materials used in the chassis; surgical-grade stainless steel in the Pros and aerospace-grade aluminum in the 14 and 14 Plus; and the colours available. Here's what colour options are available with the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro:
- iPhone 14/14 Plus: Blue, Purple, Midnight (Black), Starlight (White), PRODUCT(RED)
- iPhone 14 Pro/14 Pro Max: Deep Purple, Gold, Space Black, Silver
That's where the design differences end. Otherwise, both handsets are water-resistant in up to 6 metres for up to 30 minutes at a time (IP68), and both versions come in the same two sizes: 6.1-inch (iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro) and 6.7-inch (iPhone 14 Plus and iPhone 14 Pro Max).
Performance and battery life preview
How much more power does the iPhone 14 Pro have?
For the first time ever, those who choose standard iPhone 14 will be stuck with last year's A15 Bionic processor, opting out of the new-and-improved A16 Bionic processor which is exclusive to the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. Recent reports claim the A16 Bionic processor is about 28% faster than the A15, a generous jump in GPU performance for iPhone 14 users.
In addition to providing a nice little performance bump, the A16 allegedly consumes around 20% less power than the A15 too, which could translate to longer battery life in the iPhone 14 Pro. That tracks with Apple's claims on its website, where it lists 23 hours of video playback for the iPhone 14 Pro and only 20 hours for the iPhone 14.
At the end of the day, there's no point of commenting on performance and battery-life claims until we've had a chance to test out real-life performance and endurance. So be sure to check back when we've had time to review both the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14.
Should I buy the iPhone 14 or iPhone 14 Pro?
Normally we'd suggest waiting for the reviews to decide between the iPhone 14 or iPhone 14 Pro. We still believe that to be true. But this is Apple, and people (many, many people) are going to go out and buy their iPhone 14 as soon as they possibly can. So it's worth making an early call based on Apple's claims to help you decide what's right for you.
At this stage, the better choice is the iPhone 14 Pro by a landslide, moreso than any Pro release prior. Sure, the $350 premium you pay for Pro isn't cheap but that expense simply gets you a lot more this year, some of this iPhone family's most interesting features. The stars of the show this year are the Pro-exclusive Dynamic Island, the Always-on Display and the hot new A16 Bionic chip but even some of the premium perks of yesteryear (ProMotion) are still exclusive to the Pro range.
There's a case to be made for the bigger iPhone 14 Plus, for those who want the larger 6.7-inch display without going full Pro Max but the standard iPhone 14 is too similar to the iPhone 13 to warrant a purchase on its own. Honestly, if the iPhone 14's cheaper price tag appeals to you, do yourself a favour and find an even cheaper price on a refurbished iPhone 13.