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Intro

If you don’t feel like carrying a Max-sized phone in your pocket, the newly-unveiled iPhone 14 Pro will suit you just right with its smaller size. But how is it different from the previous iPhone 13 Pro? And is it worth upgrading to the newer model if you already own the 13 Pro?

The iPhone 14 Pro comes with mostly the same design but with two slight changes: one is a taller screen with thinner borders around it, making the phone just a bit narrower and easier to hold, and the second one is a new Dynamic Island instead of the familiar notch.

You are also getting a faster Apple A16 chip, faster memory, and – for the first time in a long while – a higher resolution sensor for the main camera. Here are the key differences between the two.

iPhone 14 Pro vs iPhone 13 Pro differences in a nutshell:

  • Thinner borders, taller aspect ratio for the screen
  • Pill-shaped cutout (named the Dynamic Island) instead of the notch
  • Always-on display on 14 Pro
  • Faster A16 Bionic chip
  • Higher-res 48MP main camera
  • Satellite connectivity on new model

Table of Contents:

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Design and Display

Similar design, but thinner bezels and improved display

The iPhone 14 Pro has the familiar styling from the previous two generations: matte glass back, stainless steel body, flat sides.

In terms of practicality, you get the same IP68 water and dust protection on both the 14 Pro and 13 Pro, and both use the Lightning connector (that rumored USB-C iPhone should be happening in 2023 though).

The most noticeable change is on the front where instead of the notch you now get the Dynamic Island. It still takes up quite some space, but less than the notch. The real advantage is however the way it animates and shows you useful information, a bit like a status bar on steroids. It’s not a game-changer, but it definitely feels like one very cool new detail that we appreciate having.

In terms of color options, the new iPhone 14 Pro comes with one less, there is no green color. The iPhone 14 Pro colors are: Deep Purple, Gold, Silver, and Space Black. In comparison, the iPhone 13 Pro was offered in Alpine Green, Silver, Gold, Graphite, and Sierra Blue.

No changes to the contents of the box, though: a Lightning cable to USB-C cable will be included, but there will be no charger inside.

So… what about the display? Both phones come with a 6.1-inch OLED screen with practically identical resolution.

However, the iPhone 14 Pro comes with Always-On display, a much anticipated feature. It is essentially a dimmed lockscreen that might feel just a bit too “on”, but it’s nice to have. No such feature for the iPhone 13 Pro, unfortunately.

And when it comes to security, both phones use Face ID. Despite that new pill-shaped cutout on the 14 Pro, the sensors inside are the same, and Face ID will work just like it did on the 13 Pro.

Performance and Software

What’s new with the Apple A16 chip?

The iPhone 14 Pro gets the next generation of Apple silicon, the A16 Bionic chip. This new processor is an upgrade over the Apple A15, but it is a modest boost in performance. It is built on a next generation 4nm process (vs 5nm for the older A15 chip), however, it seems that most of the advantages have gone into optimizing its power efficiency.

Benchmark Results:

While we still get 6GB of RAM on board, Apple is using faster LPDDR5 memory, another upgrade over the LPDDR4X used in the previous model.

Both the iPhone 14 Pro and 13 Pro run on the newest iOS 16 software. The 14 Pro launches with it, while the 13 Pro has gotten it as an update, but at the end of the day you have mostly the same software on the two. We say mostly because the iPhone 14 Pro comes with two new features that are not coming to previous models:
  • Satellite Connectivity — this allows you to connect to a satellite in remote places with no cellular signal. It requires a clear view of the sky and you have to point your iPhone towards a satellite to lock signal, but this can be a life-saving feature.
  • Crash Detection — thanks to an improved accelerometer, the new iPhone can now detect if a person has been in a severe car crash and it will automatically call 911. Once again, this feature could be a life-saver.
For software updates, Apple traditionally keeps its phones up to date for 5 or even 6 years, so both of these devices are perfectly future-proof.

Camera

New 48MP main camera sensor ups the ante

The big new iPhone 14 Pro camera feature has got to be the higher resolution 48MP sensor for the main camera. It comes to replace the current 12MP one, and because of its larger size, that camera bump on the back has become even bigger.

iPhone 14 Pro vs 13 Pro camera expected differences:

  • 1X camera: 48MP on 14 Pro vs 12MP on 13 Pro
  • 0.5X camera: 12MP on both
  • 3X camera: 12MP on both

Main Camera

While they look very similar, you can notice the wider field of view (24mm vs 26mm) on the newer iPhone.

Color reproduction is about the same, but what you’d notice if you look closer is quite the excessive sharpening on the new iPhone and that just goes a bit too extreme in our opinion.

The wider main camera and the improved low-light processing help the 14 Pro capture more light in even very dark conditions, and you can see in the above example that it does have a slight advantage over the previous generation iPhone. However, that extra sharpening on the new iPhone, still bothers us here. 

In the photo above, you can see the newer iPhone capture more light, but at the same time, the white balance on the older 13 Pro model is more accurate.

Ultra-wide Camera

The ultra-wide camera has undergone a similarly small transformation, as the above images are pretty similar.

In nearly pitch black conditions, the iPhone 14 Pro is able to gather more light using the ultra-wide camera.

Front Camera

In selfies, Apple is changing the color processing and most importantly your face and the skin color now look better. The iPhone 14 Pro gets rid of the flat and reddish colors in faces which is great.

At night, the iPhone 14 Pro does a better job capturing a clean photo with the front camera.

Portrait Mode

Both iPhones captures portraits at 1X and 3X, with few changes in those modes, but the real difference-maker here is the new 2X portrait mode on the 14 Pro. We are so glad it’s back! This is a super versatile focal length, just perfect for portraits, and no wonder a similar “nifty-fifty” 2X lens is the first prime lens most photographers get with their pro cameras. Good job, Apple!

In low light, there are no big differences between the two, and it’s still not a great idea to use the 3X portrait mode option at night, but 1X and 2X portraits on the iPhone 14 Pro turn out much better.

Zoom

Apple makes full use of the higher res and bigger 48MP main camera sensor, and crops out the middle part to give users 2X quality, and this is indeed good.

You won’t notice much of a difference when you compare day shots with the native 3X zoom lenses on these two iPhones.

Using the 3X mode in extreme low-light conditions such as above, both iPhone will actually use a crop of the main sensor and here you can see an improvement from the larger sensor.

On the video side, Cinematic Mode, which launched last year but only with 1080p support, is now available in 4K resolution and you can now pick between 24fps or 30fps. Neat!

Another new video feature is Action Mode. This feature is optional and you can toggle it on and off in the camera app. At the expense of some cropping, it brings impressive, gimbal-like stabilization to video footage and will be particularly useful for sports and well… action shots!

Audio Quality and Haptics

The iPhone 13 family altogether made a huge leap in audio quality with louder and richer sound on all four models. We will update you on audio quality from the iPhone 14 Pro soon, so stay tuned.

Don’t forget that neither the 14 Pro, nor the 13 Pro have a headphone jack, so your good old classic headphones will only work via an adapter that you have to buy separately.

As for haptic feedback, we have had no issues with the 13 Pro and its Taptic Engine, and we have similar excellency in the 14 Pro, with no changes in this area.

 

Battery Life and Charging

Same battery life, same charging speeds

The iPhone 13 Pro brought a noticeable improvement in battery life compared to previous models and that was mostly thanks to a larger physical capacity of the battery.

We have now seen the battery size of the iPhone 14 Pro and it’s only slightly larger.
  • iPhone 14 Pro battery size: 3,200 mAh (+3% bigger)
  • iPhone 13 Pro battery size: 3,095mAh

Apple official battery life numbers confirm that the actual battery life remains the same: 20 hours of video streaming and 75 hours of audio playback on both models

PhoneArena Battery Test Results:

In our independent video test where we play a set playlist of YouTube videos over a Wi-Fi connection and with all phones set at equal brightness levels, we found the iPhone 14 Pro actually outlast the 13 Pro by a tiny bit, which might be a small difference that Apple did not account for in its testing.

Keep in mind, though, that if you use the Always-on Display, it might drain an addition 5% of your battery every day, so you may actually have worse battery life on the 14 Pro, if you use this feature.

As for charging speeds, there are no changes. The 14 Pro supports 20W charging officially (but it can actually top up at 23W speeds), same as the previous model, which means a full top-up with a compatible charger takes around 2 hours.

And both the iPhone 14 and 13 series support MagSafe, the futuristic magnetic wireless charging tech that provides speeds of up to 15W.

Specs Comparison

Summary and Final Verdict

Summing it all up, the iPhone 14 Pro has a slightly faster processor, brighter screen, a cool new Dynamic Island feature, an impressive ProRAW 48MP photo capture, and a surprisingly useful new 2X zoom mode.

However, the excessive sharpening in regular 12MP photos bothers us and we actually often preferred the look of photos from the previous model, which is not as aggressive.

Should you upgrade from the 13 Pro? The list of improvements is there, but it’s not as big as in previous years, and overall the new 14 Pro feels a lot like a 13S Pro.

If you find a great trade-in offer, then an upgrade might make sense, but we don’t feel like you’d be missing out on all that much this year and you may want to hold on to that 13 Pro until next year when bigger changes are hopefully coming with the iPhone 15.

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