iPhone 14 Pro vs. iPhone 13 Pro: Should you upgrade?

Apple’s latest iPhone has arrived. The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max represent the best the company has to offer customers this year.

But if you already own the iPhone 13 Pro, should you upgrade to the iPhone 14 Pro? Or is it better to save your money for next year’s model? Find out in this comparison.

Comparison of iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro

As successive generations of the ‌iPhone‌, the ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌ and ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ share many design similarities and key features.

However, the ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ offers several key upgrades over the ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌, including better cameras, an always-on display, and an improved A16 Bionic chip. But the clincher is the all-new Dynamic Island, a fun and quirky new UI element that makes the iPhone 14 Pro one of the most exciting iPhones we’ve seen.

Design: Little difference

The new iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max come in four colors, including two new ones (Space Black and Dark Purple).
Picture: Apple
  • iPhone 13 Pro: 146.7mm x 71.5mm x 7.65mm; 204 grams; IP68 water and dust resistant up to 6 meters
  • iPhone 14 Pro: 147.5mm x 71.5mm x 7.85mm; 206 grams; IP68 water and dust resistant up to 6 meters

The iPhone 14 Pro series follows the same design language as the iPhone 13 Pro line. They use Ceramic Shield glass on the front, surgical grade stainless steel and are IP68 water resistant.

There’s a slight difference in the dimensions and weight of the new iPhones, but it’s not drastic enough for you to notice immediately.

The biggest change is the Dynamic Island pill notch + hole on the iPhone 14 series. Apple has cleverly used this new configuration to display important information and notifications.

The color is the only other noticeable change. The iPhone 14 Pro lineup comes in four hues: silver, space black, dark purple, and gold. The old iPhone was available in five colors, with Apple dropping last year’s sierra blue and alpine green shades.

Display: Dynamic Island is the highlight

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The dynamic island turns into different kinds of notifications.
Picture: Apple
  • iPhone 13 Pro: 6.1-inch, Super Retina XDR display, 2532 x 1170 pixel resolution, 1000 nits brightness, 1200 nits peak brightness, HDR10, Dolby Vision, 120Hz ProMotion
  • iPhone 14 Pro: 6.1-inch, Super Retina XDR display, Dynamic Island, 2556 x 1179 pixel resolution, 1000 nits brightness, 2000 nits peak brightness, HDR10, Dolby Vision, 120Hz ProMotion

On paper, the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max retain the same display size as their predecessors. This year you get the usual generational improvements and Always-On Display support.

Apple claims that the iPhone 14 Pro display can peak at 1600 nits while displaying HDR content. And outdoors, the maximum brightness reaches 2000 nits. That’s double the peak brightness of last year’s model.

Apple uses two ambient light sensors on the iPhone 14 Pro: one on the front and another on the back. This small quality-of-life improvement will allow the new iPhone to more accurately manage screen brightness based on ambient light.

Performance: improved efficiency

  • iPhone 13 Pro – A15 Bionic, 5nm fab, 16-core neural engine
  • iPhone 14 Pro – A16 Bionic, 4nm fab, 50% more memory bandwidth, 16-core Neural Engine

Apple claims the A16 Bionic is its “fastest chip ever in a smartphone”. And while that may be true, this year’s A-series chip doesn’t bring as big of a performance jump as recent generations. Instead, based on the 4nm fab, Apple seems to have focused on efficiency improvements for better battery life. There is a claimed 20% reduction in power consumption of high-performance cores. This should help maintain peak performance while playing games and running heavy applications.

The chip also features a new display engine to handle the Always-On display and enable refresh rates as low as 1Hz.

There is no difference between the two phones in terms of storage and RAM. They both come with 6GB of RAM, and you can buy them with up to 1TB of storage.

Battery life: Better, but not really

There is no major difference in the rated battery life of iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro. Apple still claims that the two devices can provide up to 75 hours of audio playback or up to 20 hours of streaming video playback. Normal video playback time increased by one hour for the iPhone 14 Pro, compared to 22 hours on the iPhone 13 Pro. But that’s probably not a big enough difference to impact day-to-day use.

Charging speeds also remain the same. Phones can fast charge to 50% in 30 minutes using a 20W power adapter or higher.

Camera: Massive upgrades

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Some of the biggest upgrades to the Pro models involve the cameras.
Picture: Apple
  • iPhone 13 Pro: 12 MP f/1.5 main camera, sensor-shift stabilization; 12MP f/2.8 telephoto, 3x optical zoom, OIS; 12MP f/1.8 Ultra Wide, Macro; Flash True Tone, Deep Fusion, Cinematic mode ([email protected]); Front: 12MP camera with f/2.2 aperture
  • iPhone 14 Pro – 48MP f/1.78 main camera, 2nd generation sensor shift stabilization, 12MP f/2.8 telephoto lens, 3x optical zoom; 12MP f/2.2 Ultra Wide with larger 1.4um pixels, macro photography; Adaptive True Tone Flash, Photonic Engine, Deep Fusion, Cinematic Mode (4K HDR at 30fps), Action Mode; Front: 12MP camera with f/1.9 aperture, autofocus

Apple says the camera system in the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max “pushes the limits of what’s possible in a smartphone.” The triple-camera setup has been upgraded to include a new 48MP main camera and an upgraded 12MP Ultra Wide with larger pixels.

Add the software enhancements like the Photonics Engine, and Apple says you get massive improvements in low-light scenarios: up to 2x on the main camera, 3x on the Ultra Wide, and 2x on the Telephoto cameras and TrueDepth.

In addition to offering better image quality, Apple uses the 48MP sensor to offer a new 2x telephoto option. So now you get a zoom range from 0.6x to 1x, 2x and 3x without any noticeable impact on quality.

Apple has also updated the True Tone flash. It’s been redesigned with nine LEDs that now change intensity depending on the camera you’re using.

The 12-megapixel front camera now uses a wider f/1.9 aperture, allowing it to take in more light. Plus, it now has autofocus, so you’ll look better than ever in selfies.

Video recording: new handy features

In the video department, the iPhone 14 Pro series introduces an Action mode that provides GoPro-like stabilization when recording action footage. It uses data from the main and Ultra Wide camera to achieve this. Thanks to the A16 Bionic, you can now record cinematic video in 4K resolution at 30fps.

All of these improvements add up, but they’re not big enough to ditch your iPhone 13 Pro and upgrade to the iPhone 14 Pro just for camera performance.

Connectivity and sensors: Satellite!

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Yes, the iPhone 14 Pro can connect to satellites.
Screenshots: Apple/Cult of Mac
  • iPhone 13 Pro: Emergency SOS, three-axis gyroscope, physical nanoSIM slots, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS
  • iPhone 14 Pro: Emergency SOS with satellite, high dynamic range gyroscope, car crash detection, two eSIM slots, Bluetooth 5.3, precision dual-frequency GPS

Apple’s latest iPhone brings some notable changes over the iPhone 13 Pro in the connectivity and sensor department.

For starters, iPhone 14 Pro models sold in the US will not come with a physical nanoSIM card slot. Instead, they will only have dual eSIM support. Depending on how often you switch phones and your carrier, this can be a problem.

The main highlight of the iPhone 14 Pro series is the emergency SOS with satellite. In an emergency, the phone can connect to a satellite and allow you to contact friends/family or emergency services. The feature is free for the next two years, but is only available in the US and Canada.

Another new safety feature on the iPhone 14 Pro is car crash detection. This is made possible by the new high dynamic range gyroscope and other software improvements. Your iPhone will automatically detect when you are in an accident and contact emergency services.

iPhone 13 Pro vs iPhone 14 Pro: Is an upgrade worth it?

Yes, with reservations. The better cameras, always-on display, video stabilization, and improved chip are reason enough to upgrade, but the Dynamic Island seals the deal. The Dynamic Island is some of the best UI work Apple has done in years. Even though Apple designed it to cover a flaw, the Dynamic Island seems to provide real utility in everyday use – and will be a lot of fun to use! Is it necessary? Probably not. But I can’t remember a time when the iPhone pro was so different from the normal iPhone.

Of course, if you have an iPhone 13 Pro in perfect condition and you’re happy with it, it makes sense to keep it for another year. That way, you’ll better appreciate the improvements that next year’s iPhone will bring to the table.

About Harold Hartman

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