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The iPhone 14 Pro is here, but does that mean you need to upgrade? With the iPhone 13 Pro's release a little over a year ago, how and where do the Pro phones differ? While Apple's event name for its new arsenal drop, "Far out," suggested groundbreaking innovations, the differences we see are subtle and mainly revolve around the addition of an improved camera system, an updated chipset, and some software tweaks.
The dilemma many now face is simple: are these differences impactful enough to warrant an upgrade? That depends. Here are the key reasons to make the switch to the iPhone 14 Pro or stick with last year's iPhone 13 Pro. Additionally, you can check out our list of the best iPhones to further your research.
Also: eSIM vs. SIM: What's the difference?
iPhone 14 Pro
iPhone 13 Pro
6.1-inch OLED, 120Hz
6.1-inch OLED, 120Hz
48MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 12MP telephoto with 3X optical zoom
12MP main, 12MP telephoto, 12MP ultrawide
|RAM/storage||6GB with 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB||6GB with 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB|
|Video features||8K video recording with Action Mode||4K HDR with Cinematic Mode|
Deep Purple, Space Black, Silver, Gold, and Blue
Alpine Green, Silver, Gold, Graphite, Sierra Blue
|Price||Starting at $999||Starting at $999|
Matching the event name, the new camera suite for the iPhone 14 Pro lets you take photos far out. Going from the iPhone 13 Pro's 12-megapixel main wide camera to a 48MP main wide camera, the larger sensor enables improved low-light shots and better autofocus (specifically in selfie mode), and keeps figures in focus while still providing details and vibrancy to the surrounding subjects. A 48MP camera enables better zoom and night mode or low-light capabilities, providing a sharper image even from far away or in dark conditions. Not to mention the 48MP sensor is 65% larger than the iPhone 13 Pro's main camera.
Along with the main 48MP camera, the 14 Pro is equipped with a 12MP ultrawide lens and a 12MP telephoto lens with 3X zoom capabilities. The new sensor also adds a 2X telephoto option that captures detail, sharpening, and exposure from farther away.
For video, the iPhone 14 Pro has a new Action Mode to help with stabilization, even when you are in the action behind the camera. For all you casual home filmmakers, Cinematic mode is also improved, with even sharper quality and detail between transitions.
Also: iPhone 13 Pro review: A trifecta of meaningful upgrades
Probably the biggest change from the iPhone 13 Pro to the iPhone 14 Pro is the new notch and lock screen interface, with Dynamic Island and always-on display functions. Bridging the gap between lock screen widgets and home screen notifications, the new Dynamic Island allows easy and live access to controls while you are still using other apps, including music player toggles, microphone indicators, and more.
For another example, your timer will appear at the top of the screen while you're scrolling through Instagram so that you know exactly when to check the chicken in the oven.
Rather than breaking up the center with a notch like on the iPhone 13 Pro's display, the new pill-shaped notch removes a bit of black space and now doubles as adaptive live widgets.
The updated notch space will also encapsulate the privacy indicators for the phone's new microphone and camera and leave space for the anticipated return of the battery percentage display (thanks to iOS 16).
Also: iPhone 14 and everything Apple announced at its Far Out event
Both the iPhone 14 Pro has larger batteries. That's a fact. The iPhone 14 Pro is rated for up to 23 hours of video playback, while the iPhone 13 Pro only has 22 hours of video playback. While that's only one hour less, that hour could make all the difference.
The new A16 Bionic Chip also remains to be tested but we expect better efficiency and performance on the iPhone 14 Pro.
Also: Just how much faster is the iPhone 14?
While the larger camera system and bigger battery are better for the day-to-day, it does mean the iPhone 14 Pro is bulkier and can even be uncomfortable to use depending on your hand size. The bigger camera also takes up more space on the back of the phone, possibly making it less back-pocket-friendly.
The new pill notch at the top of the screen, the Dynamic Island features, and the always-on display will be appreciated by some, especially multitaskers, but could be annoying for others. If you simply don't like the look or don't want to get used to a new layout, you may want to skip the pesky learning curve and stick with the iPhone 13 Pro.
While not the shinest new toy on the market, the iPhone 13 Pro is still a solid phone for all the same reasons as the 14 Pro: great photography options such as macro and cinema mode, good battery life, and iOS. In fact, if you want to save the hassle of upgrading and transferring all your data, you may be better off sticking with the previous model for now and seeing how far out the iPhone 14 Pro really does go.
Also: Google Pixel 6 Pro vs Apple iPhone 13 Pro: Which should you buy?
Open to other smartphone prospects? Consider these ZDNET-recommended devices: