iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro — which model should Aussies go for?

iphone 14 vs iphone 14 pro
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

When it comes to picking the right iPhone for you, the first decision most Australians will need to make is whether to go with a regular iPhone, or pay extra for the Pro model.

While this decision required a little more nuance in previous years, the gap between Apple's iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 14 Pro has widened the playing field significantly, making the two handset completely different phones for the most part. 

We're talking different designs, cameras, chipsets and more. In fact, you could be forgiven for thinking that the regular iPhone 14 feels more like a slight upgrade to the iPhone 13, while the iPhone 14 Pro feels like a real next-generation Apple smartphone.

That's not to say that Apple's iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus are without merit — we're certain that many Aussies will see their lower price points as a legitimate reason to skip Apple's Pro models this year. This large gulf in price may be the key deciding factor as to whether the iPhone 14 or iPhone 14 Pro is right for you.

With that in mind, we're here to offer you a detailed break down of the key differences between the two models so that you can make an informed decision.

This comparison also includes information about the iPhone 14 Plus and iPhone 14 Pro Max, which face the same differences as the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro, but with larger screens.

So without further ado, here's a detailed description of what separates these phones that share a number, but little else.

iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 14 Pro: Specs

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 iPhone 14iPhone 14 PlusiPhone 14 ProiPhone 14 Pro Max
Screen size6.1-inches6.7-inches6.1-inches6.7-inches
Refresh rate60Hz60Hz1-120Hz1-120Hz
CPUApple A15 BionicApple A15 BionicApple A16 BionicApple A16 Bionic
Storage128GB, 256GB, 512GB128GB, 256GB, 512GB256GB, 512GB, 1TB256GB, 512GB, 1TB
CamerasDual 12MP (Wide, ultrawide)Dual 12MP (Wide, ultrawide)48MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 12MP telephoto with 3x optical zoom 48MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 12MP telephoto with 3x optical zoom
Size146.7 x 71.5 x 7.8mm160.8 x 78.1 x 7.8mm147.5 x 71.5 x 7.9mm160.7 x 77.6 x 7.9 mm
Dust/Water resistanceIP68IP68IP68IP68
ColorsPurple, blue, midnight, starlight, canary yellow and Product REDPurple, blue, midnight, starlight, canary yellow and Product REDPurple, gold, silver and space blackPurple, gold, silver and space black

iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 14 Pro: Price and availability

Apple released the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max on September 16 with the iPhone 14 Plus arriving later on October 7. The lineup starts at AU$1,399, then goes up to AU$1,579 for the Plus, AU$1,749 for the Pro, and AU$1,899 for the Pro Max.

Since these are iPhones, you can pick one up practically everywhere. Be sure to check out our best iPhone 14 deals page before you pull the trigger.

iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 14 Pro: Design

This is the first area where things diverge between the iPhone 14 versus iPhone 14 Pro. The standard iPhone 14 looks basically the same as the iPhone 13 from last year, including the diagonal camera lens layout and slimmer notch. The iPhone 14 Plus looks like a blown up version of that. If you liked the iPhone 13’s design, you’ll be just fine with the iPhone 14’s.

iPhone 14 Plus vs iPhone 14 Pro Max

(Image credit: Future)

But the iPhone 14 Pro turns out to be where Apple spent its time. The design from the back looks similar to the iPhone 13 Pro, though the camera module is larger thanks to the new 48MP main sensor. (More on that below.) The fun Pro color this year is a beautiful deep purple, a rich violet fit for royalty. Meanwhile the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus get exclusive access to the new canary yellow hue.

Around front, the notch is gone on the iPhone 14 Pro, replaced with a wide pill-shaped cutout that is the main focus of what Apple calls the Dynamic Island. This feature expands the cutout, taking advantage of the new screen real estate, for alerts and similar notifications. In the keynote, the feature looked slick, seeming to make good use of the space.

iPhone 14 Pro Max

(Image credit: Future)

So the iPhone 14 Pro killed the notch, the one that’s been around since the iPhone X arrived in 2017. Five years we’ve had to look at its unsightliness, but now the pill-shaped cutout is much more appealing (if we have to look at a cutout at all, since all-screen phones are far from perfect yet). 

If you’re tired of the same old iPhone design, then the iPhone 14 Pro might strike you as very exciting.

iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 14 Pro: Display

The good news is that there are just two screen sizes this year across the entire iPhone 14 lineup — 6.1 inches and 6.7 inches. The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro are the smallest models, while the iPhone 14 Plus and iPhone 14 Max pack in very large displays.

iPhone 14 Pro Plus vs iPhone 14 Pro Max

(Image credit: Future)

All four feature Apple’s Super Retina XDR and use OLEDs as the panel tech. The iPhone 14 has a resolution of 2532 x 1170 (460 ppi) while the iPhone 14 Pro is 2556 x 1179 (460 ppi), so the resolutions are functionally identical. For the larger handsets, the iPhone 14 Plus comes in at 2778 x 1284 (458 ppi) with the iPhone 14 Pro Max at 2796 x 1290 (460 ppi).

For brightness, Apple is touting both Pro and standard models as having crazy bright displays. The iPhone 14 is rated to have a peak HDR brightness of 1,200 nits, while the iPhone 14 Pro is set to have a jaw-dropping peak HDR brightness of 2,000 nits. That’s the brightest we’ve ever seen on a smartphone and twice as bright as the iPhone 13 Pro’s rating. 

However, in our testing, the iPhone 14 Pro hit a max HDR brightness of 1,448 nits. The iPhone 14 came in much dimmer at 734 nits.

iPhone 14 Plus vs iPhone 14 Pro Max

(Image credit: Future)

An always-on display feature finally comes to the iPhone with the iPhone 14 Pro. This is a low-power mode that lets you see some basic information at glance while your phone screen is off. The iPhone 14 does not get to enjoy this feature (that is basic on essentially every Android phone), as Apple is leaning heavily on the iPhone 14 Pro’s adaptive refresh rate to keep an always-on display from draining the phone’s battery.

As usual with iPhones, the displays are beautiful. With punchy colors and deep blacks, both the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro impress with any visual content. But the Pro holds a distinct advantage with brightness, which is ideal for outdoor use.

iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 14 Pro: Cameras

Like every year, Apple upgraded the cameras on both the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro. The iPhone 14 (and iPhone 14 Plus) gets a larger main 12MP sensor with larger pixels (1.9 microns), a faster f/1.5 aperture, and a touted 49% improvement in low-light performance. Sensor-shift image stabilization comes as standard.

iPhone 14 Plus vs iPhone 14 Pro Max

(Image credit: Future)

The 12MP front-facing camera on all four iPhone 14 models got a serious boost with an enhanced hybrid focus system, partially powered by the new autofocus capability. That should ensure clearer selfies. Apple also introduced the Photonic Engine across the iPhone 14 lineup, which uses AI to improve low-light photography across all three cameras.

Video also sees a bump thanks to Action mode, Apple’s latest tech. While perhaps not as impressive on the surface as the Cinematic mode addition from last year, Action mode looks like it’ll massively upgrade video stabilization, with Apple claiming you don’t need a gimbal. 

iPhone 14 Pro shown from front displaying iOS16 home screen

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The iPhone 14 Pro gets all of these software features, but with a new 48MP main sensor that’s also 65% larger than the iPhone 13 Pro’s sensor. It can do 2x optical zoom on its own, but in tandem with the 12MP 3x telephoto lens, you can get some nice zoomed photos. You can see how the iPhone 14 Pro's zoom compares to other flagships in our Pixel 7 Pro vs. iPhone 14 Pro vs. Galaxy S22 Ultra zoom shootout.

The 12MP ultrawide camera on the iPhone 14 Pro is also better than the iPhone 13 Pro’s, letting in three times more light than before. Even the flash has seen an improvement. And for pro photographers, the iPhone 14 Pro can capture a huge 48MP RAW image, unlocking a ton of potential for later edits.

It goes without saying that the iPhone 14 Pro's camera is better than the iPhone 14's. It is, after all, at the top of the best camera phones list.

iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 14 Pro: Performance

Yet another area where the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro diverge comes down to the chipset. The iPhone 14 sticks with the A15 Bionic from last year, though it uses the more advanced version found in the iPhone 13 Pro — the one with a 5-core GPU. It’s still a powerful chip by today’s standards, outpacing even the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 from Qualcomm, although not by much.

iPhone 14

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The iPhone 14 Pro, meanwhile, gets the new A16 Bionic with a hexa-core CPU, penta-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine, all built on a 4nm process. This is one powerful chip, outpacing all other smartphones. (Though, the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is going to push Android close to Apple's mark.)

iPhone 14 Pro shown from front displaying iOS16 home screen

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

In our Geekbench 5 testing, the iPhone 14 Pro scored 1,891 in single-core and 5,469 in multicore. Compare that to the iPhone 14's 1,727 / 4,553 output. That's quite a difference in the multicore performance.

The GPU also shows another divide, with the iPhone 14 Pro managing an average of 74 frames per second (fps) in 3DMark Wild Life Unlimited. In the same benchmark, the iPhone 14 got 69 fps. Not a huge difference, but still worth noting.

Finally, the phones are pretty much equal in the Adobe Premiere Rush 4K-1080p transcode test, with the iPhone 14 Pro completing the benchmark in 26 seconds while the iPhone 14 was right behind it at 28 seconds. 

Performance junkies might notice the disparity between the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14, but most people will not. But if you want the best of the best, you have to go Pro.

iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 14 Pro: Battery life and charging

We don’t know a lot about the batteries on the four iPhone models — Apple never shares capacities — so we can only go based on what Apple has said and our experience. With that in mind, both the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 disappointed when it came to battery life.

iPhone 14 Pro Max

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

In our battery life test, where we task a phone to endlessly reload web pages over a cellular connection, the iPhone 14 Pro barely exceeded the average we see at 10 hours, 13 minutes. The iPhone 14 clocked in a worse 9 hours, 28 minutes.

The iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Plus fared much better at 14 hours, 42 minutes and 11 hours, 57 minutes, respectively.

For reference, here’s what Apple said about battery performance for its new phones:

  • iPhone 14 - Up to 20 hours of video playback
  • iPhone 14 Plus - Up to 26 hours of video playback
  • iPhone 14 Pro - Up to 23 hours of video playback
  • iPhone 14 Pro Max - Up to 29 hours of video playback

Those numbers mean a whole lot of nothing in the context of real world use, as our testing has demonstrated. Many blame the iPhone 14 Pro's inferior battery life (as compared to its predecessor's 12:18) on the new always-on display, which seems to sap a lot of power.

But once again, the Pro holds the advantage, this time needing a charger less often.

iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 14 Pro: Software

Here’s an area where the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro are basically the same. They each run iOS 16, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system. This comes with features such as the new lock screen, where you can customize to match your style (and create multiple to switch between, such as with Focus modes). 

iPhone 14 Pro lock screen with Dynamic Island

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

You can also edit and undo send messages in iMessage, use the iCloud Shared Photo Library to share photos with family members, and other improvements. iOS 16 arrives for  all compatible iPhones on September 12, so your new iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max will have the latest version right out of the box.

Check out our iOS 16 review if you want to learn more about the software update.

iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 14 Pro: Verdict

We said at the outset of our iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 14 Pro comparison that there has never been more differences between the Pro and regular iPhone models than what you’ll find in the iPhone 14 lineup. Apple seems to have held back on the iPhone 14, making minimal to moderate upgrades over the iPhone 13 while pushing the boat out on the iPhone 14 Pro.

The focus with this round of updates appears to be on the iPhone 14 Pro, from its flashy new design to its upgraded cameras and powerful A16 Bionic chipset. For an extra AU$350 between the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro, you get much better performance, stronger telephoto capabilities, a brighter display, and enhanced photography prowess. The same holds true for the iPhone 14 Plus and the iPhone 14 Pro Max, though the Plus has some appeal for those who want a big-screen iPhone for around the AU$1,500 price range.

The AU$350 difference between the two models buys you a lot, from the Dynamic Island to the beefier camera system. It would be fair to call the iPhone 14 "boring."

Next: Check out our iPhone 14 vs iPhone 13 detailed camera face-off.

Jordan Palmer
Phones Editor

Jordan is the Phones Editor for Tom's Guide, covering all things phone-related. He's written about phones for over six years and plans to continue for a long while to come. He loves nothing more than relaxing in his home with a book, game, or his latest personal writing project. Jordan likes finding new things to dive into, from books and games to new mechanical keyboard switches and fun keycap sets. Outside of work, you can find him poring over open-source software and his studies.

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