Is the upgrade worth it?

  • iPhone 15

    The latest iPhone from Apple comes with a more powerful A16 Bionic chip, the Dynamic Island instead of a notch, and finally, a switch to USB-C, among other features. Put simply, a great phone has, once again, gotten even better thanks to some key upgrades.

    Pros

    • Dynamic Island
    • USB-C
    • More powerful
    Cons

    • No 120Hz display
    • No telephoto camera

  • iPhone 14-1

    Apple iPhone 14

    Although an iterative upgrade over iPhone 13, the iPhone 14 has a powerful A15 Bionic CPU, a gorgeous OLED display, an impressive camera, IP68 water resistance, 5G support, and a slew of other features on top of Apple’s excellent iOS operating system. Put simply, it’s one of the best smartphones.

    Pros

    • Gorgeous display
    • Premium hardware
    • Capable camera
    Cons

    • No 120Hz display
    • Not the very latest hardware

Apple’s iPhone 15 has finally been announced, and if you can tear yourself away from looking at the best iPhone 15 cases for a second, you’ll want to ask yourself whether the iPhone 15 is really worth the upgrade over the iPhone 14. After all, the iPhone 14 was itself one of the best phones you could buy, even if it had some drawbacks. Not to worry, though, because we’re here to tell you everything you need to know about the differences between the iPhone 14 and iPhone 15.



iPhone 15 vs iPhone 14: Price, availability, and specs

For the iPhone 15, you can pre-order one right now, and they’ll go on sale on Friday, Sept. 22. You get your pick of 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB versions, and prices start at $800 for the 128GB model, scaling up from there. For colors, you get your pick of blue, pink, yellow, green, and black. Outside of storage size, models of iPhone have the same specs, and you can find the full spec sheet for iPhone 15 down below.

With the iPhone 14, you can pick one up at your favorite retailer of choice. Like the iPhone 15, you get your choice of 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB storage sizes, and since the iPhone 15’s announcement, prices have been slashed on the iPhone 14. Now, the 128GB model starts out at $700 and goes up from there. In terms of colors, you get to choose between Midnight, purple, Starlight, blue, red, and yellow. Check out the iPhone 14’s full specs below.

  • iPhone 15 Apple iPhone 14
    SoC Apple A16 Bionic Apple A15 Bionic
    Display 6.1-inch OLED Super Retina XDR 6.1-inch OLED, 60Hz, HDR 10, 1200nits
    Storage 128GB, 256GB, 512GB 128GB/256GB/512GB
    Battery 3,349mAh 3,280mAh
    Ports USB-C Lightning (USB 2.0)
    Operating System iOS 17 iOS 16
    Front camera 12MP TrueDepth camera TrueDepth: 12MP, ƒ/1.9
    Dimensions 5.81×2.82×0.31 inches (147.6×71.6×7.8mm) 5.78 x 2.82 x 0.31 inches (146.7 x 71.5 x 7.8mm)
    Colors Blue, pink, yellow, green, black Midnight, purple, Starlight, blue, red, yellow
    Weight 6.02 ounces (171 g) 6.07 ounces (172g)
    IP Rating IP68 IP68
    Price $799 $630

Display

A render showing the Apple iPhone 15 model in black color.

There aren’t many differences between the display on iPhone 15 and iPhone 14, though there are some, but this is no bad thing in general. In our review of the iPhone 14, we found its display to be “a high-quality panel that offers true-to-life colors, deep blacks, and great viewing angles.” Unfortunately, both the standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 14 are still stuck at 60Hz, with higher refresh rate iPhones still relegated to the Pro models.

What you do get with both the iPhone 15 and iPhone 14 are 6.1-inch OLED displays with HDR support and roughly the same resolution around the 2556×1179 mark, (iPhone 14 clocks in at 2532×1170, but it’s essentially the same.) The biggest difference in display between the two comes down to peak brightness: iPhone 14 had a peak brightness of 1200 nits, while the iPhone 15 has a peak brightness of 1600 nits and a peak outdoor brightness of 2000 nits.

In general, the displays on these devices are mostly a match. Yes, the iPhone 15 has a very slightly higher resolution and does get brighter, which does give it a slight edge, but neither of these improvements is likely to make a massive difference in the user experience.

Hardware, performance, and features

Apple iPhone 14 color lineup with seven colors.

Of course, we’ll have to get our hands on an iPhone 15 for testing before we can comprehensively comment on its performance, but it’s likely to be an improvement over the iPhone 14.

With the iPhone 15, you’re getting Apple’s A16 Bionic processor, and according to Apple, this 6-core CPU is faster than the previous generation and uses 20% less power, too. In terms of GPU, the iPhone 15’s 5-core GPU comes with 50% more memory bandwidth, which is sure to make games run smoother. Apple hasn’t given out too many specifics on iPhone 15 performance, but it’s a safe bet that iPhone 15 will perform better than iPhone 14.

The iPhone 14 sports an A15 Bionic chip, and while it may not be cutting edge anymore, it’s certainly no slouch. In our review of the iPhone 14, we called it a “fast and reliable performer” with “one of the most powerful smartphone chipsets on the market” that handily outpaced phones with Qualcomm and Snapdragon chips. Apple has always made incredibly powerful phones, and the iPhone 14 was no exception to this rule, so you won’t need to worry.

Whether you go with the iPhone 14 or iPhone 15, you’ll have no trouble running just about any app smoothly or even playing graphically intensive games. Yes, the iPhone 15 is going to be the better performer, but for most people, the difference is going to be negligible. If you’re truly looking for the most powerful iPhone you can get, that’s definitely going to be an iPhone Pro or Pro Max, either way, so you probably wouldn’t be upgrading from a standard iPhone 14 to a standard iPhone 15 if processing power is your biggest concern, anyway.

In terms of other notable features, the iPhone 15 has finally made the switch to USB-C from Lightning. This is definitely a win, and you’ll be able to finally be free of Apple’s proprietary cable standard and use the much more accessible, widely used USB-C standard, but if you’ve had Apple devices around for a long time, there may well be some growing pains swapping over from Lightning accessories to USB-C ones as well as some additional expense.

The other notable change from the iPhone 14 to the iPhone 15 is the transition to the Dynamic Island. The notch on the iPhone 14 is simply a screen cutout that houses the tech required for FaceID alongside the selfie camera, while the iPhone 15’s Dynamic Island is similar but offers more functionality. The Dynamic Island is a pill-shaped cutout that similarly houses FaceID tech and the selfie camera, but it also comes with built-in software to take advantage of the space, using it to control music playback, follow timers, check game scores, accept phone calls, and more.

All told, hardware is more powerful on iPhone 15, and you are getting some extra features, like USB-C and the Dynamic Island, but these improvements likely won’t justify the $800 asking price of the iPhone 15 on their own, unless you get a great trade-in deal on the iPhone 14.

Camera

An image showing all the available colors of the Apple iPhone 15 series.

There are some meaningful differences when we’re talking about the cameras in the iPhone 14 and iPhone 15, though, that may sway you one way or the other.

With the iPhone 14, you’re getting a dual-camera setup with a 12MP main camera and a 12MP ultrawide camera on the rear, while you’re getting a 12MP TrueDepth front camera. This may not sound like some insane hardware, but in our review of the iPhone 14, we found it to be capable of capturing “pleasant photos with an affinity for true-to-life colors” that had “on-point white balance, accurate and repeatable exposure, and very little noise.” All told, it’s not the greatest mobile camera ever made, but it certainly can get the job done.

However, with the iPhone 15, there are definitely some major upgrades coming. There’s another dual-camera system in the iPhone 15, but this time around, you’re getting a 48MP main camera and an improved 12MP ultrawide camera. 48MP is a huge jump from the 12MP main camera on iPhone 14, so all those budding photographers out there definitely have a reason to be excited by the iPhone 15. You’ll also be getting the same 12MP front camera on iPhone 15, too, which is more than enough for selfies, just like it was on the iPhone 14.

We’ll have to do a formal review of the iPhone 15 to get a full sense of how much better its camera is than the iPhone 14’s, but rest assured that you can definitely expect improved image quality thanks to its big bump in megapixels.

Battery

An iPhone 14 on an angle showing two profiles in the Safari browser.

Battery life is a notoriously unreliable metric in terms of getting estimates from a manufacturer on what you can expect. So, while we wouldn’t take what Apple estimates all that seriously, we can make some informed guesses before we test out battery life for ourselves.

Considering the battery size of the iPhone 14 and iPhone 15 are very similar, with the iPhone 15 clocking in at just slightly larger, already we can expect similar battery life. However, considering the A16 Bionic chip in iPhone 15 is expected to be 20% more power efficient, there’s a good chance we may see slightly better battery life on iPhone 15. So, if we judge from iPhone 14, we found in our review that the iPhone 14 managed to offer all-day battery life, albeit with some rather slow charging times, meaning that we’d expect all-day battery life from the iPhone 15, too.

At worst, we can likely expect similar battery life on the iPhone 15, and at best, we can expect some slightly improved battery life, but stay tuned for our review.

iPhone 15 vs iPhone 14: Which should you buy?

All told, it’s hard to deny that iPhone 15 is a strict upgrade from iPhone 14. This is the case, without fail, every year. Each new iPhone improves upon the last generation. Of course, this is what you’d expect. However, sometimes there are big upgrades, and sometimes there are small upgrades. With the iPhone 14 to iPhone 15, the improvements are definitely more meaningful than from the iPhone 13 to iPhone 14, but whether they’re enough is up to you.

If you’re deciding between an iPhone 14 and iPhone 15, the clear winner here is iPhone 15. For $100 more, you’re getting better hardware, a better camera, and some cool goodies like the Dynamic Island and USB-C support. However, if you’ve already got an iPhone 14, upgrading may not make a lot of sense unless you can get a great trade-in deal. If you’re really looking for a major upgrade from an iPhone 14, an iPhone 15 Pro is much more worth considering.

iPhone 15 in Pink

iPhone 15

Winner

The latest iPhone from Apple comes with a more powerful A16 Bionic chip, the Dynamic Island instead of a notch, and finally, a switch to USB-C, among other features. Put simply, a great phone has, once again, gotten even better thanks to some key upgrades.

The iPhone 15 looks to be an excellent all-around smartphone, just like the iPhone 14 was for its time. With premium hardware, a great camera, the trademark elegance of Apple’s design language, what’s likely to be all-day battery life, and some cool new features like the Dynamic Island and USB-C support, there isn’t much more you could possibly want out of a smartphone. If you’re ready for your first iPhone, the iPhone 15 is a great choice.

iPhone 14-1

Apple iPhone 14

Runner-up

Although an iterative upgrade over iPhone 13, the iPhone 14 has a powerful A15 Bionic CPU, a gorgeous OLED display, an impressive camera, IP68 water resistance, 5G support, and a slew of other features on top of Apple’s excellent iOS operating system. Put simply, it’s one of the best smartphones.

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