iPhone 15 vs. iPhone 14: Is It Worth the Update?

iPhone 15 vs iPhone 14
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After a whole year of leaks and expectations, Apple finally launched the iPhone 15 lineup — and the company did not disappoint. 

There were a lot of new features and surprises that came to the iPhone 15 that make it the go-to choice for more of us with older iPhones.

But what happens to those of us with an iPhone 14? After all, this iPhone is only a year old, and if you bought a new one, it’s probably still a performance beast. Plus, Apple still sells both the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus at an even lower price, making it a tempting alternative to the new iPhone 15.

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With everything new that the iPhone 15 has, like the Dynamic Island and USB-C, is it worth paying more for Apple’s latest and greatest? Keep reading to find out.

iPhone 15 vs. iPhone 14: Design

When it comes to the outside, both the iPhone 15 and the iPhone 14 look similar at first glance. However, this time around, there are some hardware differences to tell them apart.

By far, the biggest difference in the iPhone 15’s design is the Dynamic Island. Instead of a notch, you get a useful round cut-out that serves two purposes. First, it packs all the sensors your iPhone needs to use Face ID.

Second, the Dynamic Island itself lets you control different apps and features from the top of your iPhone. For instance, you can use it to change songs, check timers, answer calls, and check notifications. 

The Dynamic Island was first introduced with the iPhone 14 Pro lineup, but if you have a regular iPhone 14, you’re still rocking the old notch. 

Another big difference is the color of the iPhone 15. Not only will you find different colors this time around, but Apple added a color-infused frosted glass on the back of the iPhone 15. 

This gives the iPhone 15 a more matte appearance, which actually looks great. The colors themselves are also different. Sure, you’ll find colors like blue and yellow, but the iPhone 15 has more muted colors this time around. So, instead of an actual blue color, expect a light blue, which is almost white.

That’s not to say they’re bad, but they’re definitely different. Besides yellow and blue, the iPhone 15 also comes in pink, green, and black.

Besides these changes and the addition of a USB-C port, which we’ll talk about in a moment, both iPhones are almost the same on the outside, although the iPhone 15 also has slightly curvier edges that will feel more comfortable in the hand — if you’re not using a case, that is. The new finish, Dynamic Island, and more contoured design give the iPhone 15 a slight edge over last year’s model.

Winner: iPhone 15

iPhone 15 vs. iPhone 14: Display

Besides the changes on the outside, Apple also improved the display on the iPhone 15 this year, although it was a relatively small upgrade. 

For starters, both have a 6.1-inch display with True Tone and a 60Hz refresh rate, albeit the iPhone 15 — with a height of 5.81—is about 0.03 inches taller than the iPhone 14 — 5.78 inches tall.

However, the iPhone 15 features a slightly better display with a resolution of 1,179 x 2,556 pixels versus the 1,170 x 2,532 display on the iPhone 14. Granted, the difference is so small that you won’t ever notice it, and since the iPhone 15 gets the same screen resolution as the iPhone 14 Pro, it seems this is mostly a result of adjusting things for the Dynamic Island.

However, what you likely will notice is the brightness. The iPhone 15 can reach a brightness of up to 2,000 nits — the same as last year’s iPhone 14 Pro — whereas the iPhone 14 can only get up to 1,200 nits. If you’re someone who’s always outside, the upgrade might be worth it.

Winner: iPhone 15

iPhone 15 vs. iPhone 14: Performance

Wonderlust iPhone 15 A16 Bionic 5

Probably the biggest difference between these two devices is the performance. As you would expect from a newer phone, the iPhone 15 is more powerful than the iPhone 14. 

That’s thanks to the A16 Bionic chip in the iPhone 15. This was the chip that Apple also used on the iPhone 14 Pro models last year, but if you have the base iPhone 14, you’re still rocking the A15 Bionic from the 2021 iPhone 13 Pro.

Obviously, this makes the iPhone 15 the clear winner in performance, albeit it’s not by that much. Both devices still have the same 6-core CPU, 5-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine. While Apple doesn’t really talk about RAM, it’s been reported that both the iPhone 14 and the iPhone 15 have the same 6GB of RAM. Again, the iPhone 15 gets a very slight edge here, but it’s a small win.

Winner: iPhone 15

iPhone 15 vs. iPhone 14: Connectivity

When it comes to connectivity, both devices are almost the same, but there’s at least one big difference that might make you want to opt for the newer model.

Internally, both iPhone models feature 5G, Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth 5.3. On the inside, the iPhone 15 has the second-generation Ultra Wideband chip, whereas the iPhone 14 still has the first-generation chip.

Generally speaking, this chip won’t make much of a difference in your life. It will let you use specific features like the ability to locate your iPhone with your Apple Watch with the help of precision finding and locate your friends in a crowd — as long as they’re also using an iPhone 15 model — but it’s not all that big of a deal just yet.

What is a big deal for most is USB-C. For the first time ever, Apple features a USB-C port on the iPhone 15. It’s finally ditched its proprietary Lightning port that you’ll find on the iPhone 14 and older models.

This might be the biggest reason to opt for the iPhone 15, but before you do so, you should know that this new port is not as good as you might think. 

The USB-C port on the iPhone 15 still only supports USB 2.0 — the same speed as the Lightning port. So you’re basically changing nothing other than the hardware. 

Of course, that might be a big reason to go for the iPhone 15, especially if every other device you own uses USB-C. However, if you’ve been an iPhone user for a while, chances are you’ve amassed a collection of Lightning chargers and accessories, which means the USB-C port won’t make much of a difference in your life. If you don’t really need it, it might be worth waiting another year.

Winner: Tie

iPhone 15 vs. iPhone 14: Cameras

Wonderlust iPhone 15 3

Every year, Apple tries its best to improve the camera system of the newer iPhone, but this year, the company made a huge leap forward with the iPhone 15, marking the first time since 2015 that Apple has increased the megapixel count on a standard iPhone model.

The iPhone 15 now features a 48-megapixel main camera, which is way more than the 12-megapixel main camera the iPhone 14 has. 

While more megapixels isn’t the same as better pictures, the new camera system does let you take better pictures. More importantly, it also offers a 2X zoom without the need for a separate telephoto lens — a first for a non-pro iPhone model.

Still, either iPhone has a great camera system for taking amazing pictures that most folks will love. However, if you’re a professional photographer or someone who loves taking pictures, you’d be better off with an iPhone 14 Pro or an iPhone 15 Pro.

Besides the new cameras, Apple also made a huge deal of Focus and Depth Control, which lets you change the focus and depth of any picture after you take it — even if it wasn’t shot in Portrait Mode. That’s a feature exclusive to the iPhone 15, along with an improved Smart HDR 5 system that promises deeper and richer colors.

Winner: iPhone 15

iPhone 15 vs. the iPhone 14: Should You Opt for the Newer Model?

The iPhone 15 is one of the best updates we’ve had in a while. All its new features, from the Dynamic Island to USB-C and the 48MP camera, make it a great upgrade for people with older iPhones.

With that said, if you have the iPhone 14, you might want to skip this year’s iPhone. That’s not to say that it’s not a great purchase, but your iPhone 14 still has a lot of life left in it.

Plus, the new features like the Dynamic Island or USB-C aren’t that big of a reason to upgrade. Sure, it’s great to have a USB-C port, but it’s only USB 2.0 Hopefully, Apple will upgrade it next year, but until then, your iPhone 14 should be more than enough for you.

On the other hand, if you’re deciding whether to go for the iPhone 15 or save a few bucks on last year’s iPhone 14, the decision will be a more difficult one. At normal prices, the iPhone 15 is worth the extra $100 you’ll spend unless you’re on a really tight budget. However, with the Black Friday season upon us, it’s quite possible to find better deals on the older iPhone 14 model that could make it a more compelling purchase.

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