iPhone 15 vs iPhone 14: last year's Pro in disguise?

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iPhone 15 vs iPhone 14

Intro


The iPhone 14, although an overall great phone, did not offer too much in terms of upgrades over the previous generation, but Apple's new base model, the iPhone 15, makes up for that by improving in some key areas.

Most exciting of all is the new main 48MP camera, which delivers much better image quality both in taking stills and shooting video. There is also the new A16 Bionic chipset that debuted with the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max in 2022 but was missing from the less expensive models.

Other improvements include the adoption of the Dynamic Island (finally), and more small but impactful design changes. Enough chit-chat though, let's dive in deeper and see how the iPhone 15 stacks up against the iPhone 14!

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iPhone 15 Plus: up to $630 off with a trade-in at Apple

Looking for the bigger-sized iPhone 15 model? In that case, we suggest you consider the iPhone 15 Plus. The Apple store offers up to $630 off as a trade-in credit on a new iPhone 15 Plus.
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iPhone 15 Pro: save $50-$630 with a trade-in at Apple.com

Apple offers its impressive iPhone 15 Pro at deeply discounted prices with the right trade-in. Right now, you can get this top-class smartphone at up to $630 off with a trade-in.
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iPhone 15 vs iPhone 14:
  • 4nm A16 Bionic chip vs 5nm A15
  • Almost 2x peak brightness (2000 nits vs 1200 nits)
  • Dynamic Island replaces the notch
  • Same storage options
  • 48MP main camera vs 12MP
  • Same battery size
  • USB-C replaces Lightning

Table of Contents:


Design and Display Quality

Two main changes: Dynamic Island and USB-C


Apple hasn't made any crazy design changes in a while, and things are not too different with the iPhone 15. The most visible difference you will see between the two phones is the iPhone 15's Dynamic Island which it borrows from the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max, replacing the iconic but outdated notch on the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus.

There's also the new USB-C port which, unfortunately, remains a less exciting change in the non-Pro iPhone models, as its only benefit stems from the fact that it is the same port that the rest of the world's gadgets use (most of them, at least).


The iPhone 15 comes with a new matte-textured back panel which meets the slightly more curved (or contoured, as Apple calls it) edge of the aluminum frame. Both of these are visually rather small changes from the iPhone 14 but we can definitely say that they are noticeable and do make a difference while holding the phone, making the iPhone 15 much more comfortable in the hand.

Size-wise, the two phones are barely any different, with the iPhone 15 being ever so slightly lighter.

Apple iPhone 15
Dimensions

5.81 x 2.82 x 0.31 inches

147.6 x 71.6 x 7.8 mm

Weight

6.03 oz (171 g)

Apple iPhone 14
Dimensions

5.78 x 2.81 x 0.31 inches

146.7 x 71.5 x 7.80 mm

Weight

6.07 oz (172 g)

Apple iPhone 15
Dimensions

5.81 x 2.82 x 0.31 inches

147.6 x 71.6 x 7.8 mm

Weight

6.03 oz (171 g)

Apple iPhone 14
Dimensions

5.78 x 2.81 x 0.31 inches

146.7 x 71.5 x 7.80 mm

Weight

6.07 oz (172 g)

See the full Apple iPhone 15 vs Apple iPhone 14 size comparison or compare them to other phones using our Size Comparison tool.


What about the colors? They are always a big part of a new iPhone launch. There are a total of five iPhone 15 colors:
  • Black
  • Green
  • Yellow
  • Pink
  • Blue

And these are the iPhone 14 colors:
  • NEW - Yellow
  • Purple
  • Midnight
  • Starlight
  • Blue
  • Product RED

We have the black iPhone 15, and there's just something really nice about the combination of graphite black with a matte finish!

Lastly, the unboxing experience of the iPhone 15 is a bit different compared to that of the iPhone 14. How? Well, with new USB-C braided cables of course!


As for the displays, the iPhone 14 already came with a great one — it got sufficiently bright, contrast levels were superb thanks to the OLED panel, and the color calibration was one of the best in the game (if not the best), meaning you got accurate colors throughout all content.

The iPhone 15 one-ups its predecessor in this segment with a higher 1600 nits peak HDR brightness and 2000 nits peak outdoor brightness (almost 2x more than iPhone 14), so HDR content is even more immersive and the display is even easier to see in very bright conditions. That being said, the screen lacks one major aspect, which many Android phones have — a high refresh rate.

Sadly, the iPhone 15 does not come with a higher refresh rate than the regular 60Hz its predecessor had. This is arguably the biggest disappointment we had with the phone. Even a 90Hz (Pro models have 120Hz) would have been a nice upgrade to see here, but it seems Apple thinks it would bridge the gap between the Pro and non-Pro models just a tad too much. Besides the camera system, a higher display refresh rate is very likely one of the main reasons users opt for the more expensive models after all.

Display Measurements:



Performance and Software

A16 Bionic vs A15


Last year Apple equipped the iPhone 14 with the same chipset that the iPhone 13 series came with, which was a controversial topic. This time around the company is doing the same thing, with the iPhone 15 rocking the company's A16 Bionic chipset, which the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max also have.

The A16  chipset comes with minor improvements across the board, with slightly higher processing and GPU power, and better power-efficiency.

Performance Benchmarks:


Geekbench 6
SingleHigher is better
Apple iPhone 152595
Apple iPhone 142122
Geekbench 6
MultiHigher is better
Apple iPhone 156651
Apple iPhone 144876
3DMark Extreme(High)Higher is better
Apple iPhone 152950
Apple iPhone 143018
3DMark
Extreme(Low)Higher is better
Apple iPhone 151896
Apple iPhone 142115


Software-wise, there are all the additional UI functionality and features that come with the Dynamic Island, which the iPhone 14 simply does not have. These mostly come in the form of neat real-time information bits about things like your timer, how long until your food delivery arrives, and more.

There is also the fact that the iPhone 15 comes with a 2-year free Roadside Assistance with satellite connectivity, much like the iPhone 14 came with a 2-year free Emergency SOS via satellite. And no, just because the 15 came after the 14 does not mean it also has 2 years of free Emergency SOS via satellite.

Both phones come with the latest iOS 17 update, which improves on iOS 16 with an assortment of new features and even some new apps. There is a huge focus on communicating with others, as Apple has made FaceTime, the Messages app, and even sharing your phone number with others a much more seamless and rich experience. Make sure you read out iOS 17 article to get the full picture.

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Camera

A new 48MP main camera and improved camera features


The iPhone 14 comes with a 12MP main camera that does quite well, but the iPhone 15 adopts a brand new 48MP image sensor for its primary camera. Users can shoot photos utilizing all 48MP for maximum detail in their shots, but the camera defaults to a 24MP image that balances out higher detail and quality with a more practical file size.

Main Camera - Day



There is absolutely no doubt about it, the new 48MP main camera on the iPhone 15 simply outshines the 12MP one on the iPhone 14. The detail and sharpness appear to be doubled, which fits in nicely with the 24MP vs 12MP default modes.

Main Camera - Low-light



Shooting still images during the night seems to produce very similar results on both phones. The only slight difference seems to be that the iPhone 15 is a bit more conservative when exposing for the shadows.

Zoom Quality



One thing that has sorely been missing from Apple's entry-level flagship was a telephoto camera. Well, with the much higher megapixel count, the iPhone 15 can crop in on the main sensor and achieve 2x zoom with quality that is noticeably better compared to the simple 2X digital crop on the iPhone 14.
Ultra-wide Camera - Day


The ultra-wide camera is the same as last year's, so we didn't expect anything different here. Both phones produce the same photos.

Ultra-wide Camera - Low-light



Unlike shots taken with plenty of light around, shooting with the ultra-wide camera in low-light scenarios seems to be handled better on the iPhone 15. It consistently manages to capture more light, introducing more detail in the shadows. This is probably what Apple was addressing when talking about improvements in Night Mode with the ultra-wide shooter. What's more, even the sharpness seems to be better on the new vanilla iPhone!

Selfies



Besides the difference in color processing, we can't see too big of a difference in image quality between both phone's front-facing cameras.

Video Quality


Video Thumbnail

All of the differences we observed while taking photos with the iPhone 15 and iPhone 14 are also visible when shooting video. In other words, significantly better low-light performance and higher detail throughout all cameras.

Audio Quality and Haptics


Apple's iPhones are known for having some of the best speakers you can find on a phone. That statement stands true for the iPhone 14, and we can safely say the same for the iPhone 15. No noticeable changes while watching YouTube videos or listening to a podcast. Vibrations and haptic feedback also feel the same between both of the phones.

Battery Life and Charging

USB-C with no charging speed benefits

The iPhone 15 comes with a slightly larger 3349 mAh battery compared to the iPhone 14's 3279 mAh. Both phones are perfectly capable of lasting throughout a full day with regular to heavy use. That said, as you will notice from our battery test below, the new vanilla iPhone seems to be doing worse in some cases.

PhoneArena Battery Test Results:


Video Streaming(hours)Higher is better
Apple iPhone 157h 51 min
Apple iPhone 148h 35 min
Web Browsing(hours)Higher is better
Apple iPhone 1513h 25 min
Apple iPhone 1415h 23 min
3D Gaming(hours)Higher is better
Apple iPhone 158h 24 min
Apple iPhone 146h 44 min


Obviously, these results are rather unsatisfying. Every time a new device is somehow performing worse than its predecessor it is a problem. The iPhone 15 lasted around 40-50 minutes less during our video streaming test and 2 hours less while web browsing! We are not quite sure what to make of this.

You might think these numbers are a consequence of the brighter display of the iPhone 15, but we do all of our battery tests after manually setting each phone at 200 nits, so no, it is not that. The only thing we can contribute this to for now is the new chipset.

Gaming, on the other hand, seems to draw much less power than it does with the iPhone 14, with a two hours difference in favor of the new vanilla model.

PhoneArena Charging Test Results:


15 MinsHigher is better30 Mins(%)Higher is betterFull Charge(hours)Lower is better
Apple iPhone 1532%
60%
1h 55 min
Apple iPhone 1431%
60%
1h 28 min


Sadly, despite the new USB-C port, charging remains in the same sluggish position it was with the iPhone 14. Both phones officially support 20W charging, which Apple says is enough to get them from 0-50% in 30 minutes. In our tests, the phones charged up to 60% in that given amount of time.

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Wireless charging is also the same, maxing out at 15W with a compatible MagSafe charger on both phones.

Specs Comparison


Check out a summary of both the iPhone 15 specs and iPhone 14 specs below:


Don't forget that we also have an in-depth iPhone 15 vs iPhone 14 specs comparison table where you can learn more about all the smaller details.

Summary and Final Verdict


So, should you buy yourself an iPhone 15 or an iPhone 14? Well, that highly depends on whether you think you would benefit from a much better image quality while shooting with the main and ultra-wide cameras. If you are overall satisfied with what the iPhone 14 is giving you, then there is little to tempt you into getting the iPhone 15.

Yes, it is more comfortable to hold and the notch is now transformed into the Dynamic Island, but all of this is rather easily overlooked when you take a step back to see the overall change that's occured between the older generation and the new one.

The story is quite different if you don't have either of the two phones, however, and are considering to buy one of them as your next one. Even though Apple does sell the iPhone 14 for $699, the base iPhone 15 costs only a $100 more, at $799, and the jump in camera performance alone is worth the extra hundred bucks in our opinion, especially with all the other smaller improvements added in.

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