In the past, the Pro models were more of a nice-to-have than a need-to-have. Despite being excellent devices, we wouldn’t always have recommended them over the standard models, because the extras you got weren’t necessarily worth the dent in your wallet.
It’s a very different story this year. Rather than struggling to recommend the iPhone 14 Pro – despite its hefty price tag – it’s the iPhone 14 we find hard to endorse when asked what iPhone to buy.
Why aren’t we suggesting the iPhone 14?
Don’t get us wrong, the iPhone 14 is still a great phone and it runs the same software as the iPhone 14 Pro so you generally get the same user experience.
But – and it’s a big but – the iPhone 14 doesn’t really make any huge leaps compared to the iPhone 13. It upgrades the cameras a little, and there’s a few other tweaks, but on the whole, it’s a very similar device.
Buying the iPhone 13 would save you cash, or if you can find a discounted iPhone 13 Pro, you’d sacrifice the front camera upgrade and a couple of features, but you’d gain a telephoto lens and some other great camera features.
Essentially, if the iPhone 14 Pro model is out of your budget, we’d recommend buying the iPhone 13 Pro rather than the standard iPhone 14 – and we definitely wouldn’t have said that in the past.
The iPhone 14 Pro is the star of the show
The iPhone 14 Pro on the other hand, is a completely different story. This is a device that we have no hesitation in recommending.
Yes, it comes with a big price tag – especially for those in the UK and Europe – but it also comes with a fresh design, the Always-On Display, that upgraded camera and the feature that’s the talk of the town – Dynamic Island.
Dynamic Island – despite having a name that quite literally got LOLs in the Steve Jobs Theater during the event – is one of the most interesting things Apple has done on the iPhone in a long time. It’s also great to use rather than just a fad.
Punch hole cameras are not new on phones. They’ve been around for a long time but while they have been getting smaller and more discreet on most devices, Apple went the opposite way – making the space required for the front camera and Face ID a functional feature instead. It’s a surprise that no one else thought about doing this to be honest.
Dynamic Island is a great blend of hardware and software and it means that multi-tasking on the iPhone 14 Pro moves up a notch. For example, you can be on a phone call and have navigation running at the same time, and with a quick tap on the Dynamic Island you can pull up your navigation screen, and put your call into the cutout. This works with plenty of other scenarios too and it’s just so simple to use.
It also delivers timely alerts, like the charging status, or battery levels of connected AirPods when you open the case, and this experience will only get better when Live Activites comes to Dynamic Island via an update later this year.
Aside from that clever cutout though, the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max both run on upgraded hardware to the iPhone 14, they both have upgraded camera systems and they both have Always-On Display. That Always-On Display is very well executed too, switching off intelligently when your iPhone is face down, in Sleep Focus, or when you move away from your device while wearing an Apple Watch.
And yes, we know that Always-On Display isn’t new either, but on the iPhone 14 Pro it gives you a fresh experience, while working in perfect harmony with the Lock Screen in iOS 16. It’s just not the same with the iPhone 14.
Will the iPhone 14 Pro models be for everyone? Absolutely not. For some, the cost of these devices will be way beyond justifiable for features they may never use, or want to use. But for those whose budget allows for them, this year, the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max are the models that are undeniably, unmistakably, Pro – and hands down the models to buy.
Writing by Britta O’Boyle.