iPhone 13 vs iPhone 14: Not yet old, it is perfectly alright to buy iPhone 13 in 2022

Apple recently unveiled the brand new iPhone 14 series, including the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro at its "Far Out" event on September 7. While the Pro models have been largely received well by critics and consumers alike, the same can't be said about the vanilla iPhone 14. Not only has Apple widened the gap between the regular iPhone 14 and the iPhone 14 Pro, but even the differences between the iPhone 14 and iPhone 13 are also not that huge. So much so, that the latest iPhone 14 should've instead been named the iPhone 13s.

 
 

So, at a starting price of about Rs. 80,000 for the base 128GB variant, is it worth buying the iPhone 14? Especially considering that the iPhone 13 is currently retailing for under Rs. 60,000 right now, as part of the ongoing sale on Flipkart. Read on to find out more.

Do note, this is not a comparison review of the iPhone 14 vs iPhone 13. This is just an opinion article based on my usage of the iPhone 13 since its launch last year, and spending some hands-on time with the iPhone 14.

Key differences between iPhone 14 and iPhone 13

— iPhone 14 (7.8mm) is slightly thicker than the iPhone 13 (7.65mm).
— 5-core GPU on the iPhone 14 vs 4-core GPU on the iPhone 13.
— New primary camera on the iPhone 14, taken directly from the iPhone 13 Pro.
— New front-facing camera on the iPhone 14, now with autofocus.
— New Qualcomm 5G modem in the iPhone 14, based on TSMC's 6nm fabrication process.
— Crash detection feature in the iPhone 14.
— Satellite calling feature. Although only supported in the USA and Canada as of now.
— 52mAh larger battery in the iPhone 14, if that makes a difference.
— New colours.

Let's address some of the real-world differences from the eye of an average consumer.

Design and display

A phone's design is the first thing that tells us which device is the newer one. And so, my biggest gripe this year is that I wish Apple had put in slight efforts at least in making the iPhone 14 look a little bit different. For instance, looking at the Galaxy S22 Ultra and Galaxy S21 Ultra, you can tell which one is which. If you look at the OnePlus 10 Pro and OnePlus 9 Pro, you can easily differentiate which one is which. If you look at the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S21, well, even this flagship pair has slight visual differences. However, in the case of the iPhone 14 and iPhone 13, both phones look virtually the same. If it is not for the new colours, it is going to be very difficult to tell which one is which.In fact, the iPhone 14 and iPhone 13 do not just share looks, they even share the same display. Well, they share other parts of the hardware as well, but I am going to mention all of that later. As for the iPhone 14's 6.1-inch OLED display, it's a fantastic panel with HDR support and ample brightness range for indoor as well as outdoor usage. So, the problem is not with the quality of the display, the problem lies with the usage of the same display that's found on the iPhone 13. A 90Hz refresh rate panel would've also been a fantastic edition, but here we are, still getting a 60Hz display on an Rs. 80,000 smartphone.Apart from this, even the camera island looks the same from the back. And seriously, if it was not for the new blue and lavender shade, one would have a hard time differentiating between the iPhone 14 and iPhone 13 visually. Yes, the iPhone 14 is 1.35mm thinner and about 3-4 grams heavier than the iPhone 13, if we are stating facts here. But can you really figure out the difference in the real world? I don't think so.

A15 Bionic

Unlike the iPhone 14 Pro models which have received all of Apple's love and also the all-new A16 Bionic chipset, the iPhone 14 is still powered by the A15 Bionic chip, the same SoC that's also found in the iPhone 13. However, Apple has used the version of the A15 Bionic that was found in the iPhone 13 Pro, which means the iPhone 14 has a 5-core GPU vs the 4-core GPU found in the iPhone 13. Does that make a difference in the real world? Absolutely not. For instance, you can play Genshin Impact on the iPhone 14 with a 5-core GPU and you can play it on the iPhone 13 with a 4-core GPU. The game doesn't look or feel different, as the performance is more or less the same. Yes, if we talk about the numbers, the A15 Bionic in the iPhone 14 does provide a 20% boost in graphics performance, but trust me, it is tough to quantify that 20% graphics performance boost in the real world.

Camera

The camera is the only part where the iPhone 14 truly stands out from the iPhone 13, and I am not talking visually. Unlike the iPhone 13, the iPhone 14 uses a new 12MP sensor for its main camera, which is not technically new since it's the same that Apple used in the iPhone 13 Pro, but nonetheless, it is a larger sensor featuring a brighter aperture of f/1.5. You also get a brand new 12MP sensor at the front with an f/1.6 aperture, which, in my opinion, is truly better than the f/2.2 lens found on the iPhone 13. And it also gets the autofocus feature just like its elder sibling.Specifications aside, the iPhone 14 has been around in the office, and we clicked a few photos comparing the iPhone 14's and iPhone 13's camera performance. The end result was both phones clicked phenomenal photos in the brief time that I had. Photos taken from both phones were equally good, and it only proved my point that the iPhone 13's camera can still hold its ground. Yes, the iPhone 14 did have slightly boosted reds and yellow in some shots, but overall, as I said, the shots look more or less the same. However, in terms of taking selfies, the iPhone 14 does a better job than the iPhone 13, and the autofocus also helps. That said, HDR selfies could still be improved.

Battery and endurance

I've read articles and I've seen videos explaining how the iPhone 14 comes with a larger battery, this time around. According to teardown results on the web, the iPhone 14 features a 3,279mAh battery versus the iPhone 13's 3,227mAh battery. Technically, this is a 52mAh jump in battery capacity from the older model, but will this really translate into drastic differences in the endurance results? No.

As a matter of fact, I haven't really tested the iPhone 14's battery endurance personally. But if the iPhone 13's endurance is any indication, I rest assured that the iPhone 14 is going to offer solid battery life to its takers.

Should you upgrade from the iPhone 13?

The iPhone 14 is a fantastic smartphone, and albeit the 60Hz panel that I find jarring across the board, be it an iPhone or an Android phone, there's nothing really wrong with it. My gripe is that it is so similar to the iPhone 13 that one should instead save cash and get the older model because the old is still gold.

I would also give credit where credit's due. So, technically speaking, the camera has seen an upgrade in terms of the new sensors found on the front and rear. The battery is bigger, there's an extra core in the GPU, and the 5G modems are also new, along with Bluetooth 5.3 for better connectivity. But do these really make a difference in the real world? As tech enthusiasts, you and I might still be able to make out and justify the differences between the iPhone 13 and iPhone 14, but for an average consumer will these small upgrades really matter? I am not really sure. For instance, I, for one, can make out the difference in quality between an iPhone 14's photo and an iPhone 13's photo, despite the fact that both cameras produce strikingly similar results in most lighting conditions. But, if I give both the phones to my mother, and ask her the differences between an iPhone 14's photo produced with the Photonic Engine, and an iPhone 13's photo produced without the Photonic Engine, will she be able to make out the difference? Well, I did ask her that and she answered, both are really good.

Long story short, if you have the iPhone 13, I'd suggest keeping hold of it for at least one more year before the iPhone 15 and maybe, we might get a new design or even a display with a higher refresh rate. However, if you don't have an iPhone 13, and you're a first-time iPhone buyer, or even if you're upgrading from an old iPhone 11 or even an iPhone 12, in that case as well, I'd strongly suggest going for the iPhone 13 over the iPhone 14. At least during this sale period, if not at regular prices.

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