Buy the iPhone 15 or save money with the iPhone 14? Here’s what I’d do

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iPhone 15 vs iPhone 14 comp image
(Image credit: Future)

As a world-renowned cheapskate, I will ne'er walk up nan opportunity to salary little for something. That's particularly existent of smartphones wherever my earthy inclination to salary immoderate much than I person to steers maine toward discounted models. Why salary up for nan latest hardware, my reasoning goes, erstwhile nan marked-down exemplary whitethorn beryllium conscionable arsenic good.

You would think, then, that I'd leap connected Apple's iPhone 14 pinch some feet. Apple's flagship instrumentality was 1 of nan champion phones disposable erstwhile it arrived a twelvemonth ago, and now it's trading for $100 little than before. It runs nan recently released iOS 17 without a hitch, and it should proceed receiving package and information upgrades for different 4 years — agelong aft galore group would beryllium fresh to upgrade. Add each that together, and nan iPhone 14 seems for illustration nan bargain hunter's dream.

I'm present to show you that it is not. If you find yourself successful an iPhone 15 vs. iPhone 14 purchasing dilemma, I impulse you to choke backmost immoderate small heart toward paying little and to pony up nan other $100 for Apple's newer phone.

That's not needfully a reflection of nan iPhone 14, an acceptable telephone successful its day. Rather, it's an acknowledgement that nan iPhone 15 is simply a acold amended instrumentality — surely capable to warrant parting pinch that other c-note.

Why nan iPhone 15 thumps nan iPhone 14

Apple iPhone 15 review.

(Image credit: Future)

Reading John Velasco's hands-on iPhone 15 review, I was struck by really important nan changes were that Apple made to its entry-level iPhone this year. The processor, nan cameras, moreover nan look of nan telephone — each of these things are different from nan iPhone 14 successful a very noticeable way.

Yes, a cynic mightiness disregard a batch of those iPhone 15 improvements arsenic Apple playing catch-up pinch its ain devices — overmuch of what's caller astir nan iPhone 15 really appeared successful nan iPhone 14 Pro nan erstwhile year. But if you've sewage an iPhone 12 aliases older and you're contemplating a caller handset, you really aren't going to attraction that nan iPhone 15 is precocious to nan statement connected immoderate features. What you will announcement is that nan iPhone 15 has superior features not disposable successful nan cheaper iPhone 14.

Let's commencement pinch nan look of nan phone. The iPhone 15 adopts Apple's Dynamic Island characteristic wherever nan beforehand camera and Face ID sensors are housed successful a cutout successful nan phone's display. In contrast, nan iPhone 14 features nan notch that's been astir connected Apple flagships since nan iPhone X.

Apple iPhone 15 held successful nan hand.

(Image credit: Future)

Maybe you don't spot overmuch of a quality betwixt nan notch and a cutout, but nan Dynamic Island does free up much surface existent property and makes nan iPhone show consciousness little truncated. There's a functionality component, too, arsenic nan Dynamic Island hosts alerts and Live Activities successful a much compelling, easier-to-track way. Once you've seen it successful action, you'll beryllium gladsome nan notch is gone.

The iPhone 15 gets nan accustomed silicon bump for a caller handset — successful this case, it's nan A16 Bionic that powered nan iPhone 14 Pro lineup. While I'm not a instrumentality of Apple's strategy of assigning different chipsets to phones released nan aforesaid year, there's nary arguing that nan A16 is faster than nan A15 Bionic wrong nan iPhone 14 — we've sewage nan benchmarks to beryllium it. While a faster spot wouldn't beryllium capable to sway maine to 1 telephone complete nan other, it's undeniably different people successful nan iPhone 15's favor.

It's nan cameras that return nan biggest leap guardant betwixt generations. While nan iPhone 14 has nan 12MP main camera that Apple has been utilizing since nan invention of movie — OK, OK, it was only since nan iPhone 6s successful 2015 — nan iPhone 15 gets an upgrade to nan 48MP main sensor introduced pinch nan iPhone 14 Pro models.

Apple iPhone 15 review.

(Image credit: Future)

The move doesn't conscionable mean that nan iPhone 15 tin seizure photos astatine afloat resolution, though, yes, that is successful its container of tricks. By default, nan iPhone 15 takes 24MP pictures. It besides supports a 2x zoom, pinch nan 48MP lens cropping successful connected nan area you're zooming successful connected for a 12MP shot. That's a batch of elasticity for nan camera hardware and we haven't moreover gotten to nan improvements to features for illustration Smart HDR and Portrait mode that nan iPhone 15 benefits from.

To put it different way, nan iPhone 14 was nary slouch successful nan camera department. But nan iPhone 15 is simply a large leap forward, truthful overmuch truthful that it's difficult to warrant nan iPhone 14's little value by giving up those benignant of improvements.

Cheaper exemplary trade-offs

there are times erstwhile it makes consciousness to spell pinch nan cheaper iPhone model, moreover if it intends fixed up immoderate improvements. If we were having this speech a twelvemonth agone arsenic nan iPhone 14 came out, I would beryllium steering you toward nan discounted iPhone 13. Sure, nan iPhone 14 delivered immoderate capacity gains and caller package features specified arsenic Emergency SOS via satellite and Crash Detection. But those hardly seemed worthy an other $100.

The calculus is different this twelvemonth pinch nan iPhone 15/iPhone 14 comparisons. In summation to nan accustomed capacity improvements, you've sewage a overmuch amended main camera and a telephone that's easier to clasp acknowledgment to nan iPhone 15's contoured edges. Even nan summation of a USB-C slot intends much versatile charging options.

I'm arsenic overmuch for redeeming a subordinate aliases 2 erstwhile imaginable arsenic nan adjacent person, and it's surely imaginable by opting for nan $699 iPhone 14 alternatively of nan $799 iPhone 15. But it's not unspeakable practical, fixed each nan changes Apple made to its latest phone.

More from Tom's Guide

  • 11 hidden iOS 17 features
  • iPhone 15 artillery life tested — here's really agelong each 4 models last
  • iPhone 15 camera upgrades make it easier to walk connected nan iPhone 15 Pro

Instant entree to breaking news, nan hottest reviews, awesome deals and adjuvant tips.

Philip Michaels is simply a Managing Editor astatine Tom's Guide. He's been covering individual exertion since 1999 and was successful nan building erstwhile Steve Jobs showed disconnected nan iPhone for nan first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted successful 2007, and he's been pursuing telephone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has beardown opinions astir Apple, nan Oakland Athletics, aged movies and due butchery techniques. Follow him astatine @PhilipMichaels.

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