iPhone 14 Buying Guide: Which iPhone 14 Series Phone (iPhone 14/ 14 Plus/ 14 Pro/ 14 Pro Max) is Best for You

Looking for the best iPhone for Cameras? Gaming? Battery? We have you covered.

A ‘Plus’ model after 5 years, camera resolution bump after 7 years, removal of yet another ‘essential’ feature and addition of 4 more models to choose from; I won’t blame you if this year’s Apple event felt too much to take in. Lucky you, stumbling upon this article because I’m going to break down everything new (and old) about the iPhone 14 series of phones and help you choose which iPhone deserves your money this year.

iPhone 14: The Default Choice for Most

As was evident from the leaks around the iPhone 14 series, this year, Apple decided to ditch the ‘mini’ iPhone in favour of a larger ‘Plus-sized iPhone, the first time since the iPhone 8 Plus in 2017. That makes the iPhone 14 the most affordable new iPhone this year, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the highest-selling one. This will be the perfect option for anyone looking to upgrade from an iPhone 11 or older or even buy their first-ever iPhone.

iPhone 14 Price in India

iPhone 14 Price in India starts at Rs 79,900 for the 128GB variant, going all the way up to Rs 1,09,900 for the 512GB variant. Apple is offering up to Rs 58,000 instant credit if you have a qualifying old phone to trade in. Additionally, HDFC Bank credit card users can get 5% instant cashback (up to Rs 6,000). We can expect some bank offers to be announced just before the festive season begins in a few weeks.

iPhone 14 Availability

iPhone 14 pre-orders will be opening from 5:30 PM IST on 9th September 2022. These should start reaching users in about a week as the phone will be available for purchase starting 16th September. It comes in 5 new colour options this time: Midnight, Starlight, Blue, Purple and Product Red.

iPhone 14 Pros and Cons

The iPhone 14 looks and feels very similar to the iPhone 13, thanks to the unchanged design and merely incremental upgrades to what lies within. The 6.1-inch OLED display still comes with a notch, and I am not a fan of the 60Hz displays that these non-pro iPhones are stuck with. They also miss out on the latest A16 Bionic processor. However, the A15 chip inside the iPhone 14 now has one extra GPU core compared to the chip from iPhone 13 last year. Plus, Apple claims improved thermal performance this year as well.

I’m not sure if the incremental power will be noticeable to most casual users, but the improved battery life will be more evident (Apple claims about a 30% improvement over the iPhone 13). The main camera at the back has also been improved with the 12MP lens, this time mated to a new sensor with bigger pixel size and wider aperture. That should theoretically give us a much better low-light performance and improved light sensitivity in general. The selfie camera has also been upgraded to a 12MP sensor with autofocus capabilities. The Ultrawide camera remains unchanged, and there’s still no telephoto lens on the iPhone 14. 

One common feature in all the new iPhones this year is Emergency SOS via satellite, meaning these phones can send out messages or calls for distress even with no network connection. Unfortunately, this feature isn’t going to be available in India as of now. What’s less unfortunate is that the Indian variants of all iPhone 14 series phones will still come with SIM card trays, unlike the US models, which are now completely eSIM based.

So that’s the iPhone 14. The same reliable performance, slightly better battery life, improved rear main camera, a better selfie camera, an extra GPU core and that’s about it. It misses out on the new ‘Dynamic Island’ features (more on that in a bit), there’s still no high refresh rate display here and the iPhone 13 gives you almost the same experience at Rs 69,900. The 10K price gap plus guaranteed discounts in the BBD sale might make the iPhone 13 a better value-for-money proposition, so watch out for that.

iPhone 14 Plus: For Those Who Like It Big

The iPhone mini was doomed to be cancelled ever since we started seeing reports of the iPhone 12 mini not meeting Apple’s sales targets. It finally happened this year, and what we got instead is the first ever ‘Plus’ iPhone since the days of the iPhone 8 Plus. The iPhone 14 Plus differs from the regular iPhone 14 only in terms of screen size and battery, meaning it also misses out on some of the ‘Pro’ features this year. The iPhone 14 Plus is meant for people who just need the biggest screen possible on their phones, someone who watches a lot of video content and/or just looking for the best battery life available on an iPhone.

iPhone 14 Plus Price in India

iPhone 14 Plus Price in India starts at Rs 89,900 for the base 128GB variant. The 256GB variant will cost Rs 99,900 while the top-end 512GB variant costs a whopping Rs 1,19,900. Apple is offering the same trade-in offers and bank discounts for the 14 Plus as the regular 14.

iPhone 14 Plus Availability

iPhone 14 Plus pre-orders start on 9th September at 5:30 PM IST, the same time as the regular 14. However, it might take a little longer for you to get your hands on the 14 Plus, as it will be available for purchase only from 7th October 2022. The iPhone 14 Plus is available in the same 5 colour options as the regular iPhone 14

iPhone 14 Plus Pros & Cons

The iPhone 14 Plus shares all of its specifications with the regular iPhone 14. That includes the same A15 bionic chipset, a new main camera at the back, the improved selfie camera at the front and the 60Hz notched display. The only difference here is the size, with the Plus model giving you a 6.7-inch display (same as on the Pro Max models) and a bigger battery as a result. The 60Hz display combined with an even bigger battery should give you probably the best battery life available on any flagship phone in 2022, but you’ll have to keep in mind these flat-edged iPhones might be challenging ergonomically, especially if you’re not used to handling big phones. Mind you, the 6.1-inch screen on the regular 14 is plenty big too.

The iPhone 14 Plus offers all the iPhone essentials: uncompromised performance, flagship display, reliable cameras and unmatched battery life. The only downsides are the lack of a zoom lens and a high refresh rate display. Sadly, Apple has made no improvements to the charging speeds on their new iPhones either meaning this phone might also take about 2 hours to juice up from 0-100%. If these omissions don’t feel like a big deal, the iPhone 14 Plus is sure to keep you happy. But if they do, well, it’s time to go Pro.

iPhone 14 Pro: Professional Cameras on a Phone

Since the iPhone 6s (2015), every iPhone has had a 12MP main camera at the back. Since the iPhone X (2017), every iPhone has had a huge notch up at the front. Well, not anymore because the iPhone 14 Pro series is the first ever to come with a pixel-binning 48MP main camera and the all-new screen cutout, which Apple calls ‘Dynamic Island’. Compared to the regular iPhone 14 and 14 Plus, the Pro models get 120Hz Promotion displays, a 3x Zoom lens at the back and the all-new A16 bionic chipset. The iPhone 14 Pro is meant for people looking for the absolute best iPhone experience, maybe someone looking to upgrade from an iPhone 12 or 13 series phone or just someone who needs the best photo/video shooting smartphone.

iPhone 14 Pro Price in India

The Pro series has seen a slight price jump this year. The iPhone 14 Pro starts at Rs 1,29,900 for its 128GB variant and goes all the way up to Rs 1,79,900 for the 1TB storage variant. Last year’s base iPhone 13 Pro started at Rs 1,19,900. You can also avail instant credit of up to Rs 58,000 if you trade in an older phone.

iPhone 14 Pro Availability

iPhone 14 Pro is available in 4 colour options: Silver, Gold, Space Black and my favourite so far- Deep Purple. Pre-orders for iPhone 14 Pro will be starting from September 9 2022 at 5:30 PM IST, and the phone will be available to purchase starting September 16.

iPhone 14 Pro Pros & Cons

To begin with, let’s talk about the pill-shaped elephant in the room. iPhone 14 Pro finally ditches the notch in favour of what looks like a pill-shaped cutout in the middle of the screen. While all of us were getting ready with our memes and jokes about how Android has much smaller punch-hole cutouts, Apple completely changed the game; turning the screen cutout into an actual feature.

Named ‘Dynamic Island’, Apple has very smartly integrated the black cutout in the screen into a blacked-out bubble-shaped notification area, which can display useful information like media playback options, timer widgets and some other use-case-dependent stuff. It’s difficult to explain it in words because of how unique and novel this is but the video above might give you a better understanding. I’m yet to try it in real life, but I think this is the best way a phone maker has ever embraced the screen cutout; turning the one big downside of this iPhone design into an actual feature that people are raving about.

The next big upgrade this year is the 48MP main camera. Android phones have been using these 4-in-1 pixels binning cameras for quite some time now, and we can expect Apple’s implementation to be good as usual. The main camera also features 2nd generation sensor-shift OIS and an all-new Action mode for ‘gimbal-like’ video stabilisation. The iPhone 13 Pro was already the undisputed champ of smartphone videography. The iPhone 14 Pro might further increase that lead, now that it can even do Cinematic Videos with background bokeh at up to 4K 30fps.

The all-new sensor also promises up to 2x better performance in low light, and the upgraded ultrawide camera is touted to deliver 3x better low-light performance as well. The telephoto camera stays unchanged with a 3x zoom lens, contrary to some leaks that were pointing at a periscope 5x or higher zoom lens. The Pro models also get the same upgraded 12MP selfie camera with AF as the regular iPhone 14 models.

The final upgrade in this year’s Pro iPhones comes in the form of the new A16 Bionic chipset. Unlike the last few years, only the Pro models get a new chipset this year, although I wouldn’t be too worried about that as the A15 was and still is powerful enough for even the heaviest use cases. The A16, with its new 4nm fabrication process, brings the usual jump in CPU/GPU performance but, more importantly, reduces power consumption by about 20% compared to the A15. Apple also claims the A16 can deliver about 40% more performance than the “competition”, which I’m assuming points to the latest Snapdragon 8-series chipsets from Qualcomm.

We’ll have to wait and see how these improvements translate to real-life usage benefits but the iPhone 14 Pro is an easy recommendation for almost anyone who can afford it. The only real “con” with the iPhone 14 Pro is that Apple refuses to introduce a faster charging standard for its phones. Plus, the fact that these phones still come with a lightning port might be a bummer for people expecting a switch to Type-C ports. Next time, maybe?

iPhone 14 Pro Max: Maximum Flex At Maximum Price

The last iPhone on today’s list, the iPhone 14 Pro Max, is basically the best and biggest of everything. You get all the Pro features of the iPhone 14 Pro, plus a bigger screen combined with a bigger battery. This phone is meant for people who need the absolute best, no-compromise iPhone experience, professional camera features and don’t have a budget to worry about. Also, having big hands is a must if you want to handle this chunky boi.

iPhone 14 Pro Max Price in India

The iPhone 14 Pro Max starts at Rs 1,39,900 for the base 128GB variant and goes up to an eye-watering Rs 1,89,900 for the maxed-out 1TB storage variant. That’s a Rs 10,000 bump over the iPhone 14 Pro across all storage variants. You can avail of the same trade-in benefits and bank offers as all other iPhone 14 models.

iPhone 14 Pro Max Availability

iPhone 14 Pro Max is available in the same 4 colour options: Silver, Gold, Space Black and Deep Purple. Pre-orders for iPhone 14 Pro Max also start from September 9 2022, at 5:30 PM IST, and the phone will be available to purchase starting September 16.

iPhone 14 Pro Max Pros & Cons

The iPhone 14 Pro Max brings all the new features as the iPhone 14 Pro. That includes the new Dynamic Island screen cutout, the A16 Bionic chipset and the improved camera system. The much-awaited Always-ON Display feature also makes its debut on the iPhone 14 Pro series, although Apple’s implementation is slightly different from what we are used to in Android phones.

This phone truly has it all. With the big display and the powerful A16 chip, the 14 Pro Max should have no problem in becoming the device of choice for smartphone gamers. And with features like 48MP ProRAW photos, 4K Cinematic Videos and Action Mode stabilization, the 14 Pro Max is almost ready to replace professional-grade cameras, making life much easier for professional photographers and movie makers alike.

What I don’t like about this phone is just its sheer size, which might take you by surprise unless you’ve used a Pro Max iPhone in the last 2 years. It weighs almost 250grams and the flat-edged design makes it feel almost like a brick in my hands. If you’ve got smaller hands, I would expect you to not like the form-factor here, and even people with big hands should try this phone out in a physical store before buying it.

iPhone 14 Series: Which One To Buy

That’s a quick rundown of all the phones in the iPhone 14 series and the things that set them apart. Simply put, you can get a Pro or a non-Pro iPhone in either a regular or large size.

  • The iPhone 14 misses out on a high refresh rate display and a telephoto (zoom) camera but comes with better battery life and improved cameras from last year.
  • The iPhone 14 Plus gives you the iPhone 14 experience but in a bigger body with even better battery life. There’s no real alternative to it unless you don’t mind a slightly smaller screen, in which case you can consider last year’s iPhone 13 Pro, which gives you a 120Hz screen and a zoom lens. It is already selling at a discount on Amazon.
  • The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max have a 120Hz screen, all-new screen cutout, A16 Bionic chipset, new 48MP main camera, 4K Cinematic Video, new ProRAW photography features and an Always-ON Display. While the 14 Pro Max might feel too big for some, the iPhone 14 Pro will be my choice for people looking for a flagship iPhone experience with great cameras and performance.

iPhone 14 Series: Specifications at Glance

Here’s a handy refresher of the specs on offer with the iPhone 14 series:

Specs iPhone 14 iPhone 14 Plus iPhone 14 Pro iPhone 14 Pro Max
Display 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED, 60Hz 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR OLED, 60Hz 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED, 120Hz 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR OLED, 120Hz
RAM/Storage 128/256/512GB, 4GB RAM 128/256/512GB, 4GB RAM 128/256/512GB/1TB, 6GB RAM 128/256/512GB/1TB 6GB RAM
Chipset A15 Bionic (5nm) A15 Bionic (5nm) A16 Bionic (4nm) A16 Bionic (4nm)
Rear Camera 12MP Main + 12MP Ultrawide 12MP Main + 12MP Ultrawide 48MP Main+12MP UW+12MP 3x Zoom 48MP Main+12MP UW+12MP 3x Zoom
Front Camera 12MP with Autofocus 12MP with Autofocus 12MP with Autofocus 12MP with Autofocus

Ultimately, you alone can decide what iPhone best suits your usage and budget criteria. I hope I have helped make the decision slightly easier for you. If you have any more questions, do leave them in the comments below.

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Having finished his Engineering, MBA and mid-life crisis, Rushil realized he’s really good at doling out information about smartphones and consumer technology without anyone asking. So now, he does that for a living. You can find him mostly on the Mysmartprice Youtube channel in his never-ending search for the perfect smartphone