Both are solid iPhones with excellent build quality, designs, and great cameras, but the iPhone 14 is the contestant with its more powerful processor edges, longer battery life, and updated camera modes. If the iPhone 12 came with 128GB as a base, we’d recommend it, but since it’s not, the 14 looks like the better overall deal.
The iPhone 14 is now the benchmark for a standard iPhone, holding back the extra camera and many additional units of currency needed to reach the Pro level. We often call it the best iPhone for regular people, as it strikes a healthy balance between performance, functionality and cost. But Apple has kept the iPhone 12 in its current catalog, giving consumers the option to buy the two-year-old Bishop if they want to save more. Would that be a wise choice or should you go with the new model? Here is our comparison between the iPhone 14 and iPhone 12.
How the designs compare
Apple revamped the iPhone when it launched the 12 series. Out came the rounded design of the iPhone X, XS, XR and 11, replaced with squarer edges that harkened back to the golden age of the original iPhone 5 and SE. This aesthetic has remained stable through the iPhone 13 and now appears on the iPhone 14 as well.
Check out these dimensions to see how similar they are to each other:
iPhone 14: 146.7mm x 71.5mm x 7.80mm; 172 g
iPhone 12: 146.7mm x 71.5mm x 7.4mm; 162 g
As you can see, they’re pretty much identical, except the iPhone 12 is a bit thinner and lighter.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
At first glance, you really won’t notice any difference, at least from the front. Both sport a 6.1-inch display, complete with a notch, an aerospace-grade aluminum frame, a Lightning port, a glass back, and dual rear camera arrays.
The latter is a way to distinguish the models, since the iPhone 12 has the two lenses positioned in a vertical line, while the iPhone 14’s lenses are positioned diagonally. Different color combinations are also available, with the 12 exclusive shades of blue and purple, while you can find other shades of blue, purple or green on the 14, along with the traditional black, white and (PRODUCT) Red options.
Both devices are certified with an IP68 rating, so they’ll do equally well when dropped in the bath, plus there’s 5G support for faster mobile network speeds.
Are the displays different?
The displays of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 14 look identical. Both feature a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED panel, protected by the Ceramic Shield material that Apple says is the strongest glass on any smartphone. You’ll also find 2532×1170 (460ppi) resolutions, 2,000,000:1 contrast ratios, True Tone, Wide Color Display (P3), and a peak HDR brightness of 1,200 nits.
But there’s one important difference: The iPhone 14 has a (typical) maximum brightness of 800 nits, while the iPhone 12 only goes up to 625 nits. This may sound overly technical, so summing it up we get the simple fact that in day-to-day use, the iPhone 14 is a little brighter than the iPhone 12. It also has a slightly smaller notch, though not so much that it makes a difference. in your daily use.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
Of course, the iPhone 14 is also available in a larger variant, the iPhone 14 Plus, so if you want an even bigger display, then the 6.7-inch OLED panel on that model is one to consider.
How do the cameras compare?
iPhones are renowned for their cameras and Apple usually adds a feature or two every year to improve this area of the device. On paper the two share some specs, but the iPhone 14 definitely has the edge when it comes to optics.
The iPhone 12 has a decent range of talent in the photo and video department, thanks to its dual 12MP rear cameras made up of f/1.6 (main) and f/2.4 (ultra wide) lenses. These come with optical image stabilization to eliminate any judder, come together to offer 2x optical zoom, and can take lovely photos that are made even better thanks to Smart HDR 3 features along with Night and Portrait modes. Video goes up to 4K/60fps or HDR video maxes out at 4K/30fps. All in all, a very usable skill set for the budding iPhoneographer.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
These are surpassed, however, by iPhone 14 updates that include a faster f/1.5 prime lens, sensor-shift stabilization for even smoother stills and video, plus the new Photonic Engine to generally improve detail and image balance. color, especially in night mode. .
Apple also adds Smart HDR 4 for photos and cinematic mode for video that lets you have a movie-style shallow depth of field when focusing. There’s also the new Action mode which can keep the video steady even when you’re moving at a brisk pace.
There’s also an update to the front-facing camera, with the iPhone 14 featuring a faster 12MP f/1.9 TrueDepth camera (surpassing the f/2.2 one in the 12), plus the same improvements to Smart HDR, cinematic modes, recording HDR video, and the inclusion of the photon engine.
The iPhone 12 is a great device for taking photos and videos, but the iPhone 14 is just a little bit better.
How about processors and storage?
Although the devices are two years apart, the processor generation is only one. In the iPhone 12, you’ll find the A14 Bionic, while the iPhone 14 comes with an A15 Bionic. There is a caveat here, however, as the chip in the 14 is the optimized one that first appeared in the iPhone 13 Pro models and features an additional GPU core. Both are damn fast, so unless you’re a hardcore gamer, you probably won’t notice too much difference.
Storage marks a change of approach. The base iPhone 12 features a measly 64GB, while the entry-point iPhone 14 doubles that to 128GB. The former isn’t a great choice in the modern world where that 4K video capability could fill your space in a heartbeat (assuming you shoot a lot of video). You can upgrade to higher capacities, of course, but at a price.
iPhone 14: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
iPhone 12: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
There are two things here you should know. Apple claims that the iPhone 14 boasts about three hours more battery life than the iPhone 12, which is significant. The newest model also has the new Crash Detection feature which can detect serious car crashes and automatically contact emergency services if you don’t respond. One makes your phone work longer, while the second can do the same for you.
And the price?
One of the main reasons to consider the older model is the price. With that in mind, here’s how to compare the two models:
The iPhone 12 is still a solid device, even two years after it was first released. The camera system is capable of capturing great photos and video, while the A14 Bionic chip means you shouldn’t miss out on performance or software updates for a few years to come. The price difference isn’t as big as we think it should be, however, mainly hampered by the meager 64GB that Apple continues to offer. With that in mind, the extra cash that gets you up to an iPhone 14 seems like the wiser choice. For that, you get improved cameras, cinematic modes, the new Photonic Engine, plus the extra battery life and brighter display that make it look like a device that will age better over time.
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