Both are solid iPhones with excellent build quality and design, and great cameras, but the iPhone 14 beats the competition with a more powerful processor, longer battery life, and upgraded camera modes. If the iPhone 12 came with 128GB as a baseline, we’d recommend that, but since it didn’t, the 14 looks like the better overall deal.
The iPhone 14 is now the benchmark for the standard iPhone, holding back on the extra camera and many extra units of currency required to reach the Pro level. We often call it the best iPhone for the average person, because it strikes a healthy balance between performance, features, and cost. But Apple has kept the iPhone 12 in its current catalog, giving consumers the option to buy the standard carrier from two years ago if they want to save more money. Would this be a wise choice, or should you go with the new paradigm? Here is the comparison between iPhone 14 and iPhone 12.
How do designs compare?
Apple gave the iPhone a facelift when it launched the 12 series. The rounded design of the iPhone X, XS, XR, and 11 went out, replaced by squared edges that harked back to the golden age of the iPhone 5 and the first SE. This aesthetic has remained consistent through the iPhone 13 and now also appears on iPhone 14.
Take a look at these dimensions to see how similar they are to each other:
iPhone 14: 146.7 mm x 71.5 mm x 7.80 mm; 172 grams
iPhone 12: 146.7 mm x 71.5 mm x 7.4 mm; 162 grams
As you can see, they are practically identical, except that the iPhone 12 It is a little thinner and lighter.
At first glance you won’t notice a difference, at least from the front. Both have a 6.1-inch, notch-filled display, an aerospace-grade aluminum body, a Lightning port, a glass back, and a dual rear camera array.
The latter is one way to differentiate the models, as the iPhone 12 has two lenses placed in a vertical line, while the iPhone 14’s lenses are placed diagonally. Various color schemes are also available, with 12 exclusive colors sporting blue and purple, while you can find other shades of blue, purple or green in 14, along with the traditional black, white and red (PRODUCT) colors.
Both devices are certified with an IP68 rating, so they’ll do just fine if dumped in the shower, plus there’s 5G support for faster mobile network speeds.
Are the offers different?
At first glance, the iPhone 12 and iPhone 14 screens look identical. Both feature a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED panel, protected by a Ceramic Shield material that Apple claims is the toughest glass on any smartphone. You’ll also find a resolution of 2532 x 1170 (460ppi), contrast ratios of 2,000,000:1, True Tone, a wide color display (P3), and an HDR brightness of 1,200 nits.
But there is one important difference: the iPhone 14 has a maximum (typical) brightness of 800 nits, while the iPhone 12 only reaches 625 nits. This may sound overly technical, so we get the simple fact that in daily use, the iPhone 14 is much brighter than the iPhone 12.
Of course, the iPhone 14 also comes in a larger version, which is iPhone 14 Plusso if you want a larger screen, the 6.7-inch OLED panel on this model is one to consider.
How do the cameras compare?
iPhones are famous 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 quite a few specs, but the iPhone 14 definitely has the edge when it comes to optics.
The iPhone 12 has a decent set of talents in the photo and video department, thanks to its dual 12MP rear cameras that consist of f/1.6 (main) and f/2.4 (Ultra Wide) lenses. It features optical image stabilization to eliminate any shakes, combines to offer 2x optical zoom, and can take some beautiful photos that are enhanced thanks to the Smart HDR 3 capabilities along with Night and Portrait modes. Video up to 4K/60fps or HDR video up to 4K/30fps. All in all, a very usable skill set for a budding iPhoneographer.
These are overcome, though, by upgrades in the iPhone 14 that include a faster f/1.5 main lens, sensor-shift stabilization for smoother photos and videos, as well as the new Photon Engine for better overall detail and color balance, particularly in mode night.
Apple also adds Smart HDR 4 for photos and a cinematic mode for video that allows you to get a movie-style shallow depth of field when focusing. There’s also the new Action Mode that can keep your video steady even when you’re moving quickly.
There’s also a front-facing camera upgrade, with the iPhone 14 bringing a faster f/1.9 12MP TrueDepth camera (better f/2.2 in the 12), plus the same improvements to Smart HDR, cinematic modes, HDR video recording and the inclusion of the Photon Engine.
The iPhone 12 is a great device for taking photos and videos, but the iPhone 14 is simply a little better.
What about processors and storage?
Although the hardware is two years apart, the processor generation is only one. In the iPhone 12 you will find the A14 Bionic, while the iPhone 14 comes with the A15 Bionic. There is a caveat here, though, that the chip in 14 is the modified chip that debuted in the iPhone 13 Pro models and features an additional GPU core. Both are pretty fast, so unless you’re a hardcore gamer you probably won’t notice much of a difference.
Storage is a sign of a change in approach. The baseline iPhone 12 features 64GB, while the iPhone 14 doubles the entry point to 128GB. The former isn’t a great option in the modern world where 4K video capability can have you filling up space in no time at all (assuming you shoot a lot of video). You can upgrade to higher capacities of course, but at a price.
Here are the configurations shown:
iPhone 14: 128 GB, 256 GB, or 512 GB
iPhone 12: 64 GB, 128 GB, or 256 GB
Any special features?
There are two things here that you should know. Apple states that the iPhone 14 has about three hours longer battery life than the iPhone 12, which is significant. The newer model also has a new crash detection feature that can detect severe car accidents and automatically contact emergency services if they don’t respond. One of them makes your phone work longer, while the second might do the same for you.
What about the price?
One of the main reasons to consider the older model is the price. With that in mind, here’s how the two models compare:
128GB: $799 / £849 / €1,019
256GB: $899 / £959 / €1,149
512GB: $1,099 / £1,179 / €1,409
64GB: $599 / £649 / €809
128GB: $649 / £699 / €859
256GB: $749 / £809 / €979
iPhone 12 is still a powerful device, even two years after it was first launched. The camera system is capable of taking great photos and videos, while the A14 Bionic chip means it shouldn’t be lacking in performance or software upgrades for a few years to come. The difference in price isn’t as great as we think it should be, however, it’s mainly hampered by the 64GB that Apple still offers. With that in mind, the extra money that takes you to the iPhone 14 seems like the wiser choice. For that you get improved cameras, a cinematic mode, and a new light engine, plus extra battery life and a brighter screen that makes it look like a device that’s only going to get better with time.