The "1-Minute" Review
VerdictWhile it's a questionable upgrade over the already-impressive iPhone 12, the iPhone 13 brings better battery life, improved cameras, a great display, and Apple's premium build quality to yet another generation of iPhones. As with past years, it's only real competition (for the price) are other iPhones.
- Great battery life
- Brighter display
- Best performance
- 5G Support
- No 120Hz display
- Slow charging
Probably the most stand-out thing about the new cast of iPhones is implementing a cinematic camera mode that brings a bokeh-like effect to video, but with Apple sitting at the top of so many charts already with the iPhone 12, does the iPhone 13 offer enough to be worth the additional price?
There's not a lot to parse here. It looks just like last year's iPhone and features Apple's premium metal and glass build. The only actual change may be the camera notch on the phone's front being about 20% smaller than before.
The iPhone 13 comes in different colors this year if you like a little flair. Pink, Blue, Midnight, Starlight and Red offer a bit more personality than Apple's usual lineup.
The lack of a 120Hz display disappointed some reviewers, noting that even the more budget phones had the option available.
They didn't feel it was fair to lock this increasingly common feature behind the iPhone Pro price tier.
It is still an excellent display, though. It is now 28% brighter than the iPhone 12, too -- a big perk for anyone who uses their phone outdoors frequently.
It seems like we'll never see a day when Apple isn't the front runner when it comes to performance, and once again, they've knocked it out of the park.
While everyday scrolling and social media may not be too noticeable, the difference comes in when you're playing games and multitasking. The iPhone 13's chipset is the very best in the business.
Software & Storage
You'll find the usual 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB storage offerings. Also, as usual, there's no option for microSD card expansion, so it's probably best to overestimate slightly unless you want to store things predominantly in the cloud.
The iPhone 13 ships with iOS 15 -- Apple's latest software. But that's available on many older (and more affordable) iPhones as well.
The cameras are probably the most improved feature overall when comparing the older iPhones to the iPhone 13.
The bigger lens draws in up to 47% more light, providing much better low-light photography without going into night mode.
The next change is the option to change color temperatures and other details within the camera app. If you'd rather have something more subdued or more vibrant, you can switch between modes instantly.
Perhaps the most anticipated feature is the Cinematic mode, which allows you to feel like a movie magician. It automatically changes focal points as things happen with your video and allows you to adjust them after recording manually.
When it comes to battery life, the iPhone 13 easily beats the iPhone 12 with two whole extra hours of battery life, according to most reviewer's tests.
That's 10 hours and 33 minutes of live battery life at full brightness with constant web surfing.
Apple claims this is due to a larger battery, the A15 Bionic chip, and better screen regulation.
Wireless charging is available as well. But you won't find a charger included in the box, as Apple has removed them to reduce waste.
With no real mention of audio quality from reviewers. Where the speakers are positioned on the iPhone 13, one can assume that nothing has changed there.
If you really want to enjoy your audio, headphones are recommended.
Specs at a Glance
- Aluminum and glass chassis
- 6.1-inch Super RetinaXDR display
- A15 Bionic processor
- 4GB of RAM
- iOS 15
- 128/256/512GB of storage
- 12MP front and rear camera
- 3095mAh battery
While the gap between iPhones gets smaller in terms of improvements, Apple still pulls some strings and makes each version better.
The iPhone 13 base model is just that -- the baseline experience in this year's lineup. However, if you simply want the size of the Pro or Pro Max but none of the features (or extra cost), it's an interesting value.
Tom's Guide states, "The iPhone 13 improves on what was already the best iPhone for most people by introducing a bunch of welcome enhancements. I especially like the longer battery life, as the iPhone 12's endurance was underwhelming even for a 5G phone. I wouldn't recommend that iPhone 12 owners upgrade to the new iPhone, but the iPhone 13 is worth it if you own an iPhone 11 or older device."
Tech Radar says, "If you own an iPhone 12, the iPhone 13 likely isn't for you, as there's not enough that's new here to merit the upgrade – but if you own an older iPhone, such as an iPhone 8 or iPhone XR, there's plenty to be excited about."
What the Critics Are Saying...
- David Snelling, Daily Express
iPhone 13 isn't revolutionary, but it makes a number of core changes that many fans have been wanting to get their hands on. Apple has improved battery life, an upgraded camera system – including the impressive Cinematic mode, and more storage for less money. Better still, the new smaller Face ID se...
- Aiman Maulana, Pokde.Net
Rather than falling behind its pricier siblings, the iPhone 13 is the gold standard of what a smartphone should be not just in 2021 when it was launched, but also in 2022.
- Akriti Rana, TechPP
We think the real challenge to the iPhone 13 is not the Android brigade but its iPhone 13 mini sibling, which brings exactly the same spec sheet but with a smaller display and form factor at a lower price; and the iPhone 12, which remains a formidable proposition even today. Of course, there are som...
- Yural Maskey, Gadgetbyte
iPhone 13, like the 13 Pro Max, offers a premium experience in many ways. Everything feels stunning here—from the camera, display, to the performance. Unlike the iPhone 12 series, however, the difference between the iPhone 13 and its Pro siblings is significant this time. To be honest, last year's i...
- Lloyd Coombes, Top Ten Reviews
With an impressive new camera system and huge battery life gains, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is Apple’s best effort yet, but won’t be an instant upgrade for all.
Prices (Where to Buy)
Apple iPhone 13 prices will vary depending on retailer, age, special offers and whether or not it's purchased with a service plan. If purchased with a 2 year service contract for example, you would likely pay much less for the phone itself up front. Apple's suggested retail price is $799.00. You can compare iPhone 13 prices from around the web here on The Informr.
Apple backs up the iPhone 13 with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.
If your iPhone 13 has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact Apple support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find Apple's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.
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