Apple IPhone 13 Review: A Good Improvement, Nothing More

The iPhone 13 is the smartphone to buy, and the majority of people won’t need to read a review to know that. No matter what, they will upgrade every year (or, more likely, every two) and never once consider the alternatives.
Apple continues to make better hardware despite how fervently its users adhere to the upgrade cycle, which is to its credit and may be the reason for why it has such a large fan base. A nice illustration of this is the iPhone 13.

What You Need To Know About the Apple iPhone 13

While hardly much has changed, you won’t be visually impressed by Apple’s design changes. The two lenses on the camera housing at the back are now placed diagonally rather than being stacked on top of one another, and the notch housing the Face ID camera at the front is 20% narrower. The device nevertheless has the same flat-edged shell as last year.
However, these improvements aren’t the only ones; Apple has made a number of minor adjustments across the board. The main camera now has Sensor Shift stabilization, and the stunning Cinematic Mode adds false background blur to video pictures.

The screen has been enhanced, increasing peak brightness for normal use. This time around, the battery life is better, and the performance has also been improved.
The change that most people will notice is also the most common: all models now have twice as much storage, starting at 128GB and increasing to 512GB at the top.

Pricing and competition for the Apple iPhone 13

The 64GB model is now £20 cheaper at £779, saving you money overall, while the 256GB variant is now £879, saving you money over 2020’s 256GB iPhone 12. £1,079 is the price of the 512GB iPhone 13.
In reality, the iPhone 13’s major rivals are the iPhone 13 small and iPhone 13 Pro, both of which are produced by Apple. The latter is £120 more expensive but includes a 3x optical zoom telephoto camera, improved battery life, and a smoother 120Hz display. The former is £100 less expensive but has a smaller, 5.4in display and lower battery life.

Review of the Apple iPhone 13: Design

The iPhone 13 doesn’t differ significantly from the iPhone 12 if you’ve read this far. But that doesn’t mean it’s exactly the same.
The iPhone 13 is the same width and height as before (72 x 147mm), but it weighs 10g more and is slightly thicker (by 0.3mm in the body). Apple has reduced the notch by 20%, making it only about 27mm across.
When not in a case, the phone stands out from a surface a little bit more than the iPhone 12 due to the camera housing’s additional 1mm thickness. Speaking of which, because to these minor modifications, an iPhone 13 cannot be protected by a case made for an iPhone 12. That’s it for physical changes. Apple hasn’t changed the phone’s hardware components or its inherent durability. It still has an aluminum frame, with conventional reinforced glass on the back and Apple’s exclusive “Ceramic Shield” glass covering the screen up front. Although it’s frustrating that this feature isn’t also on the phone’s back, the Ceramic Shield glass is surprisingly scratch-resistant in my experience.
The phone is still dust- and water-resistant according to IP68 standards, so you can use it in the rain or drop it in the bathtub without worrying that it will break. Moreover, it comes in five different hues: pink, blue, white (“Starlight”), black (“Midnight”), and red.
There’s also support for 5G mobile networks as there was last year, and Apple continues to include its excellent MagSafe magnetic wireless charging and accessory system on all iPhones.

Review of the Apple iPhone 13: Display

Once more, the differences between the displays of the iPhone 13 and its predecessor must be found in the fine print because, even if you held them side by side, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell them apart.
The Super Retina XDR OLED display is the same size and resolution. It has a diagonal measurement of 6.2 inches, 1,170 x 2,532 pixels, and doesn’t feel any smoother either because Apple didn’t see fit to give the non-Pro iPhones a high refresh rate panel.

Apple claims that the iPhone 13’s peak brightness has increased from the previously mentioned 625 nits to 800 nits this year, and my test results support this claim. The peak brightness of the iPhone 13 was tested at 776cd/m2 (equal to nits), up from 612cd/m2 for the previous year.
This should make the iPhone 13’s screen marginally easier to read in extremely bright environments, but most of the time you won’t notice a change.
Peak brightness here is the same as it was last year at a claimed maximum of 1,200cd/m2; I tested peaks of up to 1,161cd/m2 with HDR video. The display can get much brighter than this during HDR movie playback.
Also, the iPhone 13’s screen is quite accurate in terms of color when compared to sRGB, with an average color variance (Delta E) score of 1.12. (the lower the better).
What do all these numbers actually represent in terms of daily use? In conclusion, the screen on the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 13 are practically identical. All iPhone 13 models support HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision, and both look stunning with any form of content. It’s an amazing display.
The only thing I find objectionable is Apple’s choice to limit the 120Hz displays to the iPhone 13 Pro variants. When you compare the two phones side by side, it is easy to see the difference, which gives the iPhone 13 a feeling of being a little behind the times. To make matters worse, the majority of Android competitors in this price range and below switched over to high refresh rate screens some time ago.

Apple iPhone 13 Review: Cameras

When it comes to camera quality, you’ll notice a little bit more of a change, but once more, the upgrades don’t amount to a revolutionary advance.
As before, you get two rear cameras: the main camera and an ultrawide unit, both of which can record Dolby Vision 4K video at up to 60 frames per second and 12MP images. You’ll need to upgrade to the iPhone 13 Pro or iPhone 13 Pro Max if you want to photograph at a greater distance because the standard iPhone still lacks a telephoto lens. The excellent macro capability that the 13 Pro has is not available on the iPhone 13.
The good news is that the iPhone 13’s main camera has a little larger sensor than its predecessor did, and it combines this with sensor-shift stabilization for, in theory, better, sharper low-light images.

In side-by-side testing with the iPhone 12 small (which has the same camera array as the iPhone 12), I found that the differences were definitely there, with a touch less noise in the iPhone 13’s images in low light and a slightly cleaner overall look. But, in most cases, the variances were so negligible as to have little impact on how the photographs turned out.
The same is true of the ultrawide camera and video quality, which continues to be excellent and bests most competitors—aside from other iPhones, of course. Moreover, the iPhone 13’s camera continues to have internal reflections from the inner surfaces of the lens housings as well as fairly bad lens flare, just like it did last year. Under decent lighting, you won’t notice much of a difference, but when photographing pictures like the one of Soho at night seen below, you’ll commonly notice brilliant lights vividly reflected elsewhere in the frame. This problem needs to be resolved by Apple.

Judgment on the Apple iPhone 13 review

The Apple iPhone 13 is a respectable improvement over the iPhone 12, but not much more. Even the addition of sensor-shift stabilization and Cinematic Mode isn’t particularly fascinating in the real world because the gains are typically minor and incremental.
That in no way devalues the iPhone 13; just the contrary. It’s better than the iPhone 12 in many ways, which is saying something considering that the 12 was my favorite iPhone last year in terms of value.
This year, however, I would advise spending a little more money on the iPhone 13 Pro because it has all the technology of the iPhone 13 Pro Max in a smaller, more portable size and offers better cameras and battery life than the iPhone 13. There is no denying that the iPhone 13 Pro, which costs £120 more, wins the prize for value in 2023.

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