For the last three years — ever since iPhone XR — it is the non-Pro variant that tops the selling charts. Don’t expect that to change anytime soon — even with great advancements in the Pro series camera and battery performance. Why? Because the iPhone 13 is still the most value you are going to find in an iPhone in 2021 and till late 2022. Sure, the iPhone 13 mini is the same phone in a smaller size but people — the sales of iPhone 12 mini would be a testament — don’t want small phones, even if it’s an iPhone. This is where the iPhone 13 comes in with a package that’s meant for most iPhone buyers. Read on our review to find out more:
Apple iPhone 13 review: Design and display
As the cliché goes, why fix it if it ain’t broke, right? Apple has followed that mantra albeit with some changes. The basics remain the same — flat-edge design, angular finish — but the notch gets smaller. The cameras get bigger which means the bump is a tad bigger than the iPhone 12. The iPhone 13 remains comfortable for one-handed operations.
Both the front and back are made of glass which means you are better off with a cover and screen protector, despite the Ceramic Shield in place. It’s meant to be tougher but don’t take that risk as getting it — the front and back if broken — will leave a hole in your pocket. The camera lenses are diagonal on the iPhone 13 and not vertical as was the case with iPhone 12.
Apple has certainly made the iPhone 13 more durable with an IP68 rating, which doesn’t make the phone waterproof but it will fare better than a lot of phones. The button placement remains similar — the right side has the power button whereas on the left are the volume controls, silence button and the SIM tray. The wait for USB Type-C continues on an iPhone as the bottom part has the Lightning port and speakers.
At 174 grams, the iPhone 13 is slightly heavier than the iPhone 12 but not bothersome as this remains a very comfortable phone to use.
Apple adds colour to the non-Pro series and there are multiple options to choose from. Our review unit was the Pink colour, which is subtle and attractive at the same time.
The iPhone 13 comes with a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display with a resolution of 2532 x 1170. The display is where one of the biggest differences between a Pro and a non-Pro iPhone comes. The iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max come with a 120hz refresh rate display, which is a true delight to use and look at. The iPhone 13, however, comes with a ‘standard’ 60Hz refresh rate. In today’s times, it’s still confounding how Apple hasn’t made the 120Hz refresh rate the norm rather than the exception.
Having said that, unless you put the Pro models next to the iPhone 13, you will have zero complaints with its display. The brightness levels are really good and colour reproduction remains accurate. Gone are the days — last seen with iPhone 11 — when the LCD display gave you a rather corners being cut kind of feeling. You will see thin bezels around the display and the notch has been made smaller by Apple on the iPhone 13.
Apple iPhone 13 review: Camera
On paper, Apple hasn’t made too many upgrades to the iPhone 13 camera. There’s a 12MP wide camera with an aperture of f/1.6 and a 12MP ultra-wide camera with f/2.4 aperture and a 120-degree field of view. What’s changed is the size of the lenses and the results are great. The primary camera uses 1.7µm pixels — the iPhone 12 had 1.4µm pixels — and the difference is noticeable. The iPhone 13 is arguably one of the best point and shoot experience that you will get on a smartphone. You just need to click and chances are that the image will be full of details, sharp and with accurate colour reproduction. Apple has added Photographic Styles, which gives you more choice to give your photos a different look. There’s the Standard mode which is most natural and apart from that there are Rich Contrast, Vibrant, Warm and Cool styles, which give photos a different look. All bring their share of differences but we preferred the Standard mode as one of the best things about an iPhone camera is how natural the images look.
Another new feature is the Sensor-Shift OIS which gives excellent image stabilisation. It was a feature that was reserved for the Pro phones till last year.
The ultra-wide camera is really good when you want to capture more of the subject. Apple has given digital zoom of up to 5x but there are many other phones that give better zoom capabilities. Apple needs to improve this feature for giving a complete package in the iPhone camera.
You will find a 12MP wide camera on the front and it remains as impressive as ever. There’s little difference between the front camera of the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 13.
Apple’s big bet this year with the iPhone 13 series camera is shooting videos. The headline act — Cinematic Mode — finds its way to the iPhone 13 series. The Cinematic Mode is a portrait mode for videos as it adds the bokeh effect to the shot. It’s a rather cool feature to use and a lot of fun to play with. You can edit the video later with Cinematic mode as well. Apart from that, the iPhone 13 is a really solid phone when it comes to shooting videos. The iPhone 13 supports video shooting at 4K at up to 60 frames per second and full HD at up to 240 fps.
The iPhone 13 features a truly consistent camera that you will find in a smartphone. It’s perfect for shooting in daylight, low-light and adds some cool features to the video shooting capabilities.
Apple iPhone 13 review: Performance, battery life
The iPhone 13 is powered by the A15 Bionic processor which is supremely impressive. Apple has introduced an all-new 5-core GPU for improved graphic performance. There is a 6-core CPU — two performance and four efficiency cores — that ensures really impressive performance. Apple claims that the current CPU is 50% faster than the competition and there’s little reason to doubt that claim as this is a phone that delivers top-notch performance.
Apps open in a jiffy and there’s no question of lags and stutters on this iPhone. Some apps — perhaps not optimised yet for iOS 15 — might give you an issue but it won’t be down to the hardware as the A15 Bionic is blazing fast in day-to-day activities. Benchmark scores are fine to give you a perspective but it’s how the phone actually performs in your hand that matters. And the iPhone 13 is a phone that won’t give you any reason to complain. A
With an OLED display, gaming is also an excellent experience on the iPhone 13. Apple Arcade is now fast becoming an excellent platform for all kinds of gamers. For instance, we played the NBA 2K 22 on the iPhone 13 is really good and quite close to the experience on the iPad Pro — and that has the excellent M1 processor.
Apple has also improved the battery life on the iPhone 13 series and while the iPhone 13 might not last as long as the iPhone 13 Pro Max, it still delivers a really good battery life. Even heavy-duty users will find that the iPhone 13 can last easily a day — from 9.30 am to 10.30 pm — with at least 15% battery life. A total screen time of 9 hours was something that iPhone 13 could handle without us worrying to reach the charger.
Fast charging is there but not at the quantum leaps Android phone makers have achieved. The iPhone 13 supports 20-watt chargers, which is quite less when compared to what the likes of OnePlus, Xiaomi, and Oppo have to offer. The iPhone 13 can, however, reach up to 50% charging in just about 30 minutes, which isn’t bad at all. You can wirelessly charge the iPhone 13 but only up to 15W, which again isn’t that great but acceptable.
Apple iPhone 13 review: Verdict
The iPhone 13 has everything that you would want in a smartphone. It has an eye-catching design, excellent performance, battery life that will give you no reason to complain and consistent cameras. It’s hard to find a fault in the iPhone 13 except that the 60Hz refresh rate could’ve been added but Apple kept it for the more expensive Pro series. At Rs 79,900, the iPhone 13 is a must-have for anyone looking to upgrade from the iPhone 10 and above. For the iPhone 11 users, it makes a strong case to upgrade but not for those with iPhone 12. The iPhone 13 will be a chart-topper across the most popular smartphones in the world simply because it is the new iPhone that most people will buy and be content with.
180 days ago