iPhone 13 Review: The base model that sets the bar

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Last year’s iPhone 12 offered a lot of news with both an eye-catching new design, a significantly better screen, finally 5G connection and then the party trick with Magsafe. However, we were disappointed that the camera had not received a major improvement. But it turned out that Apple saved that upgrade for this year’s iPhone 13. We are also treated to cinematic treats and something as long-awaited as longer battery life. But can it really be true?

As before, the iPhone 13 come with three different sizes of storage, from 128 to 512 gigabytes, which will cost you from $599 to $899. It feels more expensive than last year, which is also when the 64 gigabyte model was scrapped and the top model now has 512 gigabytes of storage. Depending on how you look at it, either the cheapest configuration has become $90 more expensive, or you can say that 128 gigabytes has become $60 cheaper.

Must Read: How To Unlock iPhone 13 FREE With Unlocky Tool

If you want to get away cheaper, there is the 13 Mini from $599 or the second-generation iPhone SE, which costs $399. If you have more to spend and want a more powerful mobile phone, you can take a look at the iPhone 13 Pro from $1,300 or the 13 Pro Max from $1,400.

Design and construction

We may not have gotten a cool, angular design on the Apple Watch 7, but the iPhone 13, as expected, retains the shape from last year’s model. The size is exactly the same except that it has become a fraction of a millimeter thicker. Maybe enough that we have to buy new shells? The weight has increased by 11 grams, but is still 21 grams lighter than the old bulky iPhone 11.

Iphone 13 Magsafe

The only thing that really gossips that you have the latest coolest iPhone is that the cameras are now on the diagonal. Something that naturally gave rise to many memes online. You can also see a difference in the colors which have become more toned down. Black has become Midnight, White has become Starburst, the blue is lighter, purple has been replaced by pink, and green has been discontinued. Only Red remains.

Apple iPhone 13
Photo: Apple

Of course, we have to address what surprisingly many people saw as an absolutely fantastic upgrade. Namely that the camera module has become smaller. When Apple started having the selfie camera and all the sensors in one notch on the screen, it led to an outcry and the term Notch Gate was born. Does the reduction mean we’re completely enraptured by all the newfound space? No, there is no noticeable difference. It is still not possible to have the battery percentage on the screen.

As before, the front glass has been protected by Ceramic Shield, and it still has very good protection against the elements with ip68 (up to 30 minutes at a depth of 6 meters).

Picture and sound

The iPhone 13 screen is, as we now expect from Apple, absolutely incredible. As I said, the big upgrade came last year when it was upgraded to an OLED panel, and we thus got almost infinite contrast. Of course with P3 color gamut, Apple’s True Tone automatic white balance, HDR10 and Dolby Vision. This year’s upgrade is minor, but certainly welcome. The brightness has increased by 28 percent to 800 cd/m². In hdr display, it can still max out at 1,200 cd/m². What we don’t get this year either is Promotion, a higher refresh rate. If it’s important to you, you can shell out for the iPhone 13 Pro model, which has a 120 Hz refresh rate.

iPhone 13

Nothing revolutionary has happened with the sound either. But then we also start from a rather high starting point. The speaker at the top of the screen looks like it’s only made for phone calls, and it’s easy to think that it would become shrill when the volume increases. But it is surprisingly full and gives, together with the speaker elements at the bottom, a balanced sound. It’s really enjoyable, unlike what we heard from many mobile phones in public transport that made our ears cry.

But the major upgrade of the music is not in the mobile phone, but takes place wirelessly with IOS 15 and Apple Music together with Airpods Pro or Airpods Max. Then we can listen to spatial sound with music in Dolby Atmos format.

Impressive cameras

The big improvement in the iPhone 13 is something that you notice after a while. The image quality has improved and above all this applies in trickier lighting conditions. This is because it has received a larger sensor with larger sensor points, which can therefore collect more light. More light means faster exposures, less blur and less noise. The sharpness is also helped by the fact that the iPhone 13 has inherited the image stabilization from the 12 Pro, where it is the sensor that moves instead of the lens, which reduces shaking better.

In addition, the chipset includes a new image processing processor that provides features such as improved HDR. That is to say, being able to expose different parts of the image differently, so that you both get the details in the bright sky and in the deep shadow. We also get something called photographic styles, which, unlike filters, can apply different image treatments to different parts of the image.

Apple is very enthusiastic about improvements and refinements in the video mode. For example, you can now film in Dolby Vision HDR in 4K resolution with a whopping 60 frames per second. That you can do it with a mobile phone is actually impressive. But they mostly emphasize the new cinematic mode. There you should get a cinema feeling by using a short depth of field so that the eye is drawn to what is in focus. Clever automation analyzes the scene and switches between faces. It certainly looks impressive, but is not something we can see ourselves using on a daily basis.

High performance

Apple iPhone 13 performance

With this year’s edition of the A15 Bionic system chip, as usual, performance takes a step forward. Strangely enough, Apple has not compared it so much with previous models, but has made sweeping statements that it is so-and-so much faster than the competition. Something that made us a little doubtful as to whether we would see such a big difference. But we didn’t have to worry about that. In pure computing performance, the increase for single-threaded performance was indeed around 9 percent, but on the other hand, multi-threaded performance had increased by 21 percent.

But it’s when we get to the graphics that we see where Apple has put the powder this time. Performance in 3D Mark Wildlife has increased by 14 percent. It may not sound like much, but it is normal for it to go up by 6 percent! More than double! And then we haven’t even mentioned the Pro models and their extra graphics core that runs circles around both previous models and everything the competition has to offer.

Iphone 13 Antutu
Photo: Antutu The iPhone 13 is on par with the iPad Pro 4 in terms of performance

The battery has increased from 2,815 mAh to 3,240 mAh, which Apple promises will provide 2.5 hours longer battery life. According to our video streaming test, that feels like a gross understatement. iPhone 13 lasted longer than both previous years’ Pro Max models!

We charged the iPhone 11 Pro Max, 12 Pro Max, iPhone 13 and 13 Pro Max to 100 percent (the first two with 99% battery health). They were then allowed to stream YouTube videos with the screen at 100 percent brightness. Once an hour we read the remaining battery until they shut down.

iPhone 13 Performance

Antutu Benchmark : 818,849 points
Geekbench 5 : 4,672 points multi core, 1729 points single core
3dmark Sling Shot Extreme : 6,901 points
3dmark Wild Life : 9,620 points

Our Opinion

Finally, we get a noticeably improved camera even in the basic model. Longer battery life has been even more anticipated. But with last year’s cavalcade of goodies, this year’s upgrade feels rejected. Not because it’s a bad base model, on the contrary, it’s hard to really find anything substantial to complain about. We’re probably just spoiled. Our biggest criticism is therefore really the name, and it’s not because we’re superstitious. With the old naming, this would have been a clear iPhone 12S.

POSITIVE

  • Better dark pictures with a larger camera sensor
  • Noticeably brighter screen
  • The A15 Bionic is seriously fast
  • More memory at a better price

NEGATIVE

  • A smaller upgrade than we hoped
  • Still not faster screen refresh
  • Many of the new features feel a bit clunky