Apple is back with another entry in its bestselling smartphone series. Though relatively little has changed this time around, is the iPhone 13 still worth the upgrade?
What we love — Excellent camera, improved battery life, vivid screen
The iPhone 13 boasts two highly impressive cameras, wide and ultrawide, that are pretty much identical to those of last year’s iPhone 12 Pro Max (unfortunately minus the telephoto zoom camera). This counts as the device’s biggest spec upgrade, and this is especially noticeable when it comes to shooting in lowlight conditions as the new camera can pull so much more detail into its images.
The battery has also been boosted, far surpassing the iPhone 12 in this regard; we found that a looped video took 21 hours to deplete the battery, while streaming Netflix HDR at maximum brightness only knocked away 9% of the cell’s charge.
The most noticeable design change is the reduction by 20% of the notch at the top of the screen, and while this is welcome it does still lag behind many Android competitors. The display itself is visually stunning, boasting an extra hit of brightness (800 nits max in general activities and 1100 for HDR video) and delivering ravishing colours that are vivid without being lurid.
What we don’t like — No enhanced display refresh rate, few major changes
As much as we do like the display, it has to be admitted that the refresh rate of just 60Hz is a let-down by comparison to rivals, many of which deliver a far smoother 120Hz at a fraction of the price (such as the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro to give just one example). Once you’ve experienced an enhanced refresh rate, it’s very hard to go back. Likewise, the lack of a camera with optical zoom is also a disappointment; you’d have to pay extra for the iPhone 13 Pro if you want either of these key features.
Besides that, you won’t be surprised to learn that Apple has stubbornly stuck with the Lightning port rather than the far more widely compatible USB-C connector, and once again there is no charger included in the box.
The iPhone 13 offers modest changes over its predecessor but its still an excellent package, especially thanks to its brilliant camera system, long-lasting battery, and stunning screen. There are a couple of drawbacks, including the relatively low refresh rate of said screen and the lack of a camera with optical zoom, but this device would be a great choice if you haven’t upgraded your iPhone in a few years.