iPhone 13 and 13 Pro review: If you could have three wishes


Enlarge / The iPhone 13 Professional Max, photographed by the iPhone 13 Professional in low mild.

Think about you have been visited by a genie who would grant you three needs, however all of them needed to be about what you need out of your subsequent smartphone. As market analysis and surveys inform it, virtually everybody would make the identical three needs: nice battery life, wonderful cameras, and massive, lovely screens.

This yr, Apple is that know-how genie, as a result of that’s precisely what the iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Professional, and iPhone 13 Professional Max ship after they hit retailer cabinets at the moment.

Cupertino’s flagship cellphone lineup may seem to be an iterative “S”-style replace, provided that the telephones look virtually the identical as final yr’s fashions and that there are not any main new options other than screens with larger refresh charges within the priciest fashions. However since Apple zeroed in on most individuals’s highest priorities, this seemingly iterative replace finally ends up being a noteworthy one.

Apple iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Professional

(Ars Technica could earn compensation for gross sales from hyperlinks on this publish via affiliate programs.)

Specs

Specs at a look: iPhone 13, 13 mini, 13 Professional, 13 Professional Max
Display screen 2532×1170 6.1-inch OLED (13/Professional), 2778×1284 6.7-inch OLED (13 Professional Max), 2340×1080 5.4-inch OLED (13 mini)
OS iOS 15
CPU Apple A15 Bionic
RAM 4GB (13/mini); 6GB (13 Professional/Max)
GPU Apple A15 Bionic
Storage 128, 256, or 512GB for 13/mini; 128, 256, 512GB, or 1TB for 13 Professional/Max
Networking Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5, 5G
Ports Lightning
Digicam Two 12MP rear cameras (wide-angle, ultra-wide-angle) for 13/mini; three 12MP rear cameras (wide-angle, ultra-wide-angle, telephoto) for 13 Professional/Max; 7MP entrance digital camera; Dolby Imaginative and prescient HDR 4K video seize
Dimension 146.7×71.5×7.65mm (13/13 Professional), 160.8×78.1×7.65mm (Max), 131.5×64.2×7.65mm (mini)
Weight 173 g (13), 204 g (Professional), 240 g (Max), 140 g (mini)
Beginning value $699 (mini), $799 (13), $999 (Professional), $1,099 (Max)
Different perks MagSafe, Face ID

Final yr, I ended wanting recommending the iPhone 12 Professional as a result of the iPhone 12 provided sufficient. The 2 telephones weren’t considerably differentiated past nicer supplies and the inclusion of a zoom lens and a lidar sensor within the pricier cellphone. This time round, the Professional mannequin has some extra going for it: a greater digital camera system, sooner graphics, and markedly improved battery life over the iPhone 13.

Now it’s the iPhone 13 Professional and iPhone 13 Professional Max that aren’t all that completely different from one another. For reference, final yr noticed the Max get the higher digital camera system. Now they’re the identical, so it is nearly display measurement and battery life.

Battery life

Apple claims that the iPhone 13 mini can final for 13 hours when taking part in a streaming video, and the iPhone 13 is rated for 15 hours. It’s a giant leap as much as the iPhone 13 Professional, which claims to supply 20 hours—and the iPhone 13 Professional Max guarantees a outstanding 25 hours.

That is due to a number of issues, like a extra environment friendly processor, the ProMotion show within the Professional telephones (we’ll get to that quickly), and importantly, larger batteries. Apple has rejiggered the internals in all of the telephones to make room for extra battery capability. On the subject of lithium-ion batteries, you may’t change the legal guidelines of physics—however you may brute drive them.

A15 Bionic

That extra environment friendly processor is the A15. Apple hasn’t made many particular efficiency claims about how the A15 compares to final yr’s A14, however we all know the brand new SoC has a 6-core CPU with two efficiency and 4 effectivity cores, a 5-core (within the Professional fashions) or 4-core (within the common iPhone 13 fashions) GPU, and a 16-core NPU (that is “neural processing unit,” for hardware-accelerated machine studying).

Efficiency doesn’t appear to be the primary focus of Apple’s newest iPhone refresh—which is simply high quality, as a result of final yr’s telephones have been already far and away the quickest available on the market, and nobody else has matched them. However we’ll share our benchmark outcomes later within the assessment.

Dimensions

The iPhone 13 measures 5.78×2.82×0.3 inches, or 146.7×71.5×7.65 millimeters. The iPhone 13 mini is available in at 5.18×2.53×0.3 inches, or 131.5×64.2×7.65 millimeters.

The back of the iPhone 13.
Enlarge / The again of the iPhone 13.

Samuel Axon

That makes them ever so barely thicker than their predecessors. The iPhone 13 mini remains to be adorably tiny, and it’s nice to see a one-handed cellphone with so many options in Apple’s lineup once more. If solely we might be assured it will still be around next year.

Each weigh greater than their 2020 counterparts, at 6.1 ounces or 173 grams for the iPhone 13, and 4.94 ounces or 140 grams for the iPhone 13 mini. That’s up from 5.78 ounces/164 grams and 4.76 ounces/135 grams, respectively.

The back of the iPhone 13 mini.
Enlarge / The again of the iPhone 13 mini.

Samuel Axon

In the meantime, the iPhone 13 Professional is 7.19 ounces or 204 grams, and the iPhone 13 Max is a hefty 8.46 ounces or 240 grams. Final yr: 6.6 ounces/189 grams for the 13 Professional and seven.96 ounces/226 grams for the Max. You’d really feel the distinction when holding them aspect by aspect with the iPhone 12 Professional and iPhone 12 Professional Max.

The iPhone 13 Professional is 5.78×2.82×0.3 inches, or 146.7×71.5×7.65 millimeters. The iPhone 13 Professional Max: 6.33×3.07×0.3 inches, or 160.8×78.1×7.65 millimeters. They’re additionally a smidge thicker than final yr’s comparable units.

The back of the iPhone 13 Pro, photographed in low light with the iPhone 13 Pro Max's Night Mode.
Enlarge / The again of the iPhone 13 Professional, photographed in low mild with the iPhone 13 Professional Max’s Night time Mode.

Samuel Axon

Storage

For the primary time, the Professional fashions could be configured with 1TB of storage at buy. To be sincere, I do not assume most individuals want that a lot storage on their telephones. I’ve greater than 200 apps and video games put in on mine—excess of your common iPhone person—and a few 4K movies besides, and I nudge proper as much as the 256GB mark. I’ve a protracted solution to go earlier than 512GB may turn into insufficient.

You may hit that 1TB mark comparatively simply should you’re taking pictures quite a bit of ProRes video (as soon as that functionality is added), however that’s not going to be a standard use case.

Extra thrilling is the truth that the lower-priced iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini now begin at 128GB as a substitute of a paltry 64GB however for a similar value that the 64GB fashions value final yr. Additional, they’ll now be configured with as much as 512GB of storage, which is loads for nearly everybody.

All instructed, the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini are available in 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB configurations, and the iPhone 13 Professional and Professional Max supply all the identical, plus the 1TB choice.

Design

Apple has once more differentiated the iPhone 13 Professional and iPhone 13 Professional Max from their barely lower-end siblings through the supplies; the previous have stainless-steel edges with a gorgeous remedy on them, plus rougher backs that really feel good to carry. The iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini have aluminum edges and plainer backs, however they nonetheless really feel nice.

Final yr, I described the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Professional’s design as a throwback to the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5, which many individuals (myself included) contemplate to be the nicest-looking iPhones. That very same design returns at the moment. It’s the very same feel and appear as earlier than, with two notable exceptions.

Nicer notch

Essentially the most-discussed design change addresses one thing that by no means bothered me an excessive amount of however that positive appeared to drive loads of folks batty: the notch, that opaque black phase on the cellphone’s display that homes the front-facing sensor array.

For the primary time because the notch was launched, it has turn into smaller—by about 20 % horizontally. It’s barely taller (you wouldn’t know that half with out it aspect by aspect with a earlier iPhone) however total, you’re getting some display actual property again.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max's notch (left) next to the iPhone 13 Pro Max's notch (right).
Enlarge / The iPhone 12 Professional Max’s notch (left) subsequent to the iPhone 13 Professional Max’s notch (proper).

Samuel Axon

This primarily issues for some full-screen video games or different apps with customized interfaces, whose designers simply selected to fake just like the notch wasn’t there when laying out the UI. Apple hasn’t made any modifications to its personal software program to utilize this reclaimed area.

Colossal cameras

However the barely shrunken notch is just not essentially the most noticeable design change in comparison with the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Professional. The rear digital camera system is enormous. The lenses are larger. The digital camera bump protrudes farther. It’s inconceivable to not discover.

It doesn’t look any higher or worse than final yr’s digital camera bump. However one thing else about this modification actually bugs me: it makes the cellphone wobble wildly when positioned flat on a desk or desk.

I do know, I do know—the previous a number of iPhones already did that to a point. It bothered me a little bit then, too, however that is one other degree. It typically makes it awkward to sort on or in any other case use the cellphone in that place. This is applicable to each the iPhone 13 and the iPhone 13 Professional, however it’s worse with the iPhone 13 Professional.

On the left: the iPhone 12 Pro Max's camera system. On the right: the iPhone 13 Pro Max.
Enlarge / On the left: the iPhone 12 Professional Max’s digital camera system. On the suitable: the iPhone 13 Professional Max.

Samuel Axon

That stated, cameras are key, and that is how we get higher cameras, I suppose.

As with different current telephones, the Apple-made circumstances for the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Professional make the again flush once more, suggesting that Apple would in all probability want a design like that too. Nonetheless, I’m positive Apple is comfortable to upsell you on these circumstances to get your cellphone good and flush!



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