The iPhone 13 hit shelves with four different models, including the 13, mini, Pro, and Pro Max. The standard model, the iPhone 13, sets out to satisfy all the needs an Apple user might have, without the relatively unnecessary features of the Pro Max, and with better performance than the Mini.
Every year that Apple announces a new iPhone, current users tend to wonder if it's worth swapping their current model out to get it. After all, some iterations of the iPhone don't add much to the series.
So, is the iPhone 13 set to become the best Apple iPhone? Consider reading this iPhone 13 review to find out.
iPhone 13 Review
The iPhone 13 launched into a market that's saturated with smartphones that have all the flagship qualities a typical user would want, with relatively low price tags. So, it was up to Apple to put something together that would convince users to swap their current model out for a device with a lofty price.
For many, the iPhone 13 surpasses expectations in both hardware and software and manages to impress in almost every category. But, is this iteration of the iPhone really what they make it out to be?
The device keeps things simple in terms of design, maintaining the iPhone 12's size but packing some seriously powerful hardware for an overall better experience. This includes a larger battery, new cameras, and a few changes to the display.
iPhone 13 Specifications
Image credit: Mac Rumors
Before jumping into the iPhone 13's pros and cons, and features, it's a good idea to take a look at what's under the hood. And, there's a lot to go over. The specifications can get pretty technical, but there are quite a few small surprises that are worth taking a look at.
The iPhone 13 offers network access via single or dual sim slots with GSM, CDMA, HSPA, EVDO, LTE, and 5G. Data connection speeds are pretty consistent, but some users report a few issues during phone calls. Given the fact that data calls are slowly taking precedent, this isn't too much of a problem.
Build and Display
The design is impressive, as per usual when it comes to Apple, with a sturdy metal body. The front and back of the phone have Gorilla Glass surrounded by an aluminum frame. It's 5.78 inches tall, 2.81 inches wide, and 0.3 inches deep. And, at 6.14 oz, it has a heavy and solid feel when you hold it in your hand.
The iPhone 13 is dust and water-resistant, with a rating of IP68, and it can be submerged 6 meters deep in water for up to 30 minutes.
The display is nothing short of incredible. It's a Super Retina XDR OLED, HDR10, Dolby Vision screen with a brightness of up to 1200 nits. The screen takes up a lot of space on the front of the body, too, sitting at an impressive 6.1 inches; that's an 86% screen-to-body ratio.
Pixel density is also way up there at 1170 x 2532 pixels, translating to around 460 PPI. While the screen has scratch-resistant ceramic glass with an oleophobic coating, it's still a good idea to get a screen protector and case. More on that later.
Color selection for this device is pretty limited. You can grab an iPhone 13 in Starlight, Midnight, Red, Green, Pink, and blue. Of course, using a case can reinvent the way it looks.
There's an Apple A15 Bionic (5 nm) chipset sitting at the center of the iPhone 13. And, while a Hexa-core with a dual 3.23 GHz and 4 1.82 GHz arsenal doesn't sound overly impressive, the phone's performance does it justice.
The phone comes in one of three varieties regarding storage and RAM:
- • 128GB of storage and 4GB RAM
- • 256GB of storage and 4GB of RAM
- • 512GB of storage and 4GB of RAM
Somehow, the iPhone 13 manages incredible speed and stability with just 4GB of ram across all models. Alternative devices often present hiccups and freezing frames while running on over 10GB of RAM.
On a technical level, iPhone devices have a history of using what many might consider average or slightly decent lenses and cameras. These phones, though, use unique software to increase the output quality of captures at an astounding level.
There are two rear cameras and two selfie cameras. The rear cameras are both 12MP. But, they differ in aperture and in a few other ways.
The first rear camera sensor is a 12MP, f/1.6, 26mm wide dual pixel PDAF with sensor-shift OIS. The second rear camera is a 12 MP, f/2.4, 120° 13mm ultrawide. These, combined, can create some incredible images.
The front-facing cameras are a combination of a 12 MP, f/2.2 at 23mm with an SL 3D biometrics and depth sensor. They manage to work together for incredible portrait shots. More on the cameras and the software behind them later.
The iPhone 13's has a Li-Ion 3240 mAh battery that's non-removable. While it does have fast charging capabilities, these are limited to 23W. Users report a 50% recharge after just thirty minutes.
The magnetic wireless charging sits at 7.5W, much slower than devices of the same caliber. Still, though, there are ways to make a device last longer that can help.
Finally, in terms of specifications, you have the sensors. These include accelerometer, gyro, compass, barometer, proximity, and Face ID sensors. These are considered the industry standards, but they all work exceptionally well.
iPhone 13 Features
Specifications aside, it's time to take a look at the iPhone 13 features and how well it performs in general. The highlights of this phone are the battery, cameras, and display.
iPhone 13 Camera
The iPhone 13's camera setup is impressive, only bested by the iPhone 13 Pro Max. While the sensors are an upgrade from the iPhone 12, it's the software and back-end configuration that really, really stand out.
For example, the primary camera has larger pixels and a new stabilization function, known as sensor-shift stabilization. This translates to real-time stabilization, rather than post-capture adjustments.
The second sensor doesn't have stabilization. This is probably because the primary camera covers the job for it. These sensors, combined, have a unique built-in feature; they splash any content outside of the capture area for better real-time adjustments.
You'll find all the classic camera features here. This includes Night Mode, Deep Fusion, and Smart HDR. There's also a lot of automation with the iPhone 13's camera setup. Macro and shots in the dark are regulated by the device's software, and it'll swap lenses automatically depending on the context.
Deep Fusion is the perfect example of an optimal automated camera experience. The iPhone 13 does it faster than previous devices in the series. That is, it captures four quick shots and takes one long exposure. It automatically combines these into one image for the best results.
As you can probably tell, there's a lot to say about the iPhone 13's camera setup. There's a lot of impressive stuff here, not the least of which is the brand new cinematic mode.
Cinematic Mode is used for video capture that contrasts captured content by altering the focus and blur levels. It's regularly compared to the standard portrait mode for selfies, but for video capture.
It applies depth-of-field effects for sharp imagery with a blurred surrounding effect. What makes this so special? Well, you can adjust it in real-time. It's a great way to make certain elements stand out more than others, and then switch the focus while filming.
Image credit: Market Global Review
All of the iPhone 13's sensors provide excellent image and video quality. The ultrawide shots are crisp and comfortable. Color accuracy is top-notch and is slightly off in rare cases.
White balance is great, and focus shots add a unique perspective while maintaining high levels of detail in the forefront or background.
When it comes to selfies, the iPhone 13 really kicks the competition to the curb. Especially now, with the extreme accuracy it has with portrait mode. Blurred backgrounds are accurate up to a single strain of hair.
The only area where this camera setup seems to fail is with Night Mode. The shots are great, but snapping pictures in the dark is still a struggle for all mobile devices. Additionally, taking pics at night adds some exposure time, meaning you'll have to wait a few seconds for each capture.
There's plenty to be said about the iPhone 13's video capture quality. It can record up to 4K at 60fps using all of the cameras. They can stabilize with optical or digital stabilization. Smart HDR provides an improved dynamic range.
Slow-motion capture is capped out at 1080p at 240fps, though. This is quite a bit lower than some of the competition. Interestingly enough, though, the Dolby Vision feature captures normally, but provides optimal output for normal devices; Dolby Vision-enabled devices can view the optimized version.
Software and Performance
The iPhone 13 runs iOS 15 and is set to receive the iOS 15.5 update. The lock screen is almost identical to previous models, with a few changes. The torch and camera rest at the bottom edges of the screen.
It offers a lot of customization options, so your home screen can vary greatly. The widgets are fantastic, and you can mix in quite a variety of them. This includes weather, photo, calendar, music, GPS, battery, and news widgets. This isn't counting the ones available on the App Store.
Stackable widgets are also a thing, and they can sit at 2x2, 4x4, and 4x2 sizes. The popup animations, and animations in general, are smooth and follow the 60hz screen refresh rate.
Gestures remain the same as in previous iterations, but the Control Center now has many more customizable toggles.
Focus mode is a new feature and allows you to access different profiles. This includes personal, gaming, driving, DND, and studying. Each of these has different notification settings and allows a ton of customization.
FaceTime has seen a few improvements too. It now supports Grid view and has a brand new interface with spatial audio, conference calls, and background blur. Additionally, non-Apple users are allowed to participate with unique links via supported browsers.
You'll also notice that the notifications for the iPhone 13 have been revitalized. They're more visible, with larger contacts and their duration is a bit shorter than before. You can change this duration in the settings menu.
Safari also received a makeover. They've added a swipe feature that lets you quickly swap from one tab to another. Additionally, the address bar rests at the bottom, instead of the top, for quicker access and less finger movement for using the keyboard.
Apple Pay has a few more improvements, as well. And, while all the changes aren't exclusive to the iPhone 13, they're performing better on the device than on previous models. You can now use Sign-in with Apple for all kinds of activities.
Your Apple account can now be used as valid documentation for certain airports around the world. You can also use your iPhone 13 for check-in at validated hotels. Yes, this means you have to scan your driver's license, passport, and other documentation on your device.
iPhone 13 Secret Feature
There's a somewhat hidden feature in the iPhone 13. The Apple logo on the back of the phone also serves as a button. It's called the Back Tap and recognizes triple and double taps.
You can customize it to launch certain apps and functions. It allows almost any kind of setting you want, including gestures, airplane mode, task switcher, back, closing apps, and toggling dark mode.
iPhone 13 Gaming Performance
The iPhone 13 is one of the best Apple devices for playing games. It even performs better, in some cases, than the Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max. It's not due to the chipset, entirely, though. In fact, the A13, A14, and A15 all perform very well when it comes to running various apps.
The truth is, the CPU and GPU perform extremely well together, and are consistently stable. Stress tests show that it keeps up to 80% of its performance capacity at its highest temperatures. Best of all, the battery packs a powerful punch and can handle an estimated 10 hours of gameplay.
Pros and Cons of iPhone 13
No device is perfect. This is for two reasons. First, it's very difficult to match every user's expectations in a particular way. Second, while you can integrate the best tech from around the world, the price tag always influences how people perceive a product. But, does the iPhone 13 cost make sense for what it provides?
Well, it has its pros and cons. At a glance, it's a perfect device for almost any kind of user. When you take a deep dive, though, you might find a few things that can make you reconsider. Take a look at some of the pros and cons of the iPhone 13.
iPhone 13 Pros
The enthusiasm surrounding Apple products is almost contagious. It's with good reason, too. They're usually regarded as high-quality devices and lots of people use them. Here's a quick look at the reasons you should consider buying an iPhone 13.
The iPhone 13 hits the scene with an endurance rating of 88 hours. This with its seemingly small 3,240mAh battery. The device will net you up to 19 hours of phone calls, 16 hours of web browsing, and almost 17 hours of video viewing. Those numbers are incredible, and only slightly behind the iPhone 13 Pro Max.
Camera quality seems to be a hallmark of the Apple iPhone series. The iPhone 13 holds up this reputation, as no competitor can match the software capabilities of the iPhone. It's often why people buy an iPhone in the first place.
New sensors, modes, and functions make the iPhone 13 a beast in the world of cinematography. Films are coming out that use the iPhone exclusively. It's not a game-changer, it is the game.
All iPhone users fear the dreaded "drop." It feels like everyone knows a friend with a cracked iPhone. Regardless, the device's build is amazing.
It's solid and feels great to hold in hand. The Gorilla glass covers on the front and back work well, and the aluminum borders make it harder to drop. Not to mention, it feels extremely premium overall.
The 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED screen never ceases to impress. While it's the same size as its predecessor, it manages to pack even more quality into the screen. While the 120Hz ProMotion mode isn't available on this model, currently exclusive to the Pro and Pro Max, it's still a sight to behold. Especially since it supports Dolby Vision and HDR10.
It's a great display to match an incredible camera setup.
An often-overlooked category for cell phones involves audio quality. In a world where headphone jacks are being replaced by Bluetooth devices, speaker sound quality is actually pretty important. The iPhone 13 does well in this category, as well.
It has a powerful dual-speaker setup that offers stereo sound. You can also configure Dolby Atmos and spatial audio. Make no mistake, while the volume might seem lacking, the quality here is also incredible.
iPhone 13 Cons
No phone's perfect, and the iPhone 13 is no exception. Some might gripe about its screen size or its material. Those are pretty subjective complaints, though, so you might consider some of the following cons that are more likely to impact the common user and why the iPhone 13 is not the best Apple iPhone.
The iPhone 13's battery life is incredible. But, it lacks fast charging speeds. In fact, it's a bit slower than the iPhone 12.
Using the MagSafe wireless charger, you can expect 32% within half an hour. Although, some users report reaching 50% in that same amount of time. Using a cable extends the time required for a full charge to almost 2 hours. This is far slower than alternatives that can fill a larger battery in less time.
The refresh rate on many Android devices can oscillate between 120hz and 1hz depending on usage. This is fantastic, as users can enjoy fast refresh rates when needed, and save battery life when the phone idles.
The iPhone 13, however, lacks this adaptive refresh rate and is capped at 60hz. It's quite a shame, as it can be quite noticeable for fans of high frame rates. While not a deal-breaker, it can frustrate quite a few users.
The iPhone 13's build is impressive, not many can deny it. But, it has one issue. It's very prone to scratches and nicks. This includes the camera lenses, too.
If you're a fan of using your phone without a case or protector, you're in for some trouble. After some time, you can expect plenty of fingerprints and marks to keep them company.
The iPhone 13 Needs a Case
Of all the iPhone 13 cons, the body's vulnerability to scratches and damage is probably the one that stands out most. It has a beautiful build and comes in some fun colors. But, nothing ruins a design better than cracks, scratches, and other kinds of damage.
There's an easy way to get around this, of course. Buying a screen protector and case is the way to go. If you absolutely need to show off the design and don't want to let a case get in the way of that, you can always use a transparent case.
Getting an iPhone 13 is almost synonymous with getting a phone case. If you do grab one, consider getting a wireless charging compatible case, so that you don't lose the option for a relatively quick charge with ease.
The iPhone Stays Strong
The iPhone 13 is a solid pick, falling short only of the Pro and Pro Max. Regardless, it has plenty of staying power thanks to its incredible battery life, display quality, camera capabilities, and sound quality. It has a few issues when it comes to charging speed and refresh rate, though.
The easiest problem to overcome involves the body and build. It's wonderful but prone to scratches. If you want to maintain your iPhone 13, you need a case and screen protector.
Other than that, though, this device is a strong competitor in a tough market. Some alternatives do better in a few categories, but this phone manages to provide excellence in almost every way.
Browse our Web Store for some great cases and screen protectors. Whether you want to revolutionize the way your phone looks, or want a clear case to show off your iPhone 13, we've got what you need.