Apple iPhone 13 full review
Apple's California Streaming event was held on September 14, 2021 and the iPhone 13 was launched alongside other flagship products: iPad, iPad mini and Apple Watch.
Every year, the arrival of a new iPhone model raises the same question: Is it worth moving to the latest generation?
To answer this, we compared iPhone 13 with iPhone 11 which launched in 2019. This seems like a logical comparison because with so many people locked into a contract for two years, comparing 2021s iPhone with 2019s iPhone makes a lot of sense.
The iPhone 13 also represents a much bigger leap from iPhone 11 than it does from iPhone 12. These are two very different iPhones. Here's what you need to know if you are deciding whether to upgrade.
Prices and availability
Despite the release of the iPhone 13, the 11 is still part of the official range of smartphones marketed by Apple. And, due to its age, it is now offered at a lower price, a decrease that makes it more accessible to more people.
The iPhone 11 cost from £729/$699 at launch in 2019 and was then decreased to £599/$599 on the release of the iPhone 12 in 2020. It now costs £489/$499 for the 64GB model and £539/$549 for the 128GB model.
As for the new iPhone 13, with its 128GB minimum storage, it is available from or £779/$799 (£679/$699 for the mini). That means if you compare the two 128GB models the difference is £240/$250. There is also a 256GB iPhone 13 for £879/$899 and a 512GB iPhone 13 for £1,079/$1,099.
Those prices may matter to you if you are deciding between an iPhone 11 and an iPhone 13, but more likely you are here because you are considering whether to upgrade from the iPhone 11 to the iPhone 13. In which case the price of the older iPhone may only matter in terms of what you could get if you sold your older handset. Read: How and where to sell your iPhone for the best price. You may also want to part-exchange your older iPhone when you buy the new model, in which case you may be interested in How Apple trade in works and saves you money.
Those readers who are looking to spend less buying a new iPhone shouldn't assume that the Apple price is the lowest. You may see a deal on either model which reduces the price further. You are more likely to see a deal on the iPhone 11 right now though. You may see a good deal on the iPhone 11 but do note whether it is the 64GB or 128GB model.
Here are the latest iPhone 11 deals (you can see the best iPhone 13 prices at the top of this article).
The design of iPhone 13 is very close to that of iPhone 12 - it's practically identical. But t is more compact and square than the iPhone 11, and it is lighter (174g compared to 194g). Despite these differences the screen is the the same size.
Both have a notch, but the newer iPhone's notch is smaller. Turn the iPhones over and you will see that the camera layout is also different, with the iPhone 13 placement being diagonal. (This is also a key difference between the iPhone 12 and 13).
The last design element that helps us distinguish is the colour options available. The iPhone 11 is available in purple, yellow, green, black, white and ProductRED. The iPhone 13 is available in pink, blue, midnight, star light and ProductRED.
There are some other differences that are less noticeable. Like the iPhone 12, the latest generation iPhone has a Ceramic Shield screen for fall protection that offers four times greater than that of iPhone 11 (how that is measurable is less clear). Another difference is in waterproofing: although both devices are IP68 certified, the 13 can be plunged to a depth of 6m, double the depth of the iPhone 11.
Both iPhones are charged via a Lightning port, but only the iPhone 13, like the iPhone 12 before it, offers MagSafe charging and is compatible with MagSafe accessories, from wallets to chargers. They attach firmly to the back of iPhone 13, making it easier to use wireless chargers.
With a gap of two years between the two releases, it is not surprising that the technology has evolved. Double storage capacity (plus a 512GB variant) and 5G integration, for example, are just the beginning.
Under the hood, iPhone 13 is equipped with Apple's latest processor and, although iPhone 11 remains a high-performance device, the A15 Bionic is much more powerful than the A13 in the iPhone 11.
On the back, both models have a dual 12 MP camera on the back, with very similar specifications, but the cameras of the iPhone 13 offer 1.7 μm pixels, an f/1.6 aperture (the iPhone 11 has a f/1.8 aperture so won't be as good in low-light), and more advanced sensor shift optical image stabilization. New features including Photographic Styles are only available on the iPhone 13. As for video, only the iPhone 13 offers recording in cinematic mode, Night Mode time-lapse and Dolby Vision HDR.
Thus, iPhone 13 is a good update if you are a fan of video. For photography, the performances are similar.
You should also expect better battery life in the iPhone 13 compared to the iPhone 11. Apple claimed 17 hours video playback for the iPhone 11 - the iPhone 13 is able to provide 19 hours, according to the company.
Another key difference is the inclusion of 5G in the newer model. 5G was introduced with the iPhone 12 in 2020. While 5G isn't something that all of us get to enjoy right now, in the next year many more of us should be able to take advantage of the faster connections to the internet 5G offers, as long as our phone is equipped with the necessary technology.
Finally, it should be noted that both screen sizes are 6.1 inches, but iPhone 11 is limited to an IPS LCD display. The iPhone 13, on the other hand, has a Super Retina XDR that offers an OLED panel and HDR support. The iPhone 13 offers more pixels: 2,532-by-1,170-pixel resolution at 460 ppi compared to 1,792-by-828-pixel resolution at 326 ppi on the iPhone 11. The 13 has a much better contrast ratio and higher maximum brightness, too.
If you are thinking about upgrading from the iPhone 11 to the iPhone 13 we recommend the 2021 iPhone. There is a lot that has changed including the addition of 5G, improvements to video recording, and the quality of the screen.
If you are looking for value for money then the iPhone 11, at its new price, does offer a lot at a good price. But if you are wondering whether to spend the extra £240/$250 to get the newer iPhone we'd recommend you do.
This article originally appeared on TechAdvisor France. Translation by Karen Haslam.
Apple iPhone 13: Specs
- 6.1in 60Hz Super Retina XDR OLED display
- Apple A15 Bionic processor w/ quad-core GPU
- 128GB/256GB/512GB storage
- 12Mp main camera w/ sensor shift OIS
- 12Mp ultrawite camera w/ 120° FoV
- 12Mp TrueDepth front camera
- Face ID
- Wi-Fi 6
- Bluetooth 5
- 3240mAh battery
- Up to 20W PD charging
- Up to 15W MagSafe wireless charging
- MagSafe accessory support
- Up to 7.5W Qi wireless charging
- IP68 dust/water resistance (up to 6 metres for up to 30 minutes)
- Dual SIM (nano and eSim)
- 146.7mm x 71.5mm x 7.7mm 174 grams
- Colours: Starlight, Midnight, blue, red, pink