iPhone 13 Review: Things to Look At Before Taking the Plunge

Apple unveiled four models for its iPhone 2021 lineup – iPhone 13 Mini, 13, 13 Pro, and 13 Pro Max. iPhone 13 starts at INR 79,900 (USD 829, £779, AU$1,349) for the base 4GB/128 GB variant and goes all the way up to 512 GB. 

The launch came through a pre-recorded infomercial, where Apple executives pointed out the brighter screen, larger battery, better cameras, and improved processing, as has been the norm over the years.

Most iPhone 13 reviews already point out that it is no longer the significant change we experienced when Apple unveiled the previous edition, iPhone 12, but is only an incremental one. So, is it worth taking the plunge or should you skip buying it altogether? 

Specifications

iPhone 13 measures 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.7 mm and weighs a respectable 174 grams. It has an aluminium frame and has a Gorilla Glass coating on the front and back. On the front, you get a 6.1-inch, 60Hz, Super Retina XDR OLED with HDR 10 and Dolby support and a peak brightness of 800 nits (1200 nits in Auto Mode). In addition, it is IP68-certified for extra protection. 

As for processing power, it comes with the ‘latest and greatest’ silicon made by the Cupertino giant, the Bionic A15. It is a 5nm Hexa-core chipset with two Avalanche cores and four Blizzard cores. In addition, Apple houses a 4-core GPU in the mix too.

If you are looking for a telephoto lens, you will have to buy the Pro version. The vanilla version ships with two 12 MP cameras on the back and one at the front. The primary is an f/1.6 sensor with dual pixel autofocus and OIS. The second camera on the back is an ultrawide lens with 120-degree FOV.

The iPhone 13 supports MagSafe, but the 15W charger feels sluggish compared to its Android counterparts. The company touts a significant battery upgrade but did not disclose the size, as is the case.  

Build quality

While the world has moved to under-display camera tech, Apple is still happy housing a notch in their smartphones (and their Macbooks too). As per the company, the notch is 20% smaller and still houses Face ID and TrueDepth camera system for superior security and excellent selfies.

At the front, you get a 6.1-inch display covered by a CeramicShield cover. It is touted to be 28% brighter and offers excellent viewing angles. The 460-PPI density also ensures a stellar content-watching experience.

The button placement has seen a shift compared to its predecessor. The power button has been adjusted to make it more reachable, and so has been the ringer switch and the volume keys. The back is relatively clean, with two vertically placed cameras popping out more than most would have liked.

Apple ships the latest iPhone 13 in five colours – Red, Blue, Pink, Midnight, and Starlight. Blue remains our favourite.

Camera performance

While the camera array may look similar to its predecessor, Apple has now put in a wide camera that is 47% brighter, and the sensors support Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 4, Cinematic mode, and a plethora of photographic styles. In addition, the primary rear camera also comes with sensor-shift OIS and a wide f/1.6 aperture.

Android is soon getting its 200-MP sensor, but Apple has resorted to its tried and tested strategy, and the camera performance is respectable. The primary sensor performs similarly to its predecessor in still photography with natural color reproduction and excellent dynamic range. Shifting to the ultrawide lens, we were happy to see no significant changes in the colour tones and contrast.

The nighttime scenario is also a marked improvement from its predecessor. While the images are bright and have a lot of details, we also noticed a grainy texture that made some results fuzzy.

The front camera also retains the same true tone colour output and offers a rich bokeh. The FOC is decent, too, with noticeable improvement in noise reduction.

As for its video capabilities, the iPhone 13 review has made us pleasantly surprised. Its cinematic mode is a class apart and makes even the most amateur photographer’s work look like a piece of art.

Performance

The Apple A15 Bionic is the fastest chip on the planet currently. That should give you an idea about the performance. It also packs an upgraded 16-core Neural Engine for optimizing the performance further.

The performance is trailblazing in day-to-day usage with no lags whatsoever. Apple is projecting a 50% faster CPU this time around with a 20% improvement in graphics rendering, but we felt that the overall performance is in line with its predecessor.

The 4-core GPU is also a powerhouse and could run light and heavy titles with utmost ease. The benchmark scores also present the same story, with the Apple iPhone 13 scoring 4,130 and 1,680 in Geekbench 5, a significant improvement over the previous generation.

Should you buy an Apple iPhone 13?

There are significant improvements packed in this time around with the iPhone 13. With the newer iOS 15, the experience is sublime, and the closest competitor in terms of overall performance is Pixel 6. 

We are yet to test the new Tensor chip on the latter but are pretty sure that the camera experience would be neck and neck, and it would be challenging to choose a winner.