iPhone 13 and 13 Mini Review: A subtle upgrade that is about the camera

On paper, there’s not much to be excited about the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini. If you look at the development in the Android world, you will be familiar with Apple's subtleties on the iPhone 12 models. Some of the transmutations are impressive, such as the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s excellent camera hardware bringing in more diminutive phones and lower price points. Others, such as a slightly smaller notch, larger batteries, brighter displays, faster chips and extended 5G support seem to increase.Still, they add to the iPhone 13 Mini and iPhone 13 for what looks like decent upgrades, especially for those who want to upgrade from an older iPhone.


If you come with an iPhone 12 or 12 Mini, you won’t see a big difference in this year’s models. Body Purification has a small notch, rearranged camera module that goes a little further than before with the new pink color option. I love this color - it's similar to the "Not Pink" shade used by Google on the Pixel 3, but because of the glass covering the iPhone, it looks more pale and more iridescent.

Apple shaved 20 percent off the front camera notch, which is nice, but it is still significantly more astronomically immense than the punch-aperture design in Android Land. Even small sizes did not make a big difference in daily consumption. Of course, it has the hardware for Face ID in Notch, which is more modern than any punch-aperture camera at the moment. Since the current iPhones do not have a fingerprint sensor, a beefer face-recognition system is required and I think we will have to face the notch until Apple can find a better approach.

The main way to differentiate the iPhone 13 and its predecessor is by looking at the camera module. Instead of stacking a pair of lenses, Apple placed them diagonally. The bump is also a bit larger and thicker and this makes the extra shaking mildly annoying. Also, this means that your old iPhone 12 case will not fit.

Otherwise, the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini are physically the same as last year's models. It has both anodized aluminum and glass frames with flat edges called the "ceramic shield" covering the Apple front.

The iPhone 13 and 13 Mini both have a single hair heavy and thick and have display sizes of 6.1 inches and 5.4 inches, respectively. Despite the small screen, the iPhone 13 is heavier than the Galaxy S21. Still, its density, glass cover and shiny metal edges make it look more premium.

Display and audio

Unlike the iPhone 13 Pro, which has more expeditious 120Hz screens, the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini have homogeneous exhibits to their predecessors. Apple verbalizes the panels are 28 percent more refulgent. When I set the iPhone 12 and 13 to maximum brightness and held them on a cloudy day, I noticed that the new phone had an edge. But the difference is not so great that you will know them without putting them aside.

Also, the screens of the iPhone 13 have not changed much. The thing is that almost everywhere you look, the phone display is fast.

If you have only utilised a 60Hz screen so far, you probably won’t feel like you're missing out much - the iPhone 13's display is still vibrant and crisp. You will definitely enjoy watching Instagram or Tiktok videos. But as a person who has experienced good content, I can tell you that you are missing out.

Speaking of iPhone 13 speakers, they are basically unchanged and so good for listening to clips of your favourite creators or background music from YouTube videos. In a pinch, they will withal do a decent job of streaming your favourite musical compositions, offering clear sound and adequate bass. As expected, however, the larger iPhone is louder and has a more complete sound than the mini.


Much of the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini upgrade revolves around photography and video. Apple has ameliorated both rear sensors here and the ultraviolet lens is supposed to come in more light than afore. Infelicitously, many eminent additaments are contingent on A15 chipsets, designating things like Cinematic Mode won't come on older iPhones.

When I used both to shoot a candle globe in a super dark room the iPhone 13 didn’t necessarily need to hold for as long as the iPhone 12. The difference was probably about a second, which may seem trivial, but can be felt forever when you are struggling to stay motionless.

The ultravide photos I took with the incipient phone were authentically more tenebrous than the iPhone 12, but they were better exposed overall. The buildings in front of the night firmament had cleaner lines, less noise and a more neutral tone compared to the iPhone 12. Google's Night site on the Pixel 5 still features more details in the shadows, and I prefer the cool images it creates.

I chose photos from pixels because Apple's pictures had a yellow color. But with the iPhone 13s, Apple is introducing a way to better match users' personal preferences, known as photographic styling.

You can also change these modes to your liking. But on their original settings, my favorite style was Vibrant. Unlike filters, this one felt like a set-and-forgotten kind of thing-great for people like me who have never come across Apple’s default treatment. Overall, the iPhone 13 took colorful and crisp shots, although they were unnecessarily bright with clear HDR effects compared to Google's images.

In integration to the hardware and software amendments I have already mentioned, the company has additionally updated its HDR algorithm to better accommodate everyone in the scene. It withal worked to ameliorate video quality by promising better dynamic range, details and highlights. Plus, you can now record up to 60 frames per second in Dolby Vision in 4K resolution.

But the most interesting new video feature is the cinematic mode. Using the A15 chip's neural engine, the iPhone 13 can create a portrait mode-like effect in your clips, keeping your collected subjects in focus while obscuring the rest. You can tap on components of your viewfinder to transmute the focal points when you shoot, or let the iPhone decide for you by analyzing who and what is in the scene.

On its own, Apple's system is very clever. The iPhone 13 has done a great job of identifying faces in my shots, and the yellow or white box suggests potential things to focus on. As my subjects moved in and out of the camera, they became clearer and more obscure, respectively. But when I tried to adjust more control and focus, the system was struggling. At times, my motives remained unclear even after I tapped on his rectangle. Other times, the iPhone didn’t follow the person I chose when they walked behind an obstacle, although that’s a reasonable situation.

When it performs as expected, the cinematic mode produces a pleasant effect that gives the video a professional air. But at basic intensity, the ambiguity looked strange or artificial. My coworker's head contour was against the softening background and I had to adjust the f-stop to the highest (f / 16) to get a more natural feel.

It is worth noting that the cinematic mode only works at 1080p at 30 frames per second, even if you set your camera to record at high quality.

Cinematic mode is also available with a 12-megapixel selfie camera, which also offers photographic styling, and both features were as effective as the rear through the front sensor.

In low light, the iPhone 13 took a selfie that was scarcely blurry compared to the Pixel 5 and Galaxy S21, but when I was well-lit, Apple’s camera gave. It has a more neutral tone than the other two, with a more precise white balance (although Samsung was very close).

iOS 15

Focus Modes, which lets you establish custom home page and notification profiles predicated on your location or time of day, is still one of the most utilizable incipient features on any smartphone platform in recent years. Meanwhile, SharePlay won't be available until the next release.

Every time you open a related app, such as photos or tips, Apple shows you what's new this time around - such as memories set to tunes from the company's music library. Safari also had redesign, primarily making it easier to browse and organize tabs.

I've never been a big Safari user, preferring Chrome for its convenience, but was happy to see Apple update its interface for easy navigation with one hand. Chrome and Safari are very similar on iOS, though Google unfortunately has its address and search bar at the top of the screen. If you cull, you can withal go back to the traditional layout in Safari.

Other notable iOS updates include live text in photos, making it easier to find specific images from Spotlight Search. Maps and weather apps also get refreshed, while sharing with you in a message makes it easier to find things you've and your friends chat about. Most of these will come on older iPhones, however, are unlikely to influence your decision on whether to upgrade to iOS 15 features this year.

We'll have a more in-depth review of Apple's latest OS soon, but for now, I'm happy with the iOS 15 offer control level and look forward to testing a stable version of SharePlay.

Performance and in use

There are some annual updates that we accept nowadays, such as vaguely faster processors and increased battery life. While it’s not clear, Apple verbalizes one of the iPhone 13's major updates is a built-in redesign that allows for a larger battery, among other things. The A15 also features a new GPU, ISP and video encoder and decoder, making it super snapy using the camera. It is worth that Apple has doubled the storage of base iPhone 13, so now you'll get 128GB at the starting level, finally.

To be honest, the main thing that keeps both models behind is the display. As mentioned, virtually every other flagship phone has a more expeditious screen, and the Pixel 5's 90Hz panel additionally looks significantly more expeditious. Whenever I started scrolling through a list of Instagram Story viewers or the Twitter timeline or pretty much anything on the internet, it felt like a drag on new iPhones. Whenever I went back to the Pixel 5 or iPhone 13 Pro I kenned I was going to have to go through a long time scrolling.

Battery life

Apple verbalized the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini can run 2.5 and 1.5 hours longer than their predecessors, respectively. While the 13 Mini beat the 12 Mini by sticking virtually all day on light utilisation, the 13 hour and 19 minute score in our video rundown test is still lower than the average smartphone. That is mercy; I like the size of the iPhone 13 Mini - it's very easy to use with one hand. But the biggest drawback of any small modern phone is its lack of endurance.

The iPhone 13, meanwhile, outperformed its predecessor and usually hung for about two days. The Pixel 5 and Galaxy S21 withal optically discerned kindred runtimes it’s nice that most flagships these days have fairly perennial batteries.

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