Are the iPhone 13 differences that noticeable?

Posted:
in iPhone
We've been testing the iPhone 13's new features for the last several days. While the new features are welcomed, they don't seem to be making real difference day-to-day.

The (PRODUCT)Red iPhone 13
The (PRODUCT)Red iPhone 13


Apple has doubled the base storage on the iPhone 13, which is the least it can do after increasing the smartphone's price this year. It now starts at 128GB rather than 64 and caps out at 512GB instead of 256GB. If you've ever bumped into storage restrictions, this will be more than welcome.





The display is a little brighter, going from 625 average nits to 800 nits which matches that of the iPhone 12 Pro. Not a big jump, but we won't complain about an improvement, no matter how small. We took it outside in the waning fall sun and couldn't see a difference compared to our iPhone 12, but perhaps in brighter light, it would be noticeable.

During Apple's California Streaming keynote, it notably didn't mention the speeds on its processor. It instead just noted that it was faster than the competition. We did some quick testing, and in typical, daily use of the phone, the speed doesn't seem to improve over the prior year's model.

Geekbench results of iPhone 12 (left) and iPhone 13 (right)
Geekbench results of iPhone 12 (left) and iPhone 13 (right)


Benchmarks show some gains, but we'll have to keep testing to see where they pay off, other than powering new features like Cinematic Mode and the improved battery life.

Cameras saw the most love

Despite iPhone 13 Pro getting the real camera upgrades, there are absolutely new features here for iPhone 13 users. At least some fun stuff to play with and test out.

The cameras largely remain the same 12MP wide and 12MP ultra-wide cameras as the iPhone 12.

A minor, but beneficial change, is that Apple has upgraded image stabilization. It's gone from optical image stabilization to sensor-shift image stabilization. This moves the sensor itself rather than the lens and results in sharper images. But most people won't notice this -- it's an incremental step up.

Aided by the new A15 Bionic processor, new software unlocks some big new abilities.

Photographic Styles on iPhone 13
Photographic Styles on iPhone 13


Photographic Styles are our personal favorite. They may have increased use among experienced photographers or iPhone 13 Pro users, but they allow photographers to set a custom look for images. Whenever they snap a pic, the style is applied, whether it is to bring out contrast, bump the vibrancy, or make it cooler.

We've been playing around with Cinematic mode quite a bit and feel like this will be great for people to use. If Apple continues to improve this or unlocks the ability to use this in real-time, like while on a Zoom call, this will be a truly game-changing feature.

Cinematic Mode on iPhone 13
Cinematic Mode on iPhone 13


As it stands, Cinematic Mode is a very cool effect that works more often than not, but still has refinements to go. Average users won't care about the occasional edge detection issues, and we're sure to see plenty of people capturing video with it.

Available now

All of Apple's latest iPhones are now available to order. You can pick up the iPhone 13 in Midnight, Starlight, (PRODUCT)Red, blue, and pink in 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB configurations.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    I find it strange that I've heard so little -- mostly nothing -- about the upgraded 5G chip in the iPhone 13.

    Does it make a difference in real life -- or even in tech specs like performance and battery life?
    dws-2llama
  • Reply 2 of 12
    Can any photographer types confirm:
    - ultra-wide image quality improvements (ie. corner sharpness, chromatic aberration)
    - ultra-wide cropping in video mode given sensor stabilization
    ... across the iPhone 11, 12 & 13 product lines ...?
    Thx
  • Reply 3 of 12
    Apple did not increase the prices this year! In fact they decreased the price of both the iPhone 13 and Mini by $30 while doubling the base storage capacity. 
    inatewilliamlondonllama
  • Reply 4 of 12
    I find it strange that I've heard so little -- mostly nothing -- about the upgraded 5G chip in the iPhone 13.

    Does it make a difference in real life -- or even in tech specs like performance and battery life?
    Well... there's very few places with 5Gmm infrastructure in place (especially in the USA) to even test it... and no way of knowing which band you are actually on when using the phone, so how would you know if you are using the "new" features of the chip during the testing?... 
  • Reply 5 of 12
    I find it strange that I've heard so little -- mostly nothing -- about the upgraded 5G chip in the iPhone 13.

    Does it make a difference in real life -- or even in tech specs like performance and battery life?
    Well... there's very few places with 5Gmm infrastructure in place (especially in the USA) to even test it... and no way of knowing which band you are actually on when using the phone, so how would you know if you are using the "new" features of the chip during the testing?... 

    Not around here -- T-Mobile has it pretty well covered and Verizon is rolling out mm-wave.   Plus 5G is pervasive in China.

    But yeh, Apple doesn't tell you which band you're using.
    llama
  • Reply 6 of 12
    Not even a mention of 120 Hz pro-motion with the screen?!  It's like butter... the single best new feature in my book, and it affects every single interaction with the phone.

    No mention of macro mode, either.  That's going to be so useful, with how often I have to take pictures of little fiddly things to see what's going on.
  • Reply 7 of 12
    samrodsamrod Posts: 45unconfirmed, member
    The cameras largely remain the same 12MP wide and 12MP ultra-wide cameras as the iPhone 12.

    A minor, but beneficial change, is that Apple has upgraded image stabilization. It's gone from optical image stabilization to sensor-shift image stabilization. This moves the sensor itself rather than the lens and results in sharper images. But most people won't notice this -- it's an incremental step up.
    This is misleading. Apple brought down the iPhone 12 Pro Max's massive wide camera sensor to all iPhone 13 phones. The 47% larger sensor delivers much higher signal to noise ratio, and with an even larger f/1.5 aperture to boot, yields incredible low light performance with much less noise suppression. Throw in the sensor shift stabilization and it's just sick.

    So even the cute little iPhone 13 mini has the best smart phone camera on the planet, by a wide margin.
    scstrrf
  • Reply 8 of 12
    fishbert said:
    Not even a mention of 120 Hz pro-motion with the screen?!  It's like butter... the single best new feature in my book, and it affects every single interaction with the phone.

    No mention of macro mode, either.  That's going to be so useful, with how often I have to take pictures of little fiddly things to see what's going on.
    This was a review of the non-Pro model. Those features are exclusive to the Pro and Pro Max. 
  • Reply 9 of 12
    dm3dm3 Posts: 168member
    I have an iPhone 12 mini and bought a 13 mini. 

    I have been disappointed that that improvements are not significant if at all. 

    Most surprising, night photos are worse with the 13 vs 12. There is less detail in the dark. Night video might be slightly better on the 13. I was shocked the 12 is better for photos at night. 

    CPU benchmark came out 3% faster on the 13. Not significant. 

    Battery life is significantly better on the 13. 

    Screen brightness is not noticeable. The notch is smaller which may or may not be noticeable. FaceTime seemed flakier. Often not working. 

    I returned the 13. 
  • Reply 10 of 12
    Why do we keep expecting massive improvements from year to year? I can see reviewers, pros and those on replacement plan folks replacing their phones every year. I think most people will wait till the phone no longer gets OS updates, security updates, or the battery is too degraded before replacing. For most people, how fast an OS update is done is the main need for speed. Really need reviews where you can select your actual phone and it will tell you what the differences are. Upgrading from 6s, SE, or X, the 13 is this percentage faster, WIFI is this, cellular is this, photos are this, and battery will last this.
  • Reply 11 of 12
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,494member
    Why do we keep expecting massive improvements from year to year? I can see reviewers, pros and those on replacement plan folks replacing their phones every year. I think most people will wait till the phone no longer gets OS updates, security updates, or the battery is too degraded before replacing. For most people, how fast an OS update is done is the main need for speed. Really need reviews where you can select your actual phone and it will tell you what the differences are. Upgrading from 6s, SE, or X, the 13 is this percentage faster, WIFI is this, cellular is this, photos are this, and battery will last this.
    Apple has a comparator that does exactly that! 
  • Reply 12 of 12
    elijahg said:
    Why do we keep expecting massive improvements from year to year? I can see reviewers, pros and those on replacement plan folks replacing their phones every year. I think most people will wait till the phone no longer gets OS updates, security updates, or the battery is too degraded before replacing. For most people, how fast an OS update is done is the main need for speed. Really need reviews where you can select your actual phone and it will tell you what the differences are. Upgrading from 6s, SE, or X, the 13 is this percentage faster, WIFI is this, cellular is this, photos are this, and battery will last this.
    Apple has a comparator that does exactly that! 
    Last I seen, it only companies between the current selling models. I would like between the models a person has and the current selling models. 
    williamlondon
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