Posted on

iPhone 13 Review: Apple Finds Success in Familiarity


It’s no secret that the iPhone 13 is quite similar to the iPhone 12. Apple has found a formula that people love and so from the outside the iPhone 13 could be construed as the same phone. While it may look kind of the same, the moustache notch has returned once more, there’s lightning cable ports, no headphone jacks and the thick edge design we all know; inside it’s a completely different story.

The iPhone 13 is the next step. It’s faster, lasts longer and has so many new camera features that it will top ‘best mobile camera’ lists for a while to come. Apple has taken everything it knows people loved about the iPhone and improved upon it. One honourable mention here is storage size! We’re finally above 64GB, with a standard 128GB internal storage instead. There are some minor flaws, but most of these come down to personal preference more than anything else.

It Will Last, and Last, and Last

Let’s start out with the most important thing: battery life. Apple was clever not to pinpoint a specific amount of time the iPhone 13 models last, instead referencing their performance compared to the iPhone 12 models. This is because battery life varies wildly with 5G usage and this can drain the battery much faster than using 4G or WiFi.

Still, every single model is a vast improvement, with all iPhone 13 models boasting battery life capable of seeing you through the entire day. For those with bigger budgets, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is capable of over 12 hours of constant use, while the iPhone 13 Mini has to be charged up by the end of the day. It’s been a huge talking point surrounding Apple’s flagship phone for so many years and thankfully Apple seemed to have finally fixed it. The iPhone 12 Mini found itself needing a charge around mid-afternoon, early evening, so this improvement is huge for the iPhone 12.


The iPhone has been synonymous with good cameras for almost as long as it’s existed. It’s what Apple do best and once again it hasn’t disappointed. Its unique ultra-wide 12 MP lens is capable of taking crisp, gorgeous photos even in low light thanks to night mode. The new main sensor on the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini let in 47% more like and can capture 4x more than before.

What this means is you get brighter, more vivid pictures with less background noise. You also get a new feature called Photographic Styles, which lets you apply certain preferences across all photos. Apple say this isn’t just a filter because things like skin tones, for example, will be preserved. If you’re looking for an upgraded camera, with plenty of bells and whistles, then the iPhone 13 is for you.

Cinematic Mode

The most hyped-up element of the iPhone 13 was the smart cinematic mode. Capable of adjusting depth like portrait mode, only this comes into effect when you are filming a subject. If they look towards the camera, they are in focus, look away and the focus adjusts to what they’re looking at. It’s an incredible piece of technology and we’ll definitely be seeing a lot of cinema-style home made films soon.

Editing these clips straight on the iPhone 13 can be slightly fiddly and the footage itself will only be in 1080p and not 4K. So, the iPhone won’t be replacing film cameras just yet, but it will give so much more agency to independent creative film makers on a budget. It’s less important to your everyday user, but if you want to make your holidays feel like a 5 star film, then you finally have the kit to do so.

It’s the Fastest iPhone Yet

A claim made every year, but this year it’s definitely true. The A15 Bionic Chip is incredible and gives the iPhone 13 a real sense of power. There’s rarely any lag and having various apps open won’t slow you down, so you can flick between your favourite apps as and when you need to. Apple is also using this chip across its entire range, meaning you don’t have to pay the premium price point for the chip’s beefed up power.

What you will have to pay for is ProMotion. The A15 powers the adaptive refresh rate only on the Pro models the iPhone is transformed into a powerhouse of graphical beauty. Being able to have your phone adapt to what you’re viewing and give you the best performance possible is great and it’s a shame this only comes to the Pro models.

The base models, well, here you’re locked at 60Hz. It’s frustrating as a lot of Android flagship models, such as the Samsung S20, offer adaptive refresh rate already.

The Drawbacks

The iPhone 13 still doesn’t feature fast-charging thanks to the lightning cable that Apple insist on using. Charging power tops out at a measly 20W, which compared to the OnePlus 9 series’ 65W is incredibly low. It’s not a deal breaker, but it does feel like a human’s tail bone. Left over and kind of prehistoric. It will also make you think more about charging than having the convenience to just pop your phone on charge before you leave the house.

The iPhone is also continuing to cling to the large notch at the top of the screen. This means that watching anything in full screen will see you lose out on a good percentage of whatever’s going on at the far side of the screen. It’s not normally where the action is, true, but it is a little annoying and makes you feel like the unlucky punter in a theatre who’s stuck behind the tall person in front of you. You wouldn’t like it there, so why deal with it on your phone?

Most Androids have done away with notches, but Apple persists with them because of its reliance on face recognition over finger-print scans. This is another increasingly frustrating design choice in a world full of masks and can make things like Apple Pay incredibly annoying when you’re out and about.

All of that said, these are minor issues that you can live with. There’s plenty to enjoy about the iPhone 13 and if you’re looking to upgrade then why not check out our latest iPhone 13 deals here.