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iPhone 13 and 13 Mini Review: A Worthy Upgrade?

Apple has launched the next generation of iPhones with a new set of cameras, bigger battery, higher storage capacity, a smaller notch, and a better brighter display. This generation of the iPhone could be called the iPhone 12S since all Apple has done is refine their previous iPhone (iPhone 12). The key selling point of this generation of iPhones is its cameras along with its neat software tricks.

Same Design

iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 cannot be distinguished from each other until look very closely. It has the same flat-edged design introduced with the iPhone 12 along with a smaller form-factor smartphone with flagship-grade specifications. Apple also switched to OLED across all iPhone models and this time they have made these OLED screens more brighter and efficient.

But keeping that aside the iPhone 13 comes with a 6.1-inch display and iPhone 13 Mini with a 5.4-inch OLED display, Apple did not add a 120Hz ProMotion display to the base models of the iPhones meaning these iPhones still refresh at 60Hz. The notch on these new iPhones is also 20% smaller, but it is a little bit longer which makes it cut into some videos. The company has also added a bigger size battery. But the brighter display, better cameras, and the bigger batteries all come at a cost and that is the weight making the new iPhones are heavier than before.

Apple is also offering the 13 and the 13 Mini in 5 new colors: Blue, Starlight, Product Red, Midnight, and Pink (looks more like white). These iPhones have the same Ceramic Shield covering the front display which Apple claims make the display more resistant to cracks. The iPhone is also rated IP68 for water and dust resistance allowing them to survive for 6 meters for up to 30 minutes.

Apple is still using lightning on the new generation of iPhones which is sad as during their presentation of the iPad Mini they showed how USB-C is superior and why they are adding it to the iPad Mini.

Better Cameras

Apple has upgraded the Wide and Ultra-Wide camera with a larger sensor along with sensor-based stabilization (only the main lens) due to the larger sensor size, Apple had to readjust the cameras by placing them diagonally. The Ultra-wide now performs better in low light as the new sensor allows the camera to gather more light than its predecessor.

The highlight feature of the cameras are Cinematic Video which blurs the background while keeping the subject in focus, it is more complex than it sounds as the camera is actively tracking the subject and changes the subject when the user looks away from the camera and the best part about all this is that the blur's intensity and focus can be adjusted after the video has been shot, but it is currently limited to Apple applications like Final Cut Pro, Apple Photos App, and Apple iMovies.

It still feels like it needs work with its edge detection and I also found it to be a little choppy when switching between subjects, but that can be fixed with software. The cinematic mode cannot be used in the dark (when in dark, the flash needs to be turned on) and the videos shot in this mode are limited to 1080p at 30fps.

The other camera feature is Photographic Styles which allows you to create a custom profile that the iPhone will remember and develop photos accordingly. Apple provides four photographic styles: Vibrant, Rich Contrast, Warm, and Cool. These are not filters they are used by the camera while it is developing the final image.

The photographic styles provided by Apple can be refined by the user if they want to add more contrast, warmth, cold, etc. these refinements will not affect the entire photo, but rather will carefully analyze the photo and apply the effects wherever they are necessary.

The regular photos that come from the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini during broad daylight are very detailed with natural colors. It is very difficult to distinguish the photos that come from the iPhone 13 from its predecessor. The major difference that I could see is between the Ultra-Wide camera and the night mode whose performance has been noticeably improved. The Ultra-Wide's new sensor allows the camera to take in more light which results in lesser noise on night photos.

Higher Performance

Under the hood, the iPhone 13 runs the A15 Bionic chip which handles all the processing of the tasks that are performed on the iPhone. As usual, the chip is able to handle all the tasks that are thrown at it whether it is games, editing, browsing the web, or social media without showing any hiccups.

The only separating factor of the A15 on iPhone 13 and the iPhone 13 Pro is that the regular 13 has a 4-core GPU, while the Pro models have a 5-core GPU. This is not a huge or even a noticeable difference.

These new iPhones run the latest version of iOS, iOS 15 which has its bugs, but overall works well. Click Here to find out everything that is new in iOS 15 from FaceTime, Maps, etc.


Apple has not done any significant design refresh but has given the iPhone 13 and especially the Mini some much-needed changes with a better and brighter display, longer-lasting battery life, bigger camera sensors, more camera features, and new colors.

I would say if you have an iPhone 11 or lower this is a worthy upgrade as you will be getting a better camera, an all-new design. But if you have an iPhone 12 then I would not recommend upgrading to the iPhone 13 as the new sensors do take better photos, but it is not that different from the 12 series.


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