iPhone 13 Pro & iPhone 13 Pro Max are the top-of-the-line iPhones offered by Apple, and this time around they have some notable differences as well when compared to the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini.
Most of what I said about the iPhone 13 and the 13 Mini remains the same here as well i.e., the same new sensors, smaller notch, starting model being 128GB, etc. find my full review here. Let's talk about the differences between the two.
The Pro models have the same flat-edged design, MagSafe charging, frosted glass back that was introduced with the iPhone 12 series. Externally, Apple has made only a few changes; starting off with the most notable i.e., the 20% smaller notch, a triple-layered camera bump, and a heavier body to include a bigger battery.
The edges of the Pro model are still made from glossy stainless steel material which is a fingerprint magnet. The front display is made up of the same Apple's Ceramic Shield finish that provides it higher durability from cracks. The iPhone 13 Pro comes with a 6.1-inch 1170 x 2532 resolution display while the 13 Pro Max comes with a 6.7-inch 1284 x 2778 resolution display, but this time they have increased the display's max brightness to 1000nits and 1200nits when playing HDR content.
Apple has also added its ProMotion technology to the display of these Pro iPhones that allows the display to refresh from 10Hz all the way up to 120Hz depending upon the task that is being performed on the display (The iPhone can be forced to only refresh at 60Hz from the Battery option in Settings).
Performance & Battery Life
iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max are powered by the same A15 Bionic processor as the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini which brings improved performance. The only differentiating factor between the 13 Pros and the regular 13s is that the Pro models have an additional GPU core (5 cores in total).
The biggest change this year aside from the camera is a bigger battery in both the 13 Pro (11% larger) and 13 Pro Max (18.5% larger). These are bigger batteries along with the efficiency of the A15 Bionic chip and the ProMotion display technology. The battery on the new Pro models of the iPhones is significantly better.
During my testing I was able to get a total of 7-8 hours of screen on time with heavy usage which included: gaming, browsing through social media, taking photos & videos, FaceTime, etc.
Same as the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini, both Pro models of the iPhone have sensor-shift stabilization tech on their main camera. But don't let that fool you the cameras on these Pro models are very different with the Pro being able to take in more light to get better and sharper nighttime photos. The Pro models also come with a 3x Telephoto Camera which is an upgrade from the previous 2x in the 12 Pro and 2.5x in the 12 Pro Max.
Apple has made its name when it comes to computational photography and that remains the same here. No matter the camera that is being used to take the photo, the 13 Pros will give a very reliable, detailed, and bright photo both during the day as well as during the night (though I had to adjust the night mode timer manually as the automatic did not give the desired result).
Apple last year added the Lidar Sensor on the back of the iPhones which helped in AR as well as better edge detection while taking Portrait Mode shots. Lidar also allowed the user to take PortraitPortrait shots at night as well. Apple had not done anything new here with the Lidar Sensor, it is the same as the 12 Pros.
Apple has added Macro-Photography with the Pro models of the iPhones by utilizing the Ultra-Wide lens which now has the functionality to autofocus. macro-photography isn't something new, it has been there in many Android smartphones, but the 13 Pros provide the best quality macro shots.
iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max allow this macro photography as close as 2cm or 0.78-inches, this allows you to get very close to the subject and yes this also works in video mode. But this macro mode is not perfect. Since the iPhones automatically shift between normal and macro mode which is not perfect as when I tried to do some food photography and took the 13Pro close to my food, it automatically switched to the macro mode which was really frustrating. Apple has said that they will be adding a toggle to prevent the same from happening in a future software update.
The camera system is great, but since most of the processing is computational an average consumer will not be able to tell the difference between the photos when compared to the iPhone 12Pro Max and it does not bring anything groundbreaking to the table like the 10x Optical Zoom on the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra.
Similar to the iPhone 13 & 13 Mini, the Pro models also get Apple's Cinematic Mode which is basically Portrait Mode for videos, and also their Photographic Styles that change the way an iPhone processes your images. I have talked more in detail about them in my iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini review.
iPhones have always had the best video quality when it comes to smartphones and this time Apple has added support for ProRes video capture exclusively to the iPhone 13 Pro and the iPhone 13 Pro Max. ProRes is a professional-quality video format that gives the user more control while editing.
I was not able to test ProRes video as it is currently not available, but is supposed to arrive later this year. Apple to compensate for ProRes file sizes which are huge they limited the 128GB model to 1080p ProRes video whereas 256GB and above will shoot at 4K. Due to this reason, this time around Apple is even offering a 1TB iPhone.
The iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max have a very premium built with stainless steel sides which are fingerprint magnet but is more durable than the regular iPhone 13. Apple's main focus this time around was their camera's which got a major spec bump with new sensors and features.
Apple has reached the limit of what they can do with a 12MP sensor while the competition is using 108MP sensors. I am not saying that Apple should use the same sensor, not that they will for a very long time. This does not mean that the iPhone takes bad photos, it takes exceptional photos and videos from all of its cameras.
iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max also come in a new 1TB storage configuration mainly to compensate for ProRes video recording storage size. The company has retained its MagSafe accessory system introduced with the iPhone 12 and is IP68 water-resistant.
The new A15 Bionic chip can handle any task that is thrown at it with ease and due to its efficiency these new iPhones last forever, I was easily able to complete a full day with around 30% of battery left.
Apple excelled in-camera performance with the launch of the iPhone 11 Pro series where they introduced the first generation of their Smart HDR, and with the iPhone 13 Pro, it has excelled even further. If you have anything above the iPhone 11 Pro, I don't think you should upgrade. But if you have anything lower than that this will be a huge upgrade for you with exceptional cameras, battery life, performance, brighter display, ProMotion, etc.