Apple iPhone 13 review

GSMArena Team, 01 Oct 2021.


One small reduction of the notch, one giant leap for the iPhone! That's the best description for the most minor iPhone upgrade yet - the Apple iPhone 13. But even if it won't make iPhone 12 owners line up for the new model, like it or not, the iPhone 13 is still one of the most powerful smartphones on the market and a bestseller in the making.

The notorious notch, first introduced back with the iPhone X in 2017, spread in mere months across the entire smartphone industry, possibly faster than any other feature so far. It has since evolved into droplets, punch holes, or gone thanks to pop-up or under-screen selfies. But for the first time in four years, Apple has shrunk its size, albeit not by much, and the process of getting rid of it has finally begun. The predictions for the iPhone 14 are already running wild.

It is wrong to focus on just the notch size with iPhone 13. This standard 13 model has a 6.1" Super Retina XDR OLED screen with Dolby Vision, now with higher brightness, the most powerful mobile chip to date - the Apple A15 Bionic, and three nicely capable 12MP cameras - two at the back and one at the front. Apple has used a new, larger sensor for the main camera and has the sensor-shift stabilization from last year's 12 Pro Max has trickled down across the entire iPhone 13 lineup.

Apple iPhone 13 review

Other tweaks include doubled base storage, a larger battery, and a couple of exclusive software tricks for the camera like Cinematic mode and Photographic Styles.

And that's it - a brighter screen with a smaller cutout, a faster chipset, more storage, more battery, and an improved sensor on the main camera. Not the upgrade iPhone 12 users have been hoping for, but a massive one for anyone using an older-gen iPhone.

Apple iPhone 13 specs at a glance:

  • Body: 146.7x71.5x7.7mm, 174g; Glass front (Gorilla Glass), glass back (Gorilla Glass), aluminum frame; IP68 dust/water resistant (up to 6m for 30 mins), Apple Pay (Visa, MasterCard, AMEX certified).
  • Display: 6.10" Super Retina XDR OLED, HDR10, Dolby Vision, 800 nits (typ), 1200 nits (peak), 1170x2532px resolution, 19.48:9 aspect ratio, 460ppi; Wide color gamut, True-tone.
  • Chipset: Apple A15 Bionic (5 nm): Hexa-core (2x3.22 GHz Avalanche + 4xX.X GHz Blizzard); Apple GPU (4-core graphics).
  • Memory: 128GB 4GB RAM, 256GB 4GB RAM, 512GB 4GB RAM; NVMe.
  • OS/Software: iOS 15.
  • Rear camera: Wide (main): 12 MP, f/1.6, 26mm, 1.7µm, dual pixel PDAF, sensor-shift OIS; Ultra wide angle: 12 MP, f/2.4, 120˚, 13mm.
  • Front camera: Wide (main): 12 MP, f/2.2, 23mm, 1/3.6"; Depth: SL 3D.
  • Video capture: Rear camera: 4K@24/30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/120/240fps, HDR, Dolby Vision HDR (up to 60fps), stereo sound rec; Front camera: 4K@24/25/30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/120fps, gyro-EIS.
  • Battery: 3240mAh; Fast charging 20W, 50% in 30 min (advertised), USB Power Delivery 2.0, MagSafe wireless charging 15W, Qi magnetic fast wireless charging 7.5W.
  • Misc: Face ID, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer; NFC; Siri natural language commands and dictation, Ultra Wideband (UWB) support.

The biggest letdown has to be the missing ProMotion support - the 120Hz refresh rate is exclusive to the Pro models this year, and we guess the base models will have to wait a year or two before they are allowed to have it. The ultrawide camera autofocus upgrade is also exclusive to the Pro series, which is not great, but it's what Apple usually does, so not surprising either.

With the ongoing chip crisis, among other production problems due to the pandemic and lack of resources, the iPhone 13 devices will face various delays with production and shipping, but doesn't this happen every year? Oh, well...

Unboxing the iPhone 13

There is not a whole lot to unbox with the iPhone 13 as Apple has expelled everything but the USB cable from the iPhone retail boxes with the goal of reducing electronic waste, the extra profit being just a bonus. This year it has gone even greener by ditching the plastic wrapping - wherever wrapping was needed, Apple has used paper stickers.

So, inside this thin and lightweight box, you will find the iPhone 13 and a USB-C to Lightning cable.

Apple iPhone 13 review

Apple has still not switched to USB-C on the iPhones for various reasons, most of them being accessories compatibility and electronic waste. The EU Commission is pressing for such change, so we are either seeing the last of Lightning-capable iPhones or, knowing Apple, the last of the iPhones with any sort of USB ports.

The small paper compartment contains some paperwork, the SIM-ejection pin and one Apple sticker.

Reader comments

Still keep sellimg this 13 in middle east

The last notch design from iPhone with dual cam flip hahaha

  • Teenietiny
  • 04 Dec 2023
  • IbJ

So I've been locked out of my iPhone13 for a couple of months not. Somehow my phone is getting calls or making? How is this possible if I have to go to apple to get it factory reset? I got the number changed so I couldn't go on the Internet...