Apple iPhone 13 review

GSMArena Team, 01 Oct 2021.

Design, build quality, handling

The iPhone 13 is the iPhone 12 with three minor changes - diagonally-placed rear cameras, a smaller screen cutout, and a bit heavier body. Having said that, the iPhone 13 is still one of the most beautiful yet simple smartphones, with one of the most durable and water-resistant designs. Oh, and it's unexpectedly grippy!

There can't be a new iPhone without at least one new color, and for the iPhone 13, that's Pink. It comes to replace the cool green option introduced last year, which was likable, but it's no longer around.

Apple iPhone 13 review

The iPhone 13 shares a lot of body elements with the iPhone 12. In fact, the design and shape are mostly the same, with a few minor differences here and there. For starters, the iPhone 13 has its two rear cameras aligned diagonally instead of vertically.

Apple iPhone 13 review

That's probably not a design choice for the sake of difference but was most probably needed because of the new larger sensor on the primary camera and its sensor-shift stabilization.

Moving on to the front, the most obvious change is the size of the screen notch. It is shorter on the iPhone 13, but if we are to be finicky, it's also about a millimeter thicker.

Apple iPhone 13 review

The Face ID sensors and the front camera are still the same, and the earpiece is also a stereo speaker.

Apple iPhone 13 review

And while we are looking at it, the speaker grille is now a separate component with its own frame instead of a thin mesh below a cutout. We don't know why this complication was necessary, but we hope it's for the best.

Apple iPhone 13 review

The iPhone 13 is exactly as big as the iPhone 12, of course, but due to the larger battery and different components, it is now 10 grams heavier and 0.3mm thicker. The extra weight is fine, we always appreciate more battery, but this whisker of new thickness will be problematic for reusing iPhone 12 cases.

Now that we saw the new and the old iPhone, let's take a close look at this pink-ish iPhone 13.

It has a flat Ceramic Shield at the front, which covers the 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED panel. The bezels are the same as on the iPhone 12, the notch is smaller, while the screen brightness can now reach 800 nits. The Shield has proven quite sturdy on the iPhone 12, and we expect it to be just as good on the iPhone 13.

Apple iPhone 13 review

The back of the iPhone 13 is covered by a flat tempered glass made by Corning. The Apple logo is here, of course, and it's mirrored as always.

The camera square is jutting out like before, but it's thicker than on the iPhone 12, and the new model wobbles a whole lot more when resting on a desk.

Apple iPhone 13 review

There are two camera rings on top of that square glass, and the two sapphire crystal covers for the lenses are extending above the said metal rings. As usual, the non-Pro models have glossy rear panels and matte camera spots, while the Pro models have it the other way around.

Aside from the two 12MP snappers, here you can also spot the dual-LED flash and one of the microphones.

This is where you get our usual warning about leaving the iPhone 13 on a glass table or worse, stacking it on another phone/tablet. The lens cover(s) will scratch the glass or your friend's phone/tablet quite easily.

Apple iPhone 13 review

One of the things we all loved about the iPhone 12 series, and now on the iPhone 13 as well, are the flat frames. They offer incredible grip, a massive boost over the curvy iPhone 11s, which were impossible to lift from a desk if used without a case. And they allow the iPhones to stand on their own, whatever that's worth.

The iPhone 13 has an aluminum frame with a matte finish sprayed with the same pink color as the back. The Pro models use polished to perfection stainless-steel frames to show off their premium-ness.

Apple iPhone 13 review

The left of the iPhone 13 has a lot of stuff - the silencer is here, followed by the two-volume keys, and finally, you can see the nanoSIM tray.

Apple iPhone 13 review

The right side has the long Side key, which has many functions - lock/unlock, Siri activation, and Apple Pay summoning.

Apple iPhone 13 review

Finally, the bottom side houses the mouthpiece, the Lightning port, and the second stereo speaker.

The iPhone 13 is fully waterproofed - it is IP68-rated for dust and water resistance, but Apple promises it can survive for 30 minutes in 6-meters deep water, which goes beyond the traditional IP68 specs. Remember, phones are waterproofed against clean water only, if not stated otherwise, and any sea/saltwater is bad for your phone and will most probably be the end of it.

Apple iPhone 13 review

Handling the iPhone 13 is one of the loveliest experiences we've had with a smartphone since, well, the iPhone 12. It is incredibly grippy, it strikes the perfect balance between compact size and multimedia-friendly screen, and is nicely thin and lightweight without giving up on power or battery capacity (as far as typical iPhone numbers go).

Apple has always been putting an oleophobic coating on its glass panels, and the iPhone 13 is no different. Thanks to this extra layer, it takes more time for smudges to accumulate and then it's quite easy to clean - one wipe with your palm or shirt is usually enough.

Design-wise, there is nothing we would change on the iPhone 13. It's one of the most balanced smartphones on the market, one of the sturdiest and most protected ones, too, and we simply loved it.

Reader comments

  • Anonymous
  • 14 Dec 2022
  • 7vd

“A full charge on a cable requires 106 minutes, which is a bit absurd as the iPhone 13 reaches 80% in 50 minutes, and the last 20% charge require additional 56 minutes to top off!” This is because in settings, there is something called Optimise...

  • Anirudh
  • 21 Nov 2022
  • f}c

Go for 13 it is a good phone

  • Ajith
  • 03 Nov 2022
  • xSP

13 is good