First iPhone 13 lineup reviews are in: here's what we learned

Ro, 22 September 2021

The first iPhone 13 reviews are so let's have a look at what our colleagues have to say about the new lineup.

The early reviews seemingly all agree on the improved battery life. MKBHD, The Verge and Engadget all praised the battery life of the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max. Apple says the new A15 Bionic chipset is super energy efficient and the LTPO 120Hz OLED panel is providing further benefits in this regard. However, as Dieter Bohn from The Verge pointed out, the significant increase in the battery capacity is likely the main contributor to the solid battery life.

First iPhone 13 lineup reviews are in: here's what we learned

He said that a full day of shooting 4K videos, photos and even tethering to other smartphones brought his iPhone 13 Pro to 20% with more than 5 hours of screen-on time. MKBHD reported 5 hours of screen-on time with 50% left in the tank, again on the regular Pro.

Engadget's impressions of the regular 13 and the mini weren't so flattering, though. The review says the vanilla 13 can go up to two days on a single charge but it's not overtaking the competition while the 13 mini's endurance has improved over the last generation but can barely last through a day of light use.

First iPhone 13 lineup reviews are in: here's what we learned

Another big upgrade is obviously the screen, which is now brighter and faster, at least on the Pro models. There's nothing much to talk about here as both, The Verge and MKBHD say that they are happy that Apple finally brought HRR screens to its flagship phones, even if it's a long-overdue feature.

Although not a major update the cameras got improved across all four iPhones. The larger sensors and the better capabilities of the ISP inside the A15 Bionic have helped improve the camera experience over their predecessors but those improvements would be spotted only by people who look really closely.

All three reviews say that daylight performance is almost identical to the previous generation, but low-light photos look a tad better than before with the more prominent change being the dedicated Night mode. The latter seems to retain the shadows without overexposing and thus creating more balanced and true-to-life photos.

First iPhone 13 lineup reviews are in: here's what we learned

The most noticeable difference according to The Verge and MKBHD is the ultrawide camera, which is now better in almost every way. The telephoto camera takes a hit in low-light conditions, which is rather expected due to the longer, 3x zoom.

The new macro feature is also nice, a lot nicer than most Android phones that have dedicated macro shooters, in fact, but the automatic switch to macro mode is a nightmare. As you move closer to the subject, the software would automatically switch to the ultrawide whereas the toggle on the viewfinder stays at 1x. You can't override that either, which is a bummer. A separate toggle or the option to switch to the main camera when you just want a close-up shot using the main sensor would be nice, as MKBHD points out.

First iPhone 13 lineup reviews are in: here's what we learned

The newly advertised Cinematic Mode, which is more of a video portrait mode, does look a bit better than what Androids are doing, based on samples, but both Dieter Bohn and Marques Brownlee say that it needs more work. It's capped at 1080p@30fps and is a bit rough around the edges when shooting your subject, quite literally.

First iPhone 13 lineup reviews are in: here's what we learned

Finally, as anyone would have guessed, the in-hand feel of the new iPhones doesn't differ from the iPhone 12 lineup all that much. MKBHD says that the added weight may be felt by people that got used to the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max but it's definitely not something to stress about. The notch doesn't feel all that smaller in reality and Apple hasn't taken advantage of the extra screen real estate. The Verge seems to agree with the Marques on the camera bump too - it's thick and definitely more prominent than before.

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Reader comments

  • Anonymous

People simply don't want to be associated with an OS that is half baked and full of bugs. Look how Apple can't even implement HRR properly. But that is to be expected from a lower_tier brand like Apple

  • Anonymous

Yeah waiting to see how those PWM numbers look like as well. Might just need to stick to 11.

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