I spent a week with the basic iPhone 13 to see if it’s even worth buying at the end of 2021.
There are few improvements: the camera is better, the battery is bigger, the notch on the screen is
smaller. And the display itself is almost unchanged: the new 120Hz screen only went to the Pro
Is it worth buying? The short answer: owners of iPhone 12 and even iPhone 11 have no good reason
to rush to the shop, unless you've been dreaming of diagonally positioned cameras. But you can't call
the new model bad or unfortunate.
Few differences from past iPhones
After a redesign in 2020, it would be strange to expect the iPhone 13 to be radically new: it just
doesn't fit with the company's economic model, which saves assiduously by using the same cases
with minimal changes for years on end.
Visually, the iPhone 13 differs from the 12 version with a narrower camera cutout in the display, a
speaker shifted to the top edge and a diagonal positioning of the main camera lenses. The colour
palette has also changed slightly, with pink, purple and green disappearing, blue getting lighter, and
red getting darker.
But there's more: Apple has moved all the controls on the edges slightly. This doesn't make any
practical sense for the user, and all the cases, protective glass and some other iPhone 12 accessories
won't fit with the new device – you'll have to shell out for new ones.
However, magnetic chargers, cardholders and batteries with MagSafe work fine, there's no problem
The latest change is that the minimum storage capacity is now 128GB. The price hasn't changed, it's
still 79,990 P at official retail.
The camera protrudes more from the body, but shoots better at night
The buttons on the edges may have had to be shifted because the camera modules now take up
more space inside the body. Here, the large-sized modules from the iPhone 12 Pro Max are used,
with larger sensors and light sensitivity.
"The new" sensors are one and a half times larger than those in the iPhone 11 and 12 – technically
the same cameras there, but with different processing algorithms. In daylight and good artificial light
the difference in standard mode isn't noticeable, but at night the iPhone 13 manages to capture
more detail with less noise.
The iPhone 13 shoots great – if you don't have a particular preference for optics or need to shoot
super-detailed RAW, the smartphone can easily replace even a semi-professional mirrorless camera
with a kit lens. However, the same can be said of the iPhone 12 and even the iPhone 11 – the
difference in photo quality is noticeable in head-to-head comparisons, but the pictures themselves
look good on either model.
Despite the improved sensors, the iPhone 13 still doesn't shoot like the iPhone 12 Pro Max or 13 Pro
– it doesn't have a third module for portrait zoom, a LiDAR scanner for pinpoint focusing, or access to
some of the modes.
The base version, for example, still lacks access to the ProRAW format, which allows you to capture
images with maximum retention of information for subsequent professional processing. There's also
no new ProRes mode for video, which is exclusive to the Pro range.
8 Photo Editors Directly on the Phone
The bottom line is that you don't really need the iPhone 13 to take good pictures of your girlfriend in
the park, a cat on the couch, beautiful landscapes and home counters. In all cases you can get by
with the 11, which differs dramatically except for the weaker ultra-wide-angle sensor with no access
to AI processing. But if you're, say, planning to upgrade to something like the iPhone SE or iPhone X,
it's with the 13th model that the quality gains will be most noticeable.
If you're planning to use the smartphone for video blogging or serious portrait photography,
however, it's best to look straight at the iPhone 13 Pro – it has LiDAR, a third camera, 'professional'
modes, a larger battery and versions with up to 1TB of expanded storage, which you'll definitely need
for 4K 60 FPS storage.