General

a review of the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini

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12S: design
I’m sure I’m not the only one who got the feeling after Apple’s September presentation that instead
of the new generation, we were shown a device that would be more appropriately called the iPhone
12S, not the 13. Everything seems to have gotten "better", but there's no quick answer to the
question "Well, what's so new?".

Of course, if you start looking closely, you'll find changes. The iPhone has become a little thicker and
a little heavier, there has been a change in the camera tab, and the size and positioning of the lenses
have changed, which immediately generated a lot of jokes.

The perfectionism of Apple designers has won a final victory over the standards of regulators – in the
13th generation there is not a single technical inscription or logo on the body of the iPhone. For
example, on last year's smartphone, you could find several technical symbols on the side edge.

On the one hand, the changes in the appearance of the device are almost imperceptible. On the
other hand, they're enough to make the iPhone 12 case not fit the iPhone 13, so be warned.

Perhaps the most significant external improvement to the iPhone 13 is the reduced "fringes". The
speaker has moved closer to the edge of the screen, and the freed space has been taken up by the
Face ID sensors. As a result, the fringes have been reduced by 20%.

I should warn you in advance – you probably won't immediately notice the loss of this percentage. I,
for example, when first getting to know the device a question arose: "So, am I sure I've picked up the
new model now and not the old one?"

Even with the iPhone mini, where every pixel is worth its weight in gold, the freed screen space goes
unnoticed. One reason for this perception is that the resulting screen space is not used in any way –
iOS just enlarges the signal and battery level icons a bit.

13: capacity and battery
"Inside" are two key changes worth highlighting. The first is an increase in the iPhone 13 and iPhone
13 mini's minimum built-in memory. For 80k, Apple now offers a starting model with 128GB. In 2020,
for the same money, the company was selling the iPhone 12 with 64GB.

 

Rostov-on-Don, Russia – December 2021. iPhone 13 Pro in white background. New smartphone from Apple company close-up.

 

 

I guess I wasn't the only one who got the idea when I was buying an iPhone that 64GB was somehow
too little, and the extra 64GB was clearly not worth the 15 grand increase in the check. Now the base
model iPhone 13 with 128GB should be enough for most needs.

The second change is the physical increase in the battery. It's now 15% bigger for the iPhone 13 and
9% bigger for the mini-version. In terms of runtime, Apple claims that the iPhone 13 will last two
hours longer than last year's model, while the iPhone mini will last one and a half hours longer.

No one will argue that the increase in battery capacity is certainly a very good thing. But in the case
of the iPhone 13, the extra two hours of battery life are perceived more as a welcome addition,
because the iPhone 12 already held its charge perfectly well throughout the day. In the case of the
iPhone 13 mini, however, the increase in capacity has become an urgent necessity.

Last year's iPhone 12 mini often only lasted for the first half day of active use, so an external battery
was a must-have accessory for owners of the diminutive smartphone.

I don't do specific tests and measurements on battery performance, but as usual, I share general
impressions from day-to-day use of the device.

On the first day of testing at lunchtime, I charged the iPhone 13 mini to 100%. Throughout the day I
lazily downloaded apps, took pictures of my cat, sat on my Telegram, Reddit and Instagram feeds – in
short, spent the day benefiting from services and advertisers. Before going to bed, a red battery
indicator indicated 3% remaining charge.

After a couple of days of using the mini-version, I'd settle on this intermediate conclusion: the
increase in capacity is noticeable, but the smartphone feels like it's missing an extra hour or two to
make me feel more confident about leaving the house all day with it.

The extra hours of use, according to Apple, are not only provided by the increased battery size, but
also by the new energy-efficient A15 Bionic chip. This year's processor is notable in that instead of
adopting a matryoshka (where Apple compares the performance of the new model to the previous
one), the company has switched to comparisons with abstract 'other smartphones'.

For example, the website claims that the processor is up to 50 per cent faster and the graphics up to
30 per cent faster than "many other smartphones". And in general, the new chip is only inferior to
the one installed in the iPhone 13 Pro.

It's difficult to confirm or deny such claims – it's not clear what is meant by "other smartphones" and
how measurements were taken, so I'll record a couple of observations here.

Yes, a test in the Geekbench app confirms an increase in computing speed compared to the iPhone
12. No, you won't notice a power gain if you upgrade to a new smartphone from the 12th or even the
11th generation. That's because Apple makes smartphones with a large power reserve that lasts for
years to come.

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