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iPhone 13 Series: Should you upgrade from iPhone 12, What’s New?

Here's an article helping you decide if you should upgrade from the iPhone 12 series to the iPhone 13 series or not.

Highlights

  • iPhone 13 series has been announced
  • iPhone 13 series seems to be an incremental upgrade over the previous generation

Apple has announced the iPhone 13 series and while it isn’t a major upgrade over last year’s iPhones, it does have its own set of differences that set them apart from the whole iPhone 12 lineup. However, Apple has discontinued the 12 Pro models in India as iPhone 13 Pro models come with similar pricing. So this article will help you decide if you really should upgrade from the iPhone 12 series to the 13 series or not.

iPhone 12 series vs iPhone 13 series

Cameras

To start with the Pro models, the iPhone 13 claims to give you better camera performance as usual with every year’s iPhones. The iPhone 13 Pro series features upgraded camera lenses from last year’s iPhones. Apple claims that the Wide camera on iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max offers a “massive improvement” in low-light situations, up to 2.2x when compared to iPhone 12 Pro, and nearly 1.5x when compared to iPhone 12 Pro Max. A larger f/1.5 aperture backs this improvement compared to the f/1.6 aperture on the 12 Pro series. A larger aperture means the camera lets in more light that should result in slightly superior pictures.

iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max also touts a new 77 mm Telephoto camera. Apple says it allows users to get closer to their subjects while recording video and achieve even more framed portraits. It offers 3x optical zoom for a total 6x optical zoom range on the camera system.

iPhone 13 Pro Max vs iPhone 12 Pro Max

iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max also introduce ProRes that uses Rack Focus tracking. ProRes is an advanced video codec used widely as the final delivery format for commercials, feature films, and broadcasts to offer higher colour fidelity and less compression. Also, for the first time, Apple has introduced night mode for all of its camera lenses.

Well, these improvements will have to be tested under real-life conditions by us to back these claims. But until then, we feel that if you have a 12 Pro or a 12 Pro Max, you are good with it for another year before the iPhone 14 comes out. These differences will hardly be noticeable by those who click casual pictures. At the same time, those who specifically use the concerning lenses and are dedicated to photography, you may upgrade to the latest model.

Talking about iPhone 12 series vs the 13 series, you get a similar dual-camera system on both. However, Sensor-shift OIS — a technology introduced in iPhone 12 Pro Max and not found in any other smartphone, now also comes to the Wide camera, even in the more compact iPhone 13 mini.

The dual-camera system and power of computational photography support Smart HDR 4, now with improved colour, contrast, and lighting for each subject in a group photo, including in challenging conditions, making images more true to life, as well as improved Night mode. Again, these are minor improvements over the previous generation iPhones that don’t justify an upgrade.

Design

The design of the iPhone 13 series is similar to iPhone 12, with two exceptions. The Notch on the iPhone 13 has a smaller width than the iPhone 12 series, and the fact that the cameras are now aligned diagonally instead of vertically (on iPhone 13 & 13 Mini). The cameras on the Pro models look identical along with other design aspects. Again, the single noticeable difference here is the smaller notch.

IPhone 12 vs IPhone 13

In terms of design, again, the upgrade isn’t justifiable. The sides are flat this year once again, with identical screen sizes as last year’s iPhones. However, if you have an iPhone 11 or older model, the iPhone 13 does look like a worthy upgrade in terms of design.

Display & Battery

The sizes of all the iPhone 13 models are identical to the iPhone 12 series of models. The only major difference you’ll find is that the iPhone 13 Pro Models come with 120Hz ProMotion displays for the first time. The iPhone 12 series has only a 60Hz refresh rate.

But Apple fanboys have always argued that the 60Hz smoothness on the iPhones is comparable to the 120Hz displays found on other phones in the market. So going by that logic, the display refresh rate shouldn’t be an issue for most of the iPhone 12 series users. However, if you are an enthusiast, you’ll know that the 120Hz displays would feel smoother on this year’s iPhones.

If you have a 12 or a 12 Mini, upgrading to the 13 and 13 Mini won’t make sense if the display is considered. Talking about batteries, the iPhone 13 delivers an all-day battery life, offering up to two and a half more hours in a day than iPhone 12.

Likewise, the iPhone 13 mini should provide up to an hour and a half more in a day than iPhone 12 mini. Likewise, iPhone 13 Pro will last up to one and a half hours long in a day than iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max will last up to two and a half hours long in a day than iPhone 12 Pro Max.

The battery backup on the iPhone 12 series has already been great, and if you want your iPhone to last more, the iPhone 13 series is a worthy upgrade.

Performance

The Apple iPhone 13 series is powered by Apple’s latest A15 Bionic chipset, which is based on 5nm technology. It features a new 5-core GPU in the Pro. In addition, there’s a new 6-core CPU with two new high-performance cores and four new high-efficiency cores.

A new 16-core Neural Engine is capable of 15.8 trillion operations per second that enables even faster machine learning computations for third-party app experiences. In addition, major advancements to the next-generation ISP provide improved noise reduction and tone mapping.

This is what Apple has done with its new chip but considering practical usage. You still won’t be able to notice how fast Apple’s A15 chip is. Even gaming on the previous two generations of iPhone is still smooth, and there won’t be a difference with this year’s iPhones that would be noticeable. The only main component is a new ISP that enables the user in capturing better photos.

Verdict

As much as Apple users would be excited about this year’s iPhones, the only aspects that excel over the previous generation are the battery and the display (only for 13 Pro models). If your current iPhone 12 works as it should without any issues, there would be no need for you to upgrade to the latest versions. However, as we mentioned before, if you have an iPhone 11 or older, the iPhone 13 does make sense, and this might be the time for you to upgrade to a newer iPhone.

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
  • ChipsetApple A15 Bionic
  • RAM (GB)N/A
  • Storage (GB)128, 256, 512, 1TB
  • Display6.7-inch, 2778 x 1284 pixels
  • Front Camera12MP
  • Primary Camera12MP + 12MP + 12MP + 3D ToF LiDAR
  • Battery28 hours video playback, 95 hours audio playback
  • Operating SystemiOS 15

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