Apart from the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro, the first set of iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 13 reviews are also out. Below is a review roundup of these iPhones to help you decide whether they are worth your money or not.
The highlight of the iPhone 13 series are their better primary cameras, long battery life, and minor other improvements overall. Check out what the various reviews have to say about Apple’s newest iPhones.
If you are coming from the iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 mini, the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini are not that big of an upgrade barring the camera improvements.
If you’ve only used a 60Hz screen so far, you might not feel like you’re missing much — the iPhone 13’s display is still vibrant and crisp. You’ll enjoy watching Instagram or TikTok videos, for sure. But as someone who’s experienced the good stuff, I can tell you that you’re missing out.
The faster ISP in the A15 Bionic helps process photos faster.
For example, the faster image signal processor (ISP) on the chip means things like nighttime photos won’t take as long. I certainly didn’t have to hold the iPhone 13 still for as many seconds as the iPhone 12 when I used both of them to shoot a candlelit globe in a super dark room. The difference was probably about one second, which sounds insignificant, but can feel like forever when you’re struggling to remain motionless.
Cinematic mode sounds good on paper but fails to work as well in real-life scenarios.
On its own, Apple’s system is pretty clever. The iPhone 13 did a great job of identifying faces (both human and canine) in my shots, and yellow or white boxes appeared to indicate potential things to focus on. As my subjects turned toward and away from the camera, they became clearer and blurrier respectively. But when I tried to exert more control and adjust the focal point, the system struggled. Sometimes, my intended subject remained blurry even after I tapped on its rectangle. Other times, the iPhone didn’t follow the person I selected after they walked behind an obstruction, though that’s a reasonable situation.
Don’t expect much from the iPhone 13 mini’s battery life.
Despite their brighter screens, Apple said the iPhone 13 and 13 mini should last up to 2.5 and 1.5 hours longer than their predecessors respectively. While the 13 mini did beat the 12 mini by sticking around almost a whole day on light use, the 13 hours and 19 minutes score on our video rundown test is still shorter than the average smartphone. It’s a pity; I love the size of the iPhone 13 mini — it’s just so much easier to use with one hand. But the greatest drawback of any modern phone this small is a lack of endurance.
If you want great battery life, get the iPhone 13…
Of course, if you don’t have an iPhone 12 then the 13 lasting more than two hours longer is kind of meaningless. My takeaway for the regular iPhone 13 doesn’t require relative comparisons, though: battery life is excellent.
…and avoid the iPhone 13 mini.
However, I do have an early impression of the iPhone 13 Mini’s battery life. It’s that Apple’s one-and-a-half hour longer claim seems reasonable, but that is faint praise. I used the iPhone 12 Mini a lot over the last year, and what I said when I first reviewed it turned out to be true: if you use this little phone like it’s a big smartphone, you will drain the battery by early afternoon or even lunch.
The rear camera improvements are welcome, but Apple should have also improved the front camera.
My main wish is that the selfie camera sensor had been updated. It has some software improvements just like the other cameras and it’s inside a smaller notch now, but the selfie camera is too important for Apple to just leave the same this many years in a row.
The new cameras on the iPhone 13 are impressive.
The cameras in particular were upgraded from the iPhone 12 for improved night pictures and better HDR (shots when it’s really light behind your subject come out better, for example). They also support Cinematic Mode, but otherwise, they aren’t as advanced as the cameras on the Pro models.
Battery life on the iPhone 13 mini is still going to be a concern.
But I’m still concerned about battery life. While Apple says it lasts up to 13 hours streaming video, I got 4 hours and 13 minutes before the battery fell below 50%. That also included 3 hours of screen-off time, when background tasks like photo uploads were still running. Anyone doing a lot of traveling with a Mini should bring a battery pack along just in case.
Check out some video reviews and unboxing of the iPhone 13 below.
What do you think about the iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 13 based on the above reviews? Do you still plan on buying one?