The first set of iPhone 13 Pro reviews are live ahead of their launch later this week. The reviews and unboxing videos are overwhelmingly positive, especially with regard to the camera. The new iPhones might be an iterative upgrade over the iPhone 12, but Apple has made the right set of improvements here.
Check out our iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max review roundup from all major publications below.
The very start of the publication’s review perfectly sums up the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max.
The iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max are phones designed for people who care about the details. The improvements over last year’s iPhones are significant but not obvious at first glance.
The better battery life is also definitely noticeable and a major draw.
I’ve only had the phones for a little less than a week, so I focused most of my use on the smaller iPhone 13 Pro as a kind of worst-case test. And my results are in line with Apple’s claims. On a day when we really pushed the phone with lots of 4K video and max brightness on the screen, it still lasted from early morning to 11PM with 20 percent remaining — with somewhere north of four hours of very heavy use in the screen time tracking app. A day with less intense usage clocked me at seven hours of screen on time before the low battery warning kicked in.
That improved triple-camera setup on the iPhone 13 Pro really shines while taking low-light photos.
All of that adds up to a camera that can very quickly take in a massive amount of light relative to other phones. Combined with some tuning and improvements to Apple’s computational photography, the low light performance on the 13 Pro is simply second to none.
There’s less image noise in low light and more dynamic range in low and even medium light. Apple also tells me it has adjusted how it handles the black point so shadow exposure is more accurate now too — the 13 Pro is just more willing to let darks be dark while accurately exposing lighter areas. In situations the 12 Pro would aggressively hop into night mode and lighten everything up, the 13 Pro often doesn’t need night mode. And when the 13 Pro does drop into night mode, it goes through that exposure process twice as quickly.
Sadly, unless you pixel peep, you won’t notice the jump in image quality between the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro.
Let’s bring things back to earth. Will most people notice the quality difference between the 13 Pro and the regular iPhone 13 or even last year’s iPhones? Most of the time, I think the answer is actually no. On phone screens, you really have to zoom in and pixel peep to see it. But if there’s any place where I think it makes sense to call an iPhone “Pro” as in “for professionals,” I think this main wide angle camera is it.
So, is the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max worth an upgrade? Well, the answer depends on which iPhone you are upgrading from.
The story of the iPhone 13 Pro is a story of iteration, sure, but iteration matters. iPhone 12 Pro owners will have to pay a lot of attention to see some of the differences and an upgrade probably doesn’t make a lot of sense. But if you’re using something older, all that iteration comes on top of the major improvements from the iPhone 12 Pro — the upgrades will be very noticeable.
That macro camera on the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max is useful as it lets you get real close to the subject.
In bright and medium lighting, I found macro photography on the iPhone solid. It’s not on the level of a mirrorless camera with dedicated macro lens but it’s one of the better implementations of a macro mode that I’ve seen on a phone. I took solid close-up photos of food, coffee and even recorded a nightmare video clip of ants crawling all over a discarded grapefruit.
That new Cinematic Video feature in iPhone 13 series is fun to play around with, but not really useful.
Are Cinematic videos perfect? No, but it’s a blast to use and experiment with. Cinematic mode needs a good amount of light to work best. If conditions are too dark, you’ll get a pop-up prompting you to turn your flash on.
Check out some iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max unboxing and overview videos below.
What do you think about the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max based on the above reviews? Will you buy them for the camera improvements they offer?