Apple’s iPhone 13 line of smartphones is official, and the iPhone 13 Pro is shaping up to be another sleek and compact flagship handset. But how does it compare to the iPhone 12 Pro of 2020?
We now have all the key specs, so we can give you an idea of how the two phones stack up before our in-depth practice.
Should you upgrade to the iPhone 13 Pro in 2021? Let’s take a closer look at what’s on offer.
IPhone 13 Pro vs iPhone 12 Pro price and availability
The iPhone 13 Pro will be released on September 24, 2021. That’s a little earlier in the year than the iPhone 12 Pro, which landed on October 23, 2020.
Apple’s price largely matches that of the iPhone 12 Pro. The entry-level 128GB model of the iPhone 13 Pro will set you back $ 999 / £ 949 / AU $ 1,699, while the 256GB model will cost $ 1,099 / £ 1,049 / AU $ 1,869, and the 512GB model will cost $ 1,299 / £ 1,249 / AU $ 2,219.
For the very first time, there is also a new 1TB model with the iPhone 13 Pro. It will cost $ 1,499 / £ 1,449 / AU $ 2,569.
The iPhone 12 Pro started from $ 999 / £ 999 / AU $ 1,699 for the 128GB model at launch. The 256GB model cost $ 1,099 / £ 1,099 / AU $ 1,899, while $ 1,299 / £ 1,299 / AU $ 2,219 got you the most premium 512GB model.
As you can see UK buyers are benefiting from Apple’s recent currency change which means they are getting a bit more for their money.
The iPhone 13 Pro looks a lot like the iPhone 12 Pro, but we would have been extremely surprised if it hadn’t. Apple has made significant changes to its iPhone design with last year’s models, so another big change isn’t on the cards just yet.
While you get the same angular design, parallel glass surfaces, and a surgical-grade stainless steel rim, there are subtle differences.
The new phone is a bit bigger and heavier than its predecessor, reflecting its larger battery. While the iPhone 12 Pro measures 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4mm and weighs 189g, the iPhone 13 Pro measures 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.65mm and weighs 204g. The new phone is a fraction thicker and 15g heavier.
You also get a slightly different range of color options with this year’s iPhone: Graphite, Gold, Silver, and Sierra Blue. The iPhone 12 Pro relied on silver, graphite, gold, and Pacific Blue.
As with the iPhone 12 Pro, the iPhone 13 Pro covers its front face with a ceramic shield, four times stronger than most other glass display materials.
Perhaps the most significant design change this time around is the display notch, which is 20% smaller on the iPhone 13 Pro than its counterpart on the iPhone 12 Pro.
At first glance, these two screens appear identical. These are both 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED displays with the same 1170 x 2532 resolutions. Both can achieve a peak brightness of 1200 nits for HDR content.
There are a few differences however. One is that the iPhone 13 Pro’s screen gets brighter in outdoor lighting, to the tune of powerful 1,000 nits. The iPhone 12 Pro can only handle 800 nits.
The main difference, however, is how the iPhone 13 Pro deserves its name Pro in a way that the iPhone 12 Pro really should have done 12 months ago. The new phone finally adds a 120Hz refresh rate to the equation.
This is a very late feature, as Apple introduced its super smooth ProMotion standard with the 2017 iPad Pro. This essentially means content can scroll twice as easily as on the iPhone’s 60Hz equivalent. 12 Pro.
Apple has used LTPO (Low Temperature Polycrystalline Oxide) display technology here, so it can adapt the iPhone 13 Pro’s screen refresh rate from 10Hz to 120Hz depending on the task. to accomplish.
This LTPO technology has been around Android phones for quite some time, but the interesting point here is that iOS itself has been programmed to track the speed of your touch inputs and adjust the screen refresh rate accordingly. The result is that it should scale seamlessly without you even realizing it, thus saving battery life.
Like the iPhone 12 Pro before it, the iPhone 13 Pro packs a trio of 12MP cameras.
This time around, the iPhone 13 Pro has a new larger wide sensor and a wider f / 1.5 aperture (compared to the iPhone 12 Pro f / 1.6) for an improvement in 2.2 times of low light shots.
The ultra-wide sensor on the iPhone 13 Pro has been widened to an f / 1.8 aperture, which is much larger than the f / 2.4 equivalent of the iPhone 12 Pro. Overall, this sensor enjoys a 92% improvement in low light compared to the ultra-wide iPhone 12 Pro.
This isn’t the only way the iPhone 13 Pro’s ultra-wide camera is an improvement. It also has the ability to capture super close-up macro photos from a distance of 2cm from the subject.
Elsewhere, the 12MP telephoto lens goes from 2x optical zoom on the iPhone 12 Pro to 3x optical zoom on the iPhone 13 Pro. You can also take pictures in night mode using the telephoto sensor this time around.
Apple always comes to the table with new photographic tips, and in the iPhone 13 Pro, which includes a new feature that lets you choose from different photographic styles, changing tone and warmth without making things look like skin. and the sky against nature.
Smart HDR 4, on the other hand, can make adjustments for multiple people in a scene.
On the video front, the new Cinematic mode will automatically select the point of focus for movie theater-like productions, even following a subject’s gaze and anticipating when a subject is about to appear. It also allows you to change the depth effects after shooting.
Later in the year, a feature called ProRes Video is coming, which will allow you to record, edit, and stream streaming-ready content in 4K / 30fps – or 1080p if you opt for a 128GB model. .
It looks like a healthy bump to what remains one of the best smartphone cameras on the iPhone 12 Pro market.
Specifications and performance
Apple’s A-series chips are still at the top of the smartphone performance tree, and we can’t see that changing with the iPhone 13 Pro’s A15 Bionic.
This offers a 6-core processor that is 50% faster than the leading competition on the Android side. When it comes to the GPU, the iPhone 13 Pro’s A15 is even meatier than the A15 Bionic found in the iPhone 13, with a 5-core (rather than 4-core) GPU proving a gain of 50% compared to its closest rival. .
Apple hasn’t provided many direct comparisons to its immediate past, but we do know that the A15 Bionic chip’s new neural engine is capable of 15.8 trillion operations per second, which beats the 11 trillion operations. of the iPhone 12 Pro A14 Bionic. second easily.
You get most of the same storage options as before, which equates to 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB. For the first time, however, Apple has also released a powerful 1TB storage option.
Apple also estimates that the iPhone 13 Pro supports more 5G bands than the iPhone 12 Pro. Will it matter to most people? It is very doubtful.
We were a little concerned last year when the iPhone 12 Pro rolled out with a 2,815mAh battery, which was a step backwards from its predecessor. Fortunately, Apple claims that the iPhone 13 Pro has a larger battery.
We don’t know how much bigger – Apple doesn’t typically share such numbers – but there are rumors it could be 3,095mAh.
With the inclusion of a 120Hz display, the iPhone 13 Pro arguably needs that extra juice. But we still hope that it can match or even surpass the endurance of the iPhone 12 Pro.
Apple claims that the iPhone 13 Pro gains 1.5 hours of battery life per charge compared to the iPhone 12 Pro. This is potentially a huge increase.
Last year we found that we were able to comfortably get through the day and manage to hit six hours of screen time with the iPhone 12 Pro. So we could look at quite the endurance champion in the iPhone 13 Pro.
Apple doesn’t seem to have improved the charging capacity of the iPhone 13 Pro at all. We’re still looking at 20W wired, 15W wireless, and absolutely no built-in charging bricks. Much like the iPhone 12 Pro, in other words.
To take with
As expected, this is a year of “evolution, not revolution” for the Apple iPhone family.
This means that in the iPhone 13 Pro you get a very similar package to the iPhone 12 Pro, but with a healthy speed boost, potentially much improved cameras, longer battery life, and a noticeably smoother display.
That 120Hz refresh rate is really making the headlines here, but it also looks like a feature the iPhone 12 Pro should have had a year ago.
We’ll have to work in the field to be sure, but the iPhone 13 Pro seems like a safe upgrade for anyone coming from an iPhone 11 Pro or earlier. IPhone 12 Pro users might want to wait another year – or at least until our iPhone 13 Pro review is complete.
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