The Apple iPhone 13 has landed in our office. While our detailed review is in the process, we decided to share our initial impressions in the meantime. Much like the last year, the Pro and Pro Max models in the iPhone 13 series continue to rule the roost. If budget is not a concern, most fans are simply going to pick one of these two handsets. On the other hand, the iPhone 13 appeals to those looking for the bragging rights of owning an iPhone without breaking the bank.
Priced at ₹79,900, the handset comes with the promise of powerful performance, longer battery life, sturdy build, water resistance, and an upgraded camera system. Apple also claims to have “reduced” the size of the display notch. Let’s find out if it gives you enough reasons to upgrade.
Apple iPhone 13 Design: New Wine In An Old Bottle
During the iPhone 13 launch, Apple droned on about the new phone’s “durable flat design” and ‘Ceramic Shield’. However, the company glossed over the fact that the handset’s design hasn’t been revamped for three generations. Seriously, when you have to advertise about the slightly narrower notch and diagonal camera lens arrangement, it is clear that there’s hardly anything new in terms of design.
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In an effort to make the latest handset stand out from the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12, Apple is relying on new paint jobs. It has introduced a new Pink finish. Aside from that, you can go for the Blue, Midnight (Black), Starlight (White), and (PRODUCT)RED. As per Apple, if you purchase the red variant of the iPhone 13, Apple will contribute to the “Global Fund to combat COVID-19” on your behalf.
Along with the slate design, the new iPhone retains the premium build. It offers Ceramic Shield scratch resistance on display. At the back, you get Corning’s Gorilla Glass. To strengthen the frame, Apple has gone with the aluminium frame. The build precision is nothing short of excellent. Apple’s CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machining process is so good that you would be hard-pressed to find imperfections under a microscope.
While the handset is quite sleek, the camera module kind of sticks out. It protrudes farther than what we had on the iPhone 12, and majorly adds to the thickness of the handset. Apple has decided to embrace the camera bump rather than trying to hide it. In addition to two lenses and an LED flash, the camera module houses a microphone.
Like most premium smartphones these days, the iPhone 13 is rated IP68 for water and dust resistance. It can withstand the rains and you can also take it to a pool party without a second thought. Overall, the iPhone 13 lives up to the quality we come to expect from Apple. However, its current design has overstayed its welcome and it is high time the Cupertino-based company introduces a new outline.
Apple iPhone 13 Pro Display: Excellent But Needs To Ditch The Notch
The iPhone 13 sports a 6.1-inch OLED display with Full HD+ resolution. OLED screens are fundamentally different compared to your regular LCDs. These panels are emissive, which means that each pixel is self-illuminated. Thanks to this property, OLED screens do not require an external backlight to light up the image and can selectively turn off pixels to render perfect blacks. As a result, you get an impressive contrast ratio and vibrant colours.
On top of that, the panel has a peak brightness of up to 1,200 nits to make the HDR content shine. During regular use, expect it to hover at around 800 nits. While the iPhone 13 Pro and the iPhone 13 Pro Max siblings feature a 120Hz display, the vanilla iPhone 13 settles for a regular 60Hz refresh rate.
I like how the display follows each curve of the frame. It highlights Apple’s attention to detail. On the other hand, it is disappointing to see that Apple still hasn’t got rid of the large notch on the phone’s forehead. The Cupertino company claims that it has reduced the notch by 20%. Technically, this might be true, as the notch is narrower compared to the previous generation. On the flip side though, the notch is now taller and eats deeper into the screen area.
Apple iPhone 13 Cameras: A Pro Treatment
The iPhone 13 is equipped with a 12MP primary camera and a 12MP wide sensor to keep it company. The sensor-Shift mechanism, which was reserved for the Pro models in the previous generation, has finally trickled down to the vanilla model. For those not in the know, this technology compensates for shaky hands to capture clear shots.
We took it out for a spin to get some normal and low-light shots. Under sunlight, the iPhone 13 delivers phenomenal quality. You get crisp images with plenty of detail. Don’t take my word for it, check out the samples embedded below.
The camera’s low-light performance is impressive too, thanks to a bigger sensor and sensor-shift OIS. The iPhone 13’s camera has excellent dynamic range and it captures plenty of detail even in dark areas. It does, however, suffer from lens flare artefacts, which was a problem in the iPhone 12 series as well. It is not the type that J. J. Abrams uses in his films. What you get here are weird green dots scattered across the screen. To better understand the issue, check out the very first image in the gallery below.
Apple iPhone 13 Performance: A15 Bionic Chip Is Unstoppable
Most flagship phones still have a tough time catching up with Apple’s A14 Bionic chip from last year. With the latest A15 Bionic processor, Apple is set to further extend its lead. Based on TSMC’s 5nm fabrication process, this new SoC (System on Chip) comprises two performance CPU cores and four power-efficient CPU cores. Along with that, you get an Apple-made quad-core GPU and 16 cores to power the Neural Engine. While Apple hasn’t made it official, the handset packs in 4GB of RAM. For the latest generation, the company has dropped the 64 GB model. This means that even the base variant of the iPhone offers 128GB internal storage. For those who get storage anxiety, Apple also offers the handset in 256GB and 512GB options.
The powerful hardware ensures that the iPhone 13 breezes through every task. At least on day one, the handset displayed no hint of stutter or slowdown. The phone runs the latest iOS 15 out of the box. The latest iteration of Apple’s iOS offers a plethora of new features and enhancements. FaceTime now enables users to watch movies and TV shows with friends. Apple has refined the way notifications are delivered to you. The iPhone 13 enables you to set priority to notifications, which saves you from the hassle of going through the entire list just to view the messages from your friends and family. We will cover the improvements in the Safari browser, Spotlight, Photos, and Health app in the upcoming review.
Our Closing Thoughts On iPhone 13
The iPhone 13 packs in a larger battery, which according to Apple lasts 2.5 hours longer compared to its predecessor, the iPhone 12. We shall test this claim in the full review along with delving into charging speeds, gaming performance, Cinematic Mode in the camera app, and much more. For now, I can tell that for a starting price of ₹79,990, the iPhone 13 seems like a great choice for those looking to make a switch to Apple’s ecosystem. On the other hand, if you already own an iPhone 12, it is better to wait for the next iteration.