Tom's Guide verdict
The iPhone 13's brighter screen, longer battery life, and powerful cameras make it the best iPhone for those on a budget. We wish the iPhone 13 Pro had faster charging and the 120Hz adaptive display, but you're not missing out on that much compared to the iPhone 14.
Attractive cinematic video mode
Best in class performance
Very good battery life
A 120 Hz display is missing
Slower loading than competitors
Cinema mode limited to 1080p
Why you can trust Tom's GuideOur experts spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you.Learn more about how we test.
Editor's note:The iPhone 14 was launched on September 17th. It's not quite the upgrade we were hoping for, and it's $100 more than the iPhone 13. Be sure to check out oursiPhone 14 Testfor more.
Phone 13 is thebest iphonefor those on a budget, especially now that it's $100 cheaper after the iPhone 14's launch. With a new display, bigger battery, and better camera hardware and software, the iPhone 13 is still an excellent flagship phone.
Once again, Apple has made the iPhone 13 far more powerful than its Android competitors thanks to its 5G-capable A15 Bionic chip. Camera improvements include new photo-style filters, while videographers will be delighted with Cinematic Mode's focus-focus capability.
The iPhone 13 has some weaknesses. Charging is still relatively slow compared to some Android phones. And I don't like that only the iPhone 13 Pro models have a 120Hz display and a telephoto zoom. But based on my in-depth iPhone 13 review, this new iPhone is still one of thebest phonesfor the money.
While the neweriPhone 14With a slightly faster chip, even better low-light photography, and new features like Action Mode video, you can't go wrong with the iPhone 13 if you're looking for a great smartphone that offers a fantastic software experience. Read on to find out why.
iPhone 13 review: price and storage
The iPhone 13, available now, starts at $699 for 128GB of storage (vs. a meager 64GB on theiPhone 12), and that goes up to $799 for 256GB and $999 for 512GB. Check out oursMugs Apple StorePage for the latest discounts.
In the UK, the base model is £779, the 256GB phone is £879 and the 512GB model is £1,079.
These aren't cheap phones, but you can save with trade-ins from Apple and carriers, and discounts abound. Be sure to check out oursiPhone 13 dealsCurrent offers page.
iPhone 13 specifications: All models compared
Swipe to scroll horizontally
|iPhone 13 Mini||iPhone 13|
|storage||128, 256, 512 GB||128, 256, 512 GB|
|screen size||5.4 inches||6.1 inches|
|processor||A15 bionisch||A15 bionisch|
|rear cameras||Dual 12 MP (wide, ultra wide)||Dual 12 MP (wide, ultra wide)|
|Zoom||None / 5x digital||None / 5x digital|
|Camera front||12MP true depth||12MP true depth|
|Colours||Red, Starlight, Midnight, Blue, Pink||Red, Starlight, Midnight, Blue, Pink, Green|
|size||5.2 x 2.5 x 0.3 inches||5.8 x 2.8 x 0.3 inches|
|Weight||4.97 ounces||6.14 ounces|
|Battery life (video playback||8:41||10:33|
iPhone 13 review: design and colors
- The smaller notch makes the screen a little more immersive
- Slightly different button placement
- Pink and blue are prominent colors.
- New green color released in March 2022
There are really two notable design changes to the iPhone 13. First, the cameras on the back are now diagonal instead of vertical.
Second, and more importantly, the notch is now 20% smaller while still offering the same great TrueDepth camera system and face recognition you've come to expect since the iPhone X introduced this feature four years ago.
Honestly, the smaller notch doesn't make much of a difference in everyday use of the iPhone 13. When watching videos side-by-side in landscape mode in full screen, I didn't find any notch to be overly distracting.
I appreciated the mini-notch the most when using apps with white backgrounds in portrait mode, such as e.g. Gmail. However, the iPhone 13's notch drops a bit further despite being narrower.
The button layout is slightly different on the iPhone 13 than on the iPhone 12. The power button is further down on the right side, and the same goes for the ringer button and volume buttons on the left.
Otherwise, the iPhone 13 offers the same durable CeramicShield display on the front, a durable glass back, and flat edges. And you get the same IP68 water resistance as before. Unfortunately, the iPhone 13 doesn't offer Touch ID, an update many of us would have appreciated since Face ID doesn't work well with skins. It didn't need an on-screen sensor like many Android phones now support; a Touch ID sensor embedded in the power button as shownMini iPad 6it would have been nice
At the moment it seems that theiPhone 13 has trouble unlocking with Apple Watch(opens in a new tab)in some cases. Apple has recognized the problem and says there will be a fix soon.
The iPhone 13 is available in six colors including pink, blue, midnight, starlight and (product) red. I tried the blue model which is a fun shade without being too loud. And I still appreciate the color-matched aluminum frame that Apple ships with its basic iPhones. Apple has also publishednew iPhone 13 colorsduring theApple eventin March 2022, including a new green iPhone 13.
One thing to note, thank youNew self-service repair kits for Apple iPhone, you can now do your own repairs, but tread carefully here as you will need some technical skills.
iPhone 13 review: Ad
- Brighter display, easier to read in direct sunlight
- Excellent colors and contrasts
Unfortunately, the iPhone 13 doesn't have the 120Hz adaptive refresh rate of the iPhone 13 Pro, but it's still an excellent OLED panel. This Super Retina XDR display is now 28% brighter than the iPhone 12; It's also rated at 800 nits, compared to 600 nits on last year's phone.
In my testing, I wouldn't say the difference in brightness is dramatic, but it can help if you're trying to see the iPhone 13's screen in direct sunlight.
The overall display quality remains excellent. Watching the trailer for The Matrix Resurrections, I was mesmerized by the neon code surrounding Neo as he walked down the street, and in another scene I could make out stray hairs in Neo's beard as he stared at the sun.
In our lab tests, the iPhone 13 achieved an average brightness of 795 nits, compared to 569 nits for the iPhone 12 and 702 nits for the iPhone.Galaxy S21. The iPhone 13 also recorded 78.1% of the DCI-P3 color space and 110.2% of the sRGG color space, with higher numbers being better. The iPhone 12 scored 81.1 and 114.5, and the Galaxy S21 scored 77.4 and 109.2.
The color accuracy of the iPhone 13 panel is also excellent, clocking in at a Delta-E of 0.26 (lower is better). That equates to 0.29 for both the Galaxy S21 and iPhone 12.
iPhone 13 Test: Cameras
- Bright, colorful images beat Samsung
- The ultra-wide camera offers more scenes and an improved night mode
- Loose photographic styles give you creative control
The iPhone 13's cameras are much more than a new diagonal lens arrangement. The panoramic camera now captures 47% more light than the iPhone 12 thanks to a larger camera with 1.7μm pixels.
Another bonus is that the ultra-wide camera can now capture four times as many scenes, and its newer sensor offers better low-light performance and less noise.
If you're not a fan of the iPhone's usual color temperature or just want more control over your photos, you'll appreciate the Photo Styles feature. In the camera app, you can switch between different styles, including standard, vivid, high-contrast, warm, and cool.
I tested the feature on a number of portraits and appreciated the difference between the styles. For example, the high-contrast mode made the shot appear less blurry, while the vivid setting made the coleus plants stand out along with the tree in the background. It's not that easy to change this effect on the fly as you have to tap a setting and then select the style you want, but I like that you can customize your own styles.
In this photo taken at Manasquan Reservoir in New Jersey, you can see how superior the iPhone 13's camera compares to theSamsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. The water looks more vibrant and translucent, and the iPhone 13 is better at reproducing the shadows around the wood.
The iPhone 13 also provided a better look at these Halloween decorations. The orange pumpkin sign looks more vibrant and bright just like the real pumpkins around it. The Galaxy S21 Ultra's image is quite sharp but appears a bit flat.
In many shooting situations, the iPhone 13 was on par with the iPhone 12, but I noticed a noticeable improvement in night mode. While the result is a little blurry, the iPhone 13 captures a lighter pink in the hydrangea flowers and the surrounding foliage is lighter.
Now that the iPhone 14 is here, you can also check out oursDetailed comparison between iPhone 14 and iPhone 13 cameras.
If you want to get more out of your iPhone camera, read onThe one iPhone camera tip everyone should knowand also take a look at thoseiPhone hidden camera feature to take your portraits to the next level.
iPhone 13 Test: Video
- Cinema mode automatically shifts the focus of subjects and adds bokeh
- Outstanding Dolby Vision HDR video quality
iPhone 13 is the rare smartphone that lets you feel like a director while recording videos. And it's thanks to a new feature called Cinematic Mode. This effect adds depth of field to your footage and automatically shifts focus to different subjects depending on what's happening in the frame, e.g. B. when someone turns their head to talk to someone else. You don't have to lift a finger and it works (almost) like magic.
When photographing my three dogs playing with my daughter I was really impressed as the iPhone 13 first focused on the puppy closest to me and as it moved out of frame my daughter and the older Golden focused retrievers automatically. Background bokeh is something other smartphone makers have tried, including Samsung, but the Galaxy S21 Ultra isn't intelligent enough to shift focus from one subject to another in real time.
Cinematic mode isn't perfect, with the iPhone 13 sometimes taking a second to spot faster-moving subjects (our youngest golden retriever). A major downside is that this mode is limited to 1080p, as you can't record in 4K in Cinema mode. But overall it's a cool feature that I think a lot of people will want to try, especially for social videos on TikTok.
Video quality on the iPhone 13 is outstanding overall, with improved noise reduction, better dynamic range, and improved semantic rendering that can recognize skin, faces, the sky, and more. When touring Manasquan Reservoir on iPhone 13 and iPhone 12, I particularly noticed less noise from the blowing leaves in the iPhone 13's footage. And in a separate 4K clip, I lost myself in the gentle waves lapping against the sand .
iPhone 13 review: performance and A15 Bionic
- A15 Bionic is once again the fastest chip
- Machine learning performance is noticeably better
The A15 Bionic doesn't offer any dramatic performance gains over the A14 Bionic that powers the iPhone 12, but it didn't have to remain the fastest chip in a phone. As with the A14 Bionic, the A15 offers a 6-core CPU and 4-core GPU, but there's now a 16-core Neural Engine for machine learning and AI, up from 8 cores on the previous chipset.
According to Apple, the iPhone 13's CPU is up to 50% faster than the competition, while the GPU can handle graphics rendering 20% faster. Before I get into the benchmarks, I think it's important to talk about how snappy this phone feels in day-to-day use.
In a game like Genshin Impact, an open-world adventure fighting title, the animations and particle effects felt like they were on a console as you climb mountains, explore vast landscapes, and try to fight enemies. I was equally impressed with the Seek app, which instantly identified plants when I pointed the camera at my garden.
In Geekbench 5, which measures overall performance, the iPhone 13 scored 4,129 and 1,684 respectively. That's significantly better than the iPhone 12's 3859/1593 and crushes the Galaxy S21's scores of 3302/1048.
The graphics performance of the iPhone 13 is also convincing. In the 3DMark Wild Life benchmark, the new iPhone achieved 55.9 frames per second. That's only slightly more than the iPhone 12 (51 fps), but the Galaxy S21 Ultra only managed 33 fps.
We didn't see much improvement in our video editing test with Adobe Premiere Rush. The iPhone 13 took 25.9 seconds to transcode a 4K video to 1080p, compared to 26.5 seconds on the iPhone 12. The Galaxy S21 took 1 minute and 2 seconds.
Check out oursiPhone 13-BenchmarksResults page to see how all four models perform and how they stack up against the Android competition.
In terms of 5G performance, the iPhone 13 should improve over time as carriers continue to expand their networks. For example, Verizon says its longest-range C-band spectrum will reach 100 million people by 2022. And we've seen very promising speeds in oursVerizon 5G C-Band-Tests.
When it comes to overall call quality, we've found the iPhone 13 to offer solid performance across multiple networks, but it lacks one feature.Apple removed the phone's noise-cancelling feature with the iPhone 13(opens in a new tab), which was an option in the accessibility settings on the iPhone 12 and earlier iPhones. Some users have complained that calls can sound worse when there is a lot of background noise. However, you can enable voice isolation in Control Center during calls.
iPhone 13 review: battery life and charging
- 10 hours and 33 minutes of battery life, that's 2 hours better than the iPhone 12
According to Apple, the iPhone 13 lasts up to 1.5 hours longer than the iPhone 12 thanks to a larger battery, a more efficient display, and the A15 Bionic chip. But our tests showed even better results.
In Tom's Guide's battery test, which involves continuous web browsing over 5G at 150 nits of screen brightness over the cellular network (AT&T's network in this case), the iPhone 13 lasted 10 hours and 33 minutes. That's over 2 hours longer than the 8:25 time the iPhone 12 shipped. The best result we've seen from the Galaxy S21 was 9:53.
To see how all four iPhone 13 models fared, check out ourBattery life iphone 13Summary of results, which includes comparisons with other Android phones.
Unfortunately, the iPhone 13 offers the same charging speeds as before. The new iPhone reached 51% capacity in 30 minutes using Apple's 20W charger. Other phones in oursList of the fastest charging phonesYou're a lot faster like themOnePlus 9 Pro.
The iPhone's 15W MagSafe charger is a bit slower, but some might find it more convenient since it's magnetic and doesn't include a Lightning connector.
iPhone 13 Test: Software
- SharePlay lets you watch videos and listen to music with friends
- Focus reduces distractions
iOS 15 brings some welcome improvements to your iPhone, many of which focus on shared experiences. FaceTime has improved audio and a cleaner interface, and with the iOS 15.1 update, you can listen to music or watch movies or TV shows with friends or familySharePlay. And the Messages app features a new Shared With You section for photos, articles, and more to make it easier to keep track of all the different links your friends are sending you.
I personally appreciate the new Focus feature in iOS 15, which lets you filter notifications based on your activity. And the notifications themselves have been improved, with a new summary view so you're not overwhelmed by constant alerts.
Other highlights of iOS 15 include a redesigned Safari (I don't really like the address bar below, but Apple lets you change your location), a more feature-rich Weather app, and an improved Maps app with more features and better views of the road. . Last but not least, Live Text bites into Google Lens by recognizing real-time text through the camera if you want to look things up or get translations.
Since we published our review, Apple has come out with itiOS 15.2, which adds even more features to your iPhone, including aApp Privacy Report. As always, developers keep making great apps that take advantage of iOS, so we recommend uploading some of themThe best apps for iPhoneor, if you are new to the platform, access theThe best apps for a new iPhone..
and now thisiOS 16It's official, we have a lot more to look forward to. Apple announced a number of changes to things like the lock screen and messages. There's even an updateAllow Face ID to unlock your iPhone 13 in landscape mode.
Known issues with the iPhone 13
So far, iPhone 13 owners have encountered some issues. for example someiPhone 13 users found that the phone won't unlock with an Apple Watch, althoughA solution addressed that. Also, some iPhone 13 owners complained that the touchscreen was not sufficiently responsive in some cases, which could be an issue with iOS 15.
With the iPhone 13 Pros, there have been complaints that the cameras will automatically switch lenses without warning, and Apple has released an update that allows users to disable this. and promotionThe displays of the iPhone 13 Pro do not run at 120 Hz on someApps that Apple is also addressing with an update. And developers need to optimize their apps too.
Another issue that has surfaced for a few iPhone 13 users is wanderingPink screen error. The error is often resolved by restarting the phone, although for some the problem persists and Apple is forced to send out replacements.
see oursProblems with iPhone 13(opens in a new tab)Summary for more information.
iPhone 13 review: What about the Pixel 6?
The closest thing Android has to an iPhone is Google's Pixel range, which is available now. While Pixel phones aren't selling in numbers to even stop the iPhone 13, they do offer serious competition when it comes to cameras. Google and Apple are battling it out over who has the best camera phone, and this year it's going to be quite the battle.
As Google takes a page from Apple's playbook and opts for its own silicon (called Tensor), the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro have some incredible AI and machine learning capabilities, particularly with speech recognition and photo post-processing. We have aPixel 6 Pro fronted an iPhone 13 Pro MaxGo head to head if you want to see how the top two dogs stack up against each other. But relevant to this we have aPixel 6 vs iPhone 13Face to face you should check if you are on the fence.
iPhone 13 frene ein Galaxy S22
Samsung's Galaxy S22 is Samsung's closest competitor against the iPhone 13. They share the same screen size, but Samsung offers a smoother 120Hz panel. Samsung also offers a telephoto zoom lens, while the iPhone 13 doesn't offer an optical zoom. The iPhone 13 wins in other ways though, including overall picture quality, battery life and performance.
see oursGalaxy S22 eats an iPhone 13Head to head for a full comparison of these two flagship phones.
iPhone 13 review: conclusion
The iPhone 13 is a great buy if you want to save money compared to the iPhone 14. I particularly like the long battery life, as the iPhone 12's endurance was disappointing even for a 5G phone. I wouldn't recommend iPhone 12 owners upgrading to the iPhone 13, but the iPhone 13 is worth it if you have an iPhone 11 or earlier.
I don't think many people object to the smaller notch. What really stands out about the iPhone 13 is the camera. Low-light performance is now even better, and computational photography features like cinema mode and photo styles flex the A15 Bionic's muscles in ways that far exceed benchmarks.
I'm also glad Apple doubled the starting storage to 128GB, as that move was overdue and puts the new iPhone on par with Android flagships. I wish Apple would offer faster charging as well as a 120Hz display.
Bottom line, the iPhone 13 is a fantastic phone if you're looking to save money.
Mark Spoonauer is the global editor-in-chief of Tom's Guide and has been involved with technology for more than 20 years. In addition to managing Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all mobile topics and has reviewed dozens of smartphones and other devices. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on television to discuss the latest trends includingQueso-Cheddar,fox shopand other outlets. Mark was previously Editor-in-Chief of Laptop Mag and his work has been featured in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.
2 commentsComment from the forums
I want to know about the difference between iPhone 13 Pro Max and Samsung Galexy S22ultra and which one is much better.
administrationSaying:The iPhone 13's brighter display, longer battery life, and powerful cameras make it the best value of the new iPhone.
iPhone 13 review: The best iPhone for most people: Read More
My 5 month old iPhone 13 fell from about 1 meter onto my office floor. He was wearing the official Apple case. The screen cracked and every day after that the cracks got bigger and bigger.
I've been an extremely cautious iPhone (and iPod before that) user since the 2000s, and I've NEVER had a screen crack like everyone I know, despite the occasional fall.
I spent more money on a new iPhone expecting it to have the quality but it just isn't.
Now Apple doesn't listen or care about my case and expects me to pay over €300 to have it fixed, almost half the price of the entire phone.
I am EXTREMELY disappointed and would rather buy from another manufacturer at this time than pay that money for repairs.
If you're considering buying an iPhone, think twice.
Macworld recommends: BUY
If the modest improvements to the iPhone 14 aren't worth that price to you, or if you want a “mini” size iPhone, now is a good time to buy the iPhone 13. It's unclear if Apple will keep the iPhone 13 around when the iPhone 15 is released later in 2023.
- Minimal design changes.
- Smaller notch doesn't add much.
- Slower charging than rivals.
- No 120Hz screen.
- Selfie camera sensor unchanged.
The prices for iPhone 13 vary according to the internal storage of each handset: $699 for 128GB. $799 for 256GB. $999 for 512GB.Should i buy iPhone 13 or iPhone 14? ›
For many people, the iPhone 13 is more than enough. You still get excellent performance, a great camera, and a modern design for $100 less than the iPhone 14. If you have the money to spend, however, you should consider going for the iPhone 14 because of those camera upgrades.How long will an iPhone 13 last? ›
The iPhone 13 includes up to 19 hours of video playback, up to 15 hours of streamed video playback and up to 75 hours of audio playback. You can compare the battery life of various models on this website.Is there a big difference between iPhone 13 and 14? ›
Comparing the iPhone 13 and iPhone 14
The iPhone 13 and iPhone 14 both feature the same display size, 5G connectivity, A15 Bionic chip, and design. Nevertheless, the iPhone 14 still offers a number of upgrades, such as an additional GPU core, Emergency SOS via satellite, the Photonic Engine, and Action Mode.
The iPhone 13 smartphone is listed with a starting price of Rs 61,999 on Flipkart, which is currently the lowest compared to all the other e-commerce platforms such as Croma, Amazon and Vijay Sales. The current official price of the iPhone 13 is Rs 69,900, as per the details available on Apple website.What is the best way to buy an iPhone? ›
Buying direct from Apple is one of the few ways to buy an unlocked, SIM-free iPhone 13 or iPhone 13 mini, and it's the go-to place to join the iPhone Upgrade Program. Apple will let you trade in your old iPhone (in good condition) as credit toward a new purchase, too.
While the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 feature cameras with similar specifications, the iPhone 13 offers Dolby Vision HDR video at a higher frame rate, Cinematic mode, and Photographic Styles, as well as hardware improvements such as a larger sensor and sensor-shift stabilization.Should i buy iPhone 13 in 2023? ›
Overall, the iPhone 13 will remain quite viable for 2023, even after the 15th generation is released. While the gap will be much more noticeable between the two, the 13th generation's difference with its immediate successor will always be minimal.
The iPhone 13 is still a good value today if you're looking for an upgrade thanks to the A15 Bionic chipset and excellent cameras. The 6.1-inch OLED display is plenty bright and battery life is much improved. It's superior in every way to the iPhone 12, as you'll see below.What's so special about the iPhone 13? ›
With the A15 chip, the iPhone 13 models support many of the photographic capabilities that are available with the rear cameras, including Night mode for selfies, Smart HDR 4, Dolby Vision HDR recording, and Deep Fusion, along with ProRes and the new Cinematic Mode for capturing videos with movie-like depth of field ...Is it worth to buy iPhone 13 in 2023? ›
Overall, the iPhone 13 will remain quite viable for 2023, even after the 15th generation is released. While the gap will be much more noticeable between the two, the 13th generation's difference with its immediate successor will always be minimal.