iPhone 13: The Definitive Guide

Introduced in September 2021, last year's iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini are Apple's newest additions to the Apple iPhone 13 series, as affordably priced alternatives to iPhone Pro and iPhone Max. Here's what I will be covering today, on Apple's mid-tier flagship models:

  • First impressions of iPhone 13.
  • Detailed review of iPhone 13, including detailed specs.
  • Is iPhone 13 an absolute necessity.
  • Lots more

So if you are ready to go "all-in" with iPhone 13, this guide is for you.

Let's get started.


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Apple iPhone 13 Series: At a glance

iPhone 13 pro
Back view of new iPhone 13 Pro smartphone and Apple Airpods 2 earphone. iStock@Essentials

If one is to trace the lineage of the Apple iPhone 13, it is an improved version of the successful Apple iPhone 12. Besides a few “cosmetic” changes, some essential upgrades and modifications have been made. But I think the following are the absolute differentiators for iPhone 13 (some of these features, please note, are shared with iPhone 13 mini as well).

  • Longer battery life: The better battery life spec is significant as it has been upgraded by almost an hour (normal use) over iPhone 12.
  • Durability: Enhanced by Ceramic Shield, “tougher than any smartphone glass.”
  • New and improved cameras: Rear cameras’ lens moved 45 degrees, along with its best wide camera features. Ultrawide camera hardware includes a faster sensor. One of the biggest pros is the ability to find 47% more light, which gives better low light performance (further enhanced by night mode). The rear camera module, which drives the camera app on your new iPhone, sits at a diagonal.
  • Cinematic mode: Apple’s new iPhone 13’s Cinematic mode shoots in Dolby Vision HDR with utmost cinema-like clarity. You can even adjust depth and shift focus while editing. Apple claims that it’s phone “went to film school, so you wouldn’t have to,” and this year, as a happy coincidence, an Apple TV original movie (CODA) won the Best Picture Oscar.
  • Portrait mode: Seamlessly blurs out the background for you to shift focus on your subject: six preset lighting effects, accessible with a simple swipe.
  • Night mode: Improved low light performance, with multiple photographic styles feature in general.
  • Smaller notch: Increases screen real estate by decreasing notch size by 20%.
  • A15 bionic processor: Helps render sharper images and adds to general speed.

Read on to know more on each feature, and a detailed review of performance.

iPhone 13 review: Design and colors

Apple has always been an advocate of streamlined and elegant pieces of tech and the Apple iPhone 13 is no exception. Last month, Apple announced the launch of the new green finishes for its iPhone 13 series phones. The “alpine green” is an addition to the preexisting shades of sierra blue, gold, silver, and graphite.

Sleekness and durability are key to describing the design of the iPhone 13 lineup. The new green iPhone 13 has a color matched aluminum frame and precision milled back glass, and comes in a 6.1″ size. The series also has the proprietary Ceramic Shield front cover, which has been marketed as being superior to the protection offered by any other smartphone glass, including that of android phones.

And, to continue on device durability, the new iPhone 13 series comes with an industry leading water and dust resistance rating, IP68.

To get a more in-depth idea of what I thought were the best features of this affordably priced smartphone, please refer to the following section(s).

iPhone 13 review: Specs, camera, and overview of best features

When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can often times arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions.”

–Steve Jobs, co-founder, Apple

Apple’s products have always been considered the yardsticks of measuring the success or failure of technology, and their new iPhone 13 is no exception to this rule. They have been engaged with creating the world’s strongest smartphone chip, and bringing in the A15 bionic chip in this new smartphone series.

The claim has always been that Apple’s processors are far superior to their competitors, which includes Android device manufacturers. The previous iPhones, i.e., iPhone 12, used the A14 chip, which was more or less 50% faster than its competitor. We can be assured that the A15 is definitely one step up from its predecessor.

The iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini are also attempts at significant camera improvements. The truth is that this time, instead of making the camera sleeker, they have stuck to their guns and instead re-aligned their rear camera module in a way that gives you more depth and clarity, combined with its cinematic and portrait modes. Its detailed camera specs are as follows:

  • Rear: 12 MP, f/1.6, 26mm (wide), 1.7µm, dual pixel PDAF, sensor-shift OIS
    12 MP, f/2.4, 120˚, 13mm (ultrawide); Dual LED, dual tone flash with HDR support.
  • Selfie: 12 MP, f/2.2, 23mm (wide), 1/3.6″; HDR support.

Its Smart HDR 4 recognizes up to 4 subjects in a frame, and adjusts light, contrast, shadows, etc., to help you differentiate up to 4 different skin tones as well.

And, iPhone 13 also comes with Apple’s best screen and display as well: The Super Retina XDR display, which has three main features:

  1. Brightness (“Superbright”): Even in the brightest sun, iPhone 13’s OLED display gets 28 times brighter, making your screen totally visible and clear. And, it can reach 1200 nits, which will give you realistic colors; best part: the screen does not expend as much battery life as expected.
  2. Colors (“Supercolorful”): Wide color gamut, excellent for cinematic mode and HDR content, especially video playback, both recorded on your iPhone 13 or just streamed. Expect rich contrast and vibrancy, and of course, color accuracy that is best-in-class.
  3. Sharpness (“Supersharp”): iPhone 13 gives you the ultimate pixel density. Plus, thanks to the Truedepth camera system, which is designed for a great ultra wide camera experience, it gives you a more expansive screen, with vibrant colors and sharp images.

All these should give you a better everyday use experience as well, as the iPhone 13 series runs one of Apple’s best and fastest processor chips, the A15 Bionic.

Refer to the following section to know more in-depth about this great processor, and how it enhances the everyday performance of iPhone 13.

iPhone 13 review: Performance and A15 Bionic

Apple’s newest attempt at building the world’s most powerful smartphone chip, the A15 Bionic, is designed to give you the most seamless experience ever. The makers claim that their new iPhones come with a chip set that has a 50% and 30% better CPU and GPU, respectively. Besides, its Apple’s 4GB RAM (while that might sound lower than most Android phones, the A15 Bionic makes the combination killer in its own right) makes it a great choice for gaming as well, with quite the display features to match! App launches and transitions are also extremely fast and seamless.

And, the chip is not just designed to be fast and seamless: It is built to go with the new and upgraded camera module as well, and renders the best visuals with utmost accuracy.

Besides these great features (read on for more), the iPhone 13 is absolutely 5G-ready out of the box.

Among the other pros of this great processor, A15 also optimizes power usage.

Read on to know how the iPhone 13 battery matches up to the rest of its arsenal.

iPhone 13 review: Battery life and charging

When it comes to battery life, that was one of the main upgrades from iPhone 12 that we will find in iPhone 13. Both iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini comes with enhanced battery life. And, as mentioned, even the A15 bionic chip that comes with both iPhone models is designed to preserve battery life and optimize performance. And, it has a bigger battery s well.

However, this is in comparison to older iPhone models only. Apple is not well-known for its battery performance, but having said that, the iPhone 13 gives you a good day of reliable use, and can be charged from 0 to 51% in 30 mins. And by reliable use, I mean keeping the screen on, full brightness for an entire day.

Plus, even if that is not enough, iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro max are compatible with 20W charging. And, of course, wireless charging makes a big and quite welcome comeback, and you can easily go up to 15W with any wireless charging product.

iPhone 13 review: Software

This hits the jackpot as you get iOS 15 out of the box, the latest edition of Apple iPhone OS. As our work life has mostly spilled over to mobile devices as well, the iPhone 13 gives you the unique Focus Mode (easily accessed through a drop-down) that is aimed to help you be more productive with things like Do Not Disturb mode and blocking social media notifications when working.

And considering even the iPhone 6S is compatible with iOS 15, you can expect iPhone 13 to be relevant with regard to software updates till 2027.

iPhone 13 review: Price and storage

Apple has finally given up its penchant for poor storage capacity, which mostly hovered at 64GB in previous iPhone models. As the series offers premium photographic styles and things like the new Cinematic mode, it is obvious that storing such kinds of content would require adequate space.

And, well, fortunately, iPhone 13 delivers on the promise too. Unlike the 64GB iPhone 12, this time Apple has come up with three variants: 128 GB, 256 GB, and 512 GB.

And, as the saying goes, it will cost you this time as well. The variants are priced starting at US$799, going up to US$899 and US$1099 for the higher storage ones. Down payment and EMI options will vary according to seller.


What to expect out of the box?

  • Smartphone
  • Cable (USB Type C to lightning)
  • Documentation of ownership and warranty
  • SIM ejector
  • Apple iPhone sticker

What not to expect out of box?

  • Headphones/earphones
  • Power adapter
  • Lightning to headphone adapter
  • Case

Which models have 120Hz refresh rates aka Promotion?

Unfortunately, iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini have a refresh rate of 60Hz. Despite its top notch screen and excellent display (augmented by A15 Bionic), iPhone 13 will not give you as great a gaming experience as its Pro models or Pro max models.

So, do I go for iPhone 13? Or…

Well, let me put it this way.

Go for an iPhone 13 in case:

  • You want to upgrade from older iPhone models, like iPhone 8 or iPhone XR. If you already have a newer model, especially an iPhone 12.
  • You expect significant battery performance enhancement. Not just a bigger battery, but also significant improved battery life, especially compared to older iPhone models.
  • You require power: Comparatively well-powered, much better than other brands, even in comparison to the Pro models, in case you do not have the budget yet.
  • You are passionate about photography. Then, really, you can’t do better than Apple, and iPhone 13 at that.

Don’t go for an iPhone 13 in case:

  • You already have an iPhone 12. Unless you’re one to upgrade every year, this might not seem worth the pocket pinch at all.
  • You need a more handy phone, or a smaller screen. Go for the iPhone 13 mini; it should cover most unique features at a smaller price.
  • You want a more affordable smartphone. Well, while iPhone 13 is an affordably priced iPhone, in the larger market, there are many smartphones that will give you better performance at a cheaper price.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Will there be an iPhone 13?

iPhone 13 was released on September 24, 2021 and has been a huge hit and improvement on iPhone 12.

What is the iPhone 13 going to cost?

The cost of the new iPhone 13 stands at approximately US$800 currently, with the prices going up for the 256GB and 512GB variants.

Will there be an iPhone 13 SE?

iPhone SE 3rd generation was announced as a part of an Apple event held on March 8, 2022, and the final product became available in the market from March 18, 2022 onward.

Will there be iPhone 13 or 14?

iPhone 13 was launched on September 24, 2021, while iPhone 14 is expected to release on October 31, 2022. But it’s highly likely that they will release it earlier, in September.


So yeah, that’s iPhone 13: my to-go Guide to help you make the informed decision.

Now I’d like to hear from you.

Which feature of iPhone 13 you liked most? OR is your current model good enough?

If so, why?

Let me know in the comments section below. Don’t miss the Featured articles by the way!

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