iPhone 13 vs iPhone 12: Should You Upgrade?

Fourteen years ago we saw the advent of a mobile phone that would change the history of mobile communication and advance tech in massive strides. This year, we are graced with the brand new iPhone 13. But is it really all that much better than the iPhone 12, which was an incredible piece of kit in itself? In this article, we aim to compare the two devices and see whether it’s worth shelling out your hard-earned cash.

We’ve included a table below for you to take in some of the specs at a glance if you’re in a hurry. Consider these some pros and cons, if you will, as you can see the main differences and potentially made a quick and informed decision as to whether the upgrade is worth it for you.

 IPHONE 13IPHONE 12
Display size6.1-inch OLED6.1-inch OLED
Refresh rate120Hz60Hz
CamerasRegular, ultrawide, selfie, periscopeRegular, ultrawide, selfie, telephoto (Pro Max)
Fingerprint sensorYesNo
ConnectorLightning, except in Pro MaxLightning
Headphone jackNoNo
Price (US)$799$799

Design

iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 design

There’s no denying the iPhone series as a whole has some of the best-looking devices on the market. Not only are they comfortable to hold, but they are designed with the consumer in mind. Let’s start off by taking a look at the design of both the new iPhone 13 and the iPhone 12.

You could be forgiven for believing there is very little difference in the design of these two devices, but if you look a little closer, you will see that not all is what meets the eye. On the rear of the new iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini, you will see Apple has implemented a new diagonal dual camera, in comparison to the iPhone 12’s straight one.

If you’re in favor of sustainability and protecting the environment, you may also be pleased to know the iPhone 13 has been more eco-friendly in its materials. For instance, they have used recycled bottles to give their iPhone 13 line plastic antenna lines. Kudos!

If you like a variety of color options, you’re in luck with the iPhone 13 too. Your choices are Product Red, Midnight, Blue, Pink, and Starlight. And more if you’re interested in the iPhone 13 Pro or iPhone 13 Max: Gold, Silver, Graphite, or Sierra Blue. Although many of these colors as similar to that which we have seen with the iPhone 12, the new color, Sierra Blue, is visibly lighter than the Pacific Blue seen in the iPhone 12 Pro range.

For the most part, it seems like Apple have opted for a ‘if it’s not broken, don’t fix it’ type of approach when it comes to the design of the iPhone 13, which is not unwelcome, as the iPhone 12 series really nailed it with both the look and the comfortability.

Screen

iPhone 13 screen

Now we’re getting into some of the bigger changes. With the iPhone 12, we were graced with a beautiful 60Hz display screen, so it’s more than a little impressive to see that the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max are equipped with a whopping 120Hz screen. The jump in quality is vast, and it is certainly noticeable. With the inclusion of ProMotion, which you may think is something to do with the camera, your iPhone 13 will automatically adjust its refresh rate on how you’re using it. Not only is this great for your battery life, but it makes it a much more efficient machine.

This being said, the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini keep the same 60Hz screen as we’ve seen with the iPhone 12 series. This may be a little disappointing for some to hear, but we imagine the reason for this was to keep the price down a little for the average consumer. The iPhone 13 also keeps the physical notch on the screen, which really is a necessity at this point, as it’s there to make space for your Face ID tech. The iPhone 13 however, is roughly twenty percent smaller than the one we saw on the iPhone 12 range.

The iPhone 13 maintains the exact dimensions and resolution as the iPhone 12. There are of course some improvements that have been made, such as the Super Retina XDR OLED display being 28% brighter on the iPhone 13 (while remaining power efficient). If you’re looking to purchase one of the higher-end models such as the iPhone 13 Pro or Pro Max, you’ll be getting an additional 25% outdoor brightness too, making it better than the screen of any of those that came before it. This makes it the perfect device for both daytime photography and nighttime video shoots.

Power and Battery

iPhone power and battery

The stats seen above are for the iPhone 13. You can see just at a glance that its leaps and bounds over the competition, even its little brother, the iPhone 12.

The iPhone 13 comes with Apple’s brand-new A15 Bionic processor. This makes it the fastest iPhone ever made! The A14 chip seen in the iPhone 12 series was already staggeringly impressive, but they’ve somehow managed to one-up themselves in a short period of time. No rival can come close to the power and performance the A15 Bionic processor brings to the table. If you’re into your tech, you may be excited to hear the A15 Bionic processor brings a 6-core CPU, with two high-performance cores as well as four high-efficiency cores.

In laymen’s terms, this makes the chip 50% faster than any other, as well as a GPU that dominates its rivals, with speeds of 30% faster than any other. The 16-core Neural Engine means your iPhone 13 is capable of learning faster, which comes in hand for the new Live Text in Camera feature (available in iOS 15), as well as the brand new 3D Maps feature.

This is all incredibly impressive stuff, but that’s not to say the iPhone 12 would be left in the dust. The raw specs are all there to show the iPhone 13 is more powerful and efficient, but either model dominates the competition.

Touching on the battery: iPhone 13 models have a larger battery than the iPhone 12. This not only means that your battery life is improved, but paired with the A15 Bionic processor, and the hardware and software integration, the iPhone 13 wins all around. The iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini last an hour and a half longer than their iPhone 12 counterparts, whereas the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max last two and a half hours longer than their iPhone 12 counterparts.

Camera

iPhone 13 camera

If you’re a camera buff, you may be interested in the new iPhone 13. It comes equipped with a 12MP wide camera as well as a 12MP ultra-wide camera, both of which are powered by brand new sensors that offer greater low light performance when put head to head with the iPhone 12 range. The sensors are capable of utilizing a whopping 47% more light.

If you’re more interested in the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max, you’ll be happy to hear these also are improved over the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max, offering a new telephoto lens as well as an ultra-wide and wide lens. Sensor shift stabilization will also help you to remove that irritating camera shape. Also new: A 6x optical zoom, and a 3x telephoto camera.

You may or may not have heard of Dolby Vision HDR Cinematic Mode. Apple has, and they’ve chosen to include it in the iPhone 13 range. This offers improved object tracking as well as rack focus, which provides better cinematic effects. This is great for any budding videographers out there, as you’ll find you’ll be able to use your mobile phone to create some staggering video sequences.

Verdict

So now you’ve heard everything there is to hear about the new iPhone 13 range, what’s the verdict? Should you upgrade? It really depends on your current situation. Personally, I will be looking to upgrade as soon as I can get my hands on one, as I love to play about with the new tech, not to mention experience the power of the new A15 Bionic processor.

 Well, while there’s no denying the iPhone 12 was and still is incredible, it’s clear to see that the iPhone 13 outdoes it in every category. Although there is nothing here that is a complete game-changer, the iPhone 13 is a better device overall. If you’re into your high-end tech, there’s little doubt that you’ll want to upgrade as soon as possible. If not, well, it wouldn’t hurt to wait a while for prices to drop.

About S. Santos

I am a tech columnist and blogger by trade, but I'm also an avid tennis player. In my spare time, I enjoy reviewing gadgets and gizmos from the world of tech. A lot has changed in the field since I started out as a writer back in 2009, so it's always exciting to keep up with all that's new. To me, there's nothing quite like getting my hands on a brand-new gadget or piece of software for the first time -- it's like Christmas morning every day!

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