Review of the iPhone 13 Pro: best phones ever made
One of the most powerful phones ever made is the iPhone 13 Pro. Even though the new iPhone has a bigger camera bump and doesn’t have Touch ID, it’s a beast with a great screen and great cameras. It’s also $100 cheaper than the iPhone 13 Pro Max, which is just as good.
iPhone 13 Pro specs
Price: Starts at $999
Display: 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED (2352 x 1170)
Refresh rate: 10-120Hz
CPU: A15 Bionic
Rear cameras: 12MP (f/1.5) main, 12MP (f/1.8) ultrawide, 12MP (f/2.8) telephoto with 3x optical zoom
Front camera: 12MP (f/2.2)
Video: Up to 4K 60 fps, 4K 30 fps ProRes (256GB+), 1080p 30 fps ProRes (128GB), 1080p 30 fps (Cinematic Mode)
Battery life (hrs:min): 11:42
Charging: 20W wired, 15W MagSafe
Size: 5.8 x 2.8 x 0.3 inches
Weight: 7.19 ounces
Review of the iPhone 13 Pro: best phones ever made
I’ve reviewed a lot of phones over the years, but the iPhone 13 Pro is the best one. Apple’s new phone, the iPhone 13 Pro, raises the bar so much that it’s hard to find a real problem with it, other than the fact that it doesn’t have Touch ID and can only charge at 20W.
But think about what the iPhone 13 Pro can do. This is a very powerful device, with a great and bright 120Hz OLED display and crushing performance from the A15 Bionic. If you like slim phones, this is about as good as it gets for a 6.1-inch screen phone. Best of all, this model and the iPhone 13 Pro Max are the same in every way. Both phones have telephoto zoom, and all four iPhone 13 models have optical image stabilization with sensor-shift. If you choose the cheaper and smaller iPhone 13 Pro, you won’t lose anything.
In this review of the iPhone 13 Pro, I’ll show you why it’s one of the best phones you can buy. If you want a smaller screen, it’s the best.
Check out our reviews of the iPhone 13 and the iPhone 13 mini, as well as the iPhone 13 Pro Max. And if you decide to buy the iPhone 13 Pro, make sure to get one of the best cases for it as well.
Review of the iPhone 13 Pro
iPhone 13 Pro Max Review: Pros and Cons
The iPhone 13 Pro Max gets a rare 5-star review from Tom’s Guide, thanks to its superior cameras, 120Hz display, Cinematic video mode and epic battery life. Here’s all the pros and cons.
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iPhone 13 Pro review: Price and release date
In addition to Apple, almost every other wireless service provider also sells the iPhone 13 Pro. This is standard practice for all iPhone models. And you can get your hands on an iPhone 13 Pro right this second for a price that starts at $999 for the 128GB storage capacity.
From that point on, the 256GB model will set you back $1,099, while the 512GB model will cost you $1,299. Apple is now selling a 1TB iPhone 13 Pro for the first time ever. The price of the device is $1,499, which is equivalent to the price of a 13-inch MacBook Pro with an M1 CPU and a 512GB hard drive. Check out the Apple Store coupons page for information on how you may save money on your purchase.
Prices begin at £949 for the iPhone 13 Pro with 128GB of storage in the United Kingdom. These prices go to £1,049 for the 265GB model and £1,249 for the 512GB version. The iPhone 13 Pro with 1 terabyte of storage will set you back a hefty $1,449 if you don’t have large pockets.
I strongly suggest that you have a look at the page we have dedicated to the best iPhone 13 deals in order to guarantee that you receive the best price possible, regardless of whether you decide to buy the phone outright, trade in an older model, or subscribe to a payment plan. In addition to that, check out our iPhone 13 delays page for the most recent information regarding the shipment date.
The most noticeable differences between the iPhone 13 Pro and the iPhone 12 Pro are the larger camera bump on the back of the former model and the smaller cutout on the latter model. The former is rather obvious to begin with. When the phone is placed on a table or desk, it does not lie completely flat because the lenses and the square that surrounds them protrude very visibly.
Even so, the smaller notch is important to notice. Apple says it is about 20% smaller than the one we’re all used to. When you put the new phone next to an iPhone 12 Pro, you can definitely tell the difference.
Even though the smaller notch is a step in the right direction, I still don’t like it. Face ID is still very important to Apple, so the notch is here to stay for now. Under-display TrueDepth tech is probably still a long way off.
Also, the iPhone 13 Pro doesn’t have Touch ID, which is a big deal. Rumors suggested that Apple was testing in-display fingerprint technology similar to what you find on many of the best Android phones. In a world where the COVID-19 pandemic is still going strong and many of us are strongly urged to wear masks, I think it’s still a problem that Apple doesn’t have an alternative to Face ID for unlocking phones. The workaround for the Apple Watch that came with iOS 14.5 earlier this year isn’t good enough.
The iPhone 13 Pro is very heavy because its frame is made of stainless steel. Apple says the phone weighs 7.19 ounces, but it feels heavier and more solid than that. Even though I’ve only used the phone for a short time so far, it made my wrist and pinky more tired than my daily driver, the iPhone 12 Pro.
Because the design of the iPhone 13 Pro hasn’t changed much, it feels more like an incremental improvement over the iPhone 12 Pro than one that pushes the limits. I think Apple played it safe this year by focusing on improvements to the screen and camera instead of making a big change.
One thing to keep in mind is that you can now fix your own iPhone thanks to Apple’s new Self Service Repair kits. Be careful, though, because you’ll need some technical skills.
iPhone 13 Pro review: Display
The iPhone 13 Pro has the same size OLED panel as its predecessor. Its 6.1-inch diagonal screen has a lot of pixels. This is the most recent version of Apple’s Super Retina XDR technology, and it looks great. There is a lot of contrast, the colors are bright, and the viewing angles are great.
Whether I was playing the anime-inspired, saturated Genshin Impact or watching the harsh orange scenes in the latter part of Blade Runner 2049, the iPhone 13 Pro’s display delivered in every regard. Even vibrant cyberpunk or retrowave images with their bright neon pinks, magentas and purples looked stunning.
Here’s how the iPhone 13 Pro’s screen stacks up against the Galaxy S21 Plus and iPhone 12 Pro in display benchmarks.
|iPhone 13 Pro||Galaxy S21 Plus (Vivid / Natural)||iPhone 12 Pro|
|sRGB (%)||117||212 / 104||116|
|DCI-P3 (%)||83||150 / 74||82|
|Delta-E||0.27||0.31 / 0.18||0.28|
The iPhone 13 managed similar color saturation to its predecessor, and its Delta-E color accuracy score (where 0 is perfect) was about the same as the iPhone 12 Pro’s. But pay attention to the max brightness we measured in our lab: 1,024 nits is insanely bright.
Of course, the star this year is the 120Hz ProMotion refresh rate on both the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max. The ProMotion experience is really nice. The iPhone 13 Pro’s display can automatically jump between 10Hz and 120Hz, offering a smooth experience that adapts to not only the content on screen, but also how fast your finger swipes across the glass.
It’s hard to go back to a 60Hz display after seeing a 120Hz one. The same goes for the iPhone 13 Pro, which has a screen that is noticeably smoother than the iPhone 12 Pro. When I compare the two, I much prefer the ProMotion display. Text on a web page is easier to read while scrolling, and the smooth animations when switching between emails in Gmail or just unlocking the phone make for a very high-end experience.
Some third-party apps are having trouble with ProMotion, and the screen is either stuck at 60Hz or jumping between 60Hz and 120Hz. Apple says a fix will be coming soon in the form of a software update. In fact, iOS 15.4 will fix this problem.
I wouldn’t say that the display on the iPhone 13 Pro is the best on the market, but it is very, very good, and thanks to ProMotion, it is now more competitive.
Review of the iPhone 13 Pro: Cameras
The iPhone 13 Pro has three 12MP cameras on the back, one of which is a telephoto lens with a focal length of 77mm and a 3x optical zoom. This year, the main camera has a larger sensor and a wider aperture (f/1.5) that lets in more light than before.
The 12MP 120-degree ultrawide got a bigger sensor and autofocus so that it can take sharper super wide-angle pictures. The new phone really shines in low light, even more than its predecessor and the other phones on the market.
In this picture of a bunch of signs, the iPhone 13 Pro managed to keep a nice balance. The colors look more natural and are also brighter. I compared the camera on the iPhone to the camera on the Galaxy S21 Plus, which took an image that was surprisingly washed out, as if the phone was having trouble dealing with the sun. The iPhone also has a better focus and stronger contrast.
The iPhone did a great job with the direct sunlight in this picture of an old trailer with a weeping willow in the background. The picture is well-lit and has a lot of depth and detail. The shot from the S21 Plus is darker and has less color. The focus is also not as sharp, which is a typical Samsung trait.
I went inside and took a picture of this warm, brightly lit scene. From the lamp in the foreground to the backlighting and many shadows, this picture has a lot going on. The iPhone took a picture that was pretty good, with good tones and clear focus. Again, the S21 Plus had trouble with soft focus and the right amount of contrast. This made the image look flatter than the iPhone’s.
Another indoor shot had great natural lighting and a wider range of colors than the last one. The image from the iPhone 13 Pro is bright and captures the colors of autumn almost perfectly. The picture on the iPhone is warmer, from the oranges to the dark greens.
The picture from the S21 Plus isn’t terrible, but it still has trouble with soft focus and colors that are just a little bit dull. The lines on the wall almost look like they have been smoothed out, making the picture look flatter.
I asked the iPhone 13 Pro to take a good picture of this pile of bright orange pumpkins in direct sunlight while I tried out the ultrawide lens. The final picture is pretty good. It has natural color balance, the right amount of exposure, and sharp focus. This year’s autofocus on the ultrawide camera really helps. The Galaxy S21 Plus did what Samsung always does, which was to make the colors too bright, especially on the plants in the background. It feels like an oil painting of a fantasy scene. The point of view also seems off.
I took a picture of these little things from across the room for the telephoto test. The iPhone’s picture of the yellow ducks, blue birds, and red frame shows a lot of color, but I don’t like how warm the picture looks. The picture on the S21 Plus is cooler, but the colors aren’t as bright as those on the iPhone. This scene was hard for both phones.
I had my photographer stand a few feet away from me for portraits. The bokeh effect around my face is much stronger on the iPhone 13 Pro. This makes the hats on the wall behind me look more artistic. It did make my face red and blotchy, but that’s because it was a hot day and I was inside without air conditioning. The blur effect on the Galaxy S21 Plus wasn’t as strong, so it didn’t draw enough attention to the subject. It also smoothed the faces too much by default.
Even just seeing how different they were was interesting about the night mode shots. It seems strange to say that the image on the S21 Plus is brighter than the image on the iPhone. It also has better colors and is a bit clearer. The iPhone 13 Pro’s Night Mode should have been better than the Galaxy S21 Plus’s, but in this almost completely dark scene, it wasn’t.
I was very surprised by this, and I saw the same thing with the iPhone 13 mini (which faced off against the regular Galaxy S21). Apple talked up the improvements to Night Mode, which now also works on the ultrawide and telephoto cameras. Seeing the results here, which speak for themselves, was a shock.
Apple talked up the new macro mode, which lets you take pictures of things up to 2 cm away with the ultrawide lens. I did this on a yellow flower that was pretty close to me. Overall, the picture looks pretty good. The details are clear and the focus is right on. On the Galaxy S21 Plus, I could get close by just using the zoom lens. Here, the image is out of focus, the colors are too warm, and there isn’t enough contrast, which makes the picture look flat.
The picture taken by the iPhone could use some work in post-processing, but it shows that a phone doesn’t need a special macro lens to take cool pictures.
The macro mode is switched on automatically, but Apple says, “A new setting will be added in a software update this fall to turn off automatic camera switching when shooting at close ranges for macro photography and video.” As it is now, the macro mode can be hard to use because it is fussy and jerky when it starts up on its own, but Apple is working on a solution.
The iPhone 13 Pro also has a 12MP front camera that can take photos in Night Mode. It did a good job of capturing the scene’s warmth, which made my red face stand out. But at the same time, the Galaxy S21 Plus made my eyes look a bit brighter and the picture was cooler. It also seemed to work better with the bright light behind it.
Photographic Styles are built into the iPhone 13 Pro. They are kind of like preset filters, but calling them that would be doing them a disservice. You can see each style in real time, so you can choose the right lighting and color balance for the artistic look you want. From Vibrant to High Contrast, these modes give you new ways to take photos without having to add filters later. Both the front and back cameras can use these. Above is a gallery of the default mode and the four options you get out of the box. You can change them later to suit your needs.
Review of the iPhone 13 Pro: Video
Since a few years ago, if you wanted a phone that could record videos, you had to get an iPhone. Cinematic Mode is a new feature of the iPhone 13 Pro. It is basically the portrait video we heard rumors about. But this new mode is so much more than that. It gives you a way to shoot videos that is both professional and artistic. Not only does Cinematic Mode blur the background around the subject, but it also follows the subject as you shoot.
For example, it can tell when a subject comes into or goes out of the frame and adjust the focus on the fly. Or, if the person looks behind them, the iPhone 13 Pro will move to where they are looking. You can record at 1080p 30 fps in this mode. Cinematic Mode is fun to use and shows off the power of the A15 Bionic’s Neural Engine in a great way, but I’m not sure how often the average user will use it.
The iPhone 13 Pro supports Dolby Vision HDR at up to 4K 60 fps, which is a more traditional way to make videos. You can also shoot in the ProRes format, which is good for professional editing and can be done on the iPhone 13 Pro thanks to its processing power. But ProRes in 4K at 30 frames per second is only available on the 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB models of the iPhone 13 Pro. For ProRes, the 128GB version can only do 1080p at 30 fps.
Review of the iPhone 13 Pro: How it works
The A15 Bionic system-on-chip is new to the iPhone 13 series. On the Pro models, it has a CPU with six cores and a GPU with five cores. The Neural Engine has also been improved. (Both the iPhone 13 and the iPhone 13 mini have quad-core graphics processing units.) With 6GB of RAM, the iPhone 13 Pro is a powerhouse that blows away the best Android phones by a long shot. The A15 beats the Snapdragon 888, which shows once again how good Apple is at making chips.
You shouldn’t be surprised by how good the graphics are on the iPhone 13 Pro. Apple says that the GPU in the A15 Bionic is 50% faster than the competition (likely referring to the Snapdragon 888 and its Adreno 660 GPU). iOS doesn’t let you track framerates in games, so it’s hard to measure real-world gaming performance. However, games like Genshin Impact and Asphalt 9 look great on the iPhone 13 Pro.
|iPhone 13 Pro||Galaxy S21 Plus||iPhone 12 Pro|
|Geekbench 5 (single / multi-core)||1733 / 4718||1116 / 3300||1585 / 3669|
|Adobe Premiere Rush (Mins:Secs)||0:26||1:00||0:27|
|3DMark Wild Life Unlimted (Score / FPS)||11,963 / 70||5571 / 33.3||8619 / 51|
|3DMark Wild Life Extreme Unlimited (Score / FPS)||2766 / 16.5||1447 / 8.5||Not measured|
I included the iPhone 12 Pro in this comparison so that you could see the generational improvement from last year. Not only has the A15 Bionic improved over the A14, but it is several leaps ahead of the Snapdragon 888 in the Galaxy S21 Plus. Nothing in Android land can hold a candle to the A15, even if synthetic benchmarks aren’t necessarily analogous to real life.
Using Adobe Premiere Rush, we try to get a sense of real-world performance by having a phone transcode a 4K video file to 1080p. The iPhone 12 Pro could already knock out the test in a blistering 27 seconds while the Galaxy S21 Plus lags far behind at a flat minute. The iPhone 13 Pro managed to perform the transcode in just 26 seconds. It’s not a huge jump over the A14-equipped iPhone 12 Pro, but it furthers Apple’s lead over Qualcomm.
Review of the iPhone 13 Pro: best phones ever made
Wild Life from 3DMark is a graphics benchmark, and I included the results from both the original and Extreme tests. Extreme Unlimited is a test that can bring down any phone, even the iPhone 13 Pro. But the average framerate in the original Wild Life Unlimited test shows a huge improvement over the A14 and a huge leap ahead of the Galaxy S21 Plus.
All of this means that the iPhone 13 Pro is the most powerful phone you can get right now (along with its big brother, the iPhone 13 Pro Max). Android and its many devices have their own strengths, but the hardware that supports the ecosystem can’t keep up with Apple’s chips.
Check out our iPhone 13 benchmarks page to see how the iPhone 13 Pro compares to the other new iPhones and to Android phones.
This year, Apple upgraded its 5G phones, building on the progress made with the iPhone 12 series. This time, the iPhone 13 Pro has more 5G bands, so it can work in more places and with more carriers. Smart Data Mode is back. When 5G isn’t needed, your phone can switch to LTE (and theoretically saving on battery life).
We’re still in the early stages of 5G, and some problems with the way it’s being rolled out mean that it’s not always better everywhere. But that is a problem with the carrier. You can be sure that the iPhone 13 Pro has the hardware to handle any future changes to the network.
Review of the iPhone 13 Pro: Life of the battery and charging
Apple doesn’t tell us how much power the iPhone 13 Pro’s battery has, so we don’t know. The only thing we know for sure about this year’s iPhones is that they have bigger batteries, which we learned from Apple.
Apple says that the iPhone 13 Pro has a battery life that is up to 1.5 hours longer than the iPhone 12 Pro. Apple’s estimates of battery life are usually pretty low, so I was excited to see how the new phone would do in the Tom’s Guide battery test, in which we make a phone load and reload web pages over a cellular connection until it dies.
With a total of 12 hours and 18 minutes, the iPhone 13 Pro’s bigger battery makes it last nearly 3 hours longer than its predecessor and more than 2 hours longer than the Galaxy S21 Plus. For comparison, the last iPhone lasted 9 hours and 6 minutes, while the Galaxy S21 Plus lasted 9 hours and 41 minutes.
This is a big plus for people who want to upgrade, since the iPhone 13 Pro made our list of the best phones for battery life even though it has an adaptive display and 5G, which uses a lot of power. Even the Galaxy S21 Plus can’t compete with such a big improvement over the iPhone 12 Pro’s weak battery life.
Go to our iPhone 13 battery life results page to see how the iPhone 13 Pro compares to the other new iPhones and the best Android phones.
Apple hasn’t figured out how to make this phone charge faster, which is a shame. The most power that the iPhone 13 Pro can use is 20W when it is wired and 15W when it is using MagSafe. In a world where the OnePlus 9 Pro can charge at 65W over a cable or 50W wirelessly, and where Xiaomi has reached 120W, Apple’s offering is just disappointing. In our tests, the iPhone 12 Pro only got to 53% after 30 minutes.
Even though the new iPads use USB-C, the iPhone 13 Pro still has a Lightning port instead. Apple started this trend with the release of the iPhone 12; there is also no charger in the box.
Review of the iPhone 13 Pro:
iOS 15 comes with the iPhone 13 Pro. Since we got our hands on the beta version of Apple’s latest mobile OS over the summer, we’ve written a lot about it. There are a lot of new features to look out for, like a change to notifications, Live Text/Visual Look Up, Focus, improvements to FaceTime, and changes to many of the core apps. Check out our in-depth coverage of the update, such as our review of iOS 15 and our look at the current iOS 15.2 update.
I didn’t find any software features that were unique to the iPhone 13 (other than the camera and video stuff I mentioned earlier), but I think the ProMotion display and the A15 Bionic chip make the iPhone 13 Pro the best way to experience iOS 15. Usually, that’s the case. The newest hardware works best with the newest software version and shows off all of its features.
If you have an Apple Watch and want to buy an iPhone 13 Pro right away, you should be careful if you have an Apple Watch because it looks like iPhone 13 models are having trouble unlocking with the Apple Watch. But it doesn’t look like every user is having this problem, and Apple has officially acknowledged it, so a fix may already be out there.
Face ID now works with masks, which is the best thing about iOS 15.4, which came out in the middle of March. It works well so far, but you need an iPhone 12 or later. This update is a good thing for the iPhone 13 Pro, for sure. iOS 16 brings further updates, including allowing Face ID to unlock your iPhone 13 Pro Max in landscape mode.
One of the best things about iOS is how developers have embraced the platform and continue to make great apps for Apple devices. We recommend getting some of the best iPhone apps or, if you’re new to the platform, the best apps for a new iPhone.
Problems with iPhone 13 Pro are known
As is common when a new phone comes out, people who have the iPhone 13 have already run into a few problems. For example, some iPhone 13 users are finding that the phone won’t unlock with an Apple Watch, but a fix is on the way. There are also reports that the touch screen isn’t responsive enough in some cases. However, this could be an issue with iOS 15 and not the iPhone 13.
Concerning the iPhone 13 Pros, some people say that the cameras automatically switch between lenses without warning. An update is said to be coming soon that will let users turn this off. Also, with some apps, the ProMotion displays on the iPhone 13 Pros don’t run at 120Hz. Apple will fix this in an update. And the people who make apps need to make sure they work well.
Review of the iPhone 13 Pro:
The best phones you can buy right now are the iPhone 13 Pro and its bigger brother. This Pro model is better for people who don’t like phones that are too big. The battery life has gotten a lot better since the last iPhone, which is a big plus for this device. And Apple has shown how good it is with cameras by making some beautiful photos and videos with the iPhone 13 Pro.
But there are two things I don’t like about this phone. I’d like faster charging, but what I really wanted to see this year was Touch ID. Even though it’s annoying to have to manually unlock the iPhone 13 Pro and do it again to use Apple Pay, the iPhone 13 Pro has pretty much everything else going for it.
As of August 2022, the iPhone 13 Pro will no longer be made. Most likely, the next Pro iPhone will come out in September, and it will probably be called the iPhone 14 Pro.
In the past few months, there have been a lot of rumors about this and the regular iPhone 14, so you might be tempted to wait and see which ones are true instead of buying the iPhone 13 Pro. That could be true if the rumors sound good to you, but don’t let that stop you from getting the 13 Pro. It’s still a great phone.
Next, read about the iPhone 13 Pro’s bigger brother, the iPhone 13 Pro Max, and see what the differences are in our iPhone 13 Pro vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max comparison. Check out the best iPhones overall to see which one fits your needs and budget the best.