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iPhone 13: Are the upgrades worth it?

While the iPhone 13 features numerous upgrades, the changes are relatively minor overall.
While the iPhone 13 features numerous upgrades, the changes are relatively minor overall.
After last year's design overhaul, 2021 brings a smaller changes to the iPhone. Will the SensorShift stabilization of the camera and a brighter display be enough to satisfy everyone?

A new, faster processor and a new iOS version with more features are barely worth mentioning when it comes to a new iPhone. Naturally, the iPhone 13 follows this trend and is more powerful thanks to the Apple A15 Bionic and more flexible thanks to various software updates, which older models benefit from as well.

The SensorShift stabilization is one of the more exciting features that used to be exclusive to the "Pro" models and now reliably prevents blurred pictures. Like the predecessor, Apple's current generation smartphone captures sharp, high-contrast pictures. For videos, there is now a new cinema mode that recognizes faces and offers an elegant background blur effect that can be readjusted retroactively. In practice, this can be used to shift the focus between two people during a conversation, for example.

Additionally, the display is able to reach a much higher brightness, if desired: In our measurements, we recorded up to 836 nits, which is sufficient for even very bright environments. When using HDR, small areas of the image can become even brighter. Furthermore, the display is extremely color accurate, which makes it suitable for professional use.

We were also able to confirm the iPhone 13's promised, even longer battery life in our testing, there are many accessories, the signal strength is excellent, many frequencies are supported, and the Wi-Fi transfer speeds are fast.

Another plus: The notch is slightly smaller compared to last year's models, although it is still clearly visible.

The higher temperatures and slight throttling are unfortunately also new this year. Furthermore, the display is still limited to 60 Hz, while the iPhone Pro models now finally come with a 120-Hz screen.

More information, benchmarks, and observations can be found in our in-depth review of the iPhone 13.

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Florian Schmitt, 2021-10-16 (Update: 2022-10- 6)