Apple iPhone 13 Pro and Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max review: are the new models worth the price?


Launching an iPhone is always an interesting time. Apple is looking to redefine the conversation about what a smartphone should be – and it usually succeeds.

This year, for the first time, Apple is launching four smartphones on the same day. In addition to the iPhone 13, there is a smaller version called the iPhone 13 mini, as well as two high-end phones that are the center of attention here, the iPhone 13 pro (from £ 949, Apple. com) and iPhone 13 pro max (from £ 1,049,

Choosing between the two is easier than usual this year. Other than screen size and battery, both phones are identical, unlike last year where the pro max had much better cameras than the pro. Oh, there’s another difference, the price: the bigger max costs £ 100 more.

But that means choosing between them mostly comes down to which one is best for your hand or your eyes. Be warned, the extra 6.7-inch screen space on the iPhone 13 pro max is extremely appealing, and once you’ve grown big it’s hard to go small again.

It also means that in this joint review pretty much everything applies to both phones, from design to cameras to performance.

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Apple iPhone 13 pro max: from £ 1,049,


Familiar flat-edged design

If the iPhone 13 pro was lying face-up on the table, you couldn’t tell it apart from last year’s iPhone 12 pro, with its steep, flat edges setting it apart from most other smartphones. Until you activate it. Then the narrower cutout (albeit slightly higher) at the top of the screen where the front camera and Face ID are located is noticeably smaller.

I’ve never paid attention to the notch, as it’s become known, and absolutely prefer it over punch-hole cameras that look through the screen chosen by competing manufacturers, but it looks good.

Flip the iPhone over and you will see the cameras on the iPhone 13 pro which are much larger than the cameras on the 12 pro. They’re really, really big and dominate the back of the screen, just like the other big design change: the color. The lineup now includes three colors from last year, a dark gray called graphite, a pale gold and a pure silver, plus a new shade.

The new color is sierra blue and it’s beautiful. A light blue that sparkles in different shades as you turn it in the light: sometimes gray, sometimes almost white. It’s just a shame that we put almost all of our phones in protective cases so they’re usually hidden away.

The rest of the design features are the same as last year, including its ceramic shield, a revolutionary upgrade to the front of the phone that is much more resistant to drops. Plus, 5G connectivity introduced last year and wireless charging that uses something called MagSafe – essentially a ring of magnets under the shell that guides the phone to the charger with precision.

Powerful cameras

The three cameras on the iPhone 13 pro and iPhone 13 pro max are seriously improved over the iPhone 13 (which has two) and iPhone 12 pro max which had the best iPhone snappers of the year. last.

The 12-megapixel cameras have wide apertures to quickly catch light, aided by technology introduced last year on the iPhone 12 pro, such as a LiDAR scanner. It is a sensor capable of quickly recording the depth information of a scene, for precise definition even in low light.

But it is Apple’s special effects that dominate. Portrait mode, where the subject is in sharp focus and the background blurry, switches to video on the iPhone 13 pro, with what’s called “cinematic mode”. It’s so smart that it knows when someone is looking towards the camera and focusing on them, in the same way that a film camera would have a focus puller waiting and adjusting things manually. Oh, and it works with animals and objects as well as people.

Read more: 15 best iPhone 12 and 12 pro cases to protect your device

The results, fully automatic, are magnificent. You can even change the focus after the event, which would make professional filmmakers jealous. If there’s one thing that really puts the iPhone 13 pro’s cameras ahead of any other smartphone, it’s “cinematic mode”.

One thing that is not automatic are “photographic styles”. When you launch the camera for the first time, you will be asked to choose a style. You can change this at any time by going to “settings”, then “camera”, then “photographic styles”. The styles available are Standard, Contrast, Vibrant, Warm, and Cool. Unlike some parts of iPhone photography, it’s built into the production pipeline, so you can’t edit it after the event. It works like a filter but is much more sophisticated because it responds differently to different parts of the image. The styling is live, meaning you see precisely what the photo will look like as you take the photo.

There is also a fantastic macro mode for close-ups. When you get as close as 2cm to a subject using the wide camera, the system automatically switches to the ultra-wide camera so that what you are looking at is in focus. In case you don’t want to, a software update is in progress to disable this feature. Although I am not sure why you would want it as the results are amazing.

Spot the difference: Apple iPhone 13 pro (left), Apple iPhone 13 pro (right)

(David Phelan)

Apple has an advanced video codec called “ProRes”, and this is also coming to the iPhone 13 pro in a software update. It’s not yet live and it’s important to know that one aspect of it, pro recordings at 4K resolution, requires an iPhone 13 pro with 256GB and above, instead it doesn’t. is only available in 1080P resolution on the iPhone 13 pro and pro max with 128 GB of storage, as ProRes images take up a lot of space.

This is sort of a niche consideration: it’s mostly used by video editors because of its exceptional color fidelity, but if you think you could use it, keep that in mind when of your purchase.

Apple says it has improved its Night Mode, an already beautiful system where you can take long exposures at night, and it creates an image crisp enough that details are clearly visible, while still staying true to the moment.

Gorgeous display

The 6.1-inch screen of the iPhone 13 pro has the same resolution as the iPhone 12 pro at 460 pixels per inch. This is another small difference between the pro and the pro max. The larger 6.7-inch screen of the Max has a lower pixel density. But before you rush to go pro max, it’s a difference of only 2 pixels per inch (458 pixels per inch) so I categorically challenge you to spot the difference.

It’s not the resolution that makes these displays beautiful, but what’s called the refresh rate. Where most screens refresh at 60Hz, this one has a variable refresh rate between 10Hz and 120Hz. If you’re watching static content, the refresh rate drops to minimum to save battery power, but if you Scroll through a menu list, say, it instantly lights up to 120Hz to ensure a smooth, flicker-free result. . This year’s screen is also brighter, making it easier to read outdoors in bright light.


The display is just one of the things that will define a phone’s performance and battery life. The new processor at the heart of the iPhone 13 range is the A15 Bionic. Unusually for Apple, it released the chip in two versions, the more powerful being reserved for professional handsets. The versions are almost identical, but there is an additional graphics core, which is used for features like camera and games.

However, you don’t have to worry about GPU details. The point is, this phone is blazing fast, whether it’s running a power-hungry game or streaming a video. Everything is happening at high speed.

Battery life

Two years ago, with the iPhone 11, the battery life of Apple phones took a big leap forward, providing real confidence that the handset would last a day with ease. Last year’s iPhone 12 series walked a bit on water, with no noticeable extra battery life. But this year Apple says there’s another big step forward, with up to 2.5 hours more juice in the iPhone 13 pro max, which would be the best battery life on an iPhone. , while the iPhone 13 pro is also gaining endurance. Both statistics were confirmed in our testing.

Read more: 11 best portable chargers and power banks

The goal is not to have large reserves of battery at the end of the day but the peace of mind of knowing that if you are suddenly away from home for longer, where battery needs are greatest, especially with 5G connectivity, your phone won’t. t run flat.

The verdict: Apple iPhone 13 pro and Apple iPhone 13 pro max

Although in some ways the iPhone 13 pro and iPhone 13 pro max look like iterative updates, with a familiar design changed just by a smaller screen cutout and a new color, in fact, they are not. The series of photographic enhancements alone are worth improving because, I would say, made possible by a faster processor and better camera sensors.

But there’s a lot more under the hood to make new phones desirable. The first 120 Hz display for an iPhone is definitely worth having, for example. The innovations of 2020, such as 5G and the ceramic shield which makes the screen more resistant to drops, are well consolidated, so if you are upgrading two years ago, buying now is a no-brainer. And just as important, Apple is paying attention to the things that really matter, like battery life, which is exceptionally good this year.

These phones don’t come cheap, but what they contain means they’re a great value. The iPhone 13 pro max will be too big for some hands and the iPhone 13 pro too small for some eyes, but both offer true innovation, impeccably executed, in a beautiful design that turns heads.

Apple iPhone 13 Pro

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions we earn income if you click the links and purchase the products, but we never allow this to distort our coverage. Reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.


About Franklin Cheatham

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