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iPhone 13 Pro review: Strong overall package with known weaknesses

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Test report header
Picture: TechnikNews
(Post picture: © 2021 TechnikNews)

After last year's iPhone 12 Pro was rather disappointing and compared to 11/XNUMX Apple Pro hardly changed anything, the new iPhone 13 is coming Pro with some major improvements as a result. Apple is finally installing a display with a smooth 120 Hertz refresh rate and a smaller notch, a new triple camera with larger sensors and a 3x optical zoom, a larger battery and much more.

We have the iPhone 13 Pro tested extensively in the last few weeks and whether the cameras are really as good as everyone reports and whether the smartphone can be recommended for a recommended retail price of 1.149 euros, you can now find out in the following lines.

Haptics & design - worth 1.000 euros

The biggest change in the design of the iPhone 13 series is probably the smaller notch. It would be unfair to Android manufacturers to say it's a big change, but it's actually the one we've longed for for years. However, the change has not ensured that the long-awaited batteryProcenter display can now be read at the top. On the contrary: Exactly the same as in the 12 row is displayed, which is why a lot of space is wasted unnecessarily.

The iPhone 13 Pro has compared to 12 Pro no changes in dimensions. Thus, it still belongs to a very compact flagship smartphone, which is pleasantly small in the hand. This feeling is only somewhat revised by the sharp edges. The weight is now 203 grams, which is actually quite a lot for such a small case.

The in-hand feeling remains rather poor due to the angular frame, but from a purely visual point of view one can say that the current iPhone Promodels are really worth 2.118 euros with the maximum equipment. The angular stainless steel frame in particular looks extremely high-quality with the course of the reflected light, so that one likes to admire it in everyday life. You have to accept that it almost magically attracts fingerprints and, like the camera module, is extremely difficult to keep clean. Not much has changed in terms of colors compared to the 12 series. You still have the choice between gold, silver and graphite. A new addition is "Sierra Blue", which produces more of a shade of gray in low-light situations and is different than on Product images or in high light situations. I personally like the color quite well, even though I might have wished for a little more saturation.

Display - high quality

iPhone displays have always had a carefree reputation. Beautiful color reproduction, stable brightness and clear appearance. While last year's iPhone 12 series couldn't really claim the latter point in particular, the Proproblem fixed this year. Whether from the front or the side, the panel of the iPhone 13 Pro appears extremely clear, pleasant to look at and the brightness is one of the best on the market at 1.000 nits under direct sunlight (not peak with HDR content).

iPhone 13 Pro Display

The viewing angle stability is excellent. (Image: TechnikNews)

The second weakness, which was very often criticized in the iPhone 12 series, was the lack of a high refresh rate. That point was made with the iPhone 13 this year Pro Fixed. Apple finally installs a 120 Hertz LTPO panel and calls it "Promovement”. This function is able to always automatically adjust the refresh rate to the required level in order to save power, which works much better than comparable Android smartphones. Furthermore, the 120 Hertz are kept extremely constant in the current software version, which ensures smooth operation in everyday life.

Software - IOS 15

The special thing about the iPhone has always been the software. Apple's iOS operating system is fundamentally different from Android in theory. In practice, however, this difference has narrowed from year to year, so in my opinion Android users are now proseamlessly switch to the iPhone. There are differences, however, as iOS is a more closed system under Apple's control. This has an advantageous effect on stability, for example, since iOS is known, among other things, as the most fluid user interface with physically perfect and beautiful animations. The logic (e.g. the scrolling behavior or the look) is identical in every situation, so everything has a style and nothing looks different. This has a negative effect, for example, in that you can only download apps from the App Store. There are also some limitations from Apple, such as the complete lack of multi-tasking, file system, or some missing features, like adding text in the image editor.

Performance - don't worry

Inside is the new Apple A15 Bionic, which is manufactured using the energy-saving 5-nanometer process. It is accompanied by 6 GB of RAM, which is completely sufficient for an iPhone. Tech-savvy folks should know that Apple's ProA-series processors are the best-performing mobile chips every year. The current flagship AndroidProzessor is still fighting the A13 and A14 Bionic from years past. This advantage stands out particularly in the case of topics such as gaming. The balance between efficiency and high performance in particular is having an impact this year Problemishes of the Snapdragon 888 very positively. In everyday life, there are basically no stutters on the iPhone with the iOS software, everything runs extremely consistently and as smoothly as butter. The heat development and power consumption are below average.

Battery - disappointing charging times, surprisingly good runtimes

Apple installs a 3.095 mAh battery that can be charged with up to 20 watts. With a MacBook power supply, it takes almost two hours to fully charge the battery, which is extremely embarrassing for € 1.149. For comparison, the only 300 Euros expensive Real GT Master Edition is with the included 65 watt power supply in approximately 30 minutes fully charged. According to Apple, the right power supply will not be included this year due to the environment, which I still find completely incomprehensible, especially when you consider that the newly introduced iPad Mini comes with a power supply. Wireless charging is possible with up to 15 watts, which is fine, but Android and HarmonyOS devices offer significantly more here too.

After all the criticism, however, it is now time to praise the iPhone across the board, because the battery life is surprisingly good for such a small capacity and noticeably better than the iPhone 12, which I also tested. With activated adaptive refresh rate (10Hz-120Hz) I always got through a day easily and even 1,5 days were mostly not Proproblem At the end of the day, with a screen-on-time of 5 to 6 hours, I usually still had between 25 and 50 Procent battery left, which is really good. Some Android flagships with significantly larger batteries, such as the OnePlus 9 Pro, My 11 Ultra or S21 Plus only dream. Even that Huawei P50 Pro or the similarly compact Sony Xperia 5 III cannot quite keep up. Kudos to Apple for delivering such a good battery life despite the small battery and the smooth refresh rate of 120 Hertz.

Camera - very good, but not the best

Apple installs a triple camera on the back, consisting of a main, ultra-wide-angle and telephoto camera, all of which have a resolution of 12 megapixels. The latter allows for a 3x optical zoom, which is a far cry from Huawei, Samsung, Xiaomi and Sony, but at least Apple has compared to the iPhone 12 Pro something changed. There is also a LIDAR scanner, which was introduced last year and is responsible for depth effects and faster focusing.

Starting with the main camera, which takes good pictures with beautiful and mostly realistic colors. The sharpness is also great, but with the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra and the Huawei P50 Pro There are still slightly better alternatives, although I even see the iPhone as having a slight advantage over Samsung. However, the differences are not very big. I find the dynamic range a bit disappointing. Here are almost all competitors, such as the Huawei P50 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and OnePlus 9 Pro sometimes significantly better. Even some older smartphones from the previous year are a bit better here. For at least 1.149 euros I expect more here. As soon as the lighting conditions deteriorate, the night mode is activated automatically, which exposes the images for a few seconds in order to be able to deliver better shots. I really like the resulting results, although some of the images are a little too dark for my liking, causing some detail to be lost in dark areas, but other than that I have nothing to complain about. The sharpness in particular is really good and colors are usually reproduced beautifully and naturally. The S21 Ultra can no longer quite keep up here, especially in extremely poor light conditions. That Huawei P50 Pro and Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra can keep up very well and often like them even better.

Overall, I would have expected a little more from the new ultra wide-angle camera. Images quickly become noisy and almost all flagship competitors have more to offer when it comes to sharpness. The OnePlus 9 Pro, OPPO Find X3 and even last year's Huawei P40 Pro+ are significantly better here. Similar to the main camera, the dynamic range also makes a difference here Probleme, which simply shouldn't be for the price offered. At least colors are reproduced very nicely. The results in low light are still reasonably usable, but there is room for improvement compared to the Android and HarmonyOS competition. Even the normal OnePlus 9, which, mind you, is almost half as little as the iPhone 13 Pro costs, wins at lowlight clear.

The ultra wide angle camera also functions as a macro camera. If you hold the iPhone close enough to objects in the camera app, a macro mode is automatically activated, in which even small objects appear gigantic.

The new telephoto camera takes very good pictures between 3x and 5x magnification, which are particularly characterized by high sharpness and mostly accurate color reproduction. The OnePlus 9 Pro, OPPO Find X3 Pro and the S21 Ultra cannot quite keep up. Let's compare the quality with older Huawei smartphones with triple optical Zoom lenses, for example the Huawei Mate 30 Pro, it quickly becomes clear how much of a leader Huawei was in the area of ​​zoom, which the following comparison shows quite well (left: iPhone 13 Pro, right: Huawei Mate 30 Pro):

Fortunately, the zoom camera of the iPhone 13 Pro can still be used from time to time even in poor light conditions, which is definitely no longer the case with many competitors. In addition, it is also used in portrait mode and procurrently produces pretty much the best portrait shots in a smartphone.

As with every new iPhone, the video quality is by far the best in a smartphone this year. Hardly any other smartphone reproduces colors so beautifully and naturally and can cope with backlighting or more difficult lighting conditions. Big compliments to Apple. The "cinematic mode" is fine and definitive around worlds better than Huawei, OnePlus and Samsung, but at 100 ProI'm not completely satisfied with it, especially since only Full-DH can be used as the resolution in this mode. According to Apple, the new video format “ProRes” can be activated.

Selfies with the front camera succeed with great color rendering and a decent dynamic range. However, there is still a lot of room for improvement in terms of sharpness and lowlight performance.

Test photos

Let's take a look at a few test photos. As always, the following images are absolutely unprocessed, but compressed without loss in order to keep loading times and memory consumption of the website low.

Comparison with the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra & Huawei P50 Pro

Last but not least, we want the cameras in different situations with the Galaxy S21 Ultra from Samsung and what I think is the best photo camera smartphone, the Huawei P50 Pro, to compare.

Daylight

The camera comparison shows quite well that the competition from Huawei and Samsung are visibly ahead in terms of dynamic range, both for the main and the ultra-wide-angle camera. When it comes to sharpness, the P50 Pro slightly ahead, even if the difference is small. However, I would like to praise Apple for the mostly natural color reproduction. If we use the 3x zoom on all three smartphones, the iPhone clearly wins. Even Samsung can't keep up on this point, despite the 3x optical zoom camera, and Huawei still uses the main camera, since the 3,5 megapixel telephoto camera is only used from 64x magnification. From a magnification of 10x, the differences are in favor of the P50 Pro and S21 Ultra huge. Apple still has a long way to go here.

low light

So disappointing are the shots taken by the iPhone 13's ultra wide-angle camera Pro also are, that's how much I like shots with the main camera. For my taste, the images are a bit too dark from time to time, but when it comes to sharpness and color reproduction, Apple is at the forefront and easily beats the S21 Ultra. The P50 Pro On the other hand, I like it a little better overall, but the difference is by no means big.

Other - especially

iPhones have always stood out for their special features. The stereo speakers have been improved a step compared to the predecessor without Apple mentioning it. The sound seems a bit clearer, especially at higher volume. Thus, the speakers of the iPhone 13 Pro one of the best in the flagship segment.

The Taptic Engine, which ensures extremely precise haptic feedback despite the smaller volume. It's probably the best vibration motor in a smartphone.

The iPhone 13 has a fingerprint sensor Pro Unfortunately not, because the only option to unlock your smartphone is hidden in the recess at the top: FaceID. It is a three-dimensional face recognition, which is much more secure than most Android smartphones. In principle, it works very reliably, but unfortunately still not in landscape format and if you wear a mask, the missing TouchID sensor will be fatal.

Additionally, the iPhone 13 supports Pro an IP68 certification at a depth of even six instead of just 1,5 meters as well as the latest communication standards such as WiFi 6, ultra wideband or Bluetooth 5.0. Only the connection on the underside could do with an upgrade, since Lightning is still the slow, old USB 2.0 standard. You have to plan more time when transferring files.

tl; dr - conclusion

The iPhone 13 Pro is not only a very good iPhone, but also a very good smartphone in general, which definitely does not have to hide from the Android competition. Compared to the iPhone 12 Pro Apple has actually improved more than I initially thought. The display is now finally at flagship level with the smooth refresh rate of 120 Hertz, the performance is excellent as usual, the main camera is one of the best in a smartphone, the battery is surprisingly good and also such smaller things as the loudspeakers or the vibration motor are excellent. The iPhone 13 is perfect Pro But definitely not: The edges around the panel and the notch could still be a bit smaller, the ultra-wide-angle camera has room for improvement, I miss a fingerprint sensor, and the focal length of the optical telephoto lens isn’t for a flagship at the end of 2021 either more really contemporary, the long loading times are just ridiculous and I would have liked to have had USB-C instead of Lightning. In addition, there is the usual high price of 1.149 euros.

Anyone who lives in the Apple ecosystem and Android is out of the question is welcome to the iPhone 13 Pro grab and be very happy with it. I would definitely recommend anyone who can get along with Android to take a look at the similarly good and sometimes significantly cheaper Android flagship competition.

iPhone 13 Pro buy

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Fabian Menzel

Fabian has been part of since mid-September 2020 TechnikNews and regularly supplies the site with various news, but also with some test reports on smartphones. He's having so much fun and is extremely grateful to have such a great team by his side. In his free time, he enjoys listening to music and occasionally taking photos with his Huawei Mate 50 Pro.

Fabian has already written 302 articles and left 24 comments.

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Flo's

Hello Fabian. Great review, found it straight from google. I'm debating between iPhone 13 or that Pro. I don't care about anything except battery life. Which one has the longer battery life and charges faster? Thanks!

Flo's

Top purchase advice. Thank you!!