Apple’s new iPhones – the iPhone 13 range – are now official. They’ll get a release date later this month. But is the iPhone 13 worth buying? Let’s find out…
This time of year is always crazy. Millions of people get excited about the prospect of a new iPhone. There are currently tens of millions of iPhone 11 users in the wild primed for an update. Ditto older iPhone users, like those with an iPhone XS or XR.
But now that the dust has settled on Apple’s iPhone 13 launch, is Apple’s latest iPhone worth buying in 2021 – or are you better off elsewhere? Let’s find out by looking at some examples, as well as some PROS & CONS of the new iPhone 13 range.
Why You SHOULD Buy The iPhone 13
First, let’s take a look at the reasons why Apple’s iPhone 13 is potentially worth buying in 2021. I’m just going to be using common sense here, things that I know matter to millions of users. After this, we’ll look at why you might not want to upgrade to the iPhone 13.
iPhone 13 PROS – Why You’d Buy One
5. You’re Running An iPhone 11 or Older…
Despite all the clamor around the iPhone 13 prior to its launch, the new series from Apple isn’t a massive update. The iPhone 13 could just as easily have been called the iPhone 12s and no one would have batted a lid. Yes, there are updates but they are small and incremental.
If you’re running an iPhone 11, any of the models in that range, then, yes, the iPhone 13 is definitely worth an upgrade. The iPhone 13 might not be a massive update on the iPhone 12, but it represents a BIG update when compared to the iPhone 11.
You have higher base storage options, starting with 128GB instead of 64GB, improved camera modules on all modules, OLED displays across the board, faster and more reliable 5G, and, of course, Apple’s latest A15 CPU which is blazingly fast compared to the iPhone 11’s CPU.
4. You Need and/or Want 5G
Apple was fairly late to the 5G party. To date, only two of its iPhone ranges support 5G – the iPhone 12 and the incoming iPhone 13. If you’re running an older iPhone model, anything from the iPhone 8 to the iPhone 11, you’ll need to upgrade if you want to get 5G connectivity.
If you live in or near a major city, you’ll likely be able to get 5G. And if you want to get 5G on your iPhone, you’ll need to get either the iPhone 12 or the iPhone 13. And given that the iPhone 13 is newer and better than the iPhone 12, you might as well go with the iPhone 13.
3. You’re Not Happy With iPhone 12’s Battery Life
The iPhone 12’s battery life was not good; in fact, it lasted four hours less than the iPhone 11. This battery decline was caused by 5G. With the iPhone 13, Apple claims it has fixed this issue and the iPhone 13’s battery performance is now back in line with what you got on the iPhone 11.
If true, this makes the iPhone 13 a much better option than the iPhone 12. You’ll get faster 5G connectivity with the iPhone 13 and better battery life than you would with the now-cheaper iPhone 12. If battery life is important to you, go with the iPhone 13.
2. You Like Having The Fastest Phone on The Market
Apple’s A14 chipset, the one used inside the iPhone 12, was the fastest and most powerful mobile SoC on the market in 2020. In 2019, the iPhone 11’s A13 was the fastest. In 2021, the A15 inside the iPhone 13 will be the fastest. Do you see where I’m going here?
If you want the best possible performance from your iPhone, meaning market-leading power and performance, then the iPhone 13 – any of them – is the phone to get in 2021. No other phone on the market has the same performance capabilities as Apple’s iPhone 13 with its A15 CPU.
1. You Want The Best Possible Camera Performance
With cameras, Apple’s latest phones – pretty much across the board – represents improvements on what came before. If you’re using an older iPhone model, the iPhone 13’s camera will look and seem like a major update.
But if you want the best possible camera performance, you will need to cough up the dough for one of Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro models – either the iPhone 13 Pro or the iPhone 13 Pro Max. This is where all the biggest changes have been made.
The pro camera system gets its biggest advancement ever with new Ultra Wide, Wide, and Telephoto cameras that capture stunning photos and video, powered by the unmatched performance of A15 Bionic, more powerful than the leading competition. These technologies enable impressive new photo capabilities never before possible on iPhone, like macro photography on the new Ultra Wide camera and up to 2.2x improved low-light performance on the new Wide camera.
Video takes a huge leap forward with Cinematic mode for beautiful depth-of-field transitions, macro video, Time-lapse and Slo-mo, and even better low-light performance. Both models also offer end-to-end pro workflows in Dolby Vision, and for the first time, ProRes, only available on iPhone.Apple
iPhone 13 CONS – Why You Shouldn’t Buy The iPhone 13
We’ve taken a look at some of the main reasons why you’d upgrade to the iPhone 13. Now, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you shouldn’t buy the iPhone 13.
4. You’re Running The iPhone 12
The main reason not to buy the iPhone 13 would be if you’re currently running the iPhone 12. The iPhone 13 is not a major update over the iPhone 12, especially on the base models. The Pro models are a slightly different story; they have significant updates to their camera modules and a new storage option (1TB).
At the lower end of Apple’s iPhone 13 range, however, the changes aren’t so dramatic, so if you’re running an iPhone 12, you’d probably be best off waiting for the iPhone 14 – it will be the update where all the big, sweeping changes occur.
There is an argument for upgrading from an iPhone 12 to an iPhone 13 Pro Max or iPhone 13 Pro. If you want better camera performance, buying the iPhone 13 Pro or iPhone 13 Pro Max makes sense. If you’re the kind of guy or gal that runs the base model, however, I’d hold fire for another year.
3. You Cannot Get 5G Where You Live
If you live in an area that does not have 5G and isn’t likely to for a good long while, then updating the iPhone 13 makes very little sense. Sure, the phone is great and all, but why not save yourself some money and pick up a refurbished iPhone 11 Pro Max instead? You can get this phone for around half the price of the base model iPhone 13 right now.
2. Your iPhone Still Works Great, Despite Its Age
If you’re running an iPhone 11 or even an iPhone XR and the phone still works great, do you even need to upgrade to the iPhone 13? I’d argue, no. If it ain’t broke, don’t upgrade. Apple’s iPhones are expensive but they do last a long time, so don’t let FOMO stop you from extracting your money’s worth from your current phone.
Apple’s iPhone 11, iPhone XS, and iPhone XR will get iOS updates for years to come, so from a support perspective, you’re good to go for at least another three years – maybe more.
1. You Need / Want Something Cheaper
Apple’s iPhones are great. I love them for a range of reasons. But there are plenty of cheaper options out there. You have an entire universe of more affordable refurbished iPhones to choose from, for example, and with one of these, you’ll save anywhere from 40% to 50% versus buying new.
You also have Android phones to consider as well. In the Android space, you have a plethora of amazing options from brands like OnePlus, Samsung, and Google. I’m a HUGE fan of the OnePlus 9 Pro, for instance, and the Google Pixel 5 – they’re both amazing phones and they’re both cheaper than Apple’s iPhone 13.
Also, be sure to check out ALL the iPhone 13 & iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 13 Pro & iPhone 13 Pro color options! And read up all about iPhone 13 ProRes video here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is The iPhone 13 Out?
Apple’s iPhone 13 range launched on September 14, 2021. The iPhone 13 went up for pre-order on September 16, ahead of its global release date on September 24.
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.