Apple delivers a delightful upgrade in its new iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini
The iPhone 13 and 13 Mini received a number of significant upgrades including new cameras, a bigger battery, more storage and a brighter screen. The iPhone 13 is a delightful upgrade to last year’s already wonderful iPhone 12 family. Some will be disappointed because it’s not radically different from previous models, but that’s actually part of the charm. Familiarity has been one of the keys to Apple’s success with the iPhone, and the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini are those same reliable friends that seemingly never change.
The iPhone 13 starts at $829 (£779, AU$1,349) and the 13 Mini at $729 (£679, AU$1,199). That’s for the base model, which comes with 128GB of storage. If you buy and activate your phone on a carrier plan, that price drops by $30, and that’s before adding on the impressive deals from carriers.
For all intents and purposes Apple launched two phones in 2021: The iPhone 13 and the iPhone 13 Pro. If you want a small version of the iPhone 13, get an iPhone 13 Mini. If you need an iPhone 13 Pro with a bigger screen and battery, get the 13 Pro Max. This review covers the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini.
Last year’s iPhone 12 is still around at a lower price. If you’re upgrading from an iPhone 11 or older, remember the iPhone 12 with 128GB of storage is only $50 less than the iPhone 13. That means it’s easy to climb that upgrade ladder from an iPhone 12 up to a 13. Apple’s clever pricing aside, you definitely get more than $50 of improvements with the 13.
It is great the iPhone Mini lived to see another year. If the iPhone 13 is understated, the 13 Mini just wants to be the shy kid in the corner of the sandbox. Any iPhone 12 Mini owner, might be tempted to upgrade just to get the extra battery life. But whether you’re due for your two-year (or more) upgrade or have been sitting on a much older phone, the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini are both solid choices.
The iPhone 13 keeps the flat-sided design, comes in 5 colors
The new phones have the same squared-edged design as the iPhone 12 and 12 Mini. They come in five colors: blue, starlight, Product red, midnight and pink. In certain lighting, the soft pink color can almost look white.
On the front of the iPhone 13 is a 6.1-inch display, and there’s a 5.4-inch screen on the 13 Mini. Both are OLED panels just like the 12 and 12 Mini. The Pro models got an upgrade and added high refresh rates to their displays, but the 13 and 13 Mini got a noticeable increase in brightness.
Aside from the colors, there are two conspicuous design changes. A new camera bump houses the dual-rear cameras diagonally. It’s funny how one change can clue people in.
The other difference is that the notch is slimmer. It is 20% smaller than the previous ones.
Other than that, the phones have a Ceramic Shield covering over the display, an IP68 rating for dust- and water-resistance means they can survive being submerged 6 meters (about 20 feet) for up to 30 minutes. The models have no trouble surviving an unexpected drench from an afternoon summer rainstorm.
Technically both phones are heavier, but not easily noticeable until you read the specs sheet. If the extra 7 to 10 grams come from the bigger battery, the extra weight is a bargain. Both the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini have no trouble making it through a day on a single charge.