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iPhone 13 vs iPhone 13 Pro: Is the upgrade worth it?
You'll pay a few hundred bucks for those three extra letters...
With last year’s iPhone 12 and 12 Pro, it was easier to recommend the base model for most people. However, with the iPhone 13 Pro’s massive update, it’s become a much more tempting proposition. Though the iPhone 13 has some fantastic new features and a more budget-friendly price, the Pro model’s stunning new display and powerful trio of cameras makes it our top pick of the two.
Every year, iPhone aficionados are faced with the same dilemma: which model should I get? If last year’s lineup was anything to go by, the iPhone 13 and 13 Pro are set to be the most popular of the four devices, but is the upgrade from not-Pro to Pro really worth it? We tossed the two models into the ring to find out which is worth your hard-earned cash.
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- Best iPhone 13 Pro plans: For the premium experience
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- iPhone 13 vs iPhone 13 Pro Three cameras or two?
- iPhone 13 vs iPhone XR, XS and X Does the iPhone 13 have the X factor?
- iPhone 13 vs iPhone 12 How does last year’s model compare?
iPhone 13 vs iPhone 13 Pro: Price
If you've been holding off on the iPhone 13, there's good news. To coincide with the impending arrival of the iPhone 14, Apple have chosen to give last year's device its biggest post-launch price cut to date.
While the iPhone 13 at launch could cost you as little as $1,349 depending on the on board storage, the cost of picking up a new iPhone 13 today ranges from $1,229 to $1,749.
Meanwhile, the iPhone 13 Pro has been outright discontinued. The upside to this is that, so long as you're willing to shop around or opt for a refurbished handset, you'll save a lot on what a brand new iPhone 13 Pro could have cost you just a few months ago.
That said, if cost is the most important factor to you, the savings of going with the iPhone 13 (which starts at $1,229 as of September 2022) are clear. Though neither model is what we would consider budget-friendly, but the iPhone 13 is considerably more affordable than its Pro counterpart.
iPhone 13 and 13 Pro plans
If you're looking for the best postpaid plans for the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro, you've come to the right place.
Most popular iPhone 13 plans
Most popular iPhone 13 Pro plans
iPhone 13 vs iPhone 13 Pro: Camera
Both the iPhone 13 and 13 Pro’s camera systems represent a massive upgrade over their iPhone 12 counterparts, particularly when it comes on video.
The base iPhone 13’s camera block has been redesigned, with Apple opting for a diagonal array. Both the 12MP wide lens and 12MP ultrawide lens have been upgraded with new sensors, capable of gathering 47% more light for less noisy, brighter shots. The iPhone 13 also introduces Cinematic mode, which brings film-level video to your fingertips. It’s kind of like Portrait mode for video.
As for the iPhone 13 Pro, the wide lens features a larger sensor for faster shutter speeds and noise reduction, capable of producing more detailed photos. The ultrawide lens, too, features a wider aperture and new autofocus system, which Apple says brings a 92% improvement for low-light shots. It’s also capable of macro photography for the first time ever on an iPhone. Additionally, the 13 Pro rocks a 77mm telephoto lens for improved portraits and video. There’s new photographic styles with AI-enhanced filters, ProRes advanced video codec, and of course, the same new Cinematic mode as the base iPhone 13.
For this bout, the clear winner is the Pro.
iPhone 13 vs iPhone 13 Pro: Design
From the front, the two devices look pretty much identical. Heck, even from the side, they look the same. However, the Pro’s frame is actually stainless steel rather than the aluminium found on the iPhone 13. The iPhone 13 comes in pink, blue, midnight, starlight and (PRODUCT)RED while the 13 Pro comes in graphite, silver, gold and sierra blue.
In terms of durability, both maintain the same IP68 water resistance rating and tough Ceramic Shield front as last year’s lineup. Given they’re so similar, we’re pretty happy to call this one a tie.
iPhone 13 vs iPhone 13 Pro: Display
Last year’s iPhone 12 and 12 Pro sported essentially the same display, but Apple has rewritten the playbook with the iPhone 13 lineup.
Though the base iPhone 13’s display is mostly the same as the iPhone 12’s, the Pro model has had a significant upgrade. While the two devices still share a Super Retina XDR display, the pricier Pro now includes ProMotion. This snappy-sounding feature is is Apple’s term for what is, essentially, an adaptive screen refresh rate between 10Hz and 120Hz, depending on your activity.
It also uses a more efficient OLED panel, new display engine, faster GPU performance and always-on touch processor. Basically, all that means the iPhone 13 Pro’s display is faster, smoother, more responsive, and even brighter.
In other words, it’s a clear win for the Pro.
iPhone 13 vs iPhone 13 Pro: Performance
Both the iPhone 13 and 13 Pro are home to Apple’s latest A15 Bionic chip and therefore should offer similar performance.
However, one edge the Pro models have is a five-core GPU to the standard iPhone 13’s four-core GPU. Most users won’t be able to tell the difference, but it will probably translate to snappier performance when gaming and photo/video editing.
iPhone 13 vs iPhone 13 Pro: Battery life
As per usual, Apple is staying mum on the new lineup’s actual mAh capacity.
When it comes to the standard screen time estimates, the iPhone 13 Pro has the edge. It comes minted for up to 22 hours of video playback, 20 hours of video streaming and 75 hours of audio playback for both models. In comparison, the iPhone 13 is good for up to 19 hours of video playback, 15 hours of video streaming and 75 hours of audio playback.
While the Pro has a slight edge, we're going to err on the side of saying this one is too close to call.
Which should I buy?
Last year, choosing between the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro was tough as there were only a handful of major differences.
With the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro, however, the gap has widened quite significantly, and the Pro becomes a lot harder to argue against. If you’re happy to spend a bit of extra cash, we reckon the Pro is your best bet, though the iPhone 13 will more than satisfy most users.
Winner: iPhone 13 Pro
|Model||iPhone 13||iPhone 13 Pro|
|Display type||Super Retina XDR OLED with HDR10, Dolby Vision||Super Retina XDR OLED with HDR10, Dolby Vision and ProMotion|
|Colours||Starlight, Midnight, Blue, Pink, Red||Graphite, Gold, Silver, Sierra Blue|
|Display details||1200nits peak brightness, Wide color gamut, True tone||1200nits peak brightness, Wide color gamut, True tone, 120Hz adaptive refresh rate|
|Chipset||A15 Bionic (5nm)||A15 Bionic (5nm)|
|Memory (storage/RAM)||128GB/6GB 256GB/6GB 512GB/6GB||128GB/6GB 256GB/6GB 512GB/6GB 1TB|
|Camera (rear)||12MP, f/1.6 (Wide) 12MP, f/2.4 (Ultra Wide)||12MP, f/1.5 (Wide) 12MP, f/2.8 (Ultra Wide)|
|Camera (telephoto)||N/A||12MP, f/1.8 w/PDAF OIS and 3x optical zoom|
|Camera (video)||Up to 4K@60fps w/Dolby Vision and Cinematic mode||Up to 4K@60fps w/Dolby Vision (up to 60fps) and Cinematic mode|
|Camera (selfie)||12MP, f/2.2||12MP, f/2.2|
|Battery type and size||Li-Ion (not specified)||Li-Ion (not specified)|
|Wireless charging||Yes, MagSafe 15w and Qi 7.5w||Yes, MagSafe 15w and Qi 7.5w|