Camera and battery life improvements make iPhone 13 models shine


(KTLA) – iPhone 13 and 13 Pro are on sale now, and this year’s phones have improved cameras, better battery life, and a fun new cinema mode. But are they worth an upgrade? Here’s why you might consider trading in your handset.

Let’s start with the models. There are four to choose from this year: iPhone 13 Mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max. These models are available in assorted colors.

As confusing as it sounds, this year Apple has kept things simple by making just two main variations. The specifications are the same on the 13 Mini and 13 and on the 13 Pro Max. So your decision depends on the best or the best and then what size phone you want. The bigger the handset, the longer the battery life.

The easiest way to tell the different models apart? The iPhone 13 has two camera lenses on the back, while the iPhone 13 Pro has three because it adds a telephoto lens to the mix.

Let’s start with the iPhone 13. This is the model that most people will buy. It was an ultra wide angle lens and an upgraded standard lens, which means you will get better photos in low light. How much better depends on the phone you currently have. The older the model, the brighter your photos will be when taken on the 13.

(Photo by Rich DeMuro)

The device also has longer battery life compared to last year’s iPhone 12, when things took a hit from 5G. This gap has been closed.

The iPhone 13 Pro is the biggest upgrade of the two and the phone to get if you want great pictures and the best video you can capture on a smartphone today.

Here, all three lenses have been improved for better low-light images. You can consult my comparative photos here, but the bottom line is that this phone takes photos faster in low light which means you’ll get clearer photos the first time you try to take them.

Here are some photos taken on iPhone 13 Pro.

(Photo by Rich DeMuro)
(Photo by Rich DeMuro)
(Photo by Rich DeMuro)
(Photo by Rich DeMuro)
(Photo by Rich DeMuro)

The iPhone 13’s telephoto lens lets you zoom in 3x, which is more than last year’s Pro models.

The battery life is significantly better.

The iPhone 13 can also take macro photos, which is fun to get up close to your subject. The only downside here is that it sometimes makes the camera fun because it is always trying to figure out when to switch to macro mode, which can sometimes cause an odd back-and-forth between the lenses when trying to capture something. I have a feeling Apple will change this in a future software update as they learn about how people use the phone.

The other perk of going Pro is the new high screen refresh rate of up to 120Hz, which Apple calls ProMotion.

It’s very obvious when you swipe to unlock the phone and go to the home screen (it’s never been smoother) but I barely noticed the change in my daily use of the phone.

All 2021 iPhone models include Cinematic Mode, which is portrait mode for video. The subject is in focus while the background is out of focus. You can see a demo of it in the video below. It’s a fun feature, but time will tell if it’s new or really useful.

Photos taken on the iPhone 13 look sharper and more contrasting by default. You can also adjust their universal look with a new feature called Photographic Styles. You can choose between standard, rich contrast, vibrant, warm or cool. Apple says these are better than filters because they preserve facial skin tones.

Bottom line: This year’s improvements are incremental and some, like battery life, are fixes from last year. But they all add up to make the iPhone 13 and 13 Pro the best smartphones you can buy today. Keep in mind that there will be people arguing about the merits of the iOS operating system or that there are better cameras out there, but I am including the Apple ecosystem when I say this.

You won’t find a phone with better apps available, better accessories, a better smartwatch to connect, and better tech support and repairs when you need them.

If your phone is anything before the iPhone 12 models, you’ll see decent improvements in cameras, performance, and screen with the iPhone 13 models.

The iPhone 13 Mini starts at $ 699, the iPhone 13 at $ 799, the iPhone 13 Pro at $ 999, and the Pro Max at $ 1,099. Good thing this year: Base storage starts at 128 gigabytes, double the amount of last year. However, if you plan on taking a lot of videos, it may be worth going for a 256-gigabyte model.

Listen to the Rich in technology podcast for answers to your technical questions. Follow Rich DeMuro on Instagram for more tech news, tips and tricks.

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