iPhone 13 Professional Overview: This 12 months’s Finest iPhone

iPhone 13 Professional Overview: This 12 months’s Finest iPhone

With 4 telephones within the iPhone line-up, the 13 Professional has a troublesome job to do: it has to show itself not solely in opposition to stiff Android competitors but in addition in opposition to the iPhone 13 itself, to justify why somebody ought to pay further for ‘Professional’ options in a telephone that’s in any other case primarily an identical.

That’s a take a look at that final 12 months’s 12 Professional failed miserably, with the cheaper 12 clearly the higher purchase. This 12 months the tables have turned, and the 13 Professional appears to be like just like the winner of the 2021 iPhone line-up. Whether or not that’s as a result of Apple has improved the 13 Professional so or needlessly held again options from the common 13 will principally rely in your degree of cynicism, however the finish consequence is similar: that is the very best iPhone this 12 months.

Is the very best iPhone ok anymore? For iOS devotees actually, although these open to switching sides will discover stronger stills cameras and slicker {hardware} in the very best Android telephones, although Apple has caught up on key floor this 12 months – most notably in some phenomenal enhancements to battery life.

Design and construct

Premium chrome steel design
Smaller notch
Glorious water-resistance

Apple stays cautious in updating the iPhone design, and so the 13 Professional will look similar to anybody who used final 12 months’s 12 Professional. Which means a well-recognized notch, squared-off chrome steel sides, and welcome Apple touches just like the bodily slider to set the telephone on Silent.

it head-on the 13 Professional is the very same dimension as its predecessor, although it’s now fractionally thicker and 15g heavier. Mixed with the squared sides that the corporate re-introduced final 12 months, that does go away the telephone feeling pretty chunky, although it have to be stated that the heft, along with the chrome steel body, do lend it some premium polish.

This 12 months Apple has fractionally shrunk the notch that cuts into the highest of the display, however except you set this telephone side-by-side in opposition to one among final 12 months’s you’d be hard-pressed to identify it. The telephone’s software program actually doesn’t do a lot with the additional display house – you will see the identical notification icons on both facet it doesn’t matter what – and welcome as this transformation is, it’s not large enough for anybody to trouble upgrading over.

The diminished notch nonetheless packs all the similar Face ID tech as earlier than – it is merely been condensed – however Apple nonetheless hasn’t discovered house to squeeze in one of many Contact ID energy buttons discovered on a number of of the current iPads. That was at all times annoying, however particularly so given Face ID’s well-documented difficulties with face masks.

And whereas the entrance digital camera house has shrunk, the again is ballooning. There are nonetheless three lenses, however new bigger sensors have prompted Apple to enlarge the entire digital camera module, which now takes up extra of the telephone’s rear and protrudes farther from it too. This was by no means the best-looking telephone digital camera on the planet and making it larger actually hasn’t helped, however I doubt it’ll trouble many individuals an excessive amount of.

I’ve been reviewing the 13 Professional in its gold end, which I’ll admit is a bit garish for my tastes, however I do know it has its followers. If it’s not for you both, then relaxation assured that silver and graphite return from final 12 months’s line-up, together with the brand new (and reasonably placing) ‘Sierra Blue’, a lighter alternative to final 12 months’s Pacific hue. There’s additionally the Alpine Inexperienced end to think about, which made an look round six months after the preliminary launch. 

As with all iPhones you’ll be able to anticipate an IP68 waterproof score, whereas the show is coated in Apple’s customized Ceramic Protect end for further sturdiness.

For those who had been hoping for a radical redesign of the iPhone, then the 13 Professional will disappoint – although hearsay has it that the iPhone 14 line could supply a bit of extra in that regard. However in case you’re a fan of the present iPhone design then that is extra of the identical: a bit of smaller right here, a bit of larger there, but it surely all evens out in the long run.


Smoother 120Hz ProMotion refresh price
6.1in OLED with nice color
Notch and thick bezel stay

For a lot of, the show would be the cause to improve to the 13 Professional – and definitely the largest cause to decide on this telephone over the similarly-sized iPhone 13.

Each fashions have 6.1in OLED shows with help for HDR, True Tone, and all the same old extras. Solely the Professional (and the bigger, 6.7in Professional Max) boast further brightness and an important improve: 120Hz refresh charges, formally dubbed ‘ProMotion’.

Launched in an iPhone for the primary time right here (although iPad Professionals have had the tech since 2017, and even funds Android telephones now help it), a 120Hz refresh price means the display refreshes extra ceaselessly, permitting for larger framerates in video games (i.e. extra responsive gameplay) and smoother, extra fluid animations in day-to-day utilization.

Very like the transfer to larger decision Retina shows, that is the form of improve that’s exhausting to explain and a few could not even discover in isolation. It turns into obvious when going again to a 60Hz show, although; after utilizing the 13 Professional my iPhone SE from final 12 months feels laggy as compared, even in easy duties, like flicking between dwelling screens or open apps.

The upper refresh price does eat extra battery, which is why Apple has used made it dynamic right here; able to adjusting up and down between 120Hz and 10Hz, as wanted. Switching to a decrease refresh price when acceptable can assist the telephone save energy when displaying static screens, which is little doubt a part of what’s behind the 13 Professional’s spectacular battery life enhancements.

This dynamic refresh price tech is much less frequent – although not unprecedented – on the Android facet, although telephones just like the Oppo Discover X3 Professional and OnePlus 9 Professional can drop to an excellent slower 1Hz, when wanted.

As an Android person nearly all of the time, the mixture of the notch and thick (by trendy requirements) black bezel, operating across the show nonetheless frustrates me, and I look ahead to seeing what Apple has in retailer with a redesign subsequent 12 months. I can’t fault the standard of the panel itself although, which is lastly again the place it ought to be, among the many finest out there.

Specs and efficiency

Essentially the most highly effective telephone round (for now)
25% quicker than final 12 months’s iPhone 12 Professional
1TB storage choice

Each new iPhone collection brings with it an up to date chipset, and that is no totally different, with the 5nm A15 Bionic now calling the pictures.

Evaluating iPhone chips to Android feels a bit of fruitless, however neither facet may disagree that the iPhone 13 Professional will stand toe-to-toe with any Android telephone out there on pure energy, and sometimes excel – significantly in particular duties, like video rendering.

In our testing the 13 Professional has improved roughly 25% year-on-year in CPU efficiency, whereas in our graphical benchmark we noticed a 19% soar. Benchmark scores are constantly above the very best Android gadgets of the final 12 months, although keep in mind that the framerate hole on graphical checks is nearer than it appears, with the Android flagships boasting larger decision shows that require extra graphical processing energy.

This latter take a look at did throw up one wrinkle price flagging: since 120Hz help needs to be coded manually, apps received’t all take advantage of this tech from day one. GFXBench remained capped at 60fps, reasonably than hitting the upper body charges the show ought to now enable, an issue additionally prone to be encountered in lots of video games and different apps; at the least within the short-term, as devs work to bake in full help.

That is additionally the primary 12 months that Apple has supplied as much as 1TB of storage on an iPhone, although Apple expenses a number of hundred for the improve. Anybody who makes use of iCloud and different cloud storage will most likely be glad sufficient with the 128GB base choice, although contemplate extra in case you anticipate to take full benefit of the 13 Professional’s video capturing tech.

5G has after all returned this 12 months, although precise 5G bands supported range by market, with mmWave specifically nonetheless solely supported within the States.

You’ll additionally discover NFC (for Apple Pay) and Extremely-Wideband or UWB (for the improved Discover My tech that powers the AirTag), together with Bluetooth 5.zero and Wi-Fi 6. Neither of these latter two are absolutely the newest requirements obtainable, however at this level we’re actually quibbling.

Battery and charging

Phenomenal two-day battery life
Gradual (23W) wired charging
MagSafe (15W) and Qi (7.5W) wi-fi charging

If there’s one space the place Apple has undoubtedly lagged behind Android for the previous couple of years, it’s battery life. So that you’ll forgive me for scoffing barely when the corporate promised “the very best battery life on iPhone ever” this time round. Some promise, proper?

Reader: I used to be incorrect.

Whether or not it’s the larger battery discovered inside (not that Apple reveals battery capacities formally), efficiencies due to the dynamic refresh price and A15 chip, and even simply software program tweaks, the tip result’s the primary iPhone in years that really has good battery life – not simply good for an iPhone.

With gentle use, the 13 Professional lasts me two days, although admittedly that does run it right down to the one digits by bedtime on day two. Typical use nonetheless sees it comfortably final a full day, and I anticipate it’ll stay this manner for a few years, even with battery degradation.

I’m certain somebody dedicated may drain the battery in a day – heavy gaming or in depth video seize would most likely do the trick – however I doubt the typical person will see such occur any time quickly. That’s an enormous step ahead for Apple, and sees the brand new iPhone not simply maintain tempo with the very best Androids however really outlast lots of them – I can’t bear in mind the final time that occurred.

Sadly the identical can’t be stated in relation to topping the 13 Professional again up.

Whereas among the prime Android telephones can now totally cost in lower than half an hour – and even supply wi-fi speeds that aren’t a lot slower – Apple solely advertises 20W max speeds for the 13 Professional, which it says can ship a 50% cost in half an hour.

In actual fact enterprising testers have found that the 13 Professional appears to cap at 23W speeds – fractionally higher, however nonetheless. As such, in case you do plan on pairing your Professional with a brand new charger to match you should not search for something a lot previous 25W, as you will not see any further profit.

And naturally, you might effectively want to purchase one, as Apple now not ships a charger with the telephone. It’s nonetheless Lightning too, with no signal that the corporate ever intends to shift the iPhone to USB-C, that means this received’t even use the identical charger as any current iPad or MacBook you might personal.

Wi-fi charging remains to be supported too, with 7.5W speeds over the common Qi commonplace and quicker 15W charging over Apple’s proprietary MagSafe for iPhone tech.


Constant digital camera upgrades since final 12 months
Struggles with vivid gentle sources, even in daytime
Cinematic mode impresses

Apple primarily pushes consumers in direction of its Professional fashions based mostly on their digital camera options, and whereas this 12 months’s 120Hz show improve will likely be a significant enchantment for a lot of, the extra value over the common iPhone 13 solely actually is smart in case you’re additionally anticipating to take advantage of out of the telephone’s pictures prowess.

At a look, the rear digital camera right here appears to be like much like the 12 Professional’s – besides that it’s bigger – and, as soon as once more, you’ll discover a primary lens, an ultrawide and a telephoto sensor. Every of them has been upgraded although, and the outcomes are undeniably spectacular.

The principle digital camera advantages from each a bigger sensor and a quicker aperture – f/1.5 – each of which have the impact of serving to the digital camera to soak up extra gentle. In good lighting, this lens is expectedly glorious, however the identical could possibly be stated of each flagship telephone as of late.

The true take a look at is in low gentle, which is the place the brand new sensor and aperture ought to make all of the distinction. Right here the 13 Professional does a superb job of stabilising pictures and capturing element, however dimmer gentle additionally exposes an issue that additionally often crops up within the daytime: dynamic vary.

The 13 Professional’s primary digital camera – and certainly its different lenses, however we’ll get to them – constantly over-exposes vivid gentle sources on the expense of different components of the shot. That is clearest when capturing sunsets or avenue scenes at evening, however daytime glare might be simply as troubling.

The consequence just isn’t solely that gentle sources are over-exposed and blown out – often together with the sky – however that different topics, particularly when backlit, are sometimes left darkish and under-exposed because the telephone focuses publicity across the brightest spot.

That is the form of problem that Apple can most likely fine-tune over time, however does put a direct damper on any promise that that is the very best digital camera telephone round.

There’s a couple of lens right here although. The ‘most improved’ award would certainly go to the ultrawide, which has leapt from f/2.four to f/1.8, making it one of many widest apertured ultrawide cameras in any telephone.

Its light-capturing capabilities are actually nearly on par with the primary lens, although with none optical picture stabilisation it might’t seize the identical degree of element – particularly in low gentle. Nonetheless, that effective element is usually much less essential in case you’re making an attempt to {photograph} sweeping vistas and cityscapes, and this can now maintain its personal in opposition to the primary lens in relation to capturing scenic sunsets and vacation views – albeit with the identical caveats round publicity.

The ultrawide has one other new trick. Now able to specializing in topics as shut as 2cm, it doubles as a macro lens – and an excellent one at that. As an alternative of a low decision devoted macro shooter, you get to wield the complete energy of the ultrawide. Outcomes nonetheless aren’t excellent – discovering focus can generally be tough, and for something nearer than 2cm this received’t work in any respect – but it surely’s a superb choice to have.

The one actual irritation is that, proper now, it activates robotically as you strategy a topic, which is a bit of jarring, particularly because it does so from far additional away than the 2cm focal size. It’s downright unusable if you wish to body a shot from simply the space it switches out, because the slightest transfer may have the cameras switching forwards and backwards continuously. Luckily, Apple is rolling out a toggle to show this mode off, although it’s not obtainable but.

Whereas each the primary and ultrawide lenses listed here are enhanced, in comparison with their regular-iPhone 13 counterparts, it’s the third lens that actually units the 13 Professional aside: the telephoto.

The 3x optical zoom lens (up from 2x in final 12 months’s mannequin) is a combined blessing. The longer zoom distance is clearly a bonus when capturing distant topics, although I discover it trickier to make use of for portrait pictures – you will have to again away out of your topic a good bit. It’s additionally nonetheless a far cry from the 5x and 10x lenses discovered on some Samsung and Xiaomi flagships, although you might not thoughts that.

I used to be nervous the narrower aperture of f/2.Eight would additionally restrict the lens, however in reality, the telephoto nonetheless holds its personal – even in low gentle and Evening Mode pictures. It has the identical issues with blowing out gentle sources as the opposite lenses however for essentially the most half shares their strengths too.

If the 13 Professional principally matches Android’s finest on stills, Apple at the least comfortably holds onto the crown in relation to video, which is crisp, easy and secure, irrespective of which lens you employ. The cameras listed here are nonetheless capped at [email protected] – no 8K, although who wants it? – however will quickly help Apple’s personal ProRes video format too, although sadly this isn’t prepared simply but.

The massive addition right here is Cinematic Mode, which is basically Portrait Mode for video, with adjustable focus. It’s one other characteristic already discovered on a number of Android gadgets, although Apple’s implementation principally leaves these within the mud; with glorious object detection and pure bokeh blur.

Whereas filming the digital camera app will do its finest to intelligently choose the very best focus level, choosing out faces and animals, and can alter this on the fly. This facet of the tech isn’t excellent simply but, however the capability to rapidly and simply change focus factors within the video after filming make this a moot level. The one actual draw back is a restrict to HD resolutions, reasonably than 4K, however that is removed from a dealbreaker.

As you’d anticipate the selfie digital camera excels too. This 12Mp, f/2.2 digital camera remains to be top-of-the-line front-facing cameras round and is able to all the identical software program methods – together with 4K video and Cinematic Mode – that actually assist set itself aside.

Software program and updates

iOS 15 out of the field
New notification administration instruments
Lengthy-term software program help assured

The iPhone 13 collection are the primary iPhones to ship with iOS 15 – although, after all, this can already be obtainable to you in case you’re already on an iPhone (at the least any from the 6s onwards).

Very like the iPhone 13 vary itself, this 12 months’s iOS replace doesn’t make any radical modifications to the system, however the updates which can be listed here are welcome ones.

Notification Abstract is maybe the largest enchancment, and the following step in Apple’s ongoing efforts to enhance iPhone notifications – lengthy the platform’s weak spot. Now you’ll be able to lump sure notifications – information updates, Netflix content material drops, or Instagram follower pings – into summaries that arrive at set intervals in the course of the day, leaving solely the best precedence alerts to pop up the second they’re initially issued.

Alongside related traces, the brand new Focus Modes mean you can create tailor-made profiles – work, dwelling, sleep, health club, and so on. – which every convey their very own distinctive dwelling screens, notification settings and Do Not Disturb configurations.

There are smaller modifications all through, together with new options for FaceTime, iMessage and Apple Maps, and the intelligent capability to seize textual content from pictures. These are unlikely to radically alter the way in which you employ your iPhone although.

Finally, iPhone homeowners will discover issues acquainted, and anybody switching from Android will encounter a studying curve, however there’s a lot right here to win over the hesitant finally.

The one main omission is an always-on show – I dearly miss having the ability to spot the time and notifications at a look with out waking my telephone up. That is one other space the place Apple feels curiously behind the instances, and with dynamic refresh price supported and the battery life enhanced, there’s now not any {hardware} justification for this software program shortcoming.

In fact, small faults like this are made up for by Apple’s dedication to long-term software program help. Whereas issues are bettering elsewhere, with most flagships now providing two or three years of Android updates, no person can beat Apple for sheer longevity. If you wish to purchase a telephone now and preserve utilizing it for 5 years, it actually needs to be an iPhone.

Worth and availability

The iPhone 13 Professional is obtainable now from Apple, Amazon, and extra. It isn’t an affordable telephone, even at its beginning value, and it rapidly turns into a really costly one as you add on storage:

128GB: £949/US$999/€1,159
256GB: £1,049/US$1,099/€1,279
512GB: £1,249/US$1,299/€1,509
1TB: £1,449/US$1,499/€1,739

You’ll be paying roughly £170/US$200/€250 further for the Professional over the common iPhone 13 at every storage level (although there’s no 1TB choice for that mannequin), although that looks like an inexpensive premium for the 120Hz show, telephoto lens, and different further options dotted all through. I’d say the show alone makes the additional value price it for a lot of, although do contemplate how a lot you’ll actually respect the extras.

There’s additionally the 13 Professional Max, which prices a bit of extra. In contrast to final 12 months, this options primarily an identical specs to the Professional, so is just price contemplating if you wish to pay further for a bigger show and an even bigger telephone; although you may also anticipate barely improved battery longevity out of it too. Equally, the 13 Mini matches the specs of the common 13, however in a extra petite type issue.

Android flagships just like the Galaxy S21, Xiaomi Mi 11, Oppo Discover X3 Professional, and OnePlus 9 Professional type the primary competitors in any other case. All will match the iPhone 13 Professional on core efficiency and digital camera chops for essentially the most half, however range elsewhere. Most supply a lot quicker charging than Apple’s, some characteristic extra versatile digital camera arrays, and a few even nonetheless beat the improved show seen right here. None have a notch, and most will in the end value lower than this, particularly for equal storage.

Take a look at our rating of the very best flagship telephones from both working system to get a greater sense of the competitors and the way the 13 Professional stacks up, or our present iPhone rating to learn the way the opposite Apple fashions evaluate.


The iPhone 13 Professional is that this 12 months’s finest iPhone. The 6.1in show is essentially the most comfy dimension for many customers, and the mixture of the 120Hz refresh price and digital camera enhancements throughout the board makes this price the additional value over the bottom iPhone 13.

By Android requirements, the comparability is trickier. On pure efficiency, the 13 Professional holds its personal in opposition to any telephone on the market, and for video recording it is unmatched. The perfect telephones from Samsung, Xiaomi, and Vivo at the moment have Apple beat on stills pictures, however as of late there’s not a lot in it, and this stays an distinctive digital camera to search out in a telephone.

By adopting 120Hz and fixing the battery life, Apple has lastly closed floor on its two largest current weak factors and charging speeds now stay the largest hole between prime iPhones and the competitors – although I believe many will discover Apple’s providing completely adequate.

Finally, it is iOS 15 and Apple’s design language that can tempt folks to the iPhone 13 Professional as a lot as anything. For those who’re a fan of Cupertino’s work, that is pretty much as good an instance as any of what the corporate can do with cell {hardware}, and the drawbacks now really feel few and much between – as long as you’ll be able to afford it.

About the author: SubSellKaro

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