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iPhone 13 Pro vs iPhone 12 Pro: has Apple finally created a Pro worthy of the name?

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TheiPhone 13 Pro Review praises this smartphone as the stylish, compact flagship. Our iPhone 12 Pro Review was also positive. So how does this compare?

Both of these phones rank among the top iPhones and are arguably the most popular smartphones. There’s no getting around the fact that they both look very similar. Both phones received 8 out 10 votes. However, Apple has made key improvements to ensure that the new model feels fresh

Should you upgrade to iPhone 13 Pro? Let’s have a closer look at the offerings here.

iPhone 13 Pro vs iPhone 12 Pro Price and availability

The iPhone 13 Pro was released in shops on September 24, 2021. This was a bit earlier than the iPhone 12 Pro which arrived on October 23, 2020.

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The iPhone 12 Pro’s pricing is very similar. The iPhone 13 Pro’s entry-level 128GB model costs $999 / PS949 / AU$1,699 while the 256GB model costs $1,099 / PlayStation1,049 / AU$1,869 and the 512GB model is $1,299 /PS1,249 / AU$2,219.

The iPhone 13 Pro also includes a 1TB model for the first time. It will cost $1,499 / PlayStation1,449 / AU$2,569

The iPhone 12 Pro was also available at a starting price of $999 / PS999 / AU$1,699, for the 128GB model. The 256GB model was $1,099 / AU$1,899 / AU$1,899 while the 512GB model was $1,299 / AU$2,219

You can see that UK buyers are getting a slightly better deal because of the recent currency shift.

The iPhone 13 Pro comes in different colors (Image credit to Apple)

iPhone 13 Pro vs iPhone 12 Pro: design

Although the iPhone 13 Pro is very similar to the iPhone 12 Pro in design, we were surprised that this wasn’t the case. Apple has made major changes to its iPhone design with the last year’s models. Therefore, another wholesale overhaul is not planned.

There are subtle differences between the angular design and parallel glass surfaces.

Due to its larger battery, the newer phone is slightly heavier and bigger than its predecessor. The iPhone 12 Pro measures 146.7×71.5×7.4mm and is 189g. However, the iPhone 13 Pro measures 128×71.5×7.4mm and is 204g. The iPhone 13 Pro is 15g heavier and a fraction thicker than the older phone.

This year’s iPhone offers a different range of colors: Graphite (Gold, Silver, and Sierra Blue), the latter being one of the most striking new colors Apple has released in a while. The iPhone 12 Pro featured Graphite and Gold as well as Silver and Pacific Blue.

The iPhone 12 Pro features a larger notch. Image credit: TechRadar

We prefer the matte finish on both Pros’ glass rear panels to shiny non-Pro models.

The rear camera module on the iPhone 13 Pro is significantly larger than the iPhone 12 Pro. While this is a good thing for camera quality (which we’ll talk about), it makes the iPhone 13 Pro a bit heavier and more difficult to place flat than its predecessor.

The iPhone 13 Pro has a Ceramic Shield on its front, just like the iPhone 12 Pro. This is four times stronger than other glass display materials.

The most important design change is the 20% smaller display notch on the iPhone 13 Pro than the iPhone 12 Pro. Although it isn’t a major design change, it’s an improvement.

iPhone 13 Pro vs iPhone 12 Pro: display

These two displays appear identical at first glance. Both are 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED displays that have the same 1170 x 2632 resolutions. Both displays can reach a peak brightness level of 1200 nits when used with HDR content.

However, there are some differences. The iPhone 13 Pro’s screen is brighter outdoors, with a whopping 1,000 nits. The iPhone 12 Pro is limited to 800 nits.

However, the key difference is what makes the iPhone 13 Pro stand out from the iPhone 12 Pro 12 months ago. Finally, the new version adds a 120Hz refresh speed to the equation.

This feature has been delayed since Apple introduced the super-smooth ProMotion standard on its 2017 iPad Pro. This basically means content scrolls past twice as fast as the iPhone 12 Pro’s 60Hz counterpart.

The iPhone 13 Pro has an increased refresh rate (Image credit to Apple)

Apple uses LTPO (low temperature polycrystalline oxide display technology) here. This allows it to scale the iPhone 13 Pro’s refresh rate from 10Hz to 120Hz depending on the task.

Since a while, this LTPO technology is present in Android phones. This is because iOS has been programmed so that it can track your touch inputs speed and adjust the refresh rate accordingly. It will automatically scale to your screen without you realizing, saving valuable battery life.

We can see the iPhone 13 Pro’s display in our hands. The difference is evident when scrolling through menus and system apps. As third-party app support grows, the difference will become more obvious and meaningful.

iPhone 13 Pro vs iPhone 12 Pro: camera

The iPhone 13 Pro is similar to the iPhone 12 Pro. It has three 12MP cameras.

The iPhone 13 Pro has a wider sensor and a wider aperture at f/1.5 (compared to the iPhone 12 Pro’s f/1.6). This allows for a 2.2x increase in low-light shots.

The iPhone 13 Pro’s ultrawide sensor has been increased to an aperture of f/1.8. This aperture is larger than the iPhone 12 Pro’s f/2.4 equivalent. This sensor has a 92% improvement in low-light performance over the iPhone 12 Pro ultra-wide.

The iPhone 13 Pro’s ultra wide camera is not only an improvement, but also a great tool for capturing macro shots. The iPhone 13 Pro can also capture super-close macro shots up to 2cm from the subject

The 12MP Telephoto Lens gets an increase from a 2x optical Zoom on the iPhone 12 Pro, to a 3x optical Zoom on the iPhone 13 Pro. The telephoto sensor can be used to take Night mode photos.

The iPhone 12 Pro features a triple-lens camera (Image credit to TechRadar).

Apple has upgraded the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s sensor shift optical imaging stabilization system to make it even more stable than the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Apple is always bringing new photographic techniques to the table. The iPhone 13 Pro includes a new feature that allows you to choose from a variety of Photographic Styles. This lets you alter the tone and warmth, without making skin or skies look unnatural.

This mode was fun to use, but not a reason to upgrade. The iPhone 13 Pro’s fundamental hardware improvements are much more important.

Smart HDR 4 can, however, adjust for multiple people in a scene.

The new Cinematic mode automatically selects the focus point for movie theater-worthy productions. It can follow a subject’s gaze or anticipate when they are about to enter view. You can also edit depth effects after shooting.

This mode has been tested extensively and we have found it to be quite reliable. This is clearly a first-generation feature, but we expect it to get smarter and more consistent with time.

ProRes video will be available later in the year. You can record, edit and deliver broadcast-ready content while on the move at 4K/30fps or 1080p if your model is 128GB.

This is a significant improvement on what remains the best smartphone camera on the market, the iPhone 12 Pro.

The iPhone 13 Pro features a similar, but more powerful camera. (Image credit to Apple)

iPhone 13 Pro vs iPhone 12 Pro: specifications and performance

Apple’s A series chips are at the top of smartphone performance trees, and that’s true for the iPhone 13 Pro’s A15 Bionic.

This 6-core CPU is 50% faster than the Android’s leading competitor. The GPU is faster than the A15 Bionic inside the iPhone 13 Pro. It has a 5-core GPU instead of the 4-core, which gives it a claimed 50% advantage over its closest rival.

Apple did not provide any direct comparisons to its immediate past. However, we know that the A15 Bionic chip’s new Neural engine is capable of 15.8 Trillion operations per second. This is more than 40% higher than the iPhone 12 Pro’s A14 Bionic’s 11 Trillion operations per second.

The iPhone 13 Pro also scored 4718 in our CPU-focused Geekbench 5-multi-core tests. This is around 30% more than the iPhone 12 Pro’s 3669.

The iPhone 13 Pro offers more storage and a faster processor (Image credit to Apple)

We didn’t notice any stuttering or pauses in the iPhone 13 Pro’s general performance, no matter what we tried. The same is true for the iPhone 12 Pro. It’s unlikely that you will notice a significant difference in performance when upgrading from one model to another. This is due to Apple’s chip design, ongoing support and not criticism.

The storage options available to you are the same as before: 128GB, 248GB and 256GB. Apple also introduced a 1TB storage option for the first time.

Apple claims that the iPhone 13 Pro supports 5G bands more than the iPhone 12 Pro. We doubt this will matter to the majority of people.

iPhone 13 Pro vs iPhone 12 Pro: battery

Last year’s iPhone 12 Pro came out with a 2,815mAh lithium battery. This was a significant improvement over its predecessor. The capacity of the iPhone 13 Pro has been increased to 3,095mAh.

You might think that the iPhone 13 Pro requires more juice because it has a 120Hz display. This screen, thanks to the extensive software optimization and the low-temperature polycrystalline dioxide (LTPO) display technology, is more efficient than its 60Hz counterparts in many situations.

Apple claims that the iPhone 13 Pro has 1.5 hours more battery life than the iPhone 12 Pro. We wouldn’t dispute this claim.

We found that the new phone has a significantly longer battery life than the iPhone 12 Pro or other Pro handsets. The iPhone 13 Pro can withstand high-frequency use for a long time, with between 10-20% remaining at the end of the day.

You may end the day with half a tank if you are using less.

Apple has not made any changes to the iPhone 13 Pro’s charging system. We still have 20W wired and 15W wireless charging, but no charging brick included. In other words, it’s just like the iPhone 12 Pro.

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