The new crop of iPhone 13 make their debut Friday.
Apple is introducing four versions of its next smartphone on Sept. 24. Along with the standard iPhone 13, there's the iPhone 13 Mini, the iPhone 13 Pro and the Pro Max.
Prices start at $699 for the Mini and creep up by $100 for each model, topping off at $1,099 for the Pro Max.
Among the features Apple is touting for iPhone 13 are a brighter display, improvements to the cameras, better battery life and faster performance thanks to the new A15 chip.
I tried out the standard iPhone 13 and the iPhone 13 Pro Max for roughly 48 hours. Here are five things I learned based on my short time with the new devices:
1. The Pro cameras are really nice
The features that really stood out to me while using the iPhone 13 Pro Max were the macro photography options. When you move the camera really close toward an object, which for me was a leaf with raindrops, the phone's ultra-wide lens will automatically shift to a macro view to allow for detailed up-close pictures. It's fantastic when you want to pull out intricate details from a subject.
2. Will we really use Cinematic Video?
Another new tool for aspiring videographers is Cinematic Video, which will automatically adjust the focus when you record. Here's an example featuring my two kids: I took a video of my son while my daughter was sitting in the background. The camera focused on him while his background was out of focus. When he turned to look at his sister, the camera recognized this and focused on her instead. Once in a while though, if my son moved his head even slightly, the focus would shift back to him.
It's certainly fun to use, but I'm curious whether everyday users will actually try this or if it's just a cool trick to try out periodically.
3. The colorful iPhones look sharp
When you hear about iPhones with different colors, it's difficult not to question whether it might look cheesy in a bright blue or pink or gold. But what Apple has done is give these phones pops of color while still maintaining a level of elegance.
The sierra blue on the iPhone 13 Pros is probably my favorite. It's similar to a Carolina blue, but maybe a touch darker. The pink is shown in a lighter shade, so it's not overly bright, while the gold is sharp but not gaudy.
4. Those fancy iPhone 13 Pros
The iPhone 13 and the 13 Mini are beautiful phones, but the Pro and Pro Max feel like a premium device in terms of design. They have a textured matte back, as well as a stainless steel band all around the body of the phone. You almost don't want to use a case because of how nice the phones look.
5. Battery life feels good so far
I've focused on the Pro Max since that's got the best battery life. I've taken lots of photos and videos, played games like Genshin Impact, and performed other tasks, too. And still got quite a bit of battery left. It's still too early to tell just how well these batteries hold up (we'll have more on this very soon).
So should I buy one?
I have an iPhone 12 Mini currently. If I'm looking at this strictly at performance between the two, I feel comfortable hanging on to my smartphone. The differences between the 13 and my 12 Mini don't seem stark enough where it feels I'm getting a huge upgrade in speed or performance. And even if you have an iPhone 11, iPhone XS or XR, you should be fine.
However, if you've been clinging to an older smartphone for a while and really want to upgrade to Apple's latest and greatest, you're going to get a great device you can hold on to for a long time.
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