Apple’s fall event is quickly approaching, and if you’re looking to upgrade ahead of the release of the iPhone 14, chances are the iPhone 13 or iPhone 12 are high on your list.
The iPhone 13 series, which includes the iPhone 13 Mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max, has some useful features that set it apart from 2020’s iPhone 12. Meanwhile, the iPhone 12 lineup remains a great buy (though the iPhone 12 Pro was discontinued). They are fast, thanks to Apple’s A14 Bionic chip, and have impressive cameras. Which iPhone should you get?
Are the extra features on the iPhone 13 worth the extra money? It will be determined by the iPhone model you are upgrading from as well as the condition of your current device. However, comparing the 13 and 12 lines may help you decide whether to spring for a top-of-the-line 2021 iPhone, save money with a 2020 model, or wait until Apple’s next event, which is expected in the fall. If there is stock on the Apple website, you can also purchase a refurbished iPhone 12 model.
At first glance, the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini are $100 cheaper than the corresponding iPhone 13 models, but that’s before you consider storage space. Both iPhone 12 models start at 64GB, which was plenty of space a few years ago. With apps becoming larger and cameras taking more detailed photos as well as video, you could end up spending a lot of money. against that storage limit during your time with the phone The iPhone 13 starts at 128GB and costs $829. When you compare that to a 128GB iPhone 12, which starts at $779, the price difference is only $50. This is because Apple reduced the prices of several iPhone 12 models following the release of the iPhone 13, and then discontinued the iPhone 12 Pro.
You get a lot more for your money by going with the iPhone 13, which we will discuss in more detail later. However, if all you want is a 5G iPhone and are unlikely to install a ton of apps on it, the iPhone 12 is indeed less expensive while still having the majority of the same features as the iPhone 13.
The iPhone 13 should last 2.5 hours longer than the iPhone 12, while the iPhone 13 Mini should last 1.5 hours longer than the 12 Mini. CNET editor Patrick Holland notes in his iPhone 13 and 13 Mini reviews that both phones can easily last a day on a single charge. This was especially noteworthy given that his personal iPhone 12 Mini usually requires a 3 p.m. recharge to get through the day.
Bionic A15 vs. Bionic A14
The A14 Bionic and A15 Bionic chips will likely handle FaceTime calls, texts, apps, games, and streaming videos with little discernible difference for the majority of tasks. Most people will be perfectly content with the iPhone 12, which is powered by an A14 Bionic processor.
The iPhone 13’s A15 Bionic chip, on the other hand, could be designed to be compatible with future Apple devices and software. According to reports, Apple is developing an augmented reality and virtual reality headset that could use the iPhone 13 and future iPhone models as a host device.
The primary current distinction is that the iPhone 13’s chip supports Cinematic video recording mode. In this mode, the phone can focus on subjects as they enter the frame while unfocusing on others, giving your videos a movie-like appearance. If you want more control over who is in focus, these videos can also be edited after the fact.
The iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 cameras have identical specifications. The front and back cameras on both phones have 12-megapixel sensors. But those specifications don’t tell the whole story about the phones’ photo processing differences.
The new camera layout on the iPhone 13 gives the wide-angle camera a larger sensor with sensor-based stabilization. The larger sensor is enabled by the iPhone 13’s new diagonal camera layout, while the ultrawide camera’s new sensor aids in light gathering. Photographic Styles, which allow you to customize how your camera develops photos, are also included on the iPhone 13. These styles differ from Instagram filters in that they analyze the subject of your photo and apply the appropriate style as needed.
Having said that, the iPhone 12’s cameras are still no slouch, with many of the same enhancements as iOS 15. In our review, Holland notes that the iPhone 13’s camera upgrades do not make significant differences, but there are noticeable year-over-year improvements.
Spec versus spec
Check out the chart below to see a spec-by-spec comparison of the current non-Pro iPhones, including the iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Mini, iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini. Let us know in the comments whether you’d rather save money with the iPhone 12, upgrade to a new iPhone 13, or keep your current iPhone for all of your daily needs.