iPhone 13 vs iPhone 12: Which is for You?
The iPhone 13 is already out with some brand new features including the new Apple A15 Bionic processor, a familiar phone design and of course, the partially eaten Apple logo which we all know and trust to provide good quality equipment. But is it much of an upgrade over the previous iPhone 12 series? With iPhone 13 contracts and offers reaching astronomical prices, perhaps it’s time to slow down and consider whether last year's iPhone 12 gives you better value for money. It’s a simple question, but not such a simple answer. The answer itself lies not only in the difference between the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 13, but also in the types of users that will be using the phones.
Types of iPhone users
So first of all, let’s find out what type of user you are:
- Light user
You use your phone for the bare minimum tasks. You make calls and texts, you even send the occasional WhatsApp message if you’re feeling extra crafty. You find your current phone never runs out of battery because you simply don’t use it enough. Perhaps you use the camera to take a saucy selfie once a year on your birthday.
- ‘Normal’ user
You use your phone for quite a reasonable amount of time during the day, perhaps due to your social media addiction and snapping pics of your Pumpkin Spiced Late at Starbucks. You’re easily able to get through your phone battery in a day if you don’t behave yourself. I reckon you even watch quite a bit of YouTube or TikTok on your phone too – perhaps you’ve even tried to make your own cheeky TikTok once or twice for a laugh at the staff Christmas party.
- Power User
You need the absolute fastest phone available! You need all the storage, all the processor power, all the megapixels… EVERYTHING. Perhaps you’re an ‘E-Sports Gamer’ and you need a high refresh rate screen to ensure you have the competitive edge when trying to get a ‘Winner Winner chicken dinner’ when playing a game of PUBG Mobile. Maybe you’re a Mobile photographer / videographer / content creator and you need the best-accredited smartphone camera until you’re able to buy an actual DSLR or mirrorless camera.
iPhone 13 vs iPhone 12 - It’s Battle Time
Now, that you know who YOU are, let’s get to know the phones themselves and discuss the main upgrades from the iPhone 12 to the iPhone 13: the design, the screen, the battery and the new upgraded camera.
In the Californian fruit company's latest iPhone 13 refresh this year, they’ve been playing it very safe as far as the design of the phone itself. The only way to really tell the phones apart is that the new iPhone 13 has a slightly smaller notch at the top of the screen. It also has a diagonally arranged camera lens arrangement on the rear of the device and comes in some new colourways including a new blue colourway which has been grabbing a lot of attention recently. This is all minimal stuff and might not matter to most people as you’ll probably be protecting your £600+ phone in a protective case that hides the design – unless you’re one of those ‘case-less’ phone people who live life on the EDGE, you adrenaline junkie!
The next big step up on the iPhone 13 this year is the screen itself. The screen is not bigger, nor does it have more resolution than the previous iPhone. However, what the iPhone 13 series does have is a 120Hz ProMotion display. What’s a ProMotion display you ask? Long story short, it’s a much smoother, more pleasurable viewing experience whilst staring at your phone screen all day. It’s specifically advantageous to gamers who use these high refresh rate screens to have faster reflexes when playing competitive games. All older iPhones before the iPhone 13 series have 60hz screens which can often result in a choppy, undesirable experience when scrolling through your phone. The best way to experience a high refresh rate screen for yourself is to see it in person, go to your local tech store, find the best looking, most expensive HD TV on demo and that most likely will be a high refresh rate screen you’re looking at.
The next upgrade on the iPhone 13 is the battery. It's bigger, it's better and of course, it’ll last you much longer than an iPhone 12. There’s nothing worse than having the latest phone with all the bells and whistles, minus the fact that the phone itself runs out of battery before the day is over. The iPhone 12 battery wasn’t absolutely terrible (Certainly not the behemoth iPhone 12 Pro Max) – but it’s certainly far from the best in terms of the time you could stay away from your charger during the day. The iPhone 12 introduced Magsafe wireless charging and the additional ability to fast charge the phone. However, not only have they made the battery physically bigger in the iPhone 13; due to the Apple A15 Bionic efficiency cores, the processor is much more power-efficient, which means you’ll have enough power to get you through the day, and then some. Also – the 120hz High refresh screen? It’s adaptive. This means it will go up to 120hz when needed and go back down to 1hz to save battery when not needed. If you have battery anxiety, this one is for you.
Arguably the biggest upgrade on the iPhone 13 series are the cameras – yes, cameras as in multiple cameras because one camera is decidedly not enough for the California based Fruit company. Let’s start off with the basics:
The regular iPhone 13 models sport a 12MP dual-camera setup – an adequate combination of a normal lens and an ultra-wide lens to make sure you get EVERYTHING in your shot. The iPhone 13 Pro models have the same combination with an additional 2x optical telephoto lens – because zooming in makes you pro? We just personally wish the telephoto lens was also available on the regular iPhone 13 handsets.
All the camera sensors are much bigger than the iPhone 12 series too – what does this mean? They let in more light which results in sharper and brighter pictures and video. This is brilliant for low light photography as you can now get snaps that are decent enough for social media on your extravagant night out.
Gone are the days when the selfie camera would take extremely the weakest selfies which were hardly social media worthy. The 12MP TrueDepth Selfie camera on the iPhone 13 is a sharpshooter and can easily match up to the rear-facing camera quality.
It’s been agreed for a long time that out of all the phone manufacturers, Apple have the best video camera quality – even better than the best Samsung device.
As for video, the iPhone 13 series are capable of shooting 4K 3840x2160 at 60 frames per second! This is amazing video quality for content creators and videographers. In fact, there are quite a few video cameras North of £1000 that only shoot 4k at 30 frames per second. 4k60 can be shot on all the camera lenses on the phone too. Just make sure that you buy an iPhone with enough storage if you’re going to be shooting a lot of 4k60 footage because due to the intensely high quality of the video, it eats up memory very quickly.
Quick Specs Comparison
|iPhone 13||iPhone 12|
|Storage||128GB, 256GB, 512GB||64GB, 128GB, 256GB|
|Rear cameras||12MP Main (ƒ/1.6); 12MP Ultrawide (ƒ/2.4)||12MP Main (ƒ/1.6); 12MP Ultrawide (ƒ/2.4)|
|Front camera||12MP TrueDepth (ƒ/2.2)||12MP TrueDepth (ƒ/2.2)|
|Colours||Red, Starlight, Midnight, Blue, Pink||White, Black, Blue, Green, Purple, [Product] Red|
|Battery life||10 hours +||8 Hours +|
(Width x Length x Height)
|W 71.5 mm x L 146.7 mm x H 7.4 mm||W 71.5 mm x L 146.7 mm x H 7.4 mm|
Should you upgrade from iPhone 12 to iPhone 13?
Other than the above, everything else between the iPhone 12 series and the iPhone 13 series is basically the same. The software is the same – although the iPhone 13 should technically receive software updates for a year longer than the iPhone 12. The phones both have access to the same apps on the Apple app store. The same charging accessories which work for the iPhone 12 series will work for the iPhone 13 series. The cameras are upgraded on the iPhone 13 series, but most of the upgrades are in the video department – do you take much video on your phone?
It’s a tricky one… if you were to tell me you have an iPhone older than the iPhone 12, I would recommend you definitely treat yourself to an iPhone 13 series device as there are a lot of new upgrades for you to enjoy over your current phone. However, if you already have an iPhone 12, it depends what type of user you are and how much you value a high refresh screen, a bigger battery and a better camera. If you’re a power user, it’s a no brainer – you know what you need to do. However, if you’re a normal user or a light user, and you’re happy with your current phones battery life, do you really care about a ProMotion and a better camera?
iPhone 13 vs 12 FAQs
Where can i trade in my iPhone 12 for an iPhone 13?
Apple has a trade-in programme where you can trade in an iPhone 8 or newer towards the cost of an iPhone 13 on their website. They give you a quote for the value of your current phone, you send it off to Apple, and they reduce the price of your new phone for you - no need to waste time with annoying indecisive eBay buyers.
Are iPhone 13 and 12 cases the same?
The iPhone 12 and 13 are the same size in regards to their dimensions which means the majority of cases will fit both. However, beware, some cases hug the camera bumps on the back of the phone quite tightly and the phones have slightly different camera bump sizes.
Do both iPhone 13 and 12 have 5G?
Yup! Both are 5G compatible. Bring on the SPEED!
Is the iPhone 13 battery better than iPhone 12?
Not only is the iPhone 13 battery physically bigger, but the new A15 Bionic Chip is also much more power-efficient than the last generation.
Is the iPhone 13 better for gaming than the iPhone 12?
On paper, the iPhone 13 should be much better for gaming. In reality, many games may not yet be developed to take advantage of the extra power the iPhone 13 is capable of, so you may not see any immediate improvement this early into the iPhone 13’s release.
About the Author
Joel is a YouTuber from South East London. He is the founder and main presenter of Tech Jamo Youtube Channel, a channel focused on all things Tech and Video Games.
Check out the TechJamo YouTube Channel!