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iPhone 12 vs iPhone 13

The iPhone 13 is a small but solid step-up from 2020’s iPhone 12. But is it worth getting the latest flagship, or will the previous year’s model do just fine? Read our review to find out more.

Overall Winner in snapshot: iPhone 13

At first glance, the iPhone 13 doesn’t look too different from the iPhone 12. Specs-wise, they’re not too dissimilar either – for example, they have the same screen, build quality and 5G connectivity.

The iPhone 12 was a major change from the iPhone 11, so it makes sense that Apple doesn’t want to deviate too much. Instead, it takes the previous year’s phone and refines it in a few key areas, most notably in its boosted battery life, new camera technology and faster, more powerful processor.

As a result, the iPhone 13 is a solid and reliable improvement from its predecessor, if not the most exciting one. There’s no doubt that most people will be very satisfied with it, but those with an existing iPhone 12 may not feel the urge to upgrade just yet.

On the other hand, if you’re keen to get your hands on an Apple flagship for cheaper, the iPhone 12 has now dropped in price. As well as a near-identical design and display, it provides a similar performance and experience.

Compare iPhone 12 deals

  • iPhone 12 (64GB Black)
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    • 10GB of 5G data
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    • £79.00 device cost
    • download speed limit
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    • £24.00 per month
    24 month contract From Affordable Mobiles
  • iPhone 12 (64GB Black)
    iPhone 12
    • 100GB of 5G data
    • Unlimited minutes
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    • download speed limit
    • Claim free Apple TV+ for three months
    • £28.00 per month
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Compare iPhone 13 deals

  • iPhone 13 (128GB Blue)
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    • 25GB of 5G data
    • Unlimited minutes
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    • £48.00 device cost
    • download speed limit
    • £56.00 per month
    24 month contract From Sky Mobile
  • iPhone 13 (128GB Blue)
    iPhone 13
    • Unlimited 5G data
    • Unlimited minutes
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    • £19.00 device cost
    • download speed limit
    • 3 months free Apple TV+ and Music
    • £35.99 per month
    24 month contract From iD Mobile
  • iPhone 13 (128GB Blue)
    iPhone 13
    • Exclusive
    • 100GB of 5G data
    • Unlimited minutes
    • Unlimited texts
    • £179.00 device cost
    • download speed limit
    • Claim free Apple TV+ for three months
    • £27.00 per month
    24 month contract From Affordable Mobiles
  • iPhone 13 (128GB Pink)
    iPhone 13
    • 100GB of 5G data
    • Unlimited minutes
    • Unlimited texts
    • download speed limit
    • Special offers with O2 Priority
    • £32.00 per month
    24 month contract From O2

iPhone 12 vs iPhone 13: What are the key differences?

  • Storage – the iPhone 12 has 64GB, 128GB and 256GB of storage, while the iPhone 13 doubles your choices to 128GB, 256GB and 512GB
  • Battery – according to Apple, the iPhone 13 lasts 2.5 hours longer than the iPhone 12 on a single charge
  • Camera – the iPhone 13’s camera software includes several new features, giving you slightly better image quality and more creative control when shooting

iPhone 12 vs iPhone 13 design

Rather than reinventing the wheel, the iPhone 13 follows the iPhone 12 in a return to the familiar blueprint of the iPhone 4 design.

Instead of the curved sides of the preceding iPhone generations, the iPhones 12 and 13 feature flat aluminium edges and a glass black. Both phones have an edge-to-edge screen that incorporates Apple’s “Ceramic Shield” technology, making them stronger and more shatter-resistant.

The key difference is the notch at the top of the screen. It’s 20% smaller on the iPhone 13, freeing up slightly more display.

In hand, the iPhone 13 weighs slightly more. They’re roughly the same proportions, except for the iPhone 13 being a tiny bit thicker. The incremental increase in weight and thickness is likely due to the iPhone 13’s bigger battery.

The iPhone 13 comes in five colourways: Pink, Blue, Midnight Black, Starlight White and Product Red. Meanwhile, the iPhone 12 comes in Black, White, Red, Blue, Green and Purple.

iPhone 12 vs iPhone 13 camera

On the back of both phones, you’ll find a dual 12MP camera system with one Wide and Ultra-Wide lens. Looks-wise, the iPhone 12 arranges the two lenses in a vertical stack, whereas the iPhone 13 positions them diagonally.

It’s not just the camera arrangement that’s changed, however. The iPhone 13 presents a step-up in both camera hardware and software.

Whereas the iPhone 12 missed out on advanced features exclusive to its Pro counterparts, the iPhone 13 manages to include most of the Pro’s high-tech capabilities.

It makes room for Apple’s new Cinematic Mode, which allows you to record videos with shallow depth of field, and Photographic Styles, for real-time filters that change the look and feel of your images.

Plus, its main camera has a slightly larger sensor, which allows for sharper photos.

Still, the big upgrades in camera tech don’t necessarily translate into a marked improvement in image quality. While shots are generally cleaner with the iPhone 13 – particularly in low light – the differences are subtle.

Nevertheless, budding photographers will enjoy shooting with the iPhone 13, thanks to its versatile camera and new creative modes.

iPhone 12 vs iPhone 13 screen display

Not too much has changed when it comes to displays. Both phones have a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED screen with a 2532 x 1170-pixel resolution.

Still, the iPhone 13 does outshine the iPhone 12 in terms of brightness. With a maximum brightness of 800 nits, compared to 625 nits on the 12, it makes for easier viewing on sunny days.

But, in general, you won’t notice a discernible difference when viewing the phones side by side. They’re both brilliant displays, full of vibrant colours and contrast – great for viewing all types of content.

iPhone 12 vs iPhone 13 battery life and performance

While it may seem like the iPhone 13 presents small improvements across the board, you’ll certainly notice a big boost in battery life.

Packing a 3227mAh cell compared to the 12’s 2815mAh, the iPhone 13 lasts 2.5 hours longer between charges.

Additionally, the iPhone 12 is powered by an A14 Bionic chip, while the iPhone 13 has an A15 Bionic chip, Apple’s latest and greatest processor. It’s definitely faster, but the iPhone 12 is no slouch either.

iPhone 12 vs iPhone 13 software

The iPhone 12 originally shipped with iOS 14.1, while the iPhone 13 comes with iOS 15.

At the time of writing (February 2022), they’re both compatible with Apple’s latest iteration, iOS Version 15.3.1.

Having been released one year later, the iPhone 13 is likely set to continue receiving software patches for one year longer than the iPhone 12.

At any rate, Apple provides software updates long after release date. You’ll be pleased to hear that both phones will be supported for at least six years from initial release.

iPhone 12 vs iPhone 13 verdict

The iPhone 12 was a rather drastic overhaul of the iPhone 11. In contrast, the iPhone 13 finetunes certain aspects of an already great phone.

As a result, the iPhone 13 feels very familiar. Rather than a dramatic upheaval, it seems like a series of subtle refinements. After all, at the time of writing (February 2022), the iPhone 12 is still a very capable and powerful phone. When compared to the iPhone 13, it doesn’t feel dated at all.

Nevertheless, although the iPhone 13 is a small upgrade, it’s a solid one. Being part of Apple’s latest and greatest range, it’s currently one of the best phones on the market.

If you’re coming from an older phone, you may want to plump for the most recent release. But if you already have an iPhone 12, you may find the upgrades too incremental to justify getting a new phone.

It’s up to you whether the longer-lasting battery life and better camera, along with a host of small improvements, are worth the extra price.

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