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We are in the third week of September and that means that a new

iPhone

arrives in stores

.

Yes, another year has passed, hard to believe, and with the punctuality of a solstice or an eclipse here is the new

Apple

phone

to remind us.

Stop the presses!

Apple

says this is the best

iPhone

they have ever made.

Surprised?

Ya, it's understandable.

It's what he says every year.

And like every year, it's true.

The most repeated tautology in the industry.

Both the i

Phone 13 and 13 Mini

and the

iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max

are excellent.

I've been testing them for the past four days, focusing mostly on the

iPhone 13 mini

and

iPhone 13 Pro

.

I had to choose and it is the two, I think, that this generation had to demonstrate the most.

The

Mini

because last year it ran out of battery.

The

13 Pro

because its predecessor came with some cutout in the camera that has forced us, photography lovers, to carry a very large mobile for 12 months, even though we have not been able to leave home much.

They have come to redeem the sins of their ancestors and they have succeeded, but they do it in the way we assumed they were going to do it.

Apple

typically spends one year on big changes and another on small refinements.

This year it was time to refine the

iPhone 12

and it has been done with care and effectiveness but the result is a phone that is difficult to distinguish from its predecessors unless you really like photography and video.

The best is there.

Cinematic mode, for example, is amazing, even despite its limitations.

The cameras on the

iPhone 12

already took great photos, but the

iPhone 13

raises the bar with brighter sensors, or 3x zoom and macro photography on the Pro models.

As cameras (which is what all high-end phones are, after all) they fully comply and show that not everything is invented and that with algorithms, computing power and ingenuity, you can continue to advance even if you cannot give yourself the luxury of having the optics or sensor size of a SLR camera.

Let's go in parts ...

THE SCREEN FINALLY HAS 120 HZ

The iPhone 13 and 13 Pro have better screens

.

In the case of the iPhone 13 it only changes that they are now a little brighter but in the Pro, the iPhone introduces

ProMotion

technology

with a variable refresh rate.

Many Android phones have long had

90Hz, 100Hz, or 120Hz

displays

.

The figure refers to the number of times the image is updated per second.

The more times it is refreshed, the smoother the animations and movements will be on the screen.

Apple has used this technology since 2017, but only in the iPad Pro. Now it comes to the iPhone with an intelligent system, which takes into account the content that is being displayed on the screen and adjusts the refresh to the value that is necessary

between 10 Hz and 120 Hz

.

This means that if we are reading a book or looking at a photo, for example, the image is only refreshed 10 times per second.

If we are playing a game or scrolling through a web, it can go up to 120 times per second.

If we watch a movie, it will refresh 30 or 60 times per second depending on the encoding it has.

Overall, it's one of those little details that, once you get used to it, it's hard to ignore.

Everything flows smoother in the interface or when scrolling on a web and everything looks, as usual, perfect.

The variable speed also allows the iPhone to save energy, because the screen consumes much less when displaying photos on Instagram or when we stop to read a paragraph on a web.

It is not a huge amount (and it is compensated by the higher consumption when watching content in motion) but it all adds up.

Again, this is only available on the Pro models, but it's a welcome feature, even if it's a little late.

THERE IS A NEW PROCESSOR BUT YOU WILL NOT REALIZE

Inside every

iPhone 13

there is a new processor, the

A15 Bionic

.

Apple, however, has not compared it as it used to in other years with previous versions of its processors.

Instead, it notes that it is 50% faster than "competitive" chips.

The reason is that the

A15 Bionic

is somewhat faster than the

A14 Bionic

, yes, but nothing spectacular.

Around 10% in general calculation and a little more in graphics performance.

The Pro models have 5 processing cores in the GPU instead of 4, so they benefit a bit more in the comparison, although that extra core is mainly to support video recording in

ProRes

(more on that a little more down)

But measuring the numbers for Ax processors has long since ceased to make sense.

The A14 is still much faster than most high-end Android phone processors arriving these days.

to the market.

The

A15 Bionic

increases that distance a bit but at the moment of truth it is not something that is going to be noticed on a day-to-day basis.

All the power of the 6 CPU cores, 4 or 5 GPU cores and 16 of the neural engine mainly benefits functions such as kinematic mode (more on this, too, a few paragraphs below), portrait mode or photo cataloging. , to give some examples.

HERE THE CAMERAS COMMAND

In reality, despite the advances in screen and processor, the new iPhones have only one protagonist, which is the camera module.

All

iPhones

have camera improvements this year, but obviously the

Pro models

benefit the most.

In the

iPhone 13

the main camera changes, which is known as an angle camera and which is equivalent to a traditional camera with a 26 mm lens.

Now it has a sensor with the same size and stabilization system that last year equipped the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Even the

iPhone 13 Mini

.

This sensor captures 47% more light and the results are excellent in most situations.

Apple has also included a new function, dubbed "photographic styles", which allows you to customize the style of image capture and give it more vibrant and contrasting colors or cool or warm tones.

They are not filters, but settings for the capture and interpretation algorithm.

What is controlled, in a way, is what the camera "sees".

It is configured when you shoot a photo for the first time and can be changed whenever you want.

For most users it is best to leave it in "standard" mode but if we have the impression that the iPhone is shooting very warm tones for our liking, or the images are very flat, now it can be changed without having to edit photo by photo and respecting skin tones and other elements that a filter or a post-shot adjustment would modify.

There are also improvements to night mode and

Deep Fusion

(combining multiple exposures for clarity), which now work with all cameras.

SmartHDR, High Dynamic Range Capture, has also improved, which now takes into account skin tone settings for each person in the image.

In general, what was said.

The photos of the iPhone 12 were very good.

Those of the iPhone 13 are better in small details and much sharper in low-light scenes, such as inside a restaurant, thanks to the larger sensor.

FURTHER AWAY

In the iPhone Pro there is also a sensor with telephoto optics, which this year is more powerful.

It offers a 3x magnification and is equivalent to 77mm.

in traditional photography, which is a more classic portrait optics.

The jump makes the distance that separates the angle from the telephoto lens increase, and therefore it is necessary to resort to a greater digital zoom for the interval between 1x (26 mm.) And 3x (77mm.) Of magnification, but in general the quality it remains homogeneous throughout the zoom range, in part because Apple can now expose images a little longer thanks to the stabilized optics and work more on the final appearance of the image thanks to the A15 processor.

Going to 3X, however, also means losing some brightness in the telephoto camera. The 3x lens has an aperture of f / 2.8, which captures less light than the 2.5x or 2x camera on the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max. In low light, it's easier for the phone to go to the wide-angle camera and crop the image before using the telephoto lens, which is not only less sensitive but also not stabilized. You can force the use of the lens with specialized photography apps in these extreme cases, but the result will be somewhat louder and blurrier than desirable.

In general, if you take a lot of portrait photos or want as much versatility as possible, the iPhone 13 Pro is definitely worth it, but the quality of all the iPhone 13, including the Mini, is good and, this year, those who choose the Pro they won't have to sacrifice anything by choosing the most compact model over the Pro Max.

They have exactly the same camera module.

SMALL DETAILS

The main sensor and the telephoto lens is not the only one that improves.

All iPhones this year have a new ultra-wide sensor (which Apple calls 0.5x) brighter and capable of night photography.

It has better definition and is faster to shoot than last year.

But that of the Pro models is somewhat more versatile, detailed and comes with autofocus.

This gives the iPhone the ability to take macro photography for the first time.

Macro photography allows you to focus on very, very close objects, just 2 centimeters from the lens.

This is useful for capturing photos (and videos!) Of very small things, but also details and textures of large objects.

On the iPhone it works completely transparently.

It is simply activated by detecting that the lens that is being used at that moment cannot focus in a traditional way what is in front of it because it is already too close.

When macro mode is active you can zoom 1x and 3X, but the image is always taken with the ultra-wide camera and cropped.

In other words, it is a digital zoom, so the quality is not as good as the photos taken with the normal wide angle lens.

My experience with macro mode has been mixed.

The results are good, but without having a dedicated mode within the camera app, it produces a somewhat confusing effect.

When the lens changes from wide-angle or telephoto to ultra-wide, the frame is lost and the scene has to be reframe.

A macro mode in the app that kept the optics fixed would have been a better option, I think.

In a software update this fall,

Apple will add a new setting

to disable automatic camera switching for macro photography and video when shooting at close ranges.

That should help make using this mode easier.

KINEMATIC MODE: SHIVER, NOLAN

The other great novelty in these

iPhones

is the "cinematic mode", which can be broadly defined as a portrait mode for video.

The protagonists of the scene are highlighted thanks to a slight blur in the background, as you would get with a large lens and a professional camera.

The effect is very successful and compared to the portrait mode in photo it is more difficult to notice the imperfections when cropping the subject because it is in motion.

Since the video is saved with the depth information, it is also possible to change the focus point or the amount of blurring during post-production.

There are, yes, some limitations. All

iPhone 13s

record conventional 4K quality video, but in cinematic mode the maximum resolution is 1080p at 30 frames per second. You can record with the main lens or with the TV in the case of the iPhone 13 Pro, but you cannot change the lens during recording to zoom. Cinematic mode also works with the front camera.

In general, it is a very curious creative tool and the story here is similar to that of

ProMotion

. There are other phones that have brought portrait mode to video before the

iPhone

, but the way Apple has approached it is very complete, with algorithms that generally produce good results automatically but also with editing tools with which to fine-tune even more the results.

One last note.

The

iPhone 13 Pro will

be able to record video (not cinematic) in

ProRes

quality

, which is a format used mainly by image professionals.

It is a feature that will arrive with a later software update.

The iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max 128GB will only be able to store

ProRes

video

in 1080p, but the larger capacity ones will be able to record in 4K with this encoding system.

THE DESIGN CHANGES (BUT VERY LITTLE)

New

iPhone

13s are hard to distinguish

from old ones, but there are minor design changes.

The

notch

, the top notch, is slightly smaller.

It is hardly noticeable on a day-to-day basis, but it leaves a little more space for the signal and battery icons.

The camera modules are somewhat larger.

This, together with small changes in the position of the buttons, makes it not possible to reuse the

iPhone 12 cases

in this new generation.

In the

iPhone 13 Pro

the camera module is gigantic in relation to the size of the terminal and that can cause a problem with some accessories.

For example, I have noticed that the

iPhone 13 Pro

does not align well with the

Magsafe Duo

charger

because it collides with the camera module.

The phone charges, but it is clear that the edge of the module collides with the base, especially if a case is used.

This happened last year with the iPhone 12 mini as well, but the lower thickness of the module made it almost imperceptible.

Otherwise, everything is practically the same in these new

iPhones

.

There are new colors, as every year, to accompany the classic black / gray, white / silver or gold tones.

In this case,

Apple

has opted for a light blue on the

iPhone 13 and 13 Pro

and a red PRODUCT (RED) that is only available on the

iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini

.

THEY HAVE MORE BATTERY AND MORE MEMORY

The

iPhone 13 and 13 Pro

have greater autonomy, although the exact figure depends on the model and the use made of the phone.

All iPhones have a larger battery and the

A15

processor

is slightly more efficient.

In the case of the Pro, the

ProMotion

screen

also helps because it refreshes less frequently when the content is static.

In my tests, continuously streaming video at 50% brightness, the

iPhone 13 Mini

lasted about two hours longer than the iPhone 12 mini (11 hours and 56 minutes for the

iPhone 13 Mini

, 9 hours and 08 minutes in the case of the iPhone 12 Mini).

It is, by far, the

iPhone

that most needed an increase in autonomy because the small size of the battery ended up taking its toll on the iPhone 12 Mini.

It's still going to be difficult to get through a day without charging if used frequently, but the situation with the 13 Mini is more tolerable.

The phone that I have tested the most these days is the

iPhone 13 Pro

.

In heavy daily use (recording video and taking photos for testing, off

WiFi

most of the day), the iPhone 13 Pro consumed 80% of the battery in about 14 hours.

My experience with the

iPhone 12 Pro

last year was about 12 hours for the same level of consumption.

In general, I think, you can expect around 10% to 15% more autonomy with the new iPhones.

The

iPhone 13 Pro Max

is the one that offers the most autonomy, obviously, but the final figure will always depend on the type of use that each person makes of the phone, the level of screen brightness with which they are comfortable and other details such as the time. that happens within the coverage of a WiFi network.

THE PRICES ARE THE SAME

And finally, the

prices

are the same as last year, but all iPhones now start at 128GB capacity instead of 64GB.

The

iPhone 13

models

can reach 512 GB and the iPhone 13 Pro 1 TB.

The iPhone 13 Mini starts at 809 euros.

The iPhone 13, at 909. The

iPhone 13 Pro

starts from 1,159 euros and the Pro Max, from 1,259 euros.

Apple will keep the

iPhone 12

for

sale

at a reduced price, and it is a very good option for those who do not need so much camera.

The

iPhone 12 Pro

, however, has disappeared from the catalog, which in part makes sense because the features are very similar to those of the

basic

iPhone 13

of this year.

The phones can be reserved now on the Apple website and will begin to be sold this Friday, September 24.

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