Comparison of iPhone 12 and iPhone 13: how are smartphones different?


Despite all the superstition, Apple was not afraid to use the number 13 to refer to its new series. Predictably, the iPhone 13 is very similar to its predecessor. But the iPhone 12 just kicked off a new cycle in the company’s smartphone design. The recognizable features of the iPhone 4 with its sharp edges were used, in addition, the top-end tablets of the manufacturer – iPad Pro – are already produced in a similar style.

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However, it’s not worth talking about the purely cosmetic updates that the iPhone 13 received. Nevertheless, the smartphone, even outwardly, can be easily distinguished from last year’s model, and the new hardware filling allowed it to get some additional interesting functions. Let’s use our review to directly compare two models that are relevant for Apple (both are available for sale on the company’s website) – iPhone 12 and iPhone 13.

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IPhone 13 and iPhone 12 design and dimensions

With the iPhone 13 continuing to follow the style set by the 12-series, we shouldn’t expect significant design changes.

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iPhone 12

Smartphones are really very similar in appearance – all the same clear chopped edges. And the sizes of the devices are almost identical. The length and width remained the same – 146.7 mm and 71.5 mm, respectively. But the thickness of the iPhone 13 Pro is slightly more – 7.65 mm versus 7.4 mm for the model of last year. But hardly anyone will notice this difference in tenths of a millimeter. It is worth noting the increase in the mass of the new smartphone – it weighs a little more – 173 g versus 162 g of the iPhone 12. These changes can be easily explained by the appearance of a new battery.

iPhone 13

iPhone 13

Both smartphones have an aluminum body, the metal is still the same as used in the aerospace industry. The front panel is given almost the entire screen with Ceramic Shield protection, excluding cutout for cameras… But it has changed in the iPhone 13 – decreased by 20%… This change will clearly not go unnoticed by users, allowing you to accurately distinguish between models of different generations. Nevertheless, the difference in weight and thickness may not be noticed.

IPhone 12 vs iPhone 13 Comparison

The back panel of both smartphones is glass. In the upper left corner is the dual lens camera module. But their location has changed. If in the iPhone 12 the lenses are located strictly under each other, then in the iPhone 13 they are located diagonally to each other. And this is not just a whim of the designers – Apple says the new layout will help accommodate improved camera modules. Accordingly, the flash also moved – it rose a little higher. And this is the second defining moment in the design of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13.

IPhone 12 vs iPhone 13 Comparison

Other differences lie in the color options. iPhone 12 received 7 of them at once, here really – colors for every taste. But the iPhone has 13 fewer colors. Apparently, Apple marketers realized that such an abundance of options is not good for the device. The black color has changed a little and now it is called “dark night”, similarly and white is replaced by a “shining star”. Blue and (PRODUCT)RED remained, but green and purple were replaced by pink. There are still a lot of options (6 for the iPhone 12 and 5 for the iPhone 13), but their set and shades for the iPhone 13 are just refreshed.

IPhone 12 Colors

IPhone 12 Colors

IPhone 13 colors

IPhone 13 colors

Output: Obviously, the looks of the iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 are very similar. The overall design has remained unchanged, the buttons and connectors have retained their location. Visually, smartphones can still be distinguished by a smaller cutout and a new camera layout. Still, outwardly, the iPhone 13 looks a little more interesting, but exclusively due to the reduced cutout. And the new arrangement of camera lenses may not be to everyone’s liking.

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IPhone 13 and iPhone 12 display

IPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini display

IPhone 13 display

It’s easy to compare the screens of the iPhone 13 and iPhone 12. They both have a 6.1-inch Super Retina HDR display. It is an OLED with a resolution of 2532 × 1170 pixels. The density of the picture is 460 dpi. The screens of both smartphones support HDR, True Tone technology and P3 wide color gamut. The standard contrast ratio remains the same – 2,000,000: 1. The only difference is changing the standard brightness. The iPhone 13 reaches 800 cd / m22while the iPhone 12 had up to 625 cd / m22… In HDR mode, the brightness in both models reaches 1200 cd / m22

Externally, the displays differ only in the size of the cutout for the cameras.

IPhone 12 vs iPhone 13 Comparison

Output: IPhone 12’s screen is hardly a reference – there is still a Pro series, for which Apple saves the best technology. The iPhone 13 has slightly increased the brightness of the screen, this will help work with it in the sun. And the main feature for the 13th series screens, ProMotion technology, is available only for Pro models. So in the iPhone 13, the screen got better, but not much, only due to the additional brightness, well, due to the reduced cutout for the cameras.

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Processor and performance of iPhone 13 and iPhone 12

iPhone 12 is powered by the 5nm A14 Bionic chip. It has 6 cores, 2 of which are productive, and another 4 are energy efficient. 4 special kernels are responsible for graphics processing. Machine learning is powered by 16 cores of the Neural Engine. Actually, the layout of the new A15 Bionic chip in the iPhone 13 is very similar – the number of cores is repeated, as is the technical process. But internal optimization allowed us to increase performance. It’s no coincidence that Apple is announcing a new GPU and a new Neural Engine. True, the A15 Bionic chip should still be considered an evolutionary development of its predecessor. Yes, in synthetic tests it will be possible to see the difference, from a few percent to even tens. As a matter of fact, even at the presentation of the iPhone 13, it was said about the superiority of the A15 Bionic over the abstract “some other smartphones”.

Processor and storage in iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini

The amount of RAM is preserved – in the iPhone 13, the same as in the iPhone 12 – 4 GB. Speaking of memory, one cannot ignore the changes in the volume of the drive. Apple has long been criticized for equipping smartphones with only 64GB of internal storage. Of course, there were also more expensive 128GB and 256GB models in the iPhone 12 lineup. Now everything has changed for the better. The iPhone 13 still has the same three storage options, but now it’s 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB – twice as much! Nevertheless, the manufacturer realized that content is becoming more and more heavy, including that created by the smartphone itself – more storage space is required.

Output: iPhone 13 with its new A15 Bionic chip is faster than its predecessor. True, the revolution did not happen here. Most often, the user will not see this difference in performance, but the A15 Bionic will definitely show itself in the form of new features for cameras, which will be discussed below. But changes in storage volumes have been asking for a long time, fortunately, Apple has listened to users’ requests.

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IPhone 13 and iPhone 12 cameras

Once upon a time, the second camera module seemed like a miracle, but today many believe that even two “eyes” are not enough. It’s not the number of lenses that really matters, but how they work. This idea is clearly proved by the iPhone 13. In this model, as in the previous one, the camera system on the rear panel has two modules: wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle, each with a resolution of 12 megapixels. But in the 2021 model, the cameras are located on the site a little differently, Apple explains this step by the need to accommodate an enlarged wide-angle camera sensor (now it captures 47% more light) and a new optical stabilization system. True, from the point of view of characteristics, there are not so many changes.

Cameras in iPhone 12

IPhone 13 main camera block

The wide-angle camera still has an f / 1.6 aperture, while the ultra-wide-angle camera still has an f / 2.4 aperture. Both cameras work with Night Mode, support Deep Fusion technology, 2x optical zoom reduction and digital zoom up to 5x. Cameras are supported by True Tone flash with Depth function and bokeh effect, and can work with Portrait lighting.

Cameras in iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini

IPhone 13 main camera block

But the cameras of the iPhone 13 have small improvements. Now, optical image stabilization is achieved by shifting the sensor, while processing photos using Smart HDR 4, whereas in the iPhone 12 there was Smart HDR 3. Another innovation is Photographic Styles.

Photographic Styles in iPhone 13

We can also say that the possibilities of video shooting have not changed much. The main novelty is the “Cinema Effect” mode, which allows you to shift focus from one subject to another when shooting.

Movie effect function in iPhone

Optical stabilization in the iPhone 13 and when shooting video is carried out by shifting the matrix. All other functions have remained unchanged. Both smartphones can shoot 4K video at up to 60 frames / s, and Dolby Vision HDR video is also 4K, but up to 30 frames / s. You can use 2x optical zoom down and digital zoom up to 3x. There is a “Timelapse” mode with image stabilization, and it works in Night mode as well. You can shoot 1080p slow-motion video at up to 240 fps, as well as record stereo sound.

The front-facing camera in the iPhone 13 doesn’t seem to have changed either. She retained a resolution of 12 megapixels and an aperture of f / 2.2. The main innovations here are software – support for Smart HDR 4, “Movie Effect” mode and Photographic Styles. The basic functionality has remained unchanged: Portrait Mode, Portrait Lighting, Night Mode, Deep Fusion. The camera can record 4K video at up to 60 frames / s, as well as 4K HDR video at up to 30 frames / s and 1080p slow-motion video at up to 120 frames / s, and perform cinematic video stabilization.

Front camera in iPhone 13

Output: I would like to believe Apple’s claims that the iPhone 13’s wide-angle camera module has an improved sensor. On paper, so far everything looks like the basic shooting capabilities have remained unchanged, but the cameras have received several software “chips”that the A15 Bionic can handle. The quality of photos will certainly improve, at least through the use of the new HDR mode.

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Water resistance of iPhone 13 and iPhone 12

Water permeability of iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini

I must say that Apple has found the very same version of waterproofing the smartphone, which protects it sufficiently and does not require expensive engineering solutions. As a result, both the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 are rated IP68 according to IEC 60529. It can be submerged in water for half an hour to a depth of 6 meters. Naturally, it’s not worth experimenting with this feature – after all, water damage to the iPhone is not a warranty case.

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Battery and autonomy of the iPhone 13 and iPhone 12

IPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini battery

The autonomy of the iPhone 12 did not particularly delight users, which is why this question turned out to be one of the main issues on the list of desirable improvements. It is no coincidence that the iPhone 13 has become a little thicker and heavier. It clearly uses a new, improved battery. And the new A15 Bionic chip should also have a beneficial effect on autonomy. If a 10.78 Wh battery was installed in the iPhone 12, then in the 2021 model its capacity increased to 12.41 Wh – an increase of 15%!

True, Apple traditionally estimates the autonomy of its smartphones by the operating time in certain scenarios. But here, too, the difference is obvious. So, the iPhone 13 can play up to 19 hours of video, while its predecessor – only 17 hours. The 2021 model can watch streams for 15 hours, versus 11 hours for the iPhone 12. Finally, you can listen to audio in the iPhone 13 for up to 75 hours, while the iPhone 12 had 65 hours.

Wireless and fast charging capabilities remain the same. In half an hour, both smartphones can be half charged using a 20W adapter or more. iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 support MagSafe wireless magnetic charging.

Fast Magnetic MagSafe Wireless Charger for iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini

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Other differences

We’ve already covered the main differences between the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13. Smartphones are really similar to each other, including a set of sensors, support for network technologies (5G, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5, LTE) and packaging. The only thing that was not mentioned is the support of two eSIMs in the 2021 model.

Yes, Apple continues to try to address environmental issues and the iPhone 13 also comes without a power supply.

Package of iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini

However, it is worth noting that the iPhone 13 box itself has lost the packaging film that was still used on the iPhone 12 box. Now the integrity of the iPhone 13 packaging is protected by a paper tear-off tab.

IPhone 13 Pro Max Box

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Detailed comparison of technical characteristics (specifications) iPhone 13 and iPhone 12

Detailed comparison of technical characteristics (specifications) iPhone 13 and iPhone 12

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Price

Apple has kept the iPhone 12 on sale. The price of this device has predictably dropped. Last year’s model is still valid for most scenarios. The user may well prefer it to the new flagship, especially given the difference in cost.

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