iPhone 12 vs iPhone 13: Should you upgrade?

The much anticipated iPhone 13 line-up debuted at Apple's Streaming Event in California and it is another impressive set of devices, at least on paper. The iPhone 13 model is destined to be the most popular among them, and it was only time it got compared with the predecessor iPhone 12.

Obviously, the new Apple smartphone has improvements over the outgoing iPhone 12 line-up, but is it upgrade worthy investment? Will the new hardware and subtle software improvements be enough for an existing iPhone 12 buyer to make the switch? Let's delve deep and learn more to make a logical decision.

Design and display

There's not much difference in the overall design of the iPhone 13 from the predecessor. The IP68 rated phone has the same flat-edged look with the Ceramic Shield display that's touted to be more durable than the competition. The only major thing to set the device apart is the notch on the display which now has gotten a bit smaller.

The 6.1-inch AMOLED panel on the iPhone 13 is the same one used in the previous model, but the difference lies in the performance. Apple says the new phone has a 28-percent brighter panel. It can go up to 800 nits of brightness while it is even higher on the iPhone 13 Pro model at 1,000 nits.

Another thing to take note of here is the weight – the iPhone 13 is slightly heavier at 174 grams than the iPhone 12 which weighed 164 grams. The dimensions are also slightly thicker as iPhone 13 measures 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.65mm while the iPhone 12 is 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4mm. Both these attributes are partly due to the bigger battery on the new device.

Cameras capabilty

Both the iPhone 13 and the iPhone 12 have dual 12MP cameras – one wide lens shooter and the other ultra-wide shooter. The difference between the two phone camera setups is the sensor. The iPhone 13 has a 1.7µm sensor as compared to the 1.4µm sensor on the iPhone 12.

This gives the new Apple phone advantage when it comes to low light photography. It can capture 47-percent more light than the predecessor, therefore, the resulting shots are crisp and don't crack up on zooming. The ultra-wide sensor this time around has an f/1.8 aperture compared to the f/2.4 on iPhone 12. This is also set to improve low-light photography for wide shots without a question.

Both the iPhone 13 and the iPhone 13 mini have sensor shift optical image stabilization feature for more details in the darker sections of the shot. If you remember this is the same feature that's available on the high-end iPhone 12 Pro Max from last year.

Apple has also made improvements to the camera's video shooting software with the inclusion of Cinematic Mode that smartly picks and shifts the focal point for a dramatic effect. There's now Photographic Styles AI filters that are better than traditional filters as they allow toggling the colors, highlights and shadows individually for the photo elements in real-time.

Performance and hardware specs

As expected, the iPhone 13 comes with the all-new A15 Bionic chip which is more powerful than the A14 Bionic chip on the iPhone 12. Both these chipsets are based on 5nm manufacturing process but the A15 gives the new phone a healthy boost of performance with its Neural Engine having 15.8 trillion operations per second capability.

Compare this to the A14 Bionic having 11 trillion operations per second, and you already know the updated processor is a beast when it comes to performance. The 6-core CPU and 4-core GPU is clearly ahead of the nearest competitor Qualcomm. The RAM has been bumped up from 4GB on iPhone 12 to 6GB in the iPhone 13. So you can't go wrong with the new iPhone 13 if you are an avid gamer or multitasker.

As per Apple's claims, the new phone supports more 5G bands than the predecessor which is another advantage. The silver lining among all these hardware specifications is the 64GB entry storage options gone for good. iPhone 13 comes in 128GB, 256GB or 512GB storage variants – making this a major advantage as compared to iPhone 12.

Battery life and charging

Like all times Apple doesn't disclose the official capacity of the battery of its devices. However, unofficial figures speculate the iPhone 13 battery to be of 3,240mAh as compared to the 2,815mAh on the iPhone 12. So, we are talking around 15-percent capacity increase.

One thing that Apple officially confirms is the 2.5 hours more battery life with average use on the iPhone 13. The phone can last for around 15 hours with non-stop video streaming – 4 hours more than the iPhone 12. This is good improvement and we are eager to test the claims in real-life settings. The charging speed doesn't see much evolution on the new device as Apple still sticks to the 20W wired charging speed and the 15W speed with the compatible MagSafe wireless chargers.

Price and availability

The price for both the iPhone 13 and the iPhone 12 are quite similar and that is the key. The starting model with 128GB storage capacity is priced at $799 which is exactly the same as the iPhone 12 64GB model price at launch. The 256GB iPhone 13 variant comes at $899 and the 512GB variant is $1099. The iPhone 12 128GB model costed $849 and the 256GB version costed $949 at launch. The higher tier variants are slightly pricier for the iPhone 13 but the storage capacity has also doubled in comparison.

The new iPhone 13 is all set to hit the shelves on September 24, 2021. Pre-orders have already started. The iPhone 12 is already up for grabs for a lower price tag as compared to the launch prices. The 64GB model is now $699, 128GB for $749 and the 256GB variant for $849.


Improvements are a given from one generation to the next when it comes to smartphones, and the same is true for Apple iPhone 13. That said, the improvements are quite noticeable from the iPhone 12, making it a no-brainer when it comes to choosing amongst them if you are a first-time buyer or own an iPhone older than the iPhone 12.

If you already own the iPhone 12, it would be wiser to wait for a year or two before making the upgrade as the phone is by no means a slouch. The only compelling case to make a switch from the iPhone 12 to the iPhone 13 right away would be the better performance, camera capabilities and improved battery life.