A pale pink gentleman’s linen jacket might have been unthinkable in an Indian boardroom even a decade ago but not in 2021. That’s the same thing about smartphones. First, there were the predictable greys, blacks and whites, then the colours started to roll out; now the gender lines have blurred. It’s no longer odd for a gentleman to flaunt a pink or purple device. That’s one reason why we think the new pink colour variant might end up being the fastest seller in the new iPhone 13 line-up. We’d heard rumours about a ‘bubble gum’ pink as the customary leaks began to peak before the September launch of this year’s iPhone line-up. The new pale pink is subtle, yet a showstopper.
Apple has made an interesting tweak to the design of the new iPhone 13. It’s the same flat-edge design as last year’s iPhone 12 but the rear lenses are now aligned in an elegant diagonal pattern. The iPhone 13 feels really good in your hand; it’s the perfect heft, the 6.1-inch screen size allows you to reach all corners without too much pressure on your fingers. It’s a tad heavier (10 gm) than last year’s iPhone 12 but at 174 gm it’s still great to hold for long durations. The extra heft also impacts battery life. Apple pegs this increased battery life at 2.5 hours, and it was one of the standout improvements (over last year’s iPhone 12) in our extensive tests with this device. The iPhone battery has come a long way from a time when it was an easy target for meme creators.
The all-new A15 Bionic chip is at the heart of all the iPhone 13 phones this year. It comes with a new 6-core CPU with two new high-performance cores and four new high-efficiency cores. Apple claims that a new 16-core Neural Engine is capable of 15.8 trillion operations per second and enables even faster machine learning. While that might be ‘geek speak’ for some folks, the key takeaway is that you will notice a visible impact whether you’re gaming or in everyday use case scenarios like the camera.
Apple’s clever take on ‘Knives Out’ during the launch was a great advert for Cinematic Mode that is a cool video tool. But the big hardware upgrade is the Sensor-shift that was an iPhone 12 Pro Max exclusive. This year it’s available on the 13 and 13 Mini too. It stabilises the sensor instead of the lens; this makes shots steadier. The dual rear cam also gets a lift with the new wide camera with 1.7 µm pixels. It allows the rear cam to gather 47% more light than its predecessor delivering better lowlight images. I shot food and images of people in a bar with dim lighting and the results were impressive.
It’s not just the hardware, Apple’s camera optimisations give you more camera tools this year. There’s Cinematic mode automatically transitions focus while filming in real time and thereby shifts focus when subjects enter or leave the frame. It also allows you to edit the depth-of-field effect in video even after recording. There’s also ‘Photographic Styles’ that gives you a choice of five styles (like ‘vibrant’ or ‘rich contrast’) that allow you to set the tone even before you snap the image (unlike a post shot filter).
The iPhone 13 features the identical screen size as the iPhone 12, but the 6.1-inch display Super Retina XDR OLED display (1170 x 2532 pixels) gets brighter (by 28%) this year with a maximum outdoor brightness at 800 nits, with higher peak brightness for HDR content like photos and videos at 1200 nits.
If you’re upgrading from an iPhone 11 or an earlier iPhone, the iPhone 13 has quite a few new experience elements that justify the leap. Whether it’s the flat-edge design or the robust battery or a rear cam with a whole new bag of tricks. Apple has also upped the base storage version to 128GB. It’s why the iPhone 13 might be the popular choice for most consumers who are looking for a new iPhone.
The iPhone 13 starts at Rs 79,900 and comes in Pink, Blue, Midnight, Starlight and Product Red.