iPhone 13 Pro vs iPhone 12 Pro: a worthy upgrade? - PhoneArena

iPhone 13 Pro vs iPhone 12 Pro: a worthy upgrade?

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The iPhone 13 series is now a couple of months old, and while we wait for the next generation, let's check out all the differences between the iPhone 13 Pro and the previous model - the iPhone 12 Pro. The design remains more or less the same, but there are substantial changes under the hood. The all new A15 Bionic chipset powers the iPhone 13 lineup, bringing substantial gains, especially in graphics performance, and the battery life has been improved significantly.

Apple has also upgraded the camera sensors, and you can tell by just the sheer size of the cameras on the iPhone 13 Pro. Bigger sensors for the main and ultra-wide cameras promise better light sensitivity, and the 3X telephoto lens can zoom further than the 2X zoom you have on the 12 Pro.

The iPhone 13 Pro still sits just above the vanilla model specs-wise. This time around, though, there's a bigger leap from the regular iPhone 13 to the 13 Pro, and this also means that there are much bigger differences between the last year's iPhone 12 Pro and the new model. Let's check them out!

You can buy the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro here:

iPhone 13 Pro specs at a glance:

  • Similar flat edge design and size
  • Super Retina XDR display with ProMotion up to 120Hz
  • 6.1‑inch all‑screen OLED display
  • 2532‑by‑1170-pixel resolution at 460 ppi
  • 1000 nits max brightness (typical); 1200 nits max brightness (HDR)
  • A15 Bionic chip - 6‑core CPU with 2 performance and 4 efficiency cores
  • Pro 12MP camera system: Telephoto: ƒ/2.8 aperture, Wide: ƒ/1.5 aperture, Ultra Wide: ƒ/1.8 aperture and 120° field of view
  • 3x optical zoom in, 2x optical zoom out; 6x optical zoom range
  • 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB storage options
  • Improved battery life
  • Rated IP68 (maximum depth of 6 meters up to 30 minutes)
  • $999 starting price

Those of you who expected a revolutionary design in the iPhone 13 Pro surely are a bit disappointed. The iPhone 13 Pro is almost identical to its predecessor, apart from the narrower notch and the camera bump.

Given that the display size remains the same, the iPhone 13 Pro matches the dimensions of the iPhone 12 Pro, although the newer model is a bit thicker (0.30" vs 0.29") to accommodate the bigger battery, and the camera bump is more flushed to the body.

iPhone 13 Pro vs iPhone 12 Pro: display

  • iPhone 13 Pro - 6.1-inch display at a resolution of 1170 x 2532 pixels (460 PPI), 120Hz ProMotion

Samsung made headlines with its LTPO display technology in the Galaxy S21 lineup, and frankly, it was well deserved. The variable display refresh rate is great - you get the smoothest scrolling experience when needed, coupled with energy savings when the image is static.

The iPhone 13 Pro joins the LTPO party with a display that features the ProMotion tech we know and love from the iPad Pro. It can go as low as 10Hz and as high as 120Hz, depending on the situation.

Regarding display size and resolution, both phones sport 6.1-inch OLED panels with a resolution of 1170 x 2532 pixels. The narrower notch of the iPhone 13 Pro results in a slightly better viewing experience. The iPhone 13 Pro bumps up the brightness of the display, offering 1000 nits outdoor brightness and up to 1200 nits of HDR brightness. The iPhone 12 Pro on the other hand can only go up to 800 nits (typical).

iPhone 13 Pro vs iPhone 12 Pro: hardware and performance

  • iPhone 13 Pro - 6GB of RAM, 1TB storage option
  • A15 Bionic (5nm+) vs A14 Bionic (5nm)

We all know how fast Apple mobile chipsets are and the next generation Bionic processor maintains Apple’s lead over its competitors. It's the fastest CPU in any smartphone, up to 50% faster than the leading competition for graphics intensive tasks. The four core GPU delivers up to 30% faster graphics and there's also a new 16 core neural engine. 

Higher is better
Apple iPhone 12 Pro
Apple iPhone 13 Pro

The iPhone 13 Pro also comes equipped with the same 6GB of RAM as the iPhone 12 Pro. Тhe top storage capacity for this year's iPhone Pro line doubles from 512GB to 1TB. If you want the absolute best in performance, you should get the iPhone 13 Pro, the 1TB storage option is also a nice thing to have if you're trigger happy with your 4K videos.

iPhone 13 Pro vs iPhone 12 Pro: camera system

  • Pro 12MP camera system: Telephoto, Wide, and Ultra Wide cameras

The aperture on the Ultra-wide camera across the entire iPhone 13 line has been improved from f/2.4 to f/1.8 offering a 92% improvement in low light shots. There's a new 77 millimetre telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom, and a new wide camera that has a larger f/1.5 aperture, and 1.9 micron pixels size.

The camera system on the iPhone 12 Pro features the same configuration but loses the battle with the new iPhone 13 Pro, at least on paper. The aperture, sensor and pixel size, optical zoom, and low light capabilities are all better in the iPhone 13 Pro, and there are tricks such as Cinematic mode and macro photography on the new model.

iPhone 13 Pro vs iPhone 12 Pro: battery life

  • 1.5 hours longer than the iPhone 12 Pro

Apple didn't disclose the exact battery capacity of the new iPhone 13 Pro but said that you can get an hour and a half more battery life on a daily basis compared to the iPhone 12 Pro. Now, if we factor the A15 Bionic chipset into the equation as well as the ProMotion variable refresh rate display of the iPhone 13 Pro, this 1.5 hours increase is still pretty good.

This also goes hand in hand with Apple’s approach to iPhone’s battery life in general, the company is trying to keep battery life consistent throughout its models (whether or not it manages to do so is a different matter). All in all, the battery life has been improved but we need to run some independent tests to confirm those numbers.

hours Higher is better
Apple iPhone 12 Pro
12h 35 min
Apple iPhone 11
11h 26 min
Apple iPhone 11 Pro
8h 41 min
Samsung Galaxy S20
12h 12 min
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
12h 28 min
Google Pixel 5
12h 40 min
Apple iPhone SE (2020)
9h 5 min

iPhone 13 Pro vs iPhone 12 Pro: price

  • $999 starting price

Even though there's a new ProMotion display inside the iPhone 13 Pro, the battery has been improved, and the camera system now has new features, Apple has managed to match the price of the iPhone 12 Pro with the newer model. Granted, the previous generation will certainly depreciate in value but if you're upgrading from iPhone 11 or older, there's no reason not to go for the latest generation and grab an iPhone 13 Pro.


So there you have it - a detailed comparison between two Pros from Apple. Which one should you buy? It's a no-brainer - if you're coming from an older iPhone, the iPhone 13 Pro is the way to go - it's faster, and it has a bigger battery, a better display, plus there are upgrades all around. Now, if you already own the iPhone 12 Pro, there's no reason to burn money on the 13 Pro, unless there's a really good trade-in deal. At the end of the day, both phones offer great performance and will satisfy your smartphone needs in the years to come.
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