iPhone 13 vs iPhone 13 Pro: what we know so far

To Pro or not to Pro?

That is the question that Apple has posed to millions of prospective buyers, and here is what this dilemma boils down to with the upcoming edition of the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro: we have two devices that mostly look the same, but one is rumored to cost nearly $300 more. It has a zoom camera, it has a fancy fast refresh rate screen, and a few other features here and there.

Is it worth splurging a bit more to get those zoom photos and buttery smooth experience? Well, that’s up to you, but what we can do is tell you all about the little quirks and little differences to help you make the best decision between the iPhone 13 and the more expensive and supposedly more “professional” iPhone 13 Pro.

Read on!

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iPhone 13 vs iPhone 13 Pro design and colors

The iPhone 13 and the iPhone 13 Pro look nearly identical and you could probably not even tell the difference between the two if you were looking at the front of the phones. And if there wasn’t for the different cameras on the back, that also looks pretty similar.

They are, however, actually built slightly differently: you get a lighter aluminum mid-frame on the iPhone 13 and a more premium and shiny stainless steel one on the iPhone 13 Pro. That also results in the Pro model being noticeably heavier, so in a weird way the regular iPhone 13 actually feels superior.

As per rumors, the back glass is frosted matte on the Pro series, while it is a glossy fingerprint magnet on the iPhone 13. And that’s it: both have IP68 water protection, both have the same styling with a boxy look and flat sides.

As for the iPhone 13 colors, rumors so far have not revealed those, but we expect a similarly colorful array of 6 different color options to choose from with two of them being a classic black and then a silvery white model.

iPhone 13 vs iPhone 13 Pro display differences

Last year, except for a slight brightness advantage, there were practically no major difference in screen quality between the 12 Pro and the regular 12. Not quite so this year with the current leaks about the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro.

Yes, both phones retain the same 6.1-inch screen size and the same OLED technology, and even the same vibrant colors, deep blacks and excellent viewing angles, but the iPhone 13 Pro model is getting one extra feature that makes all the difference in the world: ProMotion. Rumors suggest the Pro models will be the only ones to run a 120Hz ProMotion screen, while the regular iPhone 13 model will remain at 60Hz. For those unaware, this simply means that the screen refreshes 120 times each second on the Pro model versus 60 times on the other one, and that makes for an instantaneous response when you are scrolling around.

iPhone 13 vs iPhone 13 Pro hardware and performance

While we have an important difference in display quality, the performance between the iPhone 13 and the iPhone 13 Pro is almost exactly same. Both are rumored to come with the Apple A15 Bionic chip, the latest made by Apple processor, and both run at the same clock speeds.

One difference that spoils that equilibrium and tips it in favor of the iPhone 13 Pro is the 6GB of RAM versus 4GB RAM on the non-Pro model. That shouldn’t bother those looking to save some money on the regular model, but if you are multitasking a lot and want all apps to stay open, the Pro model has the RAM to handle that better.

On the storage side, the base version of the iPhone 13 is said to come with 64GB of storage, while the base Pro model has 128GB of on-board memory. Of course, you can upgrade to a 128 gig model on the non-Pro as well, and that would actually be our recommendation as 64 gigs is just not enough for a phone that you will probably be using over the next couple of years.

iPhone 13 vs iPhone 13 Pro cameras

Would you pay a few hundred dollars extra for a zoom camera and RAW photos?

If you still have doubts whether to Pro or not to Pro, the camera department might be the one area where you need to read carefully.

The iPhone 13 comes with a dual-camera system on its back, with a main wide camera and a secondary, ultra-wide snapper, while the Pro version adds a telephoto zoom camera on top of that, as per rumors.

There is a caveat here: a zoom camera is not just used to zoom, it is also used in Portrait mode for more flattering photos that you just cannot take on the main camera which is too wide and introduces a lot of distortion when capturing close-ups of people. That is why if you like not only better zoom quality in photos, but also better portrait photos, getting the Pro actually makes a lot of sense.

Interestingly, both phones are now said to feature a LiDAR sensor for augmented reality. This sensor is optimized to scan a room and we imagine some AR games, but quite honestly, Apple has not sold us on that feature quite just yet.

In terms of camera modes and features, there is one major difference between these two: Apple ProRAW. This RAW camera format is not available on the iPhone 13, while on the Pro you can really have a photo that you can later losslessly edit and make even better.

Both phones, however, are now said to come with sensor shift image stabilization, a newer technology compared to the traditional OIS. Sensor shift moves the whole sensor to counteract hand jitter instead of just moving the lens, and this results in slightly better stabilization.

5G connectivity

Just like the iPhone 12 series, both the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro come with 5G connectivity support with a ton of bands on board. There is no difference in the connection speeds that you will witness on these two phones.

iPhone 13 vs iPhone 13 Pro battery life

Despite a Pro in its name, the iPhone 13 Pro has the exact same battery capacity as the regular iPhone 13. That capacity is said to be 3,095mAh, which by the way is a handsome upgrade over the 2,815mAh battery capacity on the previous generation iPhones from 2020.

However, it is actually very likely that the regular iPhone 13 will have a longer battery life than the iPhone 13 Pro for the simple reason that the new 120Hz ProMotion fast refresh rate brings a tax on battery life along with the added smoothness. This will be particularly painful in games where the 120Hz option really drains the battery quickly, but we’ll have to wait it out and test the phones to see the real-life numbers.

On the charging side, there are absolutely no differences: both support 20W fast charging speeds (yes, you need to buy a $20 Apple charger separately, it doesn’t come in the box). Both also have hidden magnets on the back that enable them to neatly snap to MagSafe wireless chargers where you get a maximum charge rate of 15W.

iPhone 13 vs iPhone 13 Pro price and availability

At the end of the day, however, the biggest difference between the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro is one in price.

The Pro models will run you about $300 more and that is quite a bit of a premium to pay. What you get in exchange is a fast refresh rate screen, an additional camera for better zoom quality, more base storage and a few upgrades on the inside, but if you are not absolutely dead set on those features, we can see how the iPhone 13 is a better value for the money.

  • iPhone 13 base 64GB model to cost $830 SIM-free
  • iPhone 13 Pro base 128GB model to cost $1,000 SIM-free

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