iPhone 13 Pro Review: Better Than You Think!

There I go over Cinematic Mode and the new A15 Bionic and a smaller notch, et cetera. This Pro phone has all of that. But then, on top of that, the three major things that this phone does better than the regular 13 would be the screen.

The battery and the cameras – Now you might be thinking, “, Wait. Marques, that’s the same list of three things you said was better about the 13 than the 12 .” You’d be right, but this takes a bigger leap in all those things.

So, to start with the screen, the 13 Pro is the same size as the 13 and the 13 Pro Max is bigger, again same sizes and resolutions as last year. But now there is a smaller notch.


Neat, Okay looks a little better on the bigger screen, even though there is no more information on that extra screen. But then the display is actually noticeably brighter here even versus the 13. It hits 1,000 nits max brightness versus the 800 on the 13 and even 1,200 nits peak with HDR, and it’s really good. It’S viewable everywhere, outdoors, great responsive auto-brightness and it’s still one of the most color-accurate OLED panels out there. But what we’re really here for finally is Apple’s Pro phones now getting ProMotion, meaning an adaptive high refresh rate display

It’S about damn time Now.

This has been really interesting to watch unfold, because it’s not just a matter of dropping 120 Hertz display into the phone and then calling it a day. There’S a couple of different considerations and nuances and things to be able to do to do it well and then there’s whether or not people even notice, That’s two different things. So as a self-proclaimed pixel enthusiast, as someone who’s seen, a lot of phones Apple has done this really well, and it’s, of course an OLED. But it’s also an LTPO display, meaning it’s an adaptive variable refresh rate that can ramp up to 120 Hertz, but also now down to as low as 10 Hertz. It actually has 12 different, refresh rates that it cycles between which is seven more than the iPad Pro
So this helps it respond to exactly what’s happening on the display.


So if you’re watching a 24fps movie, the display only needs to refresh 24 times per second, but if you’re scrolling through a website or social media it’ll be nice and smooth

Maybe for gaming, it’s pinned at 120 Hertz, but if you’re just sitting on a home screen or reading some text like an email nothing’s happening on the screen, it can go all the way down to 10 Hertz which can save battery. So this tech been around for years in other phones and it’s great. So the interesting part is different phones ramp up at different times and for different reasons and different amounts.
So an example is like no matter how high a refresh rate of an Android phone – I have it’s always 60 Hertz for Google Maps Anytime. I open Google Maps the whole rest of the phone notification panel using the app it’s all 60 Hertz.


Probably to save battery’cause, it’s a GPS-heavy app, but that’s one thing: it always does So it turns out. There have been a lot of places where people have noticed the iPhone doesn’t ramp all the way up to 120 Hertz. In fact, a lot of places in third-party apps, where it still stays at 60
Now I’ve noticed just from using a whole ton of different apps. I was actually pretty impressed by how many are already using 120 Hertz animations And all of these apps inside and out felt smoother and more responsive. Also, all of iOS is smoother and more responsive.


But for those that don’t Apple has put out detailed instructions on how to make it easy for developers to update their apps to fully support ProMotion exactly the way they want to. So when your favorite apps get updated. Hopefully the developers include it.
But all that being said will regular people who get this phone even notice ProMotion, And this is something I’ve thought a lot about, especially since the announcement. Of course, lots of other phones have gotten high refresh rate in the past, but because it’s an iPhone.


This is for millions of people who have only ever seen a 60 Hertz phone, their entire lives. This will be the first time they ever see a high refresh rate screen on a phone

And so this is the thing I’ve been talking about for so long. So when I actually first got this phone, I’ve started handing it to people discretely, of course, but handing it to them like “. Hey, do you notice anything different about this phone?
Like swipe around, maybe hold it next to your current phone, Do you feel like it feels any different, ?


‘ And I’ll be the first to admit not as many people immediately noticed it as I was hoping, Different people had different things about it that they noticed Like There’S a really good video by Joshua Chang, where he did that same thing:
He handed the phone to a bunch of people and they all had different ways of explaining what they noticed. So some of them didn’t notice, but some of them notice things like texts staying more crisp on the screen, while you’re scrolling

Some people just straight up notice, the better smoothness and touch responsiveness and called that out So I’ll put it this way. Not everyone will notice ProMotion right away, especially if they’re not looking for it, but
.. But I don’t have .


I’M not crazy, It’s not like. I have special eyes or anything. So I guarantee you this. If you get somebody used to 120 Hertz or just high refresh rate in general, and they use this phone for a couple weeks couple months and then you hand them back a 60 Hertz phone, they will notice that difference and they won’t wan na switch back to It

Basically, I think people who buy this Pro iPhone and get used to ProMotion won’t wan na switch back to a 60 Hertz iPhone.


Just like people who switched to a high refresh rate Android phone, don’t wan na switch back either, But also I’m kind of hoping Apple. Doesn’T ship another 60 Hertz iPhone next year?
They definitely could, but I’m hoping 90 Hertz at least something like that, Either way. That’S my stance on the high refresh rate, the ProMotion in the Pro iPhones. Clearly, the implementation, technically speaking, is pretty great.


It’S super color-accurate, it’s very bright. It looks great and it’s very smooth So despite the notch and some apps needing to be updated, it’s one of the best-looking screens on any phone right now and going with LTPO led these phones with their new high refresh rates, also be battery champs.

So this is the second big thing about these new phones, which is holy smokes man. The batteries got really good. Now, there’s a couple of different compounding factors that all pile on top of each other.


To make this happen, The fact that the ProMotion dips below 60 Hertz to save you battery when you don’t need it is number one But number two. The A15 Bionic is more efficient than last year.
And then the fact that these phones are actually slightly thicker and heavier to support an actually larger battery is a really big number three, So the battery inside the 13 Pro is about 11 % larger than the 12 Pro, and the 13 Pro Max cell is about 18 % larger than the 12 Pro Max, That’s not a small amount, and you can actually feel it in the weight. These new phones are about 20 grams heavier than last year and probably heavier than the phone you’re holding right now, And the results have been dope.
I’Ve mostly been dallying the 13 Pro here and getting six seven hours of screen on time, No problem never really killing the phone in a day.


I consider that an A

And David’s been testing the 13 Pro Max here at the studio and getting crazy endurance numbers. He had a day with five hours of screen on time, with 50 % battery left, which is nuts, So I’m gon na go ahead and put the iPhone 13 Pro Max right up at the top of the battery champ 2021 power rankings. Right now, alongside a bunch of other phones with the supermassive batteries like the ROG Phone 5 and the Moto G Power,
So screens check Batteries check, But once again, the biggest change with these new Pro phones is the cameras again. So, first of all, I really like that. The 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max have the exact same set of cameras between them, So the phones are basically identical, except for screen size and battery size.


So that’s nice.
But yeah once again, big leap up with the Pro phones and their cameras and they’ve got the camera bump to go with it, And it really is a massive, like three-layer camera bump with this phone. If you don’t have a case on the phone you’ll immediately notice, it sits up higher. It rocks more from certain corners on a table, and it just kind of looks at you funny.

Remember when we thought the iPhone 12 Pro had huge cameras, Yeah no
This is next level.


These are much larger, sensors and cameras in here, So we’ve got triple. Cameras still got LiDAR and a mic and a flash, and each of these cameras is better than last year in its own way. So the primary 12 megapixel camera with that even larger sensor-shift stabilization, is excellent. It’S remarkably consistent through various lighting in indoor and outdoor scenarios.
There’S also, of course, the photographic styles to choose from that I talked about in the previous video.


I landed on a rich contrast as my favorite and honestly. I’Ve just left it there for most of my photos.

Main thing, you’ll notice, that makes it better is the big sensor look that we had only in the Pro Max last year. So this natural Bokeh is so easy now that you might find yourself having to tap to focus just a little bit more just to make sure you’re focused on the right thing And you’ll find that you can get that natural background blur much easier. It’S not always perfect, it’s still tiny smartphone optics, but the natural blur is better than fake Portrait Mode blur every time.


So it does a great job, not fringing. Also, like some other big smartphone sensors do. The Telephoto is also better this year. So it’s once again a bigger sensor and it’s also now a 3x optical zoom instead of a 2x or 2.5x from last year, and it looks almost as good as the main sensor So you’d love to see that
That consistency between different cameras gives you the confidence to be able to switch between cameras like it doesn’t even matter which one you’re using and that’s more true this year than ever before.


Now it’s no S21 Ultra You’re, not gon na. Do that deep double-digit, zooming very well! Some of the best periscope zooms literally look crisp at 10x, while the iPhone is maxing out at 15 and it looks like a watercolor painting there. So it’s gon na be up to you to decide if that’s something you care about having in your phone or not
And then, last but not least, the Ultra Wide Again closing in on the corner to corner sharpness of the main camera. It’S not quite there, but this is one area where I was maybe hoping to see a higher resolution, because you’re spreading this pixel count over such a wide focal range.


Maybe 16 24 megapixels even would have been cool to see just to get that true matching sharpness.

Nevertheless, the photos and videos from the Ultra Wide are world-class literally tops among any Ultra Wides in any smartphone, and it’s now also capable of macro photography, unlike the Ultra Wide in the 13 and 13 Mini, And honestly, it’s pretty good. So you can get pretty close right up to about two centimeters minimum focus, distance and there’s a pretty good amount of chromatic aberration and fringing and artifacting around the outside of the frames.
But as long as you’ve tapped a focus, you can get a pretty good, close up right in the middle And it’s way better than any crappy two-megapixel macro camera has ever dreamed of being

Now I mentioned during the Impressions video, the Pro phones are doing this auto-switching, where, if something comes within about 14 centimeters of the camera, it automatically switches to the Ultra Wide in macro mode, Doesn’t tell you and doesn’t let you manually switch back Honestly. It’S the most annoying part of using this camera to me.


I take plenty of close-ups of objects because I have no friends, I guess

And every time I switched to the Ultra Wide’s macro, it produces an objectively worse-looking photo So Apple’s reached out, and they have said since that they do plan on adding a toggle to let you manual out of that Macro Mode. I hope it gets added soon. It should be a software update,
Can’T wait for it because my photos are suffering. You know there’s still no Astrophotography Mode in the iPhone, Even though in Night Mode you can sometimes see some stars if you hold the phone still for long enough and there’s no Pro Mode for manual control over photos or for videos. That’S still gon na require a third-party app to really dig into that stuff.


What they did add is Cinematic Video Mode, which I talked about in the 13 review.

To summarize, it’s a 1080p 30fps HDR video portrait mode, And I really don’t think it’s the answer when it comes to taking the reins and making the best videos possible on your iPhone, at least not yet I mean, if you wan na, tailor a whole entire shoot Around focus racking, then, yes, the iPhones will punch above their weight class, But I find myself using the Regular Video Mode or even third-party apps to get the best video out of the iPhone still

But you know what would actually help to get better video out of the iPhone
Prores, video Giant asterisk – that’s not on the phones yet So the Pro iPhones should also, ideally in a software update, be getting ProRes video For those unfamiliar. That’S a high quality video codec, that’s used all over the professional industry. It’S pretty sweet should be awesome to be able to shoot ProRes video from your phone mix. It with other cameras, bring it into your editor and just start chopping that

Couple other small asterisks, though One ProRes video, would be 4K 30 on every Pro iPhone, except the 128-gig-based storage versions.


Those will max out at 1080p 30fps It’s unclear if this is because you just fill up the storage too fast and they didn’t wan na. Let you There could be some merit to that.
4K is big files. It’S like six gigs per minute. You could theoretically fill up the whole phone in two hours if you just shot all day, But also it could be because the slower storage that’s typically used in lower-pricing lower-tiered models have less storage might not have supported it.


In the first place. It’S a high data rate, One or the other. Maybe both I don’t know.
But just know as long as ..


, If you’re planning on getting a Pro iPhone just to shoot 4K ProRes video you’ll have to get at least a 256 gig version, and you can actually go all the way up to one terabyte of total storage.

But the tough part about having a one terabyte iPhone 13 Pro full of huge ProRes files, is offloading that to your computer via lightning at those awful speeds is going to take forever.
It’S not exactly a Pro workflow, It’s so brutal that for all the big game, Apple always talks about USB-C and the iPad and every other thing they do and Thunderbolt it’s just never made it to the iPhone Matter. Of fact, let me use this as a segue for all the things that I wish this iPhone Pro had for $ 1,000 Number one USB Type-C, Probably never gon na happen, but I can still dream
And then faster charging – and I don’t mean the 27 watts that the Pro Max can apparently support from a higher-powered brick, That’s not included in the box. I mean like real 50 65-watt, maybe even higher wattage charging someday That again, it’s probably never gon na happen and I’ve made a whole video about why Apple hasn’t done that and some other things like high resolution cameras et cetera, I’ll leave a link below the like Button

But nevertheless, Pro Max’s huge battery still takes a very long time to charge And I wish there was an all-black option: Eh minor detail, there’s always a case or skin for that, but there’s a couple other minor things that didn’t quite fit into this full review.


So you can turn down the refresh rate of the display to 60 Hertz limited, but it’s not in the Display settings like in every other phone. It’S in Accessibility, settings under Motion and then Limit Frame Rate

I haven’t tested this for more than about a few minutes, but I have a feeling: it won’t actually save that much battery on this phone, considering it’s actively bringing you down below 60 Hertz, all the time anyway.
Then, if you’re using a MagSafe Duo Charger, which I actually do when I’m traveling the new camera bump on the 13 Pro, is so big that it actually gets pretty close to the wireless charging coil to the point where, if you have a case on your phone, It actually pops the phone up slightly off the charger. Now it still works, but I’d be careful what case you buy just in case you get one with a camera bump, that’s too big and now suddenly it doesn’t make contact with the charger anymore And then the new Sierra Blue color. Just so you know is a little paler in person than it looks in the press, materials and on Apple site.


Just warning you, You know it’s a slightly bluish silver, not that that’s a bad thing, just a warning!

I’Ll try to show it as best I can, with all the footage from the shiny new Raptor Camera, So the minor upgrade turns out to be pretty solid. After all, Spoiler alert Every iPhone upgrade from here till the end of time is it’s gon na be a minor upgrade. That’S the way. Smartphones are
But look there’s nothing wrong with a small upgrade.


In my opinion, that’s how you eventually get great at something is by getting a little bit better. Every time you do it. I would know that’s how I’ve gotten better at making videos and that’s exactly why I went over in my Skillshare course. So Skillshare is an online learning community for creatives, where you can find thousands of classes for creative and curious people on all kinds of topics. Illustration, photography and now making MKBHD videos Like I said before, I’m self-taught at pretty much everything we do here and that’s the number one comment I get anytime.


We try something a little new or different like car videos or something there was always comments like “, Oh you’re, not good at that

Just stick to regular tech videos .”, But how do you think people who are good at car videos started? They had to get started somewhere and just get a little bit better over time. So I’ve taken some Skillshare courses myself and there’s even one on animating for YouTube videos by Evan from the PolyMatter channel that I’m super into, and he also self-taught So hey. If you start seeing slightly better animations here and there on the channel.


Maybe some of that is Michael who’s, of course, doing world-class animations here, but maybe some of that is me chipping in which would be nice
But yeah for my Skillshare class, it’s my fundamentals for how we put together these MKBHD videos. That’S what it’s all about So Skillshare is also curated, specifically for learning, So there’s no ads, so you can stay focused and it’s less than 10 bucks a month for an annual membership. So here’s the deal
Skillshare was kind enough to sponsor this video and give the first 1,000 of you that click the link below in the description, a free trial to a premium membership, and what can be better than that. So you can get started with your learning and your creativity.

But that’s pretty much it for the 13 Pro.


Let me know what you think of this phone in the comment section below We can talk about it, Thanks for watching
I’Ll catch you guys on the next one: Peace, (, upbeat, electronic dance, music, )


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