REVIEW: iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max

Well, I’ve had my iPhone 13 Pro Max for about 2 weeks now and I thought I would give a non-technical “brief” review of this model. I won’t go into too much of the technical aspects of the phone, but more of a user review. I’ll break the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max into features of the phone. I am only doing the review on the iPhone 13 Pro which has two versions, the 6.1″ model (iPhone Pro) and the 6.7″ model (iPhone Pro Max). Both models of the PRO use the same camera modules and chipset, with the only difference (for the most part) is the size of the phone. So unless otherwise stated, when reviewing this phone, it will include both the Pro version and the Pro Max version.

So more than likely you are already familiar with the iPhone. With that said, this years model is really not much different style wise than previous models. Don’t expect this phone to be much different than the iPhone 11 or 12 in functionality. As for how the phone operates, if you’re a fan of the iOS operating system then you’ll see little differences in this phone and other iOS phones. It’s an iPhone!

The iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max have increased in thickness and weight this year, however it is minimal in my opinion. The height and width remain unchanged. Although both models remain the same display size, 6.1″ and 6.7″ respectively, the case has increased in thickness ever so slightly…so slight, I doubt you’ll notice it all. However the weights did change to being somewhat heavier. I guess everyone will have an opinion on this…I consider the weight differences negligible. I actually can’t tell a difference, some say they can (maybe they are better judges of weight than I am – I’m joking here. If the difference in weight (0.43 ounces), which is less than 1/2 ounce is a make or break thing for you in purchasing the iPhone…then maybe the iPhone is not for you. Seriously, it’s WAAAAY overblown and the advantages of this 1/2 ounce far outweighs the “extra” weight this phone carries (see battery later in the review).

If you’re an iPhone user, then you already know about the “notch”. It has gotten slightly smaller this year on the iPhone 12 Pro. That’s it, it’s smaller. I don’t even notice the notch anymore. If you do, then its slightly smaller.

This years iPhone 13 Pro features the A15 chip. I won’t go into the technical aspects of it’s ability for computations…the only thing you need to know is that it is an upgrade from the iPhone 12 and as in every year, the iPhone is the most powerful and fastest smartphone on the market. It’s a good thang!

The iPhone comes in several storage sizes. It is offered in the following storage sizes; 128GB, 256GB, 512GB and 1 TB. With these choices I would only recommend the 256GB or the 512GB sizes. If you are sure you will not use video (especially pro-raw video), then you could get by with the 128GB version of storage…but my recommendation (and what I have ordered for the past 4 years) is the 256GB version of storage. It will provide enough storage for more photos, videos and music than anyone I know could use. In other words…If you think you can “get by” with 128GB…you’ll be sorry you didn’t get the 256GB option.

The sound on this years iPhone 13 Pro is not mentioned a whole lot, but not only has the sound improved pretty significantly, but it is a LOT louder and less distorted. I know a lot of people think they don’t use the speaker on the phone, but you’d be surprised how often you really do. The sound is MUCH better than even the iPhone 12.

The battery upgrades in the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max are slightly different. Regardless of which phone you decide on (Pro or Pro Max), you’ll enjoy better battery use. In fact, you’ll enjoy much better battery usage and probably not even have to worry about charging throughout the day. If you decide on the iPhone 13 Pro Max, then the battery has FAR exceeded anything I thought capable of…at the end of the day on my old iPhone 12 Pro Max sometimes I would run out of battery. Right now, with the iPhone 13 Pro Max and the BIGGER battery…at the end of the day I’m still left with about 70% of my battery power…and I use my iPhone A LOT! The battery power is super impressive!! Again, the iPhone 13 Pro Max has THE BEST battery usage than any phone currently on the market. If having your battery last all day long, then you’ll want the iPhone Pro Max which has the bigger battery.

This year’s iPhone Pro is featuring Pro-Motion on their displays. This means that they went from a 60hz refresh rate to a doubled 120hz variable refresh rate. This means that scrolls are smoother and the overall user display experience is much nicer. (Personally, I couldn’t tell a lot of difference…minimal maybe). But’s there.

I don’t use video much. However iPhone has the absolute best video in a smartphone today. The video, for what little I have used is so clear and easy to use and they have a new feature called “cinematic video” which makes your videos much more cinematic (of course). Again, I’m not a power user when it comes to video…but trust me, IT’S VERY GOOD.

And finally, we get to the cameras. Not only are the camera’s larger this year, but the sensors have been upgraded too (well kinda). Both the wide angle (normal lens) and ultra-wide lens have improved sensors that let more light into the image. The ultra-wide camera now has focusing which also allows it to be a macro camera (macro imaging is an AMAZING feature of this camera). The telephoto lens on the iPhone 12 Pro Max was a 2.5x telephoto, but this year they upgraded it to 3.0x telephoto. The lens is excellent, however the aperture went from 2.2 to 2.8. What that means is that it’s not quite as good in low light than the iPhone 12 Pro Max. However, most telephoto images are in good lighting conditions and under those conditions…the new telephoto is a welcome addition. All 3 cameras take exceptional images and all offer image stabilization. The iPhone Pro cameras can also take night portraits which is also very impressive.

So, it’s all good right. Well, for the most part yes. I mean the cameras are improved every year. Every year Apple touts their iPhone as the BEST THEY EVER MADE…and not only is that true, what kind of company tell it’s customers…”well, this year’s model is not that great”. Yes, it’s good. I have had a few issues, but I believe that the issues I have had are due to the fact that I do use BETA SOFTWARE on my iPhone’s. In other words, I’m using the next version of software that still has bugs that they are working out…so I expose my phone to the possibility of software bugs (not viruses).

My recommendation for purchasing the iPhone 13 Pro or Pro Max is largely based on what you are using right now. I upgrade every year so for me it’s not an issue of whether or not the upgrade is worth it or not…it’s always worth it to me since I want the most recent technology. For a lot of people though…they want to know if it’s “worth it” to upgrade from an android phone or mostly from a previous model of iPhone.

In MY OPINION, if you own an iPhone 12 then purchasing the iPhone 13 Pro or Pro Max would only be for the same reason I do (you just want the latest technology) or you have money to spend. The cameras, speed of the phone, display, etc are minimal and I would recommend waiting on the iPhone 14 when there will be design changes.

In MY OPINION, if you own an iPhone X or 11 it would be a moderate upgrade and you would definitely see some huge improvements. This is one of those decisions of “can you wait one more year”. Personally, I would upgrade if I owned the 10 or 11 iPhone.

In MY OPINION, if you own any iPhone prior the iPhone X (iPhone 5, 6, 7 or 8), then run (don’t walk) to the ordering website and order that dang phone. SPEND THE MONEY! When you get your new phone, you’ll discover a whole new world of photography (and probably videography). The differences in speed, technology and the cameras are beyond belief and exponentially better than those older phones.

I hope this review helps you. It’s more of an opinion (and admittedly a biased opinion) on my part. I bought (no pun intended) into the iOS (Apple) culture in 2008 and continue to think it’s a better and easier system than android phones.

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