Apple iPhone 13 Review: Most Incremental Upgrade Ever

The truth is that smartphones sharp few years ago. After so much progress, miniature computers have reached incredible speeds, their s...

The truth is that smartphones sharp few years ago.

After so much progress, miniature computers have reached incredible speeds, their screens have grown bigger and brighter, and their cameras produce images that make amateur photographers look like wizards.

The problem with so many great innovations is that upgrades are now so iterative that it has become difficult to know what to write about them each year. This is particularly the case with Apple iPhone 13, which is perhaps the most incremental update ever to the iPhone.

The newer iPhone is only 10% faster than last year’s models. (For context, in 2015 the iPhone 6S was over 70% faster than its predecessor, the iPhone 6.) Its flashiest new feature, a higher screen “refresh rate” on models over $ 1,000, makes movement smoother when opening apps and scrolling through – that’s not much of a game-changer.

Innovations in smartphone cameras also appear to be slowing down. Apple executives have described the iPhone 13’s cameras as “considerably more powerful” and “the most advanced” in the iPhone, in large part because they can capture more light and reduce noise. But in my tests the improvements were marginal.

All of this to say that the annual phone upgrade, which companies like Apple and Samsung are touting with huge marketing events and ad campaigns to boost sales for the holiday season, has become a mirage of technological innovation. In reality, upgrades are now a celebration of capitalism in the form of ruthless incrementalism.

What better way to illustrate this slow walk than with smartphone photos? To test the iPhone 13’s cameras, I bought a special tripod to hold two phones side by side so that I could take roughly the same photos of my dogs at the same time. I compared photos taken with new iPhones, last year’s iPhone 12, and a three-year-old iPhone XS.

When I got the results, I was really surprised at how well the iPhone XS camera has stood up to the newer models. And the iPhone 13’s camera was barely better than the iPhone 12’s.

Enough words. Let yourself be guided by my dog ​​photos on the latest iPhone.

To compare the photos taken in daylight, I took all the phones and my dogs, Max (she’s the smallest corgi) and Mochi (she’s the Brown Labrador) to a park in Richmond, CA . In one trial, they were seated next to each other. others in the shade, the photos of iPhone 13 and 12 barely stood out. The iPhone 13 did a little better at capturing the shadows.

In a test comparing the $ 1,000 iPhone 13 Pro to the iPhone XS, the $ 1,000 model released in 2018, the two photos of dogs in direct sunlight looked clear and detailed. I grant you that the iPhone 13 Pro produced images with more vibrant colors.

But during a test on a shady path in the middle of the woods, the photo taken with the iPhone 13 Pro made Mochi look blown away by sunlight; the shadows and lighting captured by the three-year-old iPhone looked more natural. Apple disagreed with my assessment. (Your turn to judge.)

Improvements to the new iPhone cameras were most noticeable in low-light photos taken with Night Mode, which captures multiple images and then merges them together while making adjustments for color and contrast. Low-light photos of Max perched on a balcony just after sunset looked clearer when taken with the iPhone 13 Pro than with the iPhone 12.

Credit…Brian X. Chen / The New York Times

Low light was one area where the three-year-old iPhone XS couldn’t compete because its camera didn’t have a night mode. In the same test, Max was shrouded in darkness, except for his beautiful white mane.

The iPhone 13’s cameras also have a new video feature called Cinematic Mode, which uses algorithms to automatically focus on faces, even those of my dogs, as they move around. I would be hard pressed to imagine why a person with no ambition to become a filmmaker would use this mode, but I can think of a few TikTokers who could love it.

So in summary, the iPhone 13’s cameras are slightly better than last year’s iPhones. Even compared to iPhones from three years ago, cameras are only much better if you care about taking great photos in the dark.

How important is night photography? I asked the question to Jim Wilson, a longtime photographer for the New York Times, as he took pictures of the new iPhones for this review. He said it would be a crucial feature for people like him, but not as important for casual shooters.

“Sometimes I wait until the night to make an ordinary scene different and exciting,” he said. “But for most people who aren’t professional photographers, it doesn’t matter.”

The fact that the smartphone has capped is not a bad thing. This means that you can enjoy the one you have for years to come without missing out on anything major. And when the upgrade feels right, you get mature technology that improves gradually, but not dramatically.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Apple iPhone 13 Review: Most Incremental Upgrade Ever
Apple iPhone 13 Review: Most Incremental Upgrade Ever
Newsrust - US Top News
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