Apple Reviews

Should you get the new iPhone 13 Pro?

After accidentally pre-ordering the wrong iPhone 13 Pro from the online Apple Store, I finally got my hands on the one I wanted from Xcite. I skipped the iPhone 12 Pro last year so was really looking forward to seeing how different the 13 was going to be from my 11 Pro. In short, turns out not that different really.

Full disclosure, I have a long-standing relationship with Xcite who provided me with this iPhone to keep. They’ve been very supportive of the blog from the very early days and they’ve lent or given me a number of items over the years to review, as well as hooking me up with discounts. I’m a huge Xcite fan.

Firstly let’s get the price out of the way since that seems to be the most controversial thing. Purchasing the iPhone locally even from authorized resellers is a lot more expensive than purchasing the phone from the US Apple Store online. When I accidentally ordered the 512GB iPhone 13 Pro online, with shipping to Kuwait and with Apple’s silicon case the total came out to 420KD. In Kuwait, the official retail price of the 512GB is 470KD. That’s 50KD more and doesn’t even include the case which costs around 20KD. So 70KD more expensive than ordering it from the US. But, on the bright side, the prices in Kuwait are cheaper than Europe. I considered buying the iPhone when I was in Amsterdam a couple of weeks ago but the prices there were more expensive than in Kuwait. The 512GB was selling for 525KD at the Apple Store which is 55KD more expensive than Kuwait. So Europe > Kuwait > US.

With that out of the way, let’s talk about the phone. Going from the iPhone 11 Pro to the 13 Pro I was expecting to see a big jump. Not sure why since my 11 Pro was doing perfectly fine. I didn’t think my phone was slow, the battery was lasting great, the cameras were good, the OLED screen was fantastic and facial recognition was the best thing although I wished it had a fingerprint reader last year. I’ve been using the 13 Pro for around a week now and it still feels like I have my old phone. No major difference, in fact, other than the more boxy shape of the phone and the 3x zoom vs the 2x zoom on my previous phone, I don’t think I’d be able to tell I was using a different phone.

The new iPhone 13 Pro has a much higher screen refresh rate, 120Hz vs 60Hz in the old phone. The higher refresh rate is meant to make scrolling look smoother but in reality, I don’t see any difference. Maybe if I put my old phone next to my new one and scroll down a long website at the same time I’ll notice a difference, but that’s now how I use my phone. I think this is a feature that’s been overhyped, I’m sure it’s good to have, just wouldn’t be something I’d highlight. The notch on top is also meant to be smaller but I only noticed the difference a while ago while taking the side-by-side shots with my old phone. Finally, the camera which improves every year is also meant to be better but again in normal use, I’m not seeing much of a difference. The whole transition to this new phone has been very… subtle.

I think the biggest difference between my new phone and old one is how much louder the speakers are on the new phone. They’re at least 25 to 50% louder and I love that. Another great improvement I noticed just yesterday is the battery life. I was out of the house all day and by 7PM I had 20% battery left and the phone hadn’t been charged all day, not even in the car since I was in my old Alfa.

Really the things that are catching my attention are mostly negative. For example, the new zoom lens on the iPhone is 3x zoom vs 2x on the previous models. I tend to shoot food shots mostly with the 2x zoom since it allows me to avoid shadows but I still haven’t gotten used to the new 3x zoom and thats because I now have to move further away from my food to the point I have to push my chair back to be able to fit my subject onto the phone. 3x is better than 2x most of the time, so I just need to get used to it. Another issue I have with the phone is the magnetic back. I’ve been using a magnet to mount my phones in the car for years. It’s super practical, you just put this very thin metal between your phone and phone cover, and then it just snaps onto the magnetic phone mount that came with it. It makes removing and mounting your phone super easy. The only issue is you can’t use the wireless charging feature because of the metal plate. Starting with last year’s iPhones, Apple placed magnets inside the phone to use with various accessories like phone covers and magnetic wireless chargers. I was hoping this would mean I would no longer have to place the metal plate behind my iPhone but turns out I still have to. Although the iPhone can attach to my car mount without a metal plate now, it’s not strong enough to hold it on rough roads and so my phone would keep falling.

OK, I’ve realized my post is starting to sound negative but I’m not trying to be. The new iPhone is great, it’s better than my 11 Pro in every way and will be better than any older iPhone. But, if you’re expecting a big jump going up from the 11 Pro or the 12 Pro, you’re going to be disappointed. When friends have been asking me if they should upgrade or not I’ve only been telling people with the iPhone X or older phones to get the new one. If you’re on the 11 or 12 Pro you don’t really need to make the jump. The iPhones are so good they can easily hold you for a few years without really losing out on much.

If you’re interested in getting a new iPhone, they’re pretty hard to come by since they’re in high demand. Xcite have a few of the iPhone 13 models in stock as of this post and you can check them all out on their website.

11 replies on “Should you get the new iPhone 13 Pro?”

iPhones are really awesome. You can have really old models, and they still get the latest software updates, continuously making them feel new

That’s the thing though, you won’t drastically see any differences, unless you have a iPhone that is 3 or more years old

The rumor mill is already going crazy on next years iPhone, and if those turn out to be accurate, than the phone next year would really be the one to get

I have always transitioned between iPhones to iPhones every 3 year.

I had X which I used for 3 years and then got an amazing deal at Mfono so switched to 12 pro Max 512gb ( Mostly for shooting Photos and Random Data ).

As you said, the feature of 120hz is actually too overhyped. I don’t know what it makes you feel that you would pay for the new phone just for 120hz?

I would just get 13 Pro Max for Macro photography but again it depends if i would get a nice pricing.

So with the Macro lens I thought I’d use it a lot more but not sure why I thought that. Based on my experience of buying macro lenses I never tend to use them except for once every now and then so I end up selling them.

Hey Mark,
If you bought the iPhone in Europe, you could have gotten the VAT back at the airport (since you live outside of the EU), which is 21% of the price of the phone. So you’d have actually paid 415KD.
Just a little heads up for the next time you want to buy something in Europe.

VAT is 21% but after processing fees (Global Blue or whichever company in that country) it’s like 10 or 12%. So it would be similar to the price in Kuwait (470)

I also bought mine from Xcite. Very professional with their prices (they honor the price set by Apple) and the delivery date. Nothing to complain here.

The 120Hz screen is quite subtle when using it, but very noticeable when I switch back to my old iPhone (which I use as a backup phone), it’s like if there is something wrong with it’s screen and has ghosting effect.

Hi Mark, could you share an article on how to order products via the Apple US Store Online in Kuwait, would be very helpful.

Great work by the way.

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