iPhone 13 Pro review: Why I’m sticking with the iPhone 11

As I write this my iPhone 13 Pro is winging it’s way back to Apple, I needed to think long and hard hard about whether this new iPhone was worth the £1000 upgrade cost and for me at least it wasn’t.

I’m now back on my trusty iPhone 11 and quite happy to be back with it. I’ve come to realise over the last year where I didn’t upgrade to the iPhone 12 that I don’t necessarily need to be on the latest and greatest to have a device that works well for me.

I’m writing this review a little differently as I already shared my thoughts via my post here. Instead I’m asking myself a series of questions based on the major updates on the iPhone 13 Pro model.

What about that high refresh rate screen?

I did initially notice that animations were slower on my iPhone 11 but after a day I’m not really missing it. It’s definitely a nice to have, not a must have. I also don’t read text as I’m scrolling through content, I stop intermittently and read.

I’ve also noticed that coming back to the iPhone 11 feels easier on my eyes. I’m not sure if I’m just not comfortable with an OLED display that has flicker (PWM) or it’s the brighter LCD on the 11 but either way I’m totally happy on this “older” screen technology. I just feel like I have less eye strain with this LCD, it’s hard to describe but when I first discovered the iPhone 11 coming from the iPhone 11 Pro I had a similar feeling.

The OLED on the iPhone 13 Pro was also darker than what I was used to. Indoors it seemed to make it too dim and I was always knocking up the brightness manually. This didn’t happen on my iPhone 11 Pro so I don’t know if it’s a new implementation of True Tone but all I know is that the display to my eyes indoors isn’t as good as my iPhone 11 (for me).

Will I miss the new camera system on the iPhone 13 Pro?

A little but in my testing over the last couple of days, both indoors and outdoors I’m not seeing a £1000 worth of difference. I was surprised when I really pixel peeped that even indoors I’m not always seeing a difference between these two devices. The 13 Pro definitely has some richer colour outdoors but I found with a little editing I got 80% of the way there with the 11.

The macro is great to have but I can live without it. It only really does a good job outdoors in great lighting. Indoors it suffers in low light and I found that it’s actually pretty difficult to stop the phone itself becoming a light blocker. It’s not a gimmick at all but I just don’t think that now I’m past a week with messing around that I need it in general going forward.

I’ll miss the 3X zoom the most but I take my DSLR on day trips so I’ll be ok. I’ve been without it for a while now so I’ll just continue. What I’m trying to say is that with the 11 I trained myself to go a little closer to my subject or use digital zoom a little.

What about that improved battery life?

It’s good on the 13 Pro but not massively different to what I see on my 11. In fact in my testing over the last few days I was maybe 10% more left on the 11 than the 13 Pro. Even turning off 5G on the 13 Pro, my 11 was beating it in my testing.

Didn’t you prefer the design of the 13 Pro?

I did initially but going back to the iPhone 11 for a couple of days and I think I actually prefer the rounder sides and grippier back glass on the iPhone 11. Using the iPhone 13 Pro, it’s got flat sides and it’s a little heavier. I experienced some RSI pain in my hands using it over this last week as I found that the harder edges and stainless steel dug into the middle of the hand. Now I’m back on the iPhone 11 it’s settled down. Visually I prefer the look of the 13 Pro but in use I prefer the 11.

I have to admit I also love the Product(RED) colour on my iPhone 11, the 13 Pro ones need to be a little brighter – let’s get some orange and red in the line up. Certainly not a reason to return, just pointing out that I want some colour in my technology. The colours on the iPhone 13 look great mind you, not sure why it can only be fun on the non Pro models.

Overall thoughts on the 13 Pro

The 13 Pro is a great phone if you’re coming from a 4 year or older phone or want the best camera on an iPhone. I really feel that in at least my day to day the £1000 upgrade wasn’t worth it for me, especially when the downsides for my RSI are also taken into account. If you don’t have a 13 Pro, really don’t feel like you’re missing out and it’s great you’re keeping an older device going.

I do have to admit that I’m looking over at the 13 Mini with some envy though…