I’ve by no means actually nailed my colours to the mast of any platform; I’ve all the time had an iOS or Android system round me, can see the perks of macOS and Home windows, and would not be capable to select between the PS5 vs Xbox Collection X. However regardless of this, I’ve been an Android smartphone person for the previous 5 years.
That’s not from any specific selection, simply that I have a tendency to check lots of Android telephones and so I’ve gravitated extra in direction of that platform. However as my first smartphone was the iPhone 4s, I’ve all the time been curious what it will be like to totally return to iOS after years with a bouquet of one of the best Android telephones.
I had turned my nostril up on the iPhone 13 — I felt it didn’t go far sufficient to combine up the iPhone system and claimed I’d look ahead to an iPhone 14 — however I’ve had the chance to pop my SIM card into an iPhone 13 Professional, transferring from the Google Pixel 6 Professional, to see if I might be tempted to totally decide to sticking with iOS. And I’ve some ideas.
Going iPhone 13 Professional
Whereas I had an iPhone 12 for some time, one of many causes I by no means moved to it was that Apple saddled it with a 60Hz show. Having been spoiled by the Samsung Galaxy S21 and Oppo Discover X3 Professional for a part of the 12 months, I now discover 60Hz screens to be jarring. Heck, even 90Hz feels gradual.
So Apple’s transfer to lastly go 120Hz with an LTPO panel caught my consideration. And it’s nice.
I’ve lengthy loved Apple’s Retina show, however not solely is the iPhone 13 Professional’s OLED show beautiful to have a look at, with buckets of coloration and distinction, that 120Hz refresh uncommon is splendidly easy. Add within the effective timing of iOS and the iPhone’s efficiency, and every part simply really feel proper to the contact. The snappy responses means the iPhone 13 Professional feels prefer it’s in sync with what I wish to work together with, by no means lagging or going too quick.
Not everybody will care about quick refresh charges, however for me it is the important function to drag me again to iPhone after Android life within the 120Hz quick lane. I’m disillusioned Apple caught with 60Hz for the common iPhone 13 although.
The Professional enchantment of the $999 iPhone additionally extends to its trio of rear cameras. Whereas there’s no further macro lens, microscope or tremendous telephoto zoom, the primary, ultra-wide and telephoto suite of snappers stays one of the best digital camera mixture for what I would like from a smartphone. Positive, the pair of rear cameras on the usual iPhone 13 are nice, however having that telephoto zoom simply makes for extra complete pictures choices.
And the pictures outcomes are sensible, backing up the iPhone 13 Professional’s spot on our greatest digital camera telephones checklist. Pictures are colourful, stuffed with element and distinction, and simply wonderful throughout all three cameras.
The one fly within the ointment is I actually just like the contrast-y pictures the Pixel 6 Professional delivers, making it very tough to determine which is one of the best for me. I reckon the Pixel 6 Professional delivers one of the best primary digital camera photographs, however the iPhone 13 Professional feels extra constant throughout all of it cameras and by no means as soon as delivered a lackluster picture.
By way of some extent and shoot pictures expertise, I reckon the iPhone 13 Professional nearly edges out the competitors, although the Pixel 6 Professional can also be sensible at this. Apple’s flagship actually has the sting over the Galaxy S21, although that cellphone additionally takes nice pictures.
On the video entrance, the iPhone 13 Professional proves but once more that iPhones are the king of video recording. I already discovered this to be the case with the iPhone 12, so there have been no surprises; undecided I’d get a lot use out of the Cinematic mode.
Might I like to recommend the iPhone 13 Professional’s cameras over the Pixel 6 Professional? Effectively, I’m undecided, as each are excellent. Can I like to recommend the iPhone 13 Professional’s cameras over these of another cellphone? Sure, completely.
That outdated acquainted feeling
As I’ve used an iPhone 12 for varied duties this 12 months, similar to explaining join a PS5 DualSense controller to your iPhone, the design and really feel of the iPhone 13 Professional felt wasn’t something new. However utilizing it as my primary cellphone, I used to be struck by simply how acquainted the cellphone felt, even coming from years of Android use.
The rounded rectangular design of iPhone 13 Professional took me again to the iPhone 4s, with the return of the flat edges feeling comfy, but not slippery just like the curved facet on an OnePlus 9 Professional for instance. Positive, they decide up fingerprints however they scream high-end industrial design.
As does the remainder of the cellphone; nothing appears misplaced, nor are there any sharp edges. I like the design of the Pixel 6 Professional, and the Oppo Discover X3 Professional feels beautiful to carry, however neither fairly convey a way of impeccable construct high quality because the iPhone 13 Professional does. Then once more Apple merchandise have all the time had a high-level of construct high quality, Butterfly keyboard mechanism not withstanding.
I had thought the show notch would annoy me, as I’m now very used to punch-hole digital camera cutouts relatively than notches of any form or dimension. And sure, it’s not perfect and one thing I really feel Apple actually ought to change with the iPhone 14. However it’s smaller than earlier than and when utilizing darkish mode on iOS it turns into so much much less intrusive.
And general the 6.1-inch show looks like the right dimension for me, resulting in a cellphone that’s nonetheless usable in a single hand however has sufficient display house to be productive on the transfer.
On to the software program, it’s the identical story. iOS has developed so much for the reason that iPhone 4s, however the menus, settings and apps nonetheless keep a graphical design and finesse that I really feel few native Android apps or skins can match. The climate app for instance stays one in all my favorites, with the background displaying off the climate situations outdoors in a beautiful little bit of graphic design.
Pure Android 12, in addition to the Pixel’s tackle it, reveals how far Googles’ cellular working system has come since my early days of utilizing it with Android Jelly Bean and KitKat; it “simply works” equally applies to Android because it does for iOS on the subject of ease of use.
However I nonetheless really feel iOS has the sting by way of general design — the impact of tapping on an apps folder to have a translucent field pop up displaying the apps inside it whereas blurring these within the background is a small however very pleasing contact.
Granted, it’s taken me a short time to get reacquainted with iOS given my day by day Android use. However as soon as up and operating, I can’t deny that Apple’s tackle cellular software program is solely sensible.
Apple’s walled backyard
Issues are removed from good with iOS although. The frequent grievance with iPhones is that Apple retains them pretty locked down and restricts a lot customization under the floor. And I discovered that to be the case.
Merely transferring apps round to get the house display arrange what means I wished was deeply irritating. You possibly can’t merely drag and drop an app the place you need it; transfer one and the remainder transfer as effectively.
Whereas the addition of widgets to iOS are appreciated, they lack the flexibleness and variation of these present in Android. In the meanwhile, iOS widgets all really feel a bit first era, albeit very usable.
And whilst you can add in issues like third-party keyboards, the method is not very clear. Nor are there any choices to essentially dig into iOS settings; there’s no strategy to tweak the Retina show’s colours for instance.
A scarcity of apps drawer, no always-on show, and the awkward dealing with of lock display notifications — you want an extended press to entry them, which isn’t made that clear from the start — take among the shine off iOS.
I’m no Android energy person, however I do like the choice to have choices. Having mentioned that, there’s a profit to Apple’s locked down strategy.
Controlling every part from the chip on the coronary heart of the iPhone 13 Professional to the apps that make it into the App Retailer, has meant that each the cellphone and iOS really feel honed to a effective level. Each app I’ve downloaded works completely with a constant really feel in design and efficiency; heck even Google apps like Docs and Drive are a pleasure to make use of on iOS. And video games, merely on the App Retailer or offered by means of Apple Arcade, all run brilliantly, little doubt due to optimization and the sheer energy of the A15 Bionic chip.
Positive, the walled backyard strategy Apple takes means some apps and video games on Android aren’t allowed on iOS; I actually want the iOS Xbox Sport Move app had native sport streaming enabled.
However there’s a really comforting feeling being inside this restricted ecosystem. I’d liken it to being wrapped tightly in a quilt on a chilly night time: you’ll be able to’t transfer a lot, however you’re feeling cosy and content material the place you’re.
iPhone: Boringly sensible
The general mixture of slick design, sensible cameras, fastidiously curated options and slick (if rigid) software program, is greater than sufficient for most individuals. And the tightly tuned interaction between iPhone, Apple Watch and MacBooks, all makes it clear to me why individuals select iPhones and persist with them.
However I’m left wanting extra. I really feel the iPhone 13 Professional lacks the smarts of the Pixel 6 telephones with the Tensor chip and the options it permits. And there is nothing further with Apple’s telephones, like there may be with the Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely with its secondary telephoto digital camera and the flexibility to grow to be a pseudo desktop pc with DeX.
As such, the iPhone 13 Professional is sensible however relatively boring on the identical time. I’m hoping that adjustments with the iPhone 14, with the adoption of USB-C connectivity, an under-display tackle Contact ID, higher widgets, and good options for Siri that actually supply one thing new and thrilling.
In any case there’s solely a lot incremental iteration Apple can do with the iPhone in its present tried-and-tested system earlier than it wants to return to the drafting board.
No straightforward reply
The center of this text isn’t to evaluate whether or not iOS is best or worse than Android. Each are wonderful and accessible to all, with Android providing extra flexibility and choices, whereas iOS presents a slick, constant expertise.
Moderately I wished to see if I, as a long-time Android person, might simply make the swap to iOS, in addition to assess if the die-hard fandom towards Apple’s telephones is related at a time once we’re flush with wonderful Android telephones. And I had thought I’d find yourself coming onerous on the facet of Android or iOS as my platform of selection.
However fact be instructed, I’m torn on my conclusion. That’s principally because of the Google Pixel 6 Professional being the Android cellphone I have been ready for with its heady mixture of specs, smarts and stellar pictures. But the iOS expertise has received its claws in me, and the iPhone 13 Professional’s dimension, design, and digital camera efficiency is undeniably interesting.
For work functions, I’ve been carrying round each the iPhone 13 Professional and Pixel 6 Professional, and that received’t change, solely that my SIM is now within the Apple cellphone.
However, in the intervening time, after a busy day of tech information and views, it’ll be the iPhone 13 Professional that I attain for.
That is down to 3 causes: the prolonged battery life, the speedy cellular web connection, and AirPlay being wonderful at piping music to my Sonos good speaker when my dwelling Wi-Fi is being temperamental.
How lengthy this may stay the case, I’m not so certain. With the Samsung Galaxy S22 on the horizon, I’m certain the lure of a brand new Android cellphone will hook me. And my Pixel 6 Professional may also be stored inside straightforward attain. But for higher or worse, the iPhone 13 Professional is now my on a regular basis cellphone; effectively executed Apple, very effectively executed.