The iPhone 11 is the foundation upon which some of the most popular later iPhones were built on: both the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 generally utilize use the same general formula. What are the main differences between the iPhone 13 and the two generations older iPhone 11? And should you upgrade to the iPhone 13, if you already own an iPhone 11?
Also, don’t forget that the iPhone 13 costs about $800 dollars, while the iPhone 11 currently retails for just $500, which is a considerable $300 dollars worth of a difference.
iPhone 13 vs iPhone 11 differences in a nutshell:
- iPhone 13 has flat-edge design with smaller borders and smaller notch
- iPhone 13 has OLED screen vs LCD on iPhone 11
- Only iPhone 13 has HDR support
- Brighter screen on iPhone 13
- Faster chip
- 128GB vs 64GB base storage
- Upgraded dual camera system on iPhone 13
- Longer battery life on iPhone 13
- iPhone 13 has MagSafe, while iPhone 11 only has regular wireless charging
Display and Design
6.1″ OLED screen on iPhone 13 is a big upgrade, even if it doesn’t have 120Hz ProMotion
Thanks to smaller bezels and a new design, the iPhone 13 is more compact while still featuring the same 6.1″ screen size as the iPhone 11. See, the iPhone 11 is extra wide because of the thicker borders around the screen, which add width and make it hard to grasp with one hand.
Here are the exact dimensions:
- iPhone 13 — 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.65mm, 174g
- iPhone 11 — 150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3 mm, 194g
Notice how the iPhone 11 is much wider, thicker, and actually weighs quite a bit more too. Despite that, many of us find the flat edges on the iPhone 13 actually make it harder to grip firmly, while the older design with rounded sides is more ergonomic.
Both the iPhone 13 and iPhone 11 have a glossy back and use aluminum for the mid-frame. The colors are different though: you have a new pink option on the iPhone 13, in addition to the other 4 more standard color versions that are Midnight (black-ish), Starlight (silver-ish), Blue and Product RED.
While both phones have the same 6.1-inch screen size, the iPhone 13 uses an OLED display with deeper blacks and superior contrast compared to the older LCD type screen on the iPhone 11, where blacks appear washed out and colors don’t look quite as lively, plus you get a ghosting effect while scrolling. In addition to that, the iPhone 13 also has a higher resolution at 1170p compared to just 828p on the iPhone 11, another visible difference.
Last but not least, the display on the newer iPhone also supports HDR, which really makes videos you record or Netflix movies come to life, while you don’t have that on the iPhone 11.
One modern feature that is missing on both, however, is a fast refresh rate. Unfortunately, the newer iPhone 13 still runs at 60Hz, just like the iPhone 11. Apple has reserved the super smooth 120Hz ProMotion screens for its iPhone Pro series that cost quite a bit more.
Upgraded dual camera setup
The camera system looks different on the iPhone 13 with the lenses arranged diagonally rather than a straight line, but the cameras remain two, a wide and an ultra-wide one.
Here are the camera specs and the differences in hardware:
- wide camera — 12MP on both, 26mm, f/1.6 aperture on 13 vs f/1.8 on 11
- ultra-wide camera — 12MP, 0.5X on both, f/2.4 aperture on both
We should also mention that the iPhone 11 was among the first to receive the Night Mode feature, but it only works with the main camera, while on the iPhone 13 it works with both cameras.
While both the iPhone 13 and iPhone 11 lack a headphone jack, there is a notable difference in the way the two sound when you are using the built-in loudspeakers.
The iPhone 13 is boomy and surprises with an ample sound that you don’t expect out of a phone speaker. The iPhone 11, on the other hand, is just decent, and doesn’t quite have the same punch and clarity. If you like to listen to music straight out of your phone, or just watch a lot of videos or play games without headphones, the iPhone 13 is a noticeable upgrade in terms of sound quality.
Performance: Apple A15 vs A13
Apple’s custom made silicon has led the market in terms of performance over the past few years, and this lead only continues with the new Apple A15 Bionic processor in the iPhone 13. You get improvements on all fronts: CPU, GPU, AI and even the camera ISP.
Below, you will find benchmark results that compare the iPhone 13 with its A15 against the iPhone 11 with its A13 processor:
We can see that Apple has only made very slight improvements to the performance, but compared to the 2-year old iPhone 11, it’s a noticeable difference.
One area where the iPhone 13 brings a notable improvement over the iPhone 11 is connectivity. First, because the iPhone 13 supports 5G while the iPhone 11 does not, and second because of the sheer amount of bands and bandwidth supports. We still don’t think 5G should influence your decision on buying either one as even with 4G LTE on the iPhone 11 we are still getting similar download and upload speeds.
Battery and Charging
iPhone 13 fixes one of the iPhone 12’s biggest flaws
The iPhone 13 has a slightly larger, 3227mAh battery cell compared to 3110mAh battery on the iPhone 11. That’s a modest improvement of about 4%, in case you were wondering.
Our independent battery tests confirm that the iPhone 13 is indeed hitting longer battery life numbers than the iPhone 11, and quite noticeably so:
In real life, both phones last us about a day of full use, but the iPhone 13 can be pushed with more gaming and video recording and still last that long, while the iPhone 11 would last a bit less. The important thing is that you get those battery improvements all across the board, in all three of our different tests.
On the charger front, Apple “innovated” in the past couple of years by not including a charger or headphones, and this will to carry on with the iPhone 13. So yes, while you might have an older charger around, if you want to benefit from fast charging speeds you would need to spend an additional $20 bucks for a fast charger for the iPhone 13.
As for charging speeds, the iPhone 13 max charging rate is set at 20W compared to 18W on the iPhone 11, so no big difference. Both phones also support wireless charging and any Qi charger will work, but the newer iPhone 13 has MagSafe with magnets inside, so it snaps neatly to compatible chargers to get optimal speeds. Also, in terms of wireless charging speeds, you get up to 15W on the iPhone 13, and only up to 7.5W on the iPhone 11.
iPhone 13 vs iPhone 11: Specs Comparison
And here is a detailed specs comparison between the iPhone 13 and iPhone 11.
Which one should you go for? At the end of the day, the iPhone 13 beats the iPhone 11, but is the difference worth it? The iPhone 13 costs $800 dollars, while you can get an iPhone 11 for just $500, that’s $300 dollars worth of difference. If you really care about display quality, HDR and the slightly longer battery life, the answer is yes, but we were still quite impressed with the iPhone 11 and how it delivers very similar camera quality and solid performance, and it’s a safe bet if you want a budget iPhone.
What are your thoughts about the differences between the iPhone 13 and iPhone 11, and do you think the differences justify the higher price?