If you want the very best camera system you can get on a smartphone, go for the Pro models. If you have to have the biggest display available, get the Pro Max. Otherwise, get the Pro.
In addition to the camera improvements–which include Cinematic mode for video, and Macro photography for stills–this year’s Pro models also get a 3x optical zoom, which is equivalent to a 77mm focal length. The sensors also have larger pixels, meaning they can absorb more light, more quickly, making for better images in low light situations.
The Pro models get ProMotion, which dynamically adjusts the refresh rate of the display between 10Hz and 120Hz based on what you are doing. That means that scrolling is very smooth. Apple even says it calculates the speed of your finger moving on the display and chooses the appropriate refresh rate accordingly.
The other real benefit of ProMotion is that it makes for far better battery life. The Pro Max gains almost 20 percent more battery life compared to last year’s model. That’s even with a brighter display. The iPhone 13 Pro starts at $999 and the iPhone 13 Pro Max starts at $1099.
By the way, you can still buy the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini. For that matter, you can still buy the iPhone 11 for $499 or the iPhone SE for $399. Basically, Apple is competing with the likes of Samsung, OnePlus, and Google not by offering new low-priced options, but by keeping its older models around at greatly discounted prices.
It’s actually a brilliant strategy that doesn’t get a lot of attention. Apple has a phone at $399, $499, $599, $699, $799, $999, and $1099, all of which have at least an A13 Bionic processor–which isn’t slow by smartphone processor standards. All but two of those options have 5G (the iPhone 11 and iPhone SE are 4G LTE). If you’re looking to save a few hundred dollars, I’d have no problem recommending any of those devices.