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iPhone 11 vs iPhone 13: An In-Depth Technical Comparison

The iPhone 11 and iPhone 13 represent two different generations in Apple‘s iconic smartphone line. While both models have their merits, the newer iPhone 13 brings some significant upgrades that power users, photographers, and tech enthusiasts will appreciate.

This extensive, technical comparison will analyze all the details – from processors and displays down to cellular radios and biometrics. Read on to learn how these two iPhones stack up across over a dozen categories.

Release Timeline and Availability

First, let‘s look at the when these phones were released and how long they‘ve been available:

  • iPhone 11 – September 10, 2019 announcement, September 20, 2019 release date. Available for 1 year before being discontinued upon iPhone 12‘s launch.
  • iPhone 13 – September 14, 2021 announcement, September 24, 2021 release date. Apple‘s current flagship phone as of early 2023.

The iPhone 11 enjoyed strong sales of over 37 million units during its first year. However, as an older model, it was discontinued after the iPhone 12 launch while the iPhone 13 remains widely available as Apple‘s latest generation.

Pricing and Storage Options

Due to being a two year old model, the iPhone 11 sees significant discounts compared to its original $699 starting price:

  • iPhone 11 – Now available new/refurbished for around $499. Offered 64GB and 128GB storage options when launched.
  • iPhone 13 – Still sold for original $799 starting price. Gets 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB storage configurations.

For those wanting higher capacity at the 128GB or 256GB tiers, the iPhone 13 includes those options even at its base pricing. However, the iPhone 11 delivers strong value currently at nearly $300 less than the iPhone 13 for those less concerned about storage space or tech specs.

Display Technology

The displays on these two phones take very different approaches:

Specification iPhone 11 iPhone 13
Screen Size 6.1 inches 6.1 inches
Display Type LCD OLED
Resolution 1792 x 828 pixels 2532 x 1170 pixels
Pixel Density 326 ppi 460 ppi
Contrast Ratio 1400:1 (typical) 2,000,000:1
Peak Brightness 625 nits 800 nits (typical); 1200 nits (HDR)
True Tone Yes Yes
ProMotion No No

As the table illustrates, the iPhone 13‘s OLED screen offers higher resolution, pixel density, contrast ratio, and peak brightness – adding up to a more vibrant and detailed display.

The jump from LCD to OLED is especially significant, with OLED providing true blacks, improved energy efficiency, and avoiding issues like backlight bleed. Both screens get True Tone for automatically adjusting color temperature.

Processor and Performance

Apple consistently brings major performance upgrades with their newest mobile processors. Here‘s how the chips inside the iPhone 11 and iPhone 13 compare:

Spec iPhone 11 iPhone 13
Chip Apple A13 Bionic Apple A15 Bionic
Manufacturing Process 7nm 5nm
CPU 2x performance cores, 4x efficiency cores 6-core CPU
GPU 4-core 5-core
Neural Engine 8-core NPU 16-core NPU
Benchmark Score 1327 (single-core)
3328 (multi-core)*
1727 (single-core)
4643 (multi-core)*

*Geekbench 5 scores

The A15 Bionic extends Apple‘s chipset performance lead by adopting an advanced 5nm manufacturing process paired with efficiency improvements. As benchmarks demonstrate, it provides up to 30% faster single and multi-core CPU speeds. The extra GPU core also gives a graphics boost.

These hardware advantages translate into real-world benefits like better multitasking, faster app launches, and top-tier gaming performance only possible on the iPhone 13. Machine learning also gets a major upgrade thanks to the doubled neural engine and advanced 16-core NPU.

Camera Specifications

iPhones have always been known for outstanding camera quality, but the iPhone 13 still manages to take photos and videos up a level:

Camera Hardware iPhone 11 iPhone 13
Main Camera 12MP, f/1.8 aperture, OIS 12MP, f/1.6 aperture, sensor-shift OIS
Ultra Wide 12MP, f/2.4 aperture, 120° FoV 12MP, f/2.4 aperture, 120° FoV
Optical Zoom 2x (Pro models only) No optical zoom
Portrait Mode Yes Yes
Photographic Styles No Yes
Night Mode Yes Improved low-light
Video 4K @ 60fps 4K @ 60fps with Dolby Vision HDR

While matching the iPhone 11‘s dual 12MP camera setup, the iPhone 13 makes some important imaging enhancements. This includes adopting sensor-shift stabilization – previously limited to iPhone 12 Pro Max – for the primary camera. A wider f/1.6 aperture improves low light shots. And Photographic Styles applies customized look profiles to images.

Video also gets major upgrades like Cinematic mode for automatically shifting focus and Dolby Vision HDR for brighter, more vivid videos. Overall, the iPhone 13 cameras represent a significant step up from the already impressive iPhone 11.

Cellular Connectivity

In terms of cellular data speeds, the iPhone 13 gains a massive enhancement thanks to integrating 5G support:

Mobile Data iPhone 11 iPhone 13
5G No Yes, Sub-6GHz and mmWave
LTE Gigabit LTE with 4×4 MIMO and LAA Gigabit LTE with 4×4 MIMO and LAA

While the iPhone 11 maxes out at fast 4G LTE speeds, the iPhone 13 can take advantage of next-generation 5G networks being deployed globally. It supports both sub-6GHz and mmWave technology to offer lightning quick downloads and streaming.

Of course, 5G coverage remains limited in many regions, though it is rapidly improving. Where available, 5G can provide up to 4Gbps peak download speeds – 10 to 100x faster than typical 4G LTE.

Battery Life and Charging

Thanks to a combination of battery capacity tweaks, more efficient 5G modems, and processor advancements, the iPhone 13 sees minor battery life gains:

Battery Specs iPhone 11 iPhone 13
Battery Capacity 3110 mAh 3227 mAh
Max Wired Charging Speed 18W fast charging Up to 20W fast charging
Max Wireless Charging Speed 7.5W Qi charging 15W MagSafe charging
Charger Included? No, sold separately No, sold separately

Apple rates the iPhone 13 for up to 19 hours of video playback vs 17 hours for iPhone 11. Both support fast wired charging, but only the iPhone 13 offers speedier 15W wireless charging with MagSafe.

Unfortunately, Apple does not include a charger with either model – only a USB-C to Lightning cable. So you‘ll need to factor charging accessories into the cost for either iPhone.

Durability and Water Resistance

The iPhone 13 retains the same durability upgrades introduced with the iPhone 11, including water resistance and improved glass:

Durability iPhone 11 iPhone 13
Water resistance rating IP68 – 6m depth up to 30 mins IP68 – 6m depth up to 30 mins
Front glass Scratch-resistant glass Ceramic Shield
Back glass Glass Glass
Aluminum frame 6000 series aluminum 6000 series aluminum

Both phones carry an industry-leading IP68 rating signifying full dust protection and water resistance up to 6 meters for 30 minutes. Apple also introduced its ultra-tough Ceramic Shield material on the iPhone 13‘s front glass for 4x better drop resistance. The back remains glass on both though, so you‘ll still want a case for extra protection.

Biometrics and Authentication

For securely unlocking the phones and authorizing Apple Pay transactions, the iPhone 11 and 13 are identical in using Face ID:

Biometrics iPhone 11 iPhone 13
Face ID Yes Yes
Fingerprint sensor No No

Face ID relies on advanced 3D facial mapping powered by the TrueDepth front camera and infrared emitter. It adapts to changes in appearance and works reliably in most lighting. With the same generation Face ID system, both phones offer the same very secure biometric authentication and easy unlocking.

iOS Versions Supported

As Apple‘s latest model running the newest iOS 15, the iPhone 13 offers a software advantage:

iOS support iPhone 11 iPhone 13
Current iOS version Upgradable to iOS 15.7 Ships with iOS 15
Guaranteed major iOS updates iOS 16 (likely last update) TBD
Security updates Receive latest security patches Receive latest security patches

The iPhone 11 is capable of running iOS 15, but as an older model, it is approaching the end of its guaranteed major software updates. In contrast, the iPhone 13 ships with iOS 15 already installed and will be supported with major iOS updates for many years to come.

Resale Value Comparison

Given its more modern specs and features, the iPhone 13 is likely to maintain resale value better if you plan to sell or trade your phone in the future:

Model Launch Price Current Resale Value* Resale Value After 1 Year*
iPhone 11 $699 $220 $400
iPhone 13 $799 $589 $679

*Estimated average resale prices in good condition from reseller sites

As the data shows, the iPhone 13 is projected to retain its value much better – falling only around 15% after 12 months vs nearly 43% depreciation for the iPhone 11. Over time, this difference in resale value is important to factor in.

The Bottom Line

The iPhone 13 retains the core strengths of the iPhone 11 like outstanding cameras, durable design, and intuitive iOS software while improving upon them in important ways. You get a significantly brighter OLED display, up to 2x faster processor and graphics, enhanced camera hardware and features, 5G connectivity, and MagSafe charging.

However, the iPhone 11 still offers strong performance and camera quality at a bargain $499 price point. So if keeping costs low is the priority, it remains a viable option. But for those who rely on their phone‘s capabilities and plan to use it for at least 2-3 years, the iPhone 13 delivers meaningful upgrades that justify its higher price tag. Ultimately, choosing the right model depends on your budget and which new additions bring the most value for your personal needs.