I followed my own advice and bought a last generation iPhone; I do not regret anything

I spent an exciting and exhausting week last September holding the new Apple iPhone 14 in hand before it went on sale. I did everything I could in the course of that week: surfing, surfing the web, recording videos, playing games, taking selfies, riding the ferry, selfie on the ferrywhatever, to try and answer the $800 question: should I buy it?

So the answer, which I stand by now, is “probably not”. It’s a great phone, but it’s not significantly better than the iPhone 13. Sure, it makes sense to pick up the 14 if your carrier gives you a great deal, or if you spend a lot of time out of cellular range where the new emergency SOS could be a literal lifesaver. . Or go for the iPhone 14 Pro if you’re looking for the latest features. But for the rest of us, the iPhone 13 is just as good with the added benefit of costing a little less.

I’m a woman of my word, so when it became clear it was time to upgrade my iPhone 11 before its trade-in value fell off a cliff, I made a beeline for the iPhone 13 — the Mini, to be precise — which is down to $600. . Since late last year, I’ve spent a lot of time testing the latest generation of high-end phones: the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, the Google Pixel 7 Pro, and a recent revision of the iPhone 14 Pro. They’re all amazing phones in their own way. But when it came time to make my own decision about which phone to buy, I didn’t pick any of those latest and greatest devices. No, I traded my 11 (along with a small part of my soul) to Verizon for the humble little iPhone 13 Mini, and I haven’t looked back.

Fits perfectly in the outside pocket of my fancy fanny pack from mom at the playground

I went with the Mini because I love a small phone, and it seems very likely that the 13 Mini will be the last. good small phone But even if you prefer a larger phone, I still think the 13 is where it’s at. You don’t get the improved camera hardware and processing that the 14 offers, but it’s still a good camera overall: decent portrait mode photos, very good video, and an ultra-wide angle for a bit of drama. And you get photo styles and cinematic video mode, both of which I use regularly (rich contrast points unite!).

Outside of the camera, the 13 Mini is still a really good phone by modern standards, even a year and a half after launch. Battery life isn’t its strong point, but it’s enough to get you through a day of moderate use with a comfortable margin. It fits perfectly in the outside pocket of my fancy fanny pack from mom on the playground. It is quite fast and responsive with its A15 Bionic processor. It has MagSafe and therefore wireless charging. It also has a physical SIM tray, whereas the iPhone 14 is all eSIM. Most people don’t need to worry about this; I change phones once a week and the eSIM makes my life hell.

The 13 Mini isn’t perfect. There are things you wish you had, but for the most part you wouldn’t get on the iPhone 14 anyway: those are features reserved for the pricier 14 Pro. And while the 14 is moderately more expensive than the 13 Mini ($800 vs. $600), the $1,000 14 Pro is a lot more expensive in comparison. A 120Hz smooth-scrolling display, telephoto, always-on display – all just for professionals. They’re very nice things to have, but is $400 more nice? Maybe. But not for me, not right now.

That’s the question it always comes down to: not what’s the best phone, but what’s the best phone. for me? That’s the question I spend most of my days trying to help people answer. It’s fun to declare winners and losers, but when it comes to something as personal as your phone, choosing the right one to live with is always a little more complex than that.


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