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Apple iPhone 13 Battery review: Meeting the autonomy challenge

Reading Time: 5 min read
74
battery
Charging Time
2 days 4h
Battery life
Charging Time
0h58
80% Charging time
Charging Time
2h05
Full charging time

Launched in September 2021, the Apple iPhone 13 lands in our Premium ($600-$799) segment and comes with a Super-Retina display and new dual-camera setup, among other nice features. Here is a summary of its Battery protocol test results.

Key specifications:

  • Battery capacity: 3227 mAh
  • 20W charger (not included)
  • 6.1-inch, 1170 x 2532, 60 Hz OLED display
  • Apple A15 Bionic (5 nm) chipset
  • Tested ROM / RAM combination: 128 GB + 4 GB

About DXOMARK Battery tests: For scoring and analysis in our smartphone battery reviews, DXOMARK engineers perform a variety of objective tests over a week-long period both indoors and outdoors. This article highlights the most important results of our testing. (See our introductory and how we test articles for more details about our smartphone Battery protocol.)

Test summary

Apple iPhone 13
74
battery
61
autonomy
73
charging
98
efficiency

Pros

  • Excellent discharge efficiency, providing good autonomy despite relatively small battery
  • Good wireless charging experience

Cons

  • Long charging time
  • Poor charge-up efficiency

Given that it has the highest screen resolution, the smallest battery capacity, and the smallest charger among its competitors, the Apple iPhone 13 faces some challenges with respect to autonomy and charging speed.

We compared the Apple iPhone 13’s performance in several key categories with three other Premium devices, the OnePlus 9, the Samsung Galaxy S21 (Snapdragon), and the Oppo Find X3 Neo; battery capacity, charger, display type and refresh rate, display resolution, and processor specifications for all four devices are shown in the table below.

Apple iPhone 13 OnePlus 9 Samsung Galaxy S21 (Snapdragon) Oppo Find X3 Neo
Battery capacity 3227 mAh 4500 mAh 4000 mAh 4500 mAh
Charger 20W 65 W 25 W 65W
Wireless 15W 15W 15W No
Display type OLED OLED OLED OLED
Display resolution 2532 x 1170 2400 x 1080 2400 x 1080 2400 x 1080
Chipset A15 Bionic Snapdragon 888 5G Snapdragon 888 5G Snapdragon 865 5G

Autonomy (61)

How long a battery charge lasts depends not only on battery capacity but also on other aspects of the phone’s hardware and software. The DXOMARK Battery autonomy score is composed of three performance sub-scores: (1) Stationary, (2) On the go, and (3) Calibrated use cases. Each sub-score comprises the results of a comprehensive range of tests for measuring autonomy in all kinds of real-life scenarios. 

Light Usage
76h
Light
Active: 2h30/day
Moderate Usage
52h
Moderate
Active: 4h/day
Intense Usage
32h
Intense
Active: 7h/day

The Apple iPhone 13 achieves the highest Autonomy score in its segment to date, providing a solid 52 hours of autonomy for moderate use, although this performance is only average across our entire database.

It must be noted that the iPhone 13’s autonomy performance and battery indicator behaved erratically during the first iterations of our tests, with the phone showing significant power consumption during idle times — problems that users at large have also reported. The device’s power consumption during long idle periods significantly reduced its autonomy results in the earliest runs of our Typical Usage Scenario — for example, we measured a drop of 13% during the second night’s 8 hours of idle time! Our engineers believe this erratic behavior was indicative of the iPhone’s performing background optimization as part of its initial start-up routine, as the behavior disappeared after several days. The test results published here are based on the measurements we obtained after the device had stabilized.

Stationary

Apple iPhone 13

64

104

Vivo Y72 5G
Best: Vivo Y72 5G (104)

A robot housed in a Faraday cage performs a set of touch-based user actions during what we call our “typical usage scenario” (TUS) — making calls, video streaming, etc. — 4 hours of active use over the course of a 16-hour period, plus 8 hours of “sleep.” The robot repeats this set of actions every day until the device runs out of power. 

The Apple iPhone 13 lasted more than 59 hours in our TUS at its factory default settings — an impressive performance, given its screen resolution and battery capacity.

Overnight, the iPhone 13 dropped an average of only 1.33% of its battery charge.

Typical Usage Scenario discharge curves

On the go

Apple iPhone 13

61

96

Samsung Galaxy M51
Best: Samsung Galaxy M51 (96)

Using a smartphone on the go takes a toll on autonomy because of extra “hidden” demands, such as the continuous signaling associated with cellphone network selection, for example. DXOMARK Battery experts take the phone outside and perform a precisely defined set of activities while following the same three-hour travel itinerary for each device.

The iPhone 13 achieved very good results in GPS navigation and calls, but its dual-sensor camera consumes a great deal of battery power.

Estimated autonomy for on the go use cases (full charge)

Calibrated

Apple iPhone 13

63

100

Samsung Galaxy M51
Best: Samsung Galaxy M51 (100)

For this series of tests, the smartphone returns to the Faraday cage and our robots repeatedly perform actions linked to one specific use case (such as gaming, video streaming, etc.) at a time. Starting from an 80% charge, all devices are tested until they have expended at least 5% of their battery power.

The iPhone 13 shares the lead in its segment with the Oppo Find X3 Neo, with the Apple device a bit behind the competition in autonomy when gaming, but far ahead when streaming music.

Estimated autonomy for calibrated use cases (full charge)

Charging (73)

The DXOMARK Battery charging score is composed of two sub-scores, Full charge and Quick boost. Full charge tests assess the reliability of the battery power gauge; measure how long it takes to charge a battery from zero to 80% capacity and from 80 to 100%; and measure how long and how much power the battery takes to go from an indicated 100% to an actual full charge. With the phone at different charge levels (20%, 40%, 60%, 80%), Quick boost tests measure the amount of charge the battery receives after being plugged in for 5 minutes. 

Wired
Wired
53%
in 30 min
0h58
0 - 80%
2h05
Full charge
Wireless
Wireless
33%
in 30 min
1h29
0 - 80%
2h30
Full charge

To say that charging is not a strong point for the iPhone 13 is an understatement; that the smartphone does not come with a charger only underscores that fact.

Power consumption and battery level during full charge

Full charge

Apple iPhone 13

75

106

OnePlus 9
Best: OnePlus 9 (106)

The Apple iPhone 13 reaches an 80% charge within an hour, but it takes more than another hour to go from 80% to a full charge. Its wireless charging performance is similar.

Both the OnePlus and Oppo devices are more than twice as fast.

Time to full charge

Quick boost

Apple iPhone 13

69

108

Oppo Reno6 5G
Best: Oppo Reno6 5G (108)

The iPhone 13 provides 3 hours 24 minutes of autonomy after charging for five minutes when the battery indicator displays 20% power remaining.

Apple iPhone 13 OnePlus 9 Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon) Oppo Find X3 Neo
Autonomy boost (hh:mm) 20%3:23 8:26 2:38 8:20
40%2:45 5:59 2:45 6:26
60%1:57 5:28 2:09 5:29
80%1:06 4:02 1:57 4:14
Percentage boost 20%9 %23 %7.4 %22.1 %
40%7.3 %16.3 %7.7 %17 %
60%5.2 %14.9 %6 %14.5 %
80%3 %11 %5.5 %11.2 %
Energy consumed 20%1747 mWh4923 mWh1466 mWh4712 mWh
40%1418 mWh3491 mWh1528 mWh3637 mWh
60%1007 mWh3188 mWh1195 mWh3103 mWh
80%572 mWh2354 mWh1088 mWh2399 mWh

Efficiency (98)

The DXOMARK power efficiency score consists of two sub-scores, Charge up and Discharge rate, both of which combine data obtained during robot-based typical usage scenario testing, outdoor mobility testing, charging evaluation, and power measurements, and then take into consideration the device’s battery capacity.

The iPhone 13 bests its competitors in this category, but owes its high overall score to its outstanding discharge efficiency, as its charge up efficiency is very poor.

Charge up

Apple iPhone 13

54

84

OnePlus 9
Best: OnePlus 9 (84)

The iPhone 13’s overall charge up efficiency is among the worst in the DXOMARK database, with its low-power charger taking far too long to bring the device from an 80% charge to a full charge. However, residual power drains are very low after the phone is done charging.

Discharge

Apple iPhone 13

121

Highest Score

The iPhone 13 is very efficient when in use, tying with the iPhone 12 mini for the current top score in our database.

Conclusion

The Apple iPhone 13 suffers from slow charging. Despite having a small battery, however, it is has outstanding discharge efficiency and thus can provide a comfortable margin of autonomy.

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