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How to Preorder the iPhone 13—and Which One You Should Get

How to Preorder the iPhone 13—and Which One You Should Get

If you’ve been daydreaming about the iPhone 13 over the past few days, then you’ll be happy to know that you can order one very soon. Preorders for each of the four new iPhones start at 8 am EDT (6 am PDT) on September 17. If you’re struggling to find the best deal, you don’t know which model to choose, or you’re wondering if you even need to upgrade, we’ve got you covered.

Below, we break down the differences between the iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Mini, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max, and have included details on how to preorder one of these shiny new slabs of glass (or multiple, we don’t judge).

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Is the Upgrade Necessary?

All four iPhone 13 models come with incremental changes over last year’s devices. Slightly longer battery life here, more internal storage there. That’s why we don’t think it’s a sound investment to upgrade if you currently own an iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Pro, or iPhone 12 Pro Max.

That mostly rings true for anyone with an iPhone 11 or iPhone 11 Pro. Unless you’re really into the boxier frame of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13, have cash to spare, and want to future-proof your device with 5G connectivity, then you’re good with what you have. If you’re dealing with poor battery life, the first step is to try a battery replacement, which can go a long way in extending the life of your device for a nominal fee.  

Got an older iPhone? Then have at it! Snag that iPhone 13 with no regrets.

iphone 13
Photograph: Apple

Choose Your iPhone

The iPhone 13 offers some noteworthy improvements over the 2020 range. Each model includes the A15 Bionic chip for slightly better performance, plus longer battery life, more internal storage, improved camera sensors, and new colors. The 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max are the first iPhones with ProMotion, a 120-Hz refresh rate, which you can read more about here.

Just like last year, there’s 5G support, but it shouldn’t be the sole reason to get a new iPhone, since 5G availability is still rather sparse in the US and not that different from 4G LTE in day-to-day use. To see more differences between each model, Apple’s comparison tool can help. 

Take Your Tunes Anywhere With Our Fave Bluetooth Speakers

Take Your Tunes Anywhere With Our Fave Bluetooth Speakers

The best Bluetooth speakers still have a place near and dear to our hearts, even as we’ve seen better (and more portable) smart speakers creeping into the universe. 

It’s fun and easy to ask an Amazon Echo or Google Nest speaker to play your favorite track or tell you the weather, but smart speakers have a few crutches—first and foremost, stable Wi-Fi. By (mostly) forgoing voice assistants and Wi-Fi radios, Bluetooth speakers gain portability, with the ability to venture outside of your house and withstand rugged conditions like the sandy beach or the steamy Airbnb jacuzzi. They’ll also work with any smartphone, and they sound as good their smart-speaker equivalents. 

We’ve tested hundreds of models in the past few years, and we can happily say they are still some of the best small devices you can listen to. Here are our favorites right now.

Be sure to check out all our buying guides, including the Best Soundbars, Best Wirefree Earbuds, and Best Smart Speakers.

Updated September 2021: We’ve added the Sony SRS-XB13 and Bose Soundlink Revolve+ II, as well as updated our list of honorable mentions.

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20 Amazingly Addictive Couch Co-Op Games

20 Amazingly Addictive Couch Co-Op Games

If you need to recharge, what better way than to cozy up with friends or family and play some couch co-op games? Whether you want space shooter action, a platform challenge, or a tricky puzzler, we have a game here for every co-op crew, including games built for pairs as well as trios and quartets. Here are the very best cooperative titles for the PlayStation, Xbox, Windows PC, and Nintendo Switch.

Updated August 2021: We’ve added four titles, including It Takes Two and Overcooked! All You Can Eat.

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The 12 Best Electric Bikes for Every Kind of Ride

The 12 Best Electric Bikes for Every Kind of Ride

The concurrent crises of the coronavirus pandemic and climate change have prompted many of us to rethink how we live our daily lives. For millions of Americans, that included hopping on an ebike, whether we rented one from a bike-share or bought our own. 

For years, electric bicycles were bulky, inconvenient, expensive machines whose usefulness (and battery life) was limited. Slowly, that has changed. Ebikes are now lighter, more attractive, and more powerful than ever. You don’t need to be physically fit to ride one. It gets you outside, reduces fossil fuels, reduces congestion, and it’s fun

Over the past few years, my fellow Gear writers and I have tried almost every kind of electric bike, from the best heavy-duty cargo bikes to high-end mountain bikes. We’re always testing new bicycles, so if you don’t see one you like now, check back later (or drop me a note!). Once you get one, check out our favorite biking accessories, bike locks, and gear for a bikepacking adventure.

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Updated August 2021: We’ve reorganized our guide for clarity, added new models like the LeMond Prolog, added a list of honorable mentions, and removed older models.

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The Best Chromebooks for Every Budget

The Best Chromebooks for Every Budget

Chromebooks come in a bewildering array of configurations. Sometimes even trying to decide which options to get on a single model can be overwhelming. As a product tester, I have to use a spreadsheet to keep it all straight. But you shouldn’t have to do that, so here are some broad specs to keep in mind when choosing one.

Processor: Chromebooks use half a dozen different processors, most of which you’ve probably never heard of. There’s a reason for that: these processors are slow, and they don’t show up in Windows laptops. After trying out plenty of Intel Celeron-based machines (usually labeled N4000), my recommendation is to go with something more powerful if you can afford it. The next step up from the Celeron is the Core m3, which is the best choice for most people. If you want a more powerful, future-proof machine, get an i3 or i5 chip.

We’re starting to see more ARM-based Chromebooks, like the Lenovo Duet above. I haven’t had any issues using ARM Chromebooks, but they aren’t quite as speedy as the Intel Core chips. There are some newer Chromebooks using AMD’s new Ryzen chips, and I’ve had good experiences with them.

RAM: Get 8 gigabytes of memory if you can afford it, especially if you plan to run any Android applications. When I’ve experienced severe slowdowns and glitches, it’s almost always on a Chromebook with only 4 gigs of RAM.

Screen: Get an IPS LCD display. There are still a few low-end models out there with crappier TN LCD displays, and you should avoid those. Your pixel resolution depends on the size of the screen. I have used (and recommend) some 11-inch Chromebooks that have 720p displays. Because those screens are squeezed into a small form factor, I find them acceptably sharp, but of course, a 1080p screen will be much nicer.

Ports: Most things you do on a Chromebook are cloud-based, so you don’t really need to worry too much about ports. You might want a computer that charges through a USB-C port if you’d like to be able to run your Chromebook off a portable battery/charger, but unfortunately, USB-C is really only available in mid- and higher-priced models. It also helps to have a MicroSD slot for expanded storage if you need to download a lot of files during a typical day, but that option is also not widely available.