iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro review – Apple has set a new standard for flagship smartphones

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VERDICT
  • Design

The iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro are impressive upgrades that set a new standard with a stunning design, unrivalled performance and a camera that raises the bar for what we can expect from a smartphone. If there is a better phone on the market – we haven’t seen it yet.

The iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro have taken a significant step forward in terms of power, performance, features and design.

Apple has intelligently upgraded the most popular parts of the iPhone including the camera, the display and added several convenient new features to make using the device faster, easier and more enjoyable to use.

iPhone 15 an iPhone 15 Pro have the same screen sizes 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch and start at $1499 and $1849 respectively. They go on sale on September 22.

DESIGN

The iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro have had subtle re-designs.

The iPhone 15 is made from durable colour infused rear glass which is finished with a colour-matched aluminium band.

The display now has a rounded top edge so it gives it a softer look than the iPhone 14’s more angular look.

Available in yellow, pink, green, blue and black, the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 plus have subtle muted colours which don’t look to garish or bright.

Even the pink iPhone 15 Plus, which we received for review, is impressively understated.

The blue iPhone 15 is so light it’s almost white.

The rear panel of the iPhone 15 has more of a matte finish which prevents ugly fingerprints and makes it easier to grip.

The iPhone 15 Pro has undergone the biggest transformation with a new titanium finish.

Apple says it uses Grade 5 titanium which offers strength and durability but is noticeably more lightweight than the surgical grade stainless steel used with the iPhone 14 Pro.

In fact, the iPhone 15 Pro is 19g lighter than the iPhone 14 Pro – it might not sound like much but for a device you carry with you everywhere every day it’s a big deal.

The iPhone 15 Pro is available in natural titanium, black titanium, white titanium and blue titanium.

Gone is the shiny surface that’s a magnet for fingerprints and in its place is an impressive, brushed metal look with a matte finish.

For our review we received the Natural Titanium iPhone 15 Pro Max and the Blue Titanium iPhone 15 Pro.

The Natural Titanium has more of a grey tinge but it’s a colour we haven’t seen before with the pro model iPhones – and we’re expecting it to be the most popular.

The iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max have the same size screens as the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max yet have dimensions that are a couple of millimetres smaller.

This is because of the display on the latest iPhone have noticeably thinner bezels which means it can fit the same size screen in a smaller space.

DISPLAY

The iPhone 15 Super Retina XDR display now includes the dynamic island first introduced with the iPhone 14 Pro last year.

Those new to the dynamic island will find it provides an interesting way of displaying your notifications and providing updates.

For example, if you booked an Uber ride, the time before the driver arrives and other information is displayed within the Dynamic Island.

Other airlines like united also use dynamic island to give passengers a countdown two boarding time add a reminder of your gate and seat number.

And that’s all provided on the main display without you even having to open the app.

The iPhone 15 Pro display includes 120Hz ProMotion technology, so your content is smooth and clear.

And there are also those thinner bezels we’ve already mentioned which gives the screen a more edge to edge look.

PERFORMANCE

The iPhone 15 is powered by the A16 bionic chip – the same silicon that was first seen with last year’s iPhone 14 Pro and this powers onboard features like computational photography, voice isolation for phone calls and power efficiency for even better battery life.

The iPhone 15 Pro introduces the new A17 Pro processor which does the heavy lifting for providing improved graphics performance that’s 20 per cent faster now thanks to its six cores.

The A17 pro incorporates 3Nm processor with 19 billion transistors on board.

It has a 2x faster neural engine with 16 cores that can perform 35 trillion operations per second.

It is powerful enough to offer hardware accelerated rate racing for the very first time so graphics and gameplay on the latest games a more fluid and lifelike than ever with lighting effects that matched the real world and immerse you even further into the game.

CAMERA

On the camera side, Apple has truly excelled itself.

The iPhone 15 camera has been upgraded to 48 megapixel main camera so you can shoot in a higher resolution than ever before and capture stunning detail.

A cool new feature on the iPhone 15 and the iPhone 15 Pro is the ability to turn any photograph into a portrait image.

If you’re shooting a person, dog or cat, the iPhone 15 will go about capturing depth information so you can see your photo as a portrait which includes a tasteful blur effect and the ability to switch focus between two subjects in the same image.

But if you’re really into your photography then the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max should be at the top of your list.

Shot taken with the iPhone 15 Pro Max

The onboard 48-megepixel camera has a quad pixel sensor that can optimise whatever you’re shooting in real time including in low light situations while still capturing remarkable detail.

The iPhone 15 Pro camera is designed to appeal two real photographers whether they enthusiasts or professionals.

Shot taken with the iPhone 15 Pro Max

These customers would know the main focal lengths including 24mm, 28mm or 35mm because that would be lugging around these lenses with their main camera.

Now they can go into the camera settings on the iPhone 15 Pro and choose their default main camera focal length – 24mm, 28mm or 35mm thanks to the power of computational photography.

The Photonic Engine also does a fair amount of the heavy lifting to bring out the detail in your subject including in darker environments by increasing dynamic range.

The photos the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro produce a truly remarkable and it takes little effort by the user. All you need to do is aim and shoot.

It really nails skin tones and colour and is easily the best camera you’ll find on a smartphone.

What sets the iPhone camera apart from other smartphone cameras is Apple’s insistence of staying faithful to the traditional principles of photography rather than using smoke and mirrors and gimmicks to produce an exaggerated shot.

But Apple didn’t stop there.

On the iPhone 15 Pro Max they have included a Tetra Prism lens system that can bounce the light four times before hitting the sensor to achieve a 5x optical zoom to get you even closer to your subject.

Would have liked to have seen even higher zoom but in typical style, Apple kept this feature to a level where it can maintain the quality and accuracy without going overboard.

For professional photographers the new iPhone 15 Pro an iPhone 15 Pro Max now includes log encoding to make shooting in ProRes even more powerful and flexible for colour grading in post and even adding visual effects.

The iPhone 15 Pro models are the first to support ACES (Academy Colour Encoding System) which is a global colour standard used in major movie productions.

Users of the iPhone 15 Pro could also capture Spatial Video which will be able to be enjoyed on the upcoming Apple Vision Pro headset which can put you right in the middle of that moment and make those special moments even more memorable.

ACTION BUTTON

The iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max have ditched the silent switch on the side left edge and replaced it with an Action Button which can be programmed to do things like turn on the camera, activate silent mode, open your favourite app, open the voice recorder to record your thoughts or trigger a series of shortcuts.

When pressed, the Action Button provides haptic feedback to let you know the interaction has been successful.

Users can dive into the settings to easily set the function of the Action Key.

We would have liked to have seen even more Action Button options perhaps with long presses and double presses expanding the possibilities.

USB-C CHARGING PORT

The iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro now have USB-C charging ports.

It’s the first time in 11 years Apple has moved away from Lightning which was introduced with the iPhone 5.

A braided USB-C to USB-C cable is provided in the box.

This move brings the iPhone into line with each other products which have already transitioned to USB-C including the iPad and iPad pro and the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.

In fact, Apple made a point of saying you could now charge the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro with the same cable you would use with the iPad and the Mac.

The iPhone 15 Pro models will enjoy faster data transfers add up to 10Gbps thanks to a USB-C controller on the device’s new A17 Pro chip.

On the charging side, we found it to be slightly faster than Lightning.

The new USB-C connection can now be used for faster transfer of ProRes video and ProRaw images.

With the new port it is also possible to shoot and transfer to Mac with a cable and shoot ProRes video directly to a connected external storage drive in 4K at up to 60fps.

PRICING

The new iPhone 15 will be priced at $1,499 (128GB), $1,699 (256GB) and $2,049 (512GB).

iPhone 15 Plus is priced at $1,649 (128GB), $1,849 (256GB0 and $2,199 (512GB).

iPhone 15 Pro is priced at $1,849 (128GB), $2,049 (256GB) and $2,399 (512GB) and $2,749 (1TB).

iPhone 15 Pro Max is priced at $2,199 (256GB) and $2,549 (512GB) and $2,899 (1TB).

These prices are slightly higher than last year but that won’t stop customers flocking to it and hanging on to it for years.

The iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro go on sale on September 22.

VERDICT

The iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro are impressive upgrades that set a new standard with a stunning design, unrivalled performance and a camera that raises the bar for what we can expect from a smartphone. If there is a better phone on the market – we haven’t seen it yet.

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