iPhone 15 Pro review: Apple’s latest flagship smartphone titles have been out for a while, and this year the Cupertino-based tech giant has introduced several new features that make the devices more enthralling than ever. This year was not just an iterative update where some minor configurations witnessed an upgrade as we have seen the last couple of years, instead, Apple has brought out some big guns to lure the buyers. While this applies to the non-Pro models, the Pro lineup is where you see the difference. From the titanium frame to the 3nm chipset, big new introductions have been made, and alongside the new USB-C port and the Action Button, familiar features have been replaced with more useful technologies. In short, there is a lot to unpack.
But amid all this, the iPhone 15 Pro has been placed in a very interesting position. It comes with all the new Pro-class features which makes it an interesting proposition, but unlike previous years, this time the difference between it and the iPhone 15 Pro Max is not just the display size and battery capacity. The larger Pro model also gets a 5X optical zoom lens to confuse buyers further in which smartphone should they go for.
For the last few months, we used the iPhone 15 Pro quite heavily to determine whether this smaller flagship that comes at a higher price tag than last year is worth all the shiny features it packs, and if the difference between a 3X zoom and 5X zoom is really that monumental achievement or not.
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So, let us take a detailed look at the iPhone 15 Pro and see if Apple has brought out a pocket-sized dynamite or if is it an overpriced smartphone with just some fancy additions. Let us get down to the brass tacks.
iPhone 15 Pro design
From a visual standpoint, the iPhone 15 Pro is a near-replica of its predecessors. You will not see any radical improvements, and a casual viewer can be forgiven for not finding any difference between the iPhone 15 Pro and the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Yet, it is also the biggest area of improvement for the new flagship smartphone. There are some changes and improvements which make a massive difference.
First, Apple has replaced the stainless steel frame of the iPhone with a new titanium frame, which the company claims is both lighter and stronger. The changed material does make a difference, and while we did not test the durability, the weight difference is small but noticeable. You will also notice the edges are now slightly curved. The combination of the two makes for a beautiful design that fits snugly in my hand and gives it a great fit.
The titanium frame in particular is beautiful, and buyers will notice a nice sheet on the back panel, which is not very glossy, but also not a boring matte texture. Also, say goodbye to fingerprint smudges because, unlike stainless steel, the new chassis resists them to a considerable degree.
Another improvement can be seen on the display. The bezels around the display are now uniformly thinner compared to its predecessor which slightly reduces the height of the smartphone as well.
This year, Apple has also taken away the iconic Mute switch and replaced it with a brand new Action Button for the iPhone 15 Pro. It will be a bittersweet moment for iPhone users who have become used to the ring/silent switch to shift to a physical button that primarily does the same thing. However, if you are willing to look beyond it, you will notice that the Action Button can now control multiple new actions that can be customized. That means users will be able to use it to turn on the flashlight, enter focus mode, and even use it as an app shortcut.
And finally, we have to address the elephant in the room. The lightning port is now gone and the USB-C port has taken the stage, bringing convenient charging options for the iPhone 15 Pro. It was long overdue, and I’m elated that it has finally happened.
iPhone 15 Pro Display
The iPhone 15 Pro features a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display with an adaptive refresh rate between 1 and 120Hz. It has a maximum brightness of 2000 nits. You get punchy and vibrant colors with great viewing angles. What it means is that using the smartphone is a treat. Whether I was watching movies on Netflix or just checking out memes on social media, the viewing experience was always great. Playing eFootball Mobile 2024 and Call of Duty: Mobile was an exciting experience with the derailed textures visible in the high-quality display. Turning on the HDR mode takes the fun a notch higher.
The Dynamic Island has also seen some minor improvements with support for more apps and better display of information in the tiny space.
iPhone 15 Pro Performance
Apple has introduced the A17 Pro chipset this year in the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, which also become the first ever smartphone in the world to be equipped with the 3nm SoC. The new chip also comes with a new six-core GPU (up from last year’s five cores) and 2X Neural Engine, which combine to bring the most powerful iPhone ever made.
It might be difficult for most users to gauge this increased performance in daily usage, but what it allows Apple to do, is bring new and advanced features through iOS 17. One such example is Personal Voice, which will allow users to create their voice replica on the device, which can then be used for text-to-speech functionalities.
Apart from this, I noticed the improved performance while playing games such as Genshin Impact, which is a very graphics-intensive game and requires a lot of CPU power to run properly. While playing that game, the performance was smooth at even the highest level of graphics, and even after long hours of gaming, the performance never went down. Users will also notice the benefits of this added power when undertaking tasks such as photo or video editing, streaming, and more. I also loved the depth of the haptic feedback and the loud and rich audio quality while gaming. The iPhone 15 Pro speakers deserve a special mention for being the best speakers on a smartphone I have ever experienced.
The iPhone 15 Pro also supports 5G connectivity, and if your network provider has the coverage in your area, you can also make use of it (at the expense of faster battery draining). Network drops were also next to none and even while riding the Delhi Metro, I could easily make calls without experiencing call drops.
iPhone 15 Pro Cameras
The iPhone 15 Pro sports a 48MP primary camera, a 12MP ultrawide lens, and a 12MP telephoto camera with 3X optical zoom. It does miss out on the 5X zoom lens or the tetraprism lens which is only been given to the iPhone 15 Pro Max. But in my experience, the smaller Pro smartphone still carries one of the best camera systems of this year.
Apple has also made improvements to the image processing system, the Photonic Engine, which was introduced last year. When you click pictures, the camera defaults to 24MP, instead of 12MP, like last year. This results in more details and sharper-looking images. You can also use the full capabilities of the 48MP camera, or switch to a storage-friendly 12MP through settings.
The iPhone 15 Pro gets a new feature called Auto Portrait, which works in post-capture. It automatically captures depth information from any regular photo that has a human or animal subject and you can turn it into a portrait photo in editing mode.
I’m highly impressed with the photography capabilities of the iPhone 15 Pro. It was my main device to shoot pictures from during my recent trip to Goa, where I was able to capture the scenic beauty of the beaches as well as detailed images of tree canopies in the hinterland of the Indian state. In every picture, the images came out sharp and bright with a natural color tone which was aesthetically pleasing. I was in particular surprised to see that the Night Mode did a brilliant job of finding details in shots even in pitch-black conditions.
Overall, the smartphone cameras have stepped up with both upgrades in hardware and software and it is easily my favorite camera phone of the last year among the ones I have used personally.
iPhone 15 Pro Battery
With each new iteration of the iPhone, battery performance sees an uptick, and it is no different for the iPhone 15 Pro either. The new Apple smartphone feels more optimized, and a big part of the credit goes to the iOS 17 as well. Whether it was multiple hours-long calls, video calls, long gaming sessions, or just scrolling through social media and watching uncountable Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts, the iPhone 14 withstood it all to give me a day’s worth of usage in a single charge. In most cases, I still had some juice left over for the next day.
The addition of the USB-C port is also a welcome move, because it makes charging the smartphone very convenient, especially if you’re out of home and are looking for a charger. Unfortunately, while USB-C gives a higher data transfer speed to the iPhone, it does nothing for its charging speed. A full charge from 0 to 100 takes a little over an hour and a half (90 minutes). Although, it should be noted that it takes the smartphone 60 minutes to go from 0 to 90 percent.
A new charging optimization feature has also been introduced by Apple this year which lets you set a cap at 80 percent, so your phone never charges over that. This is done to improve the battery health and longevity.
iPhone 15 Pro Verdict
In the past few years, Apple has lowered people’s expectations with iterative upgrades to iPhones, but the iPhone 15 Pro comes as a refreshing change. With upgrades across the spec sheet, the new Apple smartphone now looks better, performs better, and takes better pictures.
Even as the iPhone 15 Pro Max comes as the headline maker for Apple, in my experience, I feel it is the iPhone 15 Pro where buyers will find value for money. The smartphone is an all-rounder, but buyers who prefer a performance-heavy smartphone, are shutterbugs, and are generally a fan of smaller smartphones, can happily go for it if it does not put a big dent in their savings.
iPhone 15 Pro
6.1-inch OLED 120Hz
48MP + 12 MP + 12MP telephoto
27W wired, 15W MagSafe wireless