For the first time in a long while, we can definitively say that, right out of the gate, the iPhone 15 Pro is the second-best iPhone Apple has ever made. That’s because, for the first time, the iPhone 15 Pro Max model (representing the top end of the range which is usually tied with the smaller Pro on all counts aside from subjective merits like the value of a larger screen) has a key feature that beats out the 15 Pro. The 15 Pro Max has a 5x optical camera zoom, the 15 Pro does not, packing 3x optical zoom instead.
That in itself may be all you need to know if you’re after the best of the best that Apple has to offer. But that’d see you ignoring a host of other small but meaningful updates to the phone that, when stacked up, make for a significantly improved phone over the iPhone 14 Pro, at a far more comfortable size (and price!) than the 15 Pro Max weighs in at.
So the iPhone 15 Pro is the second best iPhone out there — but it’s the one I’d recommend to most people. Read on for the reasons why.
(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future / Apple)
The iPhone 15 Pro hit stores on September 22, with a starting price of $999 for the 128GB model. That’s the same price point that last year’s iPhone 14 Pro started at, which is a relief to see, though that 128GB entry storage is starting to feel the strain with those 48MP ProRAW shots and ProRes video capture capabilities.
For $1,199 you can boost up to the 256GB storage version, $1,299 gets you 512GB and the top-tier 1TB model costs $1,499.
As ever, they’re expensive devices but packed with premium features. And this year’s new additions to the iPhone mix make it even more welcome that prices have remained static year on year.
In a nutshell, here’s what’s changed with the iPhone 15 Pro compared to last year’s iPhone 14 Pro phone.
Here's a by-the-numbers look at how the specs of iPhone 15 Pro vs iPhone 15 Pro Max stack up this year:
|Specs||iPhone 15||iPhone 15 Pro Max|
|Display size||6.1 inches||6.7 inches|
|Material||Titanium, matte glass back||Titanium, matte glass back|
|Display type||OLED, ProMotion, Always-On||OLED, ProMotion, Always-On|
|Capacity||128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB||128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB|
|Splash, water, dust resistance||IP68||IP68|
|Chip||A17 Pro chip, 6 core CPU, 6-core GPU, 16-core neural engine||A17 Pro chip, 6 core CPU, 6-core GPU, 16-core neural engine|
|Camera||48MP triple-camera system + TrueDepth front camera with autofocus, ƒ/1.5 aperture||48MP triple-camera system + TrueDepth front camera with autofocus, ƒ/1.5 aperture|
|Video||4K video recording at 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps||4K video recording at 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps, Action Mode Zoom: .5x, 1x, 2x, 3x optical zoom options|
|Safety||Emergency SOS via satellite, Crash Detection, Roadside Assistance via satellite||Emergency SOS via satellite, Crash Detection, Roadside Assistance via satellite|
|Location||GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and BeiDou||GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and BeiDou, Digital compass, WiFi, Cellular, iBeacon microlocation|
|Power and battery||Video playback: up to 20 hours||Video playback: up to 29 hours|
|Sensors||Face ID, Barometer, High dynamic range gyro, High-G accelerometer, Proximity sensor, Dual ambient light sensors||Face ID, Barometer, Three-axis gyro, Accelerometer, Proximity sensor, Ambient light sensor|
|Operating system||iOS 17||iOS 17|
TITANIUM! Tough, tough TITANIUM! That’s what Apple is trumpeting the loudest when it comes to the iPhone 15 Pro design this year. There are a few other refinements to the external design of the iPhone 15 Pro, such as slightly curvier, tapered edges, but it’s the titanium construction that has the most impact in the hand. Stronger and lighter than the sharper-edged stainless steel iPhone 14 Pro, this year’s model knocks 19g off the weight for a 187g total. Though the handset is 0.4mm thicker than the 14 Pro, the iPhone 15 Pro feels more comfortable to hold thanks to that combination of contoured edges and lighter weight. It’s the same alloy composite that NASA has used in its Mars Rover program, which should speak to its durability — but we’ve not actively been looking to smash our iPhone into the rocky desolation of a distant planet, so we’ll have to take Apple’s word for just how tough and dent resistant it is. IP68 water resistance means it's good for a quick dip in a puddle (6 meters for 30 minutes in freshwater, officially), but don’t take that as an excuse to take it for a swim — water resistance does not equate to waterproofing.
What the titanium finish isn’t resistant to is fingerprints. The iPhone 15 Pro’s edges are an absolute magnet for them and, in what was an initially troubling observation, Apple has admitted fingerprints can discolor the casing. This is only temporary, and easily remedied with a quick rub with a soft cloth. But if you’re not putting a case on your iPhone 15 Pro, get used to seeing dark greasy marks build up on the sides of the phone.
The use of titanium does allow for a couple of other useful changes though. While the OLED screen size remains unchanged at 6.1 inches (with a sharp 2556x1179 resolution and 2000 nit outdoor peak brightness), it feels more prominent thanks to slimmer bezels at its edge. Keeping that 120Hz refresh rate, it’s a gorgeous screen to use, responsive and naturally colorful. Dynamic Island (that reactive screen notch over the front-facing camera that shows contextual app data) has more apps than ever supporting it but hasn’t quite elevated above novelty in the year since its iPhone 14 Pro introduction.
There’s a brutalist,
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