When Apple announces its latest flagship each year, we always get the same jokes and comments. "Aren't they all the same?" or "I'm tired of watching the same thing" and so on. As tech enthusiasts, we totally understand the criticisms. But you should also know by now that's how Apple works.
However, the iPhone 15 series (especially the iPhone 15 Pro variants) did have a rough start if compared to its predecessors. For starters, the puzzling overheating issue caused by Instagram (now solved), burn-in OLED displays, crackling speakers, a wireless charging problem (with BMW) and other minor stuff. So, how did the iPhone 15 Pro do in our review? Read on below to find out more.
Design - Same old, same old, but blessed with titanium
By now, most of you should know some of the new upgrades on the iPhone 15 series. The iPhone 15 Pro is finally using the USB-C port thanks to pressure from EU laws. It also has a titanium frame and a new Action Button to replace the mute slider. Overall, Apple is keeping the modern iPhone design DNA with minor upgrades (narrower bezels of 1.5mm).
Braided USB-C charging cable inside the box
Left and right side
Top: A thick camera bump; Bottom: USB-C port at last
iPhone 15 Pro vs iPhone 13 Pro
The iPhone 15 Pro has a more colourful display with the Dynamic Island
The iPhone 15 Pro is a 6.1-inch device, a size that feels just right for most users. But if you have huge hands, you should opt for the 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Pro Max model. Our iPhone 15 Pro model is Black Titanium, which looks simple but extremely refined at the same time. This model also comes in Natural, Blue and White colours.
Of course, the iPhone 15 Pro's design isn't just impressive because of its titanium frame. It also has an anti-fingerprint back cover that's even better than before. There was news about the titanium's paint coming off, but we didn't experience that over a month of usage. Compared to our older iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro models, the iPhone 15 Pro's titanium body is much more comfortable to hold than the other two's stainless steel body. It does have added weight, but isn't too noticeable.
Tech specs and features - Pro-grade specs and a convenient Action Button
- A17 Pro chipset
- 8GB of RAM
- 128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB of storage
- Measures 146.6 x 70.6 x 8.25mm, weighs 187g
- 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display (2556 x 1179 pixel resolution, 460 ppi, Dynamic Island, Always-on ProMotion, adaptive refresh rate technology up to 120Hz)
- 48MP Main Camera: 24mm focal length, ƒ/1.78 aperture, 2nd generation sensor-shift optical image stabilization, 100% Focus Pixels, Ultra High-Resolution photo support (24MP and 48MP)
- 12MP ultrawide camera: 13mm focal length, ƒ/2.2 aperture and 120° angle of view, 100% Focus Pixels
- 12MP 2x telephoto (via 4-in-1 pixel sensor): 48mm focal length, ƒ/1.78 aperture, second-generation sensor-shift optical image stabilization, 100% Focus Pixels
- 12MP 3x telephoto: 77mm focal length, ƒ/2.8 aperture, optical image stabilization
- Features - USB-C 3.2 with up to 10Gb/s transfer speeds, Action Button, Crash Detection
- Supports - 5G, NFC, Bluetooth 5.3
- 3274mAh battery
- iOS 17
Its audio and visual performance are better than that of my iPad Pro
The iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max use the new A17 Pro chipset. It's the industry's first 3nm SoC, promising twice the performance of the A16 Bionic and four times more power efficiency. This chipset is powerful enough to run ProRes and Pro display engines. It can also support the AV1 decoder for multimedia processing performance.
On top of that, the A17 Pro's GPU has up to 20% improvement in peak performance, making it four times faster than the A16 Bionic in terms of software ray tracing (yes, RAY TRACING). It also supports a new mesh shading feature. Apple is focusing on the pro stuff on the iPhone 15 Pro, so its GPU can deal with professional-grade apps.
Charging up another device
You can now transfer your files to a hard drive
Works well with a pen drive too!
In addition, the USB-C (3.2v) offers more flexibility to the iPhone 15 Pro. Besides charging, reverse charging and regular data transfer, it helps you do more things with the phone. For example, you can actually use an external HDD to transfer all 4K video footage and log encoding for the first time.
As for the new Action Button, you can easily switch between ring and silent mode with it. It can also be used for other shortcut functions. Admittedly, I do miss the mute slider but the Action Button is more convenient. Personally, the best for it is as a camera button (depending on your preference). But you would have to flip it to the right side instead of the left, just so that your right ring finger can snap it like an actual camera.
Goodbye, mute slider
Here are the functions you can set for the Action Button
Hold the Action Button to toggle between silent and ring mode
Performance - The most powerful chipset ever
No matter how powerful other chipsets get, Apple would always come up with an overpowered A-series counterpart. It's not surprising to see its powerful GPU easily handle graphics-intensive mobile games. However, the A17 Pro takes the cake since it can even play Resident Evil Village, Resident Evil 4 Remake, Death Stranding and Assassin's Creed Mirage. Mind you, these aren't mobile ports but full-fledged games you typically play on game consoles.
So yes, you can play Genshin Impact on max settings easily. You can say that the iPhone 15 Pro is on steroids because the gameplay is very smooth. Of course, when you play games in the highest quality setting, the battery will naturally be drained quickly. In terms of heat dissipation, it does feel hotter than its predecessor due to the titanium frame.
Geekbench 6 score. Just a few thousand points behind the iPad Air (5th Gen)
The GPU side is even more impressive
Maxed out graphics on Genshin Impact
Battery life monitor
In case you missed it, the iPhone 15 Pro's battery has a tiny increase compared to the iPhone 14 Pro as it only went up from 3200mAh to 3274mAh. So it's easy to overlook and say Apple didn't change a thing. However, you also have to remember that the A17 Pro is more battery-efficient. During our 1-month plus with it, the iPhone 15 Pro consistently lasted for an entire day. If you want, you can actually choose the battery charging optimisation to stick at 80% only in the Setting to let the battery have a longer lifespan. On paper, that should be the case but we assume most people would rather fully charge it to 100%
Next, we move on to camera performance. While the iPhone 15 Pro's primary camera shoots on 24MP by default, it can be switched to 48MP mode. Design-wise, the camera module looks the same as before. But if you put it next to an older iPhone model, you'll notice that the sensors are quite large. It can capture more light and has a new lens coating to reduce the infamous lens flare effect. Anyway, take a look at the photo samples below.
Portrait mode: 1X vs. 2X vs. 3X
Focal length: 24mm vs. 28mm vs. 35mm
Auto mode: 1X vs. 2X vs. 3X vs. 15X
Night mode - standard
Night mode - ultrawide
Night mode - 2x zoom
Night mode - 3x zoom
It's worth mentioning that there's a major difference between the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, specifically the telephoto lens. For those unaware, the latter has up to 5x optical zoom thanks to the 120mm lens, whereas the Pro only has 3x optical zoom. While it's still good, it would be nice if the iPhone 15 Pro got the same treatment since Apple is focusing on the pro variants for the pros.
Conclusion - The iPhone 15 Pro was made for the pros
The new titanium build, USB-C port and Action Button are just the tip of the iceberg. Its camera performance is what makes the iPhone 15 Pro truly shine, especially the portrait mode and night photography performance. Apple is really emphasising the iPhone Pro lineup's pro moniker, making them devices aimed at content creators or professional users.
The iPhone 15 Pro starts at RM5499 (128GB) and is certainly more expensive than most Android flagship models. If you're not into the Apple ecosystem, you can always consider more affordable flagship devices on the Android side, such as the Xiaomi 13T Pro with Leica camera technologies (starting at RM2499), the HONOR Magic 5 Pro (RM4299), Samsung Galaxy S23+ (starting at RM3899) or the vivo X90 Pro (RM4999). That being said, these phones have chipsets that can't compare to the A17 Pro chipset in terms of performance. Something to keep in mind if performance is important to you.
Anyway, do you agree with our review? What do you think of the iPhone 15 Pro so far? Let us know in the comments below, and do stay tuned for more tech gadget reviews only at TechNave.com.