iPhone 15 Review: Everything We’re Loving After a Month of Use

iPhone 15 Review: Everything We’re Loving After a Month of Use

In the month since Apple launched its new iPhone 15 range, I’ve spent a lot of time hands-on with the new phones for this review. I also spent a lot of time with last year’s iPhone 14s and came to the conclusion that there was a clear winner out of that lineup (the iPhone 14 Pro).

This year, the iPhone 15 range tells a different story. It’s the base model, not the Pro, that has impressed me the most, and these are some of the features that have set it a cut above for me.

2023 iPhone specs

Image: Apple

Before we get into features, let’s provide you with some background knowledge. The iPhone 15 comes in two versions, the standard model and the 15 Plus – which are identical, apart from size.

Here are the specs from the iPhone 15 model we reviewed:

  • Size: 147.6mm x 71.6mm x 7.8mm
  • Display: 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR all-screen OLED display HDR
  • IP68 dust and water resistant
  • A16 Bionic Chip
  • Cameras: 48MP main, 12MP Ultra Wide, 12MP 2x Telephoto, 4K video recording at up to 60fps.
  • Battery: Up to 20 hours of video playback
  • OS: iOS 17
  • Colours: Black, Blue, Green, Yellow, Pink

iPhone 15 Review: Top features we love

Dynamic Island

iphone 15 review
iPhone 15 Review (Image: Lifehacker AU)

When Apple added the Dynamic Island to the iPhone 14 Pro models last year, it felt significant. It’s not every year that iPhones get a radical redesign, but the Dynamic Island made things feel new and exciting again.

The Dynamic Island is essentially a replacement for the rectangle-shaped notch that cuts out a chunk of the display on past iPhone models. This pill-shaped replacement allows for more screen real estate, but it’s the way Apple has built the Dynamic Island to interact seamlessly with apps that makes it stand out. You can keep track of things like timers, rideshares and music all from within the little Dynamic Island widget without having to switch apps.

The Dynamic Island was one of my favourite parts of last year’s iPhone Pro, and bringing this to the standard iPhone 15 has brought the same freshness to this model.

Design and colours

iphone 15 review
iPhone 15 Review (Image: Lifehacker AU)

This year, the iPhone 15 uses a piece of colour-infused back glass that is paired with a matte finish. The result is an iPhone that is slim, light and really nice to hold. It was noticeably less weighty than my iPhone 14 Pro, and this year’s pastel colour choices really tempt you to ditch a protective case.

My one slight issue with the iPhone 15, having come from the iPhone 14 Pro, is that the bezels on the display are slightly thicker. This isn’t world-ending by any measure, but it is noticeable if you’re coming from a different model.

Camera

Typically, the camera is one of the biggest factors when deciding on a new iPhone. Apple’s Pro models have always punched above the base model in this department, thanks to an extra lens.

iphone 15 review camera
iPhone 15 camera at full zoom (right) (Image: Lifehacker AU)

Even without that additional camera, this year’s iPhone 15 received a serious upgrade. The main camera has jumped up to 48MP (previously, it was 12MP), and it truly makes a difference, turning out highly detailed photos at long distances. There’s also a new 2x Telephoto option, which means the phone now has 3 optical zoom qualities.

iphone 15 review camera
No macro on the iPhone 15 (Image: Lifehacker AU)

There is, however, no Macro lens, meaning the iPhone 15 fails to capture those super close-up details. For taking day-to-day snaps, though, it’s perfectly adequate.

USB-C

iphone 15 review
iPhone 15 Review (Image: Lifehacker AU)

It’s been a long time coming, but the iPhone 15 marks the first time Apple has done away with the lightning charging cable and port – and it’s done this on all four new models.

Considering the majority of other tech products utilise USB-C charging, this makes for a pretty smooth transition. Unfortunately, if you’re still using other Apple products like an iPad or AirPods that utilise a lightning port, you’ll still need two cables by your bedside. But for the most part, USB-C is way more convenient.

A couple of things I noticed on my switch to USB-C. If your cable has a wide housing and you have a case on your iPhone, the cable may struggle to plug into your phone properly. Of course, Apple’s home-branded USB-C cables are built in the perfect shape and size to slot into your iPhone case, but that comes with the associated price tag. Also, remember that Apple doesn’t give you a wall plug in the box anymore. It does give you a USB-C to USB-C charging cable, but this will also need a USB-C wall plug, not a USB-A one, which you might still have lying around from previous generations.

New Bionic chip

When Apple says it’s updating its processing chip to something that has 16 billion transistors and is capable of 17 trillion operations per second, it’s not really something the average person has a handle on. Honestly, all I know is that when my iPhone gets slow, it’s time to upgrade, but let’s try and put that into perspective.

I’ve always been astounded by the speeds at which my iPhone 14 Pro can do things. There is no lag between apps, I can run hundreds of them simultaneously, and it turns out high-resolution photos almost instantly. The iPhone 14 Pro is powered by the A16 Bionic Chip – the same chip that the iPhone 15 receives this year.

The iPhone 15 is now capable of all the same things as the iPhone 14 Pro, and it makes for an incredibly seamless experience.

iphone 15 review
iPhone 15 Review (Image: Lifehacker AU)

Upon transferring to the iPhone 15 from my iPhone 14 Pro, I was surprised at just how smooth a transition it was. I felt barely any noticeable differences from the previous gen’s Pro model. The processing was lightning fast, the build light and sleek, and the design of the screen just as smooth and familiar.

Of course, the iPhone 15 is lacking some of the features of the 15 Pro, such as an extra camera lens, but on the whole, I felt that the iPhone 15 received a significant upgrade this year, which brings it more in line with last year’s iPhone 14 Pro. It is an excellent phone for anyone who wants a quality iPhone but isn’t too hung up on the finer bells and whistles.

You can shop the iPhone 15 from $1,499 here.

Image Credit: Lifehacker Australia


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