Last month I admitted that the iPhone 15 was the standout model from Apple’s range of smartphones in 2023. But that doesn’t mean the iPhone 15 Pro is slacking off. Having spent two months with the iPhone 15 Pro as my primary phone, I am happy to vouch for it. It is, after all, Apple’s premiere smartphone. With that being said, there are only minor differences that set it apart from the previous year’s model.
I upgraded to the 15 Pro from the iPhone 14 Pro, meaning every small change to this handset is one that I’ve noticed. With that, there are a number of new things I’m enjoying about the iPhone 15 Pro, as well as a few things that are bugging me.
2023 iPhone 15 Pro specs
As always, let’s run down the specs of this model before we get into the details.
- Size: 146.6mm x 70.6mm x 8.25mm
- Display: 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR all-screen OLED display HDR
- IP68 dust and water resistant
- A17 Pro Bionic Chip
- Cameras: 48MP main, 12MP Ultra Wide, 12MP 2x Telephoto, 4K video recording at up to 60fps.
- Battery: Up to 23 hours of video playback
- OS: iOS 17
- Colours: Black, Blue, White, Natural (Titanium)
Find more details on the iPhone 15 Pro on Apple’s website.
iPhone 15 Pro review: Best features
The big differentiator of the iPhone Pro models has always been the camera. While the camera on the base model this year got a very significant upgrade, it simply can’t compete with that extra Telephoto lens on the Pro, which provides an even longer range zoom and a macro lens for extreme close-ups.
In fact, the iPhone 15 Pro’s zoom is so good this time around that a new iOS feature has been added to help you track exactly what you’re focusing on in an image, via a picture-in-picture insert on the frame.
My experience with the camera on the iPhone 15 Pro has been unmatched so far. It astounds me just how much detail this thing can capture at such extreme ranges. An issue I often have with smartphone cameras is capturing photos of things in difficult lighting – like at concerts or conferences. While the iPhone 15 Pro doesn’t always nail it, the photonic engine is remarkably good at upscaling images taken in difficult conditions.
Ultimately the true test will be how well it captures Taylor Swift when she tours here next year.
Note that the major difference between the 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max models this year is that the latter provides a new 5x Telephoto camera at 120mm focal length. This is all a bit too technical for me, so I didn’t miss it much on this model, but for any photography pros, this will likely make a difference.
Apple is very proud of its new titanium finish on the iPhone 15 Pro models, a change-up from the previous aluminium design. The company claims this brings added strength and durability to the phone, which I’ll be honest, I haven’t been brave enough to test in the field. However, I can confirm that the titanium finish is very crisp, clean and generally nice to hold.
That being said, I’m less of a fan of Apple’s new finewoven cases which they’ve released alongside this range of iPhone. The material is tough to clean and is also fitted so tightly to the phone that it’s incredibly difficult to remove the case when you need to. Theoretically, that extra durable titanium should help alleviate the need for a case at all, but if you’re in the market for one, I’d recommend fit-testing the finewoven range to check that you like it before buying.
Another main design change of the iPhone 15 Pro this year is replacing the mute switch on the left-hand side of the phone with the new Action Button. This button is customisable to a whole new range of applications, like switching on your flashlight, taking a picture or another custom shortcut.
Out of force of habit, I have kept mine as the silent switch, but I appreciate the range of options the action button offers.
Of course, the big change we all knew was coming to the iPhone this year is the implementation of a USB-C charging port, over Apple’s own lightning input.
This is a change that I love. It’s just so handy to have all my devices on one charging cable. However, as I mentioned in my review of the iPhone 15, the cable provided by Apple is USB-C to USB-C, not the USB-A input that many of the old Apple wall chargers came outfitted with. This means you means you may need to invest in a new wall charger, if you’re not already a USB-C device-using person.
Bonus: Gaming capabilities
I’m listing this as a bonus feature simply because I haven’t had a chance to test it yet, but am very excited about its potential. When Apple announced the iPhone 15 Pro, it came with the news that the smartphone would be capable of running triple-A video games, like Death Stranding and Assassin’s Creed Mirage, natively.
This is in large part thanks to the new A17 Pro chip, which is comprised of 6-core processing and a 6-core graphics unit, making it capable of some hefty tasks. The question remains whether you would want to play a game like that on such a small device, but it certainly is a testament to the power of the new iPhone Pro. It’s wild to think that one little device can be capable of so much.
Are there any cons?
The iPhone 15 Pro has been a fairly seamless device, but I thought I’d point out a couple of issues I had with it.
For starters, there are multiple times I’ve caught this device running very warm. Apple did the work to iron out many of the bugs that were causing the iPhone 15 Pro to overheat in the early days, but there are still times when it’s been a furnace in my hand when doing simple things like updating apps. It’s not frequent enough to be a dealbreaker, but it does happen.
The battery life also remains basically unchanged from the iPhone 14 Pro, and despite the change to USB-C, it still takes the same amount of time to charge.
Lastly, there have been times when I’ve found the phone lagging or freezing, which I never experienced during my time with the iPhone 14 Pro. It doesn’t happen very often and doesn’t seem to be related to anything specific, but it is frustrating when it does. It’s hard to say whether this is an issue all iPhone 15 Pros experience, and it’s very possible it could be patched out with a software update, but it is something I’ve noticed.
It’s also worth mentioning that Apple’s flagship phones are expensive. A basic iPhone 15 Pro model will set you back $1,849. So in a year that is essentially an incremental upgrade for the Apple device, I’d suggest holding off unless your current phone is a few generations old.
I’ve pointed out a lot of the best features of the new iPhone 15 Pro, but, if I’m being honest, I haven’t noticed much of a change from the previous generation.
That’s not a bad thing, as the iPhone 14 Pro is one of the best phones I’ve ever had the pleasure of using, so the fact that this device sustains that quality is a positive. But if you’re already on the 13 Pro or 14 Pro train, I don’t see any need to upgrade to this generation (unless you really want a USB-C connection).
You can shop the iPhone 15 Pro here.
Lead Image Credit: Lifehacker Australia/Lauren Rouse
The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans
Here are the cheapest plans available for Australia’s most popular NBN speed tier.