Every now and then, Apple forces you to choose between more than just size when you’re out for this year’s “best iPhone ever” – there have been instances where the Max one-ups the ‘regular’ Pro in that one line in the camera specsheet. Such is the case with the iPhone 15 Pro which only gets a moderate telephoto camera and not the longer reach of the Pro Max.
iPhone 15 Pro (left) next to iPhone 15 Pro Max
But, really – does 3x vs 5x make a world of a difference? Particularly with iPhones, where Apple goes to great lengths to standardize the experience across one generation, but also from one generation going into the next? We reckon not, at least for the sake of this reviewer who opted for a Pro, instead of a Pro Max.
The 15 Pro otherwise gets the same treatment as the 15 Pro Max in all the other key areas – like the titanium in the frame that makes it a lot lighter than last year’s model. This is, in fact, perhaps even more of an important development on the smaller model, and it now makes it a more viable option for those looking for a pocketable Pro iPhone.
Naturally, a chipset upgrade is also part of the generational changes and there the Pro is as Pro as the Pro Max, of course – the 3nm A17 Pro is standard equipment. Not quite so is the storage situation, where the regular Pro’s 128GB base trim level isn’t befitting the name – the Pro Max starts at 256GB and that’s a lot more like it.
Circling back to the cameras (because it’s not all about the telephotos), the iPhone 15 Pro also gets the 24MP jpegs (or heifs, if that’s your thing) and the two intermediate pretend-focal lengths – there’s so much more parity in the imaging department than there are differences, after all.
iPhone 15 Pro (left) next to iPhone 15 Pro Max
Apple also invented USB-C this year, perhaps nudged in the right direction by the EU, but why not out of their own accord? (Because probably not.) Not strictly a Pro feature this one, since the vanilla iPhone 15 and the 15 Plus also use the industry-standard connector, but a most welcome development either way.
Then there’s some more of the usual stuff, the usual good stuff. The Pro iPhones have some of the best displays in the business, and the one on the 15 Pro is no different – in the same compact 6.1-inch size Apple settled on in 2020 with the 12 generation. While we’d say that underdisplay fingerprint readers should be mature enough for Apple to finally add one into the mix, Face ID remains a solid option for authentication. The autofocusing selfie camera that’s in that same vicinity has proven great in the past too.
Battery life has been a strong suit of iPhones for a while and we’re seeing little reason why that would change now. We do sense we’ll be complaining about the 15 Pro’s charging speeds though, as usual. Have a look at this quick rundown of the specs before we tear the paper tabs on that white box.
Apple iPhone 15 Pro specs at a glance:
- Body: 146.6×70.6×8.3mm, 187g; Glass front (Corning-made glass), glass back (Corning-made glass), titanium frame (grade 5); IP68 dust/water resistant (up to 6m for 30 min), Apple Pay (Visa, MasterCard, AMEX certified).
- Display: 6.1″ LTPO Super Retina XDR OLED, 120Hz, HDR10, Dolby Vision, 1000 nits (typ), 2000 nits (HBM), 1179x2556px resolution, 19.5:9 aspect ratio, 461ppi; Always-On display.
- Chipset: Apple A17 Pro (3 nm): Hexa-core (2×3.78 GHz + 4×2.11 GHz); Apple GPU (6-core graphics).
- Memory: 128GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 8GB RAM, 512GB 8GB RAM, 1TB 8GB RAM; NVMe.
- OS/Software: iOS 17.
- Rear camera: Wide (main): 48 MP, f/1.8, 24mm, 1/1.28″, 1.22µm, dual pixel PDAF, sensor-shift OIS; Telephoto: 12 MP, f/2.8, 77mm, 1.0µm, PDAF, OIS, 3x optical zoom; Ultra wide angle: 12 MP, f/2.2, 13mm, 120˚, 1/2.55″, 1.4µm, dual pixel PDAF; Depth: TOF 3D LiDAR scanner.
- Front camera: Wide (main): 12 MP, f/1.9, 23mm, 1/3.6″, PDAF, OIS; Depth: SL 3D.
- Video capture: Rear camera: 4K@24/25/30/60fps, 1080p@25/30/60/120/240fps, 10-bit HDR, Dolby Vision HDR (up to 60fps), ProRes, Cinematic mode (4K@24/30fps), 3D (spatial) video, stereo sound rec; Front camera: 4K@24/25/30/60fps, 1080p@25/30/60/120fps, gyro-EIS.
- Battery: 3274mAh; Wired, 50% in 30 min (advertised), 15W wireless (MagSafe), 7.5W wireless (Qi), Reverse wired.
- Connectivity: 5G; eSIM; Dual SIM; Wi-Fi 6e; BT 5.3; NFC.
- Misc: Face ID, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer; stereo speakers; Ultra Wideband 2 (UWB) support, Emergency SOS via satellite (SMS sending/receiving).
Apple iPhone 15 Pro unboxing
As expected, the iPhone 15 Pro ships in a half-height retail box, with little inside other than the phone itself. The less important bits that are still included are a SIM ejection tool, an Apple sticker, and some documentation.
The one bundled accessory that’s of more practical significance is the new USB cable (C-C) which is now braided. That should help make it last longer than the plain Apple cables of yesteryear, though we’re not sure the white fabric will be looking pristine a few weeks down the road. The cable is also USB 2.0 spec, so if you’re after the fastest possible transfer speeds, you’d need to get a different one. On to the phone itself we go now.