iPhone 15 Pro review: unremarkably excellent

iPhone 15 Pro review: unremarkably excellent

Apple iPhone 15

The iPhone 15 Pro is the epitome of a safe bet. The phone is expensive, but not the most expensive; its cameras are specced out, but they don’t rock the boat too much, and its screen is expansive without being oversized. Packing all of Apple’s latest iOS highlights and a wonderfully refined design with its titanium build, as well as that coveted USB-C port, we really (really) like this iPhone.

If you dare to dream beyond Apple’s iPhone line, though, much of what we love about the iPhone 15 Pro can be had for less in an Android alternative. Compact options like the Asus Zenfone 10 and Sony Xperia 5 V also offer flagship power and advanced camera tech. Apple’s refined design feels great, but Android takes design further, with phones like the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Oppo Find N3 Flip literally folding in half, and lower-cost camera phones like the Pixel 7 Pro serve up more range as well as Google’s imaging smarts.

We know if you have an iPhone, you’ll probably want to upgrade to an iPhone, so despite plenty of Android competition, let’s get into what makes the new iPhone 15 Pro our choice unless you fall into three categories: gamer, zoomer, or forgetful charger.

Apple’s Pro line has always kept things palm-friendly, and the 15 Pro is no exception; with its 6.1-inch screen and lightweight 187g body, it’s comfortable to use with one hand, and even with a case, it isn’t unwieldy.

Unlike past iPhones, the 15 Pro has a stronger and lighter titanium frame that’s better at fending off fingerprints than polished iPhone rims of old. The edges of the Pro’s frame also curve in to meet the glass back and front, making for a much more comfortable hold when compared to the stark angles we’re used to from Apple.

Around the back of the iPhone 15 Pro is a glass panel that curves up to form the camera surround with three large rings framing each lens. With smaller bezels than last year’s 14 Pro, the 15 Pro has less border than any iPhone before it, making for a more immersive canvas for your content.

The 15 Pro and Pro Max are available in four color options: Natural Titanium, Blue Titanium, Black Titanium – the option we tested, and White Titanium. Apple’s Ceramic Shield glass protects the front of the phone, and all of Apple’s 15-series is IP68 dust and water-resistant.

We’ve mentioned the new USB-C port – one of two significant differences between the 15 Pro and past iPhones – and the other switch-up is the customizable Action Button. This replaces the alert slider on the left side, and you can choose what happens when you press it, with options including changing focus mode, launching the camera, torch, Voice Memo app, Magnifier, an accessibility feature, or firing up silent mode.

A photo of the iPhone 15 Pro being held by our expert reviewer
A photo of the iPhone 15 Pro being held by our expert reviewer

To summarise, the iPhone 15 Pro looks fantastic. It also feels a bit more precious than most phones, so if you’re like us, you’ll definitely want to get it in one of the best iPhone 15 Pro cases on offer.

We settled on the Mous Iridescent Clarity 2.0 case during our review period, pictured below. What we particularly liked about it was its smooth finish, with other more rubberized textured cases gripping to our pocket lining as we tried to slide the phone in. It’s also poised to power up with MagSafe and adds color-shifting oil spill meets Malibu Barbie chic styling to our otherwise traditional, black iPhone.

iPhone 15 Pro: screen

The 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display on the Pro won’t be as immersive as the 6.7-inch panel on the iPhone 15 Pro Max, but it still enjoys the best quality display tech of any iPhone. At the heart of the viewing experience is OLED screen technology, and as you might expect, blacks are inky, and colors pop with panache.

The iPhone 15 Pro has a 120Hz refresh rate for smooth scrolling and features HDR support with a DCI-P3 wide color gamut and Apple’s True Tone display tech, so it dials warmth up or down based on ambient lighting.

Like the 14 Pro series, the 15 Pro has a Dynamic Island, which plays host to the front camera system and Face ID technology, and the screen supports Apple’s Always-on Display feature too.

Smartphone screens really have hit an excellent standard at the premium end, and the iPhone 15 Pro is no exception. It gets super bright with up to 2,000 nits peak brightness outdoors, 1,600 nits in other environments, and a 1,000 nits typical max manual brightness.

If you want a bigger view of your content, you can also project your iPhone 15 Pro to a TV or monitor using the USB-C port or AirPlay, and we tested our review unit with a standard USB-C to HDMI dongle to great effect.

The iPhone 15 Pro does a brilliant job of creating a big-ish screen experience in a small package. By shaving down the bezels, almost all of the phone’s front is screen, so watching movies or TV shows that beam in glorious quality or editing photos is a pleasure on it.

The main limitation for anyone with larger hands is gaming – the display can feel a little cramped when you add on-screen controls to the mix, but that caveat aside, the 15 Pro’s screen is pretty much perfect to our eyes.

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