The release of the iPhone 15 represents a true changing of the guard. Gone is the Lightning connector that has been ever present since 2012; in its place is a USB-C port that will be familiar to many smartphone users across the market.
Small but powerful additions have shaped the iPhone 15 into another exciting handset from Apple, and in this review we go into detail on its performance, features, design, and more.
Release date and price
The iPhone 15 release date is September 22nd 2023.
iPhone 15 price:
• iPhone 15 – £799
• iPhone 15 Plus – £899
• iPhone 15 Pro – £1299
• iPhone 15 Pro Max - £1199
At first glance, the iPhone 15 mirrors the premium look of its predecessor: a sleek aluminium frame, Ceramic Shield back plate and a colourful range of styles to choose from. Whilst these elements are very much present and help maintain an effective status quo, there are some nifty additions that push this iPhone forward in the design department.
First up is one of the most significant features on the iPhone 15: the USB-C port. We mentioned this at the start for good reason, as it represents a major change to how you can charge and connect your iPhone. If you have a USB-C cable lying around, you can plug it into the iPhone 15 and charge away, without the need for a specific Lightning connector.
Given that many other devices also possess a USB-C port, such as the Mac, this makes the iPhone 15 far more versatile than previous handsets when connecting and transferring data across devices. For the 15 Pro, this brings even more tangible benefits, with the potential for 10Gbps transfer speeds; moving photos off your device will be incredibly fast indeed.
Another change that you’ll find on the premium iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max models is the titanium frame. Gone is the stainless steel, replaced by this tougher material to protect the phone from bumps and scratches. Wrapping the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max in titanium fully embodies the premium, powerhouse status of these handsets, making them a must-have if you want to own a piece of smartphone luxury.
The titanium shell isn’t the only thing separating the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max models from the rest of the pack. These devices feature the handy Action Button, which can be customised to perform a variety of tasks, such as taking a photo or opening a specific menu with a single press. This simple button might not be as immediately eye-catching as the USB-C port, yet it dramatically alters how you can interact with your iPhone day-to-day, simplifying routines that might otherwise require additional steps.
These useful features are all well and good, so long as the handset stays damage-free. Apple have long included IP68 protection against dust, dirt and water on its phones; this remains the case with the iPhone 15 range, ensuring your device remains in top condition.
The screen technology employed by Apple has continuously impressed us, and the iPhone 15 doesn’t disappoint. With the base model you’re getting a 6.1” Super Retina XDR OLED display, capable of a refresh rate of 60Hz. To say this screen is beautiful would be an understatement; colours are vibrant and detail is rich across every inch. Brightness has also been boosted to 2000 nits, making the iPhone 15 even brighter than its predecessors and showcasing this dazzling OLED screen in all its glory.
If you’re familiar with previous iPhones, one change will be clearly apparent: there’s no camera notch. In its place is the Dynamic Island that debuted with the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, and it’s great to see this once-exclusive feature to Pro models appear on the base and Plus handsets, too. When you receive a message, news update or other notification, the pill box expands to display this information and closes seamlessly. It’s an impressive way of utilising space and assets on the phone without adding new physical features.
When stepping up to the iPhone 15 Plus, the OLED display is significantly larger at 6.7”. For those who don’t need a higher refresh rate but desire more screen space, the 15 Plus is the ideal option, offering a more immersive viewing experience when watching games, films and videos.
Things get particularly exciting on the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. The Pro model maintains the same 6.1” display as on the base handset, but it employs a far smoother and adaptive 120Hz refresh rate. The result is a silky image with minimal lag or stutter; essential if you’re a gamer or movie-lover.
You’re getting the same display tech on the iPhone 15 Pro Max, but with a 6.7” screen as the cherry on top. Combine this with HDR support and True Tone for realistic contrasts, and you have an astonishing final package.
Apple adopted a tiered approach to processing performance with the iPhone 14 range, keeping the previous generation chipset in the base model and including a more powerful processor in the Pro and Pro Max. This pattern continues with the iPhone 15, providing a clear hierarchy of which to choose based on your needs.
If you don’t require blistering processing speeds, the base iPhone 15 and Plus handsets have you covered. At their heart is the A16 Bionic chip, a processor that considerably impressed in our rundown of the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max. When running demanding games or high-resolution videos over 5G, the iPhone 15 handled everything thrown at it with ease, maintaining a steady frame rate to ensure the experience stays buttery-smooth.
The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max take things one step further by including the A17 Bionic chip; a 6-core powerhouse of a processor. These cores enable the A17 Bionic to perform tasks, be it running image enhancing software or swapping between apps, with ease. Processing performance on the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max really is exceptional, helping these devices very much live up to their ‘Pro’ status.
The iPhone 15 range comes out of the box with iOS 17, and this version of Apple's operating system puts greater emphasis on personalising how you communicate with people.
Leading the charge on this endeavour are Contact Posters. This feature enables you to create images that appear when calling someone; they will see your contact poster, and you will see theirs. The number of ways you can personalise your poster is impressive, with numerous filters, layouts and fonts to choose from. You can even opt for a customisable avatar; a great choice if you don’t want to show your face, but still desire a bit of flair.
iOS 17 also contains some extremely useful safety features, such as Check In. When you arrive at a destination, your phone will notify any friends and family that you’re safe, putting their minds at ease in the process. This combines effectively with the ability to share your location, or request a location, within a message chain. If you’re thinking about getting a phone for a child, these safety tools make the iPhone 15 an excellent option.
The iPhone 15 represents one of Apple’s biggest leaps forward in the photography department, and it comes courtesy of the jump from 12MP main sensor to 48MP.
This change makes all the difference when taking photos, particularly when editing them, because it ensures that less detail is lost should you need to crop an image. It also means you can capture more detailed shots with the optical zoom.
The image processing potential of the iPhone 15 is best exemplified when combining this sensor with the handset’s processing speeds. It opens up the iPhone 15 to some powerful features such as Pixel Binning, where data from multiple pixels is combined to process light in images more efficiently. The higher megapixel count on the iPhone 15’s main camera means the device can benefit from Pixel Binning far more than those with lower counts.
If you opt for the 15 Pro or Pro Max, you also get a 12MP telephoto lens for capturing highly detailed, long-distance photos. This enticing level of versatility rightfully places the iPhone 15 in the hall of fame.
You won’t be using your phone for long if the battery is sub-par; this is why Apple have kept the same efficient battery from the previous handset in the iPhone 15.
On the base model, up to 20 hours of video watching is possible, rising to 26 hours on the 15 Plus; more than enough for watching HD videos on-the-go. Battery capacity is slightly less on the 15 Pro – 23 hours of video playback is possible here – but this is balanced out with slightly faster recharging.
If you want the most battery life possible, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is the way to go. This model can support a staggering 29 hours of watching videos, so is a must-have for the cinephile in your life.
Staying powered up is essential as the day goes on, and the iPhone 15 is incredibly efficient at doing this. All phones in the range can be recharged up to 50% in around 35 minutes, and support MagSafe wireless charging.
The arrival of the iPhone 15 came with huge change, fundamentally altering how we connect to our iPhone. For this reason alone it’s an exciting and refreshing handset, but the impressive performance is there to elevate the iPhone 15 even further, alongside some of the best display technology in the industry.
If our review of the iPhone 15 has inspired you to pick one up yourself, get ahead of the set-up process with our handy guide.