iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus Review: as We Were Focusing on the Pro, the Standard Models Were the Biggest Surprise After All

iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus Review: as We Were Focusing on the Pro, the Standard Models Were the Biggest Surprise After All

  • We dive into the standard models of the new Apple generation: the iPhone 15 and the iPhone 15 Plus

  • They have everything they need to succeed, but they’re not perfect

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Iphone 15 Review

The much-awaited annual release of the new iPhone models has once again caught the attention of tech enthusiasts and reviewers alike. We, too, have put the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max to the test and have all the information you need to know about these models. Now, it’s time to review the “budget” versions - I spent a week using the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus, and the experience was better than I expected.

The design of both models is quite similar, with evolutionary changes in hardware and two sizes to choose from, so there’s no need to argue. If you want a compact smartphone, the iPhone 15 is a great choice. If you prefer a larger screen, go for the iPhone 15 Plus. Both models offer a similar experience apart from media playback, with notable differences in comfort and ease of use. Let’s take a closer look at what each of them has to offer.

iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus Specs




6.1” OLED

Super Retina XDR

2556 x 1179 (460 ppi)

Up to 2,000 nits

True Tone, HDR

6.7” OLED

Super Retina XDR

2796 x 1290 (460 ppi)

Up to 2,000 nits

True Tone, HDR


Apple A16 Bionic

Apple A16 Bionic


128 / 256 / 512 GB

128 / 256 / 512 GB


6 GB

6 GB


5.81 x 2.82 x 0.31 inch

6.02 oz

6.33 x 3.06 x 0.31 inch

7.09 oz


iOS 17

iOS 17


Main: 48 MP, 26 mm, f/1.6

Ultra-wide: 12 MP, 13 mm, f/2.4

(12 MP 2x telephoto enabled by the quad-pixel sensor)

2x optical zoom

Main: 48 MP, 26 mm, f/1.6

Ultra-wide: 12 MP, 13 mm, f/2.4

(12 MP 2x telephoto enabled by the quad-pixel sensor)

2x optical zoom


12 MP TrueDepth, f/1.9

12 MP TrueDepth, f/1.9


3,349 mAh

4,383 mAh


USB-C (USB 2, up to 480 Mbps)

USB-C (USB 2, up to 480 Mbps)


Face ID

Dynamic Island

IP68 rating

Emergency calls

Crash detection

2nd-gen. UWB

Face ID

Dynamic Island

IP68 rating

Emergency calls

Crash detection

2nd-gen. UWB


From $799

From $899

Apple iPhone 15 (128 GB) - Blue

Apple iPhone 15 Plus (128 GB) - Blue

Design: an Iteration, Not a Revolution

Iphone 15 Review 1

There’s not much to say about the design, as both models maintain the essence of their previous generations. From the outside, it’s difficult to distinguish between an iPhone 15 and an iPhone 14, except for the Dynamic Island on the front and the design of the rear camera.

Both the iPhone 15 and the iPhone 15 Plus use the same approach of inheriting some of the key elements of the previous Pro. We finally see the Dynamic Island, which, in my opinion, refreshes the models and provides certain advantages in terms of usability. While you’re not getting more screen space, the Dynamic Island is a nice addition as iOS 17 uses its capabilities to enhance the control of what happens on the iPhone.

Apple has kept the solid aluminum body with straight edges, but has noticeably smoothed the edges to provide more comfort in the hand. Both models have a high-quality feel to them, and appear to be resistant. Although the double-sided glass does not eliminate slipping, the grip is adequate. The larger model is especially comfortable to hold.

Iphone 15 Review 2 iPhone 15 Plus

Both the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus come with an IP68 rating that safeguards them against dust and water. They have the classic iPhone button layout with the power button on the right side and the volume buttons on the left. Apple has not revised the mute switch, keeping the classic switch that many people prefer (including me).

The bottom of the phone features a significant change in 2023: a perfectly centered USB-C port flanked by the speaker and mic holes. The iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus also retain the dual stereo speaker system, with the secondary speaker located in the earpiece area.

The phone’s back is made of toughened glass tinted to match the metal body color. The pink’s natural state is prettier than expected, and the green and white colors also look great. The photo module protrudes in the upper left area, making both models unstable when placed on a flat surface.

The iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus are still IP68-certified against dust and water

The main difference in design between the two models is the comfort they offer when using them. The iPhone 15 Plus is much larger. If you value multimedia consumption and require a bigger screen, the iPhone 15 Plus may be more suitable. However, if greater comfort is a priority, then the iPhone 15 meets most needs. Although the iPhone 15 Plus has reduced battery life compared to the Plus, it’s a small inconvenience to bear for greater comfort. Ultimately, the decision is up to you.

Display: the 60 Hz Rate is the Only Drawback

Iphone 15 Review 3

Both iPhones feature an OLED panel of excellent quality that works well in all lighting conditions and boasts the Dynamic Island. The iPhone 15s are the first non-Pro models to have this screen cutout and the first to take advantage of the control options that iOS 17 provides for the front camera area. This enables you to control playback and view whether Internet sharing is active, among other options. However, the front camera often gets dirty with finger grease because of its location. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to wipe it down a bit before taking a selfie.

Iphone 15 Review 4 iPhone 15

In addition to the Dynamic Island, which is a small patch that utilizes an otherwise useless area of the screen, the displays mounted by Apple on the iPhone 15 offer excellent quality. They are perfectly calibrated in color temperature and saturation, with very high contrast and no noticeable variations in hue when viewed from different angles. The maximum brightness has been increased to 2,000 nits peak outdoors, allowing you to see the content even in direct light (Apple has increased it from 1,200 nits in the iPhone 14). Both models are excellent for multimedia playback, especially the iPhone 15 Plus due to its larger usable area.

Iphone 15 Review 5 Display settings in iOS 17

Apple’s lower range of iPhone 15 has a few drawbacks that are chosen to differentiate these models from the Pro range. However, the lack of ProMotion is incomprehensible as it limits the maximum screen refresh rate to 60 Hz. Considering that these phones cost around $900, having a low refresh rate affects the visual experience with system animations, scrolling, and running games, making it fall short of the mid-range. The opening of apps or scrolling may appear jumpy, which is something that contrasts with an otherwise great display.

Iphone 15 Review 6

The touch response is excellent, and the display bezels remain generous and symmetrical. However, the entry-level models still lack Always On Display (AOD). With very high sharpness and detail, TrueTone adapts the color temperature to ambient light conditions. Night Shift allows more comfortable reading at night, and the minimum brightness in complete darkness does not dazzle the eye. Therefore, the iPhone 15s are very comfortable to use at night.

The iPhone 15s’ screen is protected by Ceramic Shield hardened glass, making it scratch and shock-resistant. None of the models tested during the review were damaged. Based on the experience of using the iPhone 14 Pro without a screen protector, Ceramic Shield should provide sufficient assurance that the screen surface of the iPhone 15 will remain in good condition for quite some time.

Audio: USB-C Adds More Versatility

Iphone 15 Review 7 iPhone 15

Apple’s new iPhone 15 introduces a significant change (one that everyone saw coming) - the replacement of the Lightning port with USB-C. This change in the port makes it easier to charge phones while on the go, as USB-C chargers and cables are more readily available than Lightning ones. This also applies to audio.

Both the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro offer high-quality audio through the USB-C port. However, the phones don’t have analog output. Instead, they feature digital output. To connect headphones, users must have an external DAC in both the headphones and the adapter cable. While this may be a disadvantage, it’s also common among most premium Android phones. The sound produced by the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro is clear, balanced, and punchy. However, the sound quality also depends on the hardware you use, including the external DAC and headphones.

Iphone 15 Review 8 The iPhone’s USB-C port. I thought I would never see it

The Bluetooth audio quality of the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus is as expected, especially when used with Apple’s own devices. I tested the phones with my AirPods Pro and did not notice any drop in quality. Both phones support AAC and SBC codecs, which means you can use almost all wireless headphones. However, if you want to stream lossless audio from apps like Apple Music, you need to use compatible headphones connected via the USB-C port.

Iphone 15 Review 9

In addition to sound quality, the new iPhones can also output video via the USB-C port. You can connect your phone to a compatible monitor or TV to display images from your phone on a larger screen. This feature can be very useful for presentations, multimedia playback, or gaming. If you connect a Bluetooth controller, you can use the iPhone 15s as a desktop console. The phones’ powerful Apple A16 Bionic chip supports these features.

Moving on to the external speakers, the iPhone 15s have dual stereo speakers: one at the bottom of the phone and one at the top of the screen. The sound produced by the speakers is loud, with minimal shrillness at maximum volume and no rumbling in the bass. However, there’s a preference for treble. The maximum sound pressure of the speakers is 88 dB, as measured using an external app and mobile.

Power: the iPhone 14 Pro’s Performance in the Standard iPhone 15

Iphone 15 Review 10

The fact that the iPhone 15s are equipped with the Apple A16 Bionic processor ensures high quality and performance. This SoC has already proven to be highly efficient in the iPhone 14 Pro. In general, both phones perform equally well as my iPhone 14 Pro. They excel in multitasking and deliver high-quality graphics in high-resolution games. I haven’t experienced any overheating, even after playing ‘Genshin Impact’ for over an hour at maximum quality. The only downside is the screen’s 60 Hz refresh rate, which dampens the perception of the iPhone 15’s full capabilities.

In practice, both phones are incredibly fast, even when it comes to performance testing. The two smartphones perform equally well as the iPhone 14 Pro, and their benchmark results are noteworthy. However, it should be noted that benchmark results do not always reflect the overall user experience with the smartphone.

Iphone 15 Review 11 Left: Geekbench 6; right: 3D Mark

Below is the comparison table of benchmarks run on the iPhone 15 and the iPhone 15 Plus.








Apple A16 Bionic

Apple A15 Bionic

Apple A16 Bionic

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 (for Galaxy)


6 GB

6 GB

6 GB

16 GB

12 GB

8 GB


2,587 / 6,423 (6)

1,728 / 4,469 (5)

2,508 / 6,306 (6)

1,983 / 5,492 (6)

1,914 / 5,049 (6)

2,019 / 5,308 (6)









11,646 / 8,280

11,409 / 8,458

12,463 / 8,195

13,926 / 12,788

13,765 / 9,226

14,018 / 13,968








These phones are capable of efficiently completing tasks without overheating, even during demanding processes. During long gaming sessions, the phones get warm, but not to the point where they become uncomfortable to hold. However, while attempting to drain the battery by recording a 4K video for 15 minutes straight, the temperature increased to the point where I almost got a heat warning. Interestingly, the iPhone 15 did not exceed the heat limits, but the iPhone 15 Plus did get a heat warning during fast charging at 30 W.

The iPhone 15 doesn’t have overheating issues: while it does get warm during demanding processes, the heat doesn’t make it uncomfortable to hold

It's worth noting that despite the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max being known for their abnormal heat during use, the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus do not have these issues. Both phones maintain a normal temperature range during use. Only the iPhone 15 Plus got a heat warning during fast charging.

Iphone 15 Review 12 ‘Genshin Impact’ running on the iPhone 15

In terms of connectivity, the phones offer clear call quality on both ends, fast Wi-Fi with no dropouts, and reliable 5G. The inclusion of Ultra Wideband (UWB) allows geolocation even without battery power. The US models don’t offer a physical nanoSIM slot, as they’re only compatible with eSIMs. Geolocation accuracy is also of the highest level.

Battery: a Great Step Forward That Increases the Wait Between Charges

Iphone 15 Review 13

The Lightning to USB-C evolution has brought many benefits, including making it easier to find charging cables and expanding the use of wired headphones. USB-C headphones with built-in DACs and good adapters are now cheaper and more accessible. Moreover, the physical port of the USB-C allows for reversible charging, which is a significant advantage for iPhone users who have been requesting it for a long time.

The iPhone 15s can charge other mobile devices via the USB-C, which is an excellent feature. It also allows for accessories to be charged directly from the smartphone, eliminating the need to carry an external battery. However, Apple still needs to enable reverse wireless charging.

Iphone 15 Review 14 iPhone 15

USB-C has many advantages that Android users are well aware of, but unfortunately, iPhone users no longer receive a charger in the box. Instead, only a USB-C cable is included, which is of higher quality and comes in a braided design. However, it only comes in white and does not match the color of the iPhone.

Iphone 15 Review 15 iPhone 15 Plus

In terms of battery life, the iPhone 15 Plus lasts longer than the iPhone 15 with similar usage. I tested both phones’ batteries by scrolling on social media with 5G enabled, intensive camera use, performance tests, browsing, streaming (mainly using Wi-Fi), and gaming (from casual gaming to demanding shooters).

The maximum battery drain was around 9% after 15 minutes, during intense gaming and 4K video recording

The battery life of both iPhones is quite impressive. Typically, they can last for a day and a half with moderate use and over six/seven hours of screen time. However, the battery life of the iPhone 15 Plus can last up to three days if you use it carefully and only on Wi-Fi.

During a whole day shooting in Barcelona, my iPhone was charged in the morning, and by the evening, it still had 53% battery left. When playing games for an extended period, the battery discharge rate on both devices is around 9% every 15 minutes. According to 3D Mark’s data, the iPhone 15 has a 3,349 mAh battery, while the iPhone 15 Plus has a 4,383 mAh battery.

I have used the MacBook Pro’s 61 W USB-C fast charger and the braided cable that comes with the phones to conduct the following tests:

  • 5-minute charge: 8% on the iPhone 15; 9% on the iPhone 15 Plus
  • 10-minute charge: 20% on the iPhone 15; 21% on the iPhone 15 Plus
  • 15-minute charge: 31% on the iPhone 15; 32% on the iPhone 15 Plus
  • 20-minute charge: 42% on the iPhone 15; 42% on the iPhone 15 Plus
  • 25-minute charge: 52% on the iPhone 15; 51% on the iPhone 15 Plus
  • 30-minute charge: 61% on the iPhone 15; 60% on the iPhone 15 Plus

I find it strange that the charging times for two phones with such different capacities are the same. However, upon analyzing the charging power during the process, I noticed that the iPhone 15 Plus recharges at about 5 W more power than the iPhone 15 (reading taken using a smart plug).

In the initial half of the process, the power negotiated by the iPhone 15 is a maximum of 25 W, whereas the iPhone 15 Plus negotiates at 30 W. Once the charge reaches above 50%, it drops to 20 W and 25 W respectively. Moreover, when the charge reaches 80%, the recharge stops, irrespective of whether or not the battery protection mode is active. The last stretch can take up to an hour.

It’s worth noting that it’s common for iPhones to display a high-temperature warning when using the fast charger. However, this has not happened to me with a lower-power charger (such as the one on my iPad Pro at 20 W), although the charging times are longer.

Photography: You Won’t Miss the Telephoto as Much as You Think

Iphone 15 Review 16

In the iPhone 15, Apple has once again reduced the potential of the most basic models. However, they’ve finally increased the megapixels of their main sensor, from 12 to 48 MP. This is the same as 2022’s iPhone 14 Pro, and the same as the 2023’s Pro. Although the resolution is the same, it doesn’t mean that the main sensor of the iPhone 15 is the same as the Pro. It’s smaller, which means it may have a reduced ability to capture light and detail on paper. However, in practice, things may be different.

In the camera department, the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus are identical. You will get the same quality in the images and videos taken, regardless of which model you choose. Both have a dual rear camera placed diagonally and protruding noticeably from the body.

Their camera specs are listed here:

  • Main camera: 48 MP sensor, f/1.6 aperture, 26-mm focal length, and sensor-shift optical image stabilization. When capturing images, it automatically saves them in either 24 or 12 MP. When shooting at the maximum capacity of the sensor, the camera shoots at 48 MP. Images and videos are always processed automatically.
  • Ultra-wide camera: 12 MP sensor, f/2.4 aperture, 13-mm focal length, and 120º field of view. Images captured by this camera are always saved at 12 MP and processed automatically.
  • Front camera: 12 MP sensor, f/1.9 aperture, 23-mm focal length, Deep Fusion and TrueDepth.
Iphone 15 Review 17

Both phones offer a great photographic experience, with high-quality results and native shooting app features. While Apple doesn’t provide fully manual settings, third-party apps like Halide can fill the void. The interface is similar to previous versions, with some new additions like assigning focal lengths to lenses, automatic Portrait mode, and an electronic level. These small details complement the most important part - the improved image and video processing.

The iPhone 15 boasts a resolution of 48 MP, a great improvement over the 12 MP resolution in the iPhone 14. The main camera is a versatile all-rounder that produces impressive results in most situations, including low light. This makes recommending a non-iPhone Pro even better as the image and video shooting capabilities are not far behind.

Apple has bridged the gap between Pro and non-Pro models like never before. While the superior models have better hardware and more cameras, the quality of the photos are not that different

The iPhone 15s only take photos in a compressed format, either HEIC or jpg, while ProRAW is exclusive to the top models (other apps support RAW saving). The iOS app offers the option to save photos at either 12 or 24 MP: you’ll base your decision on whether you prefer to save some storage space or you want the best quality possible by default.

Users can also mark saving at the maximum resolution of the sensor (48 MP) in compressed format (HEIC or jpg, using the HEIF Max format). Most of the shots taken for this review were at 48 MP manually, with 24 MP chosen by default. The file size of the former typically does not exceed 10 MB, while the latter is usually under 6 MB.

Iphone 15 Review 18 iPhone 15

During daylight, both phones’ main cameras excel in terms of hardware and software. The iPhone 15’s new sensor captures incredibly sharp shots, even in the background details. When the image is enlarged to the maximum, every element remains clearly visible. This is especially noticeable in HEIF Max shots, but even automatic shots, which are always better at 24 MP by default, don’t experience any loss of quality.

The scene’s colors are true to the originals, with a high dynamic range, and the focus is exceptionally fast. Additionally, subject detection helps to keep people in focus automatically. Personally, I would like to see Apple implement autofocus with tracks marked by the user, similar to the Google Pixel. This would allow users to tap on the screen and have the camera constantly keep the chosen point in focus, which would be especially useful for shots featuring animals and children.

Iphone 15 Review 19

Despite the challenging lighting conditions, the camera on the iPhone 15 captured a good-quality image with a high level of detail, even in low-light areas. The automatic HDR feature was not overly aggressive, and the color temperature and white balance were accurate. The resulting image had a file size of 5.5 MB and a resolution of 48 MP. It’s unfortunate that the main camera app does not support ProRAW saving.

Iphone 15 Review 20

In this particular shot, the HDR feature performed exceptionally well. The blue sky looks natural, and the details of the stone are clearly visible even in dimly lit areas. The image was captured at 48 MP and saved in HEIF Max format.

Iphone 15 Review 21

The iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus don’t come with a telephoto lens-equipped camera, but they still manage to capture great photos through the use of the cropping technique on the effective 48 MP of the main sensor. All pictures are saved compressed to 12 MP, except when you use zoom, the wide lens, Night mode, or Portrait mode.

In terms of quality, you can use 2x zoom without any problem, and even 5x zoom, although you may see some pixelation in the image. The iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus also have a maximum of 10x hybrid, which includes image cropping and digital zoom.

Iphone 15 Review 24

The results of taking photos in low-light conditions are usually very good, though there may be some exceptions. If the scene is evenly lit, the iPhone 15s can take great photos even without activating the night mode. The camera retains great background details such as text and keeps the white balance accurate. However, watercolors may appear zoomed in, which is inevitable.

Iphone 15 Review 25

When capturing images in non-uniform lighting, the camera often faces several challenges. The Night mode comes into play to extend the dynamic range, but it leads to a loss of information and a decrease in sharpness and clarity in darker areas. Additionally, all images taken in Night mode are saved at 12 MP, resulting in significant information loss.

Iphone 15 Review 26

As for the Portrait mode on the iPhone, it maintains its quality in cropping and blurring, making it effective not only for people but also for animals and certain objects. The latest feature in Portrait mode is very useful as it allows the sensor to save depth information when it detects a person in the foreground. This feature enables users to adjust the focus point from the Photos app without the need for external apps such as Focus. With the release of iOS 17, users can choose the amount of blur or the area that will remain out of focus without any hassles.

Iphone 15 Review 27

The front camera on the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro is similar to previous models in terms of quality. Selfies look natural and have accurate colors and shading, with good contouring and detail. The new models allow for illuminating the face with the screen flash, and the front camera can record video up to 4K and 60 fps.

To evaluate the photo quality, viewing them in their original size without any editing is best. Here’s a link to all the photos I took with the new iPhones.

As for video recording, both the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus produce high-quality footage with excellent image stabilization, resolution, and sharpness. The main camera can record up to 4K and 60 fps, which is comparable to the Pro model. However, the wide sensor is not as impressive, so it’s best to avoid using it.

If you’re interested in seeing some sample video recordings using the iPhone 15 Plus, I’ve included them below:

iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus, Xataka’s Take

With the release of a new iPhone generation, the question on everyone’s mind is always whether it’s worth upgrading. In my opinion, if you already have an iPhone 13 or newer (even the iPhone 12), it’s not necessary to upgrade to the iPhone 15. Although there are some improvements that enhance the user experience, the evolutionary leap is not significant.

Iphone 15 Review 22

However, this doesn’t mean that the upgrade from iPhone 14 to iPhone 15 is just a formality. There are some notable improvements that can justify purchasing the new iPhone models. The inclusion of USB-C is a welcome change as it allows for reverse charging and provides a more universal port. The increased screen brightness and the Dynamic Island addition are also noteworthy improvements. For me, the 48 MP sensor in the main camera is the standout feature that tips the balance in favor of upgrading. The photography results are surprisingly impressive, to the point where there isn’t too much difference between the standard iPhone 15 and the Pro version, except for specific scenarios.

Although the main camera of the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus is exceptional with an all-terrain capacity that reaches up to a zoom range of 2-5x, the wide lens is still weak. The lack of sharpness and optical deformation at the ends greatly detract from the shots, which makes it difficult to shoot with the secondary camera. The users miss the Pro’s automatic macro mode, ProRAW, and ProRES saving of the iOS 17 camera. However, the automatic recording of depth values when the sensor detects a subject in the scene is a positive feature. Editing the focus from the Photos app is also a joy.

Iphone 15 Review 23

Both the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus are two fully-fledged premium phones, despite Apple artificially downgrading the category to fit them into its price range. However, the fact that the display refreshes at a maximum of 60 Hz detracts from the visual experience. Also, it’s unclear why the iPhone 15 includes USB 2.0, while the Pro goes up to 3.2, even though it’s not noticeable with regular use. These small hiccups do not hide the reality that both the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus are the smarter choice if you’re looking for Apple’s newest phone and want to save some money.

They felt very comfortable in my hand. The battery life is sufficient, and the power is up to par. You don’t need an Apple A17 Pro to enjoy great performance. If I had to choose, I’d go for the iPhone 15 without a doubt. You don’t need more.


Diseño 9
Pantalla 9,25
Rendimiento 9,25
Cámara 9,25
Software 9,5
Autonomía 8,75


  • The screen’s brightness is perfect outdoors
  • Very powerful: you won’t miss the Pro’s power
  • The USB-C is a welcomed addition


  • 60 Hz display on $900 iPhones
  • The wide lens could be way better

Related | iPhone 15 Pro Max Review: the Most Well-Rounded iPhone Ever Comes as a Quiet Revolution

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