The big announcement has been and gone, pre-orders are open, and it won't be long before Apple lovers can get their hands on the latest iPhone 15 range… except there are four of them. So how do you choose?
Let's assume for a moment you're not planning on buying one of each (extravagant, yes, but not so sensible.) Apple have followed their familiar formula and offered up iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, which incidentally go up in price increments as you'd expect (more on that later.) But depending on what you want from your device, that's a fair bit of choice.
So, we thought we'd do our best to outline the similarities and the differences between the new family of four, and then – for those of you who prefer a quick summary – outline which one we think is best, depending on how you use your mobile.
Shall we get started?
Let's talk design and display.
The truth of the matter is aesthetics are important. Apple have understood this for years, creating sleek, streamlined products that people around the world love.
With that in mind, the latest range has kept the design we're all familiar with so that at a glance you might not even notice the difference between iPhone 15 and co and last year's iPhone 14 family. Aside from some delightful colour options, of course.
But there's more to it than that – Apple have tweaked functionality here and there and changed up the construction materials for eco-conscious, lightweight choices that make a big difference to the feel of this collection. Until you're holding them in your hands, you might not notice – which is why we're here.
From a design point of view, iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro are almost identical to look at (except for the aforementioned colour choices) and are the same size. Much the way that iPhone 15 Plus and iPhone 15 Pro Max are almost twinning. From the front, anyway. Turn them over and the first thing you'll spot is the camera cluster, which includes two lenses on the standard models, 15 and 15 Plus, and three lenses on the 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max. The Pro models also include a fun new "Action" button that replaces the mute switch.
Since Dynamic Island was introduced last year, it's now been rolled out to the entire iPhone 15 family, so you won't see the familiar notch at the top of any of the devices, either.
Now onto the all-important colour options. Apple have opted for muted, pastel-like colours infused into the textured matt glass back alongside a classic Black option for iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus. You can take your pick from Blue, Pink, Yellow or Green if Black isn't quite cutting it – but there's no white option this year.
If you prefer going for a Pro model, iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max have gone the more serious colour route, with four options: Black Titanium, Blue Titanium, White Titanium and Natural Titanium (which is pretty much silver, and the colour of untouched titanium.)
Why all the titanium talk? Because this year the Pro models have been crafted with an aerospace-grade titanium alloy, of the same kind used on missions to Mars, no less. This means the devices are more lightweight, and incredibly comfortable to hold – in part because all four models have updated contoured edges.
Display-wise, Apple have gone with the tried-and-true OLED screen option on all four models. iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro both use 6.1-inch variants of the Super Retina XDR display that we know and love, whereas the larger options, iPhone 15 Plus and iPhone 15 Pro Max use 6.7-inch displays. The two standard models stick with a 60Hz refresh rate, which was a bit of a surprise move since the Pro models both use the 120Hz refresh rate we've come to expect in 2023. Whether or not this will be something Apple updates with next year's range will be interesting when the time comes around!
Both Pro models also come with Always On displays, which is a nice touch. But all four come with HDR mode, which is great for time spent outdoors – and the colours and bright and consistent across the whole family. Helped along by a fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating.
How good are the cameras on iPhone 15 and the rest of the family?
As we've already mentioned, iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus have stuck with the dual camera setup, but there's been a long-awaited and anticipated upgrade since last year in the form of a new 48MP lens (much like the one we saw on iPhone 14 Pro.) There's also a 12MP Ultra Wide lens.
Over on iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, you'll see the same two lenses, but with an extra 12MP telephoto lens to top it off and even a 12.7MP zoom on the Pro Max option, which is a neat addition.
All four devices offer 4K video recording (a must-have in an Insta and TikTok-oriented world), a 12MP TrueDepth selfie cam and plenty of brilliant features like Slo-mo, time-lapse (including Night mode time-lapse), and various portrait modes – though of course, you'll get more if you go for the Pro models. And with some updated hardware and software features, you'll find that even the modes you're familiar with will perform better than ever…
What about iPhone 15 performance?
This year, iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus have been given the luxury treatment and levelled up to use the A16 Bionic chip that we first met in the 14 Pro models last year – so you can expect brilliant Apple-grade performance from both devices.
As for iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, Apple have ditched the Bionic name for their latest bit of silicone and named their newest chipset A17 Pro. Which seems a-"pro"-priate, yeah?
What does A17 Pro do, you ask? Well, it takes efficiency to the next level, for starters. As the world's first 3nm smartphone chip, it takes advantage of a smaller manufacturing process to improve battery life and manage the Pro devices' variable refresh rates (which can drop all the way down to 1fps, when idle.) It also has an extra GPU core (making six altogether) which means the devices both have better graphics than ever before – and that they're capable of playing a fair few titles previously confined to console gaming, like Resident Evil Village, and Assassin's Creed Mirage. Pretty cool!
How much do the new iPhone 15 models cost?
Apple's pricing doesn't vary much from year to year (although all the models are a little bit more affordable this year) – and you get what you pay for right?
£799 SIM free.
iPhone 15 Plus
£899 SIM Free
iPhone 15 Pro
£999 SIM free.
iPhone 15 Pro Max
£1199 SIM free.
So how do I decide?
Here's a quick and easy breakdown to help you choose:
- Want the newest iPhone from the latest 2023 range.
- Don't mind sticking with the tried-and-true processing power of A16 Bionic and have no need for the newer features.
- Love the new range of iPhone 15 colours.
Then go for:
You can show off your new-fangled bit of tech in the latest trendy colours, as well as take advantage of the updates from last year's model like the upgraded chipset and the addition of Dynamic Island.
- Agreed with all of the above, but also quite fancy a bigger screen at a great price.
- Love the idea of getting to know Dynamic Island and all its handy bits and pieces.
- Don't mind a 60Hz refresh rate so long as your screen is BIG.
Then go for:
iPhone 15 Plus
At 6.7 inches, the display is perfectly sized for an on-the-go Netflix binge, and you're still able to enjoy the same screen technology as you would on any of the others in the 15 family. Plus, you're saving money with the screen size vs. buying the pricier Pro Max option.
- Want the latest Pro features but not the price of the Pro Max.
- Are happy to enjoy 6.1-inches of a more compact display.
- Want to see what the new Action button and A17 Pro chipset have to offer.
Then go for
iPhone 15 Pro
A little bit pricier but a fair bit nicer – iPhone 15 Pro is the more affordable way to enjoy the newest tech from Apple, and shares all but a few features with its larger sibling. The colour options are more muted and serious, but that triple camera setup more than makes up for it.
- Want to go all out for your iPhone 15 experience and get the best camera available on any iPhone.
- Love the sound of a periscope zoom lens and can't wait to give it a go, with 5x optical zoom.
- Prefer to watch your media with the best possible 120Hz refresh rate for an all-round improved viewing experience on a bigger screen.
Then go for:
iPhone 15 Pro Max
If you'd rather spend and get your money's worth with the latest Apple tech, iPhone 15 Pro Max is the perfect choice. Brilliant photography, videography and viewing capabilities, along with a newer lightweight frame, huge screen and intelligent chipset. What's not to love?