Apple’s iPhone 15 lineup has been out for over a month now and includes the regular iPhone 15, the larger iPhone 15 Plus, the iPhone 15 Pro, and the iPhone 15 Pro Max. There’s an iPhone 15 model for everyone, and so far, the new phones seem to be a big hit.
I’m a person who upgrades their iPhone every year, so I’ve had one of every generation of the iPhone since the beginning. This year, I went with the iPhone 15 Pro as my upgrade from the iPhone 14 Pro, and it’s been one of my favorite iPhones yet. Let me explain why.
Titanium makes a huge difference
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One of the things that I hated about my iPhone 14 Pro was the weight. It was heavy. Combined with the sharp edges, it would be uncomfortable to use for a prolonged amount of time, especially one-handed.
When I unboxed my iPhone 15 Pro and lifted it out of the box, I was incredibly surprised by how lightweight it was compared to its predecessor. Then, just to compare, I held my iPhone 14 Pro (sans case) in one hand and the iPhone 15 Pro in the other, and found the weight difference to be literally night and day. Switching over to titanium from stainless steel is one of the most significant changes that Apple has ever made, and it really helps with ergonomics while still retaining a premium aesthetic.
Plus, the titanium frame has more curved edges where it meets the front glass. The result is a softer feel when holding the phone since there are no more sharp edges that dig into your palm. It brings me back to the days of the iPhone 11 Pro, which I found pretty comfortable to hold. Ever since the iPhone 12 Pro and through to the iPhone 14 Pro, the phones were just getting heavier and sharper.
I’m very glad that Apple made the switch to titanium. I only hope that it continues to use titanium for future iPhones as well, because this is a fantastic upgrade.
The Action button is great
One of the features that sets the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max apart from the regular iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus is the Action button, which replaced the mute/silent switch. While some people may not be using the Action button too often, it’s become one of my most-used features on the iPhone 15 Pro.
By default, the Action button is set to enable or disable silent mode, just like the old switch did. But you can change the action to something else from the Settings app, including focus, camera, voice memo, flashlight, magnifier, accessibility, or shortcut.
Though there is a whole community out there that has created some wild multi-action Shortcuts for the Action button, I’ve kept it simple so far. I have stated before that I always wanted a faster way to open the Camera app besides the often unreliable lock screen shortcut, and the Action button is the answer to that.
I find myself using the Action button to launch the Camera app multiple times a day, whether it’s to take a photo of my daughter, my fancy fine dining adventures with my husband, or our frequent Disneyland trips. And since it lets me get to the camera faster, I’ve been able to capture more of my daughter’s spontaneous shenanigans rather than fighting with the lock screen shortcut and missing the moment.
I just hope that one day Apple changes it so you can assign more than one action to the button with other gestures, like double press or triple press, rather than just press-and-hold.
Apple fixed the cameras
One of my biggest complaints with the iPhone 14 Pro was the camera. It felt like Apple was a little too heavy-handed with the sharpening and processing of an image after you captured it, which resulted in photos that had harsh colors and too much sharpness. But this wasn’t just an iPhone 14 thing, as it felt like the camera quality had been declining since the iPhone 13.
Thankfully, the iPhone 15 Pro seems to be doing a lot better with photos this year, largely thanks to Apple’s Smart HDR 5. I have little to complain about when using my iPhone 15 Pro camera as the colors look realistic and true to life, skin tones are more accurate, and there’s more detail captured thanks to the 24MP default rather than 12MP.
I’ve also truly enjoyed the Auto Portrait feature, where the camera automatically captures depth information in a regular photo if the focus is on a person, dog, or cat. This lets you turn the regular photo into a portrait image after the fact. I’ve been making use of this feature quite a bit, especially with my daughter, since it’s hard to manually switch to Portrait mode with an active toddler running around.
While the smaller iPhone 15 Pro lacks that new tetraprism telephoto lens that allows for 5x optical zoom, the phone is still very capable in terms of photography. It’s a big step up from the results of its predecessor. Hopefully, next year, Apple can give the smaller Pro some more love in the camera department.
A USB-C iPhone is so convenient
A huge change this year with the entire iPhone 15 lineup was finally getting rid of Lightning in favor of USB-C. For some people, this may mean having to buy all new cables, but for me, it was the opposite.
I have a lot of other electronics around the house, whether it’s Android phones, tablets, or other little gizmos that need to be charged up with a USB-C cable. Apple has already been using USB-C for the iPad and MacBook lineups, too, so it’s not a completely new thing. There are a ton of USB-C cables just lying around my house, and I can definitely say I’ve accumulated more USB-C cables than Lightning cables in the past few years.
With the iPhone 15 converted to USB-C, I now have a plethora of cables to use already, and I don’t need to look for a proprietary Lightning cable anymore. For example, I can just use the same cable for my daughter’s Amazon Fire HD 8 Kid’s tablet for my iPhone 15 Pro while I’m in the living room. It’s just so much more convenient. Plus, most of my Lightning cables ended up not working after a while, and Apple’s first-party cables always had durability issues.
Plus, with the switch to USB-C, I’m able to make use of Anker’s new lineup of mobile power accessories, like Anker’s 30-watt power bank with a built-in USB-C cable. This is one of my favorite new power banks because of its compact size, integrated USB-C cable, and superfast 30W charging speeds. It even has a display that tells you how long it will take to charge up your phone!
However, one thing that still puzzles me is the fact that Apple did not improve the charging speeds at all with the USB-C switch. It’s still capped at approximately 27W, like its predecessor with Lightning. That means you get about 50% charge in 30 minutes as long as you use a proper (20W or higher) power adapter.
The iPhone 15 continues to be one of the slower-charging smartphones out there. Maybe one day in the future, Apple can give us faster charging speeds now that the iPhone uses USB-C.
Smaller screens are the best
One of my problems with a lot of modern smartphones these days is that most of them are just too damn big. I’m not sure why most manufacturers think everyone wants a gigantic phone; I know I certainly don’t.
I value being able to easily use my phone one-handed. Though I still have to reach for those upper corner buttons sometimes on my iPhone 15 Pro, it’s much more manageable than larger screens. I’ve been using the Google Pixel 8 Pro for the cameras recently, which has the same 6.7-inch size as the iPhone 15 Pro Max, and I have trouble handling it single-handedly since my hands are pretty small.
I wish Apple stuck with the old 5.8-inch size of the iPhone X/XS because that felt like the absolute perfect size. But it looks like Apple is sticking with 6.1 inches for the smaller iPhone size, and as long as it continues to be offered, I’ll keep getting it. I dread the day that Apple may decide to ax the smaller size (sorry, mini fans), and I hope it never comes to that.
The iPhone 15 Pro has been excellent
This year, it seemed like everyone was getting the iPhone 15 Pro Max due to the new telephoto camera, and yes, that’s a legitimate reason to get it over the smaller iPhone 15 Pro. However, I felt like an outlier with my choice, as I was one of the few who went with the smaller version instead.
But I’ve been very happy with my decision to get the iPhone 15 Pro, even if it doesn’t have the 5x optical zoom. It’s much more ergonomic than the iPhone 14 Pro I was using before, and the titanium really makes a difference in weight. I’ve been using the Action button frequently for the camera, and photos taken with the iPhone 15 Pro don’t look bad this year. Also, having USB-C has been super convenient.
Yes, the iPhone 15 Pro may be smaller, but it’s still quite capable. Apple has room to improve with the iPhone 16 Pro next year, such as adding an improved telephoto camera, but that doesn’t make the iPhone 15 Pro any less impressive today.