Jamie Balfour

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iPhone 15 Pro review

iPhone 15 Pro review

Each year, Apple unveils the latest generation of iPhones to satisfy the broad consumer base. However, in recent years, these releases have grown stagnant in innovation and lack fresh designs. As many of my readers may recall, I owned an iPhone 12 mini from December 2020 until, in a rather unfortunate turn of events, it slipped out of my pocket whilst I was cycling along a road in October 2022 (to provide some context, I don't typically store my phone in that particular pocket, but this time was an exception).

It was with great reluctance that I replaced my trusty iPhone 12 mini with the iPhone 14. I had always hoped to hold onto my 12 mini until the iPhone 15 was, at the very least, announced. That way, I could make an informed decision about whether to make the switch. One of the main reasons I considered skipping the iPhone 14 was its continued use of the Lightning port, a feature I had been eager to see eliminated for some time. The iPhone 14 appeared to be a rather uninspiring update to an already well-established design.

So, what motivated my choice to upgrade to the iPhone 15? Well, as I mentioned earlier, the removal of the Lightning port was a pivotal factor in my decision to trade in my iPhone 14.

Why the Pro instead of the regular 15?

As I mentioned, my own reasons for getting the iPhone 15 were mainly down to the removal of the Lightning port which has been one of the most unreliable connectors I have ever had to use. But for me to go for a higher-end Pro model of an iPhone, now that is something that I couldn't even convince myself a year ago that I'd be doing. That's because my phone isn't exactly something I think of as being important.

So why the Pro? 

When I was deciding the decision was swayed mainly by the fact that it had a titanium outer body which I believe marked a complete change for me. In fact, this is the first smartphone I have owned since my iPhone 6 to have a white/silver-coloured body and I wanted to make this a big change for me.

Another thing for me was the inclusion of the Action Button (one of my absolute favourite features of this phone, more later). This handy button isn't available on the regular iPhone 15 and yet to me is one of the most useful features I have ever had on a smartphone. 

Thirdly, the Always-On Display which Apple first touted as a headline feature with the Apple Watch Series 5. 

Finally, the USB data transfer speeds are better with the Pro version which will be useful for me.

The titanium body

First, the titanium body of the iPhone 15 is one of the standout features of the Pro, at least to me anyway. Not only is titanium better looking, but it's also stronger. To many fans, including myself, the titanium is also a more premium and attractive look than the regular aluminium. The titanium is a bit more of a finger magnet than the previous aluminium design but is more attractive.

The Action Button

This was the selling point for me. The Action Button is such a useful feature. It's the reason I also bought myself an Apple Watch Ultra 2 just after receiving this phone. The Action Button can be customised to perform a certain task on the iPhone, this could be to turn on the torch, silence the phone or, if you're like me and a Shortcut fan, carry out a variety of different tasks.

My Shortcut is pretty awesome and I'll explain it in an article in a few weeks. Simply put, it determines my location and offers me a choice based on where I am. 

The Always-On Display

The Always-On Display that first appeared with the Apple Watch Series 5 (my first proper Apple Watch) was one of my favourite features of the Apple Watch Series 5. The only problem with the Series 5 was that it drained the battery too quickly. Even with my Series 7, having the Always-On Display featured switched on seemed to run through the battery fairly quickly. I did worry that with the iPhone this would be just the same but it actually seems to make little difference to the battery life with the iPhone 15 Pro (I'll discuss battery life later).


Not all USB-C ports are equal. The iPhone 15's USB port is a USB 2.0 port meaning speeds of up to 480Mbps. This makes it fine for doing things like transferring a few pictures or whatever but it's not capable of things that require a faster speed.

USB-C is the headline feature for a lot of us

USB-C is the headline feature for a lot of us

When USB 3.0 came out in 2011 it was capable of speeds of just 5Gbps. This was updated with USB 3.1 (now called USB 3.2 Gen 2) which brought speeds up to 10Gbps. The iPhone 15 Pro's USB Type C port offers USB 3.2 Gen 2 allowing for much faster speeds and higher bandwidth. One of the things I wanted to be able to use my iPhone for was connecting it to a screen so I could demo the phone itself. USB-C allows this but with the higher bandwidth I don't have to worry about it constantly disconnecting. 

However, the USB-C, as great as it only supports up to 18W of charging capacity. This means that you cannot charge any faster when using a 32W or 45W charger as you can with some of the high-end Samsung phones. To me this is fine, I only charge with MagSafe anyway. 

USB-C is here to stay

USB-C represents a unified future for computer connectivity. It offers all of the benefits of USB over the years, packaged into a small connector that is ubiquitous across smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop PCs.

Read more about the next revolution in computing


Let's talk about the specifications of this phone.

When Tim Cook announced this iPhone I didn't feel that I was going to be too impressed. I already knew that USB-C was on the horizon after the EU made it law that all phones sold in the EU have to feature this connector, but what I didn't expect were the three other points I raised before. 

But there's more. The section is mainly focused on the technical details of the iPhone 15 Pro. 

The iPhone 15 Pro features Apple's latest A17 Pro system-on-a-chip at the heart of it. Its performance, at least at the time of release, was unrivalled by any smartphone out there. The A17 Pro features 2 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores and a 6-core GPU. As well as this, it includes a 16-core neural engine which helps with things like FaceID login. It features 8GB of RAM (which is, apparently, LPDDR5 RAM). Much like the predecessor models, the iPhone 15 features NVMe for the fastest form of storage possible. 

Camera-wise, the iPhone 15 Pro features a 3x optical zoom. It features a 48-megapixel wide rear sensor and, a 12-megapixel ultrawide sensor and the 3x optical zoom is reserved for the 12-megapixel telephoto lens. It also features a 12-megapixel front-facing camera. The rear camera is capable of recording 4K at 60fps. Both cameras are very capable, with features like slow motion and portrait shots being reserved only for the outward-facing rear camera. Speaking of the camera, the iPhone 15 Pro models are capable of shooting in ProRes format in 4K/60 but can only do this when an external storage device is plugged into the USB-C port - this is a very neat and welcome addition and something I have personally wanted for a long time. 

The display on the iPhone 15 Pro is a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display with a 2556 by 1179 pixel resolution at 460 pixels per inch. The display is capable of displaying HDR content and has a wide colour gamut. It is capable of 1000 nits of peak brightness with SDR content and 2000 nits with HDR content - that's one heck of a bright display. Finally, the display also features a 120Hz variable refresh rate, and since Apple's new headline feature always-on display is now supported it is capable of a 1Hz refresh rate - much like Apple Watch. The display is protected by Apple's Ceramic Shield which from seeing videos online (am I heck going to try it myself) is very scratch and impact-resistant. If you want to see more about this, watch Jerry Rig Everything's video.

Capacities for the device range from 128GB up to 1TB but the price increase as capacities go up is quite steep. 

The iPhone 15 is still IP68 water and dust-resistant - no change here then. This means it can be taken to a maximum depth of 6 meters for 30 minutes. It features Qi and MagSafe charging which I find very useful for in the car. The USB-C connector featured on the device is capable of 10Gbps speeds and supports USB-C alt mode allowing you to connect your phone to external displays.


Let's talk about design. The iPhone 15 Pro is perhaps the first time I have thought much of the design changes of the iPhone since the iPhone 6 came out. The titanium body is one of the biggest and nicest changes to the iPhone since it moved to an aluminium chassis back with the iPhone 4. Titanium has several key benefits over aluminium. The first of these is that titanium is more durable than aluminium. The second is that it is lighter than aluminium. The third benefit is that it feels more premium - and it is. 

The side of the iPhone and the beautiful titanium design

The side of the iPhone shows the beauty of the titanium

Size-wise the iPhone 15 Pro is 70.6mm wide and 146.6mm long. The depth of the phone is just 8.25mm. The phone comes in at 187 grams due to the lighter titanium used for the chassis of the device. 

The device is available in four different colours: Black Titanium, White Titanium, Blue Titanium or Natural Titanium. All of these colours look lovely but I went with pure natural titanium (aka Natural Titanium).

The back of the iPhone 15 Pro is glass but the protruding cameras are still there

The back of the iPhone 15 Pro is glass but the protruding cameras are still there

The iPhone 15 Pro features a beautiful new but very similar glass back. The three cameras continue to protrude out from the back of the device by about 50mm. 

Apple's addition of the new Action Button has also led to the removal of the 'silent switch'. I didn't like the silent switch as I would often flick it over and over in my pocket. The Action Button offers a heck of a lot more customisability and could even just be allocated to a silent switch itself.

Dynamic Island is a feature Apple touted last year with their Pro lineup of the iPhone 14. Now Dynamic Island is on every iPhone 15 model, ranging from the base model to the Plus and the Pros. Dynamic Island is certainly better than what they had before - the hanging notch - and it makes notifications and hardware work well together. As a web designer, this is something I appreciate. 

Day-to-day usage

So now that I have been using my iPhone 15 Pro for a month, what do I think?

Ultimately, I am hugely impressed. This iPhone is a big jump in so many ways from the iPhone 14 it replaces. First, battery life is crazily good compared to the iPhone 14. I can easily get a full day's battery out of my iPhone 15 Pro whilst there was no way with the iPhone 14. That's not to say the battery in the iPhone 15 Pro is amazing, because it is far from that and still only manages a day and a bit out of a full charge, but it is certainly better than the iPhone 14.

Secondly, the phone itself feels much nicer to hold - the squared feeling at the bottom of the phone I had with the 14 is now gone. Not to mention the new titanium shell feels nicer and lighter in my hands. 

The iPhone 15 Pro (right) side by side with the iPhone 14 (left) it replaces

But for me, the most important features are the addition of the Action Button, the Always-On-Display and USB-C. 

I'm going to start with the Action Button. I have my Action Button configured to a Shortcut. This Shortcut uses the current Focus to decide what to do. For example, if it is set to the Home Focus, it brings up a menu of things I would need to control around the home. If the Focus is set to the Gym then it puts on my Gym music. If the Focus is set to Work, it will silence my phone. Anywhere else, and it uses the Actions app to determine the orientation of the device. From there it decides if the phone is in portrait mode to toggle the torch and if it's in landscape it will open the camera. I love this feature and I use it all the time. 

The Always-On-Display is useful for me as I leave my phone sitting on my desk at work. I don't like to touch my phone so it's good to see a little overview of important notifications without having to unlock my iPhone every time. It's also good for the time, but I also have an Apple Watch for this.

Thirdly, USB-C. USB-C is one of the features I tried to wait for when I bought my iPhone 14 but due to having an iPhone 12 mini that had slipped out of my pocket and had been run over three times, I had to bite the bullet and buy an iPhone 14. As a result of this, I could have ended up missing out on the iPhone 15. Anyway, USB-C is one of the most important features to me. My house is set up with USB-C in every room, allowing you to plug a laptop, or indeed a smartphone, into a display with a keyboard and mouse. But, that wasn't the only reason. There are times I'd like to demo things using my iPhone at work, but there is no way of doing this without buying a Lightning to HDMI adapter and disconnecting all of my USB-C powered docks etc. But with USB-C on the iPhone 15, it's now possible for me to plug my device straight into the USB-C cable on my desk and connect to my display, keyboard and mouse. This was very useful when the network went down at work and I needed to display a list of things on the projector. 


The iPhone 15 Pro, which replaced my iPhone 14, has been the best upgrade I have had in a long time. I miss the size of my iPhone 12 mini but I certainly do not miss the poor battery life that it offered. The iPhone 15 Pro manages a good battery life, an Always-On-Display that I have come to love, USB-C and a fantastic Action Button that simplifies so many different things. As with so many iPhone I review, I have very little to nothing to complain about with the iPhone 15 Pro!

Is it worth the money? In my opinion, £999 is extremely cheap for an iPhone Pro considering a standard iPhone is £899. I've never owned a Pro iPhone but now that I have one I'll never go back that way. 

Is the upgrade for iPhone 14 users worth it? If you are a regular (non-Pro version) iPhone 14 user as I was, then I'd say yes. 

  • Fantastic camera
  • Stunning design
  • USB-C up to 10Gbps
  • An amazing Always-On Display
  • A very useful customisable Action Button
  • No option to fast charge beyond 18W
  • Battery life still isn't amazing - still only managing one day or so during regular use
  • Storage still starts at 128GB
Posted in Technology
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