Apple iPhone 15 review: It’s time to upgrade

Once every two years, Apple makes some big, meaningful changes to its hardware products. And in the years when that doesn’t happen, we get some hilarious memes. However, 2023 is not going to be a memorable year for the iPhone as the standard iPhone models are once again exciting. We’ve seen this change before with some older models like the iPhone 12, which was the first non-Pro model to get an OLED screen. This year, the iPhone 15 is the most exciting iPhone for me because it finally gets some big upgrades, and those who have an iPhone 12 (or older) hoping for something better can finally take advantage of it.

The new model may not look all that different from the previous two generations, but new additions borrowed from last year’s 14 Pro make the iPhone 15 (and by extension, the 15 Plus) worth considering. here’s why.

Apple iPhone 15 price in India

The iPhone 15 price starts at the same price at which the iPhone 14 was launched, which is Rs. Rs 79,900 for the 128GB variant. You can opt for the 256GB or 512GB variant and the price goes up to Rs. 10,000 with each level. There are also new pastel colors, which look really nice, but sadly there is no product red version this time. The iPhone 14 and iPhone 13 are still officially sold by Apple and their price starts at Rs. 69,900 and Rs. 59,900 respectively. Bundled accessories are still minimal, but this time, it’s a color-matched braided USB Type-C cable in the box instead of Lightning, as all iPhones this year have finally ditched the Apple-proprietary connector.

Apple sent us the top-end variant in blue color which has an official price of Rs. 1,9,900. You pay a premium for Apple’s number of models as usual, but thankfully you’ll never actually have to pay this sticker price as there are always bank and credit card offers if you buy online.

iPhone 15 Review Cover Gadgets360 qq

iPhone 15 looks like 14 and 13 from the back

apple iphone 15 design

The dimensions of the iPhone 15 are almost identical to the 14, except for the height, which is now slightly higher. It’s a little light at 171 grams and the feel in hand is excellent in this regular-sized model. The rounded edges and soft finish of the frame and glass back give it a soothing effect. Personally, coming from the iPhone 13 Pro Max, the size and weight of the 15″ felt like a toy at first, but I soon appreciated the smaller form factor.

The iPhone 15 display is still a 6.1-inch OLED panel but now gets Apple’s Dynamic Island from the 14 Pro series. This in itself makes the 15 modern and on par with Apple’s more expensive phones. Sadly, the boost doesn’t reach 15Hz, which means the display still runs at 60Hz and not 120Hz. The always-on feature is still reserved only for the Pro model. The 15’s display is now brighter than the iPhone 14, with a normal brightness of 1,000 nits and a peak brightness of up to 2,000 nits outdoors, in sunlight.

Apple iPhone 15 specifications and software

Another ‘pro’ feature in the iPhone 15 is the SoC. This is Apple’s A16 Bionic that was used in the iPhone 14 Pro models. It has the same CPU and GPU cores as last year’s iPhone, but it’s built on a 4nm process (vs. 5nm), which means it packs in a billion more transistors into the same surface area. The iPhone 15 still has the same amount of RAM (6GB) as the iPhone 14. Other features include stereo speakers, IP68 rating for dust and water resistance, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.3, second-generation Ultra Wideband (UWB) chip, and more. A TrueDepth camera in the display for Face ID.

iPhone 15 Review DynamicIslandGadgets360ww

Dynamic Island arrives in non-Pro series for the first time with iPhone 15 models

The iPhone 15 comes with iOS 17 and new iOS versions should be easily available for at least the next five years. iOS 17 is also available for many older iPhone models and the experience is largely similar. Some of the new features include personalized contact posters for people in your phonebook, the ability to record and send a message on FaceTime if the person doesn’t answer, and more. Apple has also rolled out sub-version updates for iOS to address known overheating issues with the 15 Pro models, and more recently, new features for AirDrop and general bug fixes.

Performance and battery life of Apple iPhone 15

The daily performance of the iPhone 15 has been nothing great. Apps load quickly, the display is rich and vibrant, and I never felt a lack of power. The notifications clustered around the dynamic island are fun to look at and interact with. The 15 ran mostly quiet, but the rear would get warm at times when using wireless car play. Games looked great and ran smoothly, especially the Apple Arcade ones.

HDR videos looked good, especially those shot with Dolby Vision. The stereo speakers are also quite loud and the sound quality is enjoyable. The benchmark numbers are solid and generally higher than most Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Android phones. The iPhone 15 scored 13,77,284 points in AnTuTu and 2,500 and 6,209 points in Geekbench 6’s single and multicore CPU tests, respectively.

iPhone 15 Review USB Gadgets360WW

iPhone 15 now supports USB Type-C, making it compatible with various Type-C accessories

iPhones generally offer good battery life and the iPhone 15 is no different. Apple promises up to 20 hours of video playback, and our HD video test managed to get somewhat close to that number, lasting 16.5 hours. Under normal circumstances, I was easily getting a full day of runtime on a single charge, and a little more runtime some days with light use. Fast charging is supported but you will have to purchase the charger separately. Apple claims the 15 can charge up to 50 percent in half an hour with the optional 20W power adapter. Wireless charging is also available.

Apple iPhone 15 cameras

The iPhone 15 still lacks a telephoto camera and can’t do ultra-wide macro photos and videos, as these features are still reserved for the Pro models. However, the main one now gets the same 48-megapixel sensor from the 14 Pro. It has sensor-shift stabilization as before, and thanks to the higher resolution, the 2X zoom level provides “optical” quality magnification as it only uses a smaller crop of the sensor. The ultra-wide still has the same 12-megapixel sensor, and the same goes for the front 12-megapixel camera. All cameras can record video at up to 4K 60fps in Dolby Vision, and there’s a new Smart HDR 5 photo processing engine for better balance of shadows and highlights.

iPhone 15 main camera sample

iPhone 15 ultra-wide camera sample

iPhone 15 close-up samples from the main camera

By default, the iPhone 15 captures 24-megapixel pixel-binned photos. You can also change it to 12-megapixel from the settings, which is how most Android phones with 48-megapixel cameras work. To shoot at the full 48 megapixels, you’ll need to enable a toggle in Settings, after which you’ll see a ‘JPEG Max’ option in the viewfinder. Keep in mind that shooting at native resolution introduces shutter lag, so you won’t be able to get sharp shots as effectively.

Image quality is very good in daylight. You get plenty of detail and colors are well balanced, even when shooting in strong sunlight. The ultra-wide camera is quite capable even in good lighting. Details are good and barrel distortion is minimal. The camera app can now also recognize animals like dogs and cats, and will automatically suggest the option to enable background blur within the camera app. The Photos app will also detect pet images you’ve taken previously and give you the option to turn it into a portrait shot.

iPhone 15 Zoom Samples

iPhone 15 low-light camera samples

iPhone 15 selfie camera sample

Photos taken in low light with the main camera are very good. Noise is well managed, details are adequate, and colors look natural. However a major degradation in image quality is observed when magnifying the image more than 2X. The ultra-wide is also good, but details are weaker than the main camera. The selfie camera works well in daylight and low light.

iPhones have long been the gold standard when it comes to video recording. The iPhone 15 captures rock-stable footage in good lighting, with no visible jitter and excellent detail. There is a slight jitter when shooting in artificial light at night, but only if you move while recording.

Decision

The biggest drawback of iPhone 15 is its price in India. Approximately Rs. 80,000 for the base model, it is quite expensive. Even if you take into account bank offers, we are still looking at prices above Rs. 70,000, considering that most people will opt for the 256GB variant. But, if you are someone who is willing to invest this kind of money, you will definitely not be disappointed. Unlike the iPhone 14, which wasn’t much different from the 13, the iPhone 15 takes a big leap from the 14 Pro models by including several advanced features. A higher refresh rate and a telephoto camera are two things I’m personally still waiting to see on the standard model, and no doubt we’ll get there eventually after a few more generations.

Right now, if you want some ‘Pro’ features from the iPhone 14 Pro but don’t want to spend the premium then you should buy the iPhone 15. Even though Apple has officially discontinued last year’s Pro model, its price in India is still ridiculous. If you’ve been waiting to trade in your iPhone 12 (or older) for something worthwhile, I’d recommend getting the 15. On the other hand, if you just want an iPhone and don’t care about the new features of the 15, it’s a good time to buy the iPhone 13 or even the 13 Plus at a heavily discounted price during the festive sales.

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