The iPhone 15 Pro is an amazing phone, but after days of testing, I haven't found it to be a significant upgrade over last year's 14 Pro.
One of the highlighted features of the iPhone 15 Pro is its titanium build, replacing the stainless steel of the iPhone 14 Pro. Surprisingly, I found that I prefer the heavier feel of last year's model, and in durability tests, the stainless steel of the 14 Pro proved more resilient to drops than the titanium of the 15 Pro. The polished stainless steel of the 14 Pro also holds up better against scratches compared to the painted titanium of the 15 Pro.
Mute Switch Versus Programmable Action Button
Apple removed the physical mute switch on the iPhone 15 Pro, replacing it with a programmable action button. I'm happy for the change, but using it to open the camera is only a fraction of a second faster than using the shortcut on the lock screen.
The iPhone 15 Pro boasts a faster processor and better graphics, but my iPhone 14 Pro was already working flawlessly. Unless you have specific, high-performance needs, the upgrades in this department may not be essential.
USB-C and ProRes Video
One major change in the iPhone 15 Pro is the switch to USB-C from the old Lightning port, offering USB 3.0 speeds. However, if you, like me, rely on wireless file transfers, this change may not be a game-changer. I also found that none of my high-speed USB C cables fit in the hole on Apple's official phone case, requiring me to take it off every time I wanted to plug it in.
ProRes and Log
The ProRes video shooting capability is interesting, but in my tests, the difference in video quality between ProRes and MP4 wasn't substantial. Shooting in Log on pro cameras gives you a significant boost in dynamic range, but I wasn't seeing this improvement in the footage out of the 15 Pro.
Traditionally, camera upgrades are a significant reason to consider a new iPhone. However, this year, the improvements are not as dramatic as one might expect. Let's break down each camera:
Ultra-Wide: Video, stabilization, and photos taken in various conditions showed almost identical results on both phones.
Telephoto: Similar to the ultra-wide, there were no significant differences in video, stabilization, or photo quality.
Standard Lens: Here's where the significant upgrade is found. The iPhone 15 Pro's main camera shoots at 48 megapixels, offering slightly better photo quality and vastly improved dynamic range. However, the 14 Pro's 12-megapixel camera still delivers impressive results.
In the end, the iPhone 15 Pro is undoubtedly a fantastic phone with some compelling features. However, for those who don't regularly rely on USB-C file transfers, the only upgrade you'll probably notice is more dynamic range in images taken with the main camera... that's it.
If you're upgrading from a phone that's more than a year old, the 15 Pro is probably an easy choice, but if you've already got a 14 Pro, you're not missing much by waiting for next year's phone.