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iPhone 15 and 15 Plus reviews: Reliable, best value for a phone, improved design

Published Sep 19th, 2023 9:38AM EDT
Image: Apple Inc.

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Apple is releasing the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus this Friday. Unlike the previous year, these phones add a lot of value for those thinking about upgrading from an older phone to Apple’s new options. With a new design, fun colors, USB-C, and improved cameras, there’s a consensus among reviewers that these iPhones actually have a lot of value this time.

They say the new iPhone 15 is basically the best choice for those looking for a more affordable phone than an iPhone Pro. Although Apple doesn’t reinvent the wheel, this is the perfect option for those who don’t care about the latest tech or for teenagers in general.

The Verge mentions exactly that:

Overall, and obviously, the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus are good, if not excellent, phones. (That’s kind of inevitable when we’re on the 15th generation of a device, but I digress.) But they aren’t interesting or pushing the envelope in any way, and I don’t think Apple will ever use this model for that purpose. Instead, the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus are dependable, reliable phones with some modern features thrown in the mix.

WIRED‘s Lauren Goode mentions USB-C standards and battery life. She appreciates Apple was forced to add this port and also thinks the iPhone 15 gave her less “range anxiety” regarding how long it holds without being charged.

USB-C is great when you’re charging lots of other USB-C gadgets as part of your daily routine, like if you work on a newer MacBook laptop or iPad. Over the past five days, whenever the iPhone 15 loaner I’ve been testing hit its low battery mark, I was able to unplug the USB-C charger from my MacBook Pro and just pop it into the phone. Brilliant! Except when I was using navigation on the iPhone 15 during a long car ride, and with just 4 percent battery left, realized that the USB-A to Lightning cable I keep in my car was absolutely useless.

(…) Speaking of battery: The iPhone 15 gave less “range anxiety” than what I normally experience using the iPhone 13 Pro, and just about matches the iPhone 14 in terms of its battery life claim. During at least one charge cycle, the iPhone 15 lasted from my 10 am meeting until around 8 am the following day, and that was with a heavy dose of Spotify, maps, phone calls, texting, and some social media browsing. Apple claims the iPhone 14 Pro has a longer battery life than the iPhone 15, but again, Apple would rather you forget that phone exists.

Pocket-Lint mentions the iPhone 15 new, brighter display, in addition to the new Dynamic Island cutout:

Dynamic Island is a feature I found myself using daily on the iPhone 14 Pro – and have continued to do on the iPhone 15. It’s become much more sophisticated since it launched too, with extra features like Live Activities now taking advantage of it. That means it’s a great time for it to land on the regular iPhone model because there’s support for a lot more apps than when it initially arrived, from flight tracking to your take-away order status.

(..) Dynamic Island isn’t the only thing worth shouting about on the iPhone 15’s display either. Like the iPhone 14, there’s a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display with an OLED panel and with that comes plenty of benefits. Colours are wonderfully rich and vibrant with plenty of pop, blacks are deep and whites and lovely and bright (…) the iPhone 15 has increased its peak brightness to 1600nits, which is 400nits brighter than the iPhone 14 and its peak outdoor brightness to 2000nits, matching the iPhone 15 Pro.

CNN calls the new iPhone 15 “the best option for most,” as the publication believes that lots of small improvements make this device a bigger upgrade than its familiar design might suggest.

I used the iPhone 15 as my primary phone for close to a week, which meant taking tons of photos, constantly bouncing between various chat apps, watching YouTube in picture-in-picture mode and playing an irresponsible amount of Marvel Snap. Nothing struck me about this experience, because everything just worked the way I needed to — instantaneously and free of any nasty crashes or slowdown. Visually taxing games like Madden NFL 24 ran smoothly, and I was able to enjoy the stylish anime action of Honkai: Star Rail at a smooth 60 frames per second (barring a few infrequent stutters) with the graphics cranked all the way up.

You can also read the reviews by WSJ, GQ Magazine, and Tom’s Guide.

iPhone 15 reviews in video

BGR also gathered unboxing, hands-on, first impressions, and reviews of the standard new iPhone models. You can watch some of the best videos below.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.