Having had hands on with the new iPhone 15 Pro for the best part of a month, it feels a good time to reflect upon whether upgrading from the iPhone 14 Pro has been worthwhile.
Perhaps the most notable new addition to the iPhone 15 Pro (and Pro Max), would be replacing the mute switch with the action button. For those unaware, the new action button can be mapped to perform several functions including, but not limited to muting (default), turning on the torch, launching the camera and opening your favourite app.
For full transparency, the action button was a feature that, pre-launch, felt like somewhat of a gimmick to us. Now with a few weeks use, we can see how some people may find it useful, however for us, I now have this set to toggle "do not disturb" on and off which, while handy, doesn’t save that much time in the grand scheme of things.
The real benefits of the action button will come for those who take the time to set up custom shortcuts in Apple’s shortcuts app. This allows you to set up more complex shortcuts based on certain scenarios and use cases and can even bring up a quick menu of options. While not being something I’ve tried out yet, the possibilities are seemingly endless, so may be something I have a play around with moving forward.
The action button is certainly an improvement over the previous mute switch, although how much you would likely get from it would depend on your willingness to setup custom shortcuts.
The main change in design between the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro is the switch from stainless steel to a titanium build/finish. This is a move that will likely come down to personal preference, however I feel that it improves the overall look of the iPhone and is said to be more durable and scratch resistant – although that’s something I’ll have to judge over a longer period. The titanium build does make the iPhone 15 Pro more lightweight than its predecessor (19g), so if you prefer a lighter device then the choice is clear.
The camera hardware does not drastically vary between the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro. Both devices feature 48MP main cameras while the rear and selfie cameras are 12 MP, both also offer a 3x zoom (whereas the 15 Pro Max has a 5x telephoto camera). The main difference between the two is that, by default, the iPhone 15 Pro camera image size is 24MP, where the 14 Pro is only 12MP. This means that any images taken by the 15 Pro will display more pixels which results in a more natural and vibrant image.
This means that while, at a glance, the camera specifications look extremely similar, there is a noticeable improvement in image quality. The improvements to the camera, while not a complete overhaul, are noticeable even for the most average of photographer meaning that every photo you take of your dog will be much more visually striking and that’s worth the upgrade, in itself.
As with every new generation of iPhone, the 15 Pro features Apple’s new chipset, the A17 Pro - an upgrade of the A16 Bionic used in the iPhone 14 Pro. Apple claim the A17 Pro results in a 10% faster CPU and 20% faster GPU than its predecessor. With the iPhone 15 Pro the experience you have while navigating and browsing on your device is clearly faster and more responsive, but the difference would be more substantial if you were to upgrade from an older generation of iPhone.
Where the new chipset really shines is for gaming purposes. With its GPU, the iPhone 15 Pro enables hardware accelerated ray tracing, which is estimated at being around four times faster than the Ray Tracing on the iPhone 14 Pro. This makes lighting, reflections and shadows model and render smoother and faster, making gaming on the 15 Pro much more stable than its iPhone 14 counterpart.
First things first, it goes without saying that, for the most part, if you’re upgrading from an iPhone 14 Pro to an iPhone 15 Pro it won’t be life changing. What it is, however, is a nice jump in quality-of-life features as well as some hardware and performance upgrades.
All told, what I first expected to be somewhat of a minimal upgrade, after just under a month’s use, now feels like a more substantial upgrade than I expected and has quickly become an upgrade that I would strongly recommend, even more so if you are considering the upgrade from an older generation of iPhone.