Very subtly but promisingly, Apple introduced upgrades to the vanilla iPhone 15. Although it looks exactly like the iPhone 14, the iPhone 15 sees several tweaks that make it worth the investment. Apple has finally incorporated the USB Type-C port found across all the 15 series of iPhones. We see if the new model is worth the wait.
The iPhone 15 closely resembles its predecessors, iPhone 14 and iPhone 13, in terms of overall design. The standout modification this year, however, is the introduction of the Dynamic Island.
The display bezels on the phone are reasonably sized for a modern device. Apple opts for a flat display in this model. The overall make of the iPhone 15 remains largely unaltered, with gently rounded corners and a contoured edge on the Aluminium frame. The rear is not very altered, and the glass back surface complements the camera island, composed of different materials and colours. The surface texture is etched for a subtle matte finish.
The front features a durable glass panel, called Ceramic Shield. The device boasts IP68 ingress protection, which means it can withstand submersion in up to 6 meters of fresh water for 30 minutes.
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The device’s controls are familiar. The top is minimal, with a single antenna line and no secondary microphone, with the solitary mic incorporated within the rear camera island. The right features a power button, which offers satisfying tactile feedback; the volume buttons are on the lift. Above the volume buttons, the familiar alert slider has been retained, although the Pro models have transitioned to a button-based approach. Also on the left is the SIM tray. The bottom accommodates speaker, main microphone, concealed beneath grills. A notable addition this year is the USB Type-C port.
The iPhone 15 features a Super Retina XDR OLED display measuring 6.1 inches and has a 19.5:9 aspect ratio-- the same dimensions as the iPhone 14. The resolution is 1179x2556 pixels, resulting in an 86.4% screen-to-body ratio and a pixel density of 461 ppi, providing a sharp visual experience. The device offers HDR experience with support for HDR10 and Dolby Vision and the phone handles HDR content with ease.
However, it’s worth noting that the device has a 60Hz refresh rate, lower than many Android devices in a similar price range. While high refresh rates are available on the Pro models, its absence on the standard iPhone is a noticeable omission.
The iPhone 15 ships with Apple’s iOS 17, which introduces several new features. Some of the notable additions include a Standby mode during charging when the phone is in landscape orientation, a larger clock and calendar display with notifications and a Night version with red colour. Widgets are now interactive, letting users perform certain actions directly, such as controlling smart home devices from a Home widget. FaceTime supports leaving audio and video messages for unavailable users.
The Messages app introduces a Check-In feature, which notifies friends or family members once you arrive at your destination during travel. If your progress is delayed, the app shares your location, battery level, and cell service status with the selected contact. Live Voicemail is a new addition that transcribes voicemails, letting you read them instead of listening to them, particularly useful for spam or calls from unknown numbers.
It also introduced customisable call screens called Contact Posters, which allow users to personalise how call notifications appear, even in third-party apps.
The standard iPhone 15 is powered by the Apple A16 Bionic chip, found in iPhone 14 Pro models. The A16 chip, built on a 4nm process, offers improved performance compared to the A15 Bionic in the iPhone 14, thanks to a 5-core GPU with 50% more bandwidth and two faster performance cores that consume less power. The A16 Bionic chip configuration includes a hexa-core CPU and a 5-core GPU.
The phone comes with 6GB of LPDDR5 RAM. Storage options for the standard iPhone 15 include 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB, with the reviewed unit sporting 512GB.
The A16 Bionic chip, although a year old, maintains its position at the top of the CPU performance charts. The Geekbench 6 test recorded figures of 2597 and 6541 in the single and multiple CPU benchmark scores, respectively. In comparison, the single-core figure of the iPhone 15 ranks higher than that recorded on the iPhone 14 Pro Max, whereas the multi-core figure was higher than the iPhone 14 Pro. The GPU benchmark result was a whopping 22573, beating the iPhone 14 Pro, which clocked 22280 in the Geekbench test.
Gaming performance on the device remains smooth and uninterrupted. The device gets a little warm during extended usage, but not uncomfortably hot to hold. It delivers ample processing power, effortlessly handling various tasks and applications. The user interface maintains Apple’s signature fluidity, featuring quick, smooth, and responsive animations and interactions, the hallmarks of modern smartphones.
The iPhone 15 maintains a two-rear camera setup consisting of a new 48MP main camera and a 12MP ultrawide camera, along with a 12MP selfie camera. The primary camera employs computational and stacking techniques to deliver default 24MP stills despite the sensor’s native 48MP resolution. It features 100% focus pixels, PDAF, sensor-shift optical image stabilization (OIS), and an f/1.6 lens. The ultrawide camera operates with an f/2.4 lens, while the selfie camera has PDAF and leverages depth data from the front-facing SL 3D sensor for improved portraits.
The camera system shows remarkable consistency, with minimal shot-to-shot variation. The main camera excels in good lighting conditions, offering enhanced detail in the new default 24MP resolution compared to the previous 12MP on the iPhone 14. Sharpness, dynamic range, and colour accuracy are impressive as well.
The 48MP mode provides additional resolution flexibility, although it sacrifices some sharpness. The dynamic range and colour rendition remain consistent.
Despite lacking a dedicated telephoto lens, the phone effectively captures 2x zoom shots using the 48MP main camera, providing adequate detail. These shots are saved in 12MP resolution and may exhibit slight fuzziness in certain elements.
The device can produce portraits with the main camera at both 1x and 2x zoom, with an Automatic portrait feature for quick toggling of portrait effects. This feature also allows users to create portraits after the fact by adjusting focus and background blur in the Photos app. The 1x portraits exhibit sharpness, accurate subject detection, and pleasing skin tones, even in challenging lighting conditions. At 2x zoom, portraits appear slightly softer, but remain acceptable, particularly in dimmer environments. The 12MP ultrawide camera performs well, delivering accurate details and vibrant colours.
In low-light conditions, the main camera consistently produces quality shots with minimal noise, good detail, and natural colour rendering. Shadows tend to be slightly darker, enhancing the overall look. Highlights are well-preserved without excessive sharpness or blown-out light sources. Night mode activates automatically, improving shadow noise and sharpness while maintaining a natural appearance. Users can manually adjust the capture time or disable Night mode as needed.
The selfie camera captures sharp photos with pleasing skin tones and features. Users can choose between full-size selfies or cropped versions at around 7MP resolution. Selfie portraits exhibit superb subject detection and separation, accompanied by convincing background blur effects, which can be applied post-capture.
This model is equipped with a 3,349mAh battery. Apple has optimised both software and hardware in the iPhone 15 that gives a good battery life of more than a day. However, when it comes to charging speed, the iPhone 15 doesn’t particularly stand out. Like its predecessors, the standard iPhone 15 supports up to 20W charging. The phone takes almost 1:30 - 1:40 hours to get fully charged.
Apple has maintained its consistent pricing strategy for base iPhone 15 with 128GB storage set at ₹79,900. For iPhone enthusiasts, upgrading from iPhone 14 or 13 to iPhone 15 is a worthwhile decision with new additions like Dynamic Island, 48MP main lens and USB Type-C port. Even for new joiners to the Apple’s club, iPhone 15 offers a lot.
Overall, Apple iPhone 15 base variant gets dynamic this year.