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Hands-on with Apple's new iPhone 15 and 15 Plus

By Kenny Yeo - 17 Sep 2023

Hands-on with Apple's new iPhone 15 and 15 Plus

Note: This article was first published on 13 September 2023.

This is the iPhone 15 in pink.

Apple’s new iPhone 15 and 15 Plus feature significant improvements like Dynamic Island, USB-C connectivity, and an improved camera. 

You can read more about the improvements here, I’m here to tell you how they look and feel in person.

@hwztech Your first look at the iPhone 15 in all five finishes. #hwz #hwzsg #apple #iphone15 #wonderlust #iphone ♬ original sound - HardwareZone

The iPhone 15 is 6.1 inches, while the iPhone 15 Plus is 6.7 inches.

I’ve always felt that the “regular” iPhones have more attractive finishes and it’s true for this year too. The iPhone 15 will come in five finishes and they are: Blue, Pink, Yellow, Green, and Black. My picks would be Blue and Pink because they look the most punchy and vivid

Like the Pro iPhones, the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus have contoured edges that make the phone easier and more comfortable to hold. They feel less squared off and less sharp at the edges. In terms of size, they feel about the same. Screen sizes are unchanged so the iPhone 15 still has a 6.1-inch display while the iPhone 15 Plus has a larger 6.7-inch display. 

Dynamic Island comes to the regular iPhones.

The big change, in terms of display, is the Dynamic Island. This feature was introduced on the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max and they are now on the regular iPhones. They work the same way and provide a quick and fun way to interact with apps and see notifications. I found Dynamic Island to be really nifty on my iPhone 14 Pro Max and I'm happy to see Apple introduce it in more models. The displays also get brighter – now up to 1,600 nits with Dolby Vision and up to 2,000 nits maximum in very harsh conditions.

The other thing you’ll notice about the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus is that the Lightning port is gone. Yes, 2023 is the year iPhones are moving to USB-C. Besides ease of charging, Apple mentioned that the USB-C connector supports DisplayPort output, and data transfer rates are specced for USB 2.0 standards (up to 480Mbps). For comparison, the iPhone 15 Pro supports 10Gbps data transfer rates. And while it’ll render all your Lightning charging cables useless, the upside to moving to USB-C is that you’ll only need a single charging cable to charge most, if not all, of your Apple devices – since most of them have already moved on to using a USB-C port.

The entire iPhone 15 series will move to a USB-C port.

The regular iPhones get a significantly improved main camera. It actually gets the same 48MP main camera as last year’s Pro iPhones, and it captures 24MP photos by default. However, it can also take 48MP photos if you wish. The second camera is still a 12MP ultra wide camera. The sample photos I saw look great, but we’ll need to take the phones out for ourselves to really see how they work in the real world.

Inside these phones are the A16 Bionic chip, the same chips used in last year’s Pro iPhones. Though it may not be Apple’s latest and greatest, the A16 Bionic is still a very powerful chip that’s more than capable of going toe-to-toe with any other smartphone chip out in the market today.

Yellow is disappointingly subdued and no where near as vibrant as last year's.

Overall, Apple seems to be sticking to its iPhone strategy closely. And that means the regular iPhones are getting upgrades from last year’s Pro iPhones. That said, this year’s updates seem more appealing and significant, which make this year's regular iPhones look like more compelling purchases. But as usual, we'll need time to test and evaluate these phones more carefully to see if that's truly the case.

Pricing and availability

Prices of the iPhone 15 start at S$1,299 while prices of the iPhone 15 Plus start at S$1,449.

Pre-orders start this Friday and the phones will be available in retail on 22 September.

Check out our pricing article for full details on the prices of the various configurations.

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