Shootouts

Apple iPhone 15 and 15 Plus review: It doesn't have to be flagship to be good

By Kenny Yeo - 19 Nov 2023

Conclusion

Buying advice and final thoughts

Apple has actually dropped the price for models with 256GB and 512GB.

These may be Apple’s cheaper iPhones but they still start at well over a thousand dollars. On the bright side, not only did Apple not raise prices, it actually dropped prices for the phones with 256GB and 512GB of storage – from anywhere between S$10 and S$90. That should be viewed as a positive.

iPhone 15 series prices compared
Model iPhone 15 iPhone 15 Plus iPhone 15 Pro iPhone 15 Pro Max
128GB S$1,299 S$1,449 S$1,649 --
256GB S$1,459 S$1,609 S$1,809 S$1,999
512GB S$1,779 S$1,929 S$2,129 S$2,319
1TB -- -- S$2,449 S$2,639


Being Apple’s more affordable iPhones, there’s room for improvement. The lack of a high refresh rate is particularly glaring – especially at this price point – and the finishes are disappointingly pale. One could also argue that, at their price, they really should have a telephoto camera too – most phones in this price bracket have triple camera systems.

Even so, there’s no question that the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus are a significant step up from their predecessors. Build quality remains class-leading; the display is sharp, bright, and vivid; performance is excellent; and the main camera takes some of the best photos you’ll see out of a smartphone. They nail the basics and are proof that good phones need not necessarily have eye-popping, cutting-edge flagship specs.

The iPhone 15 and 15 Plus' main cameras take photos that are just as good as the Pro models.

The way I see it, only get the Pro iPhones if you really need the higher refresh rate display, a telephoto camera, or “pro” camera features like the ability to shoot photos in RAW and record videos in Log.

Previously, I might recommend getting last year’s Pro models, but I don’t think you should do that this year. With the transition to USB-C, I don’t think it’s wise to buy any iPhone with a Lightning port right now. Furthermore, apart from the display having a higher refresh rate, the pro camera and video features, I don’t see any other significant upside to getting an iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max over the basic iPhone 15. As we’ve seen in the camera section of this review, the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus take sharper, more detailed photos. Their performance are also evenly matched. 

The iPhone 15 and 15 Plus might not have headline-grabbing specs or features, but these are solid phones that are worth buying.

I’ve always thought that it’s harder to design the regular non-Pro iPhone. It’s a balancing act: a certain amount of restraint required so that it doesn’t outshine the flagship Pro phones, and yet it needs to be shiny enough to entice. And this year, it appears that Apple has found the right balance. Not only are the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus all-round solid phones, they are also much more compelling purchases that people can feel good about making.

Click to see the score breakdown

Apple iPhone 15 Plus

Click to see the score breakdown


Note: You can find the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus on AmazonLazadaShopee, and the Apple Online Store.

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