iPhone 15 Pro, iPhone 15 Pro Max review: Apple's best phones just got even better

iPhone 15 Pro review

iPhone 15 Pro review (Image: APPLE)

The Pro lineup has long been the ultimate iPhone, but these new models might be the best smartphone of the year too

What We Love

  • Lighter Titanium Design
  • Powerhouse A17 Pro Chip
  • Excellent Cameras
  • USB-C Makes A Lot Of Sense
  • Action Button Is Helpful
  • Pro Is £50 Cheaper Than Last Year

What We Don’t

  • Action Button Hard To Reach On Pro Max
  • Wired Charging Speeds Unchanged
  • 5x Zoom Is Only On Pro Max

Apple has always saved the best features for its Pro-level iPhone models, but this has been taken to new limits in 2023.

Powering iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max is the ludicrously speedy A17 Pro system-on-a-chip, which pushes performance to levels we’ve never seen before in a smartphone. In fact, this chipset is so powerful you can now play titles – with hardware-accelerated ray-tracing – like Resident Evil 4 Remake and Death Stranding.

These console-quality games will be limited to the Pro models for now, something we noted in our .

If you’re into playing the most graphics-intensive games, the speed improvements in the A17 Pro should mean that you’ll be able to keep up with the latest iOS features for years and years to come. 

As well as big changes on the inside of the iPhone 15 Pro models, Apple has also tweaked the case design, which was first introduced with the iPhone 12 Pro lineup. Both handsets are noticeably lighter this time around, thanks to the new titanium frame, which replaces the stainless steel used on previous Pro models.

It makes a massive difference, especially if you’re a fan of the palm-stretching Pro Max and its 6.7-inch display. As well as the lighter materials, Apple has returned to a more curvaceous look, which improves the feel in your hand. 

Of course, going Pro has always meant getting better cameras and things are boosted once again thanks to a bigger 48MP main sensor. This offers more versatility than before, with Apple even allowing users to change the focal point on images after they have been shot. Night photos also get a huge boost making things brighter and an update to Apple’s smart HDR technology improves the overall look of those all-important shots for Instagram. Max owners will also be treated to a 5x optical zoom for improved close-ups which is a nice bonus when opting for this most premium model. This is without doubt Apple’s best-ever camera system.

Placed on the side, right where the mute switch used to be, is a new Action Button for fast access to features such as the camera and torch. On the bigger Pro Max, this clever new switch can be a little tough to reach. But it’s a nice addition, and iPhone owners will no doubt have fun setting Siri Shortcuts that launch any number of apps, automated processes, and more from a single tap.

iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max now rely on USB-C for charging and faster data transfers. It’s taken a long time for Apple to wave goodbye to the Lightning port and while some might be frustrated at the thought of replacing their charging cables, docks, and accessories all over again …taking a single cable and plug for all of your devices is worth the hassle.

The screen now gets smaller bezels plus a boost to its brightness and all this has been achieved without hurting battery life. It’s pretty tough to find fault with the Pro and Pro Max especially as Apple even dropped the price of the entry-level option from £1,049 last year with the back to the £999 price tag we saw for the iPhone 13 Pro. With the , we’d expect to see even lower prices in the coming weeks and months.

The Pro models have always been the ultimate iPhone, but these improvements mean the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max might just be the very best smartphone of the last year.

iPhone 15 Pro, iPhone Pro Max review

iPhone Pro fans now have two new devices to tickle their tech tastebuds. The latest ultra-premium devices to come out of Cupertino now include an iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro Max. Both feature a lighter design, a ludicrously fast A17 Pro processor, upgraded cameras, and exclusive bonus extras such as an Action button and speedier transfers from that new USB-C port.

So is it now time to bite the bullet and go Pro? We’ve been putting these call makers to the test and here are our full thoughts on the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro.

Want to see how it compares to the more affordable iPhone 15 and 15 Plus? Our iPhone 15 review has all of the answers. And we’ve rounded up the , , and for those who have already made-up their mind and want to go shopping! 

Apple iPhone 15 Pro review

Apple iPhone 15 Pro gets an Action button (Image: APPLE)

Design and display

Apple has made some big and very welcomed changes to its Pro models this year. Firstly, things have been softened up with these devices now getting a more curvaceous case that feels supremely comfortable to hold. Although we’ve been big fans of the more angular styling on the iPhone 14 Pro it’s not actually that nice to have in your hands and this year’s design is definitely a big improvement over its predecessor.

Just like last year, Apple’s design team has gone for a matt finish on the rear panel. It looks stunning and you’ll have no issues with mucky fingerprints messing up the appearance – during our time with these phones they’ve remained looking box fresh no matter how much we handled them.

These are nice upgrades but the greatest thing about the new Pro phones is that Apple has ditched the previous stainless steel finish and used titanium instead.

This makes things much lighter and is especially noticeable on the Max model – a phone that’s always been a bit of a heavyweight.

Place old and new on the scales and the latest Pro Max weighs in almost 20g lighter than before. It may not sound much but it honestly makes a massive difference.

Power up the devices and you’re treated to Apple’s Super Retina XDR display which is now brighter than before. The bezels have also been slimmed down meaning the screen pushes right to the very edges of that titanium chassis.

The greatest thing about the new Pro phones is that Apple has ditched the previous Stainless Steal finish and used titanium instead

Unlike the standard iPhone 15 models, the Pros continue to get ProMotion technology with a 120Hz refresh rate for speedy scrolling. It’s a big bonus of opting for these more premium devices and, as you can read in our iPhone 15 review, something Apple must bring to the entire range in the future.

Just like before they are covered in Ceramic Shield glass to help avoid cracks when dropped and are fully resistant to the elements. We’d still recommend a case if you want to keep things looking shiny and new but the Ceramic Shield certainly toughens things up a little.

One final addition is the new Action Button which has been placed where the old mute switch used to be.

This fully customisable button lets you access things such as the camera, torch or voice memos with just one tap – it can still be used to mute things as well. It’s a nice addition with haptic feedback making sure you know when it’s been pressed.

Our only slight niggle is that it’s pretty high up on the device and its small size doesn’t make it all that easy to find.

We really like what Apple has done to its Pro range this year. The updates are subtle but make a massive difference to daily use.

iPhone 15 Pro review

A new camera features on the rear case (Image: APPLE)


There’s a completely new camera set-up on the iPhone 15 Pro and it offers a big boost to what was already a very good rear snapper. Tucked on the back of the standard Pro model is a triple-lens system which includes a 48MP Main sensor alongside ultrawide and telephoto options.

Thanks to the main camera being able to switch between 24 mm, 28 mm, and 35 mm options Apple has created a phone which offers seven lenses for the price of three. That means photographers should find plenty of options when out shooting for the day.

There’s also a nice boost when taking photos in low light with images looking cleaner and brighter than on previous devices.

Another nice addition is being able to change the focal point after a snap has been taken – it works seamlessly and we can see this being a much-loved addition when owners get to grips with it.

If you want the ultimate experience then switching to the Pro Max is a good idea with this device also getting a 5X optical zoom for more impressive close-ups.

Apple hasn’t gone for a headline-grabbing 10X or 20X options with the firm simply saying its camera offers the best option for both zoom and quality. It’s a genuinely great update to the Pro Max line-up and we’ve been left mightily impressed by what this device can achieve with very little fuss.

Other upgrades on this camera include better Smart HDR which automatically boosts images plus there’s some advanced image stabilisation to keep everything looking smooth and shake-free.

Check out our samples below.

If it’s video that’s more important to you then it can shoot in full 4K and Apple continues to include its clever Action Mode, which smoothes out your video footage as you jog or sprint …like using an accessory like a gimbal or an action-focused camera, like GoPro.

iPhone 15 Pro review

iPhone 15 Pro camera sample (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

iPhone 15 Pro review

iPhone 15 Pro camera sample (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

iPhone 15 Pro review

iPhone 15 Pro camera sample (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

iPhone 15 Pro review

iPhone 15 Pro camera sample (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

iPhone 15 Pro review

iPhone 15 Pro camera sample (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

iPhone Pro Max review

A shot taken in almost total darkness (Image: APPLE)

iPhone 15 Pro review

iPhone 15 Pro camera sample (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

iPhone Pro Max review Apple iPhone Pro Max review

A17 Pro

Last year’s iPhone 14 Pro already offered incredible levels of performance but Apple clearly wants to give its premium users even more grunt. The 15 Pro and Pro Max now get the A17 Pro chip inside and it takes things to a whole new level.

Along with things feeling more fluid, we’ve even been able to play PS5-style games on these devices with graphics looking as good as a next-gen console.

The A17 is built on the latest 3-nanometer transistor technology which makes it around 10 times faster than the 4-nanometer A16 Bionic found in last year’s model.

It basically improves a whole raft of features including image rendering and Machine Learning whilst also being far more efficient – that means you get all these new features without battery life suffering.

It also helps support USB 3 speeds up to 10Gb/s – that’s a first for iPhone and means photographers can shoot on high-resolution images and see an almost instant transfer to their MacBook via a wired connection.

The A16 Bionic already left its Android rivals for dust and this latest chipset now makes that divide even greater.

iPhone 15 Pro review

Both iPhones are powered by the A17 Pro chipset (Image: APPLE)

iPhone 15 Pro review

iPhone 15 Pro review (Image: APPLE)

USB-C charging and battery life

Yes, the rumours were true. The iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max have made the jump to USB-C which means one cable now refills the firm’s phones, laptops and tablets (the MacBook and iPad have long featured a USB-C port)

Of course, switching to this socket will mean your Lighting cables and accessories will no longer work unless you buy a £29 dongle from Apple.

It’s going to be an irritation for a few months but USB-C does make a lot of sense and is definitely the future. Firstly, as we mentioned before you can just pack one cable when you head away for the weekend which cuts down on clutter.

USB-C also offers the ability to power up other devices so you can now plug your AirPods into the iPhone and give them a quick refill.

Apple has also boosted the data speeds on the Pro models which means you can transfer files from the device in the blink of an eye.

Once you have a full battery, you’ll easily get a whole day’s usage out of these devices and more.

Thanks to its bigger form factor, the Pro Max model does feature a bigger battery and in our tests it does last longer than its smaller sibling. If power is important to you then going Plus is definitely worth considering although both devices offer decent levels of life.

Of course, they remain compatible with wireless charging and Apple’s MagSafe connector will snap neatly to the rear case for a more efficient refill.

One final thing to note is that Apple ships a new braided cable in the box which should be less prone to damage than the older rubber wires.

iPhone 15 Pro review

The iPhone gets a faster USB-C port (Image: APPLE)

Extras and is anything missing?

These iPhones come brimming with useful upgrades including a new Ultra Wideband chip.

This allows you to find things, including friends who also have an iPhone 15 or 15 Pro, from a further distance away which could be handy if you lose your mates at a concert and want to track them down.

Apple has also added some clever Voice Isolation technology which means you’ll be heard even if you’re chatting from the middle of Piccadilly Circus. It’s really clever and ends the nightmare of calls in busy cafes or street corners.

Just like last year, there’s Crash Detection, Satellite text messaging and full access to 5G data speeds.

If you opt for the Pro you’ll get the option of 128GB entry model – the Pro Max now starts with 256GB with both also available with a whopping 1TB of memory.

The clever Dynamic Island also makes a comeback this year and it’s a feature that continues to improve.

We’ve been using that mini interactive display on the Pro models for the past year and it’s got plenty of useful functions.

For example, start a timer and the countdown will appear inside the ever-changing black bar, hop on a flight and you’ll see how long is left without opening apps or websites. Music, football scores, live F1 race positions and more can all be swiped into this notch which magically changes shape as you interact with it.

There’s really not much missing from these devices although Apple has confirmed that its new Roadside Assistance via satellite upgrade is only coming to the USA for now,

It would also have been nice to see that USB-C port improving the charging speeds but its no deal-breaker.


There’s good and bad news on price. Let’s start with the good bit as the iPhone 15 Pro is now £100 cheaper than last year with things starting from £999. Although that’s still expensive, dropping below the £1,000 threshold makes things feel like a bit of a bargain. Especially considering what is included and how powerful this device is.

The slightly less happy news is that Apple has ditched the 128GB Max version from the line-up which means this bigger call maker now starts from £1,199. That isn’t actually a price hike it’s just the fact that the smaller storage on the iPhone 14 Pro Max means things started from £1,149 before.

Trade-in deals are also available to help bring the price down if you already own an iPhone and are happy to hand it over to Apple.

For example, give the firm your iPhone 12 and you’ll get up to £230 off the latest call makers.

All of the major networks are also offering monthly deals and you can find the best iPhone 15 Pro deals here.

iPhone 15 Pro review

iPhone 15 Pro review (Image: APPLE)

Final verdict

If you want the very best iPhone money can buy these new devices need to go straight to the top of your shopping list. Apple has packed the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max full of must-have features including that new Action button, faster USB-C port and a processor that makes these gadgets feel like a mini games console.

The screen is better, the design is infinitely lighter and you get a camera that’s way more capable than its predecessors. Go for the Pro Max and things get even better thanks to that new zoom.

Even the price has come down in 2023. Yes, you did read that correctly, the entry-level iPhone 15 Pro now starts from £999!

Our only gripes with these devices are no upgrades to the charging speeds and the Action Button being slightly hard to reach. Other than that the iPhone 15 Pro range is faultless.

If you want the best of the best then we’d recommend opting for the Max but with that new £999 price tag the standard model looks hugely enticing.

If you haven’t gone Pro before then this is definitely a year to consider making the jump as these new devices look pretty unbeatable.

Easier this year we said the Galaxy S23 Ultra was our best phone of 2023 but Apple may have just changed our opinion.


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