iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max reviews roundup: Small but significant changes “add up”

The reviews of the highly anticipated smartphones of 2023, iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max are out.

Widening the gap between standard and pro models, Apple equipped the new iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max with A17 Pro which is the industry’s first chip built on a 3nm process that is claimed to not only improve the smartphones’ performance but also unlock a whole new mobile gaming experience with ray tracing

Furthermore, Apple has also redesigned the new Pro iPhones with titanium casing, slightly rounded edges, reduced bezels, customizable Action button, and USB-C connector. 

Apple sends the new iPhones to publishers and YouTubers to test the smartphones for a week and share their reviews ahead of their official launch. The 2023 iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max have gotten rave reviews.

iPhone 15 Pro

iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max performance reviews 

The powerful A17 Pro chip brings full console games to mobile like Resident Evil Village, and CNET was impressed by the fast performance and gaming experience.

Resident Evil Village looks phenomenal on the 15 Pro Max’s screen, especially in terms of the lighting and shading. In my time, and through my casual gamer’s eyes, I was impressed. It speaks volumes that games like this can come to the iPhone.

The Verge found that the A17 Pro GPU that enables hardware-based ray tracing did not heat up the device at all during a 20-minute Resident Evil Village gaming session.

Engadget also said that the console game ran smoothly but users should not expect the same graphics as a gaming console. 

I was able to check out a preview of Resident Evil Village on the iPhone 15 Pro and it ran smoothly as expected. Creepy babies aside, some of the graphics and lighting effects were nice and I saw no dropped frames, although the edges of a character’s hair looked a little jagged. Don’t expect high-end console level quality here, but you’ll get pretty good animations in general.

However, Wired found that the phone got “uncomfortably” hot after a 30-minute gameplay of a beta version of Resident Evil Village and suggested connecting a controller to improve the AAA gaming experience which includes pressing “lots of buttons”.

iPhone 15 Pro

iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max design reviews

For the first time, Apple has used titanium in iPhone 15 Pro models like the Apple Watch which makes the smartphones lighter and more durable. The company has made the edges slightly rounded for improved and comfortable grip, replaced the mute button with an Action button, and Lightning port with a USB-C connector. 

Here is how the impact of the new designs changes on the iPhone Pro experience.

For The Verge, all the small changes “add up” in meaningful ways. The new Pro models are lighter and more comfortable to hold than their predecessor stainless steel iPhone 14 Pro models. USB-C port makes it easy to charge and also use USB-C accessories with the smartphones. 

Having spent the past week with a USB-C iPhone, I’ll tell you something from the other side: it’s friggin’ great.

I plugged a Satechi hub into the 15 Pro and watched it read photos from an SD card. Then I connected an ethernet cable and switched over to a wired internet connection just like that. Again, no dongle or special accessory was involved in this process — just the same kind of hub you’d plug right into your MacBook.

However, after a week of testing, the reviewer found there would be a learning curve in getting used to the Action button and the lag that comes with the long press to trigger an action does not help.

I have some other ideas for the Action Button, though, and the beauty is you can experiment with it until you find something you like. Maybe I’ll give that “order me a PSL” button a shot.

CNET calls the new Pro models the “most compelling” releases from Apple in years for all the refinements in the smartphones’ design like the lighter and more durable titanium finish, rounded edges for better grip, and USB-C port, while preserving the traditional “iPhone aesthetic front and center”.

The new titanium body is lovely, light and easy to hold thanks to its ever-so-slightly rounded edges. It feels less bulky than the straight-edged 12, 13 and 14 series.

I now plug in a USB-C cable (which comes with the phone) instead of a Lighting one. But it’s convenient to use the “one ring to rule them all” of charging cables.

The addition of the customizable Action button was praised but wished that Apple let users program multiple presses and taps for different actions and not be limited to a tap or press to trigger one action.

iPhone 15 Pro

Engadget liked the overall design changes enough to consider upgrading to the new 15 Pro Max because they make it easier to use the phone. However, the Action button and USB-C were not compelling to hardware changes as it was difficult to reach the Action button, especially on iPhone 15 Pro Max and the USB-C port is just another charging port.

Together with the smaller bezels, the overall design changes make the iPhone 15 Pro Max slightly easier to use with one hand. 

 Two crucial external hardware changes this year: USB-C and the Action button. If you’re not looking for them, these differences aren’t obvious. The hole at the bottom is still a hole, while the button now juts out slightly more than before.

Julian Chokkattu from Wired was pleased with the ability to charge all the devices with one USB-C cable and share accessories between laptop and iPhone. The reviewer reassured the users that the Action button still performs the same function as the Mute switch by default which is to silence the smartphone, so they need not worry.

iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max camera reviews

The new camera system on the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max “enamored” Patrick Holland from CNET.  The ability to turn images into portraits, new zoom which retains a lot of details, good quality video recordings, and other features elevate the photography and videography experience on the new Pro iPhones. However, the availability of 5x optical zoom exclusively on iPhone 15 Pro Max and not on 15 Pro was criticized.

Explaining the new video update which is the ability to shoot log, The Verge said that it would make video producers happy but will quickly occupy space as the log in ProRes.

The 15 Pro and Pro Max get an important video update this year: the ability to shoot log. That’s the super flat color profile that videographers like because it lets them control the look of the final product more. It’s only available in ProRes, and I can tell you for certain that a bunch of ProRes files will eat up your phone storage quickly.

iPhone 15 Pro Max

Engadget found that zoomed images on the 15 Pro Max are slightly “cleaner” than the iPhone 14 Pro Max with better frame and less noise thanks to the new 5x optical zoom. Moreover, the new Focus and Depth control tools beautifully edit photos to blur the background automatically.

iPhone 15 Pro Max delivered solid landscapes and portraits in daylight, and has shown slight improvement at night. Its video quality remains arguably the best in the industry, with cinematic mode videos still as aesthetically pleasing as before.

Wired labeled 15 Pro Max as the best camera phone in the market at the moment with the most consistency and “a have a nice lead in the video department though”  but its zoom still lags behind 10x zoom on the S23 Ultra. 

iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max battery reviews

A smartphone with a powerful camera, 120Hz ProMotion display, and gaming experience needs to have a larger battery, so the users do not worry about running out of battery every few hours. The battery life of the new 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max does not disappoint. 

CNET, The Verge, and Engadget found that the iPhone 15 Pro Max delivers full-day battery life with heavy usage.

For the most part the 15 Pro Max’s battery made it through a full day of use (from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m) usually ending the day with 20 to 25% to spare. On perhaps the most demanding day I spent with the phone (taking photos, recording videos and with the screen at max brightness) the 15 Pro Max started out with a full battery in the morning and had 7% left by the end of the day. – CNET

Apple doesn’t make any claims of battery life improvements on the 15 Pro and Pro Max compared to last year’s models. The Pro Max can certainly handle an intense day of use with a fair amount of 4K ProRes video recording included, but it was right down into the single digits by the end of the day. – The Verge

However, Wired had to recharge the iPhone 15 Pro mid-day with over six hours of screen-on time which is still the same as the iPhone 14 Pro. 

iPhone 15 Pro Max might outshine the iPhone 15 Pro this year as well – Opinion

iPhone 14 Pro Max was the most expensive model in the 2022 iPhone series and the most popular. It featured exclusive perks like a larger display, bigger battery, and higher pixel resolution for improved streaming and gaming experience than the iPhone 14 Pro.

It appears that the new 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Pro Max will also outshine the 6.1-inch 15 Pro this year. The large display, longer battery life, and 5x camera for only $100 more than 15 Pro are likely to attract more consumers to the highest-end model.

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About the Author

Addicted to social media and in love with iPhone, started blogging as a hobby. And now it's my passion for every day is a new learning experience. Hopefully, manufacturers will continue to use innovative solutions and we will keep on letting you know about them.