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My Real-World Apple iPhone 15 Pro 8-Month Review!

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I have thoroughly enjoyed working with cell phones for nearly two decades now. My first phone was the Kyocera Slider, which looked like a beetle, and texting required me to text my message and wait a minute for it to catch up to me.

Since my first phone, they have come a long way since 2008. New phones are faster and more capable, and have become our way of life. That is never more evident than in Apple’s newest high-end offering, the iPhone 15 Pro, which I had the chance to snag very soon after its launch back in September 2023.

Now, after using this phone as my daily driver for the past eight months, I think it’s about time to share everything that I know about it, what I do like, what I don’t like, and if I’d recommend it to you!

What is the iPhone 15 Pro?

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4.5
Pros:
  • Incredible Camera and High-quality video
  • It is so incredibly fast.
  • The 120hz Frame Rate
  • Apple's Ecosystem
  • The battery life is impressive.
  • Night photography
Cons:
  • The screen size
  • The always-on display
  • Not as customizable
  • The price point
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In the past, Apple wanted you to buy their standard range iPhone, whether that is the iPhone 7, 8 (Apple neglected to launch a 9), X, or so on. However, in the iPhone 15 range of phones, it was obvious that Apple wanted you to go with a Pro rather than the base 15, and for good reason. Not only was it a more expensive product (which no one would want to downgrade after having a Pro phone), but it also offered plenty of additional features.

The iPhone 15 Pro offers a 6.1″ (diagonal) display, Apple’s newest A17 Pro chip, a 3x optical zoom lens (5x was only available on the Pro Max), along with a 48 megapixel and Ultra-Wide lense, and a minimum of 128 gigs of onboard storage.

Now, the major upgrade to the latest iPhones? It now has USB-C, which was a result of Apple being forced by the European Union to conform to the standard. However, while the standard range iPhone 15 is unable to, the 15 Pro has a nifty feature that allows it to record video directly to an external hard drive, which means video creators don’t have to waste money on upgraded onboard storage.

What do I like about it?

1. Incredible Camera and High-quality video

While there are many things about this phone that likely get used more than the camera, this was by far the primary reason I purchased this phone. I was looking to upgrade my photos for my product review site (see the image of the Double Oak Founder’s product shot above), and I needed my videos to be of higher quality for my YouTube channels.

While something like a better DSLR camera may have been the better choice, after having one for a while, I realized that the camera you have on you is the better camera. I always struggle to keep a DSLR on me, and the 15 Pro was looking to offer a similar quality, yet easier experience for me. And I’m glad I made that choice.

The iPhone 15 Pro’s camera is incredibly impressive. If you utilize the 1x main camera, you get some amazing photos, and if you are in the right circumstances to use the Portrait mode, the photos can look nearly professional. While I use the main camera primarily, it has been nice to have the telephoto camera (the 3x camera) for shots that are a bit farther away. However, I have found that the photos from this camera tend to have less depth.

As for the video capabilities of this phone, they are incredible. It does a fantastic job of everything I have thrown at it. My favorite feature by far is the cinematic mode, which blurs the background. You can find my usage of that quite a bit in this YouTube video.

2. It is so incredibly fast.

There’s no way around it, the iPhone 15 Pro is fast! While Apple doesn’t like to give us benchmark scores, they do state that the 15 Pro has a 10% faster CPU and a 20% faster GPU (than the 14 Pro). Now, that doesn’t mean much to most people.

However, in real-world usage, I never have the phone hiccup, its transitions are quick, the camera is fast to pull up, texting is seamless and I have absolutely no concerns when it comes to speed whatsover.

If you are looking for a phone “that just works,” this one is a fantastic choice.

3. The 120Hz Frame Rate is Amazing

I have primarily been using an iPhone for around five or so years now (I got sucked into the ecosystem, which we’ll talk about next); while I had owned multiple other iPhones before that, I was generally using an Android phone in my past. This also meant that I had never had a device capable of 120Hz frame rate. While this sounds like a complicated term, it essentially means that it has double the frames every time the screen moves, leaving it silky smooth.

While I initially didn’t overly notice the difference, when I upgraded from my iPhone 12 Mini, I quickly noticed it when I went back to my 12 Mini after a couple days of solely using the 15 Pro. It has completely ruined 60Hz frame-rate phones for me. They now feel choppy and slow, even if that isn’t true.

4. Apple’s Ecosystem

Now, you might ask, as someone that has had over 30 different phones (yes, I used to have a problem), why in the world am I using an iPhone instead of something like the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra? The Apple Ecosystem.

I use a Macbook, and my wife uses a Macbook and iPhone. Things like iMessage and Find My are baked into all of our devices, meaning that we don’t have to download different apps, test them out, and try out two others before settling on one that we are happiest with. Instead, Apple’s apps allow us to be able to communication efficiently with no issues.

Outside of the connectivity between people, things like AirDrop play a big role in my life. As a product reviewer, I transfer plenty of photos and massive file-size videos, and AirDrop does this flawlessly for me. It just makes my life easier.

5. The battery life is impressive.

Generally speaking, the primary reason why I end up upgrading a phone comes down to battery life. It drives me nuts when I have to think about if I need to charge my phone throughout the day, and I haven’t had to feel that way once with my 15 Pro. It effortlessly makes it through the day with little effort, and I generally end the day at around 50%. Many days, I end up not even charging it, for it to see another whole day of usage before it finds its way to a charger.

Added to that is that the battery seems to be holding up extremely well! After 8 months of usage, my maximum capacity is still at 100% after 159 cycles (see image above). I literally have no idea how that is possible, as phones like this are rated at 500 cycles (full charges) to an 80% maximum capacity, but that’s what it says.

6. Night photography

I’m not much of a night photographer or really a photographer at all (I prefer the video format). However, the night photography on this phone was something that caught me off guard. It is so impressive that even on pitch-black nights, you can point your phone at something, and the image will show in better clarity than my own eyes.

It’s a fancy thing to have, and I like it! Just in case you aren’t convinced, here is a quick shot of the northern lights that I took with this phone.

What do I not like about this flagship iPhone?

1. The screen size

I was one of the first adopters of massive screens, and normal people thought I was insane when I was carrying around my Samsung Galaxy Note 2. However, as I’ve gotten older, I prefer things to just be easier. While the iPhone 15 Pro may not be the largest Apple iPhone (thanks to the 15 Pro Max), its 6.1″ screen still requires two hands to access the top left of my screen, and texting can be a bit of a pain.

It was quite unfortunate when Apple decided to discontinue the Mini series after the iPhone 13 Mini. While I understand it likely didn’t see the sales that the company was hoping for, it was definitely the ideal form factor for one handed usage.

That said, the larger screen allows for a larger battery, more space for processors (not a headphone jack, though), and more screen real estate for better video experiences.

2. The always-on display

In a world where we are being bombarded with notifications from all of our applications, emails, texts, etc, I found that I very much disliked the always-on display and quickly turned off the functionality. While it may seem like a nice feature to have, in that you don’t have to pick up your phone to see your notifications, it left me fatigued.

Instead of making it so I didn’t have to spend as much time on my phone, it made me constantly feel like I had notifications, and I was always looking at it. When you are so used to your screen turning on when you get a notification – when your screen is always on, you always feel like you have a notification. It’s annoying, and I don’t like it.

3. Not as customizable

As I mentioned earlier in article, I used to be a die-hard android fan, and the primary reason behind this is due to customizability. Android’s have always been the go-to for people that want complete control over their device. Meanwhile, Apple has a bit more of a “What you see is what you get” mentality.

While Apple has introduced things like widgets and adjustable lock screens, it just can’t compare with what Android has to offer. It’s little things, like the fact that Android allows you to place your apps anywhere on the screen rather than having to follow suit with the rest (although its rumored this feature may come soon).

4. The price point

Back when I was selling phones to hundreds (and thousands) of different people, the flagship phones started at $600. These were phones like iPhones, Samsung, HTCs (I miss you, HTC), etc. However, to get into a flagship device in 2024, you are looking at starting at a dollar short of a thousand dollars.

This is huge money and is definitely an unfortunate byproduct of companies raising the prices but giving you an “OK” version in the $600 range. I mean, it really doesn’t even feel like Apple tried too much with the standard iPhone 15.

Who should buy the 15 Pro?

Now matter how Apple markets it, the iPhone 15 Pro isn’t something everyone has to have! Ultimately, the reason why Apple is saying everyone needs it, is because once you purchase a “Pro” phone, you’ll want to buy only the more expensive “Pro” devices from here on out. That means you’ll get the Macbook Pro, the iPad Pro, etc.

Who really needs the iPhone 15 Pro is the content creator. The camera and video setup on this device are impressive, and you’ll have everything you need to make awesome content.

If you are someone that just wants a phone that works, and is an Apple device, the standard iPhone 15 is an amazing phone as well. You won’t notice the downgrade in frame rate (unless you use your friend’s iPhone 15 Pro), and you likely won’t use the faster transfer speeds from the device to your computer (which I didn’t even get into in this article).

So, in the end, if you need this phone for content creation, get it. If you don’t, just get the standard iPhone 15 (maybe the 15 Plus, which has amazing battery life). You’ll spend far less money and get everything that you need.

What are the phone’s major competitors?

I haven’t talked about this much, but I was hours away from not buying an iPhone 15 Pro and was about to go buy a Samsung S23 Ultra instead. I didn’t want to deal with the backorder on the iPhones (it was going to be a month and a half wait), and the S23 Ultra was an impressive phone that could do almost all the same things. Well, someone canceled their iPhone 15 Pro at my local store, and I just so happened to catch it, and I ended up with this phone.

However, I have no doubt I would enjoy many of its competitors as well. The iPhone 15 Pro competes with devices like the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra (now that it is out), the Google Pixel 8 Pro, or even the OnePlus 12.

I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
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