Hands-on with the iPhone 15 Pro: Softer, lighter, more versatileReading Time: 3 minutes
Apple’s new iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max are here, ever so slightly redesigned to feel softer in your hand.
For those attending in person, Apple events end pretty chaotically: As soon as the projection at the Steve Jobs theater is done, journalists are scrambling to get a hands-on experience with the new devices. It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it, so I did it for you this year as well, dear readers.
In this frenzied environment, it took me a few minutes to appreciate the design changes on Apple’s new iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro, and iPhone 15 Pro Max. From afar, they look the same as last year’s models, save for the new colors. But you need to feel them in your hand to see where the differences are.
How the iPhone 15 feels
All four phones now have curvier edges, making them a lot nicer to hold. Yes, it’s still all metal and glass, but the new edges feel a lot softer than before. And the Pro models are also significantly lighter than last year’s models, thanks to the use of titanium which replaced the stainless steel chassis. I’ve held the old iPhone 14 Pro Max in one hand and the new iPhone 15 Pro Max in the other, and the difference is noticeable (to be precise: it’s 240 vs. 221 grams). It’s not groundbreaking, but it is the sort of thing that might make you consider Apple’s largest iPhone if you previously skipped it due to heaviness.
The new iPhones also have an entirely new button on the left side, replacing the mute toggle switch: the Action button. It can be customized to do nearly anything (thanks to Shortcuts), but the feature I immediately thought to be useful is setting the Action button to fire up the flashlight.
To see what the Action button is set to do, you press it lightly. To actually perform the function, you hold it for half a second. From the little testing I’ve done in Apple’s showroom, I would prefer to be able to skip the holding and just have the thing happen when I press the button, but we’ll see how it goes when I actually have more time with the device.
How the iPhone 15 performs
Performance is hard to judge in such a short time, but the new iPhones certainly feel extremely snappy. Same goes for the camera, whose most interesting feature – the ability to capture Spatial Video for the Vision Pro – is coming later this year.
I did try the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s 5x zoom feature, and it indeed zoomed impressively, though truly testing how good the photos are with this setting on will take some more time.
How Apple’s FineWoven material feels
During the keynote, Apple put a pretty big emphasis on its accessories, which will no longer be made out of leather. Instead, for cases, wallets and watch bands, Apple is using a new material called FineWoven. I’ve touched it, and it feels really nice, like a softer version of alcantara. Additional bonus: The FineWoven cases are incredibly light. I wasn’t able to get official figures for the weight of the Wallet and the cases, but they felt lighter than last year’s leather variants, which would make the overall weight of the phones even lighter if you’re the case-touting type.
Finally, there’s the USB-C, which most users will feel the benefit over time, as they’ll finally be able to consolidate the chargers and cables for all their devices.
I’ll have a lot more to say about the new iPhones once I spend some more time with them. For now, I’d say the changes are fairly small, but they are nice, and they do add up.
Find the new flagship smartphone lineup here:
The 6.1-inch iPhone 15
The 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Plus
The 6.1-inch iPhone 15 Pro
The 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Pro Max
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