The iPhone 15 is my favorite new iPhone — but it's missing two big things

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Of each nan iPhone models introduced astatine Apple's autumn event, nan iPhone 15 stands retired arsenic nan best, astatine slightest to my eye. I recognize it's not expected to beryllium that measurement — I'm expected to beryllium wowed by nan premium features Apple packed into nan iPhone 15 Pro aliases swayed by nan improved telephoto lens of nan iPhone 15 Pro Max.

And while those Pro iPhones look for illustration best phone contenders, they're still not nan 1 I would get.

No, it's iPhone 15 each nan measurement for me, acknowledgment successful ample portion to Apple adopting galore of nan champion features introduced successful nan iPhone 14 Pro and putting them successful a little costly phone. The iPhone 15 whitethorn not beryllium breaking caller crushed pinch a batch of this year's enhancements, but it's delivering them for a batch little than what you would person paid a twelvemonth ago.

My workfellow John Velasco said it champion successful his iPhone 15 hands-on — this exemplary delivers flagship specs astatine a midrange price. And that's thing that's ever going to please my soul cheapskate — nan committedness of getting much for less.

That said, nan iPhone 15's not perfect. I tin deliberation of astatine slightest 2 large misses wherever Apple dropped nan ball. Maybe it's not capable to support astir group from upgrading, but it would surely springiness maine region earlier mashing nan Buy button.

What's truthful bully astir nan iPhone 15

Apple iPhone 15 held successful nan hand.

(Image credit: Future)

Before we hide nan iPhone 15, let's travel to praise it first. After all, there's a batch to for illustration astir this phone.

The iPhone 15 leaves down nan 12MP main camera nan iPhone's been utilizing since nan days of nan iPhone 6s, grabbing a 48MP sensor that's going to mean much elaborate shots. That's existent moreover if you sprout astatine nan 24MP default, too.

And pinch a 48MP camera you tin return a 2x zoom changeable astatine 12MP solution and get a image that's not only adjacent up but free of nan sound and blur that tin often harvest up successful integer zooms. It's nary dedicated telephoto lens, but it's a beautiful bully substitute.

All nan computational photography improvements recovered successful different iPhone 15 models are connected show present — nan improvements to Smart HDR for much elaborate changeable successful demanding lighting conditions, nan amended colors and richer specifications promised for nan updated Portrait and Night modes and nan expertise to automatically move to image mode erstwhile a person's successful nan frame.

The notch connected nan iPhone's show is gone, replaced erstwhile and for each by nan Dynamic Island cutout. And that intends iPhone 15 owners will besides get to acquisition Live Activities via Dynamic Island, truthful that alerts look successful an engaging manner.

"But Phil, weren't those features disposable past twelvemonth connected nan iPhone 14 Pro?" you're asking. "Why observe nan presence features that are already a twelvemonth old?" The answers to your questions are, successful order, yes and who cares. It surely doesn't matter to maine erstwhile a awesome characteristic happens to get connected a phone, but nan truth nan telephone it's now arrived connected starts astatine $200 little than nan 1 I mightiness beryllium considering? That portion matters very much.

Throw successful immoderate different features for illustration a USB-C larboard and curved edges while keeping nan starting value astatine $799, and you're talking astir a very compelling upgrade. Or astatine slightest you are until we get to nan missing features.

Stop utilizing different chipsets, Apple

A16 Bionic chipset render

(Image credit: @VNchocoTaco/Twitter)

A mates weeks back, I wrote astir really Apple was apt to repetition nan aforesaid correction pinch nan iPhone 15 that it made pinch nan iPhone 14 — namely, utilizing caller silicon for nan Pro models while leaving a hand-me-down chipset for nan modular iPhone. Indeed, that's precisely what happened, arsenic nan iPhone 15 Pro models athletics a marque caller A17 Pro chip and nan iPhone 15 inherits nan A16 Bionic from nan iPhone 14 Pro.

So why does it bug maine that nan iPhone 15 is utilizing past year's Pro chipset while I'm not astatine bothered astir nan telephone utilizing past year's Pro main camera? Because chipsets are different, and utilizing 1 benignant of silicon successful your modular flagship and different benignant successful a different exemplary creates a confusing have-and-have-nots situation. As I pointed retired before, Samsung and Google don't do this pinch their flagships, truthful I'm baffled arsenic to why Apple does.

iPhone 15 owners don't moreover get nan use of having a modestly upgraded type of past year's silicon for illustration iPhone 14 shoppers got. Near arsenic I tin figure, nan A16 Bionic wrong nan iPhone 15 will beryllium unchanged from nan type that powered nan iPhone 14 Pro. That's not needfully a bad thing, arsenic nan A16 outperformed galore an Android phone (though it did lag successful immoderate graphics testing). But Android telephone makers aren't opinionated still, and we could spot galore upcoming devices move to nan Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 successful bid to constrictive nan capacity spread pinch Apple moreover further.

The always-on conundrum

iOS 17 standby mode star clock

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The iPhone 15 is besides missing support for an always-on show (AOD), different characteristic added pinch past year's iPhone 14 Pro update. Normally, I'd motion and chalk this up to 1 of those features you restrict to a Pro exemplary telephone to differentiate it from different devices. But past StandBy Mode came along.

StandBy Mode is 1 of nan large changes coming via iOS 17, which becomes disposable arsenic a afloat download coming (September 18). When your telephone is horizontally oriented arsenic you complaint it, StandBy Mode will footwear into gear, turning nan iPhone show into a smart screen. You tin person nan telephone show disconnected a timepiece face, different widgets aliases moreover a slideshow of your favourite photos.

If you person an iPhone pinch an always-on show — fundamentally immoderate Pro exemplary released successful 2022 and later — StandBy Mode stays connected constantly. On different iPhones, though, it times retired aft astir 20 seconds of inactivity, and your telephone goes to sleep. I tin show you from my iOS 17 hands-on testing that this severely diminishes nan usefulness of StandBy Mode. And I ideate it would consciousness particularly annoying connected a telephone I had conscionable bought.

I understand location are apt hardware reasons for StandBy Mode moving champion pinch phones that person AOD support. And it's arsenic apt that equipping iPhones pinch AOD-friendly displays mightiness thrust up nan costs of nan device. At immoderate rate, I dream Apple comes up pinch immoderate benignant of software-based workaround, because StandBy Mode is beautiful cool characteristic that should beryllium enjoyed by much group — moreover those without an iPhone Pro.

iPhone 15 outlook

Like I said astatine nan start, a still coagulated A16 Bionic chipset and a deficiency of AOD support are not needfully nan benignant of things that support group from upgrading to a caller phone. Our iPhone 15 verdict is still pending, but it sounds for illustration if you upgrade to nan iPhone 15, you're going to upwind up pinch a beautiful complete device. But "pretty" complete is not nan aforesaid point arsenic "entirely" complete, and I deliberation iPhone 15 users whitethorn announcement nan quality sooner alternatively than later.

More from Tom's Guide

  • iPhone 15 — 6 reasons to bargain and 3 to skip
  • iPhone 15 USB-C is simply a large disappointment — here’s why
  • iPhone 15 vs. iPhone 15 Pro: All nan biggest differences

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