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Review of the iPhone 15.

 Review of the iPhone 15.

Apple isn't known for introducing groundbreaking innovations in its smartphones, but it's hard to criticize the company for a lack of changes. iPhones receive new features and improvements year after year. This year, USB Type-C has finally made its way to the devices, but that's not all. The base iPhone 15 has received a significant upgrade compared to its predecessor.

Review of the iPhone 15
Review of the iPhone 15

Review of the iPhone 15

 Last year, Apple's major smartphone innovations were concentrated in the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, while the regular iPhone 14 hardly differed from its predecessor. The design remained the same, the cameras were slightly changed, and even the hardware platform, which used to be updated for all iPhones, turned out to be the same as the iPhone 13 (more precisely, the iPhone 13 Pro). Against this backdrop, the iPhone 15 appears to be a real breakthrough, as it brings many more innovations.

 Some of the changes are noticeable to the naked eye as soon as you take the smartphone out of the box. We're talking, of course, about the Dynamic Island - the "island" with cameras and additional icons on the screen - and the USB Type-C (which Apple persistently calls USB-C). 

 While we've already seen the Dynamic Island in last year's iPhone Pro models, the abandonment of Lightning is truly a huge step that simplifies the lives of users. Now, any cable from an Android smartphone will work, and you can even charge your iPhone with the same cable as your MacBook or iPad - no need to carry a bunch of wires.

 As for the internal changes, the iPhone 15 has received a long-awaited and quite significant camera upgrade: the main sensor has finally increased to over 12 MP. Additionally, new convenient features have been introduced, such as automatic portrait mode. The hardware platform has also received a significant upgrade, although Apple did not use the latest chip here and instead utilized the platform from last year's iPhone 14 Pro. In summary, there are changes, so let's examine them more closely.

Technical specifications:

  • Display: 6.1 inches, Super Retina XDR OLED, 2556 × 1179, 460 ppi, capacitive multitouch
  • Protective glass: No information available
  • Processor: Apple A16 Bionic, six cores (2 × Everest, 3.46 GHz + 4 × Sawtooth, 2.02 GHz)
  • Graphics controller: Apple GPU (5 cores)
  • RAM: 6 GB
  • Storage: 128/256/512 GB
  • Memory card support: No
  • Connectors: USB Type-C
  • SIM cards: One nano-SIM and one eSIM (international version), two eSIM (US version), two nano-SIM (China version)
  • 2G cellular network: GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
  • CDMA 800/1900
  • 3G cellular network: HSDPA 850/900/1700/1900/2100 MHz
  • 4G cellular network: LTE-A, bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 46, 48, 66 (international version)
  • 5G cellular network: SA/NSA/Sub6, bands 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 12, 20, 25, 28, 30, 38, 40, 41, 48, 66, 70, 77, 78, 79
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/6
  • Bluetooth: 5.3
  • NFC: Yes (Apple Pay)
  • Navigation: GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, BeiDou
  • Sensors: Ambient light, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass), barometer, Face ID
  • Fingerprint scanner: No
  • Main camera: Dual module: 48 MP + 12 MP, ƒ/1.6 + ƒ/2.4, dual LED flash, phase detection autofocus, optical stabilization in the main module
  • Front camera: Dual module: 12 MP, ƒ/1.9, phase detection autofocus, without flash, + biometric sensor/depth sensor
  • Power: Non-removable battery: 12.73 Wh (3349 mAh, 3.8 V)
  • Dimensions: 147.6 × 71.6 × 7.8 mm
  • Weight: 171 grams
  • Body protection: IP68
  • Operating system: iOS 17
  • Current price: Starting from 125,000 Russian Rubles.

Design and Ergonomics:

 Apple is known for its conservatism, so in the iPhone 15, we see a familiar design that was introduced three years ago with the iPhone 12. It still features a "sandwich" design with two glass panels on the front and back and an aluminum frame with flat edges in between. However, as they say, the devil is in the details, and the new model does have some differences from its predecessors.

 The sharp edges of the aluminum frame, which many criticized in the iPhone 14, are slightly rounded in the new iPhone. The glossy glass on the back panel has been replaced with "colored" glass with a matte surface. These design changes have significantly improved the ergonomics of the smartphone: its edges don't dig into the hand, and fingerprints are hardly noticeable on the rear panel. 

 The textured back glass of the iPhone 15 also provides a more pleasant tactile experience. Of course, most users will not notice these changes as they immediately put their iPhone 15 in a case. Nevertheless, it's pleasing to see that Apple addressed the concerns raised by users.

 A more noticeable change in the design comes in the form of new color options. Apart from the standard black, Apple has gone for a pastel color palette in all other versions. In my personal opinion, they may have overdone it a bit. During the iPhone 15 presentation, Apple dedicated a lot of time to highlighting the colors infused directly into the back glass. 

 However, it's quite challenging to appreciate this in person, as the colors of most versions, except for black, are not very vibrant. This is especially noticeable in the blue version, where the back panel appears almost white. For this review, I chose the pink version as it seems the most interesting. The black one seemed too plain, and the others were rather unremarkable. However, even in the pink color, the saturation feels a bit soft. I would prefer more vibrancy.

 iPhone 15 is a fairly lightweight smartphone, thanks to its compact display by today's standards. Compared to my personal Nothing Phone, the new iPhone 15 feels almost feather-light. When comparing it to the iPhone 14, the new model is only 1 gram lighter. The iPhone 15 is also 1.1 mm longer and 0.1 mm wider than its predecessor while maintaining the same thickness. 

 One would think this wouldn't hinder compatibility with cases from the previous two generations of iPhones, but Apple slightly shifted the camera module, causing the old cases to fit incorrectly, although they can still be stretched to fit the smartphone.

 On the front, the iPhone 15 resembles the iPhone 14 Pro due to the introduction of the elongated Dynamic Island notch. Apple finally abandoned the infamous "monobrow" that had been the subject of ridicule by Android smartphone fans for many years. 

  As we noted in last year's review of the iPhone 14 Pro, Apple essentially moved the "monobrow" slightly lower and made it more compact. While it still appears somewhat archaic compared to the tiny front camera holes of modern Android smartphones, on the other hand, these Android devices lack all the additional front camera modules that Apple uses for Face ID.

 The functionality of the "island" is the same as that of the previous generation's iPhone Pro. It displays system notifications, such as Face ID authentication or Bluetooth headphone connection, and also provides other useful information such as the currently playing track or Uber trip details. It brings to life the part of the smartphone that people usually ignore. On the other hand, Apple positions the "island" as a space for managing smartphone functions, and at first, you actively use it, but over time, you revert to the familiar control panel.

 The most significant change in all the new iPhones is the replacement of the proprietary Lightning connector with the widely accepted USB Type-C. Apple made this transition not voluntarily but under pressure from external circumstances. The European Union passed a law that requires all smartphones and many other electronics to be equipped with a universal charging port. USB Type-C was chosen as the standard port. Of course, Apple did not specify that it was essentially forced to adopt this standard.

 However, Apple did not change its ways completely, so you can fully enjoy the capabilities of USB-C only in the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. The regular iPhone 15 models have a new port that complies with the USB 2.0 standard, which means the data transfer speed is limited to 480 Mbps—20 times slower than the USB 3.0 in the higher-end iPhones.

 This limitation will be noticeable not only when transferring data from the phone to a computer but also, for example, when using the iPhone 15 as a modem with a wired connection to a PC or when switching phones and wanting to transfer data from the old device via cable. 

 Nevertheless, the transition to the new connector significantly simplifies life. Now you don't have to search for a Lightning charger when you're with friends or at work—any charger for modern Android devices will do. Additionally, Apple users now have access to a variety of accessories from Android smartphones, such as wired headphones, game controllers, and more. A pleasant bonus is the ability to connect to a monitor or TV with resolutions up to 4K and a refresh rate of up to 60 Hz. More and more monitors support connection via USB Type-C, so you won't even need adapters.

 The functional elements on the edges of the iPhone 15 have not changed. The power button is located on the right side of the smartphone, while the left side features the familiar mechanical switch for sound profiles, as well as volume adjustment buttons and a SIM card slot. The earpiece speaker is now located on the frame above the display, rather than in the notch of the front camera.

 Apple does not plan to return to fingerprint scanners and instead offers the advanced 3D facial recognition system, Face ID, for unlocking. Face ID works slower than fingerprint scanners on flagship Android smartphones, but it is reliable and precise—and it remains the best facial recognition system in smartphones.

iOS 17 Operating System:

 The new version of the iOS mobile operating system does not bring any fundamental changes, although Apple considers some of the updates significant and very important. Below are more details about the most noticeable changes in iOS 17 compared to previous versions of the system.

 In the "Phone" app, "Contact Posters" have been introduced, allowing you to customize what your callers see when you call them. You can choose one of your photos as a background or use a Memoji created based on your face. You can also customize the font and color for your name. Such a "poster" will be displayed fullscreen for the person you are calling (or who is calling you) if they are also using an iPhone with the latest iOS. You can choose to show it to everyone or only your contacts. You can also customize the posters for each of your contacts or edit them yourself.

 FaceTime now allows you to leave audio and video messages if the person you're calling doesn't answer. Portrait mode and studio lighting effects are supported in video calls. Additionally, iOS 17 enhances FaceTime video calls with 3D effects that are activated by specific hand gestures. For example, if you make a heart shape with your fingers, an animation with hearts will appear on the screen, and raising two fingers will trigger fireworks. You can also summon confetti, balloons, laser beams, and other effects. This feature works not only in FaceTime but also in video messages on platforms like Telegram.

 The "Messages" (iMessage) app has received an updated interface that makes it easier to access features such as the camera and the "Photos" app for attaching pictures, sharing location data, GIFs, and more. Audio messages are now automatically transcribed, so you no longer have to listen to long conversations to get to the point. Apple has also turned all emojis into stickers and allows you to create your own "live" stickers based on your photos, adding various effects to them. Additionally, the search feature in "Messages" now supports filters, and you can reply to a message by swiping right on it.

 Furthermore, in "Messages," a feature called "Check In" has been introduced, allowing users to notify family members or friends that they have safely arrived at their destination. After activating "Check In," the recipient will automatically receive a notification when the user arrives home or at another designated place. If the user is delayed somewhere, useful information such as the device's location, battery level, and cellular connectivity status is securely and confidentially transmitted to the selected contact. You can customize which information should be shared.

 AirDrop has received the NameDrop feature, which allows for quick exchange of contact information by simply bringing your iPhones close together. With the same gesture, users can also share content or initiate SharePlay to listen to music, watch a movie, or play games together. Later this year, AirDrop will also add the ability to continue data transfer over the internet when the user goes out of the AirDrop range.

 iOS 17 introduced an updated machine learning technology to improve autocorrect in the native keyboard. Apple promises that word predictions have become better than before, and autocorrect learns more about your habits as you use them. Additionally, autocorrect can provide grammatical suggestions in addition to spell correction. 

 Pressing the spacebar now allows you to use built-in predictions to complete words without the need to reach up and tap on the word to insert it, and it can also complete entire sentences. On the iPhone, autocorrect now underlines corrected words to indicate where the edit was made.

 iOS 17 also introduces a new "StandBy" feature for the iPhone lock screen, which activates when the device is in a horizontal orientation and connected to a charging device (wired or wireless). This feature resembles the Nightstand mode on the Apple Watch and turns the iPhone into a kind of desk clock with additional features.

 In StandBy mode, the iPhone can display the time, calendar, favorite photos, notifications (including Live Activities), music playback controls, Siri responses with visual styling, weather, and more, thanks to widget support. However, full utilization of StandBy on the iPhone 15 is not possible due to the lack of Always-On Display support. 

 To see the clock, calendar, and other information, you will have to either touch the screen or somehow move the smartphone. As a result, much of the convenience of this feature is lost. The feature works fully on the iPhone 14 Pro/Pro Max and iPhone 15 Pro/Pro Max.

 One of the extremely interesting features of the new system is Live Voicemail, although it is only available in English and select countries. But the idea itself is excellent: when someone calls your iPhone and leaves a voicemail message without waiting for an answer, the smartphone will display a real-time transcription of the voicemail, allowing you to decide whether to ignore the call or respond to it while the caller is still on the line. 

  This should help filter out spam and not miss important calls. Unknown numbers will also be directly routed to Live Voicemail if the "Silence Unknown Callers" setting is enabled. Hopefully, in the future, this feature will support other languages as well.

 Several other Apple apps within iOS 17, including Safari, Health, Music, AirPlay, Maps, and others, have received minor updates.

Display and Sound:

 The iPhone 15 features a 6.1-inch OLED display with a resolution of 2556 × 1179 pixels. Apple refers to it as the Super Retina XDR OLED. Although the screen size remains unchanged compared to the iPhone 14, replacing the notch with a "Punch-hole" design slightly increased the screen area from 90.2 to 91.3 cm2. The display now occupies 86.4% of the smartphone's front panel. The pixel density has also slightly increased due to the slightly higher resolution, with 461 pixels per inch instead of the predecessor's 460.

 Based on the aforementioned specifications, the iPhone replicates the display of the iPhone 14 Pro. However, the new model did not inherit one important feature— a 120Hz refresh rate. The iPhone 15's display still operates at the standard 60Hz. This is another point of criticism towards Apple. Even affordable Android smartphones priced below $350 offer screens with a 120Hz refresh rate. However, Apple persistently refuses to increase the refresh rate for regular iPhones, reserving this feature as an exclusive for the iPhone Pro. 

 Why is the absence of a 120Hz display a problem? On such a display, all animations and scrolling appear smoother, resulting in a more enjoyable user experience. For a device that you interact with for hours every day, this is, in my opinion, a crucial aspect. Installing a 60Hz display on a device priced at $800  is simply inexcusable in 2023.

 Furthermore, the iPhone 15 also lacks the Always-On function, which remains exclusive to the iPhone Pro, and this is also a disadvantage. Apple's decision seems particularly strange in the context of the introduction of the "Standby" mode in iOS 17, described in the previous section. Without Always-On, the entire charm of this feature is lost.

 However, the iPhone 15's display has its merits. It has become significantly brighter, with Apple claiming a peak brightness of up to 2000 cd/m2, achievable under direct sunlight. In comparison, the iPhone 14 could offer a maximum of 1200 cd/m2. I didn't have the opportunity to verify whether the iPhone 15 can indeed reach the specified brightness, but I will note that, in my subjective opinion, the display is indeed very bright, and even under direct sunlight, everything is visible on it.

 It is important to note one of the features of the iPhone - the unadjustable automatic brightness setting based on the lighting conditions. Simply setting the brightness to the maximum is not enough to fully utilize the screen's capabilities. However, during my testing of the smartphone, I didn't feel the need to adjust the brightness higher or lower - the iPhone 15 provided the perfect brightness.

 The rest of the display settings are typical for iOS. You can manually choose a light or dark theme or activate automatic switching based on the time of day. Instead of manually adjusting the color display, there is the True Tone mode, which automatically adjusts the colors based on the ambient lighting, and it can be disabled if desired. There is also the Night Shift feature, which automatically shifts the colors towards the warmer end of the spectrum at night. You can specify the time range for when the feature activates and how much warmer the image becomes.

 As for sound, the iPhone 15 doesn't offer any surprises but doesn't disappoint either. The smartphone supports wired headphones with USB Type-C, of which there are more options available on the market compared to those with Lightning connectors. Apple itself has released a new version of EarPods with the new connector. 

 For wireless Bluetooth headphones, the AAC codec is supported, but support for aptX or LDAC is not available again. The device also has stereo speakers: like many other smartphones, the sound is reproduced through the external speaker located at the bottom edge. The iPhone 15 sounds quite loud, but at maximum volume, some background noise is noticeable. I didn't notice any other quality issues.

Hardware and Performance:

 The iPhone 15 and 15 Plus are equipped with the Apple A16 Bionic chipset, which was used in the iPhone 14 Pro last year. Apple, just like a year ago, decided to give the new chip to the higher-end iPhone Pro models, while the regular iPhones continue to use last year's processors. On one hand, this is indeed a powerful chip that will satisfy the vast majority of users for years to come. On the other hand, the iPhone 15 Pro, thanks to the new A17 Pro chip, has gained several new features that the regular iPhone did not receive.

 The Apple A16 Bionic single-chip platform is manufactured using a 4-nanometer marketing process, which is an improvement compared to the 5-nanometer Apple A15 Bionic in the iPhone 14. However, the new A17 Pro uses an even more advanced 3-nanometer technology. 

  Compared to the A15 Bionic in the iPhone 14, there is an increase in frequency for the high-performance cores, while the efficient cores operate at roughly the same frequency. 

  As for the graphics subsystem, it is known to have five cores. Additionally, the new model has an updated neural processor and increased second and third-level cache compared to the iPhone 14 chip.

 As expected, the iPhone 15's central processing unit performance is close to that of the iPhone 14 Pro, although not in all tests. In Geekbench 6, the results of these smartphones were very close, and in AnTuTu 10, the new model outperformed the previous flagship significantly. 

 When compared to Android smartphones, in Geekbench 6 tests, the Apple smartphone simply has no rivals—even flagship devices with Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 noticeable lag. However, in AnTuTu, smartphones with Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 are capable of competing with the iPhone 15.

 Regarding graphics performance, the iPhone 15 was slower than the iPhone 14 Pro in the 3DMark's Wild Life Extreme test but performed equally in GFXBench T-Rex. It should be noted that in GFXBench, the Offscreen test results should be considered, as when rendering on the iPhone screen, it reaches the 60 FPS limit set by vertical synchronization. 

 When compared to Android smartphones, the iPhone 15 is capable of competing with current Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 flagship devices in terms of graphics, such as the Xiaomi 13 Pro.

 However, it is not advisable to rely on such high performance during prolonged use, as the processor in the iPhone 15 quickly overheats and starts to exhibit noticeable throttling. In stress tests of the 3DMark benchmark, the Apple A16 Bionic platform reduces frequencies by up to 12% in the simpler Wild Life test and up to 36% in the more demanding Wild Life Extreme test.

  It is worth noting that Apple seems to have worked on this issue, as the throttling in the iPhone 15 is less severe than in the iPhone 14 Pro. Based on tactile sensations, the smartphone heats up quite a bit but not excessively, and it can still be held in the hands—throttling serves its purpose in this case. Overall, the device does not heat up frequently during regular usage.

 Nevertheless, I will reiterate the thesis that has been repeatedly mentioned in our flagship smartphone reviews: the iPhone 15 has a huge and even excessive performance reserve. Everything works equally fast, smoothly, and without issues. In addition, the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max have received an even more powerful A17 Pro chip, and Apple has found practical applications for it: upcoming games that are available on consoles and PCs will soon be released for the higher-end iPhones. These include Resident Evil Village, the remake of Resident Evil 4, the director's cut of Death Stranding, as well as Assassin's Creed Mirage. It is also worth noting that the chip in the higher-end iPhones has received hardware acceleration support for ray tracing.

 The amount of RAM remains unchanged, with 6 GB in the iPhone 15, while the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max now have 8 GB. The storage capacity of the new model is the same as its predecessor—128 GB, 256 GB, or 512 GB. The option with 1 TB storage remains exclusive to the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. There is no option for expanding the memory—it is only possible through iCloud.

Connectivity and Wireless Communications:

 The iPhone 15 works well with cellular networks. The device has no issues with coverage or peak speeds. The global version of the iPhone 15 has a single SIM card slot, as usual, but it also supports eSIM. The American version does not have a physical SIM card slot, only two eSIM slots, while the Chinese version has two physical SIM card slots. 

 Since iPhones are now supplied to Russia from various countries, you may come across any variant, although in most cases, global versions will be available. However, it's still worth checking this aspect before purchasing, as anything is possible.

 The wireless modules of the iPhone support Wi-Fi 6 (802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax) and Bluetooth 5.3. The more recent and faster Wi-Fi 6E is only available on the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max. There is also the NFC module. The navigation system works with GPS (A-GPS), GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo, and QZSS.

 Additionally, the iPhone 15 supports wired internet connectivity through a USB Type-C adapter and Ethernet (Apple offers such adapters, but I managed to make it work with a Chinese adapter). The wired connection speed is slightly faster than Wi-Fi. When you connect the cable, a corresponding section appears in the "Settings,". So, if you get tired of using the iPhone 15 traditionally, you can turn it into a fancy home router!


 The main camera of the iPhone finally moves away from the 12-megapixel resolution. iPhones switched to this resolution back in 2015 with the introduction of the iPhone 6S. Now, Apple has implemented a "completely new" 48-megapixel sensor, according to Apple itself. 

 I should note that the previous models of the Pro series were the first iPhones to have cameras with this resolution, but the iPhone 15 uses a different camera, albeit with the same resolution. The number of cameras on the iPhone 15 has not increased—it still has two cameras, and for a telephoto lens, you still need to turn to the Pro series smartphones. Nevertheless, there has been a significant upgrade.

 The main camera of the iPhone 15 received a new image sensor, while the wide-angle camera remained the same. The main camera features a 48-megapixel sensor with 1-micron pixels, which are combined in groups of four using the Quad Bayer scheme, resulting in 2-micron pixels. This sensor is paired with a lens that has a 26mm equivalent focal length and an aperture of f/1.6. 

 It's worth noting that the aperture has slightly decreased compared to the previous generation, now matching the aperture of the iPhone 13. For a larger sensor, it is not possible to maintain the same dimensions and aperture. The camera still features phase detection autofocus (Dual Pixel) and dual image stabilization—both optical and mechanical stabilization. There is also a dual-tone LED flash.

 The wide-angle camera on the iPhone 15 is the same as on all iPhones since the 11th generation. It is built on a 12-megapixel sensor and is equipped with an f/2.4 aperture lens with a 13mm equivalent focal length. It has a 120-degree field of view and lacks mechanical stabilization.

 By default, the iPhone 15 captures 24-megapixel photos, which are generated based on 12-megapixel and 48-megapixel shots. The higher resolution provides more flexibility for cropping or enlarging the image for printing compared to the previous 12 megapixels. 

 As a result, file sizes have increased but not doubled. Apple states that if a 12-megapixel photo in the default HEIF format is around 2MB, a 24-megapixel photo is around 3MB. If desired or in case of limited storage, you can choose to capture only 12-megapixel images, but this cannot be done through the Camera app. You need to go to "Settings," select "Camera," then go to the "Formats" section and choose the desired "Photo Mode." In the same menu, you can switch the capture formats from HEIF and HEVC to the more common JPEG and H.264. However, the iPhone 15 does not support RAW format, which remains exclusive to the iPhone Pro series.

 The introduction of the 48-megapixel sensor also enables the iPhone 15 to support two times hybrid zoom, although Apple refers to it as optical zoom. In this mode, the camera captures using every pixel and then crops to a 12-megapixel resolution image with minimal loss of quality. And the term "minimal" is not an exaggeration, as the photos indeed turn out to be of very good quality. 

 However, in low-light conditions, there may be a lack of detail or, conversely, excessive contour sharpness in the photos, which is typical for recent generations of iPhones. The iPhone 15 and 15 Plus still do not feature a dedicated telephoto camera.

 There is, of course, the ability to capture photos in full resolution with the iPhone 15's 48-megapixel camera. To access this feature, you'll need to go to "Settings" -> "Camera" -> "Formats" and find the "Resolution Control" toggle. Activating it will add a button in the camera app's interface to enable 48MP shooting mode, which is hidden by default for some reason. This allows you to capture photos with the full resolution of the sensor at 8064 x 6048 pixels. 

 However, for most users, this may not be very useful since comparing 24-megapixel and 48-megapixel photos shows a similar level of visible detail. The only noticeable difference is that 48-megapixel images are twice the size, which can quickly consume your smartphone's storage.

 The main camera, as expected from an iPhone, performs excellently in any lighting conditions and with any subject. Although the iPhone 15 doesn't surpass the recognized masters like the Huawei Mate 50 Pro in night photography, it still produces very decent results. However, in complex lighting scenarios, you may notice flares or circular halos around light sources. As usual with iPhones, the colors are pleasant and fairly accurate.

 As for the wide-angle camera, it performs well in normal lighting conditions but struggles with autofocus and generally delivers noticeably weaker results compared to the main module in low light. This is influenced by the smaller sensor size and the lens with a lower aperture. However, you can still obtain decent-quality shots with the wide-angle camera in various situations and lighting conditions.

 It's worth mentioning that the above-mentioned information about night photography primarily applies to the use of the special Night mode. It is automatically activated, but you can manually disable it, and the button for doing so appears within the camera app itself without the need to go into settings. 

 Night mode utilizes multi-frame merging of shots taken over 1-10 seconds (up to 30 seconds for the wide-angle camera). By default, the main camera in Night mode captures 12-megapixel photos instead of 24-megapixel ones. Examples of photos taken with and without Night mode are provided.

 Unlike the iPhone Pro models, the iPhone 15 does not have a dedicated macro mode. So, if you want to take a close-up shot of a flower or another object, you'll have to manually focus. Macro photos turn out equally well on both the main and wide-angle cameras. However, it may take some effort to achieve an impressive shot on the first try.

The Portrait mode remains essentially the same, but now it offers two focal lengths: standard and two times zoom. This provides more flexibility in shooting, and in general, in my opinion, portraits with the two-times zoom appear more geometrically accurate. Whether capturing portraits in standard mode or with zoom, the image quality is correct, with a nicely blurred and well-separated background. 

 Interestingly, Apple has added a feature that allows you to convert a standard photo into a portrait photo post-capture. If the smartphone recognizes a face or an animal in the photo, it will suggest activating the Portrait mode when viewing the photo in the "Photos" app. This is very convenient as it allows you to add the portrait effect after capturing the photo, without switching between modes during the shooting process.

 On the iPhone 15, there are the so-called photographic styles, which are essentially filters that change the saturation and contrast of the image, rather than tinting it. You can either shoot with the preset parameters or adjust them manually. Above are examples of preset styles.

 The camera app on the new iPhone 15 is essentially the same as in the previous version of iOS. The only new additions for regular iPhones are the switch for 2x zoom and the button for 48-megapixel shooting mode, which you have to activate separately. 

 There is still no manual mode, but the unpopular Live Photos, panorama mode, time-lapse, slow-motion, and "Cinematic" effects are still available. For video recording, you can change the resolution and frame rate on the fly (previously, you had to go to "Settings") and enable the "Action" mode.

 The interface is minimalist, perhaps even too much so—I feel that some settings are lacking directly in the "Camera" app. It is a bit annoying that you have to go to a separate menu for them, but that's classic Apple—you either use what's there or put in some effort to make changes. It's also strange that you have to touch the arrow at the top to access the additional settings menu.

 Video recording is available in resolutions up to 4K at frame rates up to 60 frames per second for any focal length. Digital stabilization works at any resolution and frame rate, for both cameras and all three focal lengths. During recording, you can smoothly switch between the focal lengths, all three of them. 

 By default, videos are recorded in HDR format with immediate conversion to Dolby Vision HDR, even at 60 frames per second.

 The "Cinematic" effect feature is also present, with its smooth focus transition and artificial background blur. The blur works almost flawlessly—I only experienced one instance where the smartphone attempted to blur part of my nose, but it quickly corrected itself. I didn't notice any blurring of random objects in the frame, which my colleague pointed out in last year's iPhone 14 Pro review, although the straps of a backpack did lose a bit of sharpness. 

 In any case, the "Cinematic" effect does create the intended result, and videos in this mode turn out impressive. However, the frame rate in this mode does not exceed 30 frames per second.

 The "Action" feature, introduced in the previous generation of iPhones, is also present and provides enhanced stabilization. It allows shooting in 4K using the wide-angle module, and then the image is compressed to a resolution of 2.8K, resulting in ultra-smooth footage. The effect looks amazing, but it cannot be used in low-light conditions due to the lens's low aperture. Overall, both the feature set and the quality of the videos make the iPhone 15 a good option for video recording.

 The front camera is the same as in the previous generation iPhones—12MP, ƒ/1.9 aperture, phase detection autofocus. It is complemented by a depth sensor for assisting in background blur for selfies. You can choose the field of view—you can take photos with the widest angle of view (using the full sensor surface, 12MP) or a narrower angle (approximately 7MP), and there is also a night mode. Overall, the selfie camera performs quite well in its tasks, although studio lighting effects sometimes look a bit strange.

Autonomous operation and charging:

 Apple gradually increases the battery capacity in its smartphones each year. Thus, the iPhone 15 has a battery with a capacity of 12.73 watt-hours (3349 mAh, 3.8V) - a modest increase compared to the iPhone 14. However, thanks to a more energy-efficient platform, a significant improvement in battery life has been achieved. 

 In our traditional test of playing Full HD video, with notifications enabled and connected to a Wi-Fi network, the iPhone 15 lasted over 18.5 hours. This is an excellent result, which can be attributed to the relatively low maximum brightness: for most of the test, the smartphone was in darkness or low light, and the maximum brightness was intentionally kept low - it is not possible to force the iPhone screen to output maximum brightness.

 Although the iPhone 15 has switched to the widely used USB-C port, the charging speed hasn't increased. It supports wired charging up to 27W and wireless charging via MagSafe at 15W or via standard Qi charging at 7.5W. In the future, the smartphone will also support the 15W Qi2 standard. 

 Charging the battery to full capacity with a cable takes quite a long time, with the first 80% charging relatively quickly, approximately 45 minutes, using a 25W adapter. The last 20% charges more slowly and takes about half an hour or even more.

 Charging accessories are unlikely to return to the iPhone's package, but this time the included cable is a pleasant surprise. Apple has finally equipped the iPhone with a cable featuring a fabric braided cover, which should significantly improve its resistance to mechanical damage and, therefore, its durability. 

 The iPhone 15 comes with a one-meter cable with USB Type-C connectors on both ends. The cable is white for all versions - in my opinion, it would have been more interesting if each color variant of the iPhone had its cable color.


 Summarizing the review of the iPhone seems rather pointless, as those who want an Apple smartphone will buy it regardless, regardless of anything, and iPhone haters will only rejoice in the various features of the new model.

 And in reality, the increased attention to the iPhone 15 compared to the iPhone 14 from a year ago is quite understandable. The new model offers a lot of new features compared to its predecessor, which the iPhone 14 couldn't boast of compared to the iPhone 13 a year ago. 

 Of course, the iPhone 15 has its downsides. A smartphone in the premium price category with a 60Hz refresh rate display doesn't look serious in 2023. Similarly, Apple's decision to stick with the outdated USB 2.0 for the regular iPhones is disappointing. 

 The lack of an Always-On Display feature and relatively slow charging also doesn't enhance the appeal of the new model, nor does the absence of a separate telephoto camera. In comparison, the iPhone 14 Pro is better in every aspect, except for the lack of a USB-C port, but it seems that this is not the most important detail for many Apple fans. It's 

 worth noting that many of the features and characteristics that the iPhone 15 lacks can be found in mid-range Android smartphones, not to mention flagship devices. However, this is also not news for most Apple enthusiasts.

 However, there are still some praises for the iPhone 15. The updated design with a matte back panel and rounded edges looks and feels very pleasant. The removal of the "notch" can only be welcomed, even though the replacement in the form of a large "island" looks questionable, it's still an improvement over what it was before. The new camera is a significant improvement and elevates the regular iPhone to a higher level, and the powerful processor completes the picture. The icing on the cake is the USB Type-C port.

Advantages of the iPhone 15:

  • Powerful hardware platform
  • Comfortable and attractive design
  • Very bright display
  • Excellent camera with high-quality photos and videos
  • IP68 water resistance
  • Good battery life
  • USB Type-C

Disadvantages of the iPhone 15:

  • 60Hz refresh rate display
  • The large notch on the display
  • Lack of a telephoto camera
  • Throttling issues and significant heating under load
  • Lack of truly fast charging
  • Limited speed of USB Type-C

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