Apple did something with the iPhone 15 Plus that I didn’t expect

Apple iPhone 15 Plus Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

A few grams here and a slight design change there, plus an internal spec upgrade later, and one from last year at least attractive phones have turned into serious contenders for your money in 2023.

I’m talking about the Apple iPhone 15 Plus, which, for various reasons, will be too easy to ignore this year. But you shouldn’t, because it’s actually quite special.

Reviving the Plus name

IPhone 14 Plus is held in a man's hand.
Apple iPhone 14 Plus Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Apple reintroduced the Plus name with the iPhone 14 series in 2022 after stopping making base models with large screens for several generations and instead toying with smaller screens. But the iPhone 14 Plus model is not exact. The iPhone 14’s angular, sharp shape is no match for the phone’s giant body, and the result is a device so big, clunky, and uncomfortable that I happily stopped using it after I finished the review.

The iPhone 15 series is very different. It’s been very subtly redesigned, and while some might complain that it still looks basically the same, in reality, the seemingly very small changes have made a big difference. The edges have lost their sharpness, the weight has been reduced slightly, and the overall footprint size has been reduced by just a tenth of a millimeter. This shouldn’t work every the difference, but you have to believe me — it is.

It’s the iPhone 15 Plus and iPhone 15 Pro Max that really benefit from Apple’s design and ergonomic changes. The Pro Max at 221 grams is lighter than before, but still weighty, while the iPhone 15 Plus is a much more reasonable 201 grams. Remember, the iPhone 15 Plus has the same screen size of 6.7 inches, making it easier to live with on a daily basis and stacks up against the Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus and OnePlus 11. The iPhone 14 Plus is too stiff and too annoying to hold. to compete, but the iPhone 15 Plus can no longer be considered too big and powerful or less comfortable to use.

The iPhone 15 Plus is different

Someone holding an Apple iPhone 15 Plus.
Apple iPhone 15 Plus Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

It’s normal if you think I’m exaggerating. I reviewed the iPhone 14 Plus, so it made sense for me to review the iPhone 15 Plus, a task I hated at the time. I expected the results to be the same, but I was completely wrong, and I was actually surprised to find how much I liked using the iPhone 15 Plus.

I use an Android phone and an iPhone every day, and that means if my phone is distracting me, I notice it immediately. The design of the iPhone 14 Plus makes it feel bulky and awkward, but the iPhone 15 Plus never reaches that stage at all. The camera is also better. When I started using the iPhone 15 Plus, I was using the iPhone 14 Pro, which had a camera that got better over time.

The iPhone 15 Plus takes the best of that phone, like the A16 Bionic processor, and pairs it with a newly upgraded camera, along with some software tweaks, to make it just as capable as last year’s flagship Apple camera phone for general day-to-day use. photography. It’s no iPhone 15 Pro Max in terms of camera technology, but for many people, it’s close enough.

It all makes for a great phone

Apple iPhone 15 Plus and iPhone 14 Plus camera module.
Apple iPhone 15 Plus (left) and iPhone 14 Plus Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Since I finished reviewing the iPhone 15 Plus, I’ve moved on to using the iPhone 15 Pro Max as my everyday iPhone, and I learned something very interesting in the process. After using both back-to-back for a few weeks, I can confidently say that if you want an iPhone with a big screen this year, you really have two choices. Last year, it could be argued that there was no choice at all, and the iPhone 14 or the smaller iPhone 14 Pro were the best choices overall.

You might be considering the iPhone 15 Plus or iPhone 15 Pro Max because you want a big screen, so what about the difference in refresh rates? Apple seems to have worked wonders with the 60Hz refresh rate screen on the iPhone 15 Plus, although the 120Hz ProMotion screen on the iPhone 15 Pro Max is certainly smoother, switching between the two is much less jarring than you’d expect. In comparison, the iPhone 14 Plus’ 60Hz screen looks very clear.

Side profile of Apple iPhone 15 Plus and iPhone 14 Plus.
Apple iPhone 15 Plus (left) and iPhone 14 Plus Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The 15 Plus and 15 Pro Max have the same screen size, offering the same immersive display for games and videos, and switching between 60Hz and 120Hz isn’t too much of a pain. Add this to the Plus’s great camera and improved ergonomics, and this will be the phone you want want to use. Perhaps more importantly, if you don’t need the extra capabilities of the iPhone 15 Pro Max, but still want a big screen, the iPhone 15 Plus saves you $200.

The iPhone 14 Plus doesn’t mark the triumphant return of the Plus name. It’s a compromise, a bit of a letdown, and I can’t recommend it wholeheartedly. This year, the iPhone 15 Plus is a completely different device, and Apple has breathed new life into its cheapest big-screen model with just a few minor changes. If you want a large iPhone this year, don’t overlook the iPhone 15 Plus.

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