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iPhone 15 Plus Review: The best of the bunch - a superb powerhouse

A top-of-the-line Apple performance is expected from Apple’s iPhone 15 Plus. However, does it live up to expectations? Know it in our review.

By: SHAURYA TOMER
Updated on: Oct 17 2023, 18:48 IST
iPhone 15 Plus is priced at Rs. 89900, but is it worth buying? (Shaurya Tomer/HT Tech)

iPhones have long been known as the best in the business. While Apple’s smartphones generally cost a fortune, they offer the best technology the world has to offer, without any compromises. It is this no-holds-barred approach that has helped Apple trump everyone in a smartphone market that is exceedingly getting crowded with amazing options for every use case and budget. However, only a handful of them can hold a candle to the iPhone, especially when it comes to performance and a developed ecosystem. Samsung has been attempting to create its very own ecosystem and has taken positive steps towards it with its smartphones, earbuds, smartwatches and laptops, but it is far from being a worthy rival to Apple. And from that high perch, the iPhone 15 Plus started its journey in our hands and expectations were high. Did it ace the test?

The Cupertino-based tech giant’s iPhone releases every year have become customary, with four models - two for entry-level Apple users and two high-end devices for those who want the best tech. The iPhone 15 series, which debuted at the Wonderlust event on September 12, follows this strategy and has four models in its lineup - iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max.

With its latest iPhone series, Apple finally brought several much-needed upgrades to the basic iPhones, while the top-end devices have received specially reserved features. And although the iPhone 15 Pro Max has become the talk of the town, it is the iPhone 15 Plus that secretly shines, despite not being given much attention by Apple analysts. After all, it is just an iPhone 15 in a bigger shell right? Well yes, but it is still the best of the bunch and in my books, can well be nominated as the top iPhone to buy this year. Here’s why.

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iPhone 15 Plus: Display and design

The iPhone 15 Plus sports the Dynamic Island at the top, replacing the big, ugly notch. (Shaurya Tomer/HT Tech)
The iPhone 15 Plus sports the Dynamic Island at the top, replacing the big, ugly notch. (Shaurya Tomer/HT Tech)

Finally! Apple has got rid of the unsightly notch that sat atop the screen since the iPhone X and has brought Dynamic Island, a feature that debuted with the iPhone 14 Pro models, to the iPhone 15 Plus. And what a much-needed addition it is. Dynamic Island brings several nifty features to the iPhone which can come in handy during certain situations. It is well-integrated into several of Apple’s apps such as Phone, Maps, Airdrop, Music, Voice Memos, and Apple Pay (although it is rarely used in India), and also allows you to quickly switch over to other apps. The rest of the design is nearly identical to its predecessor, although the iPhone 15 Plus features slightly rounded edges, making it comfortable to hold for longer periods. And yes, the iconic mute switch is still here.

The display of the iPhone 15 Plus deserves to be both praised and criticized. Here’s why.

First, the positives. Owing to the slightly curved edges, the bezels are less pronounced and look thinner. Moreover, Apple has bumped up the brightness to a staggering 1600 nits, which is a godsend when used outdoors, especially in places like Delhi which receives a lot of sunlight throughout the year. While the resolution remains the same, it is easily one of the best displays to look at with the naked eye. But hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Now, the negatives. Apple seems to still think that having a 60Hz display on a smartphone that is priced at nearly Rs. 90,000 is good enough, but unfortunately, it simply isn’t. Despite getting the Dynamic Island upgrade, the iPhone 15 Plus neither gets Apple’s ProMotion nor the always-on display and these big misses are desperately felt here, considering smartphones in the Rs. 10,000 price range now come with a 90Hz refresh rate. Do better Apple.

iPhone 15 Plus: Performance

The iPhone 15 Plus gets the same treatment as last year’s standard iPhone models, being powered by the A16 Bionic SoC, which powered the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. But there’s no need to panic as it is still one of the fastest chips in the business and breezes through most tasks without breaking a sweat.

However, over the past few weeks, the iPhone 15 series has come under immense scrutiny due to various issues plaguing Apple’s newest iPhones. Heating issues have been reported, and my unit has been going through the motions as well. Not just while gaming, but the iPhone 15 Plus started heating up while browsing through Instagram reels, on long calls, and even while clicking snapshots. Being a long-term iPhone user, I’ve now come to understand that iPhones tend to get a little warm when plugged in and it is completely normal. However, the iPhone 15 Plus got so hot at times that it stopped charging. Now, that is problematic.

Fortunately, Apple quickly found the problem-causing bug and it was a software issue and not a hardware problem. It issued an update quickly and now the iPhone 15 Plus runs cool as ice. iOS 17 has brought some nifty features to iPhones, with the contact sharing one being the one I’ve played around with the most with other iPhone users.

All in all, you can expect a typical iPhone-esque performance from the iPhone 15 Plus that users have grown accustomed to, (hopefully) without any hiccups.

iPhone 15 Plus: Cameras

One of the main changes this year on the iPhone 15 Plus is the camera system. (Shaurya Tomer/HT Tech)
One of the main changes this year on the iPhone 15 Plus is the camera system. (Shaurya Tomer/HT Tech)

This is where Apple has seemingly spent the most time developing the iPhone 15 Plus, and it is evident by the awesome snapshots it produces. The main sensor has been upgraded to 48MP which now supports HEIF MAX as well as Apple’s ProRAW. The snapshots are well-balanced with lots of details. After years of neglect, Apple has seemingly fixed its exposure issue and the Smart HDR 5 is evidence of that.

The new primary camera utilizes a 24MP super-high-resolution default that captures detailed and sharp images while maintaining image size efficiency, meaning you get amazing-looking photos without too much storage space. You can also shoot in 0.5x, 1x, and 2x zoom levels with the 2x telephoto lens, and it also produces decent images without offering any groundbreaking advances.

Machine learning allows the iPhone to automatically take Portrait photos without having to manually switch modes. You can even change the focus in an image between foreground and background, a smart feature that is expected from Google’s Pixel devices. Perhaps after years of playing catch-up, Apple is ready to take the lead in computational photography once and for all.

iPhone 15 Plus: Battery life

iPhone 15 Plus has a great battery life, but is still stuck at 20W. (Shaurya Tomer/HT Tech)
iPhone 15 Plus has a great battery life, but is still stuck at 20W. (Shaurya Tomer/HT Tech)

The battery life on the iPhone 15 is the best one I’ve ever seen on an iPhone. Yes, it is that good. The iPhone 15 Plus lasts a full day and then more. In my daily usage which included lots of texting, music streaming, wireless Carplay connection and an occasional YouTube video, the iPhone 15 Plus still managed to last through the day with a considerable amount remaining. Light users might be able to get 30-32 hours of battery life on a single charge.

Moving on to a revolutionary feature on the iPhone 15 Plus...

iPhone 15 Plus now features a USB Type-C port at the bottom. (Shaurya Tomer/HT Tech)
iPhone 15 Plus now features a USB Type-C port at the bottom. (Shaurya Tomer/HT Tech)

Lightning is finally dead! After years of resisting pressure, Apple has finally gotten rid of its proprietary lightning connector and replaced it with a USB Type-C port, which bodes well for users like me who live in an Android-dominated household. Now, there’s no need to worry about lugging your charger around as it will charge through any USB Type-C cable. However, the maximum charging speed is 20W (STILL!), and MagSafe supports up to 15W wireless. Therefore, charging the iPhone 15 Plus from 0-100% takes a considerable amount of time, something we don’t always have.

iPhone 15 Plus: Verdict

Is the iPhone 15 Plus worth upgrading to from an iPhone 13 or iPhone 14? Probably not. The cost far outweighs the handful of new features. However, if you’re on an iPhone 12 which Apple discontinued recently and are looking at the iPhone 15 series, then the iPhone 15 Plus is the one to buy. It gets new features such as Dynamic Island although the display is still stuck at 60Hz. In terms of performance, the iPhone 15 Plus’ A16 Bionic performs brilliantly, and the issues have finally been ironed out with an update. It gets a new 48MP camera which captures exceptional shots in all conditions, while the 2x telephoto also snaps decent, zoomed-in photos. You get all-day battery life on the iPhone 15 Plus with moderate-to-heavy usage, and it can last even longer if you’re a light user. Charging can prove to be a headache at times owing to the slow 20W speeds.

All in all, the iPhone 15 Plus is a great shout as the best iPhone to buy this year, and is certainly the best among other iPhones in its lineup, considering its price.

Rating
4 out of 5
Price
INR 89,900/-
Product Name
iPhone 15 Plus
Brand Name
Apple
Pros
  • Bright and slick display
  • Great cameras
  • Intuitive Dynamic Island
  • Impressive performance
Cons
  • Still 60Hz refresh rate
  • Slow charging speeds
Specifications
  • Display
    6.7 inches, Super Retina XDR
  • Refresh Rate
    60Hz
  • Rear Camera
    48MP+12MP
  • Front Camera
    12MP
  • Chipset
    A16 Bionic
  • OS
    iOS 17

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First Published Date: 17 Oct, 18:48 IST

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