The iPhone 15 Pro Eight Months Later: Worth the Money?

  • The Good: USB-C, battery life and Action Button all win me over.
  • The Bad: Gets hot, buy a screen protector and the pains of a new device.
  • The iPhone: Get it if you want USB-C, but wait for the iPhone 16 at this point.

The iPhone 15 Pro launched in September 2023, and now, several months later, it’s time for a thorough review. As a day-one buyer, I was able to test its features first-hand. Coming from an iPhone 12 Pro, the upgrades were impressive, but several issues inevitably emerged.

If you’re on the fence about making the jump or not, this guide should help. I’ll talk about the new lineup’s pros and cons to help you decide whether it’s worth your money or not. Let’s dive in.

What Is So Special About the iPhone 15?

USB-C Cable Compatibility

As we all know, the iPhone 15 series is the first iPhone to feature USB-C. It’s the primary reason I wanted to upgrade my device in the first place. I was incredibly excited for Apple to finally make the switch.

iPhone 15 charging port and speakers

For me, the iPhone 15 Pro moving to USB-C has been almost entirely positive. While I did have to purchase some new cables (USB-A to USB-C, specifically), this was primarily due to my home setup. Were it not for that, the USB-C cable that comes with the device would have sufficed, and acquiring more cables is neither hard nor expensive.

Despite this setback, a USB-C iPhone with USB-C is a blessing since I no longer need a proprietary cable just for my phone. Having an iPhone that charges the same way as every other device I own is fantastic. While Apple fought for Lightning as long as it could, I think the switch is fantastic. I feel most consumers are going to agree on that front as well.

Extended Battery Life

Making the jump from the iPhone 12 Pro to the iPhone 15 Pro, one of the largest things that stood out for me was battery life. Sporting a decent 3,274 mAh battery, it does a great job of holding a charge the entire day. While I was used to carrying around an external battery with my iPhone 12 Pro, it doesn’t feel as necessary with the iPhone 15.

Now, this is obviously because one is newer (and slightly larger) than the other, but considering the battery in the iPhone 15 Pro needs to keep the powerful A17 Pro going, I think the iPhone 15 Pro is capable of handling all-day use rather well.

However, is the 3,274 mAh iPhone 15 Pro battery really an upgrade from the 2,815 mAh battery in the 12 Pro? Well, one number is larger than the other, that much is for certain. I’ll admit that perhaps I like the battery in my new device because it is indeed a new device and battery. Despite this, I expect a good battery to keep me juiced all day with typical use, and the iPhone 15 Pro succeeds more often than it fails. In the end, that’s really all that matters to me.

All-New Action Button

For my last point, I want to take a look at what I think is the sleeper-hitter of the Pro series: the Action Button. Along with USB-C, another first for the iPhone 15 Pro series is the move from a physical slider to an Action Button, which is customizable and allows you to quickly access a variety of functions.

Admittedly, when the button was first announced, I didn’t see much use it in. While everyone who is capable should always keep their phone silenced anyway, the physical switch on the iPhone just made sense. Seemingly. While you can assign different things to the Action Button, such as your camera, or even language translation, I find that assigning the flashlight to the Action Button is an actual life changer for me.

Translate Action Button iOS Select Translate

Before the button, I didn’t realize just how often I use the flashlight on my iPhone. Turns out, I use it all the time. As a musician, I’m constantly trying to find small things in a dark or dim room, and being able to access my flashlight without even turning on my screen is a true blessing.

Of course, this only scratches the surface of what I like about the iPhone 15 Pro. I haven’t even gone into the camera improvements, roadside assistance via satellite, and the power behind the A17 Pro, but I’m trying to keep this short for everybody. Personally, if you already like the iPhone, you’re going to love the improvements and upgrades in this device.

What Are the Downsides to the iPhone 15?

Overheating Issues

Upon the release of the iPhone 15, reports came out that devices were overheating, especially while charging. While iOS 17.0.3 attempts to address this issue, my personal iPhone still gets pretty warm. While I’ve never faced the overheating issues that many experienced, I found the device to often feel incredibly warm, even with moderate use.

Personally, I notice this the most when I’m using my smartphone outside with something CPU-intensive. However, it’s obvious this will happen regardless of what device you use.

While running resource-sucking apps in hot weather conditions is going to increase the temperature of your device, I still feel that my iPhone 15 Pro overall runs warmer than my iPhone 12 Pro. This is noticeable simply through handling the device, which might be a problem for some users.

Now, since I’m using a release-day device, those who purchase a new iPhone may not have the same experience as me. That said, the heat emanating from my device is enough that it’s worth mentioning, but not enough that it ruins my experience with the device outright.

You Still Need Screen Protectors

I’m not a fan of cellphone cases, and I’ve debated whether to put this in the pro or con category. With my iPhone 12 Pro, I made the decision midway through the lifespan of using the device that I was done with cases and screen protectors.

Despite my new preferences, I don’t know if this device is the evidence sufficient for my creed. Look, I’m not really a graceful person. I drop my phone a lot. There’s been more than one time where I’ve dropped the 15 Pro and thought to myself, “Well, that screen is definitely busted.” and was pleasantly surprised to be wrong.

While I’ve yet to drop the device on concrete (thank God), it’s been doing a pretty good job handling my clumsy lifestyle while remaining naked and free.

Being caseless doesn’t seem so bad for the device itself, although my screen hasn’t been so lucky. After around eight months of use, I have two pretty decent-sized scratches on my screen, as well as several hairline scratches that simply came from the dirt and debris in my pockets.

I’m not willing to take a razorblade to my screen or camera lens, but I feel rather confident that it wouldn’t take much to create some gnarly gouges in my display.

Personally, I think you can skip the case if you’re careful with your iPhone (don’t try and bend it with your bare hands). Just grab yourself a screen protector at the very least.

The Hype Has Faded

While this may simply be a personal gripe, I think one of the more disappointing experiences with my upgrade was the transition. This has stuck in my craw since I first began upgrading my iPhone, and I feel this is a shared experience online: I don’t get a lot of joy out of buying a new iPhone. Sure, I love the upgrades, but where’s the love I used to feel?

I used to feel excited about opening a product, and that doesn’t seem to happen anymore when I purchase a new iPhone. Apple virtually invented unboxing videos, and I miss that feeling. I miss feeling excited at having a new device in my hands: staring at it in awe like I was holding something embryonic.

Apple still does an excellent job with its packaging—making the act of opening a product an experience in itself. By the time I’m halfway through the setup process, however, the device already feels like it’s the same as it ever was.

Yeah, I have more cores in my CPU and more mega-pixels in my camera, but how often do I truly notice them? Maybe this one is just me. Maybe I’m growing jaded as I age. However, I don’t feel I’m alone in this, especially for long-term iPhone users.

Should You Buy the Phone or Not?

At this point in the iPhone’s lifecycle, I would recommend waiting to see what the iPhone 16 series delivers. The device is worth the money, but unless you haven’t upgraded in a while, succeeding models will likely offer more features. You also might find yourself with a better build quality. I must say, however, that if you’re dying to move to USB-C, then the device is definitely worth the jump.

If you’re sporting an iPhone 14 (or even an iPhone 13), I don’t think an upgrade is entirely worth it at this point. Of course, that’s not to say I don’t love the phone—I do. But as I mentioned, I just don’t see the magic in making the jump. I don’t think the iPhone 15 Pro has enough tricks for a full show-stopping act, but Apple definitely has some rabbits still in the hat.

2 thoughts on “The iPhone 15 Pro Eight Months Later: Worth the Money?

  • I bought an iPhone 15 Pro 2 weeks ago. I replaced an iPhone 12 Pro.
    Did not see any point in waiting for the 16.
    My next iPhone will probably be the 18 or 19.

    1. iPhone 16 is looking good, but unless it’s something groundbreaking, I refuse to upgrade yearly. The 17 would likely be my next iPhone, but like you I would like to wait until the 18 or 19.

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