Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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The iPhone 15 Pro’s biggest upgrade is hiding in plain sight


iPhone 15 Pro in hand.
Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

Apple added plenty of upgrades to the iPhone 15 Pro and the iPhone 15 Pro Max. The Lightning port is now replaced with USB-C, so you don’t have to carry around a separate wire for your phone anymore. You can now take better photos with improved HDR and portraits. The Pro series gets Log video recording and an Academy Color Encoding System to make it more useful for creators. There’s a new Action button that you can customize to open apps that you like.

However, the best upgrade, in my opinion, is hiding in plain sight. You’ll notice it only when you hold the iPhone 15 Pro or the 15 Pro Max. I’m talking about the ergonomics.

The lightest Pro iPhone ever

iPhone 15 Pro display.
Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

Apple moved to a flat-edge design with the iPhone 12 and stuck with it through the iPhone 14 series. The flat-edged iPhones felt premium in 2020, but over its the three-year duration, the Pro series became more and more uncomfortable to hold due to the weight added each year.

I’ve written in the past about how bad the ergonomics were on my iPhone 14 Pro Max. But holding the iPhone 15 Pro Max and then using the iPhone 15 Pro as a daily driver came as a pleasant surprise. And that’s because of two reasons: weight and design.

I can tell you that the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max are 19 grams lighter than before, but that’s not the whole story here. The 19-gram number might not seem like a big deal on paper, but these phones feel brilliant in the hand. To put things into perspective, here are some numbers:

The iPhone 14 and 14 Pro Max weighed 206 grams and 248 grams, respectively, while the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max measured 204 grams and 240 grams, respectively. This year, the iPhone 15 Pro weighs 187 grams, which is lighter than 2019’s iPhone 11 Pro (188 grams). The same goes for the iPhone 15 Pro Max at 221 grams versus 226 grams for the iPhone 11 Pro Max. This means that the iPhone 15 Pro is the lightest iPhone ever to use the “Pro” branding.

Titanium makes a world of difference

iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max sides.
iPhone 15 Pro (left) and iPhone 14 Pro Max Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

This is largely thanks to Apple replacing its stainless steel design with titanium, which is bonded with aluminum on the inside for the edges. You get a brushed finish instead of the glossy one like before. My iPhone 14 Pro Max still feels a bit more premium in the hand when compared to the iPhone 15 Pro, but it’s a small price to pay for the difference in weight.

Coming to the design, the edges are no longer as sharp as before. The slight curves make a whole lot of difference when using the iPhone for long durations. I’ve been using the iPhone 15 Pro for the past week, and I haven’t once felt a strain on my wrist or the need to move my pinkie finger from the bottom to give it a rest.

The new design makes my day-to-day experience with the phone much more enjoyable. I no longer need to adjust my grip on my iPhone every few minutes when I’m reading. I don’t have to seek a solid object to place my iPhone on during long video calls or meetings. When clicking pictures in landscape, I can now easily hold the phone and shoot without needing to adjust the grip – and risk losing the shot.

The iPhone 15 Pro is brilliant

iPhone 15 Pro in hand with iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone 14 in background.
Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

The combination of curved edges and a lighter form factor make the iPhone 15 Pro my favorite iPhone in years. It’s got all the bells and whistles without compromising on the ergonomics. This hasn’t been the case on the Pro lineup for at least two years due to the added weight in each generation.

If you are buying the iPhone 15 Pro, I urge you to use it without a case to experience the new design. That’s because you might not feel much of a difference if you are using it with a case.

That being said, I like what Apple has done with the iPhone 15 Pro design-wise. I’m still not fully satisfied with the battery life, as I need to carry a power bank if I’m planning to stay out all day. But having a phone in my pocket that has a telephoto camera, offers a great display, and doesn’t compromise on performance — all while being comfortable to hold throughout the day — is a new experience for me. It’s an experience I absolutely love, and I think you will too.

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