Hands-On: 5 Amazing Upgrades For The Apple iPhone 15 Pro & Pro Max

It’s no longer just a smartphone as Apple has continually improved on its iconic device that makes consumers yearn for the latest model every year. Whether you are currently using an iPhone 14 or earlier model, or are on Android looking to make the switch, the latest iPhone 15 series has plenty to offer, though you need to choose wisely. 

Apple splits the iPhone range into two, with the regular and Pro series. There are two Pro models offering a newer processor and more advanced hardware. Ahead of their general availability on 22 September, we had some hands-on time with the new devices at Apple Park in Cupertino, and here are five things that will help you decide if you should upgrade to either the 6.1-inch iPhone 15 Pro or 6.7-inch iPhone Pro Max this year.

Advertisement ▼

#1. Space-grade Titanium Design & Contoured Edges

Before the recent use of glass on the rear, several earlier models of iPhones were made with aluminium and Apple is revisiting that as both the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max will come in four strong and lightweight space-grade titanium finishes – black titanium, white titanium, blue titanium, and natural titanium. Our personal favourite is definitely the natural titanium. The black and blue titanium tend to look a bit too dark for our liking, which makes it harder to see the brushed texture which was most prominent with the natural titanium. As for the white titanium, well, it just doesn’t exude that premium brushed titanium look. iPhone 14 series users will know how much of a fingerprint magnet the stainless steel borders are like. The new titanium finish isn’t immune to fingerprint smudges, but at least it is less prone to it compared to before, and tends to be easier to wipe off.

Apple iPhone 15 (2)

So how much lighter is the iPhone 15 Pro Max thanks to its titanium body? It’s 19g lighter, at 221g, compared to the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s 240g. As for the iPhone 15 Pro, it’s also 19g lighter, at 187g, down from 206g. That makes the iPhone 15 Pro Max 8% lighter and the iPhone 15 Pro 9% lighter.

As for the bezels around the phone, Apple touts it as the thinnest ever, but it’s hardly noticeable, especially since the borders were already very thin on the iPhone 14 series. However, the contoured edges are much more obvious, which also makes both models very comfortable to hold as compared that of the iPhone 14 Pro series.

#2) The New Action Button

The once single-function ring/silent switch on the left side of the iPhone has been replaced with a new Action button. This allows users to quickly toggle an often-used function, and users have the ability to customise how it behaves. It still functions as a ring/silent button by default but it is also easily configurable, to say activate the Camera, Flashlight, Voice Memos, Focus modes, Magnifier, Translate (to be added later this year), or with creating Shortcuts to other apps. The press-and-hold gesture of the button provides haptic feedback to indicate that you have activated it and visual cues in the Dynamic Island helps to show the user that the intended action is launched. If anything, it gives the Dynamic Island another nice sense of purpose, and a very welcomed one.


Let’s take a closer look at how the new action button on the Apple iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max works! #appleevent #appleevent2023 #iphone #iphone15pro #iphone15promax #actionbutton #titanium #whattobuy #fyp #fypシ

♬ Glowing Sea – Muspace Lofi

#3. A17 Pro Chip For Console Quality Gaming

The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max are powered by the industry’s first 3-nanometre chip, the A17 Pro. The new CPU is up to 10 per cent faster (than the A16 Bionic chip in the iPhone 14 Pro) and the Neural Engine is now up to 2x faster. The newly redesigned GPU is up to 20 per cent faster, complete with hardware-accelerated ray tracing, which is 4x faster than software-based ray tracing. Thanks to all this power, the iPhone 15 Pro is able to deliver smooth frame rates and captivating visuals for console game titles. That’s right – Apple is redefining mobile gaming with AAA titles including Resident Evil Village, Resident Evil 4 Remake, Death Stranding, and the upcoming Assassin’s Creed Mirage on your iPhone.

Thanks to the power of the A17 Pro chip, the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max are now able to record and output HDR videos up to 4K at 60 fps.

#4. Pro “7-Camera” System

The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max pack quite a punch in the camera department, with the equivalent of seven pro lenses, thanks to the power of the A17 Pro chip. Both devices have a 12MP ultra wide camera (13mm) and a 48MP main camera which can switch seamlessly between three popular focal lengths – 24mm, 28mm and 35mm. Users can set either one as the preferred default depending on personal preference. In addition to 48MP ProRAW, the main camera also supports 48MP HEIF images with 4x more resolution.

The iPhone 15 Pro has a 3x telephoto camera (77mm), while the iPhone 15 Pro Max has a x5 telephoto camera at 120mm (the longest optical zoom ever on an iPhone). The telephoto lens is not only great for close-ups, wildlife, and catching the action from a distance away.


First looks at the Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max! Marvel at the gorgeous brushed titanium look, the new action button and the whopping 7-camera system. #appleevent #appleevent2023 #apple #iphone #iphone15pro #iphone15promax #titanium #camera #photography #fyp #fypシ

♬ Lo-fi hip hop – NAO-K

Most importantly, there is no longer a need to switch to Portrait mode to take portrait shots. In default camera mode, the iPhone 15 Pro is able to automatically detect depth information when there is a human, dog or cat subject in the frame, or when a user simply taps to focus on any object. Users can then edit any of the photos later to adjust the focus point at their leisure.

#5. USB-C Connectivity & Wi-Fi 6E

So long Lightning, it was nice knowing you. The iPhone 15 series will drop the Lightning connector and switch to the industry USB-C standard. While the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus will tap on the slower USB-C 2.0, both the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max tap on the much faster USB‑C 3.0 connector.

On the surface, this means users can use the same USB-C cable across their iPhone, Mac, iPad, and the new AirPods Pro (2nd generation), and even charge their AirPods or Apple Watch directly from the iPhone 15 via a USB-C to USB-C cable. That said, consumers should know that not all USB-C cables are made the same so make sure that the ones you have or use can benefit from the full features of the connectors on the IPhone 15 Pro range.

Thanks to the USB 3.0 standard, speedy data transfer speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second (up to 20x faster than USB 2.0) can now be enjoyed with iPhone 15 Pro users. Additionally, both models also support Wi-Fi 6E which supports up to 2x faster wireless performance.

Pricing & Availability

Fortunately, the prices this year are only marginally higher than last year’s. The iPhone 15 Pro (128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB) starts at the base price of S$1,649, while the iPhone 15 Pro Max (256GB, 512 GB, and 1TB) starts at S$1,999. Pre-orders open on 15 September at 8 pm SGT (GMT+8), and will start shipping on 22 September.