iPhone 15 exclusive – we try Apple’s new smartphones

Apple has just unveiled its next batch of iPhones during its gadget-packed “Wonderlust” event in California and, if you haven’t upgraded in a while, there’s plenty to be excited about. Express.co.uk jetted off to the spaceship-like Apple campus in Cupertino to be one of the first in the world to get our hands on these upcoming smartphones and we’ve been left pretty impressed by what the teams at Apple have rustled up in 2023.

The biggest changes will be reserved for those who have enough money stashed in their bank accounts to buy the iPhone 15 Pro (£999) and ultimate iPhone 15 Pro Max (£1,199). Both of these top-tier phones feature a stunning titanium finish. which not only makes them tougher but also lighter in your pocket.

Holding an iPhone 14 Pro Max in one hand and the shiny new iPhone 15 Pro Max in the other, we were able to notice the difference in weight.

As well as shedding a bit of timber, Apple is confident this new titanium design will help these Pro devices survive the perils of life on the road and allowed Apple to push the OLED display closer to the edge and reduce the size of the bezels.

Both models also have a strangely satisfying soft feel to them and the matt finish on the rear case stops those irritating fingerprints from ruining the appearance – and yes, we really tried to get things looking grubby without success.

The older iPhone 14 Pro Max was a true heavyweight, but its replacement gets rid of a lot of that girth and we’re big fans of the results of this diet.

Go for the Pro Max, and you’ll also be treated to a new triple rear camera which now offers a 5x lossless zoom for impressive close-ups. We’ve had a very quick go snapping images inside the Apple Park HQ, and it seems like something the iPhone deserves – especially with Samsung’s S23 Ultra already offering hugely impressive zoom capabilities.

We’ll have to use it more before giving a final verdict but initial impressions are good and this could definitely be a camera to beat in the future.

Next up, Apple has ditched the mute switch that’s been a staple on the iPhone since it debuted in 2007. It’s been replaced with an Action Button.

This offers quick access to some of the most common tasks, like launching the Flashlight, Camera, starting a Voice Memo. You can still use the new button to mute your phone without hunting around in Settings too. The Action Button was a big hit on the Apple Watch Ultra, and we’re sure that same success will be transferred to the iPhone.

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During our demo, Apple showed us how easy it is to switch the functionality of this button and how fast it makes certain actions. A quick tap and the torch shines bright or the camera leaps into action.

What also boosts the overall speed is a new A17 Pro processor, which makes the Pro models the fastest Apple has ever made. This silicon is around 20 times faster than before and also makes gaming feel far more like a console-style experience. Console games like Resident Evil Village and Assassin’s Creed Mirage will be coming to the phone in the coming weeks, so you can play PS5-quality games when you leave the house.

Of course, we can’t ignore another major change coming to the iPhone 15 range – all of these devices get USB-C charging rather than a Lightning port. This upgrade does make a lot of sense as it not only improves data speeds but also means one wire can refill the iPhone, MacBook and iPad.

Yes, it does render all of these old wires useless but means you can now head away for the weekend without needing a bag of different connectors.

Along with trying out the iPhone 15 Pro, we also got to grips with the standard iPhone 15 as well. Once again, it features an updated design with soft edges that make it more comfortable to grip.

The clever Dynamic Island notch also now comes to this phone which adapts depending on the app you happen to be using. We’ve been using this feature on the iPhone 14 Pro Max for the past year and it’s nice to see it now coming to the entry-level phones as well.

Owners are also being treated to the A16 Bionic chip that powered last year’s Pro models and there’s a boost to the rear camera which is something we will be testing over the coming days.

One thing we did notice during our first look is that the screen refresh rate hasn’t been upgraded to Apple’s ProMotion technology, which does make scrolling a little laggy. With all Android phones at this price point getting 120Hz screens it really feels like something Apple should have included but maybe we’ll get that next year.

We’ve only had a short time with the new iPhone 15 and 15 Pro, but both of these handsets feel like really nice updates that’ll please users who are in need of an upgrade. They are faster, get better cameras, improved connectivity and the inclusion of that universal USB-C port.

Those wanting the biggest changes will want to go for the iPhone 15 Pro Max although with prices now starting from £1,199 it’s not exactly cheap.

The standard model retains its £799 starting price – it’s nice to see no big hikes are coming in 2023.

Apple says they will all be available to pre-order this Friday and will be on show in stores next week.

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