iPhone 15 vs. iPhone 15 Pro: Is the Pro worth it?

iPhone 15 Pro
(Image credit: Apple)

Today Apple unveiled the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro and while both models feature a number of upgrades over their predecessors, the gulf between the non-Pro and Pro models is considerable these days.

However, you're also paying quite a bit more for the iPhone 15 Pro, so whether those extras are worth the cost is going to be different for every user.

Let's take a look at exactly what separates the iPhone 15 vs. iPhone 15 Pro to help you sort out which one is right for you.

iPhone 15 vs. iPhone 15 Pro: Specs

Swipe to scroll horizontally
SpeciPhone 15/15 PlusiPhone 15 Pro/15 Pro Max
Screen size6.1 inches / 6.7 inches6.1 inches / 6.7 inches
Refresh rate60Hz1-120Hz
Storage128GB, 256GB, 512GB128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
CPUA16 BionicA17 Pro
Cameras48MP wide, 12MP ultrawide48MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, 12MP telephoto (periscope lens on 15 Pro Max)

iPhone 15 vs. iPhone 15 Pro: Price

  • iPhone 15: $799
  • iPhone 15 Plus: $899
  • iPhone 15 Pro: $999
  • iPhone 15 Pro Max: $1,199

iPhone 15 vs. iPhone 15 Pro: Design

Apple iPhone 15 and 15 Plus

(Image credit: Apple)
  • Small redesign with slightly curved edges
  • iPhone 15 Pro has massively thinner bezels
  • Goodbye, lightning. Hello USB-C! You can thank the EU for that one

The iPhone 15 has a bigger transformation overall iPhone 15 hardware, but it's not a massive redesign like the iPhone 12. A slight curvature to the metal band should make the phone a little more comfortable to hold in the hand. 

Another big change that is coming to all iPhones is the move to a USB-C port. If you're interested in how exactly that came about we’ve been documenting the whole Apple vs. EU saga, and it’s been dramatic to say the least.

The main differences between the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro seem to lie in the smaller details. A design leak suggests the pro model will sport the thinnest bezels ever seen on a smartphone (1.55mm), which means the company could make the 15 Pro smaller than its older brother.

  • iPhone 15 Pro: 5.76 x 2.77 x 0.32 inches
  • iPhone 14 Pro: 5.80 x 2.81 x 0.31 inches

So while there is a strong sense of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” when it comes to the sandwich of metal and glass that is the standard iPhone aesthetic, there are small tweaks to breathe a little bit of new life into it.

iPhone 15 vs. iPhone 15 Pro: Display

Apple iPhone 15 and 15 Plus

(Image credit: Apple)
  • Dynamic Island for all iPhones
  • Still 60Hz for standard iPhone 15

Display sizes remain the same: 6.1 and 6.7 inches. On top of that, the standard iPhone 15 remains at 60Hz, whereas the Pro will feature an improved LTPO panel with an adaptive refresh rate from 1-120Hz.

But that would only be half the story. You see, while it was just the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max that got the Dynamic Island, you’re going to see all iPhone 15 models ditch the notch and take the pill this time around.

iPhone 15 vs. iPhone 15 Pro: Processor

iPhone 15 Pro

(Image credit: Apple)
  • iPhone 15 gets A16 Bionic
  • iPhone 15 Pro makes the jump to a 3nm chipset in the A17 Pro

Something interesting happened with the iPhone 14 lineup last year. Apple, clearly felt the pressure to better differentiate the standard and pro phones, decided to split the chipsets: the standard 14 got the A15 Bionic while the pro picked up the newer A16 Bionic.

Apparently, this strategy is here to stay. The iPhone 15 bumps up to the A16 while the iPhone 15 Pro gets a serious power upgrade to A17 Pro.

How serious? It is the first of Apple’s silicon produced on a 3nm process, packing more performance into the next-generation chipsets and drastically raising the roof on speed and power efficiency. 

iPhone 15 vs. iPhone 15 Pro: Cameras

Apple iPhone 15 and 15 Plus

(Image credit: Apple)
  • Both phones are getting a 48MP main camera
  • Pro Max gets a 5x optical zoom

The snappers are another area where we’re expecting to see some big shake-ups — two to be precise.

First of all, that 48MP main camera will not be limited to just the Pro iPhones. This year, the standard iPhones adopt a high-resolution shooter too, which uses 4-in-1 pixel binning to produce a 24MP shot with four times the detail. This higher resolution sensor also allows for a 2x telephoto on the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus.

Second, we turn our attention to the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Instead of a standard telephoto lens (which has a fixed magnification), the biggest and priciest iPhone of the bunch makes the leap to a periscope lens

Just make sure you go with the Pro Max if you want that added optical zoom as the iPhone 15 Pro sticks to the same 3x optical zoom that we've seen in the past.


Apple iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus

(Image credit: Apple)

2023 is going to be a big year for the iPhone. iOS 17 is bringing some fundamental changes to the software, and these will be paired with some big hardware upgrades in the iPhone 15 line.

On top of that, the gap between the standard iPhone and Pro model has widened. So let’s help make sure you make the right decision, which is a simple one in my mind.

While the 15 Pro is a seriously alluring prospect with its dense spec list, there’s a very good chance that you’re not going to need all that it offers and to get the very best you need to opt for the even pricier 15 Pro Max. A16 Bionic continues to be the fastest mobile chipset on the planet, so do you really need A17 Pro? 

While there are differences of opinion on whether you need a powerful optical zoom on a phone, if you do like wildlife photography or you have kids and want to be able to snap photos of them while playing sports or at the park it's incredibly helpful to be able to zoom in and make those photos more than just a blob in the distance.

With that said, the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus are far more affordable, and that upgraded primary camera and new Dynamic Island should offer a solid premium experience for hundreds less. 

Jason England
Content Editor

Jason brought a decade of tech and gaming journalism experience to his role as a writer at Laptop Mag, and he is now the Managing Editor of Computing at Tom's Guide. He takes a particular interest in writing articles and creating videos about laptops, headphones and games. He has previously written for Kotaku, Stuff and BBC Science Focus. In his spare time, you'll find Jason looking for good dogs to pet or thinking about eating pizza if he isn't already.

With contributions from