After 3 days, I love these 4 things about the iPhone 15
9 mins read

After 3 days, I love these 4 things about the iPhone 15

Holding a green iPhone 15 in a rose garden.Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

Apple’s new iPhone 15 has hit the streets, and boy, it’s a pretty great upgrade from its predecessor. You now have the Dynamic Island, USB-C, an A16 Bionic processor, and a mighty 48MP main camera that can do up to 2x optical zoom. To top it off, the standard iPhone 15 models have a new matte finish back glass with color infused throughout the material.

I’ve only had the iPhone 15 for a few days now and will be working on the full review for Digital Trends in the coming days. But after just spending a couple of days with it, I’m already thoroughly impressed with the iPhone 15, even though I typically go for the Pro models myself.

The new matte back is absolutely lovely

A green iPhone 15 on a green bench.Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

As I already mentioned, I typically purchase the Pro model of iPhone every year for myself, so I haven’t exactly had experience with the standard iPhone models. But one thing I never really cared for with previous iPhones was the glossy glass back like the iPhone 14 had. High shine means fingerprints galore, and the reflective surface also makes it hard to photograph without glare.

I’m actually loving the new matte glass for the iPhone 15. I was sent the green model, and while I do wish it was more saturated, it is a nice shade of minty green, especially around the camera module. The matte glass feels nice to the touch, and I personally don’t find it too slippery. In fact, I feel like the new texture adds a bit more grip to the device, and it’s not hard to use one-handed — especially with the more rounded edges.

Another big benefit of this new matte glass back is no fingerprints! Aside from the glossy Apple logo, you won’t see fingerprints or smudges on the matte part of the glass, at least with the green model (I can’t speak for the other colors, especially the black one).

Finally, as someone who has been using Pro models for the past several years, the aluminum frame is also very nice. It makes the phone feel very lightweight without being cheap, and the aluminum doesn’t have a fingerprint problem either. Although this isn’t a completely new thing since Apple has used aluminum for the standard models for years now, I just love how it feels overall.

Auto Portrait is so handy

The camera module on a green iPhone 15.Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

One of the features of the iPhone 15 lineup that I was especially looking forward to is Auto Portrait. When this feature was announced, I thought, “About damn time”, and as a first-time parent of a now very active toddler, I had a feeling it would come in very handy.

It turns out I was right. So far, I’ve taken the iPhone 15 with me to the little park in front of my house, where my daughter loves to play in the evenings. I used the iPhone 15 to take regular photos of her, and I tried to the best of my effort to get the camera to focus on her face while she was on the playground.

Toddler on playground taken with Auto Portrait on iPhone 15.

Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

Toddler on playground taken with Auto Portrait on iPhone 15.

Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

Toddler on playground taken with Auto Portrait on iPhone 15.

Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

Though sometimes I was unsuccessful, the ones that were focused ended up looking even better once I turned them into portraits from regular, non-portrait photos. Apple made it easy to quickly see which ones can become a portrait, too, as there’s a toggle in the corner to switch between a regular photo or portrait. When you change it to portrait, being able to adjust the level of background blur is intuitive with the slider.

As a mother, I never want to miss a moment, so I snap a ton of pics — and I hardly have time to manually switch to Portrait mode. As I go through the dozens of photos of my daughter I took for the day, I’ve always thought, “Man, this would have looked great as a portrait instead.” Thanks to the new iPhone 15 Auto Portrait feature, that’s now a thing of the past as long as I get the camera to focus properly. That part isn’t always easy, but it’s still far more intuitive than having to manually select Portrait mode from the camera app.

This is quickly becoming one of my favorite new features of the iPhone 15 lineup, and I think it’s excellent for parents — of both humans and pets.

Goodbye Lightning — and good riddance

A view of the USB-C port on the green iPhone 15.Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

Apple has been using its proprietary Lightning connector since 2012 with the iPhone 5. But now the iPhone 15 has joined Apple’s other products that have made the switch over to USB-C for charging (MacBooks and iPads). I have just one thing to say: good riddance to Lightning.

Over the years, and especially since I’ve started here at Digital Trends, more and more electronics use USB-C to charge up. I’ve accumulated several Android phones as well, and I love the fact that I don’t need new cables to charge them because I can literally just use any USB-C cable nearby. And now the iPhone has finally joined the party!

I never particularly cared for Lightning cables because the ones that Apple provides in the box always broke or got worn out easily. I’d consistently end up buying third-party cables from brands like Anker because they’re more durable and reliable (and also come in longer lengths).

As such, I’m really happy to see that the iPhone 15 finally ditched Lightning in favor of a universally accepted charging cable. I no longer need to search for a proprietary cable for my phone — I can just grab a USB-C cable and go.

A 60Hz display isn’t the end of the world

The display on a green iPhone 15.Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

As someone who has been using the iPhone Pro models for the past few years, I’ve grown accustomed to the fast, smooth scrolling and animations that come with a 120Hz ProMotion display. Since this is my first non-Pro iPhone, I wasn’t sure I’d like having a display with a 60Hz refresh rate.

Despite having a lower refresh rate, the 60Hz display on the standard iPhone 15 looks nice. The colors are bright and vivid, and the text appears sharp and crisp. Unless I have the iPhone 15 side-by-side with the iPhone 15 Pro or even my old iPhone 14 Pro, I can’t really tell that the scrolling is slower.

With this in mind, I don’t think the average person who is purchasing an iPhone 15 would notice either. In fact, I remember thinking this even when Apple switched over to 120Hz refresh rates for the first time. Though there is a difference, it’s negligible and definitely doesn’t hold the same impact as going from the iPhone 3GS to the iPhone 4. Most people won’t notice the differences in refresh rates.

So, even though it’s still absurd that Apple charges at least $800 for a 60Hz display, especially when compared to Android phones that typically offer better screens, it’s not as big of a deal as you think. Using the iPhone 15 is still delightful, and iOS 17 runs it all incredibly smoothly.

More thoughts on the iPhone 15 soon

Green iPhone 15 leaning against an arch in a rose garden.Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

While this looks like quite a bit, it’s just barely scratching the surface of my iPhone 15 experience. I will say that on paper, this is definitely one of the biggest upgrades for the standard models in quite some time. Getting the A16 Bionic, Dynamic Island, and a main camera jump from 12MP to 48MP? Yeah, it’s a big deal.

But how will battery life hold up? How will this new matte glass back do in everyday use? How much better is the new camera in a wide variety of situations and scenarios? I can’t answer those just yet, but I will once I complete my full iPhone 15 review.

However, as someone who’s been using Pro models this entire time, I must say that the standard iPhone 15 is still pretty damn good.

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