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iPhone 15 -still doing its thing

It’s 5 months old now and no one is talking about it – let’s change that!

author with iPhone 15 Pro Max in Titanium White

My iPhone 15 Pro Max sits at my side every day – just quietly being brilliant!

We hardly ever look back in the tech world – events come and go new products and devices are wheeled out at a fair old click which makes it ever so easy to forget about what we already have…and just how good it is.

This time around I went for the big boy – the Pro Max. It wasn’t a case of thinking I’m a pro so I must have the best of the best – it was more of the case that I wanted to have the latest cameras along with the largest display.

I know the war rages on about how good the iPhone mini was and that the large phones are unwieldy, but I just don’t get it. I like big display full stop.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro has a gorgeous display…but it is only 16 inches and feels very cramped to work on which is why I favour the larger 27-inch Studio Display. If I do end up buying an iPad Pro this year you can bet it’ll be the largest size on that too.

Maybe it’s my age showing or maybe it’s the nature of the work that I do – but I bloody hate smaller, cramped panels and displays.

Ok – there is an argument that I’m not working on the phone, but even so, I just happen to like the bigger screen size. If I’m reading, using the maps or searching Safari it’s simply easier with a bigger screen. The phone before this was a 14 Pro and it just felt fiddly and for some ridiculous reason not as premium.

5 months in and this year I know I made the right choice.

iPhone 15 – the best yet?

I called this a while back – but having been an iPhone user for over a decade now my 15 Pro Max is head and shoulders top of the list – it’s the best iPhone I ever owned and used for many reasons.

The subtle differences in the design make the phone so much more comfortable to use and hold. The balance of the phone has shifted which makes it feel much lighter. Some of that feeling is physical because of the Titanium rails – but it’s a combination of both that makes it so sweet.

The slightly softened rounded edges are subtle but again, work. The outer design changes were never going to be huge on the iPhone 15 model range, but the tweaks they’ve made are just enough to make the 15 feel way nicer (and more premium) than the 14 from a year earlier. The glass on the back seems to be as tough as boots and looks perfect.

I’m not a case or screen protector kinda guy – I have tried in the past, but I hate hiding the shape and tactility of the phone itself. It is a gorgeous design and I don’t want it to be hidden by a case or the screens brilliance subdued by a protector. So much effort has gone into the design I want to enjoy it.

I’ve wondered what I’d do if a case company ever asked me to do a sponsored video…stand by my words or take the money…hmmm…

Of course, going naked does mean that I am exposing the phone to potential damage. The back of the phone as I mentioned is pristine as are the Titanium rails on the sides…but sadly the same cannot be said for the Gorilla glass on the front.

I recall I mentioned I had the same issue on my 14 Pro last year, but this year, if anything, it seems worse. The micro scratches aren’t awful but they are there and I seem to collecting more of them. They are deep enough that you can easily feel them and in the right light see them. I guess the designers would tell me that if they toughened it up further then it would become more brittle and fragile. All I’d say is I’m pretty careful and never put keys in the same pocket as the iPhone and yet it’s still getting scratched.

Just enough

I dropped a ball with the 14 Pro and bought it with 1TB of storage.

I reasoned that I was going to shoot ProRes video with it and knew how large those files can be. In reality, I only tried shooting in ProRes a few times – the Lightning port made it pretty unusable. Getting a 60 GB file off that phone via that old connector was all but impossible. In short, I can’t think who’d ever need 1TB of storage on a phone…

My iPhone this year only has 256 GB of storage and it’s proving to be plenty. Just checking now – 5 months in I’ve only used 77 GB so far. I’d say I’m a pretty heavy user but with so many apps being cloud-based now, storage is not the problem it once was.

Scratches to one side, the display is fine…but not as good as the Pixel 8 Pros panel. I don’t what it is – I can’t my finger on it, but the display just isn’t as crisp and punchy on the iPhone. If I’d never used the Pixel I’d not have picked up on it – but the iPhone’s display needs some attention – even when I crank the brightness up it doesn’t compare to the Pixel.

Fast enough

The 15 Pro Max has never felt sluggish.

The A17 Pro chip I’m guessing would only ever come close to breaking sweat if I gamed on it – which I don’t. Also, as it stands iPhones are not bloated with loads of unnecessary AI apps and even though much of the processing that the iPhone does happens on device, it all happens quietly in the background. Speed is not a problem.

The battery on the whole has been fine but this week for no particular reason that I can think of, the battery life has sucked. I think most nights this week by around 8 or 9 PM the battery has been under 30%. My pattern of usage hasn’t changed at all but out of the blue this week my battery has struggled. The battery health is showing as 99% so that’s in a good state of health. I have heard other creators saying that inexplicably their phones have had good and bad weeks…something I’ll keep an eye on though.

And the obvious bit…

So to the cameras…

Brilliant. I could simply end it there. I recently made a video saying that I was swapping from shooting the video on my channel from the Canon 90D to the iPhone – and for a few weeks, I did. The only thing that swung me back to the Canon was it had a softer depth of field. On that, I shoot with a 24mm/ƒ2.8 lens and it just looks a little more pleasing to the eye.

But the fact I could seriously consider swapping from shooting on a dedicated DSLR Canon camera to shooting on iPhone shows you how good the 15 Pro Max is. Shooting in LOG took me some getting used to – it was all new to me and there was a lot of trial-by-error.

Things started to come together when I started to use the Blackmagic app. Again there was a learning curve, but once I got my head around it then I started to get somewhere. I tried several colour conversion LUTS but the one that ships free with the app is the best I’ve found.

The issue I had with buying the 14 Pro with 1 TB of storage is a forgotten problem with this iPhone. Shooting directly to an external SSD was genius. And it is so simple – there is no configuration at all. You just pop it in and those chunky ProRes files never touch your phone. How big are they? Well, about 30 minutes is about 90 GB – so yes, they are big! I charge via MagSafe so the only time I use the USB-C port is for attaching the external Samsung T7 SSD.

The stills cameras continue to deliver – I generally shoot in RAW and recently have been playing around with the 2X and 5X lens options. Why you’d ever want or need a 10X I have no idea – remember this time last year all the moon shots taken on the Samsung S23 Ultra? The pictures I get from my iPhone are sharp, detailed and accurate. They are not over-sharpened or over-processed.

Apple has got it nailed with the cameras on the 15 Pro Max.

Conclusions

I tried playing around with Android last year – there was nothing wrong with it, but equally, there was nothing that wowed me with it either. I’m happy where I am.

The display was the only thing that stood out as really impressing me on the Pixel, but other than that I am happy with my iPhone. It doesn’t pretend to be what it’s not and doesn’t offer me a stack of features that I don’t need or will rarely use.

What it does it does well and honestly, I couldn’t be happier with my choice. Yeah, I’ve had a bad battery week, but if after 5 months of daily use that is my only gripe…I think that’s a win for the iPhone.

If it ain’t broke…

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