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Is the Apple iPhone 15 Pro Worth it Compared to iPhone 15? Here's Our Take

Beyond the camera, here's what each phone offers.

Matt Elliott Senior Editor
Matt Elliott is a senior editor at CNET with a focus on laptops and streaming services. Matt has more than 20 years of experience testing and reviewing laptops. He has worked for CNET in New York and San Francisco and now lives in New Hampshire. When he's not writing about laptops, Matt likes to play and watch sports. He loves to play tennis and hates the number of streaming services he has to subscribe to in order to watch the various sports he wants to watch.
Expertise Laptops, desktops, all-in-one PCs, streaming devices, streaming platforms
Matt Elliott
4 min read
iPhone 15 next to iPhone 15 Pro on a white background

The iPhone 15 Pro (right) has more than just one more camera.


On Tuesday at its "Wonderlust" event, Apple unveiled the latest batch of iPhones alongside updates to the Apple Watch. The iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro are here, and you may soon be facing a decision whether to shell out the extra money for a Pro model when the phones hit stores on Sept. 22.

On last year's models, the new Dynamic Island was the main differentiator between the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro, but this feature has now trickled down to the regular iPhone 15, leaving the entire iPhone 15 line notchless. Still, there are important differences to consider when deciding between the iPhone 15 and 15 Pro. Bear in mind we're yet to review the new iPhones, so this analysis is based on our hands-on impressions and their specs -- let's get to it.

iPhone 15 vs. 15 Pro: Display and enclosure

Both the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro feature the same size screen -- a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display with a 2,556x1,179-pixel resolution. The Pro's display, however, features ProMotion technology, which is Apple's way of saying it has a variable refresh rate between 10Hz and 120Hz. It should result in smoother motion in videos, games and just scrolling through web pages compared with the fixed 60Hz refresh rate of the iPhone 15. When you aren't watching YouTube or gaming on your phone, the Pro will lower the refresh rate to conserve battery life. 

The iPhone 15 Pro also has an always-on display that keeps it on and dimmed when charging so you can use StandBy mode. You don't get an always-on display with the iPhone 15.


The aluminum iPhone 15 has color-infused glass back.

Scott Stein/CNET

The iPhone 15 and 15 Pro are made from different materials. The iPhone 15 has an aluminum enclosure with a color-infused glass back, and the iPhone 15 Pro is made from titanium with a textured matte glass back. 

More colorful options are available for the iPhone 15, where you can get it in pink, soft yellow, light green, pale blue or black. The iPhone 15 Pro is available in more staid hues: black, white, dark blue and natural titanium that looks beige. 

Side view of four iPhone 15 Pro devices

The new iPhone 15 Pro titanium colors, from left to right: black, white, blue and natural.

Apple/Screenshot by CNET

In terms of overall size, the iPhone 15 is ever-so-slightly larger but lighter than the iPhone 15 Pro. Titanium is lighter than aluminum, but the iPhone 15 Pro weighs more than the iPhone 15, in large part because it has a third camera. The iPhone 15 weighs 6.02 ounces (171 grams), and the iPhone 15 Pro weighs 6.6 ounces (187 grams). The iPhone 15 Pro has ultrathin bezels and shaves a millimeter off the width and height of the iPhone 15's dimensions while also being a fraction of a millimeter thinner.

One last difference between the two enclosures is the introduction of the Action button on the iPhone 15 Pro. It replaces the mute switch that's still on the side of the iPhone 15. By default, a long press on the Action button will mute and unmute, but you can customize it to trigger a number of shortcuts like turning on the flashlight, recording a voice memo or opening the camera app and snapping a photo.

Action button on the side of the Apple iPhone 15 Pro

The Action button on the iPhone 15 Pro.

Scott Stein/CNET

iPhone 15 vs. 15 Pro: Cameras

As with previous iPhone lines, the iPhone 15 features two cameras on the back, and the iPhone 15 Pro has three. You get a 48-megapixel wide lens and a 12-megapixel ultrawide lens with either model, and the iPhone 15 Pro adds a 12-megapixel telephoto lens that has a 3x optical zoom that lets you get closer to your subject. 

Both models support night mode, but only the iPhone 15 Pro lets you take night mode shots in portrait mode.

Three cameras on the back of the iPhone 15 Pro

The iPhone 15 Pro nets you a third camera.

Jason Hiner/ZDNET

iPhone 15 vs. 15 Pro: Components

Inside, the iPhone 15 has an A16 Bionic chip, while the iPhone 15 Pro has an A17 Pro chip. Both models ought to be plenty fast; each processor is a six-core CPU with two performance and four efficiency cores. The iPhone 15 Pro is better suited for graphics and gaming; the A17 Pro Bionic processor has a six-core GPU to the A16 Bionic's five-core GPU.

Both models are available in 128GB, 256GB and 512GB capacities, and the iPhone 15 Pro offers a 1TB option.

Watch this: Review: The iPhone 15 Pro, 15 Pro Max Are Impressive

iPhone 15 vs. 15 Pro: USB-C speeds

The new models introduce USB-C charging, but only the iPhone 15 Pro supports the faster 10Gbps speeds of USB 3. You'll need to supply your own USB-C 3 cable for a 15 Pro since Apple ships a USB 2 cable with both phones, but the iPhone 15 supports only USB 2 speeds of 480Mbps.

USB-C port on the iPhone 15

USB-C charging has arrived with the iPhone 15.

Jason Hiner/ZDNET

iPhone 15 vs. 15 Pro: Price

Finally, we arrive at the difference in price. No surprises here: As in past years, Apple charges an extra $200 for the iPhone 15 Pro compared with the iPhone 15. The iPhone 15 starts at $799 (£799, AU$1,499), while the iPhone 15 Pro starts at $999 (£999, AU$1,849).

I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites

See all photos

Apple iPhone 15 vs. Apple iPhone 15 Pro

iPhone 15iPhone 15 Pro
Display size, tech, resolution, refresh rate, brightness 6.1-inch OLED; 2,556x1,179 pixels; 60Hz refresh rate; 1,000 nits6.1-inch OLED; 2,556x1,179 pixels; 120Hz adaptive refresh rate; 1,000 nits
Pixel density 460 ppi460 ppi
Enclosure material Aluminum with color-infused glass backTitanium with textured matte glass back
Dimensions (inches) 2.82 x 5.81 x 0.31 in.2.78 x 5.77 x 0.32 in.
Dimensions (millimeters) 71.6 x 147.6 x 7.8 mm70.6 x 146.6 x 8.25 mm
Weight (grams, ounces) 171 g (6.02 oz)187 g (6.6 oz)
Mobile software iOS 17iOS 17
Camera 48-megapixel (wide), 12-megapixel (ultrawide)48-megapixel (wide), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), 12-megapixel telephoto (3x optical)
Front-facing camera 12-megapixel12-megapixel
Video capture 4K4K
Processor A16 BionicA17 Pro
RAM/storage 128GB, 256GB, 512GB128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Expandable storage NoneNone
Battery/charging speeds Undisclosed; Apple claims up to 20 hours of video playback (16 hours streamed)Undisclosed; Apple claims up to 23 hours of video playback (20 hours streamed)
Fingerprint sensor None (Face ID)None (Face ID)
Connector USB-C (USB 2.0)USB-C (USB 3.0)
Side button/switch Mute switchAction button
Headphone jack NoneNone
Special features 5G (mmw/Sub6), IP68 rating, MagSafe (up to 15W), Qi wireless charging to 7.5W, Dynamic Island5G (mmw/Sub6), IP68 rating, MagSafe (up to 15W), Qi wireless charging to 7.5W, Dynamic Island, 3x optical zoom
US price off-contract $799 (128GB), $899 (256GB), $1,099 (512GB)$999 (128GB, $1,099 (256GB), $1,299 (512GB), $1,499 (1TB)
UK price £799 (128GB), £899 (256GB), £1,099 (512GB)£999 (128GB), £1,099 (256GB), £1,299 (512GB), £1,499 (1TB)
Australia price AU$1,499 (128GB), AU$1,699 (256GB), AU$2,049 (512GB)AU$1,849 (128GB), AU$2,049 (256GB), AU$2,399 (512GB), AU$2,749 (1TB)