iPhone 15 Plus vs iPhone 15: It's all about that size, size, size

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iPhone 15 Plus vs. iPhone 15

Intro


Back in 2022, Apple brought back the "Plus" version to the iPhone lineup, giving us a bigger-screen, budget-friendly option to the iPhone Pro Max. One year later, with the iPhone 15 series officially unveiled, the company is sticking to the same "new and improved" idea with the iPhone 15 Plus. But what's the deal with the regular iPhone 15 and how these two stack against each other?

Apple isn't straying too far from the standard model with the iPhone 15 Plus. The main differences are just the screen size and battery. Both of these fresh models rock last year's A16 chip and feature a camera upgrade, borrowed from the Pro lineup of 2022. Plus, they now have that funky pill-shaped cutout and the cool Dynamic Island feature. What are the differences, then?

Let's not get ahead of ourselves. We've measured the brightness of both displays, done a thorough evaluation of the battery life through real-life tests, put both processors through their paces in order to give you the best comparison between the two phones and ultimately, answer one very important question you all might be asking yourselves: "Which one should you get?" 

Read on to find out!

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iPhone 15 Plus: $50-$630 off with a trade-in at Apple

Looking for the bigger-sized iPhone 15 model? In that case, we suggest you consider the iPhone 15 Plus. The Apple store offers up to $630 off as a trade-in credit on a new iPhone 15 Plus.
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iPhone 15 Plus vs iPhone 15 in a nutshell:

  • A16 chip
  • Same 6GB RAM
  • Bigger screen on the Plus
  • Dynamic Island on both phones
  • Same storage options
  • 48MP main camera
  • Better battery life on the Plus
  • Same charging speeds
  • USB-C on both phones


Table of Contents:


Read more:
iPhone 15 series: all you need to know

Design and Size

Honey, I enlarged the iPhone 15

For better of for worse, there are no big differences in design this year. Apple hasn't made a radical change in the past couple of generations, and the glass-aluminum trend continues with the iPhone 15 series. This time around the back glass sports a textured matte finish, a small change compared to the last generation glossy backs.

Now, obviously, the iPhone 15 Plus can be viewed as a bigger version of the iPhone 15, both phones are nearly identical. The biggest difference is the size, the iPhone 15 Plus sports a 6.7-inch screen, while the vanilla iPhone 15 comes equipped with a smaller, 6.1-inch display.


This preserves the status quo between the Plus models and the regular iPhone, so the plus-sized iPhone seems to be a well-performing concept for Apple. Not much else can be said here, the colors for the non-Pro models in the iPhone 15 series are the same, you can find them below.

iPhone 15 Plus and iPhone 15 color options:
  • Black
  • Green
  • Pink
  • Blue
  • Yellow


The big change this year is the transition from Lightning to USB-C, so don't be surprised when you see that port on the bottom of the iPhone 15 series. Both the iPhone 15 Plus and iPhone 15 come equipped with this port.

The other design difference is the retirement of the notch, all iPhone 15 series models now come with a pill-shaped cutout in the display to accommodate the front camera and hardware, and this includes the Dynamic Island software feature as well.

In terms of real-life experience, obviously, both phones feature the same design but one is larger than the other. This changes everything, with or without a case. If you like smaller, more compact phones, then the iPhone 15 is the right one for you. During our testing we found out that it's more comfortable, especially for one-handed operation. If big phones don't bother you, and you prefer the additional screen estate, then go for the iPhone 15 Plus.

Display Differences

It's all about that size, size, size

The display size is one of the biggest (if not THE biggest) differences between the iPhone 15 Plus and the iPhone 15.

The iPhone 15 comes with a 6.1-inch OLED screen with a 60Hz display refresh rate and 800 nits of brightness (1,600 HDR peak brightness, 2,000 nits peak outdoor brightness), and the same goes for the iPhone 15 Plus, with the only difference being the size—we're taking about a 6.7-inch OLED with the same 60Hz display refresh rate.



Our display measurements show us that both the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus (at least our units) leave a lot to be desired as far as color accuracy goes. Both are extremely off target, so we wouldn't really recommend them if you are looking for a color-accurate phone.

The lack of ProMotion might be a downer for some, as might be the omission of an Always On mode, but these two are tied together, and you can't have one without the other, so to speak. The good news is that the notch is no longer present, and the Dynamic Island feature does its magic on the pill-shaped cutout on both the iPhone 15 Plus and the standard iPhone 15.

As you can see from our display benchmarks above, both phones perform almost identically when it comes to display brightness, color accuracy and color temperature, so display quality shouldn't be a deciding factor if you're trying to pick one of these two models.

Performance and Software

Last year's grace

The hardware situation around the iPhone 15 Plus and the iPhone 15 is pretty clear. Both phones inherit the A16 chip from last year's Pro models, and this silicon is a known entity, so we knew what to expect even before we completed our tests. The performance between the two models is virtually identical, with small fluctuations inside the expected margin of error.

The performance jump over the previous models, namely the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus is there, again unsurprisingly. The new iPhones also manage to maintain the gap to the nearest Qualcomm-equipped rivals, getting on top of CPU-centric synthetic benchmark tests. The situation with GPU tests is much more complicated with the S23+ pulling ahead, and the iPhone 14 Plus displaying the least thermal throttling of the bunch.

Performance Benchmarks:


Geekbench 6
SingleHigher is better
Apple iPhone 152595
Apple iPhone 15 Plus2629
Geekbench 6
MultiHigher is better
Apple iPhone 156651
Apple iPhone 15 Plus6680
3DMark Extreme(High)Higher is better
Apple iPhone 152950
Apple iPhone 15 Plus2986
3DMark
Extreme(Low)Higher is better
Apple iPhone 151896
Apple iPhone 15 Plus2036


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As for the RAM, the situation is the same, both the iPhone 15 Plus and the iPhone 15 sport 6 GB of RAM, just like their predecessors, but this time it is a faster version, LPDDR5. Given the same hardware and software inside these two, the day-to-day performance and experience is also identical - fast, snappy, and fluid.



The storage options are also identical for both phones, starting at 128GB and moving through 256GB to land at the largest 512GB option. As for software, the iPhone 15 Plus and the iPhone 15 run iOS 17 out of the box, this next-gen version of Apple's mobile OS has already landed and it is available for download. 

Among the highlights are updates to Phone, iMessage, and FaceTime, along with the introduction of a fun new feature called NameDrop. You can now check out our iOS 17 review as well, if you need a deep dive and some first hand experience with Apple's latest mobile OS. You can also check out the latest software updates that Apple already rolled out. 

iOS 17.1 is official as well as iOS 17.2 are out, and they bring the promised AirDrop over the internet features, along with bug fixes, and improvements to StandBy mode, and finally, the ability to record Spatial Video (only for the Pro models). Check out our detailed article for a deep dive.

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Camera

Twin brothers

The camera configuration is identical on both the iPhone 15 Plus and the iPhone 15. However, we're looking at a new main camera featuring a 48MP sensor inherited from the Pro models of last year. By the way, both phones output 24MP images from the main sensor as a default. 

There's some magic going on here, as the images are first captured as 12MP shots through 4-1 pixel-binning, and then processed to increased detail and stored as 24MP files. Check out some samples below.



The ultrawide and selfie cameras are also identical on both phones, and not only that, but these are the same cameras we've already seen on the iPhone 14 series entry level models. Which is not a bad thing per se, as these cameras produce very pleasing shots. The bigger upgrades, of course, are reserved for the Pro models in the iPhone 15 lineup.



This new high-resolution 48MP sensor allows for what Apple calls Optical-quality 2x telephoto, which is actually just a crop from the full-resolution. 2X shots look great but neither of these phones is a true telephoto champion. You have to get the Pro Max for that.



The selfie camera is again the same as the one in the previous model, а 12-megapixel snapper that supports Portrait mode, Night mode and 4K, 60FPS video recording. 



All in all, you shouldn't take the camera into consideration if you're trying to decide between the iPhone 15 Plus and the iPhone 15, both of which have the exact same camera systems.

Audio Quality

Boom, boom, boom

The loudspeakers Apple uses in its iPhone models are generally of very high quality and produce a nice, balanced, and rich sound. The same quality is preserved in this year's iPhone 15 Plus and iPhone 15 models, alongside the stereo setup, which uses the speakerphone as a second, well, speaker.

The bigger body of the iPhone 15 Plus gives that model a slight advantage when it comes to bass and resonance, giving it more oomph in the low frequencies (they need more space to travel and resonate properly).

The Taptic Engine is another strong point on most iPhones of late, and the same excellent strong and tight vibrations are present on both models. 

Battery and Charging

Welcome, USB-C

The big change (and a needed one) in the iPhone 15 lineup is the switch to USB-C. Sadly, the USB 3.0 is reserved for the Pro models, so the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus feature the same charging and transfer speeds as their predecessors, despite the new connectivity. Apple cites 50% in 30 minutes with a 20W charger, so it's the same old, same old. You'll find the charging profiles of both phones below.

15 MinsHigher is better30 Mins(%)Higher is betterFull Charge(hours)Lower is better
Apple iPhone 1532%
60%
1h 55 min
Apple iPhone 15 Plus27%
55%
1h 32 min

Here we have the other big difference between the iPhone 15 Plus and the iPhone 15 - the battery size. The bigger body of the Plus model allows for a larger battery. The Plus sports a slightly larger 4,383mAh battery than its predecessor, while the vanilla iPhone 15 also bumps up the capacity to 3,349mAh

The iPhone 15 Plus beats the iPhone 15 in our battery benchmarks, which is expected, numbers don't lie. What's really interesting is that in some of the test the iPhone 15 is struggling to match its predecessor, even though the A16 chip should be more efficient than the A15 found in the iPhone 14.

Video Streaming(hours)Higher is better
Apple iPhone 157h 51 min
Apple iPhone 15 Plus11h 14 min
Web Browsing(hours)Higher is better
Apple iPhone 1513h 25 min
Apple iPhone 15 Plus16h 21 min
3D Gaming(hours)Higher is better
Apple iPhone 158h 24 min
Apple iPhone 15 Plus11h 22 min


Of course, with the bigger phone also comes a bigger battery, which inherently means more battery life. Our battery life tests show as much too. Needless to say, given the lack of any higher display refresh rate, all tests were done at 60Hz.

Specs



Summary


Which one should you choose, then? It's a very straightforward question, given that these two phones are almost identical. It's pretty much down to screen size and battery life. If you like big phones, then the iPhone 15 Plus is the right one for you. If you prefer a more compact form factor, then get the iPhone 15.

Things are not so simple if you're upgrading from a previous generation iPhone or an Android device. Again, the same basic rules apply here, but if you already have the iPhone 14 or the iPhone 14 Plus, there's little to no reason to get the new models. And with the iPhone 16 series right around the corner with brand-new AI promises, most people should hold their horses and wait a couple of months.

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