Min or Max? Hands-on with the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro Max

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 26 — The new iPhones will be available in Malaysia from this Friday, September 29 just one week after they were available in the US and first wave countries.

I got to try two review units of the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro Max, the smallest and largest in the line.

It seems that Apple thinks those two will be the “Goldilocks” models of the range with most people choosing the smaller iPhone 15 while those who would go for the Pro range most likely going for the most expensive and feature-rich model: the Pro Max.

Here are my initial thoughts on the phones after unboxing and having the phones in my hand.

Familiar territory

The iPhone 15 and 15 Plus will both inherit the processors from last year’s range, namely the A16 Bionic so they won’t be slouches performance-wise.

As for the Pro line they will get this year’s new A17 Bionic processor, which unfortunately has already gotten bad press — there have been reports of overheating even during routine operations and not just during gaming or heavy usage.I haven’t had the chance to put the 15 Pro Max thoroughly through its paces as yet but I do remember a few years back that the first Pro Max iteration also went through a similar phase, but it was corrected by software.

Camera-wise you get upgrades across the board with the iPhone 15 now sporting a much larger sensor at 48MP while the iPhone Pro Max will have the only 5x telephoto in the range.

It’s a shame that telephoto is still limited to only the Pro models and it feels as though the 5x has been a long time coming.

You still have a 12MP front camera across the range and Apple says the new processor will enhance photos across all the lenses, but whether those claims are true I’ll judge for myself when I take it on the usual photo test run.

New cases include new silicon cases (Winter Blue on the yellow iPhone 15 on the left) and the new FineWoven cases (Pacific Blue on the iPhone 15 Pro Max) — Picture by Erna Mahyuni
New cases include new silicon cases (Winter Blue on the yellow iPhone 15 on the left) and the new FineWoven cases (Pacific Blue on the iPhone 15 Pro Max) — Picture by Erna Mahyuni

New cases include new silicon cases (Winter Blue on the yellow iPhone 15 on the left) and the new FineWoven cases (Pacific Blue on the iPhone 15 Pro Max) — Picture by Erna Mahyuni

Brief experience

The iPhone 15 at first glance doesn’t look much different than last year’s iPhone 14 and you’ll be pleased to know that if you do have iPhone 14 cases lying around, they will be able to share cases.

Not so much the 15 Pro Max, however. The new dimensions due to the phones now having an external titanium body as well as the new lens means that the dimensions have changed enough to require a new case.

As for colours, let’s face it there will be some shades that will get the most love and this year the iPhone 15 has the best colours with Apple choosing an array of light, nearly icy pastels.

There’s blue, green, yellow, pink and black to choose from but from the marketing, it seems pink will be the “it” shade of the iPhone 15 range.

Seeing them up close, the shades are mostly pleasing though I wasn’t a fan of the yellow as it looks better in pictures than real life, being a bit too pale.

Social media bears me out as other users also commented on seeing in-person pics that it seemed to lean white instead of yellow so I suspect that black and yellow will be the least popular colours with pink selling the most, with blue and green being in the middle.

The “hero” shade as they call it for the iPhone 15 Pro Max seems to be Natural Titanium and if it’s not to your liking there are three others, namely Blue Titanium, White Titanium and Black Titanium.

Up close I do like the Blue most as at least it has a splash of colour as the other shades seem a bit too monochromatic for my taste.

As to reports on build quality my units do not have issues that have been reported such as lint in the camera lens, fingerprint marks on the side and misaligned display.

It’s uncertain whether these are just exceptions to the rule as there will always be “dud” units in mass manufactured products.

I must say I did enjoy how much lighter the iPhone 15 Pro Max is compared to the iPhone 14 Pro Max, which is currently my favourite phone of all time.

The iPhone 14 Pro Max was “it” for me as it was reliable, didn’t have any of the bugs in its processors and didn’t overheat as badly as some of its predecessors but its weight did put pressure on my carpal tunnel-damaged wrists.

The new 15 Pro Max is super light and barely heavier than the iPhone 15 or the iPhone 14 for that matter and that lightness will be a boon during video capture or just travel in general.

Should you preorder the phones now? Internally hardware-wise the iPhones are a decent though not spectacular upgrade from last year’s model but they are worth considering if your current phone is a few years old and you want a type-C port.

The truth, however, is in the testing so I will write more about using both as daily drivers and an entire separate article on how the photography compares, and whether you need that 5x zoom in your life.