September is a month of treats for Apple fans. It’s traditionally when Apple unveils the newest iPhone models. This year was no exception, with Apple announcing four new iPhone handsets, along with new Apple Watches. Still, some rumoured products did not make an appearance.
In recent times, the Cupertino-based company has announced a predictable lineup of phones: two regular models, as well as two Pro versions. Sometimes we’ve seen a Mini model as well, but that’s now been killed off by Apple.
This September, the brand presented four new variations: iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max.
As usual, it’s the Pro models that got most of the fanfare, as well as most of the new features. The regular iPhone 15s are once again stuck with last-gen tech, without any huge differences from last year’s models (USB-C charging aside).
However, if you’re looking to buy one of these standard iPhones, there’s still a big decision to be made: should you get the iPhone 15 Plus or the regular iPhone 15? After all, they seem quite different – at least visually. Let’s check out all the differences between these models to help you choose the best option for you.
What’s the difference between iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus?
Currently, the big differences between iPhone models are between the Pro models and the standard ones. But the differences between the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus are minor. They’re virtually the same phone, except for the size of their screens and chassis. There is, however, one more difference, which will be crucial for your day-to-day use of the smartphone.
The most important new features are coming to all new models of the iPhone. There is, of course, the Dynamic Island, the new (or, to be more precise, last year’s) A16 SoC. Plus, there are the same new colour options for both models: pink, yellow, green, blue and black. There’s also a new camera, but it’s also familiar from the iPhone 14 Pro.
The biggest difference to the handset itself is the mode of charging: goodbye lightning cable, hello USB-C, with USB 2.0 speeds.
Screen and size
As the Plus in the name suggests, the biggest difference between the iPhone 15 and the iPhone 15 Plus is size. When we say size, we’re referring to both the screen size and the size of the phone overall.
To be honest, this is the main selling point when choosing between the two. Simply – if you prefer a bigger phone, you should go for the Plus version, as it will give you more screen real estate, more space to watch your favourite films or YouTube, and more space for gaming. If, on the other hand, you want something more lighter and which fits in your hand easily, go for the iPhone 15.
The iPhone 15 has a smaller, 6.1-in screen. It’s an OLED panel with a resolution of 2556 x 1179 px and 460 ppi.
The iPhone 15 Plus, on the other hand, has a bigger, 6.7″ display with a resolution of 2796 x 1290 px and 460 ppi. Both of them still unfortunately only have a 60 Hz refresh rate. But on the plus side, there’s the new Dynamic Island, and HDR support with 2000 nits peak brightness.
These very different screen sizes also translate to different phone sizes. The iPhone 15 is quite small – it will surely be one of the best compact phones of 2023 and beyond. The iPhone 15 Plus, on the other hand, goes in the other direction and offers a gigantic screen, which for sure will suit all those avid YouTube watchers.
The iPhone 15’s dimensions are 147.6 x 71.6 x 7.8 mm at 171g (5.81 x 2.82 x 0.31 inches at 6.02 oz) while iPhone 15 Plus measures 160.9 x 77.8 x 7.8 mm at 201g (6.33 x 3.06 x 0.31 inches at 7.09 oz).
The other difference between these two phones stems directly from the difference in their size. It’s their battery life. A smaller phone might need less energy to run – it doesn’t have so much screen to light up – but it also has much less space for a battery. That’s why the bigger brother from the iPhone 15 family is the king of battery life.
According to Apple, the iPhone 15 Plus will last up to 26 hours from a charge when viewing video, which is impressive. It’s not as impressive as the 29 hours offered by the iPhone 15 Pro Max, but impressive nonetheless.
The iPhone 15, on the other hand, can only manage 20 hours of video playback. This is by no means bad, but it does mean that the battery life battle is decisively won by the Plus version. It does come at the cost of its size and weight, mind you.
Price & availability
New iPhones – including the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus – were unveiled during the Wonderlust event on 12 September 2023. However, they did not go on sale immediately. Apple will first make them available for pre-order, and a week after that, the new phones will officially go on sale.
Pre-orders will go live on 15 September, starting at 5am PDT (8am EDT, 1pm BST). They’ll then be released on 22 September. Find out where to pre-order the iPhone 15 here.
There’s also the question of price, another key differentiator between the iPhone 15 and the Plus model. The iPhone 15 starts at $799/£799 for the 128GB model. You’ll have to pay $899/£899 for the 256GB variant and $1,099/£1,099 for the highest-end, 512GB storage version.
iPhone 15 Plus is a bit more expensive. The base, 128GB model, costs $899/£899. If you need more storage, you’ll pay $999/£999 for the 256GB version and $1,199/£1,199 for the 512GB version. As you can see, for the same amount of storage , the iPhone 15 Plus is $100/£100 more expensive than its smaller brother.
To be honest, the decision between the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus should be easy. The one question that you have to ask yourself is: do I want a big screen? Once you’ve decided that, you can choose accordingly. There isn’t much more to these phones, and the other differences – namely battery life – are negligible and shouldn’t be a big factor in your choice.
If you’re on the fence or don’t really care about a larger screen, our advice is to save your money and pocket space. Spending $100/£100 just to get a bit more battery life isn’t worth it.