iPhone 15 vs iPhone 15 Plus: the key differences for music and movies

Phone 15 vs iPhone 15 Plus
(Image credit: Apple)

Another year, another iPhone. This year's phone is the iPhone 15 and, of course, the supersized iPhone 15 Plus alongside the more premium 15 Pro and Pro Max models. As always, the standard iPhone and its bigger Plus variant are the cheaper phones in the lineup, but should you bother spending any extra for the Plus?

Below, we'll answer that question by covering the price, design, display, hardware, camera and battery specifications of these two handsets so you can weigh up their differences and decide which (if any!) is best for you. We haven't gotten our hands on the new iPhones yet, so for now this comparison is based solely on specs and our context of previous iPhone models.

iPhone 15 vs iPhone 15 Plus: price

The 6.1-inch iPhone 15 costs $799 / £799 for the version with 128GB of storage, $899 / £899 for the 256GB variant, and $1099 / £1099 for the 512GB model. The iPhone 15 with 128GB of storage is the cheapest way to get a brand-new iPhone, then.

Because unsurprisingly, the 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Plus attracts a premium, retailing at $899 / £899 with 128GB, $999 / £999 with 256GB, and $1199 / £1199 with 512GB.

Like for like, you're looking at a $100 /  £100 increase in price for the Plus over the standard iPhone 15. It's not a huge difference in price in the face of the phones' significant outlays, so those who would value a bigger screen and/or handset will probably find the difference pretty reasonable.

Once again, the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus are both more affordable than the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max models. 

iPhone 15 vs iPhone 15 Plus: sound

On paper, there isn't much to differentiate the audio performance between the two handsets.

The Plus model may well come with slightly larger speakers thanks to its larger overall footprint, which would perhaps come in handy particularly for spatial audio content. But outside of a possible slight edge on that front, we'd wager these two phones will more or less sound the same over their Bluetooth 5.3/AAC codec wireless connectivity and through the all-new USB-C port. Presumably, the audio output limit for wired headphones will carry over from the iPhone 14 at 24-bit/48kHz.

Judging from our past experiences with iPhone audio quality, there likely won't be much to complain about, so prospective audiophiles needing a new phone don't need to look away. The switch from Lightning to USB-C port will, however, make it easier and more convenient for those looking to boost their iPhone sound via an external DAC, as a Lightning adaptor won't be necessary.

As always, though, stay tuned for our reviews.

iPhone 15 vs iPhone 15 Plus: design and colours

iPhone 15 with USB-C connection

(Image credit: Apple)

In terms of overall design language, the iPhone 15 is a match for iPhone 15 Plus, and both phones come in pink, yellow, green, blue, and black colourways. This is pretty much standard when it comes to the historical discrepancies between an iPhone and its Plus variant, so nothing new to report here.

However, the big difference between the two phones of course comes down to display size. The iPhone 15 has a 6.1-inch screen while the iPhone 15 Plus's display is 6.7-inch. The standard iPhone isn't especially small by any means, with dimensions of 147.6 mm x 71.6 mm x 7.80 mm (hwd), but the Plus is what we'd call 'big'. It adds 13mm in height and 6mm in width, though unsurprisingly matches the iPhone 15 for depth.

As you'd expect, the Plus is a bit heavier, too – 201g vs 171g.

iPhone 15 vs iPhone 15 Plus: display

Both the iPhone 15 and the Plus come with 60Hz OLED displays and an impressive maximum brightness of 2000 nits. There's also HDR support across the board, and both have a 461ppi (pixel-per-inch) density despite their difference in screen size owing to the fact the Plus has a slightly greater resolution to fill its bigger display.

As mentioned above, the big difference here is that the iPhone 15's display is 6.1 inches while the Plus's is 6.7 inches. It may not sound like a great deal of difference, but it's a fairly meaty difference in overall size.

Ultimately which one people go for will depend on preference and usability. Generally, watching movies, playing games and scrolling will be a more pleasant experience on the Plus, though that will come at the cost of living with a larger, heavier and slightly more unwieldy physicality.

In terms of image quality, though, Apple's Super Retina XDR displays on iPhone are routinely excellent, and we wouldn't expect that to change with the iPhone 15 models. We look forward to putting their screens through their paces.

Just be aware that both models miss out on a few display upgrades offered by the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, namely a higher refresh rate for smoother scrolling, thinner bezels for a more immersive display, and support for decoding the AV1 video codec for improved streaming.

iPhone 15 vs iPhone 15 Plus: hardware

iPhone 15 in all five new colours

(Image credit: Apple)

With both the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus, you're getting Apple's 4nm A16 Bionic 6-core chip and Apple's proprietary 5-core GPU. Both phones also come with 6GB of LPDDR5 RAM, and the amount of storage you opt for – 128GB, 256GB or 512GB – will depend on your requirements and budget.

Other features on both phones include MagSafe charging support, FaceID, IP68 resistance, 5G connectivity, Bluetooth 5.3, and Wi-Fi 6, among others. In terms of hardware differences between the two phones, though, there isn't much at all. Apple has committed to offering parity between its standard and Plus models.

We'd make an educated guess that these internals will be more than enough for just about any app and casual gaming based on the iPhone 14's snappy, capable performance, though we'll have to do our own performance testing.

iPhone 15 vs iPhone 15 Plus: camera

Once again, things are the same in terms of the camera system. Both the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus have a two-camera setup: a 48MP main camera with an F1.6 aperture size and 26mm focal length, alongside a 12MP ultrawide lens with an F2.4 aperture size and a 13mm focal length. Both phones have a 12MP front-facing selfie cam, too. 

You can record in up to 4K 60FPS or 1080p 240FPS. In short, these cameras will likely perform highly enough for the average person looking to take clear, bright photos, though iOS loyals who are serious about getting the best photos from an iPhone should consider the Pro or Pro Max models, which use a larger sensor (though still the same 48-megapixel rating) and allow you to shoot in three focal lengths – 24mm, 28mm and 35mm. The iPhone 15 Pro Max gets an exclusive 5x telephoto lens for an industry-first 120mm focal length option, too.

Again, we'll go twelve rounds with the iPhone 15's cameras in our formal review.

iPhone 15 vs iPhone Plus: battery

AirPods Pro 2 being charged by iPhone over USB-C

(Image credit: Apple)

What a company rates the battery of its own devices for is notoriously unreliable, so take this with a grain of salt until actual testing gets done, but there is likely to be a difference between iPhone 15 and 15 Plus here, considering that a bigger overall devices means you can fit in a bigger battery.

Apple rates the iPhone 15 for up to 20 hours of continuous video playback and 80 hours of continuous audio playback, which is a match for iPhone 14. Meanwhile, it rates the iPhone 15 Plus for up to 26 hours of continuous video playback and 100 hours of continuous audio playback, which is also a match for the 14 Plus.

Expect more specific details after our review, but it's a safe bet to expect that the Plus will have better battery life, as is usually the case with iPhone.

iPhone 15 vs iPhone 15 Plus: initial thoughts

If you're not looking to part with the significant extra cash required to pick up an iPhone 15 Pro or Pro Max but still want an on-the-larger-side display, the iPhone 15 Plus looks to be a solid option. Not only do you get a bigger screen and general user experience advantages that go with it, you'll also likely get better battery life, too – always a nice bonus.

However, if you simply prefer a smaller form factor or the standard iPhone 15 already stretches your budget, we'd wager that battery life won't be much worse on the standard handset.

Ultimately, the iPhone 15 vs iPhone 15 Plus choice comes down to whether or not you want a big phone or a smaller one, but whichever you opt for likely won't let you down.


Check out everything we learned about the iPhone 15

One big announcement from the iPhone event Apple missed

A neat upgrade on the iPhone 15 Pro you should hear about now

Ruben Circelli

Ruben is a long-time freelance consumer technology and gaming journalist, and was previously a Staff Writer at What Hi-Fi?. Since 2014, Ruben has written news, reviews, features, guides, and everything in-between at a huge variety of outlets that include Lifewire, PCGamesN, GamesRadar+, TheGamer, Twinfinite, and many more. Ruben's a dedicated gamer, tech nerd, and the kind of person who misses physical media. In his spare time, you can find Ruben cooking something delicious or, more likely, lying in bed consuming content.