5 phones you should buy instead of the iPhone 15 Plus

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By Bryan M. Wolfe May 13, 2024

The iPhone 15 Plus has all the features that people love in an iPhone 15, but with a larger screen. However, there might be some reasons why you may not want to purchase it — such as its price and the fact that it lacks some features compared to the iPhone 15 Pro series.

Perhaps you have grown tired of the iPhone in general and want something a little bit more fresh or cutting-edge. To help you make an informed decision, we’ve compiled five of the best iPhone 15 Plus alternatives you should buy instead.

iPhone 15

A green iPhone 15 in hand in front of plant.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

Let’s start with the most obvious option: the iPhone 15. There are two main differences between it and the iPhone 15 Plus. First is the Super Retina XDR display size, which is 6.1 inches for the iPhone 15 versus 6.7 inches for the iPhone 15 Plus. Also, the smaller iPhone offers less battery life — it’s about 20 hours between charges for the iPhone 15 and 26 hours for the iPhone 15 Plus. Accepting the smaller screen size and shorter battery life as a trade-off will save you $100 with the smaller model.

And because the iPhone 15 offers everything else that the iPhone 15 Plus does, the smaller phone delivers.

One of the standout features on both models is the A16 Bionic chip, a powerhouse chipset first found on the iPhone 14 Pro series that contains a 6-core CPU, 5-core GPU, and 16-core Neutral Engine. This robust technology ensures that the device can easily handle tasks like video streaming and casual gaming, instilling confidence in its performance.

Both phones have a dual-camera system that includes a 48-megapixel primary lens, a 12MP ultrawide lens at the back, and a 12MP TrueDepth camera at the front. It offers optical zoom options such as 5x, 1x, and 2x, as well as Portrait Lighting, which has six different effects, Night mode, and many more features. On the video front, both phones support 4K and 1080p HD recording, an Action mode, HDR video recording with Dolby Vision, Apple’s impressive Cinematic mode, and many more advanced features.

If you’re OK with a smaller display and a little bit less battery life — and you want to go a bit easier on your wallet — the regular iPhone 15 is a solid alternative.

iPhone 15

iPhone 15

$799 Apple

iPhone 14 Plus

The Apple iPhone 15 Plus and iPhone 14 Plus
iPhone 14 Plus (left) and iPhone 15 Plus Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

When you visit Apple.com, you may notice that the cost difference between the iPhone 15 Plus and its predecessor, the iPhone 14 Plus, is only $100. However, this price difference can be misleading because you might find a better deal on the older model elsewhere. If you are on a budget and looking for a bigger iPhone, it might be worth considering the iPhone 14 Plus.

First, let’s look at the similarities. If you choose the iPhone 14 Plus over the iPhone 15 Plus, you’re still getting the same impressive 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR display wrapped in an aluminum frame and glass back. You’ll also get a ceramic shield front, which adds protection to the screen and some water resistance. The older phone also supports 5G cellular connectivity and MagSafe accessories. You’ll get 26 hours between battery charges on both phones as well.

It’s important to consider what you’re sacrificing by opting for the older iPhone 14 Plus. For instance, the iPhone 14 Plus lacks features such as the Dynamic Island and higher-resolution photos that are available with the newer one — it offers an older 12MP main camera instead of a 48MP one. It also has an A15 Bionic chip instead of the newer A16 Bionic chip.

You should also note that the iPhone 14 Plus has lower brightness levels than the iPhone 15 Plus, even though both have a Super Retina XDR display. This could be a significant factor to consider, particularly if you prefer more crisp displays, whether you are indoors, outdoors, or viewing HDR content.

There are considerable differences between the iPhone 15 Plus and the iPhone 14 Plus. These differences are worth far more than the $100 discount Apple is offering on the older model. However, as mentioned above, it should be quite easy to find the iPhone 14 Plus for a lot less through other retailers. If you can find one such deal, it’s a great way to get a big iPhone at a great price.

Apple iPhone 14 Plus

Apple iPhone 14 Plus

$899 Best Buy

iPhone 15 Pro

iPhone 15 Pro in Natural Titanium held in hand in front of a cement brick wall.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

The next phone you should consider is the iPhone 15 Pro. Although it’s $100 more expensive than the iPhone 15 Plus, those extras are well worth it.

The biggest drawback of choosing the iPhone 15 Pro over the iPhone 15 Plus is one that some people won’t be able to look past: the screen size. Like the iPhone 15, the iPhone 15 Pro has a 6.1-inch display, compared to the 6.7-inch one found on the iPhone 15 Plus. You’d also give up some battery life. The iPhone 15 Plus can last up to 26 hours between charges, but the iPhone 15 Pro can only last 23 hours.

However, there are plenty of advantages to the iPhone 15 Pro. Despite having a smaller screen size, the display of the iPhone 15 Pro is significantly better. It includes ProMotion technology and always-on support. ProMotion technology offers an adaptive and higher 120Hz refresh rate, which results in smoother animations, improved responsiveness, and an overall enhanced viewing experience. The always-on display means you can see information at a glance, such as the date and time, without picking up your phone. It also means you can use Apple’s StandBy mode so that your phone can act as a bedside information center, continuously displaying content from native and third-party apps.

The iPhone 15 Pro is also made of titanium, which is much stronger than the aluminum on the iPhone 15 Plus. The iPhone 15 Pro also comes with Apple’s all-new Action button, allowing you to map it to the camera, flashlight, and many more actions.

Two other significant differences between the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Plus are the chipset and the camera. The former has Apple’s newer A17 Pro chip, which is better for intense apps and gaming. The Pro model also includes a triple rear camera system comprised of a 48MP main, 12MP ultrawide, and 12MP telephoto. This translates into more advanced camera and video features like spatial video recording, ProRes video recording, and macro photography.

Is it worth spending an extra $100 for a better screen, nicer design, faster chip, and more capable cameras at the expense of a smaller display and shorter battery life? That’s up to you to decide, but if you ask us, it’s well worth considering.

iPhone 15 Pro

iPhone 15 Pro

$999 Apple

iPhone 15 Pro Max

iPhone 15 Pro Max lying on the ground surrounded by leaves.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Some notable differences exist between the iPhone 15 Plus and the iPhone 15 Pro Max. The Pro Max model offers the best battery life on an iPhone, with up to 29 hours between charges, while the iPhone 15 Plus can last up to 26 hours.

Both models have the same 6.7-inch display, but other features set them apart. For example, the iPhone 15 Pro Max has a superior camera system, with a larger sensor and better optical zoom capabilities. The Pro Max model also has more storage options and a more durable build.

It’s essential to consider the cost difference between the iPhone 15 Pro Max and the iPhone 15 Plus. The Pro Max model, with its superior features, does come at a premium, costing an additional $300 compared to the iPhone 15 Plus. However, the enhanced camera system, more extensive storage options, and more durable build that the Pro Max offers may justify this extra cost.

In short, if you want the larger size and battery of the iPhone 15 Plus, as well as all of the “Pro” features in the iPhone 15 Pro, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is the way to go. Does that make it worth $1,200? That’s for you and your wallet to decide, but if you want the best of the best, it’s a fantastic purchase.

iPhone 15 Pro Max

iPhone 15 Pro Max

$1,239Save $240

$999 Walmart

OnePlus 12

A person holding the OnePlus 12.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

This brings us to the OnePlus 12, the only non-iPhone phone on the list. Consider this phone if you like the size of the iPhone 15 Plus, but would rather get an Android-based phone this time around. Sound crazy? Just hear us out.

The OnePlus 12 has a larger 6.82-inch display than the iPhone 15 Plus. It is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, the latest high-end mobile processor for Android smartphones. According to benchmarks, Qualcomm’s chipset provides better CPU and GPU performance than the A16 Bionic found in the iPhone 15 Plus. However, the A16 Bionic has a higher GPU frequency than Qualcomm’s chipset.

The OnePlus 12 comes with an impressive camera system. Its rear camera setup includes a 50MP main, 48MP ultrawide, and 64MP telephoto lens. On the front, there is a 32MP camera. The higher pixel count of each lens allows for capturing more detail in photos. The OnePlus 12’s 3x optical zoom is superior to the 2x on the iPhone 15 Plus, making it more versatile for capturing faraway subjects.

There’s another point to note, especially if you want a phone that turns heads. The iPhone 15 Plus, though an extraordinary device, looks just like nearly every other iPhone on the market. This isn’t a bad thing; it’s just how it is. By contrast, the OnePlus 12 has a unique look that’s largely attributed to the eye-grabbing look of its camera module and Flowy Emerald color option.

Beyond this, any thought of choosing the OnePlus 12 over the iPhone 15 Plus (or any iPhone) comes down to whether you want to make the jump to Android. If you’re in deep with all things Apple, choosing an Android-based phone probably isn’t practical. But if you can make the switch, the OnePlus 12 delivers an incredible smartphone experience.

OnePlus 12

OnePlus 12

$800Save $100

$700 Amazon

Story from Digitaltrends.com

Author

Bryan M. Wolfe

Bryan M. Wolfe

Bryan M. Wolfe has over a decade of experience as a technology writer. At Digital Trends, he writes about one of his favorite topics, mobile. He has also written about mobile and the larger technology industry on other websites, including iMore, Make Use Of, and AppAdvice.

In addition to Digital Trends, the author also contributes articles to TechRadar Pro, Stuff.TV, and How to Geek. During his free time, he enjoys traveling, drinking coffee, and watching Penn State football.

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