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5 phones you should buy instead of the iPhone 15 Pro

iPhone 15 Pro in Natural Titanium held in hand in front of a wooden gate.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

Apple’s iPhone 15 Pro is what we consider one of the best iPhones that you can buy right now. It offers most of the latest cutting-edge tech from Apple, including the powerful new A17 Pro chip, an improved camera system, a beautiful ProMotion display, a titanium body, the new Action button, and USB-C. It’s Apple’s most premium phone but in a compact size.

But if you’re in the market for a new phone, you should know there are other options, too. You don’t necessarily need the latest and greatest from Apple, especially if you’re not truly vested in its ecosystem.

If you aren’t quite sure if you want to drop at least $1,000 on the iPhone 15 Pro, here are five other great phones — some that are actually better — that you should buy instead.

iPhone 15

Green iPhone 15 leaning against an arch in a rose garden.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

If you still need an iPhone but don’t need all the fancy bells and whistles, you should consider the standard iPhone 15. It’s the same size as the iPhone 15 Pro, has the same 48MP main and 12MP ultrawide cameras, reaches 2,000 nits of peak brightness, and it has the Dynamic Island plus USB-C charging.

There are some differences, though. For one, the iPhone 15 still uses an aluminum body, not titanium, but the back glass is now a frosted matte finish that is quite nice. It also uses the A16 Bionic chip that debuted with the iPhone 14 Pro last year, but it’s still a fast and powerful chip.

Unfortunately, the display only has a refresh rate of up to 60Hz. But for most people, it’s not something you’d notice unless it’s side-by-side with another device with a higher refresh rate. It also lacks an always-on display, it still uses the standard silent/ring toggle instead of the Action button, and there is no telephoto lens.

For the most part, the iPhone 15 is still a very good phone if you can live without the fancy new features — many of which you likely don’t need in the first place. Plus, the iPhone 15 starts at $800 and comes in more colorful hues (especially pink!), so you can save some money too.

Samsung Galaxy S24

Samsung Galaxy S24 in Marble Gray held in hand.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

For those who don’t mind venturing out of Apple’s walled garden, there is the new Samsung Galaxy S24, which also starts at $200 less than an iPhone 15 Pro.

The Galaxy S24 is almost the same size as the iPhone 15 Pro at just 6.2 inches, and the always-on LTPO AMOLED 2X display also has a dynamic refresh rate from 1Hz to 120Hz. The peak brightness can also reach 2,600 nits, which is much brighter than the iPhone 15 Pro. It’s a better display by virtually every metric.

On the inside, the Galaxy S24 comes with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy chip, which is an optimized version made specifically for Galaxy devices. That means slightly overclocked processing speeds and better power efficiency. The S24’s 4,000mAh battery is a higher capacity than the iPhone 15 Pro (3,274mAh), and thanks to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, it can easily last more than a day. The charging speed is similar to the iPhone 15 Pro, however, at just 25W, but it also has 15W wireless and 4.5W reverse wireless charging.

For photos and video, the Galaxy S24 is packed with an impressive triple camera system that includes a 50MP main camera, a 10MP telephoto w camera with 3x optical zoom, and a 12MP ultrawide camera. The selfie camera is 12MP. It’s similar to the iPhone 15 Pro, but Samsung also tends to create more vibrant photos. This year, however, the S24 line has an improved color profile to give photos a bit more realism, so it’s like getting the best of both worlds.

Samsung made AI the big selling point of the S24 lineup with Galaxy AI. This includes a suite of AI-powered tools, including the very useful Circle to Search feature (this is also available on Google Pixel 8 phones), Generative Edit for photos, AI-powered formatting and summarization in Notes, and more. The Circle to Search feature is the most impressive, but other Galaxy AI tools also make life a bit easier. If you want AI superpowers on your smartphone, then the S24 has them.

OnePlus 12

OnePlus 12 Flowy Emerald held in hand against grass background.
OnePlus 12 Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

OnePlus has made a name for itself as a brand that offers incredible specs and truly unique designs that stand out from the competition. The OnePlus 12 is a fantastic alternative. It has outstanding specifications and a lovely design and undercuts the iPhone 15 Pro by at least $200.

On the OnePlus 12, you’ll find a gorgeous 6.8-inch LTPO AMOLED display with a density of 510 pixels per inch and a 120Hz refresh rate. It also has curved edges for a more immersive experience. This may result in accidental touches and actions on the display, but it’s certainly not a deal breaker.

Inside the OnePlus 12 is incredible power and performance. You have the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip, but also 12GB or 16GB of RAM, depending on the storage option you choose (256GB or 512GB), so it easily has more RAM than the iPhone 15 Pro (8GB). The OnePlus 12 also has a great triple-lens camera system that is backed by Hasselblad color tuning. You have a 50MP main camera, a 64MP telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom, and a 48MP ultrawide camera. On the front of the phone is a 32MP selfie camera. Thanks to Hasselblad, the white balance, exposure, and color profiles are fairly accurate and realistic.

Battery-wise, the OnePlus 12 is one of the most impressive out there, with a massive 5,400mAh battery capacity with 80W wired fast charging (100W outside of the U.S.). That means you can go from zero to 100% battery in about 30 minutes, as long as you use the included charger that comes in the box. The OnePlus 12 also has a mighty 50W wired charging speed and reverse wireless at 10W, which is better than the competition.

iPhone 14 Pro

A black iPhone 14 Pro lying on a table.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

If you insist on having an iPhone Pro but want to save some money, you could try going for 2022’s iPhone 14 Pro.

Despite being the previous generation, the iPhone 14 Pro is still a very good phone. It still has the 6.1-inch always-on ProMotion display with a 120Hz refresh rate, and it was the first iPhone with the Dynamic Island. Apple also debuted the 48MP main camera with the iPhone 14 Pro, so you get incredibly clear and sharp photos. And with the A16 Bionic, you still get fast performance with iOS 17.

The iPhone 14 Pro has a premium look and feel in 2024 thanks to the stainless steel finish, though it is a bit heavier than the newer iPhone 15 Pro’s titanium. But the Deep Purple color is stunning compared to the new titanium colors. You also won’t have the Action button, as the iPhone 14 Pro still has the old silent/ring toggle.

If you can find the iPhone 14 Pro, you can reap the rewards of a Pro iPhone while also saving some cash, and if you ask us, that’s not a bad proposition at all.

Google Pixel 8 Pro

Someone holding the Google Pixel 8 Pro in front of a colorful background.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

If you like a clean and simple operating system similar to iOS and don’t mind switching to Android, consider a Google Pixel 8 Pro.

Google’s Pixel lineup has some of the best cameras we’ve used in recent years, and the Pixel 8 Pro still holds true to that standard. With the Pixel 8 Pro’s triple-lens camera, you have a 50MP main camera, 48MP ultrawide camera, and 48MP telephoto camera with 5x optical zoom. It also has a 10.5MP selfie camera. When you take photos with the Pixel 8 Pro, you’ll get true-to-life colors and great photos.

But the Pixel 8 Pro is great for other things, too. Google’s in-house Tensor G3 chip is a big improvement over previous generations, and with 12GB RAM, it handles pretty much anything you throw at it with ease, even gaming. And unlike the G1 and G2 chips, the G3 does not have overheating issues. Unfortunately, it does not get great battery life compared to other Android phones, as this is very much a one-day phone.

The Pixel 8 Pro has a beautiful 6.7-inch LTPO OLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate and up to 2,400 nits of peak brightness. For the same starting price as the iPhone 15 Pro, you get a little more bang for your buck in terms of capabilities and power. It’s definitely an option you should consider.

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Courtesy by: Digital Trends

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