So you held off, waited patiently for the hype to die down, and you’re still thinking of picking up either the iPhone 15 or iPhone 15 Pro? Fair enough—we’re here to help you make the right choice. The good news is that both the usual backlash and the publicity push are much quieter now.
Do these phones overheat? Not anymore (and our test models never did). Do they reinvent mobile photography? Not quite, but they come close. Do they bend? They really don’t. Are they a huge leap forward over last year’s models? Probably not. Is the addition of USB-C actually a big deal? Well, yes, we think so.
We’ve been testing all the latest iPhones for the last couple of months and we know that the question you’re asking is just how much better the aerospace-grade titanium 15 Pro models are over the pastel-coloured iPhone 15s. In 2022, we called the iPhone 14 a mere 13S, but that’s not the story anymore.
While the iPhone 15 Pro Max has ended up being the phone we’ve stuck with for everyday use, we love the new features and specs that made their way to the standard iPhone 15 lineup. The truth is that the base model has never been this Pro. It makes for a major upgrade if you’re coming from an iPhone 11, 12 or even a 13.
With the 14 series, the gap between the entry-level iPhone and the Pro was more of a vast chasm. This year, all the best features from the iPhone 14 Pro have found their way into the regular 15, making it a great buy if the basic iPhone is not only all you need but all you’d rather pay for. The energy bills look pretty daunting again this year, after all.
First up, what’s the same between these models? Well, a fair bit. The iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro share the innovative "Dynamic Island" display feature, both models maintain a 6.1-inch screen size for the standard variants and 6.7-inch displays for the Plus and Pro Max (although the Pros have slimmer bezels around the display), they also both introduce USB-C, have around the same battery life, and reach identical maximum display brightness. On cameras, they both have 48-megapixel primary sensors for serious detail, as well as a handy 2x zoom, and both have 12-megapixel front-facing cameras.
Where things get different is that the Pro models add a third rear camera—a 77mm (3x) telephoto lens on the Pro and a longer 120mm (5x) zoom on the Pro Max. With its computational wizardry, the iPhone 15 Pro also leverages its 48-megapixel main camera for 24-megapixel results at 1.2x and 1.5x zoom (28mm and 35mm equivalents).
The Pro variant boasts a swifter A17 Pro chip compared to the iPhone 15's A16, as well as a higher refresh rate and an always-on display that’s missing on the 15. The 15 Pro comes in a new titanium material, adds the new customisable action button that you won’t get on the 15, and has a 1TB storage option if you need to store more files than fit on your laptop for some reason.
The designs of both phones are similar, and Apple hasn’t gone back to the drawing board when it comes to the basics of how an iPhone looks. They both have the “Dynamic Island” at the top of the display which, while it has a laughable name, is a genuinely useful feature to show off your current timer, the song you’re playing, directions, how long your Uber Eats order will take or exactly what gate you need to go to at the airport.
We’re fans of features like this and widgets that mean we don’t need to constantly open apps, so it’s ideal if you prefer to see more information at a glance. It’s no longer a point of difference, though, and there’s more of that elsewhere with the screen—you’re getting the same size options, the same brightness performance, the same resolutions. The big difference is that the 15 is stuck on a fixed 60Hz refresh rate while the 15 Pro has a variable 120Hz plus an always-on display. It’s not the end of the world and you may turn off these battery-hungry features, but it does mean scrolling is a lot smoother on the Pro.
Design-wise, the 15 Pro is also now housed in a sleek titanium body, dropping the weight considerably compared to previous Pro models. This is something you’ll care about if you’ve had enough of a 13 Pro weighing you down, but won’t matter if you’re considering the difference between the phones. Colour is one area of difference though: the 15 comes in a range of pastel colours (Pink, Yellow, Green, Blue… and Black) while the Pro comes in minimalist Black Titanium, White Titanium, Blue Titanium and Natural Titanium.
Oh, and before we forget, they both have USB-C rather than Lightning for charging and connecting accessories. It's a good change which, yes, was sort of forced on Apple by the EU. Anyway, we love connecting our external DAC for our wired headphones, offloading photos from our main camera via a USB-C-to-SD card reader, charging other accessories like earbuds via our phone’s battery and just using the same cable we use for our laptop to juice up the phone. It’s a small but noticeable change in everyday use.
Now, we get that this is where most people assume there’s a huge amount of difference between the “basic” iPhones and the “Pro” ones, but we’re here to say it’s just not as much of a big difference this time around. In the majority of situations and especially if you mostly take photos to share with friends or post on Instagram, you won’t see a difference. We’re not just saying it, we’ve brought images to prove it.
However, that’s not to say the camera systems are identical. Essentially, the Pros just offer that bit more when it comes to versatility—that includes a longer third zoom (3x on the Pro, 5x on the Pro Max), clever extra focal lengths through computational photography and macro close-up modes that aren’t on the 15. The 15 Pro also has an exclusive ProRAW shooting capability (so you can take better shots for editing) and the ability to shoot ProRes video that’ll mean nothing to many, but be a major selling point for advanced videographers.
What’s the same? Well, both camera systems perform about the same in most light conditions, both have a 48-megapixel main sensor to churn out fantastic 24-megapixel shots (with a mode to use the whole of that sensor for massive high-res pictures), and both have a 2x zoom that uses the centre of the big sensor, both have about the same 12-megapixel front-facing camera and comparable 12-megapixel ultra-wide cameras. They both also have the same software improvements like automatic portrait mode on photos with people and where you tap to focus.
To be absolutely clear, in the majority of scenarios, you won’t be able to tell the difference between these camera setups unless you know what you’re looking for.
To illustrate this, we shot all the product photos in this review with the iPhone 15 camera system (using the Pro Max) and have included unedited side-by-side comparisons between the 15 and the 15 Pro below. You're unlikely to be able to tell them apart, especially with these compressed images, but the 15 is on the left with the 15 Pro shot on the right (if you're viewing from a phone that means the shot from the 15 is the first one in each comparison).
Here’s a low-light shot with the rear camera...
In bright daylight conditions, we also struggle to tell the difference…
How about the ultra-wide lenses?
And the 2x zoom performs the same as well…
Where they differ is that you can zoom further on the Pro, allowing us to get that bit closer to subjects—both shots below are from the 3x zoom on the iPhone 15 Pro, and you can get much closer with the 5x on the Pro Max:
The iPhone 15 Pro is the first iPhone to get Apple’s new A17 Pro chipset, unlocking faster performance and a far better gaming experience with “hardware-accelerated ray tracing” and much smoother graphics. This is a massive deal for mobile gamers and with both the addition of the USB-C port (hello, Backbone One USB-C gaming controller) and the arrival of console games like Resident Evil 4, Assassin's Creed Mirage, Death Stranding and Resident Evil Village, the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max get an instant recommendation for gamers seeking the best on-the-go experience. Of course, this will depend on whether there are enough titles to play.
This isn’t available on the regular, but if you don’t care about gaming it’s not going to matter. In reality, the A17 Pro is a further optimisation of Apple’s already fantastic iPhone processors. It’s great, but they’re already great. So if you opt for the iPhone 15 you’re getting the Pro-level brains from last year’s 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max which are fast enough and smart enough for anything you can throw at them. Unless you’re a gamer or are aware of a specific limitation of the A16 Bionic, you’ll be fine with the iPhone 15. The one extra thing we would add, though, is that the USB-C port on the 15 Pro is a faster version, with the A17 Pro unlocking USB 3.0 speeds for much quicker data transfers. This makes it a better pick for serious photographers and mobile filmmakers too.
You’re not going to see a big difference when it comes to battery life. The iPhone 15 delivers up to 20 hours of video playback and the iPhone 15 Plus offers up to 26 hours of video playback, according to Apple. Meanwhile the iPhone 15 Pro delivers up to 23 hours of video playback and the big 15 Pro Max will get you up to 29 hours of video playback.
In real-life use, we’ve found that every single one of these phones has more than enough juice to get you through the day and that if battery life is a big deal, either the Plus or Pro Max models should get you well into a second day of use. In our hands-on tests, we’re yet to notice any major difference between the 15 and the 15 Pro in normal use, so we wouldn’t make that a major factor in your decision, and you can always keep a power bank on you if you’re that worried.
Yes, the iPhone 15 is worth it, although we reckon it depends on what phone you’re upgrading from. Still rocking an iPhone XR or an 11 with a cracked screen and a blurry camera? You’re going to find levelling up to the iPhone 15 a revelation. It has a terrific pro-level camera system, a great USB-C port, the addition of the clever “Dynamic Island” and a bright high-res screen.
We don’t think the majority of photographers will miss the 3x zoom because the 2x is more than versatile enough, but if you do need a long zoom you’ll want to look hard at the 15 Pro Max. It’s also worth noting that if you’ve had enough of boring phone colours, the iPhone 15 is the better pick for its delightful range of pastel shades. Both the 15 and the 15 Plus are excellent handsets that we find easy to recommend.
Comparing the options and coming to the realisation that you can’t do without the longer zoom lens, raw photography abilities, gaming upgrades, high refresh rate screen, always-on display, or versatile action button? Or are you just in love with the natural titanium colour? We get it, trust us. If the extra features make a noticeable difference to you as they do for us (we can’t quit ProRAW photography and the fantastic 5x zoom on the Pro Max), then it will be worth the extra cash you’ll have to spend on the Pro iPhone models.
There's plenty of mystery and hearsay shrouding what is possibly Apple's biggest creation thus far. It's also no exaggeration to say that the billion-dollar Project Titan has experienced multiple iterations. With it, sheer speculation that has seen resurgence time and again throughout its decade of development.
Presently, the biggest change is pushing back the launch from 2026 to 2028 (earliest), further begging the question of its relevance then. Especially when what was initially planned to be a fully autonomous EV (Level 5) has since scaled down to partial automation (Level 2+: informal term for an advanced Level 2).
Features include braking/accelerating support and lane centering, which sounds far from showstopping if you ask me. No pedals, no steering wheels, and a central dashboard for controls may have sounded futuristic 10 years ago. Now it describes something not too far from a Tesla.
Which is essentially what the latter is, isn't it? Taking the sleek, minimalist approach that Apple is famous for and apply it to a vehicle, in both aesthetic and interface. Self-driving capabilities wise, Tesla's Autopilot currently falls under—you guessed it—Level 2.
It's hard not to see the Apple Car framed as being too late to the table. Robotaxi Waymo by Google's Alphabet is whizzing away. Sony and Honda are collaborating on Afeela. And of course, Chinese rivals Huawei and Xiaomi recently announcing their skin in the EV game with Luxeed S7 and SU7 respectively (what's with the obsession with seven?).
In an era where all products are created with the intent to surpass the competition, more so in tech, and more so in EV (just look at how all prototype demo videos highlight performance superiority to fellow players); how would Apple's fantasy drive add value to consumers' lives?
And in an era where branding is king, would a release like this, amid diminishing popularity of the once monopolising iPhone, have quite the opposite effect the conglomerate is going for? The last thing you want to do with high expectations is to disappoint.
...but who knows. With the way tech is going these days, I may just be eating my words in four years time.
Tech nerds, how are we feeling about 2024? Are y'all freaking out about all the new things and dohickeys that are getting released at CES? Sorry if that sounded like I'm talking down on CES, it wasn't meant to be. However, I'm just a lowly tech editor who is a little bit sick of everything that everyone seems to be freaking out about. We're at a point where there's so much tech that most of the things we hype up are, honestly... not that great.
We've got tech in our hands, tech over our eyes, tech in our homes, tech on our kitchen counters, and tech in our bedroom. Even our paper notebooks are tech-enabled. Hell, we're using tech to wake us up instead of the sun. So where is any one person meant to keep up with all the tech that actually matters? Right here.
I've kept an eye on the early-year releases, and I've kept tabs on what is actually moving the needle for me. Is the new tactile iPhone keyboard from Clicks moving the needle for me? Not really. Is the Apple Vision Pro moving the needle for me? Yes, absolutely. What I'm trying to say is that this isn't a list of little releases. This is where Esquire dot com is keeping track of the biggest, most groundbreaking tech of 2024—everything you should buy or keep an eye on in the future. It's still early doors, so there's a lot of preorders and speculation. But, as the year rolls on, we'll keep this list updated with all the best new tech of 2024.
We got a sneak peak at Apple's biggest innovation in a long time last year. Officially launching on 2 February, this seems to be Apple's next big bet. The focus is less on making a toy and more on making a new type of personal computer. The powers that be in Cupertino obviously see this as a desktop and laptop replacement. We'll see how well they deliver.
Ever looked at your TV and wish that you could, see through it? Me either. But once I saw LG's new entertainment play, I was... slightly more convinced. Move it around (it's wireless) and place it in direct sunlight or in front of a mirror (no glare). It's a weird bet, but I can definitely see it growing on me. LG's transparent OLED TV is scheduled to hit the market in 2024.
Per usual, there's going to be a new iPhone. Whether or not it'll be a big jump from the 15 Pro remains to be seen. The iPhone 15 Pro had a lot of initial fanfare (from myself included), but its stumbled out of the gate a little bit. The biggest innovation has been the titanium build. We'll see where Apple goes this year.
For my money, Samsung is the top Apple competitor, with a much deeper catalog than the Googles or Motorolas of the world and a great suite of foldables. No disrespect to those two, but Samsung does so much it makes for a lovely little ecosystem. As there is every year, there's going to be some fort of upgrade on Samsung's flagship smartphone. Will it be enough to leapfrog Apple? Not in America. But, it could be a big year for Samsung.
Since being the first big company to do the whole VR thing, Meta has sent out a bunch of flops. The Meta Quest 2 was just a novelty gaming device. The newer Quest 3 and Quest Pro aren't anything to write home about either. But, Meta has confirmed plans for a new, more affordable VR headset in 2024. We'll see if it actually catches on this time around.
Another big rumor in Apple world is that there might be a foldable iPad on the horizon. If it happens, it would be the company's first foray into the foldable market and surely a dress rehearsal for a foldable iPhone. Still, it's a massive if. Don't hold out for this one.
At CES 2024, Samsung gave us an update on one of its best weird little projects. Ballie, an R2-D2 type personal assistant was introduced at CES 2020. This time around, Samsung made the little guy bigger and gave him a projector.
Wait, so what is this thing?
Sorry. "Alexa on wheels," is how I would describe Ballie. He'll be able to follow you around, tell you the weather, answer phone calls, and project onto whatever flat surface you can find. Don't hold out hope though. This is more of a speculative project from Samsung. I wouldn't expect to see it on the market in 2024.
It's that time when the editorial staff get to ruminate about what this year has given us. From the products that impressed the pants off of us to the drinks that got us asking for seconds, this Christmas, we present some of our favourite things that have our stamps of approval.
We don't like being a "sheeple" but every time we think of switching to another smartphone, the annual Apple keynote keeps us anchored to the next model. The iPhone 15 Pro series had new additions: a faster A17 chip; an upgraded camera technology; a Dynamic Island in place of that damnable notch; a titanium casing... But the biggest "OMG finally" news is the phasing out of the brand's propriety Lightning connector for the USB-C (thanks EC laws!). All in all, the iPhone 15 Pro is enough to keep us enamoured until the next Apple keynote.
You know an item’s a winner when it’s pretty much unavailable in boutiques islandwide (trust me, I’ve checked, multiple times). There’s just something about Loewe’s Anagram denim jeans that makes it a covetable piece. Perhaps it’s the simplicity of the Anagram motif right on the knees; or the draw of brand ambassador Taeyong of NCT wearing one for the brand’s Pre-Spring 2024 campaign. Either way, this is high on the list of things I’d recommend (someone) getting (for us).
“CarbonGold” is a mix of high-tech carbon and gold elements that was first introduced in 1993. Bulgari recently outfitted the Octo Finissimo Automatic with said material but the maison went further with that by adorning the carbon cases with rose gold crowns and the carbon dial with matching gold-coloured accents. The case, strap and dial are crafted from exceptionally lightweight, anthracite-coloured carbon with a matte finish. Gold bridges and a gold-plated platinum off-centred micro-rotor is added to the automatic winding; this clearly is a thing of beauty.
In a time when Xiaomi and Dreame are already putting out their own robovacuum, Dyson is pretty late to the game. But for a company that is stringent about its tech, the delay is warranted. The 360 Vis Nav model has the brand's patented cyclone tech, which has 65AW of suction power and automatically uses more suction power when more dust is detected; meaning EVERYTHING that gets in the machine's path gets sucked up. And, unlike the other robovaccums on the market, the machine's camera is situated on top; which scans its surroundings and maps out your home. It's the most expensive robovacuum on the market but the engineering is worth every penny.
For a brand known for its outdoorsy ruggedness, it made perfect sense that Luminox and survivalist, Bear Grylls' paths would intertwine. The team-up yields the Mountain Series, a collection of four watches that marks the 25th year of Grylls' 1998 climb of Mount Everest. The limited edition version has a white dial, deep blue strap and a red crown that matches the hues of the Nepal flag. The caseback is etched with Mount Everest itself and the chapter ring with “8848M”, which as you Everestheads would clue to is the mountain's altitude. With only 800 pieces worldwide, the Limited Edition Mountain timepiece also has a removable bull bar to protect the dial. And with it's highlighted with Luminox’s Light Technology, which ensures every Luminox timepiece is visible in any light conditions for up to 25 years.
The perfect cropped hoodie exists and it’s by Entire Studios. The Los Angeles-based brand is known for its exaggerated puffer jackets but the hoodies are cut quite beautifully too. Designed cropped and with extended sleeves, it’s the perfect hoodie to layer over just about anything, or not. Upgrade your usual airport fit for this and you’d probably never want to wear anything else when travelling.
We raved about Jabra's Elite 7 Active but the newer version really takes the cake. We had previous earbuds that we use for running and they never could stay in the ears. Especially, when they hit the ground, they tend to get scraped up (you'll be missed Klipsch T5). Jabra's Elite 8 Active is marketed as the world's most durable earbuds and buddy... they are right. The Elite 8 Active went through nine US military-grade testings. Nine. Do you know how tough your product has to be to get that sorta certification? And you know how certain products are "water resistant"? The Elite 8 Active is WATERPROOF. Sweat, rain, submersion, waterboarding... these earbuds can weather whatever wetness you throw at it. And the cherry on top? Their patented Jabra ShakeGrip trait (a Liquid Silicon Rubber compound) kept these suckers firmly in my ears. Oh, and add to that are the Dolby-powered 6mm speakers; an Adaptive Hybrid ANC and HearThrough feature really round up the Elite 8 Active. We can't recommend this enough.
We still stand by the superiority of ear cuffs—there’s no needless skin-poking and you can always take them off whenever. This duo-gold Chanel ear cuff sits comfortably right at the top of the ear to give an illusion of wearing two cuffs at the same time. We’d pair it with another cuff towards the lobe for added bling but just the one on its own makes for an edgy statement this Christmas.
'Tis that season where it is acceptable to open up that celebratory wine ("What can we say, we're traditionalists"). But wine is the sort of drink that requires a commitment to polishing the entire thing off. That's where Coravin comes in handy. Its Timeless range is a wine preserver. Without uncorking the bottle, the Timeless device uses a hollow needle to extract the wine by perforating the cork. It also fills the bottle with argon gas to pressurise it, keeping it as fresh as the day it was bottled. When the needle is removed, the cork reseals, protecting the wine from oxidation. Now in two new limited-edition colourways that are inspired by exploration—Timeless Three+ in Deep Sea Blue (shown in pic) and Timeless Six+ in Mist—the Coravin allows us to savour our bottles at our own pace.
Not quite ugly and not quite a Christmas jumper, but the Radar jumper by OAMC is the kind of statement piece you’d want to bust out every winter travel. The cut is perfection, amplified by structured raglan sleeves that display the radar-inspired design to its full effect. Sure, it’s a bit pricey for something partly made from polyester but you’re really paying for the design and cut with this one.
The average Woodford Reserve 750ml is a tasty treat in a glass but do you ever wanna drink in style? Like real opulent-like? Welp, there's the Woodford Reserve's Baccarat Edition. This is an experience at PLUME. Order yourself a Birds of Baccarat cocktail where you have your Woodford Reserve Baccarat Edition—a masterful mix of select XO Cognac barrels (American and French oak)—that's mixed with saffron, cinnamon, manuka honey and garnished gold flakes. And it's served in a Baccarat crystal glass. It'll cost you a pretty penny—SGD1,688++ but not only do you get a serving of the Birds of Baccarat Cocktail, you'd also take home the Baccarat glass it came in, as well as a special Baccarat crystal rabbit zodiac figurine.
You're familiar with Devialet, especially with their Mania portable speakers. Beneath these beatific shells lie its pulsing heart—the aluminium full-range drivers (4) and woofers (2). Full-range in its processing, that covers the entire audio spectrum from bass to medium to treble. The Mania's adaptive 360° sound wraps you in a tapestry of melodies; each note is experienced with clarity and depth. And now it comes in two new colourways—Sunset Rose and Sandstorm. Something for Christmas, surely?
A spirits brand with a lifestyle collection with Stella and Mary McCartney? Yes, please. The curated set called TOGETHER, drew inspiration from nature. It includes vibrant handmade glassware, an ombre ceramic flask encased in an apple leather alternative sleeve, brass ice stamps with hand-painted ceramic handles and a brass napkin weight shaped like an acorn—a tribute to the oak casks maturing The Macallan whisky. And if homeware isn't up your alley, there's always the third edition of The Harmony Collection, which features two distinctive expressions: Amber Meadow and Green Meadow.
If you’re like us and you’ve grown up on all the commercially driven lore of Christmas—Santa, elves, reindeers and whatnot—you’d appreciate Swarovski’s latest Christmas-themed collection. The Holiday Cheers line features a range of icons crafted from crystals that’ll sit pretty all year round. And because Swarovski makes them different year after year, here’s to starting a new collection.
Grail may have underwent a rebrand but it still retains its firm commitment to sustainability. Another surprise from this local brand: the sunscreen (pictured, second from left). Made with a unique eco-friendly formula, it doesn't have that thick sticky residue that your conventional sunscreen has. The application of the Daily SPF 50+++ (maybe someone should come up with a simpler name?) is so light that it almost feels like there was nothing slathered on to begin with.
They are far from just a status symbol: these are computers with crisp displays, smooth software, and they’re known to last years without showing signs of slowing. Sure, they may command a higher price compared to some Windows computers, but we reckon it’s worth it for some of the most capable and compact laptops money can buy.
Still, while they're impressive machines, Apple is 90% of the way through its transition to making its own chips for its laptops and we’re not about to pretend the current lineup isn’t a bit of a chaotic mess.
Shopping for one quickly becomes headache-inducing as there are (at least at a glance) a wide range of variations and a lot of similarities in sizes and designs. Often, it’s not always a case of the newest model being the ideal option for your needs. Much like the latest iPhone 15 series of smartphones, all of them are very impressive, but that buying decision often comes down to portability vs power.
We’ve been using MacBooks for years, and have been hands-on to find the best models for every type of use, whether you're connecting it to a portable projector, popping it in your backpack when going on holiday, or need a big screen desktop alternative for lengthy video editing sessions. Our picks for this list are based on tests and rigorous research—so you can be confident that you’ve made the right choice.
Our favourite MacBook to buy in 2023? That would be the Air M2. During our tests, we had so few complaints that we can see it working as most people’s ideal daily-use computer for many years. The Air series was overdue a refresh, and this 2022 model ditches the retro tapered frame of the older models in favour of a more boxy design that you could mistake for a MacBook Pro. It feels fantastic to use: the keyboard and trackpad are clicky and responsive, the 13.6-inch display is bright and colourful and the latest M2 processor is superfast when opening apps and loading up 42 tabs at once (we all do it). This is a companion for work, travel and entertainment. We used it for all three in our tests—and we love typing on it just as much as watching streaming shows. While it won’t handle intensive editing, it’s great for normal day-to-day use. No matter what we throw at it, it just works.
Display: 13.6 inch
Resolution: 2560 x 1664 pixels
Battery Life: Up to 18 hours
Storage: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB
Connectivity: USB-C x2, 3.5mm jack
Processor: Apple M2
Apple didn't make any drastic changes to its Air lineup this year, but it did release a version of its M2 Air with a 15.inch screen. Everything about it remains excellent, from the comfy keyboard to the smooth performance to the responsive trackpad. Buy this model if you want that same slimline Mac with a more expansive display.
Resolution: 2880 x 1864 pixels
Battery Life: Up to 18 hours
Connectivity: USB-C x2, 3.5mm
Starting up a new YouTube channel or editing some feed-worthy photographs? You’ll need more computing power and storage than the base models can provide. Your best option is the 2023 Pro, which comes in 14-inch or 16-inches and some house the most powerful “Pro” version of the latest chip. We like this smaller model for the portability, plus you get solid connectivity—two USB-C ports, one HDMI, one SD card slot and a 3.5mm jack—plus a chunkier body that adds to the feeling of it having a sturdier build. Yes, there are more affordable MacBooks out there—such as last year's Pro model with a 13-inch display—but that has a standard M2 chip (not as powerful as the M2 Pro), an old design with a touch bar, fewer ports, a lower-resolution webcam and fewer storage options. This 2023 series has a 120Hz display and tons of storage—more than enough for large video projects.
Resolution: 3024 x 1964 pixels
Battery Life: Up to 22 hours
Storage: 512GB or 1TB
Connectivity: USB-C x2, 3.5mm, HDMI, SD card
The 16-inch MacBook Pro M3 Pro (2023) is your best choice if a big screen is your priority—and it will shine when used for editing photos or videos. What you lose in portability you gain in power—and this is a brilliant option if you plan on keeping it on your desk most of the time. Of course, that extra display size means it’s also a fantastic choice for multitasking, and it gives you the space to have several tabs showing at once. It’s got everything that makes the 14-inch above special, just in a bigger package and a slightly better chip. It’s notable for offering the longest battery life of any MacBook right now. This is really the best laptop alternative to a full-blown Mac desktop computer that you’ll find, although we admit that it may actually be too much power if you're just a casual user who only wants a laptop for browsing your socials and watching a few hours of Apple TV+.
Resolution: 3456 x 2234 pixels
Battery Life: Up to 22 hours
Storage: 512GB (up to 8TB)
Connectivity: USB-C x3, SD card, 3.5mm, HDMI
Processor: M3 Pro
It’s always tempting to want the latest specs and designs, but you’d be wrong if you think the M1 MacBook Air from 2020 is unworthy of attention. It may not have the new M-series processors or the design of the Air M2 from last year, but this still has more than enough power for most people—and it’s fantastic value these days as you can pick one up for well under £900 brand new. That’s the most affordable MacBook you’ll find outside of the refurbished models. The M1 chip is still a beast compared to most other laptops—and if all you use it for is streaming movies, typing documents, looking at social media or light editing, you won’t have any problems with its speed or efficiency. You get the exact same Retina display as the MacBook Pro M2 (2022) and the same battery as the recent Air M2, and while the design is still closer to the older tapered shape—this remains a thin and attractive option.
Resolution: 2560 x 1600 pixels
Battery Life: Up to 18 hours
Connectivity: USB-C x2
Apple laptops hold their value for years, and it’s rare to see massive discounts or deals. But if you're shopping on a budget we advise checking out older refurbished models via websites like Back Market and Amazon Renewed. On Back Market, we regularly see older MacBook Air laptops for around £400. If you don’t mind not having the latest specs and designs, you can currently get a 13-inch 2017 MacBook Air graded “excellent” (so the screen and keyboard are in great condition) for around £340. These models have been tested and come with a year's warranty, covering manufacturing faults. If you don’t like the device, you can get a refund within 30 days.
Resolution: 1440 x 900 pixels
Battery Life: Up to 12 hours
Connectivity: USB-A x2
Processor: Intel i5
Buying the right Apple MacBook can be surprisingly complex. Here's what you need to consider:
MacBooks are expensive, there’s no way around it. You will usually pay at least £800 to £1,000 for an entry-level model, and that can easily reach £2,000 if you want a top-spec laptop with the best performance and heaps of storage for photo and video editing, or for using power-hungry graphic design software. Luckily, if you don’t mind getting an older model you can buy MacBooks refurbished—those are even sold by Apple itself.
When it comes to portability, size matters. The MacBooks on our list go from 13-inch to 16-inch in screen size, and while all will fit in a backpack it should be noted that the bigger models are significantly heavier. If you need a laptop for throwing in a bag on the way to work, we recommend the Air M2, which weighs 1.24kg. For comparison, the upcoming MacBook Pro M2 Max is 2.2kg.
Any new MacBook you buy these days is powered by Apple’s own M-series chips: the base M1 and M2, plus two powerful options: the M2 Pro and the M2 Pro Max. The differences are in speed and efficiency. What does that mean for you? With the Pro and Pro Max, everything is faster—from opening files or apps to processing video files. Apple says the M2 Pro and M2 Max are up to 40% faster than the prior chips, but if you have an M1 or base M2 don’t worry—they’re more than good enough.
Catching a lengthy flight? Commuting to work? How about checking your emails over a quiet beer? You’ll need your MacBook to last. The more battery life, the better. All of the models on our list have loads of juice, with the lowest having up to 15 hours of continuous internet use. We find the MacBook Air M2 lasts for multiple days at a time without needing a top-up—based on moderate use such as using streaming platforms, listening to music and looking at websites. Some of the more powerful MacBooks drain faster—with the Pro 14-inch offering up to 12 hours of continuous internet use. If you need extra reserves, invest in a power bank.
Built-in storage is used to save files, photos, videos, software and documents. On MacBooks, this ranges from 256 gigabytes (GB) to 8 terabytes (TB). The more space, the more room you have on the computer. We advise aiming for 256GB at a minimum if possible. Memory—RAM—is what your laptop uses to load documents, browse the web and open tabs. The more you have, the faster the laptop handles tasks. You want to aim for at least 8GB of RAM, but we advise 16GB or 32GB if possible. The MacBooks on our list range from 8GB of RAM to 96GB on the new M3 Pro.
MacBooks aren’t known for giving you lots of ports for connecting wired peripherals like a mouse, keyboard or headphones. The MacBook Air gives you the fewest slots—just two USB-C ports—while the higher-end Pro models add on a third USB-C port, plus give you an HDMI port for pairing your favourite projector and an SD card slot. Luckily, all of the MacBooks on our list have reliable Bluetooth connectivity, so pairing wireless accessories, like some of the best speakers, isn’t an issue.
Apple just unleashed a quartet of new iPhones upon the world. You’ve got the standard lineup of the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus, in addition to the premium iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max. So far, so expected. But is it time to trade in your trusted companion for a new titanium powerhouse? That’s what we’re here to help you decide.
While we can’t say we’re that surprised about any of the announcements – there’s been a new model every September for over a decade, and much about these ones was rumoured – we’re happy to report that, after going hands-on, we can say there are appreciable and noticeable upgrades to every phone in the new lineup.
We’ve been testing every new Apple phone and there’s nothing that we’d call a mere “S” model here. But, if you want all the most eye-catching changes, there’s likely only one that you’re lusting after: The iPhone 15 Pro Max.
It’s all about titanium in 2023. Light, strong, and ready for space exploration. Across the board, Apple has made its Pro phones less weighty. The 14 Pro was 206g, and the 14 Pro Max came in at 240g on the scale. With the 15 lineup, the 15 Pro is 187g and the 15 Pro Max is 221g – it is a big difference that you can actually notice.
Beyond that, though, all of these phones continue to look just like other iPhone models. You’ve got the same look with the massive triple camera setup on the back, and the “Dynamic Island” at the top of the display, housing the front lens and clever face recognition sensors. It’s worth mentioning that both this and the 15 Pro have the thinnest bezels ever witnessed on an iPhone, shaving crucial millimetres off the body of the handset and making it feel slightly smaller when held.
If you like your phone to live without a case, then Apple has some changes you’ll appreciate. It’s not only the reduced weight of the thing, but it now also has these lovely contoured edges and a slightly more matte finish to the back glass. It makes it feel less like you’re going to drop it, so it’s now a realistic option without a case (as long as you’ve got insurance).
Speaking of cases, Apple has ditched leather in an environmental push and replaced those cases with its “FineWoven” lineup. We do like the suedelike look and feel of these, but they feel a little overpriced and if protection is your focus, we reckon you’ll prefer highly durable designs like the ones from British brand Mous. If you like a soft touch, the FineWoven ones do feel lovely, though. Want to show off the colour of your phone? Look at Apple’s clear case.
On those colours, the Pro range now comes in four minimal shades: black titanium, white titanium, blue titanium and natural titanium. We’re aware of the critiques that these are all a bit similar, especially the white and the natural, but having seen them all in person in Cupertino, we think they’re easy to distinguish from each other. We think the blue and the natural titanium (the colour of our review unit) are especially appealing.
Let’s be honest, none of us were ever using that mute switch on the left side of our iPhones, were we? Ours has been left on silent since at least the iPhone 4, so it’s essentially useless. That’s why we’re so glad that Apple has replaced the toggle with a fully customisable “action button” on the side of the Pro devices.
By default, a long press of this button still changes your handset between audible alerts and silence, but you can hop into settings and alter it to quickly launch the camera, switch on the torch, put on “do not disturb”, record a voice memo, or do whatever you like with a “Shortcut” – effectively, this launches any app or does almost any action you can imagine. Want to press the button to start your podcast queue, hit play on a workout playlist or launch a third-party camera app? It’s all possible. Not enough of you are taking advantage of the power of shortcuts, so now’s the time to start.
We love this little button, but if we were being picky, we’d say that we’d appreciate even more customisation. Imagine if you could control what it does in different apps or if it could have different functions depending on your focus mode. We’re just throwing out ideas here, but with per-app functions, we’re picturing features to turn it into a way to hop back to the camera when browsing your photos app, while having it still be a way to control something else once in a different app.
Or maybe that if we’re in our “Reading” focus mode it’ll automatically open Reeder or Instapaper, without changing its main use when not in that mode. We’re aware some of this would be complicated to implement, but it’s exciting that there are possibilities and future upgrades could make this button even more useful. So long, mute switch.
We should be clear that we already adore the performance of the camera on the iPhone 14 Pro. And, if you’re not a discerning photographer, it’s true that it’s also getting harder to notice the increasingly gradual changes between versions.
But there are clear reasons why the 15 Pro series is yet another big step up. It’s a larger main sensor, with reduced lens flare, improved portraits in night mode and, well, just upgraded portraits overall. But there’s one last trick up the sleeve of the 15 Pro Max, and that’s an expanded zoom range. Say goodbye to the 3x zoom, and hello to a 5x reach.
First up, though, portraiture. Look, we can’t be the only ones here who appreciate the notion of the creamy bokeh-licious background blur of a portrait mode but find we barely ever remember to switch it on. Apple gets it. With all the iPhone 15 models, the portrait mode is automatic in photos with people and certain animals (yes to cats and dogs, but no to hedgehogs – sorry, we don’t make the rules).
This is going to make it much easier to fill your camera roll with pro-looking portraits, and we’ve already found it simple to use. It works every time with people but is a little more hit-and-miss with animals – it may have just not gotten along with the Shih Tzu we met in the park, but it worked for the Cockapoo we encountered in the pub. We’re fans of the depth control on all the shots, and how you can change the focus point after the shot. You’re getting a huge amount of creative control in a compact package here.
We tested out the longer 5x zoom on the Pro Max too, and we like the crisp and detailed shots from this third lens. We know Samsung fans swear by the absurd zoom length on the S23 Ultra, but we just don’t find it useful and the results are inconsistent, crunchy and too unnatural.
The iPhone is the better pick for consistency between the lenses and more true-to-life reproduction of details and colours. This system is a fantastic option for mobile photographers – we’d say if you lean more towards wildlife, outdoor events or field trips, the 15 Pro Max’s long 120mm equivalent zoom is better, but for a classic portraiture focal length, the 77mm telephoto of the 15 Pro is the one to pick.
Both Pro models also give you a new ability to choose your standard lens and switch between the 24, 28 and 35mm focal lengths. We’ve already seen some commentators confuse this with a digital zoom, but there’s actual computational wizardry going on here too.
You can tell because the output of each option is at the same 24-megapixel resolution, and the results do come out looking terrific. Where we can see this coming in handy is if we want to match the focal length of our main camera (a 35mm-equivalent Fujifilm X100V) while shooting and want to include a few iPhone snaps without them sticking out like sore thumbs.
Overall, we’re left feeling like there’s little that this camera can’t do for most photographers – it’s an absurdly capable piece of kit that delivers quality shots from every lens.
Rejoice, Apple has caught up with the rest of the industry and the direction of its own gadgets by finally adding a USB-C port to every iPhone 15. Everyone doesn’t always remember this detail, but Apple was in fact the first brand to put USB-C on a laptop back in 2015, when it added it to its 12-inch MacBook. So, it’s a bit of a shame that it’s taken this long to reach the phones (USB-C iPads have been sold to the masses since 2018), but we’re not about to complain.
At last, your iPhone can charge using the same cord that you use for every other gadget in your house, whether that’s your headphones, MacBook, portable speakers, or wireless mechanical keyboard – it also means you’ll have one fewer cable to remember to bring with your power bank when you leave the house, or when you pack for your travels.
We’ve been testing what this port can do, and it’s good news that it’s not locked down like Lightning. We’ve connected third-party memory card readers to access photos and videos taken on our camera, a powerful USB-C to 3.5mm DAC to drive our wired headphones playing music from high-res music streaming services, and to recharge the phone with the same charger we’d use for our laptop or iPad.
The devices will negotiate the required amount of power, and as long as you’re not buying weirdly cheap third-party chargers from no-name brands on Amazon there isn’t a risk because USB-C is a standard, and that’s why this change is such a welcome addition. Apple talks about how it can charge the new USB-C AirPods and an Apple Watch with the necessary cable, but it actually goes much beyond that.
We tested several connections and it can pass power over to another iPhone 15 with less remaining battery via a USB-C to USB-C cable – it’ll do the same to an older iPhone via a USB-C to Lightning cable or to the older AirPods. It appears to work to give a little charge to non-Apple wireless earbuds too. This is all super helpful if you’re low on power, and it’s something we’d use in a pinch. It’s also good news for Pro users that this port supports rapid USB 3 data transfer, allowing you to quickly move files to attached USB-C thumb drives or fast solid-state drives.
When it comes to overall battery life and recharging, we’re looking at essentially the same story as last year. The 15 Pro Max offers up to 29 hours of downloaded video playback and up to 25 hours of video playback over streaming, continuing to offer the fastest maximum charging speeds of a 27W to 29W peak that matches its predecessor.
We need a little more time with the phone to see if it delivers the quoted battery life, but we’d expect to get just over a day of regular use, depending on screen brightness and data use. You should find it hits about half full in 30 minutes, which we tend to think is fast enough for most people, especially as it also offers convenient wireless charging via both MagSafe (up to 15W) and Qi (up to 7.5W) stands and pads.
If you appreciate a bigger screen, bigger battery and all the latest features, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is a tremendous option. It feels innovative rather than iterative and brings some long-overdue features and some seriously impressive additions to the Pro iPhones.
Sometimes, we do find it a little too large to use one-handed but if you’re worried about that, the 15 Pro is a great phone with the vast majority of the features you get in the bigger model. However, if that far longer 5x zoom is calling out to you, we’d pick the iPhone 15 Pro Max. We love the performance of this camera setup, the capabilities of the USB-C port and the gorgeous brushed titanium design.
Killers of the Flower Moon took a while to be adapted. The rights to adapt David Grann's book started in 2016 but like any other project, the development of the film was halted due to the global pandemic. Still, the film was finally finished. It made its premiere at the 76th Cannes Film Festival on May 20, 2023 and received a nine-minute standing ovation.
While we have to wait a few months to watch it, Apple TV+ unveils the trailer of Killers of the Flower Moon today.
With stirring Native American pow wow chants spliced with dubstep ("Stadium Pow Wow" by The Halluci Nation née A Tribe Called Red), the trailer brings across the palpable tension of a community gripped with terror.
The American Western crime drama (that's a mouthful) is based on the real-life murders that plagued the Osage Nation. Set in the 1920s, the epic is directed and co-produced by Martin Scorsese and stars an ensemble cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Lily Gladstone and Jesse Plemons.
Given the subject matter, Scorsese involved the Osage Nation during the film's development. In a press release, Scorsese said, "We are thrilled to finally start production on Killers of the Flower Moon in Oklahoma. To be able to tell this story on the land where these events took place is incredibly important and critical to allowing us to portray an accurate depiction of the time and people. We're grateful to Apple, the Oklahoma Film and Music Office and The Osage Nation, especially all our Osage consultants and cultural advisors, as we prepare for this shoot."
In light of the current book bans and revisionisms in America, we are glad that someone made use of the medium to spotlight America's "hidden histories". (Another example was HBO's Watchmen which featured the Tulsa Race Massacre.)
America's history may not strike a chord with Singapore audiences but the cast and the dramatisation of a real-life event should be enough to get butts in seats.
Killers of the Flower Moon is tentatively slated to be in theatres on 6 October and later for online streaming on Apple TV+.
The Crowded Room will mark the actor's last project for the foreseeable future.
Tom Holland is taking a break from acting. Don’t worry, though—it’s only for a year. In a recent interview with Extra, the 27-year-old actor explained that filming his latest project, Apple TV+’s upcoming miniseries The Crowded Room, prompted the decision.
“I’m no stranger to hard work,” he explained. “I’ve lived by the idea that hard work is good work. Then again, the show did break me. There did come a time [when] I needed a break and disappeared and went to Mexico for a week and had time on a beach and laid low. I’m now taking a year off, and that is a result of how difficult this show was.”
Holland both produced and stars in The Crowded Room. The upcoming crime thriller follows Danny Sullivan, a man who is arrested in 1979 following a fatal shooting at Rockefeller Center. The series is inspired by Billy Milligan, a man convicted of many brutal crimes, who was eventually deemed innocent after he was diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder. His case sparked a debate about whether or not people with multiple personalities should be held accountable for their actions. In the first trailer for The Crowded Room, we see Holland's character grappling with similar circumstances. Check it out above.
Though the filming process was difficult, Holland said he’s excited to see the final product. “I feel like our hard work wasn’t in vain,” he said. This role is radically different from the blockbusters Holland is known for, like Marvel’s Spider-Man films, or the video game adaptation, Uncharted. According to the actor, he had to tap into a new psyche to pull it off, while also working on the business end of the production. “We were exploring certain emotions that I have definitely never experienced before,” he said. “And on top of that, being a producer, dealing with the day-to-day problems that come with any film set, just added that extra level of pressure.”
According to Variety, at one point during the filming, Holland nearly changed his appearance to shed the character. "I remember having a bit of a meltdown at home and thinking like, ‘I’m going to shave my head. I need to shave my head because I need to get rid of this character,’" he said. "And, obviously, we were mid-shooting, so I decided not to...It was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.”
Now, with the production behind him, Holland says he’s learned to better manage his mental health. That is, in part, thanks to the research he did while filming the series. “Learning about mental health and the power of it, and speaking to psychiatrists about Danny and Billy's struggles, has been something that has been so informative to my own life,” Holland said.
Though Holland won’t be working on any more projects this year, you can see him in The Crowded Room, alongside Amanda Seyfried, Emmy Rossum, Sasha Lane, and Emma Laird, out now only on Apple TV+.
From: Esquire US
Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the duo behind many hit shows—The Lego Movie; Cocaine Bear; Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse—return with a second season of The Afterparty. Like the last season, expect a murder at the titular afterparty and everyone at said afterparty looks guilty as hell. Aside from the playful dynamics among the ensemble cast, each episode focuses on a different character’s account of that fateful evening, all told through the lens of popular film genres and specific visuals to complement the storyteller’s perspective.
Last season, all eight episodes were directed in the style of an action movie; a musical; a teen drama; an animation; a police procedural; a children's show; a romantic comedy; a psychological thriller. For the second season, we are getting 10 episodes and from the trailer for the second season, it looks like we'll be getting genres like noir; a period drama; formalism (think the style of Wes Anderson) and... TikTok?
Three characters from last season will appear in this second season. We'll see Detective Danner (Tiffany Haddish), who is called in to investigate a murder at the behest of Aniq (played by Sam Richardson) and Zoë (Zoë Chao). The star-studded cast retains its Hollywood gleam with the addition of Elizabeth Perkins; Zach Woods; Paul Walter Hauser; Poppy Liu; Anna Konkle; Jack Whitehall; Vivian Wu; John Cho and Ken Jeong.
The first two episodes of the second season will premiere on Wednesday, 12 July. After that, an episode will be aired every Wednesday until 6 September.
The Afterparty's second season will be shown solely on Apple TV+.
Apple's annual 2023 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) conference occurred early this morning. And while the event is geared towards developers on the latest software releases, there were a few hardware announcements as well. Plus, it doesn't hurt for the rest of us non-developers to be privy to what the tech brand has on its upcoming slate. Here are some takeaways from the keynote:
Throwing its hat into the mixed reality ring, Apple introduces the Vision Pro headset. This was the keystone's marquee piece that can do all the things you can do on your iPhone—answer calls; FaceTime; open e-mails; watch movies, browse the Internet... but in a mixed-reality landscape. It's Apple's answer to spatial computing, where apps come alive in your own personal space. Alas, it looks like you look like you're going snowboarding and given the external two-hour battery life, this device is clearly meant for indoors. There's also the issue of the price tag (US$3,499!) that many might baulk at. May the Vision Pro do what previous mixed reality predecessors (Google Glass; Oculus) have failed to do: be relevant.
Next year, Apple Watch users can expect an upgrade for its iWatch. Users can expect updates to their Apple Watch experience like being able to add widgets to their smart stack; new apps; more utility with the digital crown, which showcases various widgets and new full-screen displays. The software update has your health covered, thanks to a focus on your mental well-being, determining if there's a safe distance between your screen and your eyes and getting you to spend time under the sun.
The MacBook Air has always come in 13" for the longest time because it needed to live up to the lightness of the 'Air' part of its name. The 15" promises to remain lightweight while giving you a bigger display to work off from. Weighing slightly over 1.3kg and comes with an M2 chipset, the 15" MacBook Air is due to launch on 13 June.
With a new MacBook Air on the way, why not a new OS update? Named after California's famed wine country, users can expect a bunch of upgraded features like the Game Mode function. This directs processing power to your games on the CPU and GPU of your Mac and lowers your background tasks' usage. Expect reduced latency with your wireless accessories, consistent frame rates and better responsiveness.
Gone are the flying toasters and forever-extending pipes from hell but the OS update grants you a more contemplative feel with the screensaver mode. There are new slow-motion screensavers depicting places of grandeur that aren't your drab office space.
Video conferencing will take on a more intuitive approach. Its Presenter Overlay keeps the spotlight on you with your screen framed next to you on a separate layer; this allows you to move in front of your content. Move You can move, walk, and talk in front of your content. If you want to look like a disembodied floating head, you can use the small overlay to appear in a movable bubble over your shared screen. Move yourself around the screen and make a spooky moaning sound during your presentation. Go on. Do it. Be the life of the office.
Another OS update, this time for your iPhone and it'll affect your phone, FaceTime and Messages apps. Calling for Siri will be twice as fast... when the update drops the 'Hey' from 'Hey, Siri'. The update will add more personality to your iPhone as you can customise your contact posters using either photos or Memoji. Call your friends and let them see you want yourself to be seen.
Live transcription in real-time for phone voicemails is also on the cards. As well as, this cool feature that allows you to share contacts, music or other shared activities with another iPhone user when the two of you bump your iPhones or Apple Watches together.
For more information on WWDC 2023, check out the Apple website.