iQOO 12 Review: Pushes Boundaries Beyond Performance

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iQOO has concluded an impressive 2023 and chose to cap off the year with the release of its flagship iQOO 12. Notably, it secured the distinction of being the first Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 phone in India, preceding competitors such as the Samsung Galaxy S24 series and OnePlus 12. While 2024 is expected to witness the arrival of more SD8 Gen 3 phones, iQOO has positioned itself ahead by introducing an additional Q1 co-processor, providing a competitive edge in terms of performance.

Beyond the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, the iQOO 12 brings forth numerous enhancements compared to its predecessor, spanning areas such as display, camera software, and other hardware components. The question remains: Does the iQOO 12 possess the capabilities to stand against the upcoming challengers? Let’s delve into the iQOO 12 review.

iQOO 12 5G Review Snapshot

Editor’s rating: 4/5

Design

Display

Software

Performance

Camera

Battery

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Pros

  • Appealing design
  • Excellent Display
  • Handles Games Well
  • Smooth performance
  • Capable Cameras
  • Long-Lasting Battery

Cons

  • Presence of bloatware
  • No wireless charging
  • No 4k recording from selfie camera

iQOO 12 Price in India and Box Contents

Priced at Rs. 52,999, the iQOO 12 offers a 12GB RAM + 256GB storage variant. For those seeking more, a 16GB + 512GB RAM and storage variant is available at Rs. 57,999.

The iQOO 12 box includes a transparent TPU case, a USB Type-C to USB Type-C cable, and a 120W SuperVOOC charging adaptor. The device is available for purchase on Amazon, with options to choose between Alpha and Legend color variants.


iQOO 12 review: Design

The iQOO 12 emerges as one of the most aesthetically pleasing devices of the year. A departure from the norm, iQOO has made a commendable effort to redefine the aesthetics of its flagship phone. The Lagend variant, resembling glossy ceramic from a distance (though crafted from Porcelain Enamel glass), features a primarily flat rear panel with subtle taps for both visual appeal and an enhanced grip. However, it should be noted that the phone is remarkably slippery without a case.

The standout feature on the rear panel is the camera module, with a squircle camera island protruding at the top left corner. A silver outer frame with fine ridges, coupled with a Dual LED flash and BMW M Motorsport tri-color stripes, adds to the overall visual appeal. The flat side rail, gently curved at the end, complements the tapered edges of the glass. Antenna bands are strategically placed for optimal 5G reception.

Noteworthy design elements include a volume rocker and power button on the left side edge, a SIM tray, USB C port, loudspeaker, and main microphone at the bottom edge, and an IR Blaster, secondary microphone, and secondary speaker at the top. The iQOO 12 boasts an IP64 rating for water splashes and dust resistance, making it appealing with its well-balanced weight distribution and excellent in-hand feel.

iQOO 12 review: Display and Audio

iQOO has elevated its display game with the iQOO 12, featuring Visionox’s AMOLED panel measuring 6.78 inches diagonally. The screen boasts a resolution of 1260 X 2800 pixels, supporting 1 billion colors and achieving a maximum brightness of 1400nits, peaking at 3000nits under specific conditions. The 2,160Hz pulse width modulation (PWM) ensures low light flickering, catering to user comfort.

The iQOO 12 offers three display color profiles – Standard, Bright, and Pro. The Pro profile adheres to sRGB colors with better color accuracy. The display supports adaptive refresh rates ranging from 1Hz to 144Hz, with the Smart Switch option optimizing screen refresh rates based on the content being displayed.

Special emphasis on content consumption is evident, with features such as visual enhancement, MMEC, and Super Resolution optimizing frame rates, colors, and contrast. The iQOO 12 holds a DRM L1 certificate, enabling HD and HDR content streaming from platforms like Netflix and Prime Video. The device also includes an Always-on Display feature, optimized to conserve battery at a 1Hz refresh rate.

On the audio front, the iQOO 12 combines a bottom-firing loudspeaker and earpiece for a stereo effect. While the speakers deliver loud audio with good voice separation, bass may be limited, although the highs remain satisfactory.

iQOO 12 review: Performance and Software

Being the first smartphone in India equipped with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, the iQOO 12 stands out in terms of performance. The Qualcomm flagship chip for 2024 features eight cores, including a Cortex X4 prime core clocked at 3.3GHz, five performance cores reaching up to 3.2GHz, and two Cortex A520 efficiency cores ticking at 2.3GHz. The Adreno 750 GPU, coupled with a self-developed Q1 co-processor, enhances the overall performance.

The iQOO 12 boasts 16GB of LPDDR5X RAM and 512GB of UFS 4.0 storage. Running on Android 14 based FundTouch OS 14, the device promises three years of Android updates and four years of security updates. The FunTouch OS has been optimized for a smooth experience, with the inclusion of Kinetic Wallpapers that change based on step counts.

Customization options for the home screen, lock screen, and various animation effects add to the user experience. Noteworthy is the reduction of bloatware, with some useful apps like Netflix, Spotify, and Snapchat pre-installed.

The iQOO 12’s performance has been commendable across various tasks, including multitasking and AAA gaming. Gaming features such as game frame interpolation, enabled by the Q1 chip, provide a seamless gaming experience, with the device handling games like Genshin Impact, COD Mobile, and BGMI without frame drops or heating issues.

Benchmark tests have been conducted, yielding the following results:

  • AnTuTu v10.1.6: 2077000
  • Geekbench 6.1: 2292 (Single core) & 7169 (Multi core)
  • CPU throttling test: 73 percent of its max performance
  • 3DMark (Wild Life Extreme Stress Test): 5161 (Best loop score)

iQOO 12 review: Cameras

Addressing concerns from previous flagships, iQOO has significantly improved the camera system on the iQOO 12. The triple-camera setup comprises a 50-megapixel Omnivision OV50H primary sensor, a 64-megapixel Samsung JN1 telephoto sensor, and a 50-megapixel Omnivision OV64B ultra-wide sensor. A 16-megapixel selfie camera completes the camera ensemble.

The primary rear camera, equipped with Quad-PD autofocus and optical stabilization, captures 12.5MP images with excellent dynamic range, details, and vibrant colors. The noise levels are well-managed.

The telephoto camera excels in portrait mode, offering sharp images with notable separation between subject and background. The 64MP sensor supports up to 3X optical zoom, delivering shots with good dynamic range, low noise, and sharpness. Additionally, up to 100X digital zoom is available, along with features like Supermoon mode and astro mode for capturing constellations.

The ultra-wide snapper provides pixel-binned 12.5MP shots with decent details and sharpness. While the dynamic range is commendable, it may not match the sharpness and color accuracy of the other two sensors.

iQOO 12 review: battery and Charging

The iQOO 12 exhibits battery life similar to its predecessor, lasting more than a day for moderate users. With screen-on time exceeding four and a half hours at high refresh rate settings and connected to dual 5G networks and Wi-Fi, the phone offers reliable endurance.

For swift charging needs, the iQOO 12 includes a 120W fast charger, replenishing 50 percent of the battery in ten minutes and achieving a full charge in 25 minutes.

iQOO 12 review Verdict: Should you buy it?

iQOO has elevated its flagship game with the iQOO 12, a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3-powered device that ticks almost all the boxes. With an appealing design, an excellent LTPO AMOLED display, impressive cameras, good speakers, and reliable software, the iQOO 12 stands as a comprehensive smartphone under Rs 60,000. If you’re in the market for a complete device, the iQOO 12 is certainly worth considering.

Reasons to buy

  • Appealing design
  • Excellent Display
  • Handles Games Well
  • Smooth performance
  • Capable Cameras
  • Long-Lasting Battery

Reasons To Not Buy

  • Presence of bloatware
  • No wireless charging
  • No 4k recording from selfie camera
Deepak RajawatDeepak Rajawat
Experienced technology journalist with over 7-years of experience. Before embracing online journalism, he has worked with several legacy publications including print editions at Hindustan Times and The Statesman. He also has a keen interest in Sports, which he used to cover with equal enthusiasm in his early career.

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