Competing with multiple sub-brands has worked quite well for Chinese smartphone makers. The strategy allows brands including Huawei, OPPO, Lenovo, and Huawei to pursue a fresh approach and to be more disruptive while avoiding conflicts in established retail channels. Vivo now follows suit with iQOO as a high performance and gaming-centric spin-off. (iQOO 3 Review हिंदी में पढ़िए)

The emerging brand commences its journey with the launch of three iQOO 3 phones. These are actually different storage and RAM variants of the same phone, save for the fact that only the top model with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage has 5G.

In the race to launch India’s first 5G phone, Realme toppled iQOO in the last mile. However, 5G is still a distant reality in India where major telecom operators are reeling under massive debts and AGR dues, and it doesn’t really matter who got there first.

What matters is which one offers a better experience. How good is iQOO 3? Is it a phone you should choose over the likes of OnePlus 7T and Realme X50 Pro? Let’s address all such queries in our detailed iQOO 3 review.

Model iQOO 3 5G
Display 6.44-inch, 2400×1080 FHD+ resolution, 92% screen to body ratio, 60Hz refresh rate, 180Hz touch refresh rate
Colors Tornado Black, Volcano Orange, Quantum Silver
Software iQOO UI based on Android 10
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 SoC with X55 5G modem
Memory 8GB/12GB LPDDR5 and 128GB/256GB UFS 3.1 storage
Front Camera 16MP (f/2.45)
Rear Camera 48MP (f/1.8)+ 13MP (f/2.2) Ultra wide-angle & macro camera (3cm focus) + 13MP Telephoto (f/2.46)+ 2MP portrait(f/2.4)
Battery 4440mAh battery with 55W SuperFlash Charge, USB-C
Connectivity Dual Mode 5G, WiFi, Bluetooth 5.1,  
Price

INR 36,990 (8+128GB 4G)INR 39,990 (8+256GB 4G)INR 44,990 (12+256GB 5G)*sales start on March, 4 at 2:00 PM on flipkart and iqoo.com

iQOO 3 5G UNBOXING

The iQOO 3 review unit that we received doesn’t have the phone name on the box. Inside, you will find a rare treat – headphones, yay! The iQOO 3 box includes:

  • 5G handset
  • 55W charging adapter
  • Charging cable (Type-C)
  • Earphones
  • SIM tray ejector tool
  • TPU case

iQOO 3 5G REVIEW: DESIGN AND BUILT

If you read the iQOO 3 specs-sheet above, you’d have deduced that it’s a beast of a phone, good enough to take on the best of gaming options out there. That being said, it doesn’t have that esoteric, glitzy gaming phone design which we have come to associated with dedicated gaming phones. The iQOO 3 aims to make its case as a mainstream smartphone and integrates modern times trend.

It has a large footprint with the display almost extending to all corners. iQOO uses Schott Xensation UP as the front screen shield and Gorilla Glass 6 on the rear.

The handset comes in Volcano Orange, Quantum Silver, Tornado Black hues. The Glass back has a gradient finish and a rectangular rear camera module that juts out a bit.

The volume rocker and Power Button are easily accessible and offer good tactile feedback. There’s also a dedicated button on the left edge to summon AI assistants.

The metallic rail around the phone also features two touch-sensitive buttons (or Monster Touch Buttons as iQOO addresses them). And as is the case with 5G phones, a large number of antennas have been positioned along the edges.

The trendy curves that help with a firm grip and captivating gradient shades can’t mask the fact that iQOO is a heavy phone tipping the scale at 214 grams. The 4440mAh battery with fast-charging support and the array of 5G antennas do justify the heft to an extent. With large scale 5G adoption moving forward, phones, in general, are expected to get beefier and bulkier.

Built quality-wise, the iQOO 3 felt quite assuring in hands.

Let’s now talk about the display.

iQOO 3 5G REVIEW: DISPLAY

iQOO quotes some decent display stats. The 6.44-inch Samsung-made OLED screen has Full HD+ resolution (2400x1080p) with a 60Hz refresh rate and 180Hz touch refresh. The screen is HDR compliant and the phone has a certified blue light filter or eye protection mode.

There’s a small punch hole on display to house the selfie camera. In our opinion, this arrangement works better than teardrop or U, V-shape notches.

iQOOUI also support with third-party launchers.

The Super AMOLED panel looks colour accurate and delivers deep blacks. There’s minimum colour-shifting visible while viewing the screen from an angle. Sunlight visibility is also stellar. In fact, iQOO claims that brightness goes all the way up to 1200 nits in certain conditions.

Lack of 120Hz or 90Hz screen refresh rate is a glaring omission, especially for a phone that positions itself on the cutting-edge.

iQOO 3 5G REVIEW: SOFTWARE & PERFORMANCE

Just as Realme uses customized ColorOS for its phones, iQOO UI builds on Vivo’s Funtouch OS. Incidentally, the software design looks a lot like the Color OS. We’d say that the iQOO UI is noticeably better than the Funtouch OS. Besides, it’s based on Android 10 and is loaded with features.

For starters, users get to choose between an app drawer and keeping all apps on the home screen. The UI also fixes one of the biggest pain points by bringing notification and quick settings to one access point. Most of the necessary features like dark mode, eye-protection mode, screen recording, screen capture, split-screen, ultra-game mode, calculator, etc. are present in the quick settings menu.

For performance enthusiasts, there’s a monster mode which further optimizes settings for faster app loading and faster app switching.

Talking of performance, the iQOO 3 truly has all the resources at its disposal. It packs Qualcomm’s best 7nm process based Snapdragon 865 mobile platform that claims 25 percent performance improvement over Snapdragon 855 SoC.

iQOO also opts for LPDDR5 RAM (up to 12GB) and UFS 3.1 storage (up to 256GB) which are also the fastest memory and storage types available as of today.

So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that iQOO 3 is blazing fast! Apart from class-leading hardware, there are also air-triggers that come really handy in FPS games like PUBG mobile, Call of Duty Mobile, and even for many other games like Asphalt 9.

For those who prefer the traditional way of mobile gaming, 180Hz touch refresh rate is certainly helpful.

iQOO 3 also boasts of Carbon Fiber Liquid Cooling that, as per company claims, keeps phone surface 3.5-degrees cooler than usual. During our time with the phone, iQOO 3 did manage to keep the temperature in check despite all the regressive gaming and benchmark test runs.

iQOO 3 5G Benchmark Scores

  • Antutu: 583837
  • AItutu: 448505
  • Geekbench : 920 (single-core) 3312 (multi-core)
  • 3Dmark: 7203 (Slingshot Extreme Open GL ES 3.1) 6587 (Sligh Shot Extreme – Vulkan)

iQOO 3 5G CAMERA REVIEW

The iQOO 3 5G has four snappers pierced on the rear panel – a 48MP main camera, 13MP telephoto, 13MP super wide-angle camera, and a 2MP depth camera. The main sensor is 48MP Sony IMX582 (f/1.79) that outputs detailed, pixel-binned 12MP shots (unless you insist on the full resolution, of course).

The 13MP sensor has an f/2.5 telephoto lens for 2x optical zoom and the phone can go up to 20x digital zoom.

iQOO has ported the Camera app from Vivo. All the modes are laid out horizontally just above the shutter button and users can easily switch between lenses. Here are some images that we took using these cameras.

Images turned out well in day time demonstrating a good dynamic range and natural colour tones. Higher contrast would have added more life to the shots. Level of noise is very well managed. As in the image below, the telephoto sensor does a good job capturing details like the moustache and fur (of the dog).

The 13MP ultra-wide sensor does well in terms of colours, noise levels and contrast. It serves its primary purpose perfectly by squeezing more in the image frame. Yes, there’s slight distortion around edges and we noticed softness around corners of the image.

The 16MP selfie camera captures social media ready selfies. The details are a tad soft primarily due to pre-applied beauty filters.

iQOO 3 5G Review: NETWORK & AUDIO

5G is the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks about iQOO 3 phones. While India is nowhere closer to getting 5G networks, it just might be a valuable asset to consumers who plan on holding on to their phones for more than 2 years.

It might not yet be a deciding factor, but all other parameters being equal, 5G should offer a slight edge. The multimode X55 modem supports 2G, 3G, 4G bands as well. There’s also support for both Sub 6 and mmWave, which should be helpful for globetrotters.

We tested the iQOO 3 5G phone with Jio 4G and Airtel 4G without facing any unusual network trouble or any erratic battery drain. Single strength remained stable and call quality was good.

As for audio, it includes a bottom-firing mono speaker that delivers decent sounds. There’s an AK4377A Hi-Fi independent chip under the hood which slightly enhances the sound quality over the earphones.

iQOO 3 5G REVIEW: SECURITY & BATTERY

Let’s discuss the biometrics first. iQOO 3 embraces a new generation in-display optical fingerprint sensor with GX Chip. It is one of the fastest in-display sensors in the market and works very reliably. Face Unlock works fine as well.

The monstrous phone has a 4440mAh battery that can keep you connected through a heavy-usage day. We could easily make it last longer than one workday while including a fair bit of gaming. The bundled 55W flash charge unit quickly refills 50 percent juice in just 15 minutes.

iQOO 3 5G REVIEW VERDICT

iQOO starts its journey on a positive note with the 3-series phones. In India, you need not be overly concerned with choosing the 5G variant (unless, perhaps, if you travel to 5G zones frequently).

iQOO is a blazing fast phone and should appeal to hardcore gamers. The software is an improvement over Funtouch OS. The very assuring Battery mileage and 55W super flash charging has spoilt us for good. The quad rear camera setup delivers results closer to the Vivo V17 Pro. Camera performance is at par with what we usually get from flagship killers in this price segment.

The performance and feature set come quite close to what the Realme X50 5G has to offer. The iQOO 3 offers a few extra perks like air triggers, and the X50 5G isn’t missing out on the higher-refresh rate screen and stereo speakers.

Pros

  • Excellent haptic motor
  • Air triggers
  • Powerful Performance
  • SuperFlash Charge

Cons

  • 60Hz fresh rate only
  • No stereo speakers

iQOO 3 FAQ Answered

What’s the difference between the iQOO 3 4G and iQOO 3 5G?

The iQOO 3 4G and iQOO 5G difference is disabled 5g support from the external modem.

Does iQOO 3 5G has a 3.5mm headphone jack port?

Yes, the iQOO 3 supports headphone jack and in fact iQOO ships it with one.

Is iQOO 3 has a display protection layer?

Yes, the iQOO 3 screen has a Schott Xensation UP protection glass.

What is iQOO 3 5G phone’s SAR value?

Head: 1.190W/kg; Body: 0.590W/kg

Where can I get iQOO 3 repaired or claim warranty?

iQOO has also announced iQOO care after-sale service which can be availed by reaching out to iQOO on their toll-free number, official website or official social media pages. iQOO will be providing free pickup and drop service on its devices. iQOO care service will be available across India.

 

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