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iQOO 9 Pro Review: Steps up the game

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iQOO Pro Review Summary:

Editor’s Rating- 4/5

Design

Display

Battery

Camera

Performance

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Pros

  • Beautiful Design
  • Superfast charging
  • Powerful processor
  • Good Rear Cameras

Cons

  • No IP Rating
  • No HDR Playback
  • Only 2 years software upgrade

iQOO launched its first smartphone iQOO 3 in India in Feb 2020. Since then the company has made a habit of bringing aggressively priced devices to the country, be it the iQOO Z3 or the IQOO 7 Series. But while everybody was expecting iQOO 8 to launch in India next, they skipped that entire series to bring the iQOO 9 Series to India in 2022. The series has 2 models- regular and Pro versions.

iQOO 9 Pro is the one that aims to take on other flagship smartphones head-on. It boasts top-of-the-line hardware, an impressive camera setup, and super-fast charging, all in the price range of under 70k. So, is this flagship device worth it? Let’s find out.


Specs | Price & Availability | Unboxing | Design | Display | Battery | Camera | Performance | Verdict


iQOO 9 Pro Specs

  • Display- 6.68-inch 2K LTPO AMOLED
  • Refresh Rate- 120Hz
  • Processor- Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
  • RAM- Up to 12GB
  • Storage- up to 256GB
  • OS- FunTouch OS 12 based on Android 12
  • Rear Cameras- 50MP+50mp+16MP
  • Front Camera- 16MP
  • Battery- 4700mAh
  • Fast Charging- 120W
  • Dimensions- 164.8×75.2×8.8mm
  • Weight- 209 grams

iQOO 9 Pro Price & Availability

iQOO 9 Pro is available in 2 storage variants in India-

  • 8GB RAM+128GB storage- Rs. 64,999
  • 12GB RAM+256GB storage- Rs. 69,999

It comes in 2 color options- Dark Cruise and Legend Shades.

iQOO 9 Pro Unboxing

You will find the following items inside the iQOO 9 Pro box-

  • IQOO 9 Pro Handset
  • 120W charger
  • Type-C USB Cable
  • Warranty Card
  • Start Guide
  • SIM Tool
  • Phone Protective Case
  • Earphone Jack Adapter

iQOO 9 Pro Review: Design

The iQOO 9 Pro comes with a bold design offering an amazing in-the-hand feel along with charming looks. The variant that was loaned to me comes in the iconic BMW colorway that first came on the iQOO 7 Legend but this time the aesthetics have been taken a notch higher due to the carbon fiber finish on the white part of the rear instead of the matte finish that came on its predecessor. The design is so beautiful that it attracted attention from a mile away (metaphorically speaking). There is a dark cruise color option too which is black with a carbon fiber finish and that looks good in pictures (as I haven’t seen it in person). The design has used a metal frame between two sheets of glass. The company claims the design is inspired by Motorsport, as shown in the racing stripe running off center down the rear end. The company has included a color-matched case in the box which is good too.

iQOO 9 Pro comes with a humongous camera bump at the back which stretches across the length on the upper half of the back panel. The module has a Gimbal Stabilization branding with other camera details. There is iQOO branding at the lower backside too. Despite being huge, the camera module doesn’t protrude much and thus prevented the phone from wobbling when kept on a flat surface.

Talking about the I/O options, the iQOO 9 Pro has plenty of them. There is a 3D ultrasonic fingerprint sensor under the display. The sensor real estate has increased which means the sensor works ultra-fast. The power button is finished in blue to make it stand apart and it is placed on the right edge along with volume rockers. There is nothing on the left edge while the bottom side has a SIM tray, Type-C port, and speaker grille. On top are the IR sensor and a mic. The earpiece on the device hides another stereo speaker setup.

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The smartphone weighs a little over 209grams  but excellent weight distribution, curved back, and curved display ensure the phone looks and feels slimmer and lighter than it is. The only problem I have with the phone’s design is its wide frame which makes it unfit for one-hand usage. The iQOO 9 Pro does not have an IP rating which is a glaring omission in a flagship device at this price point. This is because lack of IP rating meant being extra careful with the device when dealing with water and dust.

The device is made of Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and smudge-resistant matte glass on the rear which minimizes fingerprints and gave it protection. The bezels are minimal and the earpiece slit is almost invisible with both the top and bottom of the smartphone being flat. Along with a BMW-themed plastic case inside, the box also contains a charger, cable, and some BMW M postcards.

iQOO 9 Pro Review: Display

The iQOO 9 Pro’s window to the world is a 6.78-inch E5 AMOLED dual-curved display with 2K resolution and LTPO technology. There is a high 120Hz refresh rate which is adaptive and can be reduced as per need. The touch sampling rate of 300Hz makes sure the touch is extremely responsive and a high refresh rate gives a seamless scrolling experience.

The E5 AMOLED display gives vibrant colors, darker blacks, and sharp text. The peak brightness of 1500 nits gives above-average visibility even in the brightest of sunlight. This means no squinting of eyes for me while I used iQOO 9 Pro.

The display of the device comes with HDR10+ support and a Widevine L1 DRM certification for HD video streaming. The biggest downside was that HDR 10 support did not work in apps like Netflix and Prime Video, which is again a glaring shortcoming for a flagship device. Standard content looked fine, mostly YouTube being the app taking HDR 10 support.

The display comes with the same Intelligent Display Chip as the iQOO 7. It activates only while gaming to facilitate MEMC and enable HDR. Due to this chip gamers can turn the Extreme FPS prest3uyet and enjoy 90fps gaming.

There are dual stereo speakers on the device and they were loud and clear in their output. This means the audio experience while gaming and streaming movies were enjoyable. The speakers were not balanced as the primary one produced more bass but that is hardly noticeable.

iQOO 9 Pro Review: Battery

The iQOO 9 Pro smartphone comes with a beefy 4700mAh battery which is a major upgrade over the 4000mAh batteries that its predecessors had. Depending on the type and amount of usage you have, the battery life will vary for you. For a moderate user with a small gaming session, the phone lasted for an entire day easily.

The phone supports 120W fast charging which is a boon as it takes only 20 minutes to recharge the device from 0 to 100%. By the time you freshen up and get ready to sleep, your smartphone’s completely charged. If I had to leave for somewhere and just had 10 minutes to spare, the device charged 55% which is more than enough to last for my entire outing.

Wireless charging support of up to 50W is available too but this one needs to be bought separately as it doesn’t come inside the box.

iQOO 9 Pro Review: Cameras

The iQOO 9 Pro has a triple camera setup on its rear with a 50MP main Samsung GN5 sensor. It comes with Optical Stabilization for gimbal level smoothness. Accompanying it is a 50MP 150-degrees Fish Eye ultrawide lens with autofocus and a 16MP telephoto lens with OIS. The phone also houses a 16MP selfie camera which is placed at the front center of the device.

The UI of the camera setup is pretty regular with preview, shutter, and camera control at the bottom. There are toggles to enable different modes like HDR, Super macro, stabilization, etc. There is Night Mode, Portrait Mode, Slo-mo, Time Lapse Pro, and Dual video modes too among others. Since the main camera is gimbal-stabilized, it clicks sharp pictures and records stable videos of moving objects like a running dog or a flying bird. The images in broad daylight are vibrant, life-like, crisp, and detailed without much variation in natural colors. The Night Shots are detailed and very less grainy.

Coming to the 50MP ultrawide lens, covers a 150-degree wide field of view. Capturing wider nature scenes or scenes at a fair or a market is easier with iQOO 9 Pro. For close-up, its telephoto lens allows you to zoom in up to 2.5x and thus gives detailed shots. The closeup shots, portrait shots, and macro shots are coming out well in favorable lighting conditions.

If we talk about the 16MP selfie camera on the device, it works well. The selfie camera clicks self-portraits with accurate skin tones which look bright, clear, and natural both day and night. If you are someone who clicks loads of pics for their Instagram, a self-portrait from the iQOO 9 came out worth sharing. A selfie clicked in daylight without any filter also shows that the focus of the image is kept on the subject and not the background. Selfies clicked in low light are softer compared to daylight ones, but they are not grainy or jittery. I have attached some camera samples below.

Videos can be recorded at 4K at 30fps. Videos captured in daylight appear steady and maintain good quality, no matter what the frame rate or resolution is. Using the Ultrawide angle camera for recording videos could be avoided as they have a purplish tinge in brighter areas.

ALSO READ: Realme 9 Pro+ Review: New Mid-range Champ?

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iQOO 9 Pro Review: Performance

The iQOO 9 Pro is another Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC-based smartphone that has landed in India in recent times. The new chipset is built using a 4nm fabrication process and clocks a maximum speed of 3GHz. In iQOO 9 Pro it is paired up with Adreno 730 GPU. It has up to 12GB RAM and up to 256GB internal storage capacity. RAM can be expanded by 4GB using virtual RAM tech but it won’t make a hell of a lot different in performance.

In terms of performance, there’s hardly anything that iQOO 9 Pro can’t perform. It flies through day-to-day multitasking with apps, running games, or editing pictures on the go.

The fast speed and seamless performance of the SoC can be witnessed during gaming sessions. Games like BGMI and Asphalt run smoothly even with the highest graphics. Long gaming sessions pass away without any heating issues, as the device just gets slightly warm after half an hour of continuous gaming.

The phone features a 3D fingerprint reader under-display which takes just one tap to register a fingerprint. The readable area on the scanner is ample enough to adjust 2 thumbs side by side, which makes authentication quicker.

I performed some benchmark tests on iQOO 9 Pro, here are the results-

  • Geekbench single-core- 1222
  • Geekbench multi-core- 3636
  • Manhattan 3.1 test- 84fps
  • Antutu Score- 9,91,830
  • Car Chase test GFX bench- 47fps

Coming to the software department, the phone ships with Android 12 based FunTouch OS 12 out of the box. It gives an almost clean UI with little bloatware and fewer system apps. Third-party apps can be uninstalled and the UI interface has options for enhanced privacy and customization. Although pre-installed bloatware might be annoying for some at this price point, it’s still better than many other phones. What’s even more annoying is getting notifications from the default browser, so disable them as well if you want a hassle-free experience. The company has promised 2 Android OS updates on IQOO 9 Pro.

In terms of connectivity, iQOO 9 Pro comes with Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, GPS, and more. All these worked well and helped connect my device to any laptop, phone, tablet, or TV.

Review Verdict: Should You Buy iQOO 9 Pro?

iQOO 9 Pro catches your attention with charming looks and wins your heart with its blazing fast phone and gimble camera system. The 80W fast charging is charry on the top. Not everything is perfect, it lacks IP rating, HDR playback is not supported on certain OTT  apps, and slight bloatware is its biggest letdown.

Its only competitors are Galaxy S22 and Motorola Edge 30 Pro, iQOO 9 Pro might be a good choice for the people in the country as Motorola doesn’t have a good fanbase in India whereas Samsung Galaxy S22 is priced higher.

Shivangi AgarwalShivangi Agarwal
Shivangi is an honours graduate in English from Delhi University with a passion for reading and writing. Always keen to know more about the latest gadgets, when she is not reading about tech, she loves listening to Hindi music and grooving to the latest Hindi beats.

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