iQOO Z3 review summary

Expert rating: 3.8/5






Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.


  • Excellent performer
  • Good looks
  • 55W fast charging support
  • Decent cameras


  • Not so impressive haptics
  • No stereo speakers

iQOO, a brand that originally emerged from vivo, is looking to cement its place in the world’s fastest-growing smartphone market i.e. India. iQOO started its journey in the country with iQOO 3 last year but before it could really take off, the pandemic stuck and jeopardized all plans. In April 2021, the young brand made a fresh start with iQOO 7 (review) flagship series. Now the brand has presented iQOO Z3, hoping to tap into the mass segment under Rs 20,000. 

 iQOO Z3 is a 5G phone that will have to compete with the likes of Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro Max, OnePlus Nord CE, Samsung Galaxy M42 5G (review), Xiaomi Mi 10i (review) and others. Well, did iQOO Z3 succeed in creating a space for itself and getting noticed? Let’s find answers in our detailed iQOO Z3 review:

iQOO 3 Unboxing

iQOO Z3 landed at our doorsteps in a sealed pack. It is a sample unit that iQOO loaned to us for the duration of this review. It is a regular rectangular box loaded with a phone, accessories, and some leaflets. Here’s everything that you will also find inside the box:

  • handset
  • 66W fast charger
  • USB cable
  • User manual
  • TPU case

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iQOO 3 India price and specs

Dimension & Weight: 164 x 75.3 x 8.5 mm; 185.5g
Screen: 6.58″ FHD+ LCD, 120Hz refresh rate, DCI-P3 color gamut
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 768 5G (7 nm)
GPU: Adreno 620
Storage: 128GB UFS 2.2
Rear cameras: 64MP, 8MP ultrawide, 5MP depth
Front camera: 16MP
Battery: 4400 mAh with 55W charging
OS: Android 11, FunTouch OS
5G: Yes
Connectivity: 5G, Dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC, GPS
Price: 6GB + 128GB – Rs. 19,999; 8GB+128GB: Rs. 23,999

iQOO Z3 Review: Design

The last iQOO device that I used was iQOO 3, which was on the bulkier end of the spectrum back then. The point being, that I didn’t have very high expectations going into this review. To my surprise, the iQOO Z3 felt great in my hands. It has a slim  8.5mm waistline and a very reasonable 185.5 grams weight. Having said that, it lacks the premium-ness of a metal-clad build. It is a polycarbonate phone with a glossy sheen. I have the Cyber Blue colour variant of the phone with me which refracts light to create a gradient effect. It looks kind of cool when the phone lies face down on a table and you tilt your head left and right and you get to witness colourful, soothing transitions.

At the top-left corner of the rear panel sits a triple camera module that protrudes out ever so slightly. Parallel to the camera at the bottom left corner there is iQOO branding on the phone. 

The plastic body frame is home to fingerprint embedded power buttons and volume rockers. They sit on the right edge well within the reach of my thumb. They offer a decent, clicky feel. A SIM tray and a microphone find a place on the top edge while the bottom edge features a 3.5mm jack, a microphone, a USB Type C port, and a loudspeaker aligned left to right.

The front is dominated by a screen with a notch with a selfie camera at the top and a slight chin at the bottom.

It doesn’t have an IP rating against water and dust resistance. Talking of build quality, there’s a Panda glass on top of the screen so I hope it can keep the iQOO Z3 safe from scratches and protect it against accidental drops. Let’s now talk about display and audio.

iQOO Z3 Review: Display and Audio

The iQOO Z3 is aiming to woo the budget gamers so it decided to offer a 120Hz IPS LCD display over a 60Hz AMOLED panel. This resulted in a much smoother and fluid user experience. Users get the option to choose between 60Hz, 90Hz, and 120Hz options. Of course, there is a ‘smart switch option’ which detects what’s on the screen and accordingly screen refresh rate between 60 or 90 or 120hz automatically. 

The 6.58-inches IPS LCD screen on iQOO Z3 has a 180Hz touch sampling rate and 20:9 aspect ratio. While we enjoyed its fluidity, we surely missed the deep contrast ratio and the punchiness of an AMOLED screen. It is also not the brightest display in this price bracket. However, it comes with HDR 10 certification which means you will be able to enjoy HDR 10 content on the go.

The audio is decent but nothing to boast about. The phone has a bottom-firing speaker which is loud enough but lacks the punch of a stereo setup. Thankfully, there’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack at the bottom. Overall, iQOO Z3 offers decent audio performance but this is clearly not its strongest suit.

iQOO Z3 review: Performance & Software

In terms of software, the iQOO Z3 comes running on Vivo’s FunTouch OS v11 on top of Android 11. Over the years, Vivo has made a conscious effort to simplify things by taking cues from stock Android. However, several duplicate apps and some bloatware apps are also present which users are not allowed to put in the trash bin. I wish users could uninstall spammy bloatware. In fact, apps like Vivo App Store flood notification shade with regular spam notifications.

As far as performance is concerned, the iQOO Z3 has gamers well covered. It comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 768G 5G SoC.  In fact, the iQOO Z3 is the first Snapdragon 768G phone in India. The octa-core chipset has one 2.8GHz Kryo 475 Prime core, one 2.4GHz Kryo 475 Gold core, and six 1.8GHz Kryo 475 Silver cores.  iQOO has coupled SD768G with 6GB or 8GB LPDDR4X RAM and 128GB or 256GB UFS 2.2 internal storage. There’s also a virtual RAM expansion feature that uses 3GB of internal storage and turns it into VRAM. 

What about the day-to-day performance? Well during my weeklong time with the phone, it performed on the expected lines. There were no hiccups or stutters to bother us while surfing the web or when quickly switching from one app to another. With 8GB RAM in tow, it felt smooth all through. 

 Over the weekend we did a lot of gaming on the iQOO Z3. I played several triple-A titles on iQOO Z3 including the likes of Call of Duty, PUBG Mobile KR, Asphalt 9 and Genshin Impact. The phone managed to handle all of these without raising its temperature to uncomfortable levels. While the Adreno 620 GPU turned out to be good at managing heat, some credit also goes to liquid cooling used inside by the company. It allowed us to do gaming at max settings for more than an hour without causing excessive frame drops. 

Let’s have a look at synthetic benchmark scores of iQOO Z3:

Benchmark comparison: iQOO Z3 vs Mi 10i vs Poco X3 Pro vs OnePlus Nord

Benchmark testsiQOO Z3Mi 10iPOCO X3 ProOnePlus Nord
Antutu V8450198392416471442318889
3D mark widelife1936109034061631
Geekbench 5.0 (Single core)709619758606
Geekbench 5.0 (multi core)2010191425591881
Androbench Random read210.13 MB/s183MB/s196.73 MB/s123.22MB/s
Androbench Random write510.49 MB/s160.69 MB/s185.49 MB/s100.61 MB/s

iQOO Z3 Camera review

The iQOO Z3 gets to flaunt a triple rear camera setup which is led by Samsung’s ISOCELL GW3 64MP sensor. It is worth pointing out that it’s the same sensor that we get to see at the heart of the Redmi Note 10 Pro. The setup also includes an 8MP ultra-wide-angle lens and a 2MP macro shooter. If you are into selfies, there is a 16MP front snapper that does the job.

What about the image quality? Well, the iQOO Z3 primary rear camera delivers high-contrast, sharp and vibrant pictures during the day with good details. If you are someone who prefers punchy colours that pop over natural and colour-accurate images, the iQOO Z3 camera will tempt you. The rear camera shortcomings include not-so-consistent shadow handling and occasional overzealousness while boosting contrast. 

The 8MP ultrawide camera manages to match the colour science of the primary sensor but most images taken with it lack details and have distorted edges. There’s also a 2MP macro camera for those close-up shots. Don’t expect a whole lot of details from it. 

The 16MP selfie sensor captures social media-ready selfies with decent details and accurate-looking colours. That being said, like most brands, iQOO also does apply some sort of skin smoothing even when you have turned the beauty settings off.

 IQOO Z3 Review: Battery Life

The iQOO Z3 5G packs a 4,400mAh battery with 55W FlashCharge bundled within the box. With the official charger, it took us less than 50 minutes to go from zero to hundred. Talking of day-to-day usage,  with the screen refresh rate set to Smart Switch mode, we are able to last a full day most days. Over the weekend when we spent long hours gaming, the battery depleted rather quickly. 

Review verdict: Should you buy iQOO Z3?

iQOO Z3 makes a compelling case for itself thanks to its power-packed innards and some aggressive pricing. Budget-conscious buyers should consider the iQOO Z3 if an AMOLED screen and stereo speakers are not a priority. With Snapdragon 768G at heart, the iQOO Z3 is an excellent performer. That’s not all, with a 55W charger bundled within the box, it is one of the fastest Charging phones under Rs 20,000. 

Reasons to buy

  • Excellent performer
  • Good looks
  • 55W fast charging support
  • Decent cameras

Reasons not to buy

  • Not so impressive haptics
  • No stereo speakers


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