iQOO 3 REVIEW

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Chinese smartphone makers’ have aced the game of launching sub-brands. Xiaomi, Oppo, Huawei, Lenovo all have thriving sub-brands available globally. Following there’s success story Vivo announced iQOO as a high performance and gaming-centric spin-off brand last year. In 2020, that emerging brand is entering the Indian market with iQOO 3 5G as their first phone. In a race to launch first 5G phone Realme surprised iQOO with En passant move of launching X50 a day prior to iQOO 3 5G in India.

Although 5G technology is still a distance away in India as telecom operators are reel under massive debt and AGR dues, smartphone brands are competing to cash in the hype around 5G. However, does it really make sense for customers to buy a 5G phone today? Is the iQOO 3 5G that phone? Let’s address these and some more topics about the smartphone in the detailed iQOO review.

iQOO 3 5G UNBOXING

The iQOO 3 review unit that we received for some reason had no branding of the phone. Having said that, it’s been one of the rear boxes which include a headphone inside. The iQOO 3 5G box includes:

  • 5G handset
  • 55W charging adapter
  • Type A to Type C charging cable
  • Earphones
  • SIM tray ejector tool
  • TPU case Quick user

iQOO 3 5G REVIEW: DESIGN AND BUILT

If you read the iQOO 3 specs-sheet above, you can easily deduce that it’s a beast phone and could compete with any gaming phone available till date. That being said, it doesn’t have their glitz & glam that draws attention of everyone in the room. The iQOO 3 follows customary design values without compromising on modern times trend.

The iQOO 3 has large real-estate with display almost covering all four corners. Above 91 percent screen-to-body ratio means the front is all about screen we will talk more about later. iQOO is using Schott Xensation UP as screen shield.

The iQOO 3 5G and 4G come in Volcano Orange, Quantum Silver, Tornado Black hues. Glass back with gradient finish, rectangular rear camera module (on the upper left corner) which juts out a bit from the frame. Gorilla Glass 6 protection layer on the rear glass is another positive inclusion.

The volume rocker and Power Button are well pronounced and offer good tactile feedback. There’s also a dedicated button to trigger AI assistant.

The metallic rail around the phone also features two touch-sensitive buttons (or as iQOO addresses them as Monster Touch Buttons) and network antennas. Being a 5G phone, you will notice more than usual antennas on iQOO 3 5G variant.

No doubt, iQOO 3 is a hefty phone. Its trendy curves towards edges and captivating shades of the gradient can hide the fact that at 214grams it is on a heavier side. Though, there are a couple of reasons for it – bigger battery, and 5G antennas. In 2020, most of the 5G phones are likely to be little beefy. Built quality-wise, the iQOO 3 felt quite assuring in hand.

Let’s now talk about the display!

iQOO 3 5G REVIEW: DISPLAY

The 6.44-inches AMOLED display on iQOO 3 5G phone quotes some decent numbers. Samsung made OLED screen on the iQOO runs on fullHD+ resolution (2400x1080p) with 60Hz refresh rate and 180Hz touch refresh. There’s a small punch hole on display featuring a selfie camera. In our opinion, it is much better than an odd-looking teardrop or U or V shape notches.

The Super AMOLED panel looks colour accurate while delivering deep blacks. There’s minimum colour shifting visible while tiling phone in either direction. Brightness levels are also good. While iQOO claims that it goes all the way up to 1200nit in certain conditions. During this review, we took the iQOO 3 for a spin in different lighting conditions and didn’t face any legality issues. HDR 10+ and Rhine eye comfort certification further adds assurances overall quality of the screen.

iQOO 3 5G REVIEW: SOFTWARE & PERFORMANCE

Just like what Realme has done with colorOS, iQOO has done with Vivo’s Funtouch OS. iQOOUI is a much-refined avatar of Vivo’s Funtouch OS. The Android 10 based software is loaded with features. It gives you options to choose between the app drawer and listing all apps on the homescreen.

It fixed one of the biggest pain points by bringing notification and quick settings to one access point. You can do that by sliding from top of the screen to bottom. Most of the necessary features like dark mode, eye-protection mode, screen recording, screen capture, split-screen, ultra-game mode, calculator etc present in the quick settings menu.

For performance enthusiasts, there’s a monster mode which further optimizes settings for faster app loading and switching between the apps. Talking of performance, it truly has all the resources to earn the ultimate performance phone. It is packed with Qualcomm’s best mobile platform Snapdragon 865 which is developed on 7nm node. Qualcomm claims it has 25 percent performance improvement over Snapdragon 855 SoC. 

iQOO also opts for LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 storage which is also the fastest memory and storage types available today. 12GB RAM and 256GB ROM further compliment SD865 chipset ensuring every action feels swift on the iQOO 3.

Gamers will be delighted to play on the iQOO 3 5G phone. Apart from the great innards, there’s also air-triggers which comes really handy PUBG mobile, Call of Duty Mobile, Asphalt 9 or any other app. Those who prefer the traditional way of mobile gaming 180Hz touch refresh rate is certainly helpful. Turn on the game mode and phone net turbo kicks in so is Center Turbo and Cooling Turbo processes for the smooth gaming experience.

iQOO boasts off about the Carbon Fiber Liquid Cooling which as per it 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. Though, it was in a controlled ambience.

Benchmarks

iQOO 3 5G CAMERA REVIEW

The iQOO 3 5G has four shooters on pierced on the rear panel – a 48MP main camera, 13MP Telephoto, 13MP super wide-angle camera and 2MP depth camera. The main sensor is 48MP Sony labelled IMX582 with f/1.79 aperture implementing Quad-Bayer where four adjacent pixels to record more light while keeping noise in check.

The 13MP sensor has a f/2.5 lens for 2x optical zoom and can go up to 20 digital zoom. Remaining to two sensors are paired with f/2.2 and f/2.4 aperture respectively.

iQOO has ported the Camera app from Vivo. While all the modes are laid out horizontally just above the shutter button. On tapping on lens option slides out you can switch between lenses. Here are some images that we took using these cameras.

By default, the 48MP Sony sensor captures images in 12MP size. Images turn out to be well in day time demonstrating the good dynamic range and natural colour tones. Though, it lacks some of that contrast that would have added more life to the images. Level of noise is very well managed. The telephoto sensor does well to capture all the dog and its moustache and fur with a 2X optical zoom. There is no details loss.

13MP ultra-wide sensor does well in terms of colours, noise levels and contrast. They perform their primary duty perfectly by squeezing more in a frame. Yes, there’s slight distortion and you will notice softness around corners of the image.

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

iQOO 3 5G Review: Network & Audio

5G is one thing that straightway comes to mind when one thinks about iQOO 3 phones. While India is nowhere closer to getting 5G networks in immediately. Having said that, those who spend on a phone keeping 2-3 years horizon do have a case for opting for SX55modem based phone.

It supports all 2G, 3G, 4G bands as well. There’s also support for both Sub 6 and MMWave 5G versions 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. Single strength remained stable and call quality was good.

As for audio, it includes a bottom-firing mono speaker which deliver decent sounds. There’s an AK4377A Hi-Fi independent chip under the hood which enhances the sound quality over the earphones. It does seem to improve audio quality ever so slightly.

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 worked well for us. It worked every time we tried to unlock the phone. It is one of the fastest in-display sensor in the market. There’s also an option of less secure face unlock.

The monstrous phone depends on 4400mAh battery to keep you connected all through the day. We were easily able to last our workday which including fair bit of gaming. The bundled 55W flashcharge unit quickly refills 50 pecent juice in just 15 minutes.

iQOO 3 5G REVIEW VERDICT

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