iQOO 3 Hands-On: Pros, Cons And The X-Factor

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BBK Electronics, the Chinese technology giant that already owns Vivo, OPPO, Realme, and OnePlus has now announced another sub-brand in the Indian market by the name iQOO. iQOO comes under Vivo's umbrella and has announced the launch of its first premium smartphone- iQOO 3. The smartphone has been unveiled in 4G and 5G variants and picks up a fight with the recently launched Realme X50 Pro 5G. We used the iQOO 3 for over two days to evaluate its performance. Here's what we found out.

iQOO 3
 

The iQOO 3 will be available in three configurations. The lower-end 4G variant is priced at Rs. 36,990 and offers 8GB of RAM and 128G onboard storage. The top-end 4G variant with 8GB RAM and 256GB onboard storage has been priced at Rs. 39,990, while the lone 5G variant of the iQOO 3 is priced at Rs. 44,990 and offers insane 12GB of RAM and 256GB built-in storage. The smartphone will be available in three color variants- Quantum Silver, Tornado Black, and Volcano Orange on Flipkart and iqoo.com, from 12 noon on March 4, 2020.

The Good

Premium Aesthetics

Premium Aesthetics

The iQOO 3 is a premium looking smartphone and comes across as a better looking handset than its closest rival- the Realme X50 Pro 5G. It is built out of metal and glass and feels quite sturdy in hands. The iQOO 3's build quality is really impressive. We have got the Black variant and it looks stunning but you can also check out the Volcano Orange variant that looks really interesting.

The phone's back panel has the Corning Gorilla Glass 6 layer to protect the device from scratches. A big rectangle camera module sits at the top-left corner and houses four lenses and a flash light. The physical buttons offer good tactile feedback and the phone even offers a 3.5mm headphone jack. The right side of the smartphone has two pressure-sensitive buttons that work as triggers while playing games like PUBG and Call of Duty.

The iQOO 3 has a certain weight (214g) to it and some users will find it slightly heavy. I found it to be manageable and fit for one-hand operation. Overall, the iQOO 3 has impressed us with its look and feel.

Vibrant AMOLED Panel With 1200 nits Peak Brightness Level
 

Vibrant AMOLED Panel With 1200 nits Peak Brightness Level

The iQOO 3 flaunts a 6.4-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED panel with 180Hz touch response rate. Don't confuse it with the 90/120Hz refresh rates as it is a standard 60Hz refresh rate display with better and faster touch response. But I must say that the 60Hz AMOLED panel is buttery smooth. The 180Hz touch response rate really makes a difference here and enhances the overall user-experience.

The company has used a Schott Xensation glass protection layer. This AMOLED panel reaches a peak brightness level of 1200nits, which makes it really bright. You won't face any issues using the handset outdoors. The display is also HDR 10+ certified.

Extremely Responsive And Powerful

Extremely Responsive And Powerful

The iQOO 3 was supposed to be the first smartphone in the Indian market to be powered by the latest Snapdragon 865 processor. However, Realme stole the limelight by unveiling the Realme X50 Pro 5G with the same processor and 5G connectivity. Nevertheless, you now have two SD865-powered smartphones in the Indian market priced under sub-40K which makes them a great deal.

The SD865 is a 7nm chipset featuring Kryo 585 cores and Adreno 650 GPU. It is extremely powerful and delivers up to 25% better performance than its predecessor. It also reduces energy consumption by 30%. The company has also equipped the handset with latest LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 flash storage.

During our brief testing, we found the phone to be extremely snappy and responsive. There's no lag whatsoever and you can run the most demanding apps and games without any noticeable performance slowdown. The iQOO 3 did not show any major heat signatures with continuous gameplay and media streaming. The smartphone features ‘Carbon Fiber Vapour' cooling system to keep temperature in check.

Long-Lasting Battery Which Charges To Full In About 60 Min

Long-Lasting Battery Which Charges To Full In About 60 Min

The iQOO 3 is backed by decently-sized 4,440 mAh battery cell. The smartphone was able to last a day with moderate usage. The battery is aided by a 55W Super FlashCharge technology, which recharged the battery from 27% to 100% in 40 minutes. What this means is that you can fully charge the iQOO 3's battery in about 60 minutes which is quite good.

The Bad

The Bad

Underwhelming Camera Performance

The iQOO 3 offers a feature-packed quad-lens camera setup. The primary 48MP sensor captures detailed shots and the images show good dynamic range. The pictures come out decent as long as you are using the primary sensor. The other three camera lenses are marred by poor software optimization. The depth-sensor performs a poor job in separating the subject from the background.

The wide-angle shots only come out good when there's decent amount of light available to compose the shot. The company mentioned that the camera team has worked for six months on the dedicated night mode but it couldn't deliver good images in low-light. The smartphone can also record 4k videos at 36fps and the quality is decent.

iQOO UI Is A Work In Progress

iQOO UI Is A Work In Progress

I was glad to find out that the iQOO 3 does not run on the FunTouchOS; however, the new iQOO UI is also far from being a good Android skin. It is full of bloatware and the lockscreen is still hijacked by the Glance's wallpaper carousel application.

I also noticed some minor glitches in the UI which can be addressed with software updates. On the contrary, the iQOO UI's face unlock is damn fast. The gestures work just fine and the phone features an ultra-game mode that offers a host of settings to step up your gaming experience.

No Stereo Speakers, No IP Rating

No Stereo Speakers, No IP Rating

The iQOO 3 lacks a stereo speaker setup. It comes as a disappointment as the phone has been designed keeping gamers in mind. The mono speaker unit at the bottom gets easily blocked when you hold the device in landscape mode to play games. The single speaker itself doesn't sound impressive. Moreover, the handset also lacks an official IP rating for protection against water and dust.

The X-Factor

The X-Factor

There are only two smartphones in the Indian market today that support 5G connectivity (Realme X50 Pro 5G) and the iQOO 3 is one of them. The support for 5G networks makes iQOO 3 a future-proof handset. Once the 5G is rolled out in the country, the iQOO 3 5G variant users will experience faster download and upload speeds, low latency, lag-free gameplay and buffer-free video streaming.

Should You Buy It?

Should You Buy It?

The iQOO 3 offers the best-in-class chipset, faster RAM-ROM configuration, long-lasting battery with fast-charging support, game-centric touch buttons and 5G support for unprecedented network performance. However, buying a 5G handset in India today doesn't make any sense due to lack of infrastructure. The iQOO 3 struggles to offer a good camera performance and a seamless software user-experience. We will test the handset to its limits in our comprehensive review to find out its true potential.

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