iQOO 3 Review - An Affordable Powerful Monster!

iQOO 3, the first 5G smartphone in India which gave other brands a hard time to keep up in the race for launching a future-ready device with the highest level specs possible at very competitive pricing. Why I called iQOO 3 the first 5G smartphone because it was in my hand before any other brand could even demonstrate their 5G devices. Now since the race of launching the first 5G phone is irrelevant, let’s talk about the device-in-hand itself.

iQOO 3 is the most powerful smartphone in India at the time of writing this review with an Antutu score of 6.1L. This phone offers everything top-end, whether its the processor, RAM, Storage, display, or the camera. It’s a gamer’s paradise for the kind of features it offers for the gaming enthusiasts. Here’s a detailed review on iQOO 3:

The Fastest, The Most Powerful!

All thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 along with Adreno 650 GPU and the optimizations done by the iQOO in the OS for making it the fastest & most powerful phone in India. For the last few days, I’ve tried my best to slow down this phone as a challenge but couldn’t get any success. I opened so many apps, didn’t used the back button ever, kept on switching apps, but no, the phone never slowed down. And that’s not it, thanks to 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM, all the apps remained in the memory ready to resume at any time. I once resumed a video editing project after 12 hours on the phone in the same state where I left.

The LPDDR5 RAM is known for increasing the r/w speed to 5500Mbps, that is why the apps retrieval on this phone is quite fast, and multitasking is quite smooth. Not to forget the UFS 3.1 Flash Storage, which at present is only available in iQOO 3 while writing this review. Why highlighting UFS 3.1 is important because the kind of speed it offers is considered equal to an NVMe drive. The difference of speed you’ll get to see when the camera process images & videos or when you’re doing data transfer, it happens in a blink!

iQOO 3 – The Gamer’s Paradise

If you want to buy a true gaming phone, this is the one! I tried games like PUBG Mobile, Asphalt 9, and was able to play at the highest settings without even a glitch. The most prominent features users get on iQOO 3 are the pressure-sensitive touch buttons & 180Hz response touch for playing games.

iQOO 3 Monster Touch Buttons
iQOO 3 Monster Touch Buttons

These buttons let users use quick multi-finger operations in the game. The US-Ergo board-certified iQOO 3 that iQOO 3 offers 50% more comfort, better grip, and the overall experience is better than other gaming phones. Indeed the gaming experience does get better when you use these buttons, and it also works with the phone cover ON, although I liked it better without the cover while gaming.

iQOO 3 Carbon Fiber Cooling

Probably because of the Carbon Fiber VC Liquid cooling technology, the phone didn’t warm even during long gaming sessions. The cooling setup, which they’re using inside, seems like doing the work at its best. This phone is so far the most comfortable device for mobile gaming in my experience.

There is a separate Ultra Game Mode which acts upon opening any game and does following optimizations automatically:

  • CPU/GPU OPtimization
  • RAM Optimization
  • 180Hz Touch acceleration
  • Network Optimization
  • Thermal Management Optimization

It also gives further options to choose from as follows:

  • Blocking/Allowing Background calls
  • Blocking Notifications
  • Eagle Eye View Enhancement
  • Auto-reject Calls
  • Enabling/disabling Pressure-sensitive buttons
  • Brightness Lock
  • Off-screen Autoplay (so that the game doesn’t get killed when the screen is OFF)
  • Instant messengers PIP
  • Screen Recording
  • Taking Screenshots

There is 4D Game Vibration as well, which simulates the recoil when shooting and the vibration of the steering wheel when driving.

Also, to launch the apps & games faster, except the hardware part, the OS also does its optimizations like via Multi-Turbo feature, it accelerates CPU/GPU, AI predictions, Networking, Game performance, and Heat Dissipation. Most of the time, these features go unnoticed, but for the core gamers, these are like essentials features which their smartphone must have!

Battery – Lasts Easily Whole Day

Battery backup is the last thing you may ever need to worry about when using iQOO 3. With the battery capacity of 4440 mAh, it lasts a day easily, even with heavy usage. I was able to get a screen-on-time (SOT) of around 8 hours on Wi-Fi and up to 7 hours on 4G when I am outdoors. My heavy usage includes clicking lots of images, staying most of the time on social media and playing games & listening to music.

iQOO 3 Screen ON Time

But the major USP here is the fast charging 55W Super FlashCharge technology, which claims to charge the phone up to 50% in 15 minutes. In my experience, the phone charged the battery from 0 to 50% in b/w 15-20 minutes, and to 100% in around 50 minutes.

iQOO 3 Charging

Also, the charging connector is uniquely designed in the form of a capsule to give gamers an easy way to keep playing their games while charging the phone.

Here’s an update on battery backup:

Impressive Quad Camera Setup!

While a quad-camera setup is now quite common in the smartphones, the implementation done by iQOO is somewhat better, and the iQOO 3’s camera setup is not just gimmicky. Here are the details of the lenses of quad-camera setup:

  • Primary camera — 48MP (f/1.79) (Sony IMX582)
  • Secondary camera — 13MP (f/2.46) Telephoto with 20X Digital Zoom
  • Third camera — 13MP (f/2.2) Super wide-angle with 120° & Macro camera
  • Fourth camera — 2MP (f/2.4) Bokeh camera

For the quad-camera setup, we see a different kind of implementation like for wide-angle shots, we have got a 13-megapixel lens, finally, rather than an 8-megapixel one, found on most phones.

iQOO 3 Quad Camera Setup

In terms of performance, the rear camera captures quite beautiful shots in broad daylight. The photos taken using the primary camera under plenty of lighting have excellent details. The images have natural-looking colors and the right amount of sharpness. The dynamic range is excellent, and under broad daylight, I didn’t find any issue in the shots taken with the primary camera.

In low lighting conditions, the primary 48-megapixel sensor performed quite well & the results were decent. The low-light shots were quite sharp, with an adequate level of detail. When switched to night mode, the phone captured even better photos with sharpening images correctly. Thankfully the Night-Mode is not very aggressive and keeps the images natural.

The Telephoto lens is good as well, producing sharp images when like zooming 2X or 5X; however, while using 10X or 20X zoom, we can see some distortion. The 13-megapixel wide-angle lens, which has a 120-degree field of view, provides shots that will look good enough for social media, but the images are quite softened pretty often. However, in terms of preserving details and sharpness, the wide-angle lens does a good job.

iQOO did an impressive job with videos here. The phone is capable of shooting videos up to 4K at 60fps. The 4K footage looked sharp without any noise, and the dynamic range was also excellent with better color accuracy. However, the main USP in video recording is the support of Super Anti Shake, which also uses the ultra-wide-angle lens, stabilizes the video via the EIS algorithm.

Super Anti Shake uses an EIS algorithm & performs image stabilization processing in realtime while recording a video by cutting and processing the edges of the screen. In terms of video quality, the dynamic range is good, colors are accurate, and the stabilization is effective while shooting with the phone held in hand. This is very useful for those who are looking for doing stable videography.

iQOO 3 Front Camera

The 16MP front camera is quite good at clicking selfies. Whether it may be normal or bokeh, the output is excellent as the dynamic range is impressive, colors look natural & are not over-exposed. There is a bit of softening in the selfies, which is fine as it doesn’t over-do it and keep it natural.

Also, the iQOO 3 has Camera2 API enabled, so you can expect the Gcam supported for this device in the future soon. I tried the available version at present from here, and that worked fine. I used GCam_7.2.010_Urnyx05-v2.3.apk, which needs some tuning for the device, but overall it works great.

A Gorgeous Display with HDR 10+ & 180Hz Touch Response

As mentioned earlier, iQOO 3 has a massive 6.44-inch display on the front. It’s a full HD+ Super AMOLED 2.5D panel with HDR 10+ certification and a tall aspect ratio of 20:9. There is a cut out on the front near the top left corner, which houses the front-facing camera. There is Schott Xensation UP protection on the front, while the back of the phone is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 6.

iQOO 3 Review - An Affordable Powerful Monster!

The display is gorgeous. Color reproduction is excellent with deep blacks, saturation levels are quite adequate, and viewing angles are good. With 800 nits of brightness and a peak brightness of 1200 nits, the display has perfect sunlight legibility, and outdoor use is never an issue. The display also has a touch sampling rate of 180Hz, which is quite higher when compared to the standard 120Hz sampling rate on most phones; I’m quite sure gamers will surely enjoy this privilege.

There is an in-display fingerprint scanner, and it’s fast, I mean, it’s one of the fastest in-display fingerprint scanners I have seen in a while, or maybe it’s the best, I’m not sure because it’s hard to measure unlocking time. However, the brand claims that it unlocks in 0.3 seconds when the display is both ON or OFF. Also, the fingerprint scanner is very consistent and doesn’t miss out pretty often.

Excellent Build Quality

The first impression of iQOO 3, which might impress you, would the premium build quality. It has a minimalistic design overall, which looks pretty interesting. At the front, the 6.44inch display is protected by Schott Xensation glass with a tiny punch hole for the camera on the right-hand corner.

The display is gorgeous. Color reproduction is excellent & produces deep blacks, saturation levels are quite adequate, and viewing angles are good. With 800 nits of brightness and a peak brightness of 1200 nits, the display has perfect sunlight legibility, and outdoor use is never an issue. The display also has a touch sampling rate of 180Hz, which is quite higher when compared to the standard 120Hz sampling rate on most phones, and I’m quite sure gamers will surely enjoy this privilege.

While on the back, things get more interesting as the back of the phone is protected by Gorilla Glass 6. Since it has glass at the back, it is prone to smudges, which luckily were not much visible because of the color (Tornado Black) of the device. The glass barely hides a patterned design underneath that has a subtle purple hue when a sliver of light shines on it.

The seamless transition at the edges to the metal frame and the rounded corners gives an excellent handling experience. The phone weighs 214 gms with proper weight distribution overall so that it won’t feel heavy from any particular edge.

And yes, it has the 3.5mm jack at the top of the phone. Type-C port and loudspeaker grille are at the bottom, the power button & volume rocker are on the right side, and a dedicated AI button is on the left side of the phone.

Mesmerizing Audio Experience

The iQOO 3 has a bottom-firing speaker, which is quite good for media consumption. For audio enthusiasts, iQOO 3 offers the AK4377A Hi-Fi independent chip, which provides the users stereo 32VELVET high-quality audio DAC. Also, the phone has a Hi-Res audio certification, which improves the audio experience by giving a feel of listening to music in a live ambient.

iQOO 3 High-Res Audio

The audio experience gets better with headphones, and the tracks sound as if they were meant to, so it would be the right choice for audiophiles out there. Because of Hi-Res audio onboard, the phone can deliver high volume levels with flawless output and top-notch accuracy.

iQOO UI – A Refreshing UI

The iQOO 3 runs Android 10 out of the box, with iQOO UI 1.0 on top. The iQOO UI comes with a clean and minimal interface and is packed with numerous features and customization options.

It has an app drawer, and quick settings can be accessed by swiping down from the top. Accessing quick settings from the top is something that many users wanted, as it is more consistent with the typical Android user experience. There are options to change and tweak every visual element. There is dark mode, which can be applied system-wide and can even be forced on to third party apps – I must admit here that it looks quite sick on most apps, like Facebook and a few others.

iQOO UI includes some unique options for gamers like Monster Mode, which allocates all the resources of the phone to boost the gaming experience. There is a gaming assistant which optimizes your game experience and record your activity to keep track.

iQOO 3 Pricing and Availability

The iQOO 3 has two variants, i.e., 4G & 5G. Here’s a price chart to summarize the price of different models of this phone:

iQOO 3 – 4G (8 GB + 128 GB)Tornado Black, Quantum SilverRs 36,999
iQOO 3 – 4G (8 GB + 256 GB) Tornado Black, Quantum Silver, Volcano OrangeRs 39,999
iQOO 3 – 5G (12 GB + 256 GB)Tornado BlackRs 44,990

The phone is available to buy from Flipkart and iQOO e-Store.

iQOO 3 Orange Variant
My favorite color here from all is Volcano orange.

iQOO, being a premium smartphone brand, offers the consumers pick and drop service for any repair issues across the country covering more than 15000+ pin codes. For any on-call assistance, consumers can call iQOO service experts who are available 24*7 over the toll-free number 1800-572-4700.

Final Conclusion

iQOO 3 is a future-ready phone. It has all the capabilities the future may require in a phone to have like 5G SA/NSA and Wi-Fi 6 802.11 ax. iQOO 3 also supports Wi-Fi calling from both Airtel and Jio at present, and if by chance you use Jio & Airtel dual-SIM pair in your phone, you’ll be able to use Wi-Fi calling on both networks. iQOO 3 is the best option available at present for multimedia consumption and gaming purposes in this price segment. It has the best hardware possible one could get at very competitive pricing and is also the fastest phone in India at present.

An optimist to the core, I always see the glass half full. I like to take life as it comes and not to become too serious on the harsher aspects of it. Apart from this, I am an Engineer, a Blogger & a Researcher....

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