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  5. iQOO 3 5G Review: Redefining affordable flagships

iQOO 3 5G Review: Redefining affordable flagships

With iQOO 3, the company is making a debut in India. To set a benchmark, the company has slapped in a Snapdragon 865 processor along with features like 5G support, 4D vibration and more. Let’s see how it performed in our review.

Devesh Arora Written by: Devesh Arora @aroradevesh New Delhi Updated on: February 25, 2020 16:13 IST
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iQOO 3 comes with 5G support out of the box

iQOO has finally arrived landed in the Indian shores with their first product for the price-sensitive market. The iQOO 3 is a premium smartphone that does not cost as much as the Samsung Galaxy S20 lineup bit still manages to bring a plethora of features along with the fastest Qualcomm processor available. Considering the phone is going head to head against the OnePlus 7T and the recently launched Realme X50 Pro 5G, the iQOO 3 not only brings a premium feel but also offers 5G capabilities.

Prior to the launch, the iQOO 3 was being teased as India’s first 5G smartphone. However, the badge was quickly stolen by Realme. Even after that, iQOO has its fair share of tricks up its sleeve. iQOO has been doing quite well in China and with that confidence, the company is launching a phone tailored for the Indian audience. Let’s see how it will perform in India.

iQOO 3 Review: Specifications

iQOO 3 features a 6.44-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 2400x1080 pixels and Corning Gorilla Glass 6 protection. The display panel supports HDR+ and it comes with support for 180Hz touch response time. The smartphone is powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset coupled with Adreno 650 GPU. It packs in up to 12GB of RAM and 256GB of onboard storage. The dual-SIM handset runs on iQOO UI based on Google’s Android 10 operating system. All of this is backed by a 4,440mAh battery with support for 55W Super FlashCharge technology.

On the optics front, the iQOO 3 sports a quad-camera setup at the back consisting of a 48-megapixel primary sensor coupled with a 13-megapixel telephoto lens with 20x Digital Zoom, a 13-megapixel wide-angle lens and a 2-megapixel bokeh camera. Upfront, there is a 16-megapixel selfie shooter.

iQOO 3 Review: Design and Display

iQOO 3 not only looks but also feels premium in hand. The phone feels more on the heavier side when compared to something the OnePlus 7T or the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite. Available in three colour variants, Volcano Orange, Quantum Silver and Tornado Black, it surely looks much better in the orange variant. However, we had the Tornado Black variant, which flaunts a blue hue as the light hits on the back. Also, the black colour variant can catch fingerprints and smudges quite easily.

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It flaunts a blue hue as light reflects on the Tornado Black variant.

As for the placements, the bottom edge of the smartphone houses a USB Type-C port along with the speaker grille, primary microphone and the SIM tray. The left edge gets the AI button, which can be used to call up Google Assistant on a single tap. The right edge of the smartphone is crowded with the volume up/down buttons, power button and the action triggers. On the top edge, the iQOO 3 gets a 3.5mm headphone jack and a secondary microphone. 

The iQOO 3 comes with a hole punch design on the front, which looks similar to the Samsung Galaxy S10 and the Vivo V17. It does make the phone more appealing, however, I wished it came with a pop-up selfie camera for immersive display experience. 

As for the display panel, the iQOO 3 gets an E3 Super AMOLED panel with fullHD+ resolution and HDR+ support. The panel also supports 180Hz touch response rate, which significantly improves the gaming experience on the device. It even gets HDR+ certification along with a new generation in-display fingerprint scanner which can unlock the device in just 0.29 seconds according to the company.

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It features an AMOLED panel with an in-display fingerprint scanner. 

In the real world scenarios, the in-display fingerprint scanner worked well and unlocked the phone almost instantly every time. The display panel brings punchy colours and deeper blacks, which offer ultimate gaming and media streaming experience. Both low and high brightness levels were decent and I did not face any issues while using the phone outdoors on a sunny day.

iQOO 3 Review: Performance, Software and UI

iQOO 3 comes with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor under the hood. The smartphone gets LPDDR5 RAM with 8GB or 12GB option. For storage, the phone comes with either 128GB or 256GB of UFS 3.1 onboard storage. As of now, even the Snapdragon 855 performs great but the new 865 chip takes the performance one step ahead. The company claims that the new chipset brings a 25 percent boost in performance and a 30 percent drop in power consumption when compared to the last year’s flagship processor. 

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Geekbench 5, AnTuTu, PC Mark and 3D Mark benchmark results.

During my review period, I ran a couple of benchmarks on the iQOO 3 including GeekBench, AnTuTu, PC Mark and 3D Mark. The benchmarks were impressive and reflected similarly on the real-world scenarios. In order to test gaming, I played PUBG Mobile, Call of Duty: Mobile and Asphalt 9 on iQOO 3. None of these games showed any signs of lag or stutters and rather ran smoothly even on the highest graphics settings. 

As for the day to day tasks, scrolling through social media and switching between multiple apps felt quite smooth. The phone was easily able to keep more than 10 apps in memory, thanks to the 12GB of RAM. 

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iQOO UI is feature loaded

In terms of the UI, the company has added its own iQOO UI layer on top of Android 10 operating system. At first glance, the iQOO UI looks quite similar to the FunTouch OS found on Vivo smartphones. However, even though the base is similar, iQOO has made some significant changes that have made the UI much smoother, reliable as well as easy to use. 

iQOO 3 Review: Camera

iQOO 3 comes with a quad-camera setup at the back. The primary camera is a 48-megapixel Sony IMX582 sensor. It is clubbed with a 13-megapixel f/2.46 telephoto lens with 20X Digital Zoom, a 13-megapixel wide-angle lens with f/2.2 aperture and a 2-megapixel bokeh camera with an f/2.4 aperture.

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iQOO 3 comes with a 48MP quad-camera setup

iQOO 3 shoots some great photographs with decent lighting around. Even at low lighting situations, the phone manages to get some good pictures. Upon trying out the secondary sensor for digital zoom, I noticed that the images were facing a slight bit of overexposure. As for the 20X digital zoom, the pictures did not come out well but they did manage to retain as much information as possible. However, some of the above-mentioned issues can be fixed with an OTA update.

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As for selfies, the iQOO 3 uses a 16-megapixel Samsung sensor with f/2.45 aperture. The selfies came out bright and good looking. However, the camera app switches on the beauty mode by default, which smoothens the skin tone. 

iQOO 3 Review: Battery

iQOO has managed to fit in a 4,440mAh battery under the hood. In my time with the iQOO 3, the phone easily lasted a full working day where I had WiFi, Bluetooth and 4G LTE turned on at all times. As a part of my regular usage, I scrolled through Twitter and Instagram, got tons of notifications, talked over calls for around 2 hours and around half an hour of gaming. With this kind of usage, the iQOO 3 had around 30 percent juice left by the end of the day.

While the battery backup is quite impressive, I cannot vouch for similar results once 5G is rolled out in India. As for topping up the juice, the phone comes with a 55W fast charger which can charge the phone from 0 to 50 percent in just 15 minutes. 

iQOO 3 Review: Verdict

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It sports a punch hole design

iQOO is a fairly new brand in India with iQOO 3 being its first product for the Indian consumers. While the most talked about feature of the iQOO 3 is its 5G support, the Indian telecom operators have not yet started working towards the future. However, buying a 5G supported smartphone in 2020 will not only give you future-proofing but also grant you access to the world of 5G when you decide to go for an international trip.

Apart from 5G, the phone also brings a couple of exciting features like 55W super-fast charging, action triggers, 180Hz touch response rate and much more. As the phone aims to hit the premium segment, it also brings a great haptic motor that not only makes the normal vibrations feel premium but also adds support for 4D game vibration that can take your mobile gaming experience to the next level.

In a nutshell, the iQOO 3 is not only a spec monster but also brings the premium vibe for a relatively affordable price tag.

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