iQOO 3 5G Gaming Smartphone Review

iQOO, a new smartphone brand in India debuts with its gaming-centric flagship smartphone, iQOO 3 which is a 5G smartphone featuring Snapdragon 865 octa-core CPU, a massive 12 GB of LPDDR5 RAM and quad cameras. With hefty specs inside, it takes on the flagship killer OnePlus 7T Pro, realme X2 Pro, and top-of-the-line Samsung Galaxy S20. Here’s what you need to know in the iQOO 3 5G review.

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What’s in The Box

Here’s the full unboxing of the iQOO 3 and it’s features overview.

iQOO 3 Specifications

  • Display: 6.44-inch Super AMOLED, Full HD+ Resolution (2400 x 1080 pixels), 409 ppi pixel density, 91.40% screen-to-ratio, Corning Gorilla Glass 6
  • Software: iQOO UI 1.0 based on Android 10
  • CPU: 7nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 octa-core SoC
  • GPU: Adreno 650
  • Memory: 12 GB RAM (8 GB in 4G models)
  • Storage: 256 GB UFS 3.1 storage (128 GB in 4G models)
  • Main Camera: Quad cameras, 48 MP primary sensor + 13 MP telephoto lens + 13 MP wide-angle lens + 2 MP bokeh sensor
  • Selfie Camera: 16 MP camera sensor
  • Others: Monster Touch Buttons, On-screen fingerprint scanner, Game Center, Ultra Game Mode
  • Connectivity: 5G network, Wi-Fi 802.11ax (2.4 GHz + 5 GHz), Bluetooth v5.1, GPS/A-GPS, USB Type-C
  • Battery: 4400 mAh battery with 55W Super FlashCharge technology
  • Colors: Volcano Orange, Quantum Silver, and Tornado Black
  • Price: ₹44,990 (12 GB + 256 GB) – 5G variants, ₹36,990 (8 GB + 128 GB), ₹39,990 (8 GB + 256 GB) – 4G variants
  • Availability: 4th March 2020, iQOO.com & Flipkart.com

Design, Display, Build, & Ergonomics

iQOO 3 quite isn’t a compact device, the phone is bigger and feels bulky in the hands, however, has a more premium and solid build and features a sleek unibody overall. The back has a glowing effect with a quad-camera setup on the top left side.

It does offer a good grip even though the form factor isn’t yet compact, the rounded edges and the glass-finish back gives a comfortable feel. For the looks, I didn’t find any fancy gaming design as seen on the Black Shark 2 and the ROG Phone, the Black Shark 2, however, has RGB lighting effects which would surely be a show stopper in the segment and something really cool for gamers.

The iQOO 3 features a 6.44-inch Super AMOLED display with a 91.40% screen-to-body ratio and is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 6. iQOO 3 uses a punch-hole selfie camera instead of the usual notch or the modern pop-up style camera.

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The right side has a power key in Orange theme, volume buttons and something that gamers would definitely admire. The right side corners offer two pressure-sensitive buttons called Monster Touch Buttons which can be used in games for add-on controls.

The left side has an AI key that can be used to trigger the Google Assistant or the Jovi Assistant. The AI Key can also be used for entering the Monster Mode in combination with the Left Monster Touch Button. Both these Monster Touch Buttons can be pushed to enter the Game Space UI.

The bottom has a USB Type-C port, SIM tray option with no support for microSD, loudspeakers, and a microphone. You will get a 3.5 mm jack and an IR Blaster on the top. What surprises me is the L-shaped USB cable and the L-shaped 3.5mm earphones which are solely designed to not interrupt the gaming experience, smart mode iQOO.

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Monster Touch Buttons

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Software & User Interface

On the software side, the UI is quite familiar, you can see the FunTouch OS similarities in the iQOO UI since the phone is manufactured by the Vivo itself. The iQOO UI 1.0 which is based on Android 10 offers a homescreen with no app drawer, similar to the FunTouch OS found on the Vivo smartphones. The UI also comes with bloatware or preloaded apps and some of them are of no use.

Digging more into the UI, the iQOO has customized the interface for the iQOO 3 with gaming features, right from the high-performance Monster Mode, to some animations and customized icons. The UI is pretty much similar, however, the notification panel drops from the top instead of the bottom pull-up panel we saw on the Vivo smartphones.

You will also find a Game Space UI for gaming and Ultra Game Mode to optimize the games installed on the phone. It also enables you to assign the pressure-sensitive Monster Touch Buttons into the games. We tried with some games like PUBG Mobile, Call of Duty Mobile, and Asphalt 9: Legends and it worked well.

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Monster Mode

Hardware, Performance, & Gaming

iQOO 3, which seems to be the most Android powerful smartphone as of now, features hefty specs, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 octa-core SoC with up to 12 GB of LPDDR5 RAM. It offers raw performance if you are a multi-tasker or a heavy gamer, no matter what, the iQOO 3 knows how to deal with it.

The other two variants of the phone offer 8 GB RAM with 128 GB storage and 256 GB storage and they both are 4G models. This is the 12 GB RAM with a 256 GB storage variant and it supports 5G network.

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This smartphone breaks the record by topping out in the AnTuTu benchmark app. Our benchmarks suggest that the iQOO 3 ranks 1st in the AnTuTu benchmark and the Geekbench 5 scores 929 points in single-core CPU and 3,398 points in multi-core CPU. Geekbench 5 tests also show 3,154 points in GPU benchmark.

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On the gaming front, the iQOO 3 is the most powerful gaming smartphone in this segment, if you are a heavy gamer, the iQOO won’t disappoint you in any way. It packs an Andreno 650 GPU which appears to be the best for high-end gaming, there’s no denying.

The Monster Touch Buttons adds to the overall gaming experience, the Game Space UI and Ultra Gaming Mode help to offer a better gaming experience by optimizing the games. Here’s how the Game Space UI looks on the phone, it shows you the game stats with CPU, GPU usage and temperature of the phone. The Game Space UI can be entered by pressing the two Monster Touch Buttons simultaneously.

With the Ultra Game Mode, you can use the 4D game vibration feature that gives you vibration feedback for a realistic gaming experience. iQOO 3 offers Carbon fiber-based VC liquid cooling technology to dissipate the heat, it doesn’t heat much, remains under 40 degrees on playing longer gaming sessions or while recording 4K videos.

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Cameras

iQOO doesn’t want to compromise on the camera’s front, hence, we are seeing the quad-cameras which is currently the trend in the smartphone industry. However, you will find a 48 MP main camera on the iQOO 3 instead of the on-going 64 MP cameras in current smartphones.

iQOO didn’t choose to enter the megapixels war, however, it opts a lower 48 MP camera which is the last year’s flagship camera spec. The quad-camera setup includes a 48 MP main camera with a Sony IMX582 sensor, a 13 MP telephoto lens that offers up to 20X zoom, a 13 MP ultra-wide-angle camera, the last 2 MP camera for depth sensing.

The main camera here is quite similar to the Redmi K20 Pro’s main camera, the sensors used in both the phones are the same. The Sony IMX582 is nothing much the same IMX586 which was seen on the OnePlus 7T Pro.

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Speaking of the performance of the camera, the iQOO 3 does take great images with its cameras, I really liked the daylight shots, the Macro shots, and wide-angle shots as well. The Portraits here are mind-boggling, the iQOO 3 camera impressed me a lot with its Portrait shots. What’s surprising is the eye-detection feature, it detects the eye automatically and takes a photo.

Selfies turn out to be good as well, the low light performance is good overall, you may use the Night mode for better lighting in the photo. The camera also supports 4K video at 60fps, wide-angle video recording, Live photos, AR Stickers, & 240fps slow motion. The phone misses out the 960fps super slow motion feature.

Here are some samples I took from the iQOO 3 rear and front cameras.

iQOO 3 Camera Samples

Battery Life & Charging

On the battery side, the iQOO 3 packs a huge 4,400 mAh battery that lasts up to 2 days on average usage. Out test indicates that the battery life on the iQOO 3 is impressive, and also it doesn’t take much time to charge the phone.

The phone offers a 55W Super FlashCharge 2.0 fast charging support which charges the phone up to 50% in just 15 minutes. It takes around 40 minutes to charge the phone completely from 0% to 100%. The phone competes with the realme’s VOOC charging technology, the realme X2 Pro offers Super VOOC charging that charges the phone in 35 minutes.

Verdict

Overall, iQOO 3 offers a powerful package and is a great smartphone if you are looking for raw performance, great cameras, support for 5G, and looking for a phone that charges in no time. With its Monster Touch Buttons, Game Space UI and Ultra Game Mode give one of the best gaming experiences in this segment.

Strength

  • Blazing Fast Performance – Snapdragon 865 & 12 GB RAM
  • Pressure Sensitive Monster Touch Buttons For Gaming | 4D Game Vibration
  • Bright & Crisp AMOLED Display
  • Impressive Quad-Camera Performance
  • 55W Ultra-Fast Charging
  • 5G Ready

Weakness

  • Bulky
  • No 90Hz Display