iQOO 3 Review: For the Seekers

The sound of iQOO is not just a word, it’s a description of an idea that represents the unquenchable thirst of young India. “I quest on and on” is an exercise in brand making. This combination has resulted in iQOO 3, a bleeding edge smartphone that is designed for those who constantly seek the best in design, best in multimedia and best in performance. You’ll see what we mean in this review.

Starting at Rs. 36,990, iQOO3 brings a plethora of features along with the latest flagship Qualcomm chipset available. However, this doesn’t end here as iQOO 3 is one of the first smartphones to bring 5G support into the Indian market.

We got hold of the Tornado Black iQOO 3 variant (12GB+256GB) and tested how well the phone feels in day to day usage. Generally, the thing about a good product is striking a good balance. Did the iQOO 3 serve the purpose? Check out our review to find it out.

Build quality on point!

The first thing that will impress you is the build quality. The body comes in a minimalistic design with the right amount of bells and whistles. It is simple, very well crafted and sturdy. In this segment, quite simple, the build quality is top-notch. With 9.16mm of thickness and 214.5 grams, you can feel the sturdiness and heft which is required on a phone like this.

With iQOO 3, the usual glass sandwich design comes to play. The back glass is glossy, attracts fingerprints easily. Thanks to Tornado Black variant fingerprints are barely visible. The rounded corners and seamless transition to the metal frame give excellent handling experience.

Talking about the placement, we have Type-C port and loudspeaker grille on the bottom, the power button and volume rocker on the right, a 3.5mm headphone jack on the top, and a dedicated AI button on the left, which is re-mappable.

Since it is a gaming phone, it also has capacitive buttons on the right side, adding extra control options for the immersive gaming experience. These are housed on the far sides of the phone, just right for your index fingers to reach.

Class-leading display with 180Hz Super Touch Response Rate 

The iQOO 3 packs 6.44-inch (2400 × 1080 pixels) Full HD+ 20:9 E3 Super AMOLED 2.5D curved glass display with HDR10+ certification. It has 800 nits brightness and 1200 nits peak brightness, which means sunlight legibility is not a problem. It equips a 16MP front camera inside the tiny punch-hole on the top left.

The display has a Schott Xensation UP glass protection, whereas the rear is taken care of Corning Gorilla Glass 6. iQOO offers an additional screen protector out of the box.

Diving into specifics, blacks are deep, the color reproduction and viewing angles are good; it has a perfectly readable display under bright sunlight too. Also, there are options to calibrate the screen with three options – Standard mode (default), Normal, and Bright. Additionally, there is a color temperature slider to adjust accordingly.

Its touch sampling rate is set at 180Hz, instead of default 60Hz and far better than other gaming phones, operating at 120Hz. Under the display, the device has an upgraded fingerprint scanner that unlocks in seconds. It is super-fast and far better than any device present right now. As per the company claims, it unlocks in just 0.3 seconds when the display is both on and off.

Top-notch performance!

As we all know, iQOO 3 is one of the few smartphones in the market at present to come powered by the Snapdragon 865 chipset. To be precise, this device has 2.84GHz Octa-Core Snapdragon 865 7nm Mobile Platform with Adreno 650 GPU under the hood.

The Adreno 650 GPU is well equipped to handle any graphic intensive game. The storage standard for iQOO 3 is UFS 3.1 for super-fast read and write speeds. Generally, this helps with app performance and system fluidity. Speaking of which, we got 12GB LPDDR5 RAM with 256GB (UFS 3.1) storage.

The phone is incredibly fast; it is the fastest phone I’ve ever used. We experienced zero lag, zero hitches. It’s just pure speed and raw power! The iQOO 3 can do everything the bigger flagship on the market can but at about two-thirds of the cost. The iQOO 3 has an insane score of 6,10,000 on the Antutu benchmark as well.

Long-lasting battery with 55W Super FlashCharge! 

The iQOO 3 is powered by a 4440mAh battery with 55W Super FlashCharge. Using this Super FlashCharge, you will be able to replenish about 50% of its empty battery life in just 15 minutes, and it takes around 45 minutes for a full charge.

Generally, FunTouch OS has been pretty efficient in battery life, and the same translates here as well. Considering the power-packed chipset inside, we pushed the device to its limit, and surprisingly, it lasted for the whole day, thanks to optimisation in iQOO UI. If you are a casual user, it might last for a couple of days.

Treat for gamers!

Right from the start, iQOO has been promoting the device as a gaming-centric (apart from 5G) smartphone. Well, the company has justified this tag with some additional hardware and software elements.
It consists of Monster Touch Buttons on the right-side frame in-line with power and volume rocker buttons. These pressure-sensitive buttons come handy during gameplay, helping users to achieve quick multi-finger operations.

By pressing both buttons at the same time, the phone will start the game space. The Game Space UI shows the phone’s CPU, GPU, temperature data, game length, and traffic statistics. The phone has Carbon Fiber VC Liquid Cooling that can reduce the surface temperature by up to 3.5°C and CPU temperature by up to 12°C.

So what does it feel like to use iQOO 3 for gaming? We tried Call of Duty, Fortnite, SimCity, Johnny Trigger, and other simulation games. It’s an absolute joy to play on the phone, and all the tweaks made on the device, including ergonomics make it one of the best gaming phones in the market today.

Blissful audio experience!

iQOO 3 is equipped with an AK4377A Hi-Fi independent chip, a stereo 32VELVET high-quality audio DAC. Notably, iQOO 3 has also passed Hi-Res audio certification, bringing an authentic audio-visual experience to Hi-Fi enthusiasts.

First off, the phone is great for watching videos, thanks to the bottom-firing speakers. The output through 3.5mm jack with high-res sounds excellent when you plug in a wired headset. For the audiophiles out there, iQOO 3 will play your tracks the way they were meant to sound.

Right now, we only have a handful of phones that can deliver volume levels high, retaining the flawless output, and the accuracy is top-notch.

Capable quad-camera setup!

The photography department in iQOO is taken care of 4 cameras –

  • 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

Talking about camera performance, the primary 48MP camera takes good photos under daylight conditions with excellent details and true to life colours. The dynamic range is excellent, contrast is nice, and well-lit scenes look sharp with plenty of detail.

The 13MP telephoto lens is equally good with the right amount of sharpness and dynamic range. However, the image gets distorted while using the X10 and X20 digital zooming. The wide-angle lens delivers an average experience with softened images.

Once again, the main 48MP camera did a decent job in lowlight conditions. The output shows adequate details and sharpness with decent colors. The Night Mode brightens the shadows and adds a bit of sharpness to it. Unlike other smartphones, the night mode is not aggressive, making the photos natural.

The 16MP front camera offers good selfies with a bit of softening; nonetheless, we are happy with the overall output – dynamic range is impressive, colors look natural, and exposure is well-balanced.

Coming to the videos, iQOO 3 can shoot up to 4K at 60fps. Besides, it has features like Super Video Stabilisation, which uses the EIS algorithm with an ultra-wide-angle lens.

To make it more specific, it can perform real-time image stabilisation processing by cutting and processing the edges of the screen, while recording video. This is very handy if you are looking for stable videography. In our testing, the 4K footage looks sharp, there’s no noise, and dynamic range is good, colors are quite accurate too.

iQOO UI and connectivity options

The iQOO 3 ships with Android runs on Android 10 with iQOO UI 1.0. It comes with a clean and minimal interface that’s easy to read and understand. It also has a lot of customisation features, including app drawer layout, accessing quick settings on top. It’s worth mentioning that we love various customization options it has, giving the user the ability to change almost every visual element and animation.

iQOO 3 is one of the very few smartphones to kick-off the 5G wave in the Indian market. Considering the future possibilities, it comes with 5G SA/NSA and various connectivity options including Dual 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 6 802.11 ax, Bluetooth 5.1, GPS/GLONASS, USB Type-C

Pricing and availability

The iQOO 3 and iQOO 3 5G come in Volcano Orange, Quantum Silver, Tornado Black. The iQOO 3 4G with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage costs Rs. 36,990, 8GB RAM with 256GB storage 4G version costs Rs. 39,990, and the iQOO 3 5G with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage costs Rs. 44,990. It will be available from Flipkart and starting from March 4th.

iQOO care is an interesting offering from the brand. iQOO provides free pick and drop service for any repair issues across the country covering more than 15000+ pin codes, for any on-call assistance, iQOO service experts are available 24*7 over the toll free number 1800-572-4700.


To sum up, what you see is what you get. Right from the unboxing to the features to the performance to the build quality to the camera, it is very clear that iQOO is not just a name, it is an idea. Which is a great start for a new brand that builds on expertise and experience. The iQOO3 is the best multimedia and gaming phone you can buy at this price segment right now. To know more, drop us questions in the comments section below.