iQOO launched the iQOO 3 in India last year, and the iQOO 7 series earlier this year. The most recent iQOO Z3 5G brings 5G and India’s first Snapdragon 768G SoC in an affordable price tag. It also has extended RAM, 55W fast charging and more features that you rarely see in smartphones in this price range. The specifications looks great on paper. Let us dive into the review to find out what the device has to offer.
- iQOO Z3 5G 8GB + 256GB version in Cyber Blue colour
- Clear Silicon case
- USB Type-C Cable
- 55W Super FlashCharge wall adapter
- SIM ejector tool
- Quick start guide and Warranty information
Display, Hardware and Design
Starting with the display, the iQOO Z3 features a 6.58-inch Full HD+ LCD sceen with a pixel resolution of 2408 × 1080 pixels, 20:9 aspect ratio 2.5D curved glass screen with gentle rounded corners and a pixel density of about 401 PPI. The display is bright, offers good colour output since it has 96% NTSC Colour Gamut and DCI-P3 colour gamut and the sunlight legibility is good as well. Since this has an LCD screen, you don’t have to worry about the low brightness tint issue that is being faced by most smartphones.
The main highlight of the display is its 120Hz display refresh rate and 180Hz touch sampling rate, which when enabled offers a buttery smooth user experience, especially when you are scrolling through the UI and when gaming. You can also set it to 90Hz refresh rate. When you set it to smart switch, it can switch to high refresh rate automatically depending on the content, thus saving the battery. It also has HDR 10 support, which works for YouTube. The phone comes with Panda glass protection.
Under the display options, there are different options to adjust colours based on your preference. There is also an eye protection mode that lets you reduce the display’s blue light emission, so it doesn’t cause eye strain when you are reading at night. There is Dark mode, similar to other iQOO phones, and you can even schedule it.
The phone has dynamic effects option that includes ambient light effect that lets you enable animation effect when you receive notifications. This makes up for the lack of always-on-display. You can also disable or change animation for charging, screen on/off and more.
The phone has a water drop style notch that houses a 16-megapixel camera, which doesn’t disturb when watching videos since it occupies a small space. Above the display there is an earpiece on the top edge. The phone also has the usual set of proximity and ambient light sensors, as well as a gyroscope and a magnetic sensor, otherwise known as a magnetometer.
Coming to button placements and ports, the phone has a fingerprint sensor on the right side embedded into the home button. Above that there is a volume rocker. On the top there is a hybrid SIM slot that takes two nano SIM cards or a nano SIM and a microSD card up to 1TB. There is also a secondary microphone on the top. The bottom part has a 3.5mm audio jack, secondary microphone, USB Type-C port and a speaker grill.
Even though the phone has a large screen, it is easy to hold since it is 75.3mm wide. It weighs 185.5 grams and is 8.5mm thick, making it thinner and lighter than the predecessor. The Cyber Blue colour variant has an innovative curtain coated matte plating process that delivers delicate touch and diffused soft light. The red and blue contrasting design shows a changing rainbow of light and shadow on the surface, like the neon lights of Cyber City, bright and full of dynamics. Even though the phone has a plastic finish, the phone feels solid to hold. You can use the bundled clear protective case to prevent it getting scratch.
The phone also comes in Ace Black colour that uses an innovative silver surface ion plating process presents a brighter black with more depth, as vast as deep space. The unique deep light of the texture makes the classic black more glossy.
The phone packs a 64-megapixel primary rear camera with ISOCELL GW3 1/1.97″ sensor, 0.7μm pixel size, f/1.79 aperture, EIS along with a secondary 8-megapixel 120° ultra-wide sensor with f/2.2 aperture and 2-megapixel macro sensor with 1.75μm pixel size and f/2.4 aperture. There is also a 16-megapixel front camera with f/2.0 aperture.
The camera UI is familiar with other iQOO smartphones running Funtouch OS 11. On the top there are toggles for flash, HDR, AI, Macro, Framing lines, Countdown, Frame and settings. You can switch between ultra-wide (0.6x), 1x and 2x options. There are also options for filter and light effect. On the bottom, you can switch from photo to night mode, portrait, video and the more option offers 64MP mode, Panorama, Live photo, Slo-mo (1080p at 120 fps and 720p at 240 fps), time-lapse, AR stickers, Doc and Pro mode that lets you shoot in RAW, adjust white balance, focus, shutter speed (1/12000s to 32 seconds), ISO (50 to 3200) and option to select main and ultra-wide cameras. The company has enabled Cam2API by default, so you can side-load ported Google Camera APKs for advanced editing, including RAW capture.
Coming to the image quality, daylight shots came out well with good dynamic range, thanks to quad-pixel technology that gives you get 12MP output. HDR shots are better with improved dynamic range, and it is recommended to enable auto HDR. Wide-angle shots from the 8MP camera is good, and the portrait shots have decent edge detection even without a dedicated sensor. 2MP macro camera is decent for capturing images as close as 4cm, but using 2x mode in the main camera offers better results.
Low-light shots are good, and the super night mode makes it better , while specialised night filters make the images look artistic. Images with flash are good, and the flash is not overpowering. Daylight front camera shots from the 16-megapixel front camera is good, and the portrait shots have decent edge detection even though it is done using software.
It can record videos at 4k resolution at 60 fps that you rarely see in phones in the price range. Another main highlight in the camera is the EFB autofocus tracking the tracks a subject taking up the biggest proportion of the frame. You can tap to change subject. The tracking is continuous. It can also track face when eyes cannot be tracked, and then track human bodies when faces cannot be tracked.
Check out the camera samples (Click the image to view the full resolution sample.).
Software, UI and Apps
The Funtouch OS experience has been imrpoving. With its FunTouch OS 11 based on Android 11 offers several customization options. System-level dark mode, the ability to change the system’s icons and colour scheme, Android 11 gestures, and a lot of animation effects choices for various aspects of the system. It has May Android security patch.
For serious gamers, there is a feature in FunTouch OS 11 called Ultra Game Mode, which contains loads of settings that can improve the gaming experience. Notifications and incoming calls can be muted, the SoC can be set to the max performance and accidental touches can be prevented. Additional features include S-Capture, Smart split, Smart motion, Quick action, Easy touch, One-handed mode and more.
Even though there are pre-installed apps, they can be uninstalled. Also, with the pre-installed apps are two app store alternatives to the Google Play Store, namely the V-AppStore and Game Center, of which the latter is an app store purely for gamers.
Out of 8GB LPDDR4x RAM, you get 8.4GB of usable RAM, and about 3GB of RAM is free when default apps are running in the background. Out of 256GB, you get about 226GB of free storage. It has UFS 2.2 storage, and we got sequential read speeds of about 983MB/s.
The phone has a side-mounted fingerprint sensor that unlocks the phone quickly. You can add up to 5 fingerprints. You can also use the fingerprint for app local and payments in apps. The phone also has face unlock.
Music Player and Multimedia
The default Music Player also has equalizer and DeepField sound effects. It doesn’t have FM Radio support. Audio through the speaker is quite loud and clear. Since the speaker is present on the bottom, audio doesn’t get muffled when the phone is on a flat surface. Audio through bundled earphones is good as well. This has Widevine L1 so that you can play HD content on Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and other streaming apps.
Dual SIM and Connectivity
The iQOO Z3 5G comes with X52 5G modem and has support for two (N77 and N78 ) 5G Network Bands in India. It has 4G VoLTE with support for Carrier Aggregation on 4G, so you can see 4G+ symbol when it’s enabled automatically. Other connectivity options include Dual-Band Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, VoWiFi / Wi-Fi calling support, Bluetooth 5.1 LE and GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO. Moving on, the call quality is good, and we did not face any call drops and the earpiece volume was loud.
The iQOO Z3 5G’s body SAR is 0.75W/Kg and the head SAR is at 0.94W/Kg, which is well under the limit in India which is 1.6 W/kg (over 1 g).
Performance and Benchmarks
The iQOO Z3 5G is powered by the Snapdragon 768G SoC, making it the India’s first smartphone to use the chip. The SoC is built on Samsung’s 7nm process node, and it has 1 Kryo 475 Prime CPU clocked at 2.8GHz compared to 2.4GHz in the 765G, so the CPU performance is increased by 15%. It has 1 Kryo 475 Performance CPU clocked at 2.2GHz and 6 Kryo 475 Efficiency CPUs clocked at up to 1.80GHz, same as the 765G.
The Adreno 620 offers a smooth gaming performance even in graphic intensive games, and the phone doesn’t get too hot even during long hours of gaming, thanks to five-layer liquid cooling system that uses Super Liquid Cooling Pipe, 5814mm² graphite layer, high thermal copper foil, thermal gel and has 6 temperature sensors to reduce the temperature of the phone by 10° C.
As expected, the smartphone is great for day-to-day use. Navigating the system was smooth and animations throughout the UI had no hitches. Apps open more or less quickly, and they stay open in RAM for a reasonable amount of time. With the “Extended RAM” technology, it can extend a part of the memory to be used as an extra RAM. With added 3GB RAM (1GB in 6GB RAM version), the performance of an 8GB RAM is equivalent to that of a 11GB RAM. User experience is greatly improved in multi-application scenarios. Improve app’s hot start rate for faster start speed.
Check out the synthetic benchmark scores which places the iQOO Z3 on top beating the Snapdragon 750G and Dimensity 800U powered 5G phones, as well are other 4G phones in the price range.
Coming to the battery life, the phone packs a 4400mAh (typical) built-in battery, same as the iQOO 7 5G. It lasts for a whole day even with heavy use with 4G enabled and multimedia use, and more than that with average use. I got close to 6 hours of screen on time. Since the phone has support for 55W Flash charge fast charging, it takes just 55 minutes to charge from 0 to 100%, and 0 to 50% takes just 19 minutes using the bundled charger.
To sum up, the iQOO Z3 5G ticks all the boxes with a powerful Snapdragon 768G 5G SoC offering a smooth performance and lag-free gaming experience coupled with five-layer liquid cooling system and a 120Hz high refresh rate screen and 55W fast charging making it a compelling buy in the price segment right now. It also has built-in 5G support making it future-proof. For the price, the iQOO Z3 is a great deal for those who are looking for a phone that ticks all the boxes under Rs. 20,000.
Pricing and availability
Priced starting at Rs. 19,990 for the base 6GB RAM with 128GB storage version, it goes up to Rs. 22,990 for the 8GB RAM with 256GB storage version. The phone is already on sale on Amazon.in and iQOO.com. With the Flat Rs. 1500 off on SBI Credit cards, the effective price of the phone is Rs. 18,490, which is good deal. Additionally, it also offers no cost EMI up to 6 months and 100% refund on when you return the phone within 7 days.
- 120Hz HDR display is good
- Good camera performance in daylight
- Smooth performance
- Good battery life with 55W fast charging
- Some prefer a punch-hole display
- Low-light camera performance could be better