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iQOO 7 5G Review – Not Just A Gaming Phone

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By Akhil Kapoor - 
30th May 2021
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iQOO 7
Review Summary

My final verdict of the iQOO 7 is that if you are young, or a student plus a game lover and you wish to have a flagship smartphone at an affordable price tag, which is excellent for gaming, photography and running heavy applications, iQOO 7 is a definite pick. However, if you are looking for a smartphone for regular office work with a lot of multi-tasking, where the screen responsiveness is super smooth, you can go with some other device like the OnePlus 9R.

PROS
  • AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate
  • 66W Flash Charge
  • 12GB RAM + 256GB internal storage + Extended RAM
  • 6000 sq. mm. graphite layer liquid cooling system
  • Superfast 5G connectivity
  • 48MP triple-rear camera setup
CONS
  • No provision for memory expansion
  • No certification for dust and water resistance
  • Bulky smartphone with 209.5 grams of weight
  • No wireless charging feature
Key Specs
Battery Capacity
Battery Capacity
4400 mAh
Operating System
Operating System
Android v11
Screen Size
Screen Size
6.62 inches
Highlights:
  • No
  • 4400 mAh
  • Android v11
  • 6.62 inches
Introduction

In recent years, we have seen more and more smartphone manufacturers develop sub-brands into different markets and even capitalise on different niches. Considering Vivo’s sub-brand iQOO, which debuted to bring high-end gaming phones to the public in India last year. The company has succeeded to some extent with iQOO 3, the first 5G phone to ship the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 SoC in the country, as well as UFS 3.1 storage in the country. Even so, the smartphone’s user interface fell short, and many people saw the device’s 60Hz screen as a deal-breaker.

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After more than a year, the company has arrived with yet another gaming phone in the form of the iQOO 7, and based on the device’s spec sheet, the device would certainly throw a wrench into the works of competitors. I checked the smartphone for about 10 days in order to evaluate it and to be frank, the phone is outstanding in many areas. This hands-on analysis will help you decide if you should purchase it or not, but the final decision is personal.

Price in India, Variants, Availability

iQOO revealed three storage variants during the launch event of the iQOO 7. iQOO 7 price for the 8GB RAM variant is Rs.31,990 in India and there is a discount of Rs. 2000. You can look for this device on Amazon if you are willing to purchase it.  YOu can also purchase the 8GB+256GB variant for Rs.33,990 while the 12GB RAM variant of iQOO 7 is priced in India at Rs.35,990.

If there is an issue with your iQOO smartphone, you can head over to one of its 32 centres spread across India. Also, there is no provision for the extended warranty, as we have seen in OnePlus and Apple devices.

Box Contents

Speaking of the box contents, there is a transparent cover followed by a basic screen protector along with a super-fast 66W flash charger, which is a plus point here, since most of the smartphone brands have stopped providing the charger in the box and you have to make a separate purchase for that. Apart from this, there are no other accessories in the box.

Specs at a glance

Before we talk in detail about the iQOO 7 let’s see what the on-paper specs look like?

  • Display: 16.82cm (6.62) 120Hz AMOLED Display
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 5G with Intelligent Display Chip
  • Storage: 8GB/128GB, 8GB/256GB, 12GB/256GB
  • Software: Funtouch OS 11.1 based on Android 11
  • Rear cameras: 48MP (OIS) + 13MP (Wide-angle) + 2MP (Mono)
  • Battery: 4400mAh, 66W FlashCharge
  • Weight: 196g
  • Dimensions: 163 x 76 x 85 mm
Design - You Gonna Love

iQOO is an expert in the field of phone design. Last year, the company unveiled the iQOO 3 in a beautiful Volcano Orange colour, which is one of the nicest-looking phones I’ve seen to date. iQOO 7 has a beautiful design as well, which is enhanced by the unit’s appealing Solid Ice Blue colour, which gleams in the sunlight while I got my hands on the Storm Black variant. 

Additionally, the phone’s back is covered in AG matte glass, which is not only silky smooth but also resists stains or any fingerprint smudges. In addition, iQOO 7’s camera module is in line with the frame, and the chunky design looks more polished. The module also prevents the handset from wobbling when placed horizontally on a table, which I really liked about this smartphone.

Unlike its predecessor, iQOO 7 now has a slim 8.3mm frame. When combined with the smartphone’s featherweight design of just 196 grams, the iQOO 7 hardly clings to your wrists, even after extended use. Although the handset is not suitable for one-handed use due to its tall frame, you can use it single-handedly without a case, since the curvy back provides a secure in-hand grip.

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Regrettably, the iQOO 7 lacks a headphone socket. Moreover, the handset does not come with a 3.5mm dongle, which is a major letdown. Fortunately, the device includes a high-quality range of stereo speakers that can get very loud and provide positional versatility to the audio.

Exactly the same thing goes for the fingerprint scanner in the iQOO 7 and its facial recognition technology as well, which all brought me in the blink of an eye onto my home screen. It’s worth noting that the iQOO 7’s face unlock software works even while you’re wearing a mask, but it’s not as safe as the fingerprint reader. Aside from that, the iQOO 7’s architecture checks almost all of the boxes.

Display - Seamless Viewing Experience

iQOO has equipped the display of this smartphone with some beautiful features in order to improve the visual experience. Particularly the size, the iQOO 7 display measures 6.62-inches which is quite similar in comparison to the OnePlus 9R.

If there is something more important that I’ve come across while using the iQOO 7, it’s the higher refresh rate, which makes the display super smooth and seamless to use.  Yes, the iQOO 7 display features a 120Hz refresh rate and after using multiple applications while testing the accuracy of the display, it was surprising to see that most of the applications supported an exact 120Hz refresh rate in comparison to other devices like the OnePlus 9R, in which there is 120HZ refresh rate but some of the applications like YouTube run on 60Hz only.

iQOO has, although equipped the display with a unique set of specifications, however, if there is something that I felt compromised here, it’s the touch screen sensitivity. While typing and scrolling, I couldn’t feel the swiftness I felt while using other flagship devices like the OnePlus 9R. You’ll also realise this while comparing the iQOO 7 with any of the flagship devices comprising more pixels per inch. However, when it comes to the colours, iQOO 7 is leading from the front and which I liked most about the display. The iQOO 7 display features 1300nits of peak brightness, which makes it far better than the OnePlus 9R.

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Now speaking of the Widewine L1 support, it doesn’t make sense if you are unaware of this feature. It’s a DRM (Digital Rights Management System), which protects the OTT and streaming platforms like Netflix from piracy and misuse. Widewine was taken over by Google in 2010 and since then they are providing free certification to the smartphone manufacturers after following few standards.

Coming back to the iQOO 7, it supports Widewine L1, which can be checked from the DRM info app. While running the DRM app, it turned out to be supporting HDR, however, Netflix doesn’t feature the iQOO 7 in the HDR supporting devices, due to some internal issues. So, you have to adjust with HD streaming only although the display supports HDR. But one thing that I noticed while playing the same video on the OnePlus 9R and iQOO7, the visual quality on the iQOO 7 was way better, although it supported HD streaming only, while the OnePlus 9R supported HDR. Isn’t it surprising?

Finally, speaking of the other features that make this device stand alone in the crowd include HDR10+ support, 16 million colours and NTSC 105%, AMOLED panel and 1080 pixel resolution, and a large 91.4% screen to body ratio, which makes the overall visual experience more enjoyable.

Dual Monster Performance

iQOO 7 is the country’s latest smartphone to feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 870 processor, which is paired with 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage and 12GB of LPDDR4X RAM.  Although OnePlus 9R has the same SoC, it has LPDDR5 RAM, which is faster. However, my experience was the same with both smartphones, and the iQOO 7 showed no signs of slowing down during my time with it.  App load times were short, the handset could keep a lot of applications in memory, and test scores were on average, if not higher than the competition.

In terms of gaming, iQOO 7 is a genuinely impressive offering. While most Snapdragon 870-powered handsets will max out the graphical settings in most games, iQOO 7 brings the user’s gaming experience to the next level with MEMC game frame interpolation technology. In short, the dedicated smartphone display chip cleverly inserts ‘transitional’ frames between two in-game frames, enabling the smartphone to move well above the native frame rates of a game. As a result, gamers can use the phone’s high refresh rate display to reduce screen tearing, which happens when the display is out of synchronization with the frame rates of the game.

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Most high-end phones, for example, now come with a 120Hz refresh rate screen, but classic games like Call of Duty Mobile still top out at 60fps. iQOO 7’s MEMC game frame rate interpolation, on the other hand, allows the device to output 120fps in Call of Duty Mobile, providing a seamless and more captivating experience. Moreover, despite having a proper chipset that adds frames to challenging games in real-time, the iQOO 7’s casing didn’t get too hot to the touch, and the SoC didn’t thermal-throttle after more than an hour of gaming.

Software

Vivo’s Funtouch OS is preinstalled on top of Android 11 on the iQOO 7. The custom skin has progressed significantly, and the most recent version resembles stock Android in appearance. iQOO 7 does, however, come with a lot of bloatware, and the company’s V-store will also clog up your notification tray with useless app suggestions. As a result, I recommend that you uninstall all pre-installed apps right away, and force stop any bundled software that cannot be removed from the phone. I’d also like to point out that the custom skin comes with a limited set of features, and I found myself wishing for more customization choices with the phone. Overall, the iQOO 7’s programme is more advanced than ever, but the company still has a lot of work ahead of it.

Cameras

The latest iQOO 7 features a triple-camera module, including a main 48MP sensor, a 13MP 120-degree ultra-wide sensor and a 2MP mono camera with LED flash. Let’s get started with the daylight shots, which I’ve captured in multiple colours to check the accuracy of the camera setup.

Considering this street shot, which I’ve captured using the stock camera, the contrast of the green colour appears more and while zooming in you’ll notice that the leaves are merged.  The stock camera represents the actual colours as you can see the flowers on the right sie in Pink colour.

Coming to the Ultra-wide angle shot, the coverage area is pretty good as you can clearly see the trees are visible in full length and even the sky is in the picture and which appears quite natural.  

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The dynamic range is very impressive here as you can see in the below shot in which the iQOO’s stock camera has picked the colours and other details very efficiently. Speaking of the camera app, you’ve got 2x zoom here and while trying this feature, I’ve noticed a slight blur in the text as you can see in the given image.

For the human portraits, the camera is trying its best to bring the best out of you. The bokeh effect also appears great with the stock camera of iQOO 7. However, edge detection is very meagre.

When it comes to daylight selfies, the colours and human subjects come out better and look more real. However, at the same time, the background blur doesn’t appear quite good. Coming to other colours like Yellow, Green and Red, check out the Yellow Auto Rickshaw below.

If you’ll look closely at this picture, you’ll notice the exact details captured by the stock camera of the iQOO 7.  By this I mean the Yellow appears Yellow and Green appears Green. Speaking of the red, then the stock camera is not able to present the Red colour in its truest form and it appears quite vibrant.  

While testing the close-up shots, you can see the flower below and notice the high saturation level, which doesn’t look pleasing. When zoomed in, the whole picture gets messed up.

Now looking at the indoor rear camera shots, the results are on your screen and you can see the yellow toy car appearing quite fascinating in front of the red background. Also, the selfies in the indoor light look satisfactory. I really liked the stock camera selfies of the IQOO 7 as the skin tone comes out in its truest form along with the colour of the shirt and the red background.

Coming to the low light shots, while clicking with the stock camera, the pink text appears quite legible and you can read it from a distance, while the rest of the picture is filled with darkness.  

Checking out the low light selfies, I’ve clicked this one in very dim light and you can see the noise in the stock camera selfies along with low sharpness. However, the selfie fill light feature changes the whole scenario in the dim lighting conditions and you can see my face and shirt glowing.

Battery

Under the hood, there is a 4400mAh battery offering 5.5 hours of screen on time, which is very disappointing in comparison to the OnePlus 9R, which comes with a 4500mAh battery and provides 7.5 hours of screen on time. The reason behind the striped screen on time is the extra brightness supported by the display.

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However, when it comes to the standby time, it’s overwhelming as the battery ensures 18 to 19 hours of mixed usage quite easily. Speaking of wireless charging, it has been skipped here given the price tag of iQOO 7. While the 66W flash charging is awesome as it is capable of refilling the battery up to 100% in just 48 minutes. So, if you’re a fan of lightning-quick charging, the iQOO 7 won’t let you down.

5G Connectivity

Thankfully, I had no problems with the iQOO 7’s connectivity, and the device provided excellent download speeds. When 5G comes to India, iQOO 7 will support the 5G connectivity since it comes with the N78 sub-6GHz 5G band which is most likely to come to India. Furthermore, it will attach to 5 GHz WI-Fi networks, and the Bluetooth compatibility of the device did not disappoint me at all.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate
  • 66W Flash Charge
  • 12GB RAM + 256GB internal storage + Extended RAM
  • 6000 sq. mm. graphite layer liquid cooling system
  • Superfast 5G connectivity
  • 48MP triple-rear camera setup

Cons

  • No provision for memory expansion
  • No certification for dust and water resistance
  • Bulky smartphone with 209.5 grams of weight
  • No wireless charging feature
Verdict
My final verdict of the iQOO 7 is that if you are young, or a student plus a game lover and you wish to have a flagship smartphone at an affordable price tag, which is excellent for gaming, photography and running heavy applications, iQOO 7 is a definite pick. However, if you are looking for a smartphone for regular office work with a lot of multi-tasking, where the screen responsiveness is super smooth, you can go with some other device like the OnePlus 9R. Also, if you are not willing to spend more than 30K, iQOO 7 is not a bad deal then. However, there is one trick to increase your budget, which is by selling your old smartphone on Cashify, since Cashify offers you the best value for your old smartphone and picks it right from your home.


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