iQOO 3 First Impressions: Good Camera With a Powerful Processor

iQOO is a sub-brand of VIVO that has launched a 5G phone in India dubbed the iQOO 3.

Tech Reviews
4 min read
The iQOO 3 comes with a flagship Snapdragon 865 processor.

It’s a race to be the best 5G smartphone in India and most smartphone companies are lining up their best smartphones for this challenge. New entrant iQOO (I-ku) has launched its flagship smartphone the iQOO 3 which comes with the latest Snapdragon 865 processor and a mightily impressive spec sheet.

But does is all this chest-thumping about being a disruptor and a champion on paper really translate to a fluid smartphone experience in reality?

We got our hands on the iQOO 3 5G phone to see what the buzz is all about.

Just FYI, as per the company, iQOO translates to “I Quest On and On!” Go figure. It is a sub-brand of Vivo.

Note: I would really urge smartphone makers entering India to come up with brand/phone names that Indian mobile users can relate to.


iQOO Specifications

  • Display: 6.4-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED
  • Processor: Snapdragon 865
  • RAM: 8GB/12GB
  • Storage: 128GB/256GB
  • Android 10/ iQOO UI
  • Camera rear: 48MP+13MP+13MP+2MP
  • Camera front: 16MP
  • Battery: 4,400mAh
  • Price: Rs 36,990 (8GB+128GB), Rs 39,990 (8GB+256GB), Rs 44,990 (12GB+256GB)

Design & Display

The engineers at VIVO iQOO have worked hard on this device. The sharp metallic edges and the rounded corners give a lot of character to the phone and it offers an overall good hands-on feel.

The iQOO 3 comes with a 6.4-inch screen.
The iQOO 3 comes with a 6.4-inch screen.
(Photo: The Quint)

It’s a smartphone on steroids and not slim by any chance. You can credit that bit of the ergonomics to the fancy camera system and the 4,440mAh battery pack inside. It also comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack.

It comes with a 6.4-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED display that’s HDR 10+ compliant. It is a 120Hz display and looks the part. Time just flew by when I was viewing content on this device. I must say that this display stands out among its competitors in the segment.

The phone comes with a 4,400mAh battery.
The phone comes with a 4,400mAh battery.
(Photo: The Quint)

It’s a full view display with a tiny notch at the top right corner which gives you more screen real estate and is a big plus point.

If you’re really sold on the design, check out the orange variant of the phone which for me personally is the best-looking.

Hardware & Storage

The iQOO 3 comes with a Snapdragon 865 processor which is the flagship chipset from Qualcomm’s factory. Operations and multitasking on this phone are a breeze and that is where the 865 really shows its true prowess.

The phone comes with Type-C USB charging.
The phone comes with Type-C USB charging.
(Photo: The Quint)

It comes with RAM options up to 12GB and in-built storage can go up to 256GB. This is the perfect recipe for a lag-free smartphone experience. The company says that it has the highest AnTuTu benchmark test score on a smartphone.

It comes with Android 10 out-of-the-box which is a smart move. It also comes with an in-display fingerprint scanner.

The iQOO UI is strikingly similar to what you get with VIVO’s Funtouch OS. To like or not like an OS is a personal choice and I feel it’s going to be the same with iQOO.

The iQOO 3 offers Android 10 out of the box.
The iQOO 3 offers Android 10 out of the box.
(Photo: The Quint)

Bloatware has been kept to a minimum and doesn’t clutter the UI experience. It is a dual-SIM device and I am not even going to talk about its 5G capabilities as there is no 5G in India to test that feature.

The phone is a gamer-friendly as well. It comes with touch triggers that have been added to the side which you can map in any game you want. It is an essential gaming feature I believe. It also adds 4D sound technology for a better gaming experience.

Camera & Battery

Staying at a luxury hotel in Mumbai gives you the liberty to explore a lot when you’re testing a smartphone camera and that is exactly what I did.

It comes with a quad camera setup at the back.
It comes with a quad camera setup at the back.
(Photo: The Quint)

The iQOO 3 comes with a quad-camera setup at the back which comprises a 48+13+13+2-megapixel system. The 48+13-megapixel system is capable of 20X digital zoom and the 13-megapixel wide-angle sensor captures good photos.

Here are a few sample pictures we clicked with the rear camera.

  • Captured in bokeh mode.
  • Captured with wide-angle lens.
  • Captured with wide-angle lens.
  • Captured using bokeh mode.
  • Captured with wide-angle lens.
  • Captured using the night mode.
  • Captured using wide-angle lens.
  • Captured in normal mode.

I’m not a big fan of the 16-megapixel front camera placement. The fact that it’s on the right side of the display will always be a problem when you are trying to get the right angle for your selfies.

It comes with a 4,440mAh battery inside which supports a 55W fast charger. So even if it's missing a few mAh of battery juice the mammoth fast-charger compensates well.

Initial Verdict

The iQOO 3 maybe an early bird in India with its 5G tech but that seems redundant considering there won’t be 5G network for at least a year.

It does carry its weight (and that’s a lot of weight) with a more than satisfying spec sheet and a good camera system but it fails to establish quick recognition purely because of its name and because it looks like every other Chinese phone in the market.

At Rs 36,990 (8GB+128GB), 39,990 (8GB+256GB, and Rs 44,990 (12GB+256GB), this phone faces tough competiton from the likes of the OnePlus 7T and also the Samsung Note 10 Lite.

(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

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