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Sunday, November 29, 2020

iQOO 3 first impressions: Big on specifications, but is 5G a gimmick?

iQOO 3 has 48MP quad-camera setup at the back and includes a Super AMOLED display with 90Hz refresh rate. We spent some time with iQOO 3 and here’s our first impressions of the 5G phone.

Written by Hansa Verma | Mumbai | Updated: February 25, 2020 7:57:04 pm
iQOO 3 first impressions iQOO 3 comes with a 48MP quad-camera setup. (Image: Hansa Verma/Indian Express)

The 5G wave will maybe hit India in 2022, but it seems like smartphone makers want to prepare the market well in advance. That is probably the reason we’re seeing more and more companies launch their 5G devices. After Realme X50 Pro 5G, which is India’s first 5G smartphone, Chinese company iQOO has launched its iQOO 3, which is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor and supports 5G.

There’s 4G LTE variant as well for those who do not want to go for the more expensive 5G model. Apart from a fast processor and 5G support, iQOO is also trying to position its smartphone as a gaming device as it comes packed with features like 4D gaming vibration, extra pressure-sensitive buttons on the side panel, and 180Hz touch response rate.

Here’s everything you need to know about the iQOO 3

The phone has 48MP quad-camera setup and a Super AMOLED display with 90 Hz refresh rate. We spent some time with iQOO 3 and here’s our first impressions:

iQOO 3 first impressions: Display and design

The display on iQOO 3 is 6.44-inches Super AMOLED with FHD+ resolution. The company is calling it Polar View screen, and claims the hole punch that holds the front camera is the smallest in the segment. The display is certainly vibrant with good viewing angles. The punch hole is really small, which is great especially when watching videos on the phone.

iQOO 3 first impressions iQOO 3 first impressions: iQOO 3 gets a polycarbonate back with a textured design (Image: Hansa Verma/Indian Express)

The iQOO 3 gets a glass back with a textured design, which looks premium and puts it at par with devices from rivals like Realme or Redmi or OnePlus’ existing 7 series. Also this is one heavy phone as it weighs 214.5 grams. iQOO 3 is also slippery and prone to smudges.

The Tornado Black colour option we got for review, looks stylish thanks to a purple gradient shift at the back. The iQOO branding is placed on the bottom.

iQOO 3 first impressions: Camera

The camera setup at the back is a combination of a 48MP primary camera, 13MP telephoto lens, 13MP wide-angle camera and a 2MP depth sensor. By default, the rear camera clicks at 12MP, though there is an option to click photos at 48MP in the settings. The camera UI is pretty simple and lets you select the lens, whether ultra-wide, bokeh or macro from a ‘Lens’ option when you open the camera.

Following are some camera samples we have shot with the iQOO 3.

iQOO 3 camera samples

iQOO 3 camera samples

iQOO 3 camera samples

The photos that I clicked in 48MP mode looked sharp and the colours appeared bright. Even with brighter colours, there is no tendency to oversaturate. There were ample details in photos clicked in bright light. In low-light, the photos appeared sharp, though the camera does miss out on details. The ultra-wide lens is a lot better than what I’ve seen on most other phones.

iQOO 3 first impressions iQOO 3’s 48MP quad rear cameras work well. (Image: Hansa Verma/Indian Express)

Overall, I was happy with the 48MP quad rear cameras, though we will have more details in our full review. The front 16MP camera clicks detailed and sharp pictures where there is ample light. The front camera has a tendency to brighten the skin tone, something I am not very fond of. I’m yet to explore more settings.

iQOO 3 first impressions: Processor and battery

Thanks to a Snapdragon 865 processor, the performance is quite smooth. The apps open quickly and switching between tabs is seamless. So far, I faced no lag while using the device, which is great, though we are yet to use the device for intensive gaming sessions. The phone ships with LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 storage, which translate into faster read and write speeds and lesser power consumption in real-life. Our review unit had 12GB RAM and 256GB storage.

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The battery lasted for about a day and a half with moderate usage. The fast charge technology is another positive as it fulfills its promise of up to 50 per cent charge in 15 minutes. I was able to charge the phone fully from 0 per cent in about 50 minutes. The fingerprint sensor and face unlock were both quick to unlock the device almost each time I tried.

iQOO 3 First impressions

iQOO 3 does seem like a power-packed device with impressive specifications. The company is betting big on the 5G support, which as of now seems like a gimmick in a market like India, where the connectivity is yet to roll out. With the Rs 36,990 pricing, iQOO wants to make its way into the mid-premium segment, which is ruled by OnePlus, Samsung and Apple, and we know that it is not an easy segment to break into, especially now when more competition will be headed this way.

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