Vivo sub-brand iQoo has extended its portfolio in the Indian market with the launch of iQoo Z3 followed by the launch of iQoo 7 and iQoo 7 Legend. This device is the company’s first mid-range phone, which retails under the Rs 20,000 price category. This makes it stand up against the likes of Redmi Note 10 Pro Max, OnePlus Nord CE, Mi 11 Lite and Samsung Galaxy A52. Find out if the phone is worth buying over its competition. Here is our in-depth (long term) review of iQoo Z3.
Table of Contents
iQoo Z3 review (in-depth): Design and Display
The iQoo Z3 comes in two colour options: Ace Black and Cyber Blue. The unit which we have for the review is the subtle Ace Black variant. It has a glossy polycarbonate back panel that looks like glass and is a bit of a fingerprint magnet. The rear of the phone gives an ombre effect.
Though it has a plastic build, our unit did not suffer any scratches during the tests. Also, it is shipped with silicon back cover, so this will keep the device protected from further damage. The weight distribution is perfect, it only weighs about 186 gms.
Adding to the comfort, because of its not so wide form factor, it fits perfectly in your hands if you have small to medium-sized hands. The power button on the right side of the frame comes integrated with a fingerprint sensor, which can be easily relied on for phone unlocking. The volume up/down key is situated just above the power button.
There is no port given on either side. Instead, the SIM slot is placed on the top frame, which has a rubber gasket that will prevent water from seeping in, therefore protecting the SIM/microSD card from moisture damage. Note that the phone carries an IP52 rating for dust and water resistance. The bottom of the phone has a 3.5mm headphone jack, a Type-C port for charging and a bottom-firing speaker.
Moving to the display, the iQoo Z3 5G is headlined with a 6.58-inch full-HD+ LCD display offering 1,080×2,408 pixels of resolution. It comes with 120Hz refresh rate support in addition to a 90.61 screen to body ratio, 20:9 aspect ratio, and HDR support.
Instead of an AMOLED panel, iQoo has provided an LCD screen and a waterdrop notch at the top instead of a hole punch cutout. Talking about the performance of the screen, the red and blue hues are a bit oversaturated in the default mode. Adjusting the temperature from the settings enhances the colours. There is 450 nits of peak brightness, which makes it ideal to be used indoors, but that doesn’t help outdoors, as it is not as bright as it should be under direct sunlight.
But the best part is that iQoo has well optimised the 120Hz refresh rate for the device. There are no micro stutters or lags when scrolling through social media feeds and more. On top of that, one does not need to manually switch between 60Hz, 90Hz and 120Hz, but the smart switch automatically does it for you.
We have no complaints in terms of the touch response as well. Moreover, the screen supports Widevine L1 for HD content streaming. The HDR videos played on Youtube looked fine, but they have not been optimised for other OTT platforms like Amazon Prime and Netflix, to name a few.
iQoo Z3 review (in-depth): Performance and cameras
The iQoo Z3 5G is loaded with an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 768G SoC with an Adreno 620 GPU. It offers up to 8GB of RAM with 256GB of expandable storage up to 1TB using a microSD card. The 5G chipset comes with a five-layered liquid cooling system that accurately senses the heat source and intelligently adapts the optimal cooling solution, therefore effectively cooling down the phone by 10 degrees during extensive gaming sessions. This is fairly impressive.
But we noticed heating around the camera module, so for a better gaming experience, we recommend turning down the settings when playing demanding titles like Asphalt 9 Legends. Less demanding games like Call of Duty were exceptionally smooth. We tried it out at high graphics and frame rate settings and the chipsets handled it all. The phone does warm up a little, but not enough to be a cause of concern. Because of the graphite cooling system, there were no signs of overheating here.
Additionally, the iQoo Z3 handles everything and is great at performing day to day tasks. There is a feature for extended RAM or virtual RAM that uses 3GB of internal storage by turning it into virtual RAM for multitasking.
On the software front, the device OriginOS for iQoo 1.0 is based on Android 11. In our testing, we had some issues when multitasking with the heavier apps, which is quite strange as the device offers virtual RAM options.
However, the OS gives a stock Android-like feel and every integrated feature in the smartphone like the app drawer, lock screen posters and more offers its own privacy terms and conditions. The iQoo Z3 does come with pre-installed bloatware, but these can be easily removed, freeing up storage space. The notifications can also be disabled as well.
Okay, with that out of the way, let’s talk about the cameras. The iQoo Z3 5G is laden with a triple rear camera setup that includes an Isocell GW3 64-megapixel primary sensor with an f/1.79 aperture. In addition to this, there is an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle sensor with f/2.2 aperture, 120 degrees of field of view and a 2-megapixel lens with f/2.4 aperture. Upfront, there is a 16-megapixel camera sensor with an f/2.0 aperture for taking selfies and video calling.
The outcome of the daytime images did provide high contrast and looked oversaturated, therefore the images looked extra bright. But it offers better colour optimisation most of the time, but if you prefer a more toned-down colour, you can look somewhere else. Wide-angle images looked more vibrant in certain instances that gave an unnatural effect to the photos. The portrait images sometimes look over-exposed with a tint of yellow. The macro shots are not so good and lacked details and looked out of focus.
Low light images lacked better exposure, details and HDR. We also noticed a red tint in the nighttime images. When you turn on the night mode, the images look bright, offering a good amount of detail in extremely low light conditions. The iQoo Z3 also lets you shoot ultra-wide at night, but the shots taken were not that good.
We liked the selfies taken on the iQoo Z3 5G as the shots taken are sharp, look natural, have good contrast, and dynamic range. Similarly, portrait selfies also tell the same story. The images produced are natural with edge detection on point.
In terms of videography, iQoo has provided shooting videos in 4K resolution at 60fps that lack stabilisation. However, it does offer EIS when dialled down to 30fps. But the stabilisation is better than its competition. In a similar way, the recordings in 1080p at 60fps have good stabilisation and better exposure. The selfie videos are limited to 1080p@30fps and are not paired with EIS.
For endurance, the iQoo Z3 comes with a 4,400mAh battery with 55W fast charging support. Surprisingly, the battery lasted for a whole day with just a couple of hours of watching videos, gaming, and scrolling through the social media apps. The company has provided a 55W adapter, which takes about 20 minutes to charge from zero to 50 percent and less than an hour to charge it completely.
The iQoo Z3 comes with some interesting features that will make its competitors sweat for sure. The mono speakers and an LCD display can be a deal-breaker for some, but the provided thermal solution and powerful performance make the phone an ideal midrange smartphone. The decent cameras and powerful videography make the phone stand out.
iQoo Z3 Pros and Cons
- 120Hz display
- 5G connectivity
- Good Performace
- Decent camera
- Powerful videography
- Mono speakers
- LCD display
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