Here are some of the features of the IQOO Z3 smartphone: * 4G LTE connectivity * A 4.5″ HD 720×1280 flexible display * 10MP rear camera * 8MP front-facing camera * OS Android 6.0 Marshmallow * 256GB built-in storage * 13.9mm thin body * Quad-core 1.6GHz CPU * 4GB RAM * Shatterproof glass screen * X2 bluetooth * GPS * Fingerprint sensor * 5.2MP front-facing camera * 3250mAh battery * USB Type-C * 3.5mm audio jack * Multi-language support * 5.1
Today’s smartphones are packed with a dizzying array of power-hungry features, from the latest bleeding-edge processor to high-definition screens. But how does this performance all fit in with the battery life we still need for our daily productivity? Here’s where the latest member of the IQOO family comes in.
The Vivo IQOO sub-brand, though not very popular in the country, has captured a good share of the affordable flagship market with its iQOO 7 and iQOO 7 Legend handsets. Recently, the company launched its first mid-range smartphone, the IQOO Z3, which quickly generated a lot of excitement, and there are several reasons for that. For starters, the device is powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 768G SoC processor. It is worth mentioning that the Z3 is expected to be the first device with this chip and it is expected to remain exclusive for some time.
Like all previously released iQoo phones in the country, the device also supports 5G out of the box. And finally, the prices! The device has a price tag of around Rs 20,000 in India and for this price point, the device is not inferior to Redmi Note 10, Mi 10i, Realme X7 and other devices. While this device seems like a good deal on paper, can it live up to its reputation? To find out, we put the iQoo Z3 through its paces for a week.
What’s in the box?
- IQOO Z3 phone
- TPU protective case
- Load stone with an output of 65W
- USB-C cable
- SIM card ejector
- Instructions for use and guarantee certificates
After staying in the shadows for a while, iQoo has had ample time to develop and design its devices. But the iQoo Z3 seems to be a last resort. I mean, you’re looking at a mid-2021 aircraft with a deeply cut neckline, a huge chin, and relatively thick edges.
The back of the device is made of plastic, the appearance depends on the color chosen. The Cyber Blue variant is beautiful with its pearlescent finish and doesn’t collect fingerprints. But our Ace Black variant is a real fingerprint magnet.
As for the camera module, it’s discreet. To make the device more attractive or for some reason, iQoo has added a silver camera bezel to the main unit, which I don’t think is very pretty. Additionally, the module protrudes slightly outward, causing the device to wobble when placed on a table or other flat surface. The weight distribution in the hand is excellent and suits my preferences, and yes, I can use the device with one hand. As for the surf, it’s minimal.
As for the location of the buttons, the volume control and power button are located on the right side of the device. The fingerprint sensor is integrated into the power button and does an excellent job. For headphone enthusiasts, the Z3 has a headphone jack in addition to the Type-C port on the bottom of the device.
There is also only one firing speaker, which will be a disappointment to some multimedia customers. As for the screen protection, iQoo has used Panda Glass (no pun intended), which is the counterpart of Gorilla Glass. Finally, the device has an IP52 protection class. This means that the device is resistant to accidental splashes and contact with liquids.
The device features a 6.58-inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 1080 x 2408 pixels. The screen aspect ratio is 20:9 and the pixel density is 401 PPI. The screen refresh rate here is 120 Hz and the touch sampling rate is 180 Hz. It would be a big plus for the device if iQoo had opted for an AMOLED panel, but that doesn’t mean the screen here is bad. Brightness is correct, colors are saturated and viewing angles are excellent. As I mentioned earlier, I couldn’t take my eyes off the teardrop neckline and chin. Dear iQoo, if you’re reading this, it’s not 2018!
The device is also advertised with HDR compatibility, but this is not the case when it comes to actual use. I tested it on Netflix and Amazon’s Prime Video. There is no indication of HDR titles or even that the content will play in HDR. It should be noted that the device allows you to switch between three refresh rates, including 60 Hz, 90 Hz and 120 Hz. Despite the 180Hz touch sampling rate, the screen is not as responsive as the market claims, but it gets the job done.
Without saying that, let me address the elephant in the room – performance. Performance is one of the areas where iQoo devices excel, and the Z3 is no exception! Thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 768G SoC processor, the device outperforms the competition. It should be noted that the Snapdragon 768G SoC is an updated version of the Snapdragon 765G. For those who don’t know: The Snapdragon 765G is the best and most powerful mid-range SoC and is used in devices like the OnePlus North.
The iQoo Z3’s Snapdragon 768G features a Kryo 475 processor and faster ARM Cortex-A76 cores clocked at 2.8GHz instead of the 765G’s 2.4GHz. The SoC offers 15% better CPU and GPU performance, outperforming the MediaTek Dimensity 800U, Snapdragon 732G and 750G SoCs. For those interested in benchmarks, the device scored 447106 in the Antutu benchmark, which has to be the best score the industry has ever seen for the Snapdragon 700 chipset. Graphics functions are handled by the Adreno 620. The device will be a treat for mid-range gamers.
The device can run games with high graphics and frame rate with stable performance for a long time. Sure, there are some jerks and frame drops during prolonged play, but the camera gets the job done without spinning out. It’s a win for the players. Like all previous iQoo phones, this one also has a number of gaming features, including the Game Assistant. I didn’t see or understand how the Eagle Eye view would be useful on the unit, other than to improve mood and saturation. Maybe it’s just a marketing ploy by the company.
Gone are the days when you had to spend a lot of money to get a set of cameras with decent features. Cameras serviced by brands have become a priority for every buyer. While the iQoo Z3’s cameras aren’t potentially outstanding and can’t crush the competition, they are decent. The device features a triple camera setup on the back, with a 64MP primary camera combined with an 8MP ultra-wide sensor and a 2MP macro sensor. I am very happy that there are no devices with mono or depth sensor, just to increase the number of cameras.
The main sensor is the ISOCELL GW3 from Samsung. For those who don’t know, this is a similar sensor installed in the Redmi Note 10 Pro. The sensor, combined with iQoo’s camera optimization, works quite well in daylight and draws shadows. This of course results in an overexposed image, which can be seen when taking a picture with the sky added. When you zoom in, you see a lot of detail and fortunately there is no overemphasis. Watch out for Xiaomi!
Clearly, the smartphone tends to capture and create images on the warm side of the spectrum and has to constantly fight to get the right white balance. The 8-megapixel wide-angle camera does its job, but has nothing to brag about. As with most mid-range phones with a wide-angle camera, the corners or edges of the image soften. The 2 MP macro sensor is an unnecessary addition in my opinion. If a company wants to integrate a working macro sensor into the phone, it can do so by slightly modifying the ultra-wide-angle unit. Again, iQoo wanted to add the camera numbers together, and at this point we understand why brands do this!
On the front is a 16MP selfie camera that can take high quality selfies. Details are well preserved, colors are accurate, and exposure is excellent. If there’s one thing the company could have improved, it’s the portrait mode on the front and back of the camera. Edges are sometimes out of focus, and it’s clear that the iQOO still has some work to do in the portrait area.
For a video example, check out the IQOO Z3 video review on our YouTube channel.
If you’re still flirting with buying the iQoo Z3, this section will change your mind. The device comes with its own FunTouch OS v11, which is based on Android 11. The device comes with a lot of extra software that cannot be uninstalled either. In addition, ads appear in the user interface, and also affect Google applications like Chrome. And one thing that bothered me was the privacy in FunTouch OS. Most system applications, including the background carousel on the lock screen, must be turned on or off with permission from the phone and contacts. I mean, why would a wallpaper sticker service or app ask you for access to your contacts and private information?
The surface itself is not the cleanest or fastest either. There are not many parameters, and the interface has many inefficient features. But not only that, the animations in the UI are clunky and the interface doesn’t take full advantage of the 120Hz screen. It is clear that there is much room for improvement in the field of software.
The device is equipped with a 4,400 mAh battery and comes with a 66W power supply. With average to moderate use, the device easily lasts a full day or even two days. Even during competitions, you can pull out so you have some juice left at the end of the day. With a fast charger, the device can be charged to 50% in less than 20 minutes, and it can take 40-50 minutes to fully charge. Although the device comes with a 66W charger, it can run on a maximum of 55W, which is not bad at all considering that the charging time is still faster than many other devices.
The iQoo Z3 is a device with a lot of potential, but it was clearly let down by one factor – the FunTouch OS. Despite the serious specifications, the FunTouch operating system is the biggest drawback of Vivo devices. It’s time for Vivo to update its UI, or at least it’s now time for iQoo to build its UI on the FunTouch with some changes, like Realme has done with Color OS. Yes, in terms of performance and gameplay, the device is one of the best bargains, but there are too many compromises. We can list the good aspects of the device at a glance – battery, camera and performance. But the negatives are huge – the screen, the processing, the software, the supporting cameras and the design.