iQoo 9 Pro Review: A monster in shining armor

iQoo 9 Pro Review: A monster in shining armor

The smartphone ecosystem has been stagnating for a few years with only a few devices that really excite you. The same old glass-on-glass slab design has been overused. Smartphone OEMs are left with just internals to play with and some additional features. Within these limitations, there are some brands that are providing a little extra that defines its use. iQoo, as a brand, focuses on the gaming experience and iQoo 9 Pro is the latest and greatest that the company has to offer. Let’s see what it has to offer. Also Read - MWC 2022: Realme GT Neo 3 with 150W fast charging revealed

iQoo 9 Pro Design

Right from the moment you open the box of the iQoo 9 Pro, the device feels slightly different. The massive display, the heft of the device, and then the rear panel. The iQoo 9 Pro rear panel could easily either make you fall in love with the device or detest it. For the Legend variant of the iQoo 9 Pro, the company has partnered with BMW. The phone gets BMW M Stipes on the back and the overall glass seems frosted and soft to touch. But I am happy to report that it can be carried without a case as it doesn’t attract fingerprints. Also Read - iQOO 9 series to Realme Narzo 50: Phones set to launch in India this week

The curved display and the glass-on-glass design, do give the device a vary Samsung Galaxy S-series-like in-hand feel. The curved display is another factor that you may either love or not like at all. The phone feels very well put together and the weight does help in providing that feeling. The brushed metal sides of the device also provide a good in-hand feel and keep away fingerprints. Also Read - iQoo 9 Pro India variant might feature a FHD+ display instead of a 2K display: Report

There are not a ton of buttons on the device, which also broadens the appeal within the non-gaming userbase. The phone has a volume rocker and a power button on the right side. The power button is highlighted with dark blue colour matching it with the BMW stripes. On the Dark Cruise colour variant, you will get an orange highlight on the power button.

The phone is devoid of any ports apart from the USB Type C slot. It gets a dual speaker setup which includes a front-facing speaker placed on top and a downward-facing speaker. The speakers are pretty loud and clear. A little extra bass could provide extraordinary sound quality.

The device is heavy but the even weight distribution helps in holding it for extended hours. The camera island on the rear panel is huge and seems relatively empty. The camera island frame does help in providing some grip when held without the case. In short, its a design that will definitely provide a good experience, with or without the case.

iQoo 9 Pro Performance

The iQoo 9 Pro has the distinction of being the first smartphone with the flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset. There’s close competition with the Samsung Galaxy S22 series which has also opened pre-orders for its flagship on February 23. First, to get the statistics out of the way, the Geekbench score of the device stands at 1235 for the single-core and 3533 for the multi-core score.

iQoo 9 Pro Review: A monster in shining armor

Day to days tasks on the iQoo 9 Pro are buttery smooth. There’s no sign of lag or jitter, as expected from a flagship of this category. Switching between apps is no problem at all. The real parameter for iQoo buyers will be gaming.

I tried titles such as Call of Duty Mobile, BGMI, New State, Asphalt 9, Asphalt 8, and Into the Dead. The phone played them like a champ. Playing BGMI on maximum frame rate did end up warming up the device pretty quickly, but it wasn’t unpleasant. The battery does take a hit though.

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset is paired with 12GB RAM on the review unit. The base variant comes with 8GB RAM. Both variants can provide up to 4GB of extended RAM. However, I didn’t feel the need for that. The phone also has a “dedicated Game Chip” which the company claims is able to increase the frame rate and optimize colors for high FPS gameplay.

The phone comes with Android 12 out of the box with Funtouch OS12. Android 12 does make things really smooth on the device. The privacy indicators work flawlessly as well. iQoo will be providing 2 years of Android updates and 3 years of security updates for the iQoo 9 Pro.

iQoo 9 Pro Display

The display of the iQoo 9 Pro is up there with the premium range competition. It may not be as good as the latest Galaxy devices but it holds its ground really well. By default, the phone runs on FullHD+ resolution. However, that can be upgraded to 2K from within the settings.

The phone has a massive 6.78-inch AMOLED panel with 120Hz refresh rate. The display is a 10-bit panel and it also supports HDR 10+. The screen has a peak brightness of 1500 nits, which is more than enough in direct sunlight. The LTPO 2.0 allows adaptive refresh rate, this helps in saving some battery.

The curved part of the display does a good job of rejecting false touch inputs. Overall, my experience with the iQoo was enhanced due to the great touch response, 120Hz refresh rate, and overall display. At times, I even unlocked the display just to see how smooth it is.

iQoo 9 Pro Camera

Apart from Samsung and Pixel, almost all Android OEMs struggle with camera quality. The iQoo is no different. The device has some headlining camera features such as the 50-megapixel gimbal lens. Some shots provided by the iQoo 9 Pro were outstanding and some weren’t. Consistency could be the main issue here, and that can be attributed to the software processing of images.

In good lighting, there’s no problem focusing on the subject. However, the HDR tends to overcompensate the dark areas. Night images were surprisingly better balanced. The night mode helped provide some better details but the difference from the normal mode is not substantial.

Check out some of the camera samples:Shot using fish-eye lensThis was shot using the fish-eye lens Shot using Night Mode

There’s one glitch with the iQoo 9 Pro camera in the macro mode. As soon as you start moving close to a subject, the camera suddenly moves to the other lens abruptly. iQoo may need to fix that with a future update.

iQoo 9 Pro Battery

iQoo offers a decent backup for a 4700 mAh unit. The device easily lasts a day even with some short (30 minutes to 1 hour) gaming sessions. The standby time is also impressive with a reduction of just a percent or two overnight.

The 120W fast charging is great. You get a day’s worth of battery in a matter of a few minutes. When you’re down to single digits, the battery percentage spike is the highest. The device goes from 10 percent to almost 100 percent in just 20 minutes. Once the charging reaches the final stages, expect the phone to get heated up. In our review unit, the charger made some faint sounds when it reached a high battery percentage.

iQoo 9 Pro Verdict

The iQoo 9 Pro has big shoes to fill after the iQoo 7 Legend. The device has been priced steeply in the category of other flagships from Samsung and OnePlus. The device definitely holds its own in terms of performance, both gaming and otherwise. The camera is great for 7 shots out of 10, and decent for the rest 3. The battery and performance won’t disappoint and the design and build quality is something you expect from an established company. The iQoo 9 Pro is an easy device to recommend.

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