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iQoo 3 5G review

India's first 5G gaming smartphone

(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

The iQoo 3 5G marks the Vivo gaming sub-brand's entry into India with a monster phone that delivers on the performance, battery and photography fronts. While 5G maybe a few years away for India, it is still a formidable device especially if you're big on gaming.

For

  • Great performance
  • Reliable quad-cameras
  • Insanely fast charging
  • Long battery life
  • Shoulder buttons for gaming

Against

  • Not very ergonomic
  • Bad headphone jack placement
  • Seems under-optimized

iQoo has finally made its way to India, delivering on its promise of debuting a new flagship with the iQoo 3 5G. Not only does it bring all the high-end specifications that one would expect from a 2020 flagship, but it also brings 5G capabilities to the mix, under the pretext of future-proofing.

Of course, 5G capability can be used to market the device in India, but not by the customers. Note that 5G capabilities come because of the Snapdragon X55 modem, which will be at the heart of many smartphones this year.

iQoo (pronounced i-koo) carved a name for itself in China by bringing numerous premium flagships with a focus on gaming. In case you’re wondering how a seemingly young company has been able to do so much so fast, it’s because iQoo is a sub-brand of Vivo in China. It’s going to function as a separate entity in India.

The iQoo 3 5G, along with many of its siblings, is on the AnTuTu benchmark leaderboards, suggesting that it is one of the most powerful Android smartphones around, until now. But all is not rosy as the phone does stumble in a few aspects.

iQoo 3 5G price in India

(Image credit: Future)

The iQoo 3 4G is available in India starting at Rs 36,999 for the base variant with 8GB RAM + 128GB storage and Rs 39,990 for 8GB RAM + 256GB storage. iQoo 3 5G is a maxed-out version with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage and is priced at Rs 44,990.

The phone goes on sale starting March 4 on Flipkart and iQoo India website. Colour options include Quantum Silver, Tornado Black and Volcano Orange.

iQoo 3 5G video review

Design

(Image credit: Future)

Design is usually a pretty subjective topic, but there are a few choices that are more preferred, especially on gaming smartphones. The iQoo 3 5G has a simple glass back with the cameras placed on an island along the corner and branding on the bottom. It is undeniably similar to a few recent Vivo phones. While we have no issues with ideas being shared between the two, the all-glass construction makes this phone pretty slippery, which is not ideal for gaming smartphones. The other finishes, especially the Volcano Orange variant has a soft matte texture which is much better to grip.

Moreover, the iQoo 3 is also pretty chunky, and you’re sure to notice it. Nothing too ugly or too heavy, but long gaming sessions might tire your wrists or pinkies. 

The rest of the stuff is pretty standard fare, with the Type-C port and loudspeaker grille on the bottom, the power button and volume rocker on the right, a 3.5mm headphone jack on the top, and a dedicated AI button on the left. The power button is accented and textured and is in a comfortable position. The button on our unit was a little loose and shaky, and upon inquiry, it turns out that many other reviewers have the same issue too.

Emphasizing on its gaming DNA, the iQoo 3 5G also has capacitive shoulder buttons on the right side, adding extra control options for gaming.

Display

(Image credit: Future)

Things look better on the front, with the iQoo 3 5G boasting of a 6.44-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 2,400 x 1,080. Not only are the bezels extremely slim, but the hole-punch is also the smallest we’ve seen on a smartphone yet.

The panel gets very bright and has just the right amount of saturation. Owing to its AMOLED construction, we also get perfectly inky blacks. The minimum brightness also gets the job done for most scenarios—nothing to complain here.

However, the only thumb sore in an otherwise serviceable display is the fact that the refresh rate is only 60Hz. Nothing wrong with that, but for a phone whose entire premise is based on being extremely powerful and ready for the future, this seems like a missed opportunity.

Audio

(Image credit: Future)

At the other end of content consumption, the iQoo 3 5G has a single mono downward-firing loudspeaker. As with other speakers in a similar location, it is pretty easy to muffle while holding in either orientation. 

While other gaming smartphones offer a pair of stereo speakers, the iQoo 3's speaker is destined to be covered while gripping it. 

Thankfully, that doesn't always have to be the case, as we also have a headphone jack on the phone, with Hi-Res abilities. A pair is also included with the phone.