iQOO 9 Pro Design

iQOO 9 Pro Design

The iQOO 9 Pro is a stunner, especially the ‘Legend’ color variant. It easily has one of the best-designed back panels on a flagship phone. The big camera module sits on a white-colored anti-glare glass that stays smudge-free. The textured base has a matte finish and a carbon-like texture that adds a premium touch. The look is further enhanced by the signature BMW M stripes and the chrome lining on camera lenses.

Metal Frame With Fine Curves

Metal Frame With Fine Curves

A rigid aluminum frame holds the two sides together and also enhances the grip, thanks to its fine matte texture. The hardware buttons are also made up of the same material and offer excellent clicky feedback. We also like what iQOO has done with the frame on the top and the bottom. The frame widens around the extreme top and bottom with a fine curve that gives the handset a unique design characteristic.

Overall, the iQOO 9 Pro gives a very satisfying in-hand feel. It looks premium and has a robust build quality. You can also buy the iQOO 9 Pro in the Dark Cruise variant that flaunts a bulletproof aramid fiber material developed by DuPont.

No Proper IP Rating Is A Big Letdown

No Proper IP Rating Is A Big Letdown

It is hard to believe that the premium phone costs Rs. 65,000 lacks a proper IP rating, which makes it vulnerable to dust and water damage. iQOO only equipped their flagship phone with a bare minimum IP52 splash resistance rating, which is a big disappointment, especially when you consider the high price of the handset. If you are paying a sum of Rs. 65,000 in 2022, you deserve a solid IP rating. Isn’t it iQOO?

iQOO 9 Pro Display Performance

iQOO 9 Pro Display Performance

The iQOO 9 Pro flaunts a 6.78-inch 120Hz LTPO 2.0 display. The curved 2K E5 AMOLED panel is provided by Samsung and is backed by stereo speakers support. The combination makes the iQOO 9 Pro an excellent device for multimedia consumption; especially for streaming videos as the big real estate coupled with good color reproduction of a 10-bit panel (up to 1 billion colors) makes everything look immersive.

The high-quality video content looks extremely vivid and immersive, thanks to a solid 518ppi pixel density and 1,440 x 3,200 px resolution. We were also impressed by the panel’s performance under direct sunlight. With a claimed peak brightness of 1500 nits, we didn’t face any visibility issues on a bright sunny day.

Smooth Scrolling & UI Navigation

Smooth Scrolling & UI Navigation

Moving on, the UI navigation, scrolling, and game playing is also buttery smooth as the panel supports a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate and 300Hz Touch Sampling rate. We would recommend you to use the handset with the screen colors set on the ‘Professional mode’ as it produces the most accurate colors. The mode corresponds to the sRGB color profile.

Audio Performance Could Have Been Better

Audio Performance Could Have Been Better

The audio delivery could have been better if iQOO had offered a dedicated second speaker unit. The current stereo speaker setup doubles the earpiece as the secondary unit. The overall sound delivery is good but could have been more immersive at this price point. You can still enjoy videos and games even if you don’t have headphones handy; however, some devices offer better overall sound delivery at a similar or lower price.

For instance, the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra’s speakers sound richer and more immersive. We cannot wait to see what Xiaomi has in store with the upcoming Mi 12 Ultra.

iQOO 9 Pro Hardware Specifications

iQOO 9 Pro Hardware Specifications

The iQOO 9 Pro+ is powered by the flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 mobile processor, speedy LPDDR 5 RAM, and UFS 3.1 storage. You can buy the handset in two configurations- 8GB RAM and 256GB internal storage and 12GB RAM with 256GB internal storage.

The new chipset claims to offer up to 20% higher performance as compared to the SD888 chipset. Power efficiency should be better by up to 30% than the predecessor.

iQOO 9 Pro Performance Review

iQOO 9 Pro Performance Review

The iQOO 9 Pro is crazy fast and delivers stable performance as long as it is not running too hot. The solid hardware delivers on all aspects, be it day-to-day phone tasks or demanding operations such as 4K video recording/editing, playing the most graphics-heavy game titles, and technically everything that an Android phone is capable of doing in 2022. Apps load in a jiffy and switching between them is glitch-free.

The phone lets you run the hardware at its peak performance in ‘Monster’ mode, which of course gives you the best performance at the cost of some heating effect. The ‘Balanced’ mode is recommended for regular day-to-day operations as it keeps the device’s core temperature in check.

The monster mode can be enabled/disabled with just one tap from the quick settings panel. It is worth mentioning that the 90fps mode in BGMI is not yet available on the iQOO 9 Pro, which is a letdown. Besides, the connectivity performance, both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth also seem to be better on the new Snapdragon chipset. The in-screen fingerprint scanner is also blazing fast and unlocks the phone instantly.

Useful Game-Centric Tools

Useful Game-Centric Tools

The iQOO 9 Pro has a discrete graphics chip that upgrades the SDR games to HDR and enhances the overall visual experience. You also get a host of game-centric utilities such as 4D vibration that comes in handy while playing games like BGMI and Asphalt 9.

The phone also has an E-Sports mode that optimizes the hardware and limits notifications. You can control such utilities via the game space overlay, a very handy tool for hardcore gamers.

Are There Any Overheating Issues?

Are There Any Overheating Issues?

You will surely feel some heat radiating from the back panel of the handset while playing games, recording 4K videos, and during power-intensive tasks. The phone also heats up with longer data consumption. For instance, the metallic frame and the back panel warmed up while downloading the resource packs of games such as Genshin Impact and BGMI. Occasional frame drops were noticed after 35-40 minutes of continuous gameplay.

We recorded even higher temperature readings while running some benchmarks. The phone’s core temperature spiked to 48-degrees Celsius while running number-crunching CPU benchmarks. The heat signatures were mostly recorded at the back panel and the metallic frame that become too hot to hold the device. We had to stop using the handset for at least 10-minutes to let it cool down before use. This 4nm chipset runs hot! This brings us to the benchmark scores.

iQOO 9 Pro Benchmarks Scores

iQOO 9 Pro Benchmarks Scores

This is our first handset to be powered by the all-new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. The mobile CPU packs a lot of fast-running cores and is supported by the Adreno 730 GPU. The hardware setup scored 1228 in the Geekbench’s single-core test and 3611 in the multi-core test. To give you context, the SD888-powered Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra scored 1110 and 3397 in the same test.

In the PC Mark’s Work 3.0 test that evaluates the phone’s overall computing performance by running a series of tasks, the iQOO 9 Pro recorded 11110, which again explains the phone’s smooth day-to-day performance. To test the phone’s graphics performance, we ran the GFXBench’s 1440 Aztec Ruins Vulkan test and it returned a graphics score of 47 fps, which beats all previous flagships we have tested recently.

Moreover, the smartphone scored a best loop score of 2576 in the 3D Mark’s Wildlife extreme stress test. The phone’s temperature spiked to 53-degrees during the demanding 25-minute heavy load test. As far as the Antutu test is concerned, the iQOO 9 Pro scored 849150 in the overall computing test beating the SD888 powered devices.

iQOO 9 Software Performance

iQOO 9 Software Performance

As someone expects from a top-of-the-line premium smartphone, the iQOO 9 Pro runs the latest Android 12 out-of-the-box. The customized skin, i.e. the FunTouch OS 12 runs smooth and has a fair share of utilities and customizations features. However, iQOO should do something about the high number of bloatware that comes preloaded on the premium handset. The custom skin also doesn’t feel as intuitive as Samsung OneUI or realme UI.

Most importantly, the smartphone will only receive two major Android software installments. In comparison, brands like Samsung are promising four years of software upgrades. For someone spending over Rs. 65,000, the two-year software upgrade cycle seems a big letdown.

iQOO 9 Pro Camera Hardware

iQOO 9 Pro Camera Hardware

The iQOO 9 Pro borrows some key elements from Vivo’s camera-focused smartphones. The tripe-lens camera system features a 50MP gimbal-stabilized Samsung (S5K) GN5 1/1.57″ primary sensor backed by a 5-axis gimbal stabilization. It is accompanied by another 50MP sensor (Samsung (S5K)JN1 1/2.76″ sensor) with a fisheye lens for wide-angle photography and a 16MP Samsung made 1/3.1″ telephoto sensor with 2.5x optical zoom capability.

For selfies, the iQOO 9 Pro comes equipped with a 16MP fixed-focus Samsung S5K3P9 1/3.1″ sensor. The camera app seems a bit cluttered and could use some fine-tuning. If you notice, the entire camera system is working on sensors provided by Samsung. Here’s how it performed in our testing.

iQOO 9 Pro Camera Performance- Crisp Images But Software Could Use Some Tuning

iQOO 9 Pro Camera Performance- Crisp Images But Software Could Use Some Tuning

  • The 50MP primary sensor captures crisp images, both in the high-resolution mode and in the pixel-binned formation that delivers 12.5MP photos. Pictures come out bright and show a wide dynamic range. Resolved detail seemed impressive.
  • Portraits come out pretty good with both the main camera and the telephoto sensor.
  • The main camera sometimes goes overboard with critical elements. Images tend to appear over-processed and show more than required sharpness and unnatural colors, something very common with Samsung-made sensors. Some fine-tuning is required from iQOO’s side.
  • A pro tip: Shoot in the 50MP high-res. mode and reduce the image size in post-processing to see better overall results.
Impressive Wide-Angle Shots & Decent Macros

Impressive Wide-Angle Shots & Decent Macros

  • The pixel-binned 12.5MP wide-angle shots look very good and the sensor can deliver some excellent landscape shots.
  • Since the 50MP wide-angle lens has autofocus, it can also shoot decent macros. The extreme close-up shots (Range- 3-4cm) captured in bright light look good and show decent details and color science.
Interesting Wide-Angle Mode Implementations

Interesting Wide-Angle Mode Implementations

  • The fish-eye lens makes it possible to take some interesting pictures. You can choose between the standard fish-eye mode or can click pictures in three unique modes such as Asteroid, Fish Eye, and Crystal Ball.
  • Image quality seems a bit low with these modes but the unique perspective adds value to the overall camera setup. More brands should explore this feature.
  • The iQOO 9 Pro also captures some of the best nighttime shots. The main camera impressed us with its low-light image quality.
Video Recording Performance

Video Recording Performance

  • The iQOO 9 Pro lets you record 8K 30fps, 4K 30/60 fps and 1080p 30/60fps videos with its main camera. You can shoot 4K, and 1080p videos with the wide-angle lens but the frame rate is limited to 30fps. The telephoto sensor doesn’t get recording capabilities. There are three stabilization levels- Standard, Ultra, and Horizontal Line. Both gimbal stabilization and EIS (Ultra mode) are available for the main camera and the ultrawide lens only gets EIS.
  • As expected, the main camera shoots the steadies videos, thanks to both gimbal stabilization and EIS. The 1080p 60fps video footage came out very stable and vibrant. The 4K 30fps with only gimbal enabled also looked very similar in terms of stability and quality.
  • The wide-angle videos also represent excellent details and good color science.

Overall, the iQOO 9 Pro’s promising camera hardware also delivers results the real-life scenarios. With some software tuning, the camera can perform even better.

iQOO 9 Pro Battery Life & Fast-Charging Speed

iQOO 9 Pro Battery Life & Fast-Charging Speed

The iQOO 9 Pro is powered by a modest 4,700 mAh battery cell that didn’t impress us much but also never let us down. The phone usually lasted for a day with a moderate to some heavy usage that mostly involved calling, Twitter, making some reels on Instagram, taking notes, playing two to three BGMI Death Arena sessions, and some camera usage. We only needed the charger at the end of the day as the battery power was reduced to >15%.

Since there’s too much focus on gaming here, we played some demanding titles on a stretch and as expected, it took a toll on the battery life. Thankfully, the handset supports the fastest fast-charging tech available in India, i.e. the 120W FlashCharge. It refuels the phone’s 4,700 mAh battery from flat to 100% in about 21-minutes. Moreover, the handset also supports 50W wireless charging, which is higher than some of the wired fast-charging tech offered on flagship devices.

Verdict

Verdict

iQOO’s first flagship handset is a promising product and won’t disappoint you with its overall features and performance. Like any other flagship device from the house of BBK Electronics, the iQOO 9 Pro packs a lot of technology at fairly aggressive pricing if you consider Samsung or Apple devices. It’s a good phone for gaming enthusiasts and photography lovers/bloggers that shoot and edit videos on their smartphones.

But since it’s a fairly new brand in India, spending close to Rs. 70,000 can make anyone think twice about the long-term returns. In such cases, you can consider the Samsung Galaxy S22, Apple iPhone 13 or can wait for the upcoming OnePlus 10 Pro and the Xiaomi Mi 12 Ultra.

iQOO 9 Pro Review: Smartphone For Gaming Enthusiasts & Bloggers