IQOO 9 Pro Review: A fierce competitor for one of the best Android flagships.

The iQOO 9 Pro is an alternative to iQOO’s proverbial gaming phone, a vivo spin-off that lags behind the most sought-after high-performance devices on the market today. It’s still a gaming phone, at heart, but it’s an exceptionally good Android flagship – the first of its kind – to go head-to-head against the Samsung Galaxy S22 series and the OnePlus 10 Pro.

This is iQOO’s most ambitious product so far, but it doesn’t seem to have done it before. Every inch, every angle of the iQOO 9 Pro combines well-thought-out, well-thought-out detail and expert craftsmanship. It’s a very luxurious device, the iQOO 9 Pro, which combines form and function in the most imaginative way possible.

Also read | Samsung Galaxy S22, Galaxy S22 + Review: The best Android phone you can buy today

The glasses are equally impressive. Large battery with fast LTPO display check, Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 check, high-res camera check, dual speaker and high-end vibration motor check, very fast wired and wireless charging check, you name it.

The iQOO 9 Pro, obviously, has a lot to offer on paper. Let’s find out now how tough the package really is.

iQOO 9 Pro Design, Build Quality and Display

This is iQOO’s most ambitious product to date. (Photo credit: Sourav Singh / Financial Express)

It would be a short statement to say that iQOO 9 Pro shows premium. The phone expresses premium luxury from every conceivable angle whether it is in design or choice of construction materials. iQOO continues its partnership with BMW M Motorsport, a subsidiary of BMW AG which is known for its high-performance vehicles and much like the iQOO 7 Legend – a model of the iQOO 9 Pro comes in white and features the iconic BMW M Features. Tri-color racing stripe logo on the back. iQOO calls it a “legend” again. It’s a marketing punchline, yes, but it perfectly adds to the phone’s race car theme.

We were fascinated by the design of the iQOO 7 Legend. The iQOO 9 Pro is mostly the same, only larger. The phone is made of a lot of curved glass and metal. The power button gets its own blue accent, which is a nice touch. An enthusiastic design like this can swing in any way but as we said at the beginning, iQOO doesn’t seem new to this game. It takes a few years for brands to fit and finish perfectly and create a great aesthetic. iQOO has been able to do this in record time.

iQOO 9 Pro Review
The phone is made of a lot of curved glass and metal. (Photo credit: Sourav Singh / Financial Express)

iQOO 9 Pro not only looks beautiful in any way, its hand feel is also amazing. It weighs quite a bit on paper, but it doesn’t feel that way when used. Rather it seems light. Huge camera module য obviously inspired by the Vivo X70 Pro + — and equally deceptive. It may seem ginormous from afar and from the pictures, but it is actually quite chic. Since it extends from corner to corner, almost no surface is shaken. That’s smart.

The only thing missing from the spec-sheet is an official IP rating.

The iQOO 9 Pro has a 6.78-inch 1440p or 2K resolution E5 AMOLED display with an adaptive LTPO 2.0-120Hz refresh rate, 300Hz touch sampling and hole punch cut-out. iQOO is using a 10 bit panel with a maximum brightness of 1500nits. The setup looks similar to the Vivo X70 Pro +.

iQOO 9 Pro Review
It has a 2K LTPO AMOLED display. (Photo credit: Sourav Singh / Financial Express)

It supports HDR10 + playback — we can make sure it works on apps like Netflix. Biometrics is powered by a large 3D ultrasonic fingerprint scanner that is fast and accurate. Inside the phone is an intelligent display chip that optimizes colors and offers 90 FPS gameplay in 60 FPS games through interpolation.

It’s one of the best displays around with hands down, rich color, enough brightness and great viewing angles. The panel is also fast enough and fluid.

iQOO 9 Pro performance, battery life and camera

iQOO 9 Pro Review
iQOO 9 Pro gets hot when pushed. (Photo credit: Sourav Singh / Financial Express)

Below the hood, the iQOO 9 Pro has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip with up to 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM and up to 256GB of UFS3.1 storage. It’s not expandable but iQOO gives you the “Extended RAM 2.0” virtual memory option. The iQOO 9 Pro hardware is built around gaming which means you can expect the phone to capture every ounce of performance from its powerful chip. This is clear from the criteria. We have compared iQOO 9 Pro to Motorola Edge 30 Pro (8 Gen 1), Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (8 Gen 1) and Asus ROG Phone 5s (SD888 +). We made two observations.

– iQOO 9 Pro was able to break the 1 million mark on AnTuTu that Snapdragon 8 Gen 1-equipped phones are supposed to justify the height of their gaming phones.

– But it comes at a cost. iQOO 9 Pro gets hot when pushed. This phone has a vapor chamber liquid cooling system but obviously, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip is too hot to handle. There is some throttling, which is not surprising. The ROG Phone 5s, with the second-best Qualcomm chip around, has the lowest throttle in our test with a surprisingly high performance rather than its complete cooling mechanism. Asus has been calling gaming for years and you can tell that experience is helping here.

Also Read | Motorola Edge 30 Pro Review: The Smooth Android Phone on the Market Today

This does not mean that the iQOO 9 Pro overheats or that it does not act as a flagship. Benchmark comparisons are meant for reference only to get some idea about the worst case scenario. The iQOO 9 Pro is a very powerful phone and it performs just like in the real world, whether it’s for everyday use or graphically demanding games. That said, iQOO can always optimize things through updates to make it better in terms of heat management.

iQOO 9 Pro Review
The phone runs Android 12. (Photo credit: Sourav Singh / Financial Express)

Speaking of which, it looks good to see iQOO 9 Pro running Android 12 (based Funtouch OS 12) software out of the box. The skin is desirable with a look and feel close to stock Android, but something like Google’s Android 12 Material U Theming has been left out. At the time of writing our Review Unit runs the March 2022 Security Patch. We did not encounter any bugs or stutters during our tests. This phone has some bloatware, but we’ve seen worse.

Powering the iQOO 9 Pro is a 4,700mAh battery that lasted 12 hours and 21 minutes with a 1440p screen set in our video loop test. That’s a fairly good score. There is support for 120W fast wired charging. iQOO claims that you can charge the phone up to 50 percent in just eight minutes using bundled fast charging bricks and cables. A full charge only takes twenty minutes, the company says. That’s right and you can take iQOO’s word for it. The iQOO 9 Pro actually charges 0-100% flat in 20 minutes. The phone supports 50W fast wireless charging.

iQOO 9 Pro Review
The iQOO 9 Pro has three cameras on the back. (Photo credit: Sourav Singh / Financial Express)

In photography, the iQOO 9 Pro has three cameras on the back: a 50MP main (Samsung GN5 sensor), with gimbal stabilization, a 50MP 120-degree “fishy” ultraviolet, and another 16MP portrait shooter. On the front, it has a 16MP selfie camera.

First a quick note on that gimbal camera. We’ve seen this before on Vivo X70 Pro + and Vivo X60 Pro. Implementation and use are similar here. The camera lens mounted on the micro gimbal gives the phone 5-axis stability whereas standard optical image stabilization or OIS gives you three layers. You can actually see the camera module rotate – in the opposite direction – when you move the phone around (or even in the viewfinder). Think of it as a soup-up OIS, so your videos will be less shaky when tilting and rolling. Zimbal mode – or ultra-stable mode – is only available at 1080p (@ 30 or @ 60fps) and, obviously, still while shooting. Can shoot up to iQOO 9 Pro [email protected]

iQOO 9 Pro Review
iQOO 9 Pro’s Large 3D Ultrasonic Fingerprint Scanner (Photo credit: Sourav Singh / Financial Express)

Straightforward, the iQOO 9 Pro’s primary camera captures some of the most detailed and contrasting photos in good light, with a wide range of dynamics and little to no metering problems. The sensor comes into its own in really tough and low light situations, though, capturing a good amount of detail and spot-on color without too much noise. Night mode is an extraordinary drag detail that is hard to tell even with the naked eye. The iQOO 9 Pro’s main sensor can literally see in the dark. Ultra-Wide also has great potential, especially as a macro, as the lens has autofocus. By default, it shoots cropped photos to prevent edge distortion, but you can shoot without it. These photos have good detail and fairly wide dynamic range. Dedicated portrait cameras are a great addition, especially for quick zoom shots. iQOO’s subject segregation algorithm requires some work.

The same goes for videography. While the results are good, in most cases, they are not in the same ballpark as the Samsung Galaxy S22 or iPhone 13.

iQOO 9 Pro | What do you need to buy?

iQOO 9 Pro Review
iQOO 9 Pro does everything, in style. (Photo credit: Sourav Singh / Financial Express)

The iQOO 9 Pro starts at Rs 64,990 in India for a version with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage. A model with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage will get you back Rs 69,990.

iQOO has hit it off the ballpark with the iQOO 9 Pro, jumping packed with the latest and most affordable hardware and feature sets. It may sound like a gaming phone, but the iQOO Balancing Act has played out well. This is a complete phone for anyone looking for the No Holds Barred flagship experience in every sense of the word.

Also read | Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Review: An ‘Ultra’ phone to rule them out

The design is nice and premium, and unique. The display is top notch. The cameras are potentially great, and the performance will satisfy even the hardcore users. Good battery life and fast charging is a nice bonus. The phone also supports 14 5G bands. Really, don’t like what?

iQOO 9 Pro is a serious contender for one of the best Android flagships of 2022.

Professional Cons
Luxurious design No IP rating
Great display No headphone jack
Fast performance No storage expansion
Good camera Videography work is needed
Fast charging
Android 12

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