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iQOO Z3 5G review: A stunning package with some shortcomings

iQOO Z3 5G comes as the company's latest offering in the Indian market. At a starting price of Rs 19,990, we try to find out if the smartphone has what it takes to take out the competition in the segment.

twitter-logoSarthak Dogra | June 9, 2021 | Updated 12:23 IST
iQOO Z3 5G (Image: Sarthak Dogra/ India Today)

Highlights

  • iQOO Z3 5G comes in two storage and memory options and two-colour variants.
  • It sports an attractive design with a multi-coloured 3D curved surface at the back.
  • The smartphone delivers good performance for various use cases.

Having launched their premium devices earlier this year, almost all the smartphone OEMs are now targeting the affordable price segment with their new offerings in India. iQOO is a recent one in the race, with its iQOO Z3 5G launch in the country.

Launched at a starting price of Rs 19,990, the iQOO Z3 5G attempts to bring its premium features and technologies in an affordable package. Thanks to this, the smartphone claims several impressive specifications on paper, even boasting of the title of being India's first Snapdragon 768G powered smartphone.

The device ticks other essential boxes as well. It comes with memory offerings ranging from 6GB to 8GB RAM and 128GB to 256GB storage. It features a triple camera setup at the back with a 64-megapixel selfie shooter. It even claims a long battery life and fast charging time through its 4400mAh battery.

The question that remains to be answered is if these claims translate to a fine user experience with a smartphone carrying a Rs 20,000 price tag. We had a chance to experience the iQOO Z3 5G for the past week, and here are our thoughts on the smartphone.

iQOO Z3 5G out of the box

iQOO Z3 5G (Image: Sarthak Dogra/ India Today)

If you had a chance to check out the iQOO 7 Legend launched last month, you would know that iQOO has done a great deal of work on branding and presenting its products with this year's lineup. The same holds true for the iQOO Z3 5G.

You can see that right on the box of the smartphone. It comes in a neatly designed sharp coloured package to catch your eye. Inside is a smartphone that lives up to the resulting anticipation.

iQOO Z3 5G is straight-up attractive to have as a smartphone. There is a display with neat and slim borders along the four sides. Then there are chiselled top and bottom edges, trimmed sides, and a very impressive and easy to use cutout for the power button and volume keys on the right.

iQOO Z3 5G (Image: Sarthak Dogra/ India Today)

The back adorns a colour-changing reflective 3D curved surface made of high polymer plastic. We had the Cyber Blue colour variant, which doesn't really look much of a Blue but an assortment of colours, mostly shedding the rainbow spectrum at one point or the other. It is good to look at. However, it suffers from light fingerprint smudges and is a bit slippery. The plastic cover provided in the box should do the trick.

The cover would also slightly make up for the protrusion of the camera bump. As for the design, iQOO Z3 5G comes with a capsule-shaped camera module housing three lenses in descending sizes from the top. There is also an LED flash and some specifications of the camera lenses marked on the module.

iQOO Z3 5G performance

iQOO Z3 5G (Image: Sarthak Dogra/ India Today)

iQOO Z3 5G is quick to fire up and set up. It comes with Android 11 based FunTouch OS 11.1 that makes it a familiar device even for those who have used a Vivo smartphone in the past. The user interface is neat and clutter-free, with circular icons guiding your moves throughout. What you might not like is slightly more pre-loaded apps than necessary. The problem of unwanted bloatware persists.

Once set up, the device's display comes to the test to play any game or media content. iQOO Z3 5G comes with a 6.58-inch LCD with 1080x2408 pixels resolution. By itself, the display is suitable for viewing any sort of media you would like. Though you will notice that it is not the best in its segment, considering there are devices with Super AMOLED displays in the price category. The one on iQOO Z3 5G simply lacks a similarly immersive experience.

Apps are quick to load on the iQOO Z3 5G. In our limited use, we found it to have no problem running multiple apps in the background. The processing capability is taken care of by a Qualcomm 768G octa-core processor that performs well for apps and games alike. It easily meets the needs for your social media activities as well as graphic intensive games like Call of Duty Mobile.

iQOO Z3 5G (Image: Sarthak Dogra/ India Today)

iQOO says that the extended RAM technology helps with this. It claims to use some of the memory as extra RAM in times of need. The 8GB RAM variant then acts as an 11GB RAM. Another factor aiding the performance of gamers is a five-layer liquid cooling system iQOO hails.

There are some gaming-specific features too. For one, Eagle eye enhancement dynamically tweaks the contrast and saturation to aid the visuals for games. iQOO says that this, in turn, helps gamers spot the enemy quickly than before. In our use, we could not really spot the feature in effect or any observable difference resulting from it. However, the 180Hz touch sampling rate can be felt in the smooth feedback on multiple touches while gaming.

All of this is backed by a 4400mAh battery with 55W FlashCharge technology for fast charging. The smartphone easily lasts you a day and can be charged to around 60 per cent within 30 minutes. A full charge takes just about an hour.

iQOO Z3 5G camera

iQOO Z3 5G (Image: Sarthak Dogra/ India Today)

iQOO has equipped the iQOO Z3 5G with a triple-lens camera setup with a 64-megapixel primary lens, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide lens and a 2-megapixel macro lens. The setup is a capable one in its price range but has some compromises to its name too.

Shots taken through the iQOO Z3 5G generally turn out well, with ample details and accurate colours. That, however, stands true for generic pictures of a nearby subject in focus. Make the smartphone zoom for capture, and it will start losing out on those details instantly.

This means optimum photographic conditions are limited to well-lit backgrounds with proper focus on a subject in the frame. Lose any of this, and your photos will start to go haywire. This might include zooming in on a distant object, capturing an image against the light or in low light, or even extending the field of view through the ultra-wide lens. Details are lost, with different subjects coming in blurry in the images, while the ultra-wide captures are plagued by fringing around the edges. The only constant is the accurate colour depiction in all the conditions.

A 16-megapixel selfie shooter at the front does its job much better than the primary camera module. It can help you click great selfies further enhanced by AI beauty, filters and even the Bokeh effect you might require for your social media use.

iQOO Z3 5G verdict

iQOO Z3 5G (Image: Sarthak Dogra/ India Today)

All in all, iQOO Z3 5G can perform the daily smartphone functions well for a wide range of users. Yet, certain bells and whistles are missing in several aspects of its use that come to notice. For instance, the device misses out on a dual audio setup. This, along with not the best display in the market, makes for a less than optimum media experience on the smartphone.

The iQOO Z3 5G camera, though capable in favourable conditions, leaves you wanting more out of it. An ideal scenario for the device is then restricted to regular smartphone use that involves staying connected on calls or messages, scrolling through your social media, occasional gaming sessions and photography. Double down on any of these for a specific use case, and there is a chance that you will be left disappointed.

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