iQOO 12 Review – The New Flagship Standard for 2024

iQOO’s 2023 was a masterclass in crafting phones that are beautiful, powerful, and shockingly affordable. Now, they’re charging into 2024 with India’s first Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 beast – the iQOO 12. This phone isn’t just about raw power (though it packs plenty of that), it’s a whole new level of flagship. Think BMW M collaboration for a sleek, powerful look, and a camera overhaul that screams “pro photographer’s best friend.” At under INR 50,000, the iQOO 12 promises a lot. But is it the ultimate king of the 50K flagship jungle? Buckle up, folks, because we’re diving deep into this beast of a phone to find out more.

iQOO 12

iQOO 12 5G Specifications

Before starting with the iQOO 12 review, let’s glance at the phone’s specifications, pricing, and things we get with the device.

  • Display: 6.78-inch 1.5K AMOLED, 144Hz refresh rate (LTPO)
  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB
  • Software: Android 14, Funtouch OS 14
  • Main Camera: 50MP primary sensor + 50MP Ultra-wide + 64MP Telephoto
  • Selfie Camera: 16MP
  • Connectivity: USB Type-C, Wi-Fi 7, Bluetooth v5.2, GPS/ A-GPS, FM Radio
  • Cellular: Dual SIM
  • Fingerprint Scanner: Yes, in-display
  • Battery: 5,000 mAh, non-removable
  • Charging: 120W fast charging

Design

The iQOO 12 features a refreshed look compared to its predecessors, aligning it with other flagship phones in its range. The company offers two standard color options: Black and White. We have the White variant, which sports BMW M branding. The back of the phone is cleaner, with a suitably sized logo that gives the phone a high-end feel. The back is made of plain glass with an enamel coating that creates a star pattern when hit by light. This glass has a combination of glossy and matte finishes, effectively concealing smudges.

iQOO 12

iQOO has opted for a boxy design overall, resulting in a flat panel and flat sides on the middle frame. The shiny aluminum is prone to showing signs of wear, so it is recommended to use a case. Another significant change is seen in the design and placement of the camera module. The triple camera module is housed within a rounded square shape, surrounded by a steel ring that adds a touch of character. The module is quite large, but these small design elements help make it more visually appealing.

The placement of ports and buttons is relatively straightforward. The right side of the phone houses the power and volume buttons, while the SIM card tray and USB-C charging port are located at the bottom. There is an IR blaster on the top, along with a secondary microphone. The phone has an IP64 rating, meaning it can withstand some splashes, but it is not suitable for submerging in water.

iQOO 12

Overall, the iQOO 12 has evolved significantly, giving it a mature and sophisticated feel. It looks just as impressive as phones that come with a much higher price tag.

Display

The iQOO 12 packs a visual punch. Its 6.78-inch AMOLED display blasts with up to 3000 nits of brightness, keeping things vibrant even in harsh sunlight. Colors pop in HDR10+, and the 144Hz refresh rate makes everything buttery smooth, whether you’re browsing or battling. Plus, the dynamic refresh can dip down to 1Hz to save battery when you’re just reading.

iQOO 12

The display shines in auto brightness mode, particularly when used outdoors in bright sunlight. There are three color modes available — Standard, Pro, and Bright, with Standard being the default setting. Streaming HDR content on the iQOO 12 is a delightful experience, as the phone excels at balancing colors and brightness in dynamic scenes. Gaming is incredibly smooth, thanks to the Q1 chip, which allows for delivering the most popular titles at up to 144fps. Additionally, the phone features a 2,160Hz PWM and a 1,200Hz instant touch sampling rate.

iQOO 12

Equipped with stereo speakers that offer clear stereo separation, the iQOO 12 delivers impressive audio quality. These speakers can get quite loud without significant distortion.

Software

When it comes to the software, the iQOO 12 runs on Android 14 with Funtouch OS 14 on top. This new Funtouch OS 14 build is mature and has a modern look with a consistent design aesthetic. Gone are the cluttery days – this version boasts a consistent design with a dash of Material You sprinkled in. You’ll get 3 years of Android updates and 4 years of security patches, a commitment that shows iQOO’s confidence in their software.

While bloatware’s minimized, a few pre-installed apps still linger (luckily, they’re uninstallable). You’ll also find Vivo’s Jovi Home and their own dialer/SMS app instead of Google’s defaults. But fear not, new users! Funtouch OS 14 feels familiar, blending elements from other popular custom UIs, making it an easy transition. Funtouch OS 14 delivers smooth performance, eye-catching visuals, and enhanced multitasking to keep you productive. Personalization options abound, from dynamic Kinetic wallpapers to customizable lock screen clocks.

Overall, Funtouch OS 14 on the iQOO 12 is a refined and user-friendly experience that doesn’t skimp on features. It’s polished, feels familiar, reduces the learning curve for new users, and is ready to adapt to your unique style.

Performance

iQOO 12 flexes its muscles with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, making it India’s top Android performance beast. During our review period, the phone performed well in various settings, effortlessly handling everyday tasks and gaming. We experienced fluidity and encountered no lag or overheating issues.

iQOO 12

The phone also excels in synthetic benchmarks, scoring 2,134,471 points on AnTuTu v10. In addition, it achieved 2,215 points and 6,926 points in the Geekbench 6 single-core and multi-core tests, respectively.

Though the iQOO 12 at its core DNA is a gaming phone, it comes with an in-house made Q1 Supercomputing chip that enhances gaming experiences with smooth gameplay, thanks to upscaling and frame interpolation (with AI frames). During intense gaming sessions, we did notice the phone getting a bit hot, reaching a maximum temperature of 42ºC. However, this is acceptable considering the level of performance the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 provides.

Hardware elsewhere is top-notch on the phone: up to 16GB LPDDR5X RAM ensures multitasking ease, 512GB UFS 4.0 storage keeps things speedy, and connectivity options like Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth 5.4 future-proof your experience.

iQOO 12

Before discussing battery performance, it’s important to mention the haptics used by iQOO. The only complaint we have is about the placement of the in-display fingerprint scanner, which is located too low and makes it inconvenient to reach when using the phone with one hand.

Regarding the battery, the iQOO 12 is equipped with a 5,000mAh cell that easily lasts for a day. There is no need to worry about battery life with this phone, even on days with heavy use. We managed to achieve over 7 hours of screen-on-time (SoT) with mixed usage. When it comes to charging, the phone supports Vivo’s 120W charging technology, allowing the battery to be fully charged in under 30 minutes. It’s worth mentioning that iQOO is using a new type of battery chemistry that is said to last for 2 years without showing any signs of degradation.

Camera

The iQOO 12 raises the camera bar significantly compared to its predecessor, the iQOO 11. While previous models had decent cameras, they don’t come close to what we see on this new model. The phone now features a triple camera setup on the rear, consisting of a 50MP OmniVision OV50H main camera, a 50MP wide-angle lens with autofocus, and a telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom and OIS. The front camera remains unchanged from last year, with the same 16MP module.

iQOO 12

The camera UI is the same as other phones running Funtouch OS, offering several features such as AR stickers, Pro Sports mode, long exposure, 50MP mode, supermoon, Astro, fisheye, and more. What’s new this year is the option to choose a photo style, with three choices available—Vivid, Textured, and Natural. Vivid mode produces photos with high levels of saturation, perfect for sharing on social media. Textured mode adds a gritty texture to photos and a vignette. During our review, we found ourselves mostly preferring either the Natural or Vivid mode.

In terms of camera quality, the iQOO 12 performs exceptionally well in daylight shots, providing plenty of detail and an impressive dynamic range. The camera focuses quickly, and the portrait mode on the primary lens delivers pleasing results. The ultra-wide angle lens is a significant improvement and performs admirably, although some similarly priced phones may offer similar performance in this regard. However, the zoom lens adds much-needed versatility to the device. It is particularly impressive when shooting images at up to 10X—and even 30X if you have steady hands.

In low-light scenarios, the smartphone utilizes the primary camera for both 1x and 3x shots (digitally cropped). During the day, it switches to the telephoto lens for the latter. The phone also incorporates Vivo’s Color Science, which excels in low-light conditions. As for selfies, the iQOO 12 captures reasonably good images with the front camera, but they are not extraordinary.

Overall, the iQOO 12 rocks a vastly improved camera system for the price. It may not conquer the camera Olympus, but it delivers impressive photo power at a compelling value. Think: Instagram gold, not Pulitzer-worthy portraits. Not bad, iQOO, not bad at all.

Verdict  – Should you buy?

The iQOO 12 isn’t just an upgrade, it’s a leap forward for the brand. A brighter AMOLED display, a camera overhaul with a stellar 3x telephoto lens, and a stunningly premium design (goodbye, faux leather!) turn heads at first glance. But the real magic lies under the hood: the iQOO 12 boasts the world’s first Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip, leaving the competition in the dust.

And guess what? This powerhouse doesn’t break the bank. While other 8 Gen 3 contenders will likely top INR 60k, the iQOO 12 delivers phenomenal value. Think top-tier cameras, a dazzling display, and future-proof performance, all wrapped in a sleek package.

Sure, other phones will catch up eventually, but for now, the iQOO 12 stands alone as the undisputed value king. In the jungle of flagship phones, this one roars the loudest.

  • Design & Build
  • Display
  • Performance
  • Camera
  • Software
  • Battery
  • Price
4.3

Summary

The iQOO 12 isn’t just an upgrade, it’s a leap forward for the brand. A brighter AMOLED display, a camera overhaul with a stellar 3x telephoto lens, and a stunningly premium design (goodbye, plastic!) turn heads at first glance. But the real magic lies under the hood: the iQOO 12 boasts the world’s first Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip, leaving the competition in the dust.

Sure, other phones will catch up eventually, but for now, the iQOO 12 stands alone as the undisputed value king. In the jungle of flagship phones, this one roars the loudest.

Pros

  • Modern Design
  • Brilliant Display
  • Powerful Chip
  • Excellent Battery life

Cons

  • Pre-installed Apps
  • No Wireless charging

About the author

Yogesh Brar

A tech aficionado with a keen eye for detail, Yogesh is our go-to expert for gadget reviews. His comprehensive evaluations and hands-on testing approach provide readers with a clear understanding of what to expect from the latest devices in the market.

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