iQOO Z9 Review – The New Budget Beast


In today’s smartphone landscape, having relentless processing power alone no longer guarantees a winning handset. Savvy consumers now prioritize a well-rounded experience and demand a phone that excels in multiple areas. Clearly understanding this shift, iQOO has reflected it in their impressive 2024 lineup, which includes devices like the powerful iQOO 12 (review) and the camera-centric iQOO Neo9 Pro.

Building upon the legacy of the popular Z7 series, iQOO has now launched the new Z9. While it still holds the title of the “fastest chipset under Rs 20,000,” the Z9 is not a one-trick pony. It boasts significant upgrades over its predecessor, including a robust camera system for capturing stunning visuals, a larger battery for extended use, and an improved display for an even more immersive experience. So, does the Z9 hold up well against the competition in the highly competitive sub-Rs 20k market? Let’s find out in our full review.


The iQOO Z9 maintains the classic candy bar design of its predecessor, with a plastic frame and rear panel. However, its flat sides and slim 7.83mm profile make it comfortable to use with one hand, which is a desirable feature for users who prioritize single-handed operation.


Available in two color options – Brushed Green (which we tested) and Graphene Blue – the Z9 boasts a subtle visual upgrade. The back has a unique, textured finish that resembles feathers and catches the light with a gentle shimmer. The rear camera module is on a slightly raised, glossy black island, with the iQOO branding positioned lower on the back.

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In terms of button placement, the iQOO Z9 keeps things functional. The power button and volume rocker are conveniently located on the right side, while the left side remains clean. The bottom houses the USB-C charging port, one of the phone’s two speakers, and the SIM/SD card tray. The bezels are slim on three sides, offering a more immersive viewing experience. However, the bottom bezel is noticeably thicker, which some users may find less aesthetically pleasing.

The Z9 incorporates an in-display fingerprint sensor for unlocking the phone. While it functions well, it’s worth noting that some competitors within this price range offer faster or more responsive fingerprint sensors.


The iQOO Z9 features a sleek design highlighted by its large, 6.67-inch AMOLED display. This Full HD+ panel not only offers high resolution, but also a smooth 120Hz refresh rate for seamless navigation and fast-paced content. With a discreet punch-hole selfie camera and slim bezels, the Z9 provides an immersive viewing experience. Notably, the Z9 intelligently adjusts the refresh rate, maintaining a smooth 120Hz most of the time and seamlessly dropping to 60Hz in specific apps to optimize battery life.

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In terms of brightness, the display excels with a peak local brightness of 1,800 nits, ensuring excellent visibility even under bright sunlight. Moreover, the HDR certification allows you to fully enjoy HDR content on popular streaming platforms like YouTube and Netflix, providing stunning contrast and vibrant colors for an exceptional viewing experience.

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The multimedia experience is greatly enhanced with the inclusion of dual stereo speakers, a significant upgrade from the previous iQOO Z7 model’s single speaker. The Z9’s speakers deliver rich, well-balanced sound with good bass and clear vocals, making it perfect for gaming, watching videos, or simply enjoying your favorite music.


The iQOO Z9 has improved by getting rid of unnecessary features, and now runs on a clean and modern Funtouch OS 14, which is built upon Android 14. This updated user interface (UI) has a consistent design language with subtle references to Material You, giving it a familiar yet contemporary look. iQOO is committed to providing software support, promising 2 years of Android updates and 3 years of security patches to keep your phone protected and up-to-date.

The amount of bloatware has been reduced, with only a few pre-installed apps that can be uninstalled if you don’t need them. Although Funtouch OS 14 uses Vivo’s Jovi Home launcher and its own dialer/SMS app instead of Google’s default options, there’s no need to worry! The UI incorporates elements from popular custom interfaces, making it intuitive and user-friendly even for those new to the platform.

Performance remains smooth, allowing you to navigate through apps and games effortlessly. The visually appealing graphics enhance the overall experience, and multitasking features have been optimized to keep you productive. There are plenty of options for personalization, so you can customize the phone to your liking. Choose from dynamic Kinetic wallpapers that come to life, or add a unique touch by customizing your lock screen clock.


The iQOO Z9 comes equipped with the powerful MediaTek Dimensity 7200 chipset, offering a high-performing processor. Paired with 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM and available with up to 256GB of UFS 2.2 storage, which can be expanded with a microSD card for added flexibility.

During our review, the Z9 demonstrated exceptional performance across a range of tasks. It effortlessly handled everyday activities and even tackled demanding games smoothly and fluidly. We encountered no lag or overheating issues, ensuring a frustration-free user experience.

Benchmark scores further validate the Z9’s capabilities. It achieved an impressive AnTuTu v10 score of 730,471 and in Geekbench 6, it scored 1,127 points in single-core tests and 2,586 points in multi-core tests.

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Whether you’re browsing social media or playing graphically demanding games, the Z9 keeps up effortlessly. We were even able to play Call of Duty: Mobile at a smooth 90 fps with minimal heat generation and frame drops. In short, the Z9 can handle most tasks with ease.

The haptics of the Z9 deserve a special mention as they are some of the best we’ve experienced in this price range. However, the placement of the in-display fingerprint sensor is a minor drawback. Its low position makes it slightly awkward to reach, especially for single-handed use.

Battery life is another strong feature of the Z9. It boasts a large 5,000mAh battery, which the company claims is the largest ever in an iQOO Z series phone. Even with heavy use, you won’t have to worry about running out of battery. We achieved over 6 hours of screen-on-time (SoT) with mixed usage during our testing. When it’s time to recharge, the 44W fast charging feature gets you back on track in under 90 minutes.


The iQOO Z9 brings significant upgrades to its camera capabilities compared to its predecessor, the Z7. Instead of a triple-camera setup, this version features a refined dual-camera system. The standout feature is the 50MP Sony IMX882 sensor with OIS (Optical Image Stabilization), which ensures sharp and stable photos even in low-light conditions. It is accompanied by a 2MP depth sensor, which enhances portrait mode results.

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The camera app reflects the updated Funtouch OS build and offers familiar features such as Pro mode, long exposure, 50MP capture, supermoon mode, dual view, and Live photos. A new addition is the ability to select a photo style – Vivid, Textured, or Natural – previously only available on iQOO’s premium phones. Vivid mode boosts saturation for eye-catching social media content, while Textured mode adds a touch of grittiness and a vignette effect. Through testing, Natural and Vivid modes emerged as the clear favorites.

In daylight photography, the Z9 shines. Images showcase exceptional detail and an impressive dynamic range, capturing the full spectrum of a scene. The camera focuses quickly, and portrait mode on the primary lens delivers pleasing results with accurate background separation. The primary sensor also allows for 2x zoom, although optimal quality is limited to well-lit environments.

Low-light performance benefits from Vivo’s industry-leading camera algorithms, producing usable and often impressive results even in challenging lighting conditions. The 16MP front camera captures decent selfies, although they do not reach extraordinary heights.

Overall, the iQOO Z9 offers a significantly improved camera system for its price point. While some users may miss the presence of an ultra-wide-angle lens, the exceptional low-light performance and the option to choose photo styles elevate the overall camera experience.

iQOO Z9 5G Review – The Verdict

The iQOO Z9 redefines value in the sub-₹20,000 segment with its stunning 120Hz AMOLED display, capable 50MP camera, and smooth performance powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 7200 chipset. The massive 5,000mAh battery with 44W fast charging keeps you going, making it a great upgrade from the Z7.

However, there are some compromises. The lack of an ultra-wide camera and 3.5mm headphone jack might disappoint some users. Additionally, Funtouch OS 14 comes with bloatware, and a more stock Android feel could broaden its appeal.

Overall, the Z9 is a powerful and affordable option for budget-conscious users who prioritize core functionalities. It punches above its weight, making it an easy recommendation for those seeking value.

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


The iQOO Z9 redefines value in the sub-₹20,000 segment with its stunning 120Hz AMOLED display, capable 50MP camera, and smooth performance powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 7200 chipset. The massive 5,000mAh battery with 44W fast charging keeps you going, making it a great upgrade from the Z7.

Overall, the Z9 is a powerful and affordable option for budget-conscious users who prioritize core functionalities. It punches above its weight, making it an easy recommendation for those seeking value.

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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