iQOO has been in India since 2020 and has progressed through various price segments over time. When it began its journey in India, the first device from the brand – iQOO 3 – was a value for money offering. Fast forward to 2023, the brand is now competing with top dogs including OnePlus, Samsung, and even Apple. iQOO is trying to set new standards in the industry with its latest iQOO 12 5G smartphone in India at an aggressive price point of Rs 52,999, and we got the opportunity to test it early. So here’s our initial impressions of the iQOO 12.
iQOO 12: A Head-turner Design
The iQOO 12 is the most high-end smartphone the company has offered in India till date. To complement a price tag of Rs, the unboxing experience of the smartphone should match that. Spoiler alert! In iQOO’s case, it does. The box it comes in has multiple layers and the top one has the handset itself. Next comes in a small pamphlet that has a BMW car, below which you get a transparent silicone case.
Then there are the manuals along with the SIM ejector. Lastly, there’s the 120W power brick along with a USB-C to USB-C cable. iQOO seems to be one of the only brands that offers a case within the box of its flagship and we appreciate that.
Talking about the handset itself, iQOO has departed from its usual design language with iQOO 12, changing the shape of the camera island along with flat sides and near-flat back panel. The sides have a Chrome finish which does attract fingerprints. The white BMW version we got has a minimal look, unlike the previous flagships from the brand that had three stripes running across the whole panel from top to bottom. This one has three small tri-coloured shapes at the bottom right and that’s about it.
Overall, the iQOO 12 has an eye-catching design that can definitely turn heads. We’ll talk more about the design in the full review of the smartphone.
The front has a 6.78-inch AMOLED Display with 144Hz Refresh Rate support, 3000 nits peak brightness and a 1.5K resolution. There is a hole-punch cutout at the top center for the front camera. The device also has an HDR10+ certification and 2160Hz PWM Dimming.
This panel has actually proven to be impressively bright and colour accurate in our assessment so far. You do get the option to change colour modes from the Settings so you can tune it according to your preference.
iQOO 12: Major Improvements To The Software
The device is powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 and comes in two variants including: 12GB + 256GB and 16GB + 512GB. It has LPDDR5x RAM and UFS 4.0 storage. So far, the device has been snappy and smooth in all of the tasks we have performed on it, as expected. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 is the top-notch Chipset to look forward to this coming year in the world of Android phones and we think the iQOO 12 is going to be ahead of the game in that aspect.
Coming to software, the device runs on Android 14-based FunTouch OS 14. The device will receive 3 years of major OS upgrades and 4 years of security patches. iQOO says that Hot Apps & Games, one of the most hated bloatware elements that has been present on iQOO (& vivo) devices for a while now, has been removed. However, it hasn’t been removed, per se.
The Hot Apps & Games feature has just been disabled by default when you setup the phone, whereas earlier in other iQOO devices, it was enabled by default and users had to manually disable it. It cannot be removed until iQOO removes the V-Appstore as Hot Apps & Games is a part of that App store.
Aside from that, there’s not a lot of bloatware. However, apps like V-Appstore, iQOO store, iQOO cloud and more, cannot even be disabled which is a little surprising.
We have always complained about how iQOO’s software needs a lot of polish and in FunTouch OS 14, iQOO has done a decent. Though, whether it’s enough or not, is something you’ll have to see in our full review. Before that, if you want to take a look at the new features available in FunTouch OS 14, head over to our initial impressions for the software on iQOO 12.
The iQOO 12 packs a 50MP f/1.68 OIS-assisted main camera, a 50MP f/2.0 ultra-wide camera and a 64MP f/2.57 periscope telephoto camera sensor with 100x digital zoom. It further gets a 16MP front camera. The device is backed by a 5000mAh battery with 120W Fast charging support.
The cameras and battery backup are two characteristics that still have to be tested. All we can say is that our initial impressions of iQOO 12 show promising results in terms of these two aspects.
So these were our first thoughts about the new iQOO 12. Overall, the smartphone is standing strong in its price segment and is showing promising signs of being a value for money flagship. We will delve deeper into other aspects about the device such as haptics, cameras, speakers, display, software and more in the detailed review of iQOO 12, so stay tuned.