iQoo is seemingly obsessed with all things power and speed. After launching the iQoo 9T last year, which was marketed as the ‘world’s fastest smartphone’ as Qualcomm’s most powerful smartphone processor powered it, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 back then, iQoo entered the year 2023 with a similar mindset. The brand has launched the successor of the iQoo 9T, the iQoo 11 ( we do not understand the nomenclature any more) and it follows in the footsteps of its predecessor. It is the first phone in India (and perhaps the world) to come with Qualcomm’s now most powerful smartphone processor, Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. Along with such a powerful processor, it packs some other high-end specs and features as well. With a starting price of Rs. 59,999, will the iQoo 11 make a lasting impact? Let’s find out:
Design: A phone without an identity crisis
iQoo has been quite adventurous when it comes to the design of the iQoo 11. The phone comes in two variants, Alpha and Legend. While the Alpha variant is subtle and understated and would be the perfect pick for those who like minimalistic designs, the Legend variant is the one that stands out.
It has a pretty similar design language as the iQoo 9T, but we are not complaining because the iQoo 9T was definitely a looker. The Legend option has a white back with famous tree-colour BMW strips running vertically through it. A massive rectangular camera unit that protrudes ever so slightly sits on the top left corner of the back. The front is all display with a small punch hole notch and slight chin. But the best design element on the iQoo 11 (Legend) has to be the texture of the phone’s back, which is a mix of fiber glass and silicon leather with a metal frame which gives it a very standout, premium hand feel, extremely different from the usual glass-back crowd. The phone is certainly tall at 164.86 mm and is not meant to be handled with a single hand but it does not feel too heavy even though it weighs 205 grams.
The volume button and the power lock button are both on the right side of the frame and are easily accessible, while the SIM tray, the Type C port and the speaker grill are on the base of the phone. The iQoo 11 does resemble its predecessor, but it was also a phone that cannot be mistaken for any other, and so is the iQoo 11, which is a massive plus considering how most smartphones in the Android world are going through an identity crisis design-wise.
Display: As spectacular as the back
The back of the iQoo 11, which is an absolute looker, is matched by the front of the phone in most departments. The phone comes with a 6.78-inch AMOLED display with a 2K resolution, HDR 10+ support and 144 Hz adaptive refresh rate. Gorilla Glass Victus protect it.
The high refresh rate makes the display ideal for gamers, and even the most high-end games feel smooth on display. It produces rich, vibrant colours. Combine that with the massive size of the display, and the iQoo 11 becomes a great device for binge-watching videos and shows. It has a peak brightness of 1800 nits, and that comes in very handy when you are using the phone outdoors under the harsh light.
The display resolution is set to full HD+, and the refresh rate is set at Smart Switch by default. We actually preferred this while going through our everyday chores as it significantly improved battery life, but you can change it in settings if and when required.
Processor: First with Gen 2
One of the biggest USPs of the iQoo 11 is the processor that runs the phone. It is the first phone in the country to be powered by Qualcomm’s most powerful smartphone processor, Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, with an octa-core CPU and Adreno 740 GPU. The processor promises power and it delivers just that in spades. You will not see the phone lag or stutter even as it makes its way through the most power-hungry and tedious tasks. It will sail just as smoothly through them as it would through your everyday smartphone jobs.
Even though it launched right at the beginning of the year, the iQoo 11 is likely to remain one of the most powerful smartphones throughout the year 2023, which is quite an achievement.
RAM and storage: Bytes aplenty
All that processor power would mean nothing if it isn’t paired with a good amount of RAM and storage and that is another area where the iQoo 11 does not shy away from delivering numbers and specs. The iQoo 11 is a performance beast and comes with LPDDR5X RAM and USF 4.0 storage. The phone brings two RAM variants, 8 GB and 16 GB, both of which are accompanied by 256 GB storage.
Rear Cameras: Impressive but not perfect
The iQoo 11 features a triple camera set up on the back comprising a 50-megapixel Samsung GN5 main sensor with OIS, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide sensor and a 13-megapixel portrait, telephoto camera with 2X optical zoom. The main sensor is the star of iQoo 11’s camera show, and this star shines the brightest in well-lit conditions. The camera captured tons of detail and produced sharp, clean images with deep shadows that created a beautiful contrast in broad daylight conditions. The main sensor continued to impress in low light conditions as well, just not as much as it impressed in daylight situations.
The main sensor is not as snappy in low light conditions and does require you to stay steady for a few seconds before delivering a good snap. That said, this is more a rule than an exception, even in high-end smartphones. Some low light snaps did get a bit hazy, but it usually did get the job done well. While the iQoo 11 did justice to the details of the subject, it often struggled to get the colours right. The main sensor reproduced colours with a touch of warmth, with colours looking a bit poppier than they naturally were.
The secondary sensors were not quite as impressive as the main sensor. While the 8-megapixel ultra did expand our viewfinder’s horizon, it did not really deliver in the detail department. The same happened with the telephoto-cum-portrait lens, which did decently in well-lit conditions but lacked the wow factor.
The phone can capture videos in up to 8K at 30 fps which is an impressive number. The video on the phone is quite good and delivers good results in most light conditions.
Front camera: Solid enough selfies
There is a 16-megapixel sensor on the face of the iQoo 11, which is capable of capturing some really good selfies in well-lit conditions when it comes to detail. That said, the front camera is slightly opposite to the rear camera in the colour department and delivers selfies with slightly washed-out colours. But the good thing is that the selfie camera on the phone does not smooth out skin without any filter.
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Software: Crowded but not clumsy
iQoo 11 comes with Android 13 out of the box (which is still a very rare thing to see), topped with the company’s in-house UI, FunTouch OS 13. Everything operates very smoothly on the iQoo 11. The iQoo UI on top leaves scope for a lot of customisation and personalisation. One can even create a guest account on the phone that would allow the guest to access the phone without letting them into information-sensitive apps like WhatsApp or Gallery.
The brand has also been quite proactive about software updates and fixing the backend issues. That said, the UI is very crowded. The phone comes loaded with third-party apps, some of which are quite useless, to be honest. The phone would need some thorough cleaning, especially if you are someone who prefers a minimalist, clutter-free UI.
Gaming and general multitasking: Nothing it cannot handle
There is no smartphone game that the iQoo 11 cannot handle. There. We said it.
The combination of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor with 16 GB RAM basically makes the iQoo 11 a smartphone gamer’s paradise. The phone can handle the most high-end, intense graphic games with ease. Games like Call of Duty, Genshin Impact, and Asphalt Legends will play very smoothly, even at maxed-out settings which is a huge plus point. The phone does not heat up as such during long gaming sessions, either.
The same goes for multitasking. Whatever you might want to throw at the iQoo 11, the phone will take it with ease. You can hop from one app to another all day, and it will not skip a beat. And as it comes with 5G, you can hop on to the fastest network of them all without waiting for any software updates to enable you to do so.
Battery and charging speed: All day life, half-hour charge
The iQoo 11 comes with a 5,000 mAh battery with support for 120 W fast charging and iQoo provides the charging brick in the box. These are impressive numbers that translated into an even more impressive performance. The phone can easily last all day, even through the busiest of days. The battery will take a hit if you max out the display resolution and refresh rate but keep them at the default setting and the phone will not disappoint. The fast charging support is extremely admirable as well. The company claims the phone can go from 1-100 per cent in under half an hour which tested out to be true in most cases for us.
Price: Good value for money
The iQoo 11 comes with a starting price of Rs. 59,999 for the 8 GB RAM and 256 GB storage variant. This does not seem like too steep a price considering all things iQoo 11 has to offer. The phone comes with the most powerful Qualcomm smartphone processor that the world has seen which is paired with an ample amount of RAM that can easily take care of all your work/ pleasure needs, whatever they might be. All that power combined with that very distinct design, long battery life, with support for really fast charging makes the iQoo 11 quite a formidable smartphone in this price range. The UI might seem a little crowded to some and the secondary cameras on the primary camera setup might not feel like it’s quite as good as the main sensor, but overall the phone still delivers good for the money.
The iQoo 11 is the most affordable Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Generation 2 processor-driven smartphone in the market at the time of writing, with the Samsung Galaxy S23 starting at a higher price and the OnePlus 11 also expected to come at a higher price tag. However, the phone faces a lot of competition from last year’s flagships, many of which come with lower price tags than at their launch. These include the still-very-good Xiaomi 12 Pro and the OnePlus 10 Pro, which also sport excellent displays, very good cameras and fast charging.
Photography fans will also be attracted to the Google Pixel 7, which has an inferior processor but better cameras and also comes with the legendary Pixel smart features as well as the fastest updates for any Android device. Those who prefer established brands might even consider the Galaxy S22 and the iPhone 13 in that price range.
However, if what you are looking for is a phone that looks different from the routine and delivers a rock solid performance without any flaws, with a charger in the box as well, then the iQoo 11 is a great device. If iQoo can keep updating it in a regular and timely manner, it could prove to be a big headache for flagships right through the year.
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