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iQoo 11 5G Review: Pro Performance, Premium Price

 

iQoo 11 5G is the first flagship Android smartphone of 2023 to arrive in India. The phone is a successor to the iQoo 9T, which launched last year. Positioned as the world’s fastest Android smartphone, the iQoo 11 5G features Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC. The phone also packs premium hardware such as a 2K AMOLED display, a 50-megapixel primary camera, and support for 120W fast charging.

The new handset has received some ‘pro’ features but as they say, upgrades come at a cost. The iQoo 11 5G is far more expensive than the outgoing model. Should you buy the iQoo 11 5G or wait for other flagship phones to launch? Here is our full review to help you decide.

iQoo 11 5G price in India

The iQoo 11 5G has been launched in two configurations. The base model packs 8GB of LPDDR5X RAM and 256GB of UFS 4.0 storage. It is priced at Rs. 59,999. The variant we are reviewing costs Rs. 64,999 and packs 16GB of RAM with 256GB of storage. As part of the launch offers, HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank cardholders are eligible for a Rs. 5,000 discount.

iQoo 11 5G design and display

The iQoo 11 5G comes in two colours and finishes. The company sent us the Legend variant, which has the classic white rear panel with the BMW Motorsport-inspired racing stripe design. This particular variant uses a combination of fibreglass and silicone leather. The phone feels quite refreshing to hold and look at without compromising on the premium in-hand feel. The Alpha colour variant has a glass back and is a safer option for those who want the classic black colour. Both models come with a metal chassis for better durability and a premium touch.

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The iQoo 11 5G in its Legend colour option

The phone is fairly tall and is not meant for one-handed use. It measures around 8.72mm in thickness. The phone’s power and volume buttons are located on the right side and are easy to reach. Despite weighing about 205g, the phone does not feel very heavy. Of course, if you are coming from a lighter phone then you are bound to feel the dense weight.

On the front, the iQoo 11 5G has a 6.78-inch AMOLED display with a 2K resolution. Because the screen offers vivid colours and deep blacks, the viewing experience is great. The cherry on top is the set of additional features that enhance the multimedia experience. These include up to 1800 nits of peak brightness (for outdoors, under sunlight), support for WideVine L1, and HDR10 content support in apps such as Netflix. 

The display bezel around the chin of the iQoo 11 5G is slightly thicker than other bezels. There is a hole-punch cut out at the top for the front camera. The screen also has a layer of Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus, which should make it more resistant to scratches or shattering during accidental drops.

The display of the iQoo 11 5G also intelligently switches between 1Hz and 144Hz depending on the on-screen content. iQoo seems to have some pending optimisations for running apps at 144Hz as in my experience, most apps that I tried ran at 120Hz. Out of the three refresh rate settings, I preferred using Smart Switch, which adjusts the refresh rate automatically based on the system power consumption and actual usage scenario. Oddly, there were a few stutters in the UI on a select few apps such as Twitter and Instagram. Alternatively, you can set the refresh rate at Standard (60Hz) or High (up to 144Hz).

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The iQoo 11 5G has fairly thin bezels around its AMOLED display

There is also a smart refresh rate feature on the iQoo 11 5G where only a portion of the display refreshes at a higher rate when required. This is possible in a few apps such as YouTube where the comments section, for example, refreshes at a higher rate when scrolling, while the part of the display where the video is being played refreshes at a lower rate. iQoo claims that the intelligent switching helps reduce power consumption. The display also supports a feature called Monster Touch, which lets you use portions of the display as additional in-game buttons within certain games. 

iQoo 11 5G specifications and software

As mentioned above, the iQoo 11 5G is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC making it the first smartphone in India with this new flagship SoC. There is also a dedicated Vivo V2 chip, which claims to help enhance the camera, display and gaming experience. The phone also packs a bigger 5,000mAh battery, compared to the iQoo 9T’s 4,700mAh cell. The 120W fast charger is provided inside the box.

There is a quick and responsive in-display fingerprint scanner and support for AI face recognition as well. Wireless connectivity includes Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth v5.3, USB Type-C port, GPS, etc. The iQoo 11 5G does not get an IP rating and does not support wireless charging, which is disappointing. 

In terms of software, the iQoo 11 5G runs on the latest Android 13 out of the box. It has a layer of Vivo’s Funtouch OS 13 on top. The custom skin has multiple options for customising animations, app icon shape and size, changing wallpapers, etc. Funtouch OS 13 also supports Android 13’s system UI colour palette feature and adjusts the system-wide colour based on the wallpaper or theme set by the user.

Funtouch OS also lets users create guest profiles so others can use the same phone, without gaining access to your apps and data. Think of it as a Netflix or Amazon Prime Video user profile, where each user has a record of their own watch history, preferences, etc. This is a good privacy feature for those who often hand their phone to other people to use.

You also get support for adding widgets to the home screen. In addition to this, the software supports Android 13’s Privacy Dashboard, Permission Manager, etc. While all of this is great, the company’s native V-App Store produces a lot of spam with frequent notifications. Fortunately, the UI is not filled with many third-party apps other than Snapchat, Spotify and Byju’s. You can uninstall the unwanted apps if you wish.

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The V-App Store frequently spams with unwanted notifications and recommendations

iQoo has promised to provide three years of Android updates and four years of security support for the iQoo 11 5G. This means that the phone should get Android 14 to Android 16 eventually, along with support for security patches till 2027.

iQoo 11 5G performance and battery life

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC inside the iQoo 11 5G is a powerhouse. I did not experience any lag whatsoever while playing games or performing routine tasks on the device. Call of Duty: Mobile ran well even at the ‘Max’ frame rate setting and ‘Very High’ graphics. The phone did not get as warm as I expected it to even after a couple of matches, which lasted for about 20 minutes each. I also played Asphalt 9 Legends and the experience was equally good with no sign of lag or stutter.

There is a feature called frame rate interpolation on the iQoo 11 5G, which is said to add additional frames to a game even if the game does not actually support it. The ‘Ultra Game’ mode also lets users switch between Battery Saver, Balanced and Monster power modes. While Balanced mode offers a mix of good performance and power efficiency, Monster mode unlocks the SoC’s peak performance but at the cost of battery life.

I ran a few benchmarks to see if the iQoo 11 5G could match the company’s claimed score of 13,23,820 points on AnTuTu. Our review unit scored 12,63,366 points in AnTuTu, which fell short of the claimed score. That being said, it is among the highest scores that we have recorded so far. The iQoo 11 5G beats the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC-powered Asus ROG Phone 6 (Review) by a fair margin. The iQoo 11 5G also scored 884 and 3099 points in Geekbench’s single-core and multi-core tests.

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The iQoo 11 5G comes with a 120W fast charger in the box

With great power, comes the fear of excessive battery consumption. However, the iQoo 11 5G seems fairly optimised for this flagship Snapdragon SoC. I got an average of a little over six hours of screen-on time, which is not bad. In our HD video loop test, the iQoo 11 5G lasted for 20 hours, 59 minutes, which was very impressive for a flagship Android smartphone. The 120W fast charger also charged the battery from 1-100 percent in 23 minutes, which is actually a couple of minutes quicker than the claimed time.

iQoo 11 5G cameras

The iQoo 11 5G has a triple-camera setup on the back. It has a 50-megapixel Samsung GN5 camera with support for optical image stabilisation (OIS). The primary camera is accompanied by an 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera, and a 13-megapixel portrait camera with 2X optical zoom.

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The iQoo 11 5G gets Vivo’s V2 chip for enhanced camera performance in low light 

Premium iQoo phones tend to have impressive camera performance and it is mostly true in the case of the iQoo 11 5G as well. The primary camera’s daylight performance is pretty good. The colours are a touch boosted but the dynamic range is quite good. Images have controlled highlights and well-exposed shadows, be it any time of the day. In Photo mode with scene detection enabled, at times, captures good enough low-light shots that are well-exposed. If you want a brighter low-light image, you can switch to Night mode which usually takes a couple of seconds to capture and a couple more seconds to process an image.

iQoo 11 5G primary camera samples

The ultra-wide camera sensor is weaker compared to most flagships out there. Details from the 8-megapixel sensor are not as sharp, especially around the distorted edges. The dynamic range performance is also below average. I expected iQoo to do better in this area. The telephoto camera with 2X optical zoom captures good details and the blur around the subject also looks very natural. However, when in portrait mode, the subject’s skin tone appears a shade or two lighter, making them look a bit fairer than real life.

Top to bottom: Ultra-wide sample, ultra-wide sample, Portrait mode on the iQoo 11 5G

For selfies, you get a 16-megapixel front camera that gets the skin tone right in most cases. However, just like with the rear camera’s portrait mode, the front camera makes the subject look fairer than reality. The front camera’s portrait mode also smoothens the skin a bit, despite turning off all sorts of beauty modes. It also blurs out the wrong edges at times, like in the image below where the software blurred out some parts of my face and also the earphones in my ear.

Front camera portrait mode on the iQoo 11 5G

In terms of video, the iQoo 11 5G can record up to 8K 30fps videos using the rear camera. The V2 chip unlocks Night Mode video recording at 4K 30 fps and the results are quite impressive. While there is some noise in the darker areas, I would not complain much as the overall video is well-exposed and does a far better job than the standard video mode. You can also record night mode videos at 1080p 30fps but not at 1080p/ 4K 60fps.

The front camera continues to support only 1080p 30fps video recording. The subject is exposed well but the camera compromises on the dynamic range.

Verdict

The iQoo 11 5G sets the tone for 2023 Android flagship smartphones. While design preferences are subjective, I quite liked the faux-leather back of the Legend edition. I hope iQoo experiments with more colours though, as having just two colours is a bit limiting. The phone also checks other boxes by offering a great display, solid performance, and strong battery backup. Thankfully, the 120W charger is included in the box. The phone is expected to get three major Android updates and while Funtouch OS is improving, iQoo needs to hit the brakes when it comes to spammy notifications from its own apps. The lack of wireless charging and IP rating also takes some points away from the 11 5G.

The primary camera is good and has some neat features, such as night mode for video. However, for a phone that costs Rs. 64,999, it deserved to get a better ultra-wide camera. In fact, we feel the iQoo 9 Pro (Review) has a better camera setup in this regard and would serve you better, at a lower price. If you’re not a numbers person, then the iQoo 9 Pro is still a good deal as you get wireless charging and the superior Ultrasonic fingerprint reader. 

However, if you want a phone that offers best-in-class performance with the latest processor, very fast charging, great multimedia experience, and good cameras, the iQoo 11 5G can certainly be considered. However, keep in mind that there are plenty more Android flagships from OnePlus, Samsung and others that are right around the corner, so it wouldn’t hurt to wait a bit before making your purchase decision. 


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