iQOO 3 5G Review

By Anuj Sharma - April 7, 2020
The iQOO 3 5G is one of the most powerful and efficient gaming phones that you can buy today, and it’s easy to understand why. The smartphone packs top-of-the-line Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor ....

Just when I thought that BBK Electronics seems to have taken a lot more than it can manage, given its current set of brands, which includes Oppo, Vivo, OnePlus, and their subsidiaries, the company took me by surprise by launching another new brand – iQOO.

iQOO – an abbreviation for ‘i Quest On and On’ – is Vivo’s sub-brand and aims to target those who like to play games on their mobile device. You might wonder – why would a company launch a smartphone designed especially for gaming? Well, the answer is simple – mobile gaming is the next big thing, and according to a report by GoldenCasinoNews, 2019 registered the presence of 1.36 billion mobile gamers worldwide, with 36% of them between the ages of 25 and 36.

The report further states that the total number of users who play mobile games will rise by 22.5% by 2024. Now, given this tremendous anticipated growth, it’s only natural for a mobile phone company to target the increasing number of gamers. And here enters iQOO, and its iQOO 3 5G smartphone.

So, before discussing every aspect of this new smartphone in detail, let’s take a quick look at the iQOO 3 5G. The device has the top-of-the-line Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor and is one of the few smartphones, like the Realme X Pro 5G and Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, 5G that supports the 5th generation of cellular networks – 5G.  

We recently got our hands on the device, we think that it’s currently the best smartphone for all your gaming needs. Here is why…

Design and display

The moment you pick this phone in your hands, the first thing that you notice is not it’s design but its bulk. At 215 grams, the iQOO 3 is one of the heaviest phones that I’ve tested in the last few months. The last heavy phone that I got my hands on was the ASUS ROG Phone II, which weighs 240 grams and is also a gamer-centric device. Given the current state of smartphone displays and the way they’re increasing in size, it seems quite likely that smartphones of the future will be even bigger and heavier.

Iqoo 3 5g New

In terms of design, the iQOO 3 5G looks more like a standard smartphone – in fact, it doesn’t look like a gaming phone at all. Unlike the ROG Phone II, which is a marvel in terms of design and has an additional USB-Type C port to let you attach other gaming accessories, the iQOO 3 5G has a simple smartphone design.

The handset that we tested was tornado black in colour and had a purple highlight at the back. To make the rear panel scratch resistant, the company has used Gorilla Glass 6. At the front, there is SCHOTT Xensation Up, a chemically-strengthened lithium alumino-silicate (LAS) cover glass, which has great strength, flexibility and reliability.

If you run your fingers around the right periphery of the iQOO 3, you will notice two pressure-sensitive buttons at the side of the frame. Called Monster Touch buttons, they have been designed to help users achieve quick multi-finger operations in the game. The company says that these buttons have been certified by the US-Egro and offer better grip, wider adaptation, and comfort.

iqoo button side jpg

The iQOO 3 also offers an immersive full-screen experience – the company calls it the Polar View display, perhaps to differentiate it from Vivo V-series phones that use the Ultra Full View display terminology. It’s a 6.44-inch E3 Super AMOLED display, which reaches a maximum brightness of 1200 nits. The screen has 180Hz Super Touch response rate, however, the panel is still 60Hz. On the other hand, the ASUS ROG Phone II has a maximum of 120Hz refresh rate, and it also lets you choose between 60Hz, 90Hz, and 120Hz.

Performance and battery life

The iQOO 3 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, which uses a 7nm manufacturing process and is equipped with the A77 architecture. In comparison to the Snapdragon 855, the Snapdragon 865’s performance has been increased by 25% and energy consumption has been reduced by 30%. During our time with the device, the smartphone performed brilliantly, with faster application retrieval, cache speed, and multi-tasking thanks, to the 12GB of RAM.

While the difference between the performances of the Snapdragon 855 and 865 is not noticeable while using standard apps, it becomes conspicuously evident while gaming. The 180Hz Super Touch Response rate (currently the maximum in a smartphone) improves the screen's touch scan frequency by 50% from a standard 120Hz and enhances the overall gaming experience. While playing games, such as Mortal Kombat and PUBG Mobile, I could feel the difference made by the high response rate of 180Hz Super Touch. The games were rendered seamlessly, without any lag or drop in the frame rate.

For uninterrupted gaming experience, the smartphone comes with a dedicated ultra-game mode, which prioritises the game performance and allocates system resources accordingly. In the ultra-game mode, you can shut off all notifications and calls, something that is applicable to almost all games. And, then, there are a few additional features that are applicable to a few specific games. The phone also allows you to lock brightness, smoothness, and other features. Also, to improve heat dissipation, the company has used an advanced liquid cooling system combined with superconducting carbon fibre and a temperature equalising board – and the effect is magical. You will hardly feel the smartphone getting heated over extended gaming sessions. 

Another interesting feature of the phone is that it has 4D vibration – it simulates recoils when shooting, which makes the gaming experience much more realistic. The smartphone comes with a 4,440mAh battery that easily delivers a day of back up on heavy usage and a day and a half of back upon moderate on a single charge.

The smartphone runs on iQOO UI 1.0 based on Android 10. The phone’s icons are smart – they can automatically change their colours based on the wallpaper to make the overall viewing comfortable. You can also change the icon shapes according to your preferences. A swipe up from the home screen gives you access to the drawer mode, wherein all installed applications are available. You also get the option of moving your most frequently used apps to the home screen display. In the dark mode, the display doesn’t simply change colour – in fact, the depth of the UI elements also adapted the dark theme to make viewing more pleasant.


The iQOO 3 sports a quad-camera setup at the back, which consists of a 48MP main camera, a 13MP telephoto lens (20X Zoom), a 13MP super wide-angle camera, and a 2MP bokeh camera. The camera also has a ‘Super Macro’ mode, which allows you to capture images at extremely close distances.

iqoo camera jpg

During our test, the 48MP camera captured neat images with a lot of details, however, a lot of sharpness makes images look highly processed. Most photos that I clicked had a warm colour tone in them. Warm colours, which includes red, orange, and yellow, generally attract viewers attention and interest. Thus, an image with even a small splash of warmth can stand out. If you like to shoot sunrises and sunsets, the iQOO 3 will definitely be very effective in capturing different hues of red, orange, and yellow. The 2MP bokeh sensor is decent but doesn’t separate foreground and background in portrait shots.

Iqoo 3 5g Camera Images

At night, the iQOO 3 captured well-lit images with good exposure, dynamic range, and preserved highlights. Coming to videos, the camera has something called the ‘Super Anti’ shake mode, which performs real-time image stabilisation processing by cutting and processing the edges of the screen to shoot a clear and stable video.


Vivo’s iQOO 3 has been designed to satisfy mobile gamers who demand fast performance, a great display, and a long-lasting battery to support their longer gaming sessions. The iQOO 3’s Monster Touch Buttons allow you to reassign controls that make PUBG, and other games with complex controls, easier to play. And thanks to the inclusion of 5G support, the smartphone is also future-ready.


Fast performance, 180Hz refresh rate



8.83/ 10
  • Design 8
  • Performance 9.5
  • Camera 9
  • Tags
  • iQOO
  • iQOO 3 5G