scorecardIQOO Z7 Pro 5G Review — Impressive camera but OS needs more work
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IQOO Z7 Pro 5G Review — Impressive camera but OS needs more work

IQOO Z7 Pro 5G Review — Impressive camera but OS needs more work
Tech9 min read
  • iQOO has launched the Z7 Pro 5G on Aug 31
  • The smartphone is powered by Mediatek Dimensity 7200 SoC.
  • It starts at a price of ₹23,999
iQOO has been at the forefront when it came to delivering performance and optics in a package ever since its inception. However, there was always a missing piece in the puzzle with a reliable flagship in place and this was changed in early 2023 with the iQOO 11, a device that I reviewed. Since then, there have been some launches by the brand but the sweet spot of budget performance devices demanded more attention. IQOO Z7 Pro 5G tends to answer this concern. A smartphone packing in decent hardware, reliable camera specifications and a fairly new chipset, it does create an excitement. However, this segment offers great competition namely with the Nothing Phone(2) and the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite. So does the Z7 Pro stand true to its promise, and more importantly how well does it perform against the competition?


Price & Availability
iQOO Z7 Pro 5G is available in 2 variants.

8GB RAM + 128GB Storage

₹23,999
8GB RAM + 256GB Storage

₹24,999

You can buy the iQOO Z7 Pro 5G from Amazon.

Design
iQOO Z7 Pro 5G features a curved glass display which has been done tastefully. The smartphone is slim, with a commendable effort for weight distribution. The design does add to the premium appeal and offers synergy of utility as well. However the plastic build does remind you that this is in fact not flagship.

Usually with smartphones featuring curved displays, we tend to see a compromise in grip. However this isn’t the case with the Z7 Pro 5G. The glossy edges make the device easy to hold, and the matte finish on the back adds to the grip.


The smartphone with me is in the Graphite Matte color which in my opinion is the right color for the device. Not only does it look premium but it also brings the matte finish. Another color option is the Blue Lagoon. If you are into brighter colors then that is the correct option for you.

On the back of the device we also have the camera module, which is relatively bigger. Not surprising since it houses a double camera set-up. Even with the hardware in place the camera bump isn’t bothering.


The smartphone comes with an IP52 rating. While I am sure it can face basic drops and moderate encounters with water, I wouldn’t recommend taking any serious risks with it.


Moving on, the device features the power button along with volume rockers on the right hand side. The quality of the buttons is solid and respectable. At the bottom we have the USB Type-C charging port. Along with it we have the SIM card slot, which can house two Nano SIMs.

Display

The iQOO Z7 Pro 5G showcases a 6.7-inch AMOLED display with a screen resolution of 2400X1080 Pixels.
Whether you're watching content or simply checking the time on the always-on screen, a bright panel like this is easier on the eyes, even under direct sunlight. The details are crisp, the colours are natural, and the curved display enhances the overall viewing experience.

However, as is common with curved screens, occasional mistouches are a minor inconvenience. Despite the excellent execution, it's difficult to avoid accidental touches and app openings or missing the volume slider in portrait mode. This is a minor trade-off in the grand scheme of things.

The display also integrates the fingerprint scanner, which is an optical sensor. It takes a split-second pause before unlocking the device, but it consistently performs without any misses, which is commendable.

Where the screen truly shines is in the viewing experience, especially when paired with the 120Hz refresh rate. Let's start with the refresh rate itself.

A standard 120Hz refresh rate provides a smoother experience for gaming and reading content. The Z7 Pro 5G delivers this seamlessly, without any issues. You can choose between the standard 60Hz refresh rate and 120Hz, but I recommend sticking to the latter for optimal performance. While there may be a slight lag during the smart switch, the visual experience more than compensates for it. The bright panel with its color accuracy is a treat to watch. The smartphone also supports HDR 10 & 10+, allowing you to enjoy HD content on OTT apps like Disney Plus Hotstar.

As an example, I've been engrossed in watching Ashoka of the platform, and it happens to be a perfect show for evaluating the display quality. The varying colour tones, from bright outdoors to dark indoors, provide a diverse range for assessment. Fortunately, the Z7 Pro excels in these tests. The display never misses the mark, and the HDR performance is spot on. The blacks are truly deep, and the display exhibits minimal light leakage.

iQOO has also not compromised on sound quality. The stereo speaker setup ensures loud audio output. Even at lower volume levels, the sound retains a good amount of detail. However, in super volume mode, some details may fade away.

Before concluding, it's worth highlighting the in-display fingerprint sensor. This optical unit unlocks the device quickly and efficiently. However I found the Nord 3 sensor a bit faster.

Software

Now, we come to the section in which iQOO faces the most critique, the UI. iQOO smartphones now include the iQOO Z7 Pro 5G feature Vivo’s FunTouch OS. A UI available across Vivo smartphones.

We know how purists who were first-round buyers of iQOO complain about this, saying iQOO smartphones should have dedicated skin. I have found the skin to be reliable in my experience before except for the bloatware. Yes we get a buffet of preinstalled apps on the smartphone, which can be discouraging initially. The apps however can be uninstalled which is a saving grace.

However, OnePlus Nord 3 and Nothing Phone(2) are having an upper hand here with their bloat free experience.

The iQOO Z7 Pro runs Android OS 13 with FunTouch UI 13, the experience of which is very familiar to me. The execution is much better here with the better processor and the latest Google OS. I want to start with the positives of the UI first.

Primarily customization and accessibility. FunTouch OS provides some decent options for customizing the skin. We are talking about wallpapers, themes, and text fonts as well. If you like to give flavor to your device, then FunTouch OS has plenty of options.

The UI was also very stable and bug-free, I have been using it for a week and have yet to find an issue. I was also greeted with familiar and my favorite add-ons on the FunTouch OS. Like the voice recorder app, which is very well-versed. You can increase the speed of recording and even edit audio here. Very helpful if you are a video producer like myself and do voice-overs.

The widgets on FunTouch OS 13 are also useful; my favorite is the calendar. Mostly because of the blocky texts and bold fonts.

Performance

The iQOO Z7 Pro 5G is equipped with the Mediatek Dimensity 7200 SoC, a fairly new chipset. As expected, the smartphone delivers a consistent and reliable performance.

This can be attributed to the overall package that iQOO offers with this device. It comes with 8GB of RAM, which is already ample for most users. Now this is LPDDR4X and now LPDDR5 yet the phone is very snappy.

There is also the option to expand the RAM internally by using spare storage, but I haven't found a use case where this would be necessary.

Let's talk about performance, especially in power-hungry tasks like gaming. During my testing, I played BGMI on the iQOO Z7 Pro 5G daily for at least 2 hours. I had the settings maxed out with HDR graphics and Ultra frame rates, and so far, I haven't experienced any glitches or frame drops.

The 6.7-inch massive display is excellent for gaming, allowing you to spot and eliminate your enemies with ease. The combination of the high refresh rate and powerful SoC provides a smooth and fluid gaming experience. I can only compare it to the Nord 3.

After about 50 minutes of continuous gaming, the phone does heat up, but it becomes noticeably uncomfortable only after the 1-hour mark. However, it cools down quickly, allowing you to get back to your games without much delay.

The Z7 Pro 5G utilizes the RAM efficiently by holding applications in the background for extended periods. This includes apps like Instagram or WhatsApp, as well as heavier apps like COD: Mobile. Switching between apps is seamless, and the phone picks up right where you left off.

This performance extends to everyday use, and general users will not encounter any issues. For reference I did run a Geekbench 6 score for the device. The single-core performance is 1175 and the multi-core performance is 2525. This score is respectable when put against the Nord CE 3 Lite which scored 869 and 1920 respectively.

The device offers 256GB of internal storage, of which the system takes up around 25GB. If you still need more storage, you can consider purchasing additional cloud storage since the Z7 Pro 5G does not support external SD cards.

Before concluding this section, it's important to mention the battery performance of the iQOO Z7 Pro 5G. It is equipped with a 4600mAh battery that is difficult to drain, especially for light users.

The numbers are impressive. With casual to heavy usage, I was averaging around 4 hours of screen time. This includes gaming sessions, video calls, and YouTube consumption.For light users, the battery life extends even further, easily lasting a bit over a workday.

The device supports 66W of fast charging, which works wonders as expected. With the bundled 80W charger, it takes about 35 minutes to charge the device from 0% to 100%, which is remarkably efficient. This is with mobile data turned on, of course.

Camera
The iQOO Z7 Pro 5G features a dual camera module. The primary camera is a 64MP shooter paired together with a 2MP portrait sensor. The big sell on the camera is the OIS capability so let’s start talking about that first.

Let's begin by focusing on the primary sensor, which consistently produces remarkable results. In well-lit conditions, the camera excels, preserving intricate details and vivid colors. The dynamic range is notably impressive, and the white balance is accurately maintained. It's worth mentioning that these outcomes were achieved while utilizing the natural color mode within the camera app. Disabling this option does reveal a noticeable contrast in the results.

While the full-resolution HDR images might seem similar at first glance, a closer inspection reveals their superior level of detail, particularly when you attempt to crop them.

The portrait shots presented here adhere to conventional standards, yet their quality remains commendable. The precision of edge detection is impeccable, and the ability to manage the bokeh effect is noteworthy. That being said I would have appreciated an ultra wide sensor here.

When utilizing the dedicated night mode, the images appear largely consistent; nevertheless, there's a slight improvement in colors, particularly noticeable in the red tones. A marginal enhancement in sharpness is discernible, accompanied by a reduction in noise levels.

When it comes to video recording, the iQOO Z7 Pro 5G surprises with its ability to capture 4K videos at 30FPS, accompanied by clear audio. Content creators will find the camera setup beneficial for their needs.

The front-facing camera boasts a 16MP resolution and stands out as one of the more impressive sensors I've evaluated recently. Skin tones are faithfully captured, maintaining proximity to the natural source, while the resulting images showcase a satisfying level of clarity.

Moreover, the video quality originating from the front camera is notably robust, making it suitable for vlogging purposes as well. Its ability to capture a wide frame proves advantageous for this content format.

Verdict
iQOO Z7 Pro 5G appears to be a viable option for buyers looking for a premium mid-ranger. It delivers performance in optics and brute output as well. However bloatware on the device does stand out like a sore thumb.

So if you want a more refined software experience you can check out the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite or the Nothing Phone(2). If you want more options in the camera section you can check out the Oppo Reno 10 Pro.




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