Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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iQoo Z7 5G Review: Best Smartphone Under Rs. 20,000?

iQoo Z7 5G is the company’s latest smartphone under Rs. 20,000 in India. It is the successor to the Z6 5G and compared to its predecessor, the Z7 5G is priced slightly higher. However, the new phone gets many improvements including a brighter display, improved camera system, and support for faster charging. The iQoo Z7 5G competes against the recently launched OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G (Review), Redmi Note 12 5G (Review) and Moto G73 5G (Review). Should you consider buying the iQoo Z7 5G over the competition? Here is our review to help you decide.

iQoo Z7 5G price in India

The iQoo Z7 5G has been launched in India in two storage options. The base model packs 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage and is priced at Rs. 18,999. Our review unit has 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage and is priced at Rs. 19,999.

iQoo Z7 5G design and display

The iQoo Z7 5G looks like a polished version of the more affordable iQoo Z6 Lite 5G (Review), with the camera module being rectangular and slightly bigger. It has a flat polycarbonate body and frame, which is common across many smartphones in this price range. iQoo sent us the Pacific Night colour of the Z7 5G, which as mentioned in the first impressions, looks quite premium. The rear panel has a glittery finish when light hits it from an angle. While the phone has a shiny matte finish, the rear panel rarely attracts fingerprints.

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iQoo Z7 5G has a flat frame design

 

I quite like the overall in-hand feel of the iQoo Z7 5G. The flat edges don’t hurt the palm and it is also quite lightweight at 173g. It is a decently sized phone with a 6.38-inch display which has now been upgraded to an AMOLED panel, offering good contrast and brightness levels. The display offers vibrant colours and deep blacks, which you will notice when viewing HDR10 content on Netflix and YouTube.

The screen also refreshes smartly between 60Hz and 90Hz with the ‘Smart switch’ setting. During my usage, I did not notice any stutters in the animations or when scrolling. That being said, I would have liked to see a smoother 120Hz AMOLED panel like the Redmi Note 12 5G.

What makes the phone look less modern are the thick chin and the waterdrop notch in the display. While the design grows on you after a point, most of the competition offers a hole-punch cutout. As a trade-off, the phone gets an IP54 rating for basic water and dust protection which is slightly better than the Redmi Note 12 5G’s IP53 rating and the Moto G73 5G’s IP52 rating.

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iQoo Z7 5G’s chin is quite thick compared to the rest of the bezels around the display

 

The iQoo Z7 5G also gets a 3.5mm headphone jack, which could be necessary as the speaker setup is not the best in the segment. The phone only comes with a single speaker and the sound tends to get slightly distorted at full volume. For biometrics, there is a responsive in-display fingerprint scanner along with AI-based face recognition.

iQoo Z7 5G specifications and software

The iQoo Z7 5G features a MediaTek Dimensity 920 SoC which is an upgrade over the outgoing model. Another area where the Z7 5G has improved is the charging speed, which is now 44W. The battery capacity though, compared to the predecessor, is smaller at 4,500mAh. The iQoo Z7 5G features a hybrid SIM slot, USB Type-C port, support for Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi 6, and GPS.

In terms of software, the iQoo Z7 5G runs Android 13-based Funtouch OS 13. iQoo has promised two major Android updates and security patches for three years, for the Z7. With regards to RAM management, I noticed that this has improved slightly over the previous model. Most apps continued running in the background and did not reload when I went back to them. This is not always applicable when you load some heavy apps such as games or record videos on the phone though.

There are some preinstalled third-party apps, which can be uninstalled. Moreover, you get the infamous Hot Apps and Hot Games recommendation folders in the app drawer. You can hide these from the settings of the V-App Store. The latter app spammed me with at least a couple of recommendations in the notifications shade, every few hours. Thankfully, you can disable these by long-pressing any one of the notifications and then tapping “Turn off all V-App Store notifications.”

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V-App Store keeps spamming with recommendations every few hours

 

The iQoo Z7 5G gets all the Funtouch OS 13 features found in the more premium iQoo Neo 7 5G (Review) and the flagship iQoo 11 5G (Review). These include support for Android’s Material You theme engine, customising animations for various tasks, wallpapers, icons, etc.

iQoo Z7 5G performance and battery life

The iQoo Z7 5G is quite a capable performer in its segment. The phone handles almost all tasks quite well. Be it the routine scrolling sessions on social media or playing games, the overall experience was quite smooth. Heavier apps such as Call of Duty: Mobile took a bit more time to load though. However, the gaming experience was quite good. In fact, I preferred playing games more on the iQoo Z7 5G compared to the similarly priced OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G, which we reviewed recently.

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iQoo Z7 5G features few bloatware apps in the UI

 

Call of Duty: Mobile defaulted to the ‘Max’ frame rate with ‘Low’ graphics setting. Alternatively, you can switch to ‘High’ graphics quality and ‘Very high’ frame rate settings. In both cases, the phone did not show any signs of lag or stutter during gameplay, but there was some jerkiness when a notification popped up. To tackle this, you can enable the ‘Block notifications’ feature in the Ultra Game mode settings. The iQoo Z7 5G does not get warm very quickly even when gaming, despite featuring a slim body and a powerful SoC.

In our benchmark tests, the iQoo Z7 5G scored 4,36,524 in AnTuTu. It managed to outperform the Moto G73 5G which scored 4,22,824 points with its MediaTek Dimensity 930 SoC, and the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite 5G which scored 4,12,150 points with its Snapdragon 695 SoC. In Geekbench 6’s single-core and multi-core tests, the Z7 5G scored 729 and 1,835 points, respectively.

In terms of battery life, the iQoo Z7 5G averaged a screen-on time (SoT) of about nine hours. The phone took a little over an hour to charge from 1-100 percent using the adapter provided in the box. in our HD video battery loop test, the Z7 5G ran for 18 hours, 51 minutes, which is very good.

iQoo Z7 5G cameras

The iQoo Z7 5G has a dual-camera setup on the back which consists of a 64-megapixel primary camera with support for optical image stabilisation (OIS), and a 2-megapixel portrait lens. For selfies, the phone has a 16-megapixel front camera. The phone misses out on an ultra-wide camera. 

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iQoo Z7 5G has a dual-camera setup on the back

 

The primary camera’s daylight performance is quite good for the price. Colours are vivid and you get good details across the board. However, there are times when the shadows are not properly exposed in HDR shots. The same is the case with low-light shots. Night mode helps in this case, which also curtails some noise in the darker parts of photos.

iQoo Z7 5G primary camera samples (tap to see full size)

 

Portrait mode with the rear camera is also quite good in both day and night shots. The background blur looks natural and creamy but sometimes, the software sharpens some images a bit too much. I noticed that the front camera tends to smoothen the skin a bit and this is despite disabling the beauty mode filters. On the other hand, Portrait mode on the front camera does a good job with edge detection but makes the skin look a tad fairer than what it is in real life. If you like this kind of colour tuning, then you shouldn’t have an issue with it.

iQoo Z7 5G front camera samples (tap to see full size)

 

The iQoo Z7 5G can record up to 4K 30fps videos using the rear camera. For the price, the video quality is quite good, with good dynamic range and colours. The front camera can capture decent 1080p 30fps videos. I wish there was an ultra-wide lens here to make the camera setup more versatile.

Verdict

The iQoo Z7 5G is a clear winner when it comes to delivering good performance under Rs. 20,000. The phone also checks the right boxes for those who consume a lot of content on their phones, and want an AMOLED display with good battery life and fast charging. The performance of the front and rear cameras are also quite good, however an ultra-wide camera is sorely missed.

Where the iQoo Z7 5G falls short is in the audio department. The single speaker setup is nowhere close to what a dual-speaker setup can deliver. Software preferences are subjective, but if you are okay with Funtouch OS, then the iQoo Z7 5G can certainly be a great buy in this segment.


Smartphone companies have launched many compelling devices over the first quarter of 2023. What are some of the best phones launched in 2023 you can buy today? We discuss this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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