iQoo Neo 7 5G Review: A Performance Champ?
iQoo Neo 7 5G has officially been launched in India. This new premium mid-ranger from the Vivo spinoff brand is the successor to the iQoo Neo 6 (Review), which was launched last year for under Rs. 30,000. The iQoo Neo 7 5G has received many upgrades over its predecessor including a 4nm MediaTek SoC, a bigger battery, faster charging, and a 120Hz AMOLED display. While the phone continues to feature a triple-camera setup, there is one major downgrade. Through the course of this review, we will help you decide if the iQoo Neo 7 5G should be your next upgrade.
iQoo Neo 7 5G price in India
The iQoo Neo 7 5G has been launched in India in two storage options. The base variant of this phone has 8GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 128GB of UFS 3.1 storage. This variant is priced at Rs. 29,999. The variant that iQoo sent us has 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage. It is priced at Rs. 33,999 in India.
iQoo Neo 7 5G design and display
In this era, when many smartphones sport a flat frame design, the iQoo Neo 7 5G continues to offer a curved rear panel and frame. The phone has a polycarbonate body but by no means feels cheap. The colour we have is called Frost Blue and has a matte finish to it, which helps keep fingerprints and smudges away. I initially liked the Interstellar Black colour option more, but the Frost Blue colour kind of grew on me. Moreover, the gradient that is visible when light hits the rear panel gives this phone a premium look.
Weight is also well distributed. For those wondering, the iQoo Neo 7 5G weighs 193g and is 8.58mm thick. On the front, the iQoo Neo 7 5G has a tall 6.78-inch display. The screen size is the same as what you’d get with the flagship iQoo 11 5G (Review), but, the iQoo Neo 7 5G has a full-HD+ resolution with support for a 120Hz refresh rate. The screen is flat and has fairly thin bezels around it. The chin is the thickest at 2.65mm, and overall the iQoo Neo 7 5G offers a 93.11 percent screen-to-body ratio.
The screen supports HDR10+ and you also get WideVine L1 support which was detected by Netflix. Colours are vivid and you get a good multimedia experience, courtesy of the fairly loud speakers. There is a definite channel imbalance as the earpiece, which doubles as a secondary outlet for audio, is not as loud as the primary speaker at the bottom. I did not face any issues when using the iQoo Neo 7 5G outdoors under direct sunlight. The display offers 1300 nits at peak brightness but it achieves this only while HDR content is playing.
iQoo Neo 7 5G specifications and software
The iQoo Neo 7 5G has a MediaTek Dimensity 8200 SoC, which is manufactured based on a 4nm process. The SoC has a peak clock speed of 3.1GHz and comes with a Mali G610 GPU. There is support for eight 5G bands in India. The device also lets you assign 8GB of storage as Extended RAM. There’s dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.3. There is a 5000mAh battery under the hood, and this phone supports 120W fast charging using the included charger.
In terms of software, the iQoo Neo 7 5G runs the latest Android 13-based Funtouch OS 13 out-of-the-box. It comes with a few third-party apps, such as Byju’s, Snapchat, Spotify, etc. You can uninstall them if you wish. There are a couple of app recommendation folders called Hot Apps and Hot Games. Previously, it was possible to hide these folders using a toggle in the Settings app. However, Vivo has now moved this setting to its V-App Store, which is not available on the iQoo Neo 7 5G, so there is no way to remove these two folders.
That being said, Funtouch OS 13 has come a long way when it comes to customisation and personalisation. Users can dig through the Settings app to customise animations for almost every task such as charging, unlocking the phone with a fingerprint, switching between the home screen and lock screen, etc. There are also options for changing wallpapers, icons, and other UI elements.
The new Funtouch OS 13 supports Android’s Material You theme engine, which means system icons and elements can match the colour of your chosen wallpaper. You can further tweak the colours in the Settings app. Funtouch OS lets users create profiles including guest profiles, which is currently not possible with any other custom skin. I would like Vivo and iQoo to refresh the design a bit and perhaps even consider bringing the China-exclusive Origin OS to India. Hopefully, that will happen with the Android 14 or Android 15 updates, which iQoo has promised to provide for the iQoo Neo 7 5G, along with three years of security support.
iQoo Neo 7 5G performance and battery life
iQoo phones are known for prioritising performance, and the Neo 7 5G is no different. Its Dimensity 8200 SoC can breeze through almost anything you throw at it. Be it routine day-to-day tasks or playing games, the phone can handle it all. I played a few games on the iQoo Neo 7 5G, such as Call of Duty: Mobile, Asphalt 9, and Genshin Impact. While the former two offered smooth gaming experiences, Genshin Impact did not run as well for me and there were a few stutters. It could be the game being too resource-intensive, as even some flagship phones struggle with it.
PUBG: New State and Call of Duty: Mobile can run at 90fps out-of-the-box. iQoo has also confirmed that BGMI, currently banned in India, should get 90fps support by March 2023. iQoo has introduced some new features in its Ultra Game mode, such as Motion Gestures, which can be customised for select games. For example, you can tilt the phone to a certain angle for your character to tilt-scope in PUBG Mobile. The Ultra Game control panel also lets users switch to Monster Mode, which ensures that the SoC does not throttle so you get peak performance for a smoother gaming experience, though potentially at the cost of temperature and battery life.
While playing games, the back of the phone below the camera module gets slightly warm. According to iQoo, there is a fairly large vapour chamber cooling system for heat dissipation, which could be what helped keep thermals in check even after 30 minutes of gameplay in Mumbai’s 32-degree weather.
In terms of benchmarks, the iQoo Neo 7 5G scored 8,58,057 points in AnTuTu which is better than rivals, such as the Nothing Phone 1 (Review), which scored 6,05,375 points. The iQoo Neo 7 also has a significant lead over the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G (Review), which scored 4,38,678 points in AnTuTu. In Geekbench’s single-core and multi-core tests, the iQoo Neo 7 5G managed 995 and 3,885 points, respectively. These, again, are higher than the Nothing Phone 1’s scores of 822 and 2,898 points.
The iQoo Neo 7 5G also did well in terms of battery life. The phone’s 5000mAh battery offers all-day use. It is only when you push the phone to its limits for an extended period that you are likely to get a screen-on time (SoT) of less than six hours. I averaged around 7.5 hours during my week-long review period, which is not bad for a phone with a large display and a powerful SoC. The battery also charges quickly. Enable the “Fast Charging” toggle in the Battery settings and the phone can get from 1-100 percent in under 25 minutes using the included proprietary 120W fast charger. It took only 12 minutes to charge up to 50 percent in my experience.
In our HD video battery loop test, the iQoo Neo 7 5G lasted for 21 hours, 4 minutes, which is quite impressive.
iQoo Neo 7 5G cameras
While everything so far might have seemed to be going in favour of the iQoo Neo 7 5G, the camera department is where it falls slightly short. There is a 64-megapixel main rear camera with support for optical image stabilisation (OIS), a 2-megapixel depth sensor, and a 2-megapixel macro camera. Not having an ultra-wide camera on a sub-Rs. 30,000 phone feels like a disadvantage for a shutterbug like me who plays games sometimes. iQoo said that its customer surveys showed the target group for this phone not using the ultra-wide camera much, which was the reason for omitting it altogether from the Neo 7 5G.
So how do the remaining cameras perform? The primary one does a good job when it comes to colours and detail. There were a few times when the camera underexposed the subject. Otherwise, you get vibrant shots with good detail in the highlights and shadows. The iQoo Neo 7 also did a good job with low-light shots, as shadows were exposed well without overblowing the highlights. The software helps enhance the dynamic range performance.
I also liked the 16-megapixel front camera’s output. In both standard ‘Photo’ and ‘Portrait’ modes, the front camera offered good detail and dynamic range. However, photos in portrait mode had softer skin textures with slightly higher exposures that made me look fair. Photos taken with the ‘Natural’ and ‘Classic’ presets also have the same look, but if you disable the Beauty mode, the results are pretty close to reality. Edge detection was also on point in most cases.
The iQoo Neo 7 5G can shoot up to 4K 60fps video using the main rear camera. It does a decent job with colours and detail but the dynamic range performance needs improvement. The front camera supports only 1080p 30fps video recording, and it prioritises the exposure and focus of the subject, so dynamic range takes a hit. The company has introduced a new Vlog mode which has a few templates to help users record videos using the front or rear camera. Users can shoot multiple short clips to create a vlog. This mode lets you apply filters, some of which need to be downloaded separately.
The iQoo Neo 7 5G gets many things right. It offers best-in-class performance with great battery life and fast charging. The big display and loud speakers also make this phone ideal for multimedia consumption. While the software has become better, there is still some room for improvement. A major plus point is that the iQoo Neo 7 5G comes with the latest software, unlike some other phones in this segment such as the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G (Review).
Cameras are where the iQoo Neo 7 5G is not very versatile, and you have better options, such as the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G, in this segment. Even the Nothing Phone 1 (Review) can be considered if you want an ultra-wide camera, a unique design, and superior features such as wireless charging and an IP rating.
However, if you are a gamer and have a budget of around Rs. 30,000, the iQoo Neo 7 5G can certainly be recommended.