Vendors in the 30-40k segment have a new rival in Vivo’s newly-created sub brand IQOO. Their first phone, the IQOO 3, is based on the same principle as OnePlus phones, with premium designs, multiple cameras etc. In the case of IQOO 3 the feature that sets it apart is 5G support. However, 5G support doesn’t exist from telcos in India yet.

The other highlight that you can actually take advantage of is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset inside. Benchmarking tool Antutu puts it ahead of the OnePlus 7T and Asus ROG Phone II in CPU and graphics performance. Overall performance is becoming of a premium smartphone — apps, including camera, open instantly and graphic intensive games load fast and run smoothly. The 6.44-inch Super AMOLED screen looks vivid with good outdoor visibility. However, it has lower refresh rate (60Hz) compared to OnePlus 7T’s 90Hz screen. This is a bit of let down for gaming enthusiasts.

In terms of design, the IQOO 3 has some eye catching colours with a premium glass back that doesn’t catch smudges. While the handset is compact and handy, it is tad heavy.

Running atop Android 10 is IQOO’s custom UI, which is quite cluttered compared to OnePlus’ Oxygen OS. The quad camera set-up includes a 48MP primary, a telephoto, a wide angle and a depth camera. The primary camera musters good detail in well lit conditions but struggles in handling too many colours of similar shades. Low light shots look washed out, which is disappointing at this price point. Starting at 36,990, the IQOO 3 offers enough to make it feel at home in this segment. But it is not an outright winner. In scenarios like gaming, it’s not drastically better than the Asus ROG Phone II. In terms of camera and interface, the OnePlus 7T has an upper hand.

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