This is the IQOO 9, and unlike the IQOO 9 Pro or Se, this one has a more specific niche gaming. How does it compare to the other models? And does it make sense to get this over your typical dedicated gaming phone? Let’s find out in our full review.
Design and build quality
The IQOO 9 doesn’t bring a flashy gamer style aesthetic, but it isn’t too bland. Thanks to ICU’s Racing sub theme, we have the Dark Cruise Finish, which has a carbon like texture despite the appearance. The back is made of glass, which tapers into the flat, narrow aluminum frame. The orange power button is a neat accent. The matte finish does a good job in masking fingerprints.
And like the other IQOO 9 phones, there’s IP 52 rated protection against dust and light splashes.
6.56″ AMOLED, 1080p, 120Hz refresh rate
The IQOO 9 s display is a 656 inch AMOLED with a 1080p resolution Panda glass protection and a fast 120 Hz refresh rate. It’s a little smaller than the IQOO 9 Se panel, but this one has ten bit color and one very unique feature tailored toward gaming. It’s called Monster Touch, and it means that this panel has extra touch base functionality on top of what you’d get on a typical smartphone. The first part of this is extra accuracy and responsiveness, because the sensor blocks are separated into the left and right halves of the panel.
So when you’re doing things simultaneously on both sides, like moving and attacking, for example, the input can be processed even faster, and there’s a fast 300 Hz touch sampling rate on top of that. The second function of Monster Touch is the pressure sensitive one. The display can recognize a harder press, and you can assign shortcuts depending on the pressure and the specific area. It’s really handy for certain types of game. You can control where you’re looking and at the same time shoot or use abilities without having to lift your thumb.
If you’re the sort of gamer that tends to use a death grip while playing, this might require some extra finesse.(iQOO 9 Review)
High refresh rate
Let’s talk about the high refresh rate for a second. It’s a 120 Hz while you’re swiping the home screen, and it will dial down to 60 when you’re Idling or within certain apps. Unfortunately, that includes games too. There isn’t support for over 60 FPS.
There is a feature which can raise the FPS to 90 in games through interpolation, but that’s only supported in a couple of titles for now. The display itself is quite nice. It’s sharp and contrasting, and it has HDR ten plus support too. The color accuracy can be great depending on your color settings, and the max brightness is respectable. We measured up to 455 nits with the manual slider, and this can boost the 750 nits if you have auto mode on.
Under the display is a fingerprint reader that’s very accurate and responsive.(iQOO 9 Review)
Speaker quality test
And for audio, the IQOO 9 has a pair of stereo speakers with the earpiece acting as the second one. They scored a mark of very good in our loudness test, but the audio quality is average, with well presented highs but hardly any base
For storage you get the option of 128 or 256 gigs, and that’s not expandable.
Android 12, Funtouch 12
The interface of the Vanilla IQOO 9 is the same as on the others vivo’s Fun Touch Twelve.
Based on Android Twelve, it’s a highly customized and customizable UI which brings the new features baked into the new Android version. The most relevant features for gaming can be found in the Ultra Game Mode menu. It’s more for information you can’t actually toggle them from here. These features include a mode with presets for esports performance, an option to keep games running with the screen off game display enhancements, and 4D Haptic feedback for supported games. To actually turn these things on or off, you’ll need to go into the sidebar overlay that’s accessible in game, it also provides screenshot and screen recording functions, the Monster Touch mapping and performance settings, including a Monster Performance Boost.(iQOO 9 Review)
Let’s get into the performance. Each phone in the ICU 9 lineup packs a different flagship grade chipset, and the Vanilla IQOO 9s is a Snapdragon 888 plus. It’s a small upgrade over the regular Snapdragon 888 in the Se model, but falls a bit short of the Pros Snapdragon Eight gen one. Still, the IQOO 9 is able to deliver some impressive scores and benchmark tests, and on the charts the performance is among the best out there. Both CPU and Gpuwise everyday tasks and heavy games run great.
However, the IQOO 9 appears to prioritize performance over heat management. In our stress test, the phone would continue with high output without thermal throttling up to the point of overheating. After that, it takes a while to get back in working order. This sort of behavior is locked in there’s no way to change it in settings. It actually does make sense for a gaming phone, but only if you had some sort of a cooling attachment.
The ICU 9 s passive vapor chamber cooling isn’t enough. Granted, playing an actual game is a bit different from the stress tests, but in my hands, the device was getting noticeably toasty after just a few minutes of gameplay.
Battery life and charging speed test
Now, on the battery life, the IQOO 9 has a smaller battery capacity than the Se version at 4000 350,000,000 hours. But still, battery life is great. Better than either the Se or the Pro, with an overall endurance rating of 105 hours in our tests, and the ICU 9 gets a big 120 watt charger in the box, an upgrade over the Se model 66 watts.
With it, we were able to charge the phone from zero to 100% in just 16 minutes. This sort of speed is great for topping up between gaming sessions. Deku 9 isn’t all about gaming, though it has a pretty capable camera setup too.
There’s a 48 megapixel main cam with gimbal Ois, a 13 megapixel telephoto came with two xoom and a 13 megapixel ultra wide cam with auto focus. The main cameras twelve megapixel photos are great, with enough detail, high contrast, lively colors, and balance dynamic range.(iQOO 9 Review)
Two time zoom photos have a balanced look with likable colors and excellent contrast. The detail level is just average, but better than what you’d get from a digital zoom. You can take portraits from both cameras, and those from the zoom lens have less than ideal subject separation. Other than that, these are nice and quality. The portrait shot with the main camera are even better with more proficient edge detection.
The 13 megapixel photos from the ultra wide camera are quite nice too. They are sharp in the center with a lot of resolve, detail, punchy colors, and balanced dynamic range. And since this camera has auto focus, you can take close up macro shots with it. These are contrasting with excellent colors and good sharpness. The detail level isn’t that impressive, but is much better than a low res dedicated macro cam.
Low-light image quality, rear cameras
In low lights ,the IQOO 9 will automatically apply night mode processing to its photos.
Daylight image quality, rear cameras
Shots from the main camera have a bright exposure with low noise, well preserved colors, and wide dynamic range. The noise reduction has taken its toll on the detail, though, and the photos are a bit on the soft side. You can turn on a dedicated night mode, and there’s not much difference besides brighter skies and the ever so slight improvement in detail rendition.
If you zoom at night, you’ll get a digital crop from the main camera. This results in less detail and even more softness, but still these photos are usable. The lowlight photos from the ultra wide camera are less processed than the ones from the main camera. They have a realistic exposure, true to life colors, and good dynamic range. Noise is noticeable, but we still like them like that.
Noise is taken care of by the dedicated night mode, but the extra processing takes some more time per shot, so we’re not sure if the trade off is worth it because there are no other tangible benefits.
Selfie camera image and video quality
Selfies from the 16 megapixel front facing cam are excellent. They’re sharp and rich in detail with good exposure and likable colors. Dynamic range is good too. You can shoot video and up to FPS with the main cam, and the quality is excellent.
There’s plenty of detail, good sharpness and contrast, nice colors, and decent dynamic range. If you toggle on the stabilization, you will engage both EIS as well as the gimbal.
Video quality, rear cameras
The stabilized 4K videos have a narrower field of view and a little less detail than the non stabilized ones. Still, these are good and incredibly steady. There’s also an ultra stabilization mode that lowers the resolution to produce an action cam like result in lowlight 4K.(iQOO 9 Review)
Video from the main camera is good, with a realistic exposure, okay detail, and true to life colors. The footage is quite noisy though. There is also a super night video option that shoots in one thousand and eighty p. It cleans the noise and brightens the video, but it also smears fine detail and moving objects like cars become blurred. The telephoto camera can shoot only in 1080p, but the quality is excellent.
These videos are very sharp, with accurate colors and wide dynamic range. The same can be said about the Ultrawide Cans footage. These are some of the best full HD videos we’ve captured lately. So that’s the IQOO 9 Review.
It’s a nice flagship grade phone with a lot to offer, and on the gaming side of things, you get a high performance chipset monster touch, which is pretty handy.
And there are some interesting software options too. Serious gamers will need to find a way around the phone’s thermal management though, in an effort to pump out every last drop of performance. It can get unbearably hot and even overheat, which will really put the brakes on your gaming session. So to sum it all up, the IQOO 9 is a solid all around phone that’s worth recommending, but for the hardcore mobile gaming crowd, there are better options out there. Thanks for reading guys.
Stay safe and see you on the next one.