Indian smartphone space is rich with competition and options are vast for consumers who are looking to upgrade in practically any price range. Between Apple and Reliance Jio, there are plenty of both affordable and high-end smartphone brands giving tough competition to one another. This helps the end consumer as the by-product of this competition is feature-rich smartphones at competitive prices. iQoo is one of the brands that is leaving an impression in the mid-range smartphone space with its offerings and the most recent iQoo Z5 offers good delivery at just the right price.
iQoo Z5 is a successor to the first Z-series model, the Z3 smartphone. Carrying all the markers of a successful smartphone, the Z5 aims to surpass the competition. The base variant with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage is priced at Rs 23,990 whereas the 12GB+256GB configuration costs Rs 26,990. We got the latter for review.
Let's take a look to see if iQoo Z5 has got what it takes to stay relevant in the competitive sub-Rs 30K segment.
iQoo Z5 has fallen far from its predecessor in terms of design, with some subtle yet crucial changes. The smartphone comes in two shades, Mystic Space and Arctic Dawn, and we got the former. The matte gradient finish on the back changes from black to blue like the shades of the night sky. The metallic frames compliment the overall design and it is also not slippery.
The big part of the rear panel is the camera setup, which sits inside a protruding module on the top left corner. Given the current trend, it protruding camera doesn't even bother. The iQoo branding is quite subtle too and the matte finish of the back cover keeps fingerprint smudges at bay, so you don't really need a back cover for this one. However, the complimentary TPU case can be used if you have butterfingers.
The volume rockers and the power/lock button are placed on the right side and the slight descent in the frame makes it easy to spot. All the buttons are well within reach. The power button also functions as a fingerprint scanner, which is efficient and fast.
At the bottom, you'll find the USB Type-C port alongside a speaker grille and a hybrid SIM card slot. For those who still like the old-school wired earphones, there's a 3.5mm headphone jack on the top. The overall design of the handset makes for a good in-hand feel and the form factor as well as the weight distribution makes the Z5 quite handy.
iQoo Z5 has a rather large 6.67-inch display, which is ideal for multimedia consumption and playing games. The 1080p resolution panel has a 120Hz refresh rate, which makes all the difference while playing some high-graphics games on the phone. It also makes scrolling really smooth and the touch response is accurate. The LCD panel on the iQoo Z5 makes it rather an affordable choice for those who frequently drop their phones and break the displays.
The display also supports HDR 10, which enables HD viewing. The visuals are balanced, colours are rich and the display offers decent viewing angles. If you're the one to look for details, you'll notice the lack of clarity while running darker hues on the screen.
There are some customisation options like you can choose screen colours, set the colour temperature, and most importantly you can choose the refresh rate at which the screen operates or simply go with "smart switch."
The display offers decent amount of brightness when outdoors, whereas it is perfect for indoor use.
Overall, the display meets your day-to-day needs, yet iQoo could've done better with an AMOLED panel to gain an edge over rivals.
iQoo Z5 is powered by a Snapdragon 778G processor, which is paired with 12GB RAM in our case. It packs a punch when it comes to gaming and takes care of your daily tasks with ease. We did not notice any lags during gaming, but we did see some delay in launching apps after a reboot. The handset manages heat pretty well during gaming sessions and gets slightly warm if you play games while the phone is charging.
While there are no major kinks with the performance per se, it is the UI that could use some improvement. It runs Funtouch OS 12 based on Android 11, which comes with its own share of pros and cons. On the bright side, the OS offers a vast range of customisation options while trying to come close to stock Android UI. But the same UI is marred by loaded bloatware, some of which are not removable. iQoo could go for snappier transitions minus the extra apps that people rarely use.
On the security front, the handset's fingerprint sensor works effortlessly and the face unlock works well under good lighting.
iQoo Z5 has a modest triple camera setup, comprising of a 64MP primary lens, an 8MP ultra-wide sensor and a 2MP macro sensor. The camera supports OIS and shoots 4K videos at 60fps.
The primary sensor is a Samsung GW3, which produces decent output. In broad daylight, you'll get sharper images with good details. You'll find yourself shooting with the primary sensor more often than the other two lenses.
The ultra-wide-angle lens captures a larger area and gives a dramatic effect to your photos. There's some level of distortion around the edges, but it is visible if you look closely. As for the macro mode, the output is quite good provided there's good lighting on the subject. The portrait mode works well too, identifying the subject in the foreground while blurring the background for a soft bokeh effect.
The smartphone also has a night mode, which does little to add value here. Even shooting photos in low-light isn't Z5's strongest suit.
On the front, you get a 16MP snapper, which works well to capture selfies and portraits of yourself to be shared on social media. While the portrait mode works better in indoor lighting, there's artificial smoothening, which takes out the natural element out of the picture. Don't expect to get a lot of details in low-light settings even with your front camera. The results are average at best.
iQoo Z5 packs a 5,000mAh battery, which is surprising given the slim profile of the device. We did not have any reservations regarding the battery life considering the size of the battery and the phone's configuration. We were able to make it through an entire day on a single charge with plenty left to let you catch up on some of your TV shows.
If you are an avid gamer and a multimedia buff, the battery will naturally drain faster. But on average, you can easily make it through the day without having to worry about carrying the charger. With moderate use, you can easily get the phone running for almost two days.
The smartphone also comes bundled with 44W fast charger in the box, which manages to refuel the smartphone quickly. It can fully charge the phone from zero to 100% in an hour, which saves a lot of time.
iQoo Z5 is a well-rounded smartphone, its specs are balanced out and priced right for the masses. The gaming prowess will win the phone accolades, but the phone has its own shortcomings. The UI could have been more refined, cameras could use some improvement in some specific areas and opting for an AMOLED panel would've sealed the deal. But things like competitive pricing, 5G support, good performance, and excellent battery work well in iQoo's favour. It's definitely an upgrade from Z3.