The gaming smartphone sector is gaining ground and now this type of device has become an integral part of the mobile device sector. More and more companies are going to present a model for gamers, some more markedly (like in the case of Black Shark, for example) and those maintaining more sober design and lines. The Vivo iQOO - the first gaming device of the Chinese brand - it certainly belongs to the first category and comes with a really exciting look. But what are the other cards of this smartphone? Find out in our review!

Review Vivo iQOO

Sales package

Since the sales package of Vivo IQOO you breathe an air of epic, with a cardboard box marked at the top by a raised scratch that shows the color and style of the LED on the cover of the device. Really very beautiful the effect, as well as the rest of the package. Inside it we find a standard equipment consisting of:

  • I live iQOO;
  • protective cover in soft silicone;
  • Super FlashCharge charger;
  • USB / USB Type-C cable;
  • pin for the SIM slot;
  • manuals.

Design and construction

Our gaming smartphone measures 157.69 x 75.2 x 8.51 mm for 196 grams; it goes without saying that this is certainly not a sober solution and the use of one hand depends a lot on the person who holds the device. All in all Vivo iQOO offers a good grip, also thanks to a back glass cover, with 3D curvatures along the edges. This is not slippery to the touch and that also seems to have a fairly good oleophobic treatment.

Vivo IQOO

About the back cover, the whole spirit is concentrated here alternative of the flagship; in the other corner on the left we have the triple camera and at the bottom the brand logo, while in the center stands one RGB LED strip from which branches out a fan of thinner strips that give off orange reflections under the light. In short, the coloring Lava orange it is really beautiful even if the sense of extravagant elegance offered by the cover is interrupted by the orange metal bands along the edges - right and left - of Vivo; a touch a little 'tamarro, but overall not sorry (but even here we are in the subjective!).

Vivo IQOO

A small note about the rear LED: this also acts as a Notification LED (absent from the front) with a pulsating orange light. In theory the strip RGB should light up by listening music and with games but unfortunately it is a feature that does not seem to work with Spotify nor with the titles downloaded from the Play Store (instead of the Chinese App store). At most the LED synchronizes with the music played through the iMusic Player (in Chinese). To change some features of the strip you will have to go to Settings, Other Settings, Cool Light Effects.

From the front, Vivo iQOO offers a large panel with super optimized frames and a selfie camera set in a drop-shaped notch, with the earpiece flush with the upper edge. Along the entire perimeter frame - in aluminum, interrupted only by small plastic inserts for receiving the antennas - we find the mini-jack input for headphones and the microphone for noise reduction (above), the main microphone, the door Type-C charging station and a single speaker (bottom).

On the left we have the Dual SIM slot and a physical button to call up the Jovi assistant, but since the latter is only in Chinese it will be unusable. However the button can be remapped to call up the Game Space or simply deactivated. The right edge houses the volume rocker and the Power button. Here is the umpteenth gaming gem, or two touch buttons to be used in games. And fortunately (unlike the rear LED) in this case they work great.

Display

The Vivo iQOO incorporates a panel Super AMOLED da 6.41 inches diagonal with resolution Full HD + (2340 x 1080 pixel), report in 19.5: 9 and 402 PPI. It is a decidedly very pleasant display with impeccable viewing angles, deep blacks and realistic and well-defined colors (perhaps with some slightly too saturated tones, but it makes you forgive).

Vivo IQOO

Also through the Settings (Display, Screen Colors) it will be possible to change at will Color Mode between Standard, Normal and Bright, together with temperature. Obviously these are not extreme customizations, but only small details. Overall, the quality of the panel, its size and the visual experience in general (both with video and games) this iQOO has met the expectations despite the fact that currently more and more models adopt high refresh rates (90 / 120 Hz).

Hardware and Performance

Under the body of the gaming smartphone by Vivo beats a Qualcomm heart and obviously this is the very last one Snapdragon 855, Octa-core SoC dedicated to the premium range created at 7 nm and with Kryo 485 cluster. At present it is the top and is able to reach a maximum clock frequency of 2.84 GHz.

To accompany the processor we find 6 GB of RAM LPDDR4x e 128 GB non-expandable storage. In short, it is already clear on paper that we are dealing with top-of-the-line hardware and even in the experience of everyday use, things remain so. Vivo iQOO it is in effect a range mouse with frightening performance, extremely fluid, without hitches, lag, slowdowns, freezes and so on. The opening and closing of the apps are quick, whether they are already in the background or to start.

Gaming - Vivo iQOO

The same conditions occur during the gaming experience, entrusted to the GPU Adreno 640. The hardware package is able to run any type of game, obviously in maximum quality. The softer titles - like the usual Brawl Stars, Clash Royale and the like - go bombs and the heaviest games offer a fluid and decidedly worthy experience, also thanks to the excellent display on board. The icing on the cake, the hot spirits of the device during extended gaming sessions are turned off in the bud by a system of liquid cooling, now a peculiar feature of gaming models.

Through the Game Box (bad translation, the entry is present in the Settings) it is possible to set certain profiles for each game, disabling notifications (for calls, SMS and messaging app). Also here you can set the use of the touch buttons; the panel dedicated to gaming can be recalled - during the game - with a swipe from left to right (from the top left edge, in horizontal / vertical mode).

Benchmark - Vivo iQOO

Software

Being a Vivo brand model, iQOO arrives with the owner of the Chinese brand Funtouch OS 9. During our tests the device has received various updates and at the time of writing the software is the version 1.16.29on a base Android 9 Pie and with dated security patches April 2019. In Settings it is possible to set the Italian language, although it is impossible not to notice certain imperfections in the translations (such as Game Box to activate the various options during gaming).

Moreover the device arrives with a flood of Chinese applications (social and non-social) e there is no Play Store - nor Google services - by default. Obviously the installation of the same is a very simple process, but it is clear that this is a smartphone absolutely not designed for the Global user. Furthermore - as pointed out previously - the defects of the LED strip make one of the most charming goodies of the totally unusable device.

It is worth emphasizing that these are not defects concerning the device or the software, but rather deficiencies due to localization. Returning to the Funtouch OS, we are faced with a mature and full of functionality UI; moreover, thanks also to the powerful hardware sector, fluidity reigns supreme.

Functionality and where to find them

There is the possibility to browse through gesture scrolling from the edges towards the center to go back, or with gestures thanks to a bar at the bottom (on which to perform the various swipes to access the toggles, the Activity Manager or to go Back). Then there is the classic navigation Links Bar with the buttons.

With a swipe from bottom to top the notification bar will open while to access the toggle you will need a swipe from bottom to top, along the bottom left edge. The Connection Center presents the various quick toggles, the display brightness panel, the volume (to be recalled also with the special rocker) and other functions.

As already mentioned, the smart assistant Jovi it is only available in Chinese, so - unless you are familiar with the language - it will be unusable. In Settings, Screen lock e Always in the foreground it is possible to activate theAlways-on Display, super customizable (clock and icon design, colors, backgrounds and so on).

There is also a wide choice of Temi e Wallpapers from which to draw and it is possible to use the doppio tap to turn the display on or off (via Settings, Intelligent Movement, Intelligent Activation / Deactivation). To activate the multiscreen just swipe from the top with three fingers. Alternatively you can tap the dedicated button in the Task Manager or use the appropriate toggle. Conversely, a three-finger swipe from below allows you to make one screenshot.

On the security side we have the usual PIN and Pattern, accompanied by Face Unlock software (lightning) and from a fingerprint sensor integrated in the display. The latter is very fast and very precise: it certainly won't disappoint you!

Among the various features - besides those already mentioned - we find the App clone, one-handed gestures, Smart Mirroring and many others. Really a lot of meat on the fire, but it all seems to be judiciously managed (and with a bit of confusion to find the various settings).

Photo quality - Vivo iQOO

Following the trend in vogue in this historical period, the gaming flagship mounts a triple camera on the back with a main sensor from 12 mega-pixels (with opening f/1.79). Yes, the other big trend of 2019 has been put aside: we are talking about the now ubiquitous Sony IMX586 from 48 mega-pixel. iQOO tries to offer a less resonant solution, but not to be underestimated. To accompany the above form we find a sensor ultra wide-angle da 13 mega-pixels (f/2.4) and one dedicated to depth of field (2 mega-pixel, f/2.4).

Keeping in mind that this is not a camera phone but a smartphone devoted to gaming, the shots are well done and with a good level of detail and faithful colors, as long as the lighting is excellent. Some imperfections regarding the bokeh (also in Portrait mode), but overall the photographic module is able to offer a worthy result in many situations, with the subject in the foreground cropped quite accurately. With artificial lighting and in night shots the quality drops and the images lose detail even if it is possible to have a little help from the Night Mode; do not expect miracles but the differences with and without active modes are noticeable. Present the usual AI functionalities, with scene recognition.

Frontally we have a selfie room from 12 mega-pixels with opening f/2.0, beauty effect and HDR. Nothing striking is recorded and the module can be good for a bland social use, obviously with self-portraits in well-lit situations. As darkness falls, the situation worsens and the images become more mellow, the background noise increases and the details diminish. You can rely on the soft Flash even though the results often don't satisfy.

Finally it is possible to shoot up to a maximum resolution of 4K (30 fps, 60 fps are supported only at 1080 / 720p). Optical stabilization is lacking and is felt and quality may not be up to a flagship. In this case it is worth remembering once again that we are dealing with a gaming smartphone and that it certainly does not aim to compete with the leaders of the mobile photographic industry.

Connectivity and audio quality

The device has the support Dual SIM LTE but arrives without the 20 band and 7 band. There may be slight network drops with operators who use the aforementioned bands but as for ho. Mobile, the smartphone has not reported any problems, connecting to the 4G network smoothly. No problem even with regards to calls, without interference and with acceptable sound.

Connectivity side we find the classic package composed of Bluetooth 5.0 e Wi-Fi ac Dual Band; the standard also applies to the appeal NFC, now one of the fundamental features for recent models (loudly requested by the users themselves). Navigation with GPS / Glonass / BDS / Galileo it is quite precise and reliable.

We conclude with the audio part of Vivo iQOO, entrusted to an individual speaker placed along the lower edge. A real shame as one would have expected a dual speaker configuration from a smartphone that makes the multimedia experience its strong point. The speaker on board returns a little clear and clean (though reaching a fairly high volume); the fact that the equalization of the average prizes - definitely pumped - does nothing but increase this impression. The sound does not distort while going close and in a nutshell is still better than some Bluetooth speakers currently on the market.

Autonomy

The autonomy is entrusted to a battery from 4000 mAh, more than enough to reach the end of the day and beyond (with moderate use of the smartphone and about 7 hours of display on). Obviously, by playing more or less, or with intense use, the hours of display turned on are inevitably destined to fall. As for the charging times, thanks to the support Super FlashCharge it will be possible to reach 100% in about 1 20 hours and minutes; however they will suffice 27 minutes to reach the 61% charging. If you are in a hurry and need to leave the cell in charge, it will take very little time!

However we would have expected a little more, but given the presence of a Chinese socket and the need to use an adapter, this is likely to have affected the charging speed.

IQOO Vivo Review - Price and Conclusions

We have come to the conclusion of our review of Vivo iQOO and the time has come to take stock of this first gaming smartphone from the company. The experiment is successful in many ways: we are dealing with a device with an atypical look, even without falling into a hyper-aggressive design (like other competitors models) but maintaining a certain style. A powerful smartphone with a first-class technical department, touch-sensitive gaming buttons and various features linked to gamers.

The photographic part does its duty, even if one would expect more from a flagship. On the other hand, the software seems mature to the right point and the only flaw is represented by the localization of the device. The 20 band is missing and it is in effect a model designed for the Asian market.

And here we are facing the but… of the title. The question is this: is it worth buying a "not our" device? Perhaps in the case of iQOO it is good to carefully evaluate this choice. There are plenty of global gaming smartphones; for this reason, if you are in love with his style, then the heart is certainly not commanded! But if the look is not a problem and you prefer to focus on something more western then - most likely - it is the case to change the air.