IQOO 9 Pro review: a Snapdragon 8 like this we had NEVER seen it

If there is one credit to be given to Qualcomm, it is that since the presentation of the new Snapdragon 8 Gen. 1 it is as if the brands had made a competition to see who presented its new top of the range first. Xiaomi 12 and Xiaomi 12 Pro and OnePlus 10 Pro are just three of the devices we tried animated by the new Soc of the company. And everyone, absolutely everyone, has had to deal with the extreme temperatures that the Snap 8 Gen 1 is likely to reach.

The result was to see devices animated by the same Soc, but with very different performance and processor management. And that's why when I got a chance to try the new one IQOO 9 PRO curiosity immediately sparked.

And not only for the fisheye wide-angle camera, the gimball stabilization technology and its design (which is everything but boring), but above all to try to understand how those of iQOO (which, let's remember, is a sub-brand of vivo ) have managed to tame this deadly beast that is the Snap 8 of the first generation.

IQOO 9 Pro review

Design and materials

Whether you hate it or love it, the design of the new IQOO 9 PRO is probably the only one able to stand out - really - among the new flagships of 2022. Available exclusively in two versions, one made in collaboration with BMW Motorsport and another in orange-colored leatherette, its design probably makes it among the most recognizable models of this beginning of the year.

The camera bump is a huge horizontal rectangle, in which the three cameras that compose it have been inserted, and after the first tests in which I stressed the Snap 8, I came to a conclusion: this big camera bump has a double purpose, and it's not just related to the design of the device. Its aluminum plate seems to be a fundamental element of the dissipation system of theIQOO 9 PRO, and actually improves its handling, unlike what the rest of the back cover could do.

With a weight of about 204 grams and a thickness of 8.8 mm, even theIQOO 9 PRO it is not among the most compact smartphones of this early 2022, quite the contrary. The front is entirely dedicated to the huge 6.78-inch display in which the best fingerprint reader I've tried in the latest smartphones has been integrated: it's the Qualcomm 3D Sonic Max, it's ultrasonic, it works in a recognition area very wide and is always accurate and fast.

Display

It will be for the second generation chip used for its management, it will be because it is a Samsung E5 panel, but the display of theIQOO 9 PRO it is among the best that I have currently seen. If you remember my review of the Xiaomi 12 Pro, where I emphasized the quality of the screen, well know that that of theIQOO 9 PRO I like it even more.

The panel is a second generation LTPO 1440p AMOLED, with a variable refresh rate capable of up to 120 Hz and a peak brightness of 1500 nits. And there is poco to do, when you look at an E5 panel, you are never disappointed in the quality and subtlety of the colors. Even in blacks and the contrast are excellent, and there really is poco to object to the work done by iQOO and Samsung.

It is compatible with Dolby Vision and HDR10 +, but the only note I would do on the management of the automatic brightness that I definitely found poco conservative: it happens that in some moments you find yourself with this super display too bright for the environment in which you are using it and, punctually, you may feel the need to lower the brightness manually.

Hardware and Performance

To animate IQOO 9 PRO we think of a Snapdragon 8 Gen. 1 which, in our sample, is flanked by 8 GB of RAM of the LPDDR5 type and 256 GB of internal memory of the UFS 3.1 type. Well, let's get straight to the point: the results we obtained in the benchmarks are by far the best we've seen with a first generation Snap 8 and, therefore, the best we've ever achieved in an Android smartphone.

With its 1207 points in single core and its 3596 points in multi-core in the Geekbench CPU test, the XXX points in the AnTuTu test, the 9987 in the 3D mark and the 13141 in the PC Mark, there is poco to say. It seems that all of these benchmarks forIQOO 9 PRO are a glass of fresh water.

And believe me, I really tried to put him in trouble even with the stress test in 3DMark, as well as with the stress test of AnTuTu. But unfortunately I didn't succeed, at least not that much: IQOO 9 PRO the smartphone with Snap 8 Gen 1 proved to be with the best stability even in this type of test, especially considering that the 3D Mark stress test is like the Black Death for many of the devices animated by Qualcomm's new processor and last year's 888: some models that I tested in the last year, did not even manage to finish the test due to obvious overheating problems (they exceeded 55 degrees).

Even in gaming theIQOO 9 PRO is flawless. I tried to play Call of Duty Mobile for an hour at the highest graphic quality and the smartphone has never had a drop in performance, nor has it become hot to the point of being unusable.

And the credit may also be due to the fact that IQOO 9 PRO is the only smartphone to use an independent chip with which the 3D graphics are managed which in addition to the hypothetical reduction in energy consumption, also has the purpose of interpolating the game frames, bringing - those compatible - up to 120 fps. The problem, however, is that apparently this interpolation is only available for a very small number of games, mostly available in China, and in practically none of the titles that can be downloaded from the Play Store.

In short, in a nutshell, the gist of the matter is this: iQOO has shown that, with a good dissipation system, it is possible to tame the Snapdragon 8 Gen. 1 and take advantage of its computing power without risking being able to cook a fried egg on your smartphone.

Cameras

It is in the camera sector that we find the first, true, contradiction of theIQOO 9 PRO, but let's go in order. The main camera uses, for the first time, a 5-megapixel Samsung GN50 sensor with an f / 1.8 lens stabilized by Vivo's Gimbal technology and which is flanked by a 2.5-megapixel 16x optical zoom with optically stabilized f / 2.2 optics. and an additional ultra-wide fisheye with 150 ° Field of View using a Samsung JN1 sensor. And yes, it's the same ultra wide angle we saw in the OnePlus 10 Pro, which we didn't really like: in theIQOO 9 PRO the results are even worse.

In any case, in conditions of good brightness the shots taken with all three lenses are actually of good quality, the details are present and there is a good general management of the dynamic range. Above all, the photos taken with the main camera excel in sharpness and contrast, but the whole camera compartment is as if it were "held back" by software that is not yet at its maximum.

For example, when taking pictures with frames in which HDR should improve the situation, often the software processing is not up to par, as it is not even when it is necessary to correct the optical distortion in the shots taken with the lens. fisheye. Just like in the OnePlus 10 Pro it is also possible to take photos in fisheye mode, but absolutely this lens must be used exclusively during the day.

And not because the software doesn't allow you to take night photos with all lenses, but because the results in low light conditions are only good with the main camera. With the zoom they start to get decent, with the ultra-wide one they are bad. At night the ultra-wide-angle camera may not be able to capture red colors properly, while in very low light conditions when shooting with the 2.5x zoom the dedicated lens is not used, but the system does a crop of the image taken by the main camera.

What is really excellent is the Gimbal optical stabilization system, which we have also seen on some Vivo arrived in Italy, which allows the main camera to take high quality night shots, together with very pleasant videos to see (maximum recordable in 8k a 24 fps): the best are clearly those made with the main one, but also the zoom is well stabilized and then, there is a novelty for the ultra-wide angle: unlike what OnePlus has decided, in theIQOO 9 PRO it is also possible to record them with the fisheye mode, and the results are really a lot of fun.

In short, I repeat, it is as if iQOO still has to work a lot to fix the software that manages the camera, because I am convinced that - given the hardware - IQOO 9 PRO can take much better photos than the current ones.

Software

The sample of IQOO 9 PRO that we have on test, is the Chinese version of the device. The software is therefore the Asian one, you can update it without any problem and has all the Google services and the Play Store, but there is also another good news: despite being an Asian ROM, it integrates the Italian language. And this is not something you often see in a Chinese smartphone.

Now, I don't want to dwell too much on the user experience of a non-global ROM, but something about Origin OS Ocean must be said, because it is one of the most particular and diverse graphic interfaces available on an Android smartphone. It is almost bold.

As I think you know by now, I'm not a fan of these customizations that disrupt Google's OS, but I must admit that those at iQOO have done a great job: the colors are vibrant, the new interactive widgets are very pleasant to use, and despite all these graphics, the operating system runs beautifully, without any lag or slowdown.

To be honest, I'm not sure that all these features really bring some improvement to the user experience and the efficiency of using the graphical interface, but I must admit that they are aesthetically beautiful to look at.

Battery and recharge

The battery ofIQOO 9 PRO It is a dual cell 4700mAh, which can be charged at 120w and which is compatible with 50w wireless charging and 10w reverse charging. The smartphone can be fully recharged, from 0% to 100%, in about 20 minutes with the new GaN charger included in the package. But while the charging speed is impressive, I don't feel like saying the same with the battery life.

With medium / high usage, the display fixed at 120Hz and set to maximum resolution, I was able to surpass of poco the 5 hours of display on and, to be honest, I was unable to arrive in the evening. Of course, by decreasing the resolution and the refresh rate things improve, but what sense would it have to have such a display and then not take full advantage of it?

Price and considerations

To date IQOO 9 PRO it is not officially available in Italy but, through GizTop, you could buy the version we received as a trial and use it without problems in Italy: the ROM is Chinese, but it integrates the Play Store, you can update it without any problem and it integrates the Italian language .

Using our coupon (found below) the price is 874 € and it is available in both orange and white Motorsport colors. That it is a figure suitable for a smartphone of this level is poco but sure, there is no doubt that IQOO 9 PRO both the device with Snap 8 Gen. 1 able to guarantee the best performance both in everyday use and in the game, but let's be clear: it is not yet perfect.

Those of iQOO should fix the camera management software (urgently) and I just can't understand why many brands are focusing on this 150 ° fisheye that yes, sometimes it can guarantee fun shots, but that qualitatively does not it is nowhere near comparable to other cameras. As for the battery then, you could have done better especially considering the LTPO 2.0 display. But this IQOO 9 PRO it is a Ferrari in terms of performance and, you know, supercars consume.




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