iQOO 12 review: a performance powerhouse with capable cameras

Review Summary

Expert Rating



  • Impressive build, IP64 rated
  • Gorgeous screen
  • Good cameras
  • Incredibly fast performance & charging speeds


  • No wireless charging
  • Bloatware

What would otherwise be an uneventful period for smartphones has been sparked to life with the launch of the iQOO 12 5G in India, and for all the right reasons. The handset stands out as the first smartphone in the country to feature the cutting-edge Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 SoC. Apart from this, the iQOO 12 promises a myriad of improvements over its predecessor, the iQOO 11 (review), across various departments, including software, cameras, display, cooling system, and more.

The iQOO 12 is selling in India starting at Rs 52,999Does it make a valuable purchase for its price? Let’s find out in this review.


The iQOO 12 stands out as the fastest Android smartphone currently available. It also earns high marks for the exceptional viewing experience, loud speakers, incredible cameras, great battery life, and blazing-fast charging speeds it offers. That said, there is no wireless charging support, and the software, which has been refined, still leaves room for improvement. 

Design and display

The iQOO 12 design has been revamped to appear more aesthetically pleasing and premium. That’s the feel it offers once you hold the device. The glass back panel and shiny aluminium frame rub provide a solid grip. I should admit that the frame could have benefitted from a matte coating to mitigate fingerprints and smudges, as well as slipperiness. Be that as it may, the back panel remains relatively clean, at least on the white-coloured variant that I received for review.

Speaking of the back panel, there is a noticeable camera platform that slightly protrudes from the surface. However, the glass seamlessly blends in with the raised platform, ensuring it doesn’t awkwardly rub against your index finger while holding the device. The platform is all-black, with a chrome finish around the edges, and ‘100x Tele Lens’ is elegantly etched onto it, adding a nice contrasty look to the phone. Adjacent to the platform, the LED flash is positioned within an elongated cutout.

The back panel also has iQOO and Fascination Meeds Innovation text etched on it, along with tricolour patterns. Additionally, the handset’s IP64 water and dust resistance rating is much appreciated. As for I/O, the phone sports a USB Type-C port for charging and data transfer on the bottom edge. The phone features an optical fingerprint scanner that unlocks the device in a jiffy. However, I wish it were positioned slightly higher on the screen for better accessibility.

At the front, the iQOO 12 boasts a power-efficient 6.78-inch LTPO AMOLED display that dynamically switches its refresh rate between 1Hz and 144Hz based on the content. The display features 1,200 x 2,800p resolution, up to 3,000 nits brightness, 2,160Hz PWM dimming, and HDR10+ support. There is little to critique about the display, except for the punch-hole for the selfie camera, which appears to cover more screen real estate than the typical punch-holes found in phones within the segment.

Apart from this, its resolution might look a bit underwhelming for a flagship, but the display impressively delivers crisp visuals with vivid and vibrant colours. The visuals also look quite appealing when looked at from an angle, and its sunlight legibility is simply outstanding. I had little trouble watching a movie or playing a game outside under direct sunlight. Furthermore, the device is Widevine L1-certified ensuring FHD playback with HDR support on streaming platforms such as Netflix.

The iQOO 12’s viewing experience is further elevated by its audio quality. The handset comes with stereo speakers, which may not support Dolby Atmos but deliver crisp audio output even at maximum volume.

Performance and software

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 SoC, which powers the iQOO 12, is the latest and greatest from Qualcomm. Announced at Qualcomm’s summit in November 2023, the SoC promises numerous improvements over its predecessor, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, across various aspects including gaming, audio, and camera functionalities, among others. Additionally, the chipset incorporates several AI features, some of which were touched upon in our article titled ‘It’s an AI world out there – are you ready?‘—don’t forget to check it out.

Now, coming back to the iQOO 12 performance, it is definitely a notch above its predecessor iQOO 11. You won’t find it stuttering or slowing down under any circumstances, and this is reflected in its benchmark scores. The iQOO 12 achieved an AnTuTu score of 20,73,660 which no other smartphone has managed to match in the country yet. Furthermore, its Geekbench single-core and multi-core results are equally impressive, standing at 2,223 and 6,799, respectively.

The phone does heat up a bit while running the benchmark tests, and as a result, its performance dropped by 20 percent in the CPU Throttle test while running 50 threads for half an hour. Nonetheless, it still performs better than the iQOO 11’s CPU Throttle test.

In real-world usage, the iQOO 12 effortlessly handles everything thrown at it without breaking a sweat. The handset is equipped with a spacious 6,010mm square vapour chamber system, effectively maintaining a cool temperature even during intense gaming sessions. I played BGMI on the device at its maximum supported Ultra HD graphics and frame rate settings, and not once did it get excessively warm.

To enhance the gaming experience, the iQOO 12 is equipped with the SuperComputing Chip Q1, providing superior resolution and frame rates for select games with minimal latency and power consumption. Additionally, the device incorporates other fundamental gaming features commonly found in gaming devices, such as Motion Control, Gyroscope enhancement, 4D Game vibration, and more.

In conclusion, the iQOO 12 seems to be a top choice for those in search of a performance-focused smartphone. The handset comes in two RAM and storage configurations: 12GB + 256GB and 16GB + 512GB. Unfortunately, the storage is not user-expandable, but you have the option to expand the RAM virtually up to 16GB using a portion of the phone’s storage.

Coming to the software, the iQOO 12 boots the latest FunTouchOS 14 based on Android 14 out of the box. The new skin comes across as an iterative upgrade from the previous version, featuring a range of minor refinements. There are fewer bloatware and ad notifications now. The animations look smoother, and new lock screen customisations have been added along with the option to view recently open apps in standard carousel formation and horizontal tiles. Overall, iQOO appears to be heading in the right direction by minimising clutter from the software and making the UI more user-friendly.

The company also promises three years of major OS updates and four years of security updates for the device. While it sounds commendable, it falls slightly short compared to some other flagship offerings.


Not just the performance, iQOO wants its latest flagship to be known for its cameras as well. As a result, the iQOO 12 has been stacked with flagship-grade cameras, comprising a 50MP primary sensor, aided by a 50MP ultra-wide sensor, and a 64MP telephoto lens with 3x optical and 10x lossless zoom. The results are impressive, with images exhibiting detailed, sharp, and well-saturated qualities across different lighting conditions. The contrast ratio and dynamic range also perform admirably. However, photography enthusiasts may not appreciate the cameras’ tendency to overprocess images, leading to shadows being crushed.

Other than that, I don’t have any major complaints about the camera setup. The 50MP primary camera defaults to outputting 12.5MP images and supports 2x digital zoom, though the latter’s quality appears a bit underwhelming. Similarly, the 50MP ultra-wide camera also outputs 12.5MP images, which look pleasing with minimal warping around the edges of the frame. That being said, indoor shots exhibit some noise.

Talking about the 64MP telephoto lens, it seems to be doing a superb job with 3x optical zoom. The images show an intricate level of detail, vivid colours, and a respectable dynamic range. While the 10x lossless zoom shots may not be as likeable as the 3x optical zoom, they get the job done, providing usable shots in well-lit environments. While the lens can achieve up to 100x zoom, the results beyond 50x appear shabby, and the camera lacks stability.

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The iQOO 12 lowlight photography is equally good too, capturing rich details with deceptively low noise levels and balanced colours. All three cameras can automatically detect the available light and activate the night mode accordingly, yielding brighter results with a touch of smoothening to eliminate noise.

The portrait images taken with the primary and 3x telephoto lens are sharp and offer a nice separation of the subject from the background. Additionally, the bokeh effect looks quite natural. For selfies and video calling, the handset relies on a 16MP front-facing camera which outputs slightly beautified results with good facial detailing.

Battery and charging speeds

The iQOO 12 packs a 5,000mAh battery, maintaining the same capacity as last year but now benefiting from an improved screen and chipset. Consequently, the smartphone provides a respectable battery backup. During my usage, which included an hour of BGMI, streaming, browsing, and social media scrolling, the handset lasted for a good day and a half between charges. For slightly heavier users incorporating navigation, the battery life might experience a slight reduction, but it should still comfortably last through the end of the day. On the PC Mark battery test, the handset returned with a score of 14 hours and 14 min.

When it comes to charging, the iQOO 12 has you covered. The handset supports a 120W fast-charging solution, ensuring that even if you plug the device in at the eleventh hour, you can achieve a full charge from 0 to 100 percent in just 27 minutes. To your delight, the charger is provided in the box.

Final verdict

The iQOO 12 certainly surpasses my expectations. Having used the iQOO 11 before this review, the handset presents itself as a worthy upgrade. The design of the iQOO 12 appears more polished and premium, while its display provides enhanced visuals with increased brightness and dynamic refresh rate. While the cameras may not match Pixel-like quality yet, the handset is no slouch either. All cameras manage to capture appealing images across various lighting conditions. The battery life is impressive, and so is the charging speed, capable of recharging the phone in no time.

Though I would have preferred the smartphone to have fewer to no bloatware, its efforts to reduce clutter and advertisements are much appreciated. These refinements in software also contribute to the phone’s performance, which is its key USP. The inclusion of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 SoC makes it a smartphone to catch. Whether other Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 smartphones, expected to launch in India soon, can match up to it, only time will tell. For now, the iQOO 12 has to be your go-to device for best-in-class performance, among other things.

Editor’s rating: 8.5 / 10

Reasons to buy

  • The iQOO 12 is aesthetically pleasing to the eye and offers a good in-hand feel.
  • The dynamic AMOLED display offers crisp visuals with vivid and vibrant colours.
  • The cameras consistently capture appealing images across various lighting conditions.
  • Performance is simply the best yet and the charging speeds are impressive.

Reasons not to buy

  • The software offers a bloated experience with a few pre-installed apps.
  • The handset lacks support for wireless charging.

Key Specs

iQOO 12 5G
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
Rear Camera50 MP + 50 MP + 64 MP
Front Camera16 MP
Battery5000 mAh
Display6.78 inches (17.22 cm)
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iQOO 12 5G Price
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Rs. 52,999.00
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