Former Vivo sub-brand iQOO has just outed a new smartphone in the affordable segment in the form of the iQOO Z6 Lite 5G. From the outside, the device looks very similar to the iQOO Z6 launched earlier this year. On the inside, there are a couple of things that are of noteworthy interest. This includes the ability to utilise 5G thanks to the brand new Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 SoC supplied by Qualcomm. I have already pitted the chipset with its competitors in a detailed benchmarks comparison which you can read here. Now it’s time to see if the rest of the phone shapes up to be a worthwhile contender in the already crowded sub-Rs 15,000 segment. Read this full review to find out.
The iQOO Z6 Lite 5G is an acceptably priced budget offering that takes care of key areas comprising a wholesome smartphone experience. It offers good daylight photography, lag-free performance, a fluid display, and long battery life. The only shortcomings arise from a lack of charger inside the box and less than ideal low-light image capturing.
As mentioned before, the iQOO Z6 Lite 5G’s exterior takes most of its design cues from the regular Z6. It has the same matte-finish polycarbonate back and almost flat edges. The camera array consists of two giant rings placed in a rectangular housing and a flash module on the side. However, instead of a triple-lens setup as seen on the iQOO Z6, you only have a dual-camera option with the Z6 Lite 5G. Apart from that the iQOO Z6 Lite 5G tips the scales at just under 200g and has a thickness of 8.3mm, both of which make it a relatively portable option.
The final touches on the design language are quite reminiscent of previous iQOO phones. On the bottom, there is a USB Type-C port, a speaker grille, and a 3.5mm headphone jack, while the right edge gets the power button cum fingerprint sensor alongside the volume rocker. The iQOO Z6 Lite has a sturdy and competent build like many other budget smartphones in the market and users will find it appealing.
On the display side of things, the iQOO Z6 Lite has a 120Hz IPS LCD panel that measures 6.58-inches diagonally. There is a dated waterdrop notch on the top for housing the selfie camera and the panel itself offers FHD+ resolution. For its price, I have very little to complain about in terms of the viewing experience offered on the device. Although I do prefer the contrast levels and dynamic range offered by an AMOLED panel, the Z6 Lite’s LCD is more than decent.
It gets plenty bright for outdoor usage, and offers basic customisations to tune the colour profile according to your needs. WideVine L1 is the only certification you will get which enables HD streaming on OTT platforms. Apart from that, I am impressed with how consistent the 120Hz screen feels and the device’s ability to dial it down in apps that don’t support it. Overall the iQOO Z6 Lite 5G serves as a competent visual aid while also reaping the benefits of a high refresh rate.
For photography, the iQOO Z6 Lite 5G makes use of a 50MP primary camera and a 2MP macro shooter. Current weather conditions in Delhi aren’t ideal for shooting but the Z6 Lite’s capabilities remain unhampered. The primary sensor outputs a good amount of dynamic range which can be seen in the different shades of grey across the overcast sky. Details are in sharp focus and the colour levels remain slightly on the side of oversaturation.
The sensor can calibrate exposure in a way that does not tone down the highlights surrounding an object. Focusing and shutter speeds remained optimum although the AI-based portrait shots could do with some improvements. In line with almost all budget smartphones, the macro sensor appears to be an afterthought on the device. Images clicked are hard to get in focus, have very low resolution, and are barely visible in low light.
The phone’s ability to shoot images in low light is quite average. Without any ambient light for support, most images turn out to be quite grainy and soft. It’s also a hard task to get a subject in focus and the dedicated Night mode doesn’t do much to help other than to turn up the exposure. For the selfie camera, you get a 16MP shooter which maintains correct exposure behind the face, doesn’t oversharpen, and gets in a good amount of facial details.
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 SoC handles the number crunching on the iQOO Z6 Lite and it features a new Cortex A78 core clocked at 2.0GHz. There’s up to 6GB of LPDDR4X RAM and 128GB UFS 2.1 storage. As mentioned before, I have compared the chipset with opposition from the stable of MediaTek. My conclusion was that the iQOO Z6 Lite is capable of keeping pace with them but is not too adept at heavy-duty gaming.
The benchmark numbers show that the iQOO Z6 Lite is an efficient performer even when put under sustained loads and also capable enough to pull off medium-level processing tasks. However, if you plan on using the phone for playing games like PUBG New State or Apex Legends Mobile, it might be a better idea to choose one of the other options.
Other aspects of the device include a bottom-firing speaker that outputs satisfactory sound quality. The fingerprint sensor works well enough as does the facial recognition. 5G services in India are on the brink of getting started and the iQOO Z6 Lite will be one of the cheapest phones in the market to utilise it. For the time being my experience with the phone’s 4G LTE network on Jio’s Noida circle was satisfactory. In terms of software, the phone is running FuntouchOS 12 based on Android 12. You can read more about it in my iQOO Z6 Pro review here.
The iQOO Z6 Lite 5G comes with a 5,000mAh battery but the company has not provided a charger within the box. It would appear that a trend started initially by flagship smartphones is slowly trickling down to budget devices. In any case, you can buy a charger separately to get maximum output of 18W. The battery life itself is more than decent with the phone allowing up to six hours of screen-on time.
For a budget phone costing under Rs 15,000, the iQOO Z6 Lite 5G does have specs to flaunt. Chief among them is a 120Hz panel and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 4 Gen 1. It also helps that the device has a sturdy yet elegant look to it, which is sure to attract buyers. I really think iQOO should really have provided a charger inside the box and improved low-light photography on the device. However, by providing a 5G-ready device, the company has future-proofed the iQOO Z6 Lite 5G for the eventual start and expansion of India’s 5G telecom structure.
Editor’s rating: 3.5 / 5
- Sturdy build
- Smooth 120Hz display
- Decent performance
- Low light photography is not up to the mark
- No charger inside the box