May 27, 2024
iQOO Neo 9 Pro

Review of iQOO Neo 9 Pro

Although iQOO’s high-end smartphones are thought of as performance-focused gadgets, their cameras might not be their greatest asset. That was, at least, the case with the iQOO Neo 7 Pro (review) from the previous year, which was powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC and was named Phone of the Year (under Rs 35,000) by 91mobile. But iQOO is redefining its place in the market rather significantly. When it comes to cameras, the recently released iQOO 12 (review) has shown to be a strong competitor. The iQOO Neo 9 Pro now seeks to continue the tradition by emphasizing cameras and performance. Remember, all of this is done without sacrificing affordability.

The largest obstacle for the iQOO Neo 9 Pro, however, is that it is in India’s most competitive smartphone market. Smartphones like the Redmi Note 13 Pro+ (review), which has a fashionable design and improved durability, fall into the same group. Moreover, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC is also found in the OnePlus 12R (review).

 Rating: 8 / 10

Verdict

The iQOO Neo 9 Pro continues the tradition of the iQOO Neo 7 Pro as a dependable smartphone focused on performance at a reasonably priced sticker price. Although the ultra-wide camera might use some work, the improved 50MP primary camera performs admirably in both bright and low light. If you value a strong battery and quick charging, the Neo 9 Pro won’t let you down once more. However, the OnePlus 12R—which also boasts a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2—will be a superior option if you’re looking for a clean Android experience and an immersive Android ecosystem.

Design and display

The boxy shape of the iQOO Neo 7 Pro is not carried over to the iQOO Neo 9 Pro, but the Black variant—which I am reviewing—retains the same finish. The price is aggressive because the build is primarily made of plastic. The rear panel reliably conceals scratches and fingerprint smudges while leaving a satin-like surface. There isn’t a headphone jack either.

If you want a more athletic look, iQOO has a Red-White option that it refers to as Fiery Red. With the addition of vegan leather patches, this model now stands with rivals like the Redmi Note 13 Pro+ and Motorola Edge 40. The red-white color combination is a little too garish for my taste, but the design can be subjective.

Rather than Full-HD+ resolution (2,800 x 1080 pixels), the iQOO Neo 9 Pro’s display now delivers 1.5K resolutions (2,400 x 1,260 pixels). The phone’s 6.78-inch AMOLED flat screen, with a maximum refresh rate of 144Hz, is still a feature. The OnePlus 12R offers a slightly sharper viewing experience, while the iQOO Neo 9 Pro is also a great option. Netflix is among the well-optimized apps that support HDR playback. Although the audio is strong and well-balanced thanks to its two speakers, it lacks bass.

The iQOO Neo 9 Pro’s flat screen provides a superior touch response than the OnePlus 12R’s curved display, even when gaming.

Cameras

The iQOO Neo 9 Pro is all about providing a simple yet elegant camera experience. There is an 8MP ultra-wide camera and a 50MP primary camera on the back camera module.

A subtle sepia-like tint was applied to some of the photos I reviewed; this can appear good, but it can distort the colors. Clear details are captured by the primary camera without adding to the image’s noise level. When I contrasted the OnePlus 12R’s primary camera results with the iQOO Neo 9 Pro’s, the latter performed better throughout the day and in low light. The 50MP camera produces a beautiful bokeh effect while taking portrait photos, another area of proficiency. Nevertheless, portrait photographs may have oversaturation, which is difficult to correct during editing.

The phone can record 8K videos, though using them can be challenging. Although colors in well-lit environments could appear harmonious and well-balanced, handling the file size could provide challenges. For example, a 20-second 8K video would be about 135 MB, whereas a 4K version would be about 60 MB. Additionally, there is very little stabilization and the phone tends to heat up more quickly in 8K than in 4K. You will get more than satisfactory results if you record videos in full HD, 60 frames per second, or ultra stabilization mode.

Sadly, full-HD 30 frames per second video is still recorded by the front camera.

software and Performance

The iQOO Neo 9 Pro’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC provides a significant performance boost over the iQOO Neo 7 Pro’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC. The version I’m testing has 256GB of UFS 4 storage and 12GB of LPDDR5X RAM.

The iQOO Neo 9 Pro demonstrated increases of about 20 and 28 percent in the Geekbench single-core and multi-core tests, respectively. Even the AnTuTu score went up by over twenty-four percent. Impressive stability was also demonstrated by the CPU Throttling test, however the outcome seemed too good to be true. The iQOO Neo 9 Pro’s larger 6,043mm sq vapor chamber cooling system could be one reason. A dedicated Q1 performance chip could be the cause of improved stability. Another reason could be a defect in the app.

In real life, at least, the phone operated without lags or stutters. Because of the flat display and 4D haptics (via game mode), even the gaming experience is enhanced. Playing BGMI and Call of Duty on the iQOO Neo 9 Pro and the OnePlus 12R allowed me to compare the gaming experiences, and the former offered a comparatively more sophisticated experience.

However, the OnePlus 12R offers a cleaner Android experience than its predecessor. Three years of main Android OS support is available for the iQOO Neo 9 Pro, which is respectable but might be improved to rival the likes of Samsung and Google.

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Battery and charging

With normal usage, the iQOO Neo 9 Pro’s 5,160mAh battery may last all day. This larger battery is present in the device. I was getting about 8.5 hours of screen time with performance mode activated, which is decent. Regretfully, a glitch in the software prevented us from doing the backup test on PCMark’s battery test. Later on, we will update this section.

The iQOO 9 Pro took about 35 minutes to reach full charge using the included 120W charger.

Final decision

Like its predecessor, if gaming and performance are important to you, the iQOO Neo 9 Pro is still your best option in the sub-Rs 40k range. While the addition of a telephoto or enhanced ultra-wide camera could have given it an advantage, the updated 50MP primary camera still performs dependably.

On the other hand, the OnePlus 12R can be the best option if you want an immersive Android ecosystem and a clean Android experience. Nonetheless, the iQOO Neo 9 Pro emerges as a strong choice that won’t let you down if you’re looking for stutter-free performance and generous 256GB storage at a somewhat cheaper price point.

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