IQoo Z5 Review: A Decent Step, But Not a Big Jump

On paper, the iQoo Z5 doesn’t seem to be a massive improvement over the previous model in this series, the iQoo Z3. There is no AMOLED display as on competing smartphones around Rs. 25,000 price, and its rooms remain similar to those offered on the Z3. However, its price is a bit higher – the basic version retails for Rs. 23,990. So is the new iQoo Z5 worth your money or are there better smartphones that offer more for less? Let’s find out.

The price of iQoo Z5 in India

iQoo Z5 is available in two variants. There is a storage option of 8 GB RAM and 128 GB, which is the basic option and is priced at Rs. 23,990 in India. The second is the 12 GB RAM and 256 GB storage, at the price of Rs. 26,990.

Design iQoo Z5

The iQoo Z5 is a step up from the Z3 in terms of design. The soft finish on the back panel of the previous model has been replaced with a matte texture, which does an excellent job of withstanding fingerprints, and it hasn’t gotten out of hand. The camera module has increased in size to a rectangle with rounded corners and protrudes very little from the back surface. The back panel and frame are made of plastic, but this phone felt solid. This time, the colors are more subtle. There are two of them – Mystic Space and Arctic Dawn – and both look quite mature and elegant. I received a Mystic Space unit for review and it changes from dark blue to black when viewed from different angles.

iQoo Z5 rear side design ndtv iQooZ5 iQoo

The back panel and iQoo Z5 frame are made of plastic

This phone doesn’t look too thick at 8.5mm and doesn’t feel too heavy at 197 g. There’s a 6.67-inch full HD + LCD panel with a camera cutout at the top. While the top, left and right edges felt thin enough, the bottom edge is quite thick. There is a 3.5 mm headphone jack and it is located on the top of the smartphone.

IQoo Z5 specifications and software

iQoo Z3 debuted with Qualcomm Snapdragon 768G processor in India, and Z5 gets updated SoC 778G. This updated processor was manufactured using a 6 nm manufacturing process and runs at a maximum clock speed of 2.4 Ghz, which is less than 768G. However, it has an integrated Adreno 642L GPU, which is clocked at 750MHz, rather than the 450Mhz Adreno 620 GPU on the old 768G.

The phone comes with 8 GB or 12 GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 128 GB or 256 GB of UFS 3.1 storage. Communication standards include 5G radios (limited to n77 / n78 bands only), dual band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.2, and support for regular satellite navigation systems. The phone has a dual-SIM tray and there is no microSD card slot for expanding storage. It is packaged in a 5,000 mAh battery that can be charged with the included 44 W charger.

iQoo Z5 front software ndtv iQooZ5 iQoo

iQoo Z5 is running Funtouch OS 12, which is based on Android 11

The iQoo Z5 features Vivo’s Funtouch OS 12, which is based on Android 11. Like the Vivo X70 Pro +, the Z5 also gets widget handling, and you can read about it in detail here. Animated widgets work as expected, but are not too deeply integrated with either native or third-party applications. They are still fun to use. The rest of the software looks similar to FunTouch 11 and looks fluid thanks to the 120 Hz refresh rate display.

IQoo Z5 performance and battery life

While the LCD screen works well, given its price, I noticed a slight yellow tint at the bottom end of the panel. Sunlight readability is excellent and viewing angles are also good. The 6.67-inch screen with a 20: 9 aspect ratio makes it a little difficult to touch. Vivo claims that its display is HDR 10 compliant, but I haven’t found support for this in most OTT applications, including Netflix and Amazon Prime. However, the Z5 is still a good video streaming device, thanks to its stereo speakers, which sound loud and clear.

Side display iQoo Z5 ndtv stained iQooZ5 iQoo

The screen is easily stained, and fingerprints are not easy to erase

What I didn’t like about the display was that it was a dirty mess. The smartphone has a pre-applied protection screen. The peel left behind a layer of residue, which made it sticky and did not let my fingers slip over it, especially when playing games. After a game session, that Panda glass was a dirty mess and hard to clean.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G did not disappoint in our benchmark tests. The phone’s scores were equal to those of the competition, scoring 5,66,151 points in AnTuTu and 760 and 2,802 points in Geekbench’s single and multi-core tests, respectively.

Side buttons iQoo Z5 ndtv iQooZ5 iQoo

The iQoo Z5 power and volume buttons are on the right

The performance of the games was quite good. I tried Call of Duty: Mobile and Asphalt 9 and both games worked fine. SoC Snapdragon 778G managed to run Call of Duty: Mobile fluid at the default settings for very high graphics and high frame rate, with no visible heating issues. Asphalt 9: Legends worked smoothly and in the default settings.

Because this is a player-centric smartphone, there is also “4D Game Vibration”, which can be activated in the Ultra Game Mode menu or in the sidebar of the game. It didn’t work as expected, sending shocking vibrations that were either too late or meaningless, and I thought this was distracting at best.

iQoo Z5 rear camera ndtv iQooZ5 iQoo

iQoo Z5 has three rear cameras

The battery life with the 4,400 mAh battery on the iQoo Z3 has been pretty good, and iQoo has improved things drastically with the iQoo Z5. This phone has a battery with a capacity of more than 5,000 mAh, which easily lasts a day and a half with regular use. The phone passed 21 hours and 57 minutes in our HD video loop battery life test. The slightly slower 44 W charger that comes in the box has charged the phone from a 100% discharged battery in 1 hour and 10 minutes, which is not bad. In short, the iQoo move to sacrifice faster charging for a longer-lasting battery seems to have paid off.

IQoo Z5 cameras

The iQoo Z5 has three rear-facing cameras – a 64-megapixel main camera, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera, and a 2-megapixel macro camera. Selfie duties are managed by a 16 megapixel front camera. The camera app interface is pure Vivo and all the important controls, including a macro camera switch, are just a touch away. Room modes are also customizable. Video recording reaches a maximum of 4K 30fps for rear cameras, while the front camera is limited to 1080p video at 30fps.

Samples of iQoo Z5 camera with natural light. Upstairs: main room, downstairs: ultra-wide-angle room (tap to view full size)

The photos taken in daylight showed colors that were slightly saturated, with some light purple fringes in the brighter areas. Although they seemed decent at first glance, it was easy to say that these photos did not have details resolved after I enlarged them a little. The selfies came out well with a good dynamic range, but the detection of the edges in Portrait mode was average.

Featured iQoo Z3 camera samples. Up: Macro camera, down: Main camera (tap to view full size)

The photos taken with the ultra-wide angle camera were acceptable and had blurry details at the edges of the frames. The macro camera with a fixed focal length of 4 cm is not easy to use, and the output has come to look largely dramatic, with much excessive clarity. I preferred the close-up photos taken with the main camera.

Examples of iQoo Z5 Selfie Portrait camera. Top: daylight, bottom: dim light (tap to view full size)

As with the iQoo Z3, the low light image quality of the Z5 cameras was not great. Photos taken in low light showed blurry details and lots of spotted textures. Switching to Night mode didn’t help, it just added more contrast to the image and nothing else. The selfies made in low light were not in detail and seemed quite gentle, and the detection of the edges was below average.

Samples of iQoo Z5 low light camera. Up: Automatic, Down: Night mode (tap to view full size)

The videos shot in broad daylight came at a steady frame rate and provided good stabilization, but the Z3 could not cope with the bright scenes and tended to overexpose them. Strangely enough, I noticed a slight glow effect when I was walking even in daylight. In low light, the details were at the bottom. The stabilization was pretty good, but the frame rate was a bit hectic. The glow effect was also visible in low light filming. The 4K video recorded on the fly looked very agitated.

Verdict

While the iQoo Z3 with its sub-Rs. The starting price of 20,000 seemed to offer a pretty good value for money, the same cannot be said about the Z5, because its base price is Rs. 23,990 in India. The IQoo Z5 offers some improvements over the iQoo Z3 (Review), namely stereo speakers, a larger battery and a newer processor, but that’s not enough to take over other popular phones that cost around Rs. 25,000.

iQoo officially plans to unplug the Z3, but it is still on sale for only Rs. 17,990 (6 GB RAM + 128 GB storage) online at the moment. Z5, by comparison, is not a big enough step in terms of overall performance and does not offer enough value. There are better smartphones available from the competition at similar prices.

In terms of hardware, you get the powerful Snapdragon 778G SoC, 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage, but the competition includes Realme GT Master Edition (Review) which offers similar specifications with a much better Super AMOLED display, good camera performance and 65 W fast charge, for Rs. 25,999. Players may prefer the Poco F3 GT (Review) with its maglev triggers, RGB lighting and larger battery, even if it has a slightly higher price, starting at Rs. 26,999.


Updated: March 14, 2022 — 6:09 am

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