iQOO 12 Review : As Fast As Possible

iQOO 12
iQOO 12
There it is, a new iQOO to end the year with. Offering flagship specs at a modest price, the iQOO 12 learnt a lot from the iQOO 11 and made good with a slew of improvements all across the board, including camera quality and even build quality. There are less new quirks, and some retaining features that bug me, but not enough to not recommend this phone.
Design
9
Display
9
Performance
10
Battery Life
8
Camera (rear)
9
Camera (front)
7
Value
8
Love
New, fingerprint-free back design
Excellent Rear cameras
25 minute full charge
Chart-topping performance
Great display
Loven’t
Quad-bayer selfies hinder full potential
No 4K front facing video
Still USB 2.0
No wireless charging
IP54 rating
8.6

Out of 10

Key Specs

CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
Memory16GB LPDDR5X RAM
512GB UFS 4.0 storage
Display6.78-inch LTPO AMOLED display 144Hz
Camera50 MP, f/1.7, 23mm (wide),
multi-directional PDAF, OIS
64 MP, f/2.6, 70mm (periscope telephoto), PDAF, OIS, 3x optical zoom
50 MP, f/2.0, 15mm, 119˚ (ultrawide), AF

16 MP, f/2.5, (selfie)
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.4, USB Type-C 2.0, Up to WiFi 7
OSAndroid 14, Funtouch OS 14
Battery5000 mAh, 120W Fast Charging
Available ColorsWhite, Black
Retail Price16GB+512GB : RM 3399

Exquisite And Heavy

The iQOO 12 in white takes a minimalist approach to smartphone design, with stunning results. Gone are the gaudy gradients and flashy logos; instead, you’re treated to a canvas of pure, pearlescent white that exudes understated flashiness.


The phone’s back panel is made from porcelain enamel glass, giving it a smooth, almost ceramic feel that’s nice to hold. It catches the light beautifully, shimmering with subtle hues depending on the angle. This finish isn’t just for aesthetics; it’s surprisingly practical too. The phone resists fingerprints and smudges remarkably well, staying kind of fingerprint-less even after extended use.

Even the camera module follows this minimalist trend. It’s a rounded rectangular bump that houses the lenses without protruding excessively, maintaining the phone’s sleek profile.

Camera Setup

The iQOO 12 boasts a triple-camera system that’s pretty good looking on paper, and I was quite suprised at how much OmniVision camera sensors have improved over the years. Both the main and telephoto sensors are from Omnivision, while the ultrawide and front-cameras are from Samsung.

Main Sensor 50MP OmniVision OV50H

The main sensor is pretty big, measuring 1/1.3″, so my expectations would be that the iQOO 12 would be a beast with lowlight shots. While I will talk about that later, I was pleased to see just how well the main sensor shoots daylight shots, offering crispy detail, extremely vivid colors and well manged contrast. OIS is present so you don’t have to petrify yourself for the perfect shot too. The benefit also extends to aufocusing that I found to be quite fast, even with moving subjects thanks to quad-level PDAF (phase-detection autofocus).

Default photos are saved in 12.5 MP, and you can enable the full 50 MP resolution in the camera app itself. I however feel that default shoots just fine and would not benefit greatly from going full resolution.

 64MP Telephoto Sensor (OmniVision OV64B)

The iQOO 12 comes with 3x optical zoom capabilities and it’s definitely the right move to do so. It’s also optically stabilized (OIS), so shooting under moving circumstances is still okay within reason. That being said, image quality is decent, with good detail, slightly saturated colors and high contrast. Overall it’s reliable with sharp images up to 3x, which I would say would be the second best sensor here, and a good competitive sensor that really fights for its price tag

. It’s also promised that the sensor can obtain up to a lossless 10x zoom, and though you can see that the 10x zoomed images look sharp and detailed, it’s actually just on a general level, because you can really see noise and blotching when you pinch-zoom up close. It really doesn’t feel like a sensor flaw, but more like post-processing needs work. It’s no true optical zoom after all, but more of a digital crop from the middle of a high resolution capture. It’s a neat trick I’ll give you that, but it really needs work through software optimization. The competition is still and there’s plenty of resolved detail to, well, resolve.

50MP Ultrawide Sensor (Samsung JN1)

The ultrawide camera takes 12.5MP photos by default. The detail is slightly above average, offering decent sharpness, detail and low noise. What’s outstanding is the dynamic range, it’s really wide and really keeps lights from blowing out without darkening the image too much. Distortion correction is done well too, and that’s something I definitely expect from a Samsung sensor. Colors remain steadfast and consistent to the other 2 sensors, which is always appreciated.

Portrait Mode

Rear portrait mode is downright good, offering 1x – 3x zooms with simulated apertures. Detail is very good across all focal lengths, as you can observe all the letter C’s on my hoodie are visible and sharp. colors are natural with a slight saturation boost, making is really pleasing to look it. Even though the blurs are artificial, it’s still executed quite well, especially on the tough spot on the left side of my head (from my POV), where it had to seperate between my hair and the brown leaves behind me, which is actually a pretty tricky scenario to execute. Thankfully the iQOO 12 came through and did it correctly.

Selfies

The iQOO 12 offers a 16MP Quad-bayer sensor, which are pretty much upscaled 4MP images. It doesn’t look too bad, but my background detail really suffers from it. Beauty mode is enabled by default and my your skin will look definitely smoothed out but not to an excessive degree. Turning that off grants slightly more detail, including a reality hit that makes sure you know you’re not that handsome after all.

The Works

The iQOO 12 packs an industry standard 6.78-inch AMOLED display with a 144Hz refresh rate, perfect for gamers and anyone who crave a smoother visual experience.

Packing the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor and a host of gamer-centric features, it’s ready to conquer even the most demanding titles. But how does it fare in terms of color accuracy, an often-overlooked aspect crucial for creative professionals and movie buffs?

 The AMOLED panel produces rich, saturated colors that pop off the screen. This is great for watching HDR content, playing games, and browsing the web. While colors are vibrant, they lean towards oversaturated territory. This might be appealing for casual users, but for professionals who need accurate color reproduction for tasks like photo editing or graphic design, it can be a drawback

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 is a beast, and games like Genshin Impact and PUBG Mobile run flawlessly at max settings, with buttery-smooth frame rates (up to 60 FPS), and fast loading times (though network plays a role in that too). But so far,it’s able to handle Genshin’s full demands without any let down for at least 35 minutes of continous daily questing, while temperatures loomed around the early 40’s of degrees celcius. It’s impressive, though the battery drain was about nearly 10% for that duration, so manage your day and decide when you’d like to play like this.

Browsing, multitasking, and running demanding apps is a breeze. The phone handles everything you throw at it with lightning-fast speed and responsiveness.

The iQOO 12 also has Widevine L1 DRM support, meaning you can stream Full HD content with HDR10 and Dolby Vision support on Netflix, which worked flawlessly

We did 2 CPU throttling tests, the iQOO 12 scored a respectable 74% in stability, followed by 60% an hour later. While it does throttle later on, it’s not dropping frames all over the place, but only ever so slightly. I really feel confident that the iQOO 12 is a good gaming phone to end the year with, offering great performance all across the board, with a minimum 20% improvement in performance compared to Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 devices this year.

Gaming Modes

As a gaming focused phone, the iQOO 12 does feature a gaming mode known as Ultra Gaming Mode which is automatically enabled when you launch a game. From here you can enable power profiles that increases decreased your CPU and GPU’s clock rates to suit your needs. Apart from other basic tools such as screenshot, screen record and motion control, something carried forward from the iQOO 11 is Game Frame Interpolation which tries to increase FPS by means of frame generation through analysing frames and temporal up-sampling to give off a smoother experience. I tried it on Mobile Legends but was only able to obtain 120 FPS, while Genshin stuck to 60 FPS, with barely any difference in smoothness. Take note that this is more of a developer issue, Genshin is locked to a maximum 60 FPS, and no Android phone out there is exempted from this rule, and though the FPS counter might count 144Hz while Game Frame Interpolation is enabled, it’s really just 60Hz as most counters are only reading the display’s refresh rate which is probably hard-forced to 144Hz.

What I’m trying to say is, no, Genshin won’t play up to 144Hz on the iQOO 12 or any other phone for now but it still runs games well , even for long gaming sessions.

Battery Life

The iQOO 12 is powered by a 5,000mAh pack, and in my daily use it bagged me about 7-8 hours screen-on time which is good, without gaming, just typical social media, messaging, emails and music streaming. Under the same approach but with added 20-30 minute sessions 4-5 times a day, knocks that down to nearly 6 hours of screen-on time which is still respectable given the tougher regime.

Charging is fast as well, with the provided 120W charger and a high-current 6A cable. A full charge takes under 26 minutes which is really, really fast, so there’s no compromise here on the iQOO 12. The battery unit itself is durable, and long-lasting, with the company claiming a bold 80% capacity remaining even aftter 1600 charging cycles, which is about 4.4 years of charging every day, once.

I don’t see a need to charge more than once a day, considering that even the heaviest of days gets me home with a strong 30% left in the tank, and if iQOO really makes good on that claim, it’ll definitely add more credibility in terms of reliability for the young brand.

15 minutes, from 0%31%
25 minutes, from 0%100%

Can It Stack Up With The Competition?

I actually like how iQOO works right now, especially with their release window. They’re one of the earliest in Malaysia to pack the latest specs, and only launches barely 2-3 phones a year which includes this hero product. What I actually don’t like is how they’re not entirely sure on what image they want to project product-wise. You create a really good, well-rounded device that really works in all departments but moderately push it as a gaming phone. What are you trying to be? It’s hard to review it because it’s trying to be in 2 segments, one foot on each camp.

Well, is it a good gaming phone? yes, camera phone? yes, but not competively priced enough to fight stronger giants. Every day phone? absolutely. But well, RM 3399 is an alright price for this phone, since it’s launched end of 2023 with next year’s chipset, but may not hold out long enough when the rest of the competition brings theirs in sooner or later.

But as of now, it’s a nice phone from a growing brand that looks good, works and plays fast so the confidence is there.

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