iQOO has unleashed a new flagship smartphone in the Indian market in the form of the iQOO 11. The company has skipped number 10 in its nomenclature after having revealed the iQOO 9 (review) series last year, but the core concept of what iQOO stands for has not wavered one bit.
The iQOO 11 is the first phone in the Indian market to channel the performance of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC. Not just that, the company claims to have made some huge strides in the display and gaming experience offered by the device. Priced starting Rs 54,999, the iQOO 11 is certainly not the easiest phone on your wallet. In this review let’s find out if the device is worthy of its price tag and if it is a step above some of the competing smartphones.
The iQOO 11 is undoubtedly the fastest Android phone on the planet at the time of writing this. Any performance needs you might have from a modern-day smartphone will be met more than satisfactorily by iQOO’s latest handset. Rapid charging speeds, a robust design, a quality viewing experience and decent camera hardware, are ingredients in the recipe for one of the most wholesome smartphones in the flagship range.
Design and display
From the outside, iQOO has retained a lot of design elements that have been present in previous iterations. For example, the white finish and racing stripes pattern prevalent in the iQOO 9 series can also be seen with the iQOO 11’s Legend variant. However, I received the Alpha version of the device which has a sparkling dark grey matte finish, but looks every bit as premium. Gorilla Glass Victus is the protection being employed upfront, while on the back is standard AG glass. The weight distribution and build quality of the phone remains excellent, as expected. This fact is even more pronounced when you consider the large 4,013mm² vapour chamber being housed inside the device.
There is no headphone jack on the iQOO 11 but you do get a set of stereo speakers. As for the fingerprint sensor, it is of the in-display variety and the power button along with the volume rocker bar is placed on the phone’s right side. Finally, there is a triple-camera layout that juts out ever so slightly from the chassis and bares quite a resemblance to some Vivo phones of the past. Overall, I think that the iQOO 11 is well-built and has sturdy construction but still manages to catch the eye.
Now the display is one of the biggest things that iQOO has focused on and the implementation of a 6.78-inch E6 AMOLED panel proves the same. The punch hole up top breaks the otherwise evenly distributed screen real estate with minimal but equal-length bezels on all sides. As far as the refresh rate goes, the iQOO 11 has a 144Hz panel paired with 2K resolution. On top of all this, the display can achieve up to 1800nits of peak brightness while showcasing HDR content. The result of all this is a very crisp yet vibrant viewing experience that manages to wow me every time I watch any visual media on the device.
Talking about OTT services, the iQOO 11 can showcase HDR10 content. I can personally vouch for how mesmerising Our Universe looks on Netflix with the screen’s super wide dynamic range available to play around with. However, I do think that iQOO could’ve also added the option of Dolby Vision playback if phones like the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ (review) can do it in the mid-range category.
I should assume that it is abundantly clear now, the iQOO 11 makes for a superlative media consumption device and you will enjoy every moment you spend watching your favourite movies or TV shows on the handset. The only reasonable criticism I can make is the usage of the dated LTPO technology on the device when comparative smartphones have moved to LTPO 2.0.
iQOO hasn’t kept the smartphone’s photography skills as an afterthought, with the primary shooter being a 50MP Samsung ISOCELL GN5 sensor. It is supported by a 13MP telephoto lens capable of 2X optical zoom along with an 8MP ultra-wide shooter. The weather conditions around Delhi have been quite foggy over the past few days for me to accurately judge metrics like dynamic range, but what I have seen has me reasonably satisfied. During my tests, I took the camera through various indoor and outdoor shooting scenarios and the conclusion I can draw is that colours from the sensor can appear a bit saturated.
Shades of red are churned out bright maroonish and the greens in tree leaves are often amped up. Putting that aside, the device captures excellent details and maintains a firm grip on exposure calibration. I also didn’t see any significant highlight clipping along the edges of subjects. With the auto HDR kicking in, more of the shadowy parts of the frame got evenly illuminated. Lastly, I also liked the snappy autofocus and shutter speeds on offer from the primary sensor.
Coming now to the ultra-wide shooter, the 8MP sensor does an adequate job of keeping colour temperatures neutral while also reducing the warping around the edges. In terms of detailing, images clicked from the ultra-wide lens have a soft look across the frame but with better lighting, the images tend to be sharper. The same can be said about the 2X telephoto shooter although its smaller sensor size can relay varying results in depreciating light. For my part, I have mostly been content with the ultra-wide sensor but not so much with the telephoto lens.
As for the phone’s low-light capabilities, iQOO has made some lengthy strides to improve image quality from last year’s iQOO 9. The sensor has toned down on the excess saturation levels and sticks to more natural tones. The camera can snap photos almost instantly, and the OIS does an impressive job of nullifying excessive shake. I do feel that getting the focus properly can be an issue at times, especially when taking a shot with very little ambient lighting.
However, the Night mode comes to your rescue here with a host of computational chops and delivers a rather pleasing shot in most conditions. The 16MP selfie shooter is also something of note as it clicks highly detailed images with oodles of facial detailing on display and measured skin tones.
Performance and software
Moving over to the phone’s performance aspect and here there’s little doubt in my mind that the iQOO 11 is currently the fastest Android phone on the planet. A quick look at the phone’s 1,289,561 Antutu score is enough to declare the device as a processing fiend. Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, it can handle any and every CPU-heavy task. Not once did I see the iQOO 11 so much as stutter for a split second while I was using three heavy social media apps, browsing through 10 Chrome tabs, playing CoD: Mobile on the highest settings while an FHD video project was being rendered in the background.
The device offers 88 percent of its maximum CPU performance under sustained load for 20 minutes. To top all that off, the handset uses 16GB of LPDDR5X RAM with an additional 8GB available as virtual swap memory from the 256GB UFS 4.0 storage. You can also see the iQOO 11 maintains an impressive 70 percent of CPU stability while running the incredibly demanding 3D Wild Life Extreme Stress test.
Some credit for this high level of performance can definitely be attributed to the huge 4,013mm² VC for heat dissipation. During my time gaming on the device, I always felt the middle portion of the back getting a bit warm but never did the playing experience give so much as a stutter. iQOO also uses its specialised V2 chip that utilises frame rate interpolation to boost the fps count on titles like CoD: Mobile and PUBG: New State. Lastly a word of appreciation also towards some amazing haptic feedback on the device thanks to the Dual X-axis Linear Motor.
The dual speakers on the iQOO 11 are nothing out of the ordinary and have an acceptable amount of volume. However, there’s a distinct lack of depth to the audio which can rob the user of some of the listening experience. There is an in-display fingerprint sensor working as advertised with snappy recognition and an easy registration process. In terms of 5G, the phone does have NSA and SA support and can connect with all the popular bands on offer except for mmWave.
The iQOO 11 runs on FuntouchOS 13 which is based on the Android 13 platform. There is not too much to criticise about the general interface and how things run. The UI has become more streamlined than previous generations with basic settings being easy to navigate. As far as bloatware goes, you still get the occasional Vivo-branded apps but that’s about it. In fact, if anything, the experience has a lot of semblance with current stock Android skins like Motorola’s MyUX. With timely upgrades and patches, the iQOO 11 should have a secure and enjoyable tenure as far as the software goes.
Inside the device is a 5,000mAh cell that has the capability of lasting easily for more than a day when fully charged. I got about 6 hours of screen-on time with the resolution capped at 2K along with 120Hz refresh rate. This also included an hour of CoD: Mobile, a few episodes of Netflix’s Kaleidoscope series along with some light social media browsing. Like several devices in the flagship space, the iQOO 11 also has fast charging capabilities that can juice up the phone at 120W. In my testing, it took about 20 minutes to completely fill up the battery from 0 – 100 percent.
The iQOO 11 can be classified as easily the best performance-focused Android tool made to date. Its processing prowess is excellent and its handling of heavy-duty tasks is impeccable. If high-end mobile gaming is your forte, then it would be hard for you to go amiss with the capabilities offered by the iQOO 11.
The picture isn’t all that rosy though, as the device does falter on not utilising an LTPO 2.0 panel for better power efficiency. The telephoto sensor can also get a bit jumpy at times while the long-standing issues concerning bloatware have not been eliminated. However, putting these niggles aside, the iQOO 11 is a fine phone worthy of a strong recommendation if you’re on the hunt for an all-rounder that focuses on performance.
Editor’s rating: 4 / 5
- Excellent performance
- Capable display
- Superfast 120W charging speeds
- Decent cameras
- Telephoto sensor could be better
- Could use LTPO 2.0