We reviewed the iQOO 9 Pro unveiled in January and concluded it's a smartphone that's worth considering if you are in the market for an Android flagship. Today, we have the vanilla iQOO 9 at our office for a full review. But do note that this is the Snapdragon 888 Plus-powered model launched in India last month and not the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 variant, which is exclusive to China.
Our unit has 12GB RAM and 256GB of storage onboard, but there's another model with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage. Both run Android 12-based FuntouchOS 12 out of the box, unlike the Chinese iQOO 9 which boots OriginOS Ocean.
The iQOO 9 is built around a 6.56" 120Hz 10Bit FullHD+ AMOLED screen with a 300Hz touch sampling rate and 1,000Hz instant touch sampling rate. It's HDR10+ certified and advertised to have a peak brightness of 1,200 nits. The display is protected by Panda Glass and has a punch hole in the center for the 16MP selfie camera. There's also a fingerprint reader underneath, which we found to be fast and accurate in the time we spent with the phone.
Around the back, we have three cameras and a flash module sitting inside a rectangular island. We are looking at a 48MP primary camera (with gimbal OIS) joined by 13MP ultrawide and 13MP 50mm telephoto units.
We have received the Legend edition, flaunting the BMW Motorsport-inspired racetrack design, but there's also a black-colored Alpha edition with a textured design. Both have the volume rocker and power button on their right-side frames. However, the power key on the Legend is painted blue, while the one on Alpha has an orange accent.
These buttons have nice feedback and the phone's built well. The iQOO 9 is also a bit more compact than the Pro version, making it comfortable to hold for longer periods. However, if you are a right-hander, your index finger will likely rest on the silver part of the camera island, which also causes the iQOO 9 to wobble on flat surfaces.
The rest of the iQOO 9's highlights include NFC, USB-C, stereo speakers, 5G connectivity, IP52 rating, vapor chamber liquid cooling system, and an Intelligent Display Chip, advertised to offer a lag-free gaming experience. It's tasked with SDR-to-HDR conversion and uses MEMC to achieve a higher frame rate when gaming. For now, it can push Call of Duty Mobile and Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) from 60 FPS to 90 FPS, but iQOO told us more games will be supported eventually.
Speaking of gaming, the iQOO 9 comes with In-Display Dual Moster Touch controls we saw on the iQOO 7 Legend last year. These divide the screen into pressure-sensitive left and right areas in horizontal orientation, allowing faster response times when gaming. We were very impressed with these on the iQOO 7 Legend, and we expect a similar - if not better - experience on the iQOO 9.
The iQOO 9 also comes with a dual X-Axis Linear Motor, which offers nice haptic feedback. And fueling the entire package is a 4,350 mAh battery, which goes from 1% to 50% in six minutes and 100% in 18 minutes when charged with the bundled 120W adapter. We'll obviously test that claim ourselves in the full review along with other iQOO 9 features, so stick around to find out if the vanilla iQOO 9 is worth buying.