The iQOO brand is slowly taking over the Indian smartphone market, and their phones generally exceed expectations in terms of performance. iQOO’s latest offering, iQOO 9T 5G follows the same trend.
It is the upgraded model of the iQOO 9 5G and features a large 6.78′′ FHD+ 120Hz AMOLED display, an improved camera, and a bigger 4700mAh battery, among other improvements. At a starting price of Rs. 49,999, the 9T looks like a great deal on paper at least.
It offers great performance with a premium look and feel. However, iQOO has cut some corners like every other brand in the market. Keep reading this iQOO 9T 5G review to find out if it’s really worth the 50k price tag.
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The iQOO 9T 5G comes available in two variants in India. The base variant costs Rs. 49,999 for 8GB RAM and 128GB storage, whereas the top variant costs Rs. 54,999 for 12GB RAM and 256GB storage.
The phone is available in two different colour options: Alpha and Legend. You can buy the phone online directly from iQOO India or Amazon.
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The iQOO 9T packs the following items inside the box:
- 120W Charger
- Type-C USB Cable
- SIM Eject Tool
- Phone Case
Before we talk in detail about the iQOO 9T 5G, let’s see what the on-paper specs look like:
- Display: 6.78 inches AMOLED
- Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1
- RAM & ROM: 8GB RAM 128GB Storage, 12GB RAM 256GB Storage
- Software: Android v12
- Rear camera: 50MP + 13MP + 12MP
- Selfie camera: 16MP
- Battery: 4700 mAh
- Weight: 207 grams
- Dimensions: 164.5 x 77.1 x 8.3 mm
The iQOO 9T has an eye-catching design that gen z is looking for. The device incorporates a few design patterns from the recently launched iQOO 9 5G (review) and iQOO 9 Pro 5G (review). The phone is also extremely well built. Note the fact that it is a bit on the heavy side, weighing 206 grams.
The Legend variant has the typical BMW stripes running across the matte white back, whereas the Alpha variant has an all-black theme. I received the Alpha colour variant for review, and I believe it adds a premium look to the device.
This glass back, which looks gorgeous in both black and white variants, has a dual-tone finish with a matte finish at the bottom with a glossy finish on the top half that houses the camera unit.
You get to see a metallic frame with a matte finish, and the design lines are a little dated because there are no squared corners here. The device has a very premium feel in hand, which is to be expected from a flagship phone at this price. I could hold it securely in one hand thanks to the curved back.
The iQOO 9T is no doubt a big and tall phone. It will satisfy anyone with a thing for large phones, but if you prefer a compact form factor, you might not like using the iQOO 9T.
Coming to the ports and buttons, the right has the power button along with volume rockers while the left side is empty. You will see the Type-C port, primary speakers, SIM card tray and primary mic on the bottom side. Whereas the top side holds the secondary mic and an IR blaster.
The iQOO 9T’s overall aesthetic and build quality are on par with those of the majority of flagship phones. The phone is also splash resistant, thanks to its IP52 rating.
The iQOO 9T 5G features a triple camera setup on the back. It includes a 50MP Samsung GN5 main sensor with OIS support, a 13MP ultra-wide lens and a 12MP portrait sensor. On the front side, you get a 16MP camera for taking selfies.
The photos taken using the main sensor have good detail and sharpness levels but have slightly saturated colours. I’d also like to mention how quickly the camera focuses on a subject and how fast the sensor’s shutter speed is.
The photos are vibrant with natural colours, and the sensor is ideal for taking impressive shots. Images in low light are good, but they could be better. I felt that the minor details around the corners were missing during low-light photography.
The 13MP ultra-wide lens takes good shots and also allows you to capture macro shots. The wide-angle photos have a cooler tone, whereas the normal ones have a warmer tone and look somewhat more natural.
Moving on, the portrait lens can also take decent shots. The portrait shots had vibrant colours, accurate edge detection, and a nice bokeh effect.
Selfies taken with the front-facing camera were also quite sharp. Selfies taken with HDR also work well, and the skin’s texture looks natural when you turn off the filters. Although the selfie portrait shots taken in the daylight were good, they were not the best in low light.
The camera UI is the same as seen on other smartphones running on Funtouch OS 12. It has a number of camera modes, including 50MP mode, dual view, double exposure, AR stickers, Pro Sports mode, and more.
Talking about video capabilities, the phone can record 4k videos at 60fps from the main camera. However, the ultra stabilisation only works in 1080p resolution. The front camera can record video at 1080p 30fps. The video quality from the main camera is good and well stabilised.
The iQOO 9T 5G is backed by a 4700 mAh battery, which might look less but trust me, it’s not. The battery can easily last a full day of use for a normal user. A heavy user might need to charge the phone by the evening.
I got about 6-7hours of screen on time on 120Hz refresh rate, which is not bad. My usage involved some Instagram scrolling, watching some classic Kung Fu Panda on Netflix and of course, gaming.
Let me tell you something, the battery is not the highlight here. It’s the blazing fast 120W charging support. And when I say blazing fast, I mean it. The 120W charger takes just about 20 minutes to fully charge the phone from 0 to 100 per cent.
Additionally, iQOO provides the 120W adaptor in the box, a cherry on the cake. Sadly, there’s no support for wireless charging which should have been there considering the hefty price tag.
The iQOO 9T 5G features an FHD+ 6.78-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 1080 x 2400 pixels. The panel has a 120Hz fast refresh rate along with 1500 nits of peak brightness, which gets bright enough for usage even under direct sunlight.
The end result is that it offers one of the finest and most colour-accurate displays available at this price point. Yes, it’s not QHD+, but it has a sharp and bright panel that’s enjoyable to watch videos on. You can set the refresh rate to 60Hz or 120Hz or simply let the phone auto switch between the two refresh rates.
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You can choose between standard (default), professional, and bright screen colour profiles. The 9T also incorporates the company’s dedicated V1+ display chip, which boosts frame rate in selected games and optimises colour schemes.
The iQOO 9T also supports HDR10 playback and comes with a Visual Enhancement toggle, which is said to push out vibrant colours while watching content on YouTube and Netflix.
The screen has a 360Hz touch sampling rate that can go up to 1200Hz in Instant mode, which will come in help while playing games. The display is ideal for watching movies, and the 120Hz high refresh rate ensures that everything you do on it is smooth.
Performance is the area where every iQOO device excels, and the latest iQOO 9T is no different. The so-claimed fastest phone iQOO 9T packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset which is paired with up to 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage. You can also expand the RAM by 4GB using the RAM expansion feature.
Even when juggling multiple apps at once, the phone remained cool and ran flawlessly. In fact, the iQOO 9T achieved the highest score on the Antutu benchmarking test, crossing the 1,000,000 mark.
I did not notice any kinds of lag and the phone handled everything with ease. App switching was smooth, and RAM management was excellent. To sum up, the device will perform flawlessly no matter how much intense task you are doing.
Simply said, the 9T manages to keep the phone cool even under graphic-intensive tasks. This is possible due to the massive vapour chamber cooling inside the phone.
The iQOO 9T also has a gaming mode like every other phone. But here, you can boost the frame rates in some select games and improve performance with the help of the V1+ chip.
Talking about gaming, now it was time to push the phone to its limits. I tried a couple of graphic-intensive games including COD Mobile, Apex Legends Mobile and Genshin Impact. Without needing to say, all the games ran in their highest settings without any issues.
I played Apex Legends on Ultra HD graphics with Ultra frame rates for around an hour. The game ran flawlessly without any lags or shutters. I did not notice the phone getting hot, although there was a slight rise in temperature.
It has In-Display Dual Monster Touch for gamers, which divides the display into pressure-sensitive areas with triggering points on the left and right. In a game like Call of Duty, you can simply press the left and right sides of the screen with a little more pressure, which triggers the action that you have assigned.
While the phone shine in the performance department, it falls behind when it comes to software and UI. The iQOO 9T runs on Vivo’s FunTouchOS 12 skin which is based on Android 12.
Simply put, the UI is disappointing, especially for a phone with this price tag. You get to see a lot of pre-installed apps, and I was getting spam notifications throughout the day. These apps included LinkedIn, Spotify, Byjus, Facebook, Cred, Netflix and more. Thankfully you can uninstall these apps from the settings.
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There is clearly a lot of work that needs to be done so that it actually offers a true flagship experience. However, not everything is bad. Funtouch OS 12 offers a bunch of new features and customisation options.
It includes new home screen widgets like the Album Highlights, Nano Music Player, Stickers, and more. You will find the standard Android 12 features such as a privacy dashboard, Mic & camera indicators, security enhancements, and more.
It is the right time for iQOO and Vivo to address the software issues on their flagship phones and how to provide users with a rich and clean UI. Additionally, iQOO promises that the device will receive two years of major Android updates and three years of security updates.
The iQOO 9T features a stereo speaker setup which offers good sound quality. They get pretty loud with ample depth and bass. The overall multimedia experience was great. Sadly there’s no 3.5mm audio jack here, so you would need a pair of Bluetooth earphones for more privacy.
Talking about connectivity, the phone comes with 5G support with 9 5G bands. These include n1 / n3 / n5 / n8 / n28 / n40 / n41 / n77 / n78. Other connectivity options include Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, and NFC.
You will find an ultrasonic in-display fingerprint scanner which is pretty fast in unlocking the phone. You can register up to 5 fingerprints at a time. There’s also a face unlock feature which works equally good, but it’s not as secure as the fingerprint.
The iQOO 9T is a flawless combination of power and style for its price. It has style, power, and speed, making it one of the best phones under Rs 50,000 in India. You get the most recent and fastest chipset, as well as a dedicated V1+ chip to boost performance even further.
On top of that, there’s a stunning 120Hz AMOLED display and a potent battery with a blazing fast 120W charging speed. Bloatware is a letdown, and low-light camera performance is only average at best, but it excels in every area it claims to.
To sum it up, the iQOO 9T is an all-rounder phone at Rs. 49,999 that won’t leave you wanting more in terms of performance.