- The iQOO Z7 is one of the few phones to come with a camera with OIS in the sub-Rs 20,000 phone segment.
- The phone also boasts a processor that is normally seen at higher price points – the MediaTek Dimensity 920.
- With generally good specs, a flashy design, and a generally solid performance, the iQOO Z7 could well prove to be a new benchmark for devices priced below Rs 20,000!
Tell anyone that you are looking for a phone below Rs 20,000, and it is a fair chance that you will be told of the compromises you will need to make. The most notable of these are generally in terms of processor and camera. Devices in this price segment are generally marked by middling cameras and processors that jog rather than a sprint. The iQOO Z7 changes that. Thoroughly.
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iQOO Z7 processor and camera: That chip and that camera…at that price?
The iQOO Z7 brings two features that are rarely seen at this price point – a relatively powerful processor and a very good camera. The phone is powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 920 chip. This is not the latest and greatest but has been seen in more expensive, high-profile devices like the Xiaomi 11i HyperCharge and the Realme 9 Pro+, and is also considered superior to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 and even the Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 in terms of performance. In fact, many consider it to be close to the Snapdragon 778G chip seen in the likes of the Nothing Phone (1) and the Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G.
Then there is the camera. The iQOO Z7 comes with a 64-megapixel ISOCELL GW3 sensor with optical image stabilization (OIS), which is definitely a first in a high-profile device in this segment. OIS is generally available at devices priced in the vicinity of Rs 25,000 and sometimes not even in devices that are well above that price point. The iQOO Z7 is clearly breaking new ground in the camera and chip departments on the spec sheet.
iQOO Z7 specs: A generally good spec sheet
It does decently in other hardware regards too. You get 6 GB, 8 GB of RAM, and 128 GB of storage, and one of the two SIM cards in the device is a hybrid one so that you can add up to 1 TB of storage to it. The display is a full HD+ AMOLED one with an in-display fingerprint scanner, although some might find it a little small at 6.38 inches when compared to the larger displays in the segment, and its refresh rate of 90 Hz is not the highest (there are phones with 120 Hz refresh rate displays in the segment). The phone has a 16-megapixel camera for selfies but pairs its impressive main sensor with a very modest 2-megapixel depth sensor. There is no ultrawide sensor.
The 4500 mAh battery might also be seen as a little small in a segment where 5000 mAh is very common. That said, it does come with support for 44W charging and a charger in the box as well. The phone comes with 5G and has a 3.5 mm audio jack too. It comes with Android 13 out of the box and has support for two years of software updates and three years of security updates. It is a very solid spec sheet with no real gaps, although we would have liked stereo speakers.
iQOO Z7 Performance: A very good performer in its segment
With all that on board, it is hardly surprising that the iQOO Z7 is one of the best performers in its segment. Tweak settings a little, and you will get a decent experience of Call of Duty and Asphalt racing. We were also able to sail through routine tasks like Web browsing, social networking, mail, messaging, and even some intense image editing without any trouble whatsoever. The display does seem a little small sometimes, but it is reasonably bright and colorful and is hardly a deal breaker. The absence of dual speakers does take away a bit from the gaming and multimedia experience, but you can remedy matters by plugging in wired earphones to the 3.5 mm audio jack.
The 4500 mAh battery can last a day if handled carefully. Use the camera heavily, however, and it will need to be recharged before the day runs out. The 44W charger in the box can recharge the battery fully in a little more than an hour. The phone’s FunTouch UI on top of Android 13 comes packed with features but also has a lot of applications (Moj, Byjus, Josh, DailyHunt, and more) that some might consider bloatware. You can uninstall them, but it can be a bit of a bother in these days of relatively cleaner UIs.
iQOO Z7 Camera: The main sensor serves up the best of its segment magic
Where the iQOO Z7 really shines is in the camera department, or, to be more exact, the 64-megapixel main camera department. We are used to phone cameras doing well in good light conditions in this price zone, but this is the first one that actually takes very good snaps, even in low light conditions. Daylight pictures are very good as well, with vivid, slightly oversaturated colors and plenty of detail, but it is the low-light performance (even at night) which makes this a stand-out device. There is a truckload of shooting options (including Bokeh, Flare, Portrait, and Double Exposure) packed into the device, giving users plenty of choices.
We did miss the option of having an ultrawide sensor, although they are seldom very good at this price point, and we could not see what difference the 2-megapixel depth sensor made. Portrait snaps were good, but then they usually are these days. The video quality was decent, too, with the option to shoot 4K video as well. The selfie camera aggressively smoothens our skin and beautifies us, but we cannot see too many people complaining about it. We will say it: this is hands down the best camera in the sub-Rs 20,000 segment.
iQOO Z7 Design: Compact, slim and rather flash-y
All of this comes in a design that is quite striking. The iQOO Z7 follows the modern design trend of having a flat back and straight sides, giving it a slightly boxy but very solid look. The front is, of course, all about the 6.38-inch display with narrow bezels, although the ‘water drop’ notch looks so 2020. The back of the phone is what will turn heads. We got the Norway Blue variant, and it was not only very shiny but also changed shades when the light fell on it. On the back are also two huge camera spheres (intriguing when one considers that one of them covers a 2-megapixel depth camera) inside a jet-black rectangular camera unit.
At 7.8 mm, the iQOO Z7 is impressively slim and at 173 grams, on the lighter side in this age of 200 grams–plus phones (perhaps the smaller battery helps in this regard). Its 158.9 mm height makes it relatively compact (the Redmi Note 12 is 165.9 mm tall in comparison) as well. It comes with IP54 water resistance, which can keep it safe from water splashes, and with Schott Xensation glass protection on display, although the back and the frame are both very sturdy plastic. All in all, this is a good-looking, relatively compact phone. Those wanting a slightly more sober color should opt for the subtly smart but still shiny Pacific Night version.
iQOO Z7 Review Verdict: The best in sub-Rs 20,000?
The iQOO Z7 starts at Rs 18,999 for a 6GB/ 128 GB variant and also comes with an 8 GB/ 128 GB variant at Rs 19,999. It faces some serious competition there, most notably from the likes of the OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite, the Samsung Galaxy M33, and the Redmi Note 12, all of which come with larger displays and larger batteries. However, they do give ground in other departments. But if what you are seeking is a mid-segment phone with a good processor and a very good camera, then the iQOO Z7 is almost impossible to beat at the time of writing.
- Very competitive price
- Superb main camera
- Very good overall performance
- Compact and lightweight
- IP54 splash resistance
- Cluttered interface might not be to everyone's liking
- Not the greatest battery life
- Relatively smaller display
- No stereo speakers
With generally good specs, a flashy design, and a generally solid performance, the iQOO Z7 could well prove to be a new benchmark for devices priced below Rs 20,000!