iQOO 12 review

Bargain of the year?

from ₹ 52,999

12GB+256GB | ₹57,999 for 16GB+512GB

Reviewing the iQOO 12 gets more difficult with each iterative launch. Not because the brand is resting on its laurels but because it tries to wear many hats at once and doesn’t commit to one. Is it a gaming phone? Sure, if you’re looking for the most powerful chip with the fastest display along with an additional chip which manages frame interpolation and super resolution for gaming. Is it a flagship killer? Minus the wireless charging, there’s practically nothing wrong here. Cameras are decent too. Does it look nice? It’s one of the few smartphones that comes in white and looks classy as heck. 

What’s the catch? Well, it doesn’t commit to being a total gaming phone or a flagship killer, Although, it can be the next best thing, an everyday gaming smartphone.

Performance and Gaming

The iQOO 12 is a performance powerhouse. It squashed through benchmarks easily and won the top spot among Android smartphones with the fastest processor currently in the market. Will that change in the coming months? Maybe, because OnePlus and other brands are gearing up with their flagship killers with the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor.

The iQOO 12 has a larger vapour chamber now which lets it sustain peak performance for longer. We squeezed in an hour or so of GTA Vice City with graphics and frame rate set on high. This thing is buttery smooth. Even Diablo Immortal and Call of Duty Mobile run fast and smoothly. You can see the Q1 chip adding extra frames between the real frames to make the game look smoother and unless you’re a PC gamer you won’t mind this. I prefer it off for slower-paced and online games like GTA, Diablo Immortal and CODM simply because of artefacts and input lag. It looks nice when you’re playing Hack and Slash games or platformers which there’s an abundance of on the Play Store. The most important thing about the iQOO 12 is that it can also bypass charging and directly run the game when you’re connected to the power outlet. This means it decreases the heat generated from charging the battery while you’re gaming.

Similar to gaming PCs, Super Resolution on the iQOO is a bit of a hit-and-miss. There’s oversharpening and unpleasant textures on games like Call of Duty: Mobile which support it. You can’t use Super Resolution and 4D vibration on all games. Only the ones that support it. The 4D vibration on the iQOO vibrates the phone almost like a controller. Each weapon spray and bullet contact is felt through aggressive vibrations that add a layer of tactile feel.

The speakers are also fairly loud and have sharper highs like most gaming speakers and headphones. Regardless, it sounds coherent and works well with the iQOO 12’s 4D vibration and frame interpolation for an impressive gaming experience.


The 6.78-inch AMOLED display has a 2800x1260 resolution with a whopping 144Hz refresh rate. It’s tuned to work best for gaming with impressively low touch input lag and low blue light. Although Netflix and other content consumption is great too. It’s not colour-accurate like the Samsung Galaxy S series and Apple iPhones but it’s faster than all of them. 

We wish iQOO would put air triggers or launch supported full gamepads for their gaming smartphones to make the most out of their performance. Its got tiny bezels and a flat display which makes it perfect for gaming with a mobile controller. We’re not sure if the camera bump will accommodate a Razer Kishi, Backbone or a GameSir gamepad.

It’s the first gaming smartphone we’ve used that doesn’t compromise with the camera capabilities. Thankfully, we think the legwork is done by the parent company Vivo to make the computation chops of this camera truly better than the rest of the gaming smartphones. It’s using a 50 MP + 50 MP + 64 MP triple camera setup at the back.

The Omnivision sensor in the main and telephoto lens is nicely tuned. It’s not surprising because the Vivo X100 Pro we reviewed also had an impressively tuned Omnivision telephoto sensor. The camera does tend to produce contrasty images with aggressive saturation compared to flagship killers in this range. The Vivo had Zeiss tuning to iron out the discrepancies in its colour output across the lenses. You don’t get that here. The ultrawide and telephoto produce slightly different results. 

The portrait mode is by far the most impressive quality of the iQOO 12’s camera. It’s a little inconsistent but if you get the lighting and angle right, the results are sometimes as good if not better than more expensive smartphones.

Regardless, the cameras are good and even the selfie camera is decent. The only setback is the massive camera bump at the back which could cause an issue while gaming with a smartphone controller. We haven’t tried it out yet but make sure to try before you buy a controller for gaming with this.

Battery and OS

The iQOO 12 charges fast with the bundled 120W Flash Charger. You can also expect a full day’s use with medium to light gaming but if you stay plugged into a power outlet, the bypass charging helps reduce battery strain and maintains battery health.

The FunTouch OS is still the laziest thing about the Vivo and iQOO smartphones. It's filled with bloatware, unnecessary permission issues and no stand-out features. Part of where the cost for this smartphone drops is because it doesn’t have a Sony sensor at the back and it doesn’t bother much with complimentary gaming accessories with software support.

There’s support for Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth 5.4 here which is good for wireless connectivity.


The design ethos has remained largely unchanged besides the new flatter sides and display. The white back with tiny BMW M Motorsport-like coloured slashes showcases a partnership with the German car manufacturer. Although those colours are not identical to the BMW M logo, it’s still an official partner.

If you can look past the FunTouch OS, the iQOO 12 is a fantastic smartphone that is also a gaming powerhouse. It doesn’t have exceptional cameras but for the price you’re putting down for this, it’s a bargain unlike any. Especially if you’re looking for smooth and reliable performance.

Stuff Says

Exceptional flagship performance focused mostly on gaming, but it's a good daily driver too
Good stuff
Bad stuff
  1. Great performance

  1. Runs cool while gaming

  1. Fast display

  1. Good haptic feedback

  1. Decent cameras

  1. Great value for money

  1. Ultrawide lens needs work

  1. No ‘gaming’ hardware features

  1. No gaming accessories

Processor: Snapdragon 8+ Gen 3 Mobile Platform
RAM: 12GB and 16GB
Storage: 256GB and 512GB
Battery: 5000mAh, 120W
Operating System: Funtouch OS 14 based on Android 14
Display: 6.78-inch, Resolution 2800x1260, AMOLED
Camera: Rear: 50MP + 50 MP (Ultra Wide-Angle) + 64MP (3X Periscope Telephoto), Front: 16MP