iQOO Z9X 5G review: A safe approach

iQOO Z9X 5G review: A safe approach
Digit Rating 7.1
Performance
6.5
Value for Money
7.2
Specs and Features
7.9
Build and Design
7.6
PROS:
  • Lightweight build
  • Great battery backup
  • Good performance
CONS:
  • Camera is average
  • Bloatware apps
  • Too many browser notifications
VERDICT:

So the iQOO Z9X 5G is a very ‘iQOO’ smartphone. It has a brilliant price-to-performance ratio, it looks the part, has great battery backup and charging speeds, and comes with a very good display for the price. The only place where I thought the smartphone struggles is the camera. But of course, people don’t buy iQOO smartphones for their cameras.

iQOO has pulled another iQOO. The brand has launched the iQOO Z9X, which is like a toned-down version of the already affordable iQOO Z9. While I was reviewing the iQOO Z9X, I was under the impression that this would be launched in a range of under ₹15,000. However, iQOO launched the smartphone for a starting price of under ₹12,000 which is outstanding given how this smartphone performs.

iQOO Z9x 5G സ്പെസിഫിക്കേഷൻ
iQOO Z9X 5G has been launched at a price of ₹11,999 onwards in India.

There isn’t much to talk about in terms of offering something different, something unique. There are a lot of things that are borrowed from the older sibling, the iQOO Z9 so there isn’t anything too exciting. What is exciting is that for those who want a performance and gaming-oriented DNA on a budget, the iQOO Z9X offers that in a very complete package. Let’s take a look.

iQOO Z9X 5G review: Design

Starting with the design, the iQOO Z9X 5G comes with a similar shape and size as the iQOO Z9X. We get the same brushed green back panel with strokes of green on the matte plastic that become more and more prominent each time we throw light on them. Then there is the camera module, which reminds me of the camera module of the iQOO 12. Although it is different from the flagship, there is a little bit of hint of the iQOO 12 camera module.

We get a flat-edged design with the iQOO Z9X 5G with a similar ‘brushed green’ pattern on the back panel.

Other than that, it is our basic glass slab design with flat edges. We get the USB type-C port along with the 3.5mm headphone jack and the speaker grille at the bottom. The volume rockers and power button are placed on the right side of the frame, with the fingerprint sensor integrated into the power button itself.

The fingerprint sensor is incorporated within the power button on the iQOO Z9X 5G.

With the iQOO Z9X 5G, we also get an IP64 rating which is great for a budget segment. Apart from that, things are simple and familiar with the hole-punch display and a slight chin at the bottom of the display. So in terms of design, iQOO has taken a safe approach. The iQOO Z9X 5G looks very plain and simple and there is no distinctive factor about the design except maybe the brushed green back panel or the camera module, both of which remind me of an older iQOO device.

iQOO Z9X 5G review: Display

Coming to the display, this comes with an FHD+ IPS LCD display with a 120Hz refresh rate. The display is decent for the price. Under a ₹12,000 price tag, this is one of the highest-specced displays we are getting which I will always appreciate.

Coming to how it performs, with an FHD+ resolution, the details are sharp and there are no rough edges as far as a standard user is concerned. Furthermore, given that this is an IPS LCD display, the viewing angles are also fine and you can use the iQOO Z9X 5G at a tilted angle with no issues at all.

iQOO Z9X 5G comes with a flat IPS LCD display with a 120Hz refresh rate.

The display is also super responsive and bright. Of course, given the 120Hz refresh rate, this display is refreshing 120 times each second so every movement every animation is as smooth as it can be. Peak brightness is claimed to be 1,000 nits which is the number for the brightest one percent of the display. I tested the real-world brightness of the whole display and under bright sunlight, the iQOO Z9X 5G showcased a maximum luminance of 868 nits and a minimum luminance of 7 nits. This is a pretty decent number and is pretty close to the claimed brightness.

There is a hole-punch camera cutout on the display.

So this display is decent. The colours seem a bit dull given the IPS LCD panel but that is something a reviewer like myself would notice given all the AMOLED panels we are always surrounded by. There are different colour profiles to choose from so if you like a more vibrant or saturated display, then the iQOO Z9X also offers that.

iQOO Z9X 5G review: Performance

Coming to performance, the iQOO Z9X 5G is powered by the now popular Qualcomm Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 SoC paired with up to 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. We also get a microSD card slot for expandable storage so if 128GB is less for you, there is the option to expand storage.

Coming to how the smartphone performs, in day-to-day usage it is very good. The smartphone doesn’t slow down while doing normal tasks like social media or texting. The Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 chip has enough juice to handle the basic tasks with ease. Even multi-tasking, for that matter, is smooth on this smartphone.

In typical iQOO fashion, the iQOO Z9X 5G offers an outstanding price-to-performance ratio.

Coming to numbers, in benchmarks the iQOO Z9X 5G didn’t outperform every competitor as some would have expected an iQOO smartphone to. However, it didn’t disappoint either. In CPU-based benchmarks, the iQOO Z9X 5G showcased numbers on the same level as the Motorola Moto G64, the Realme P1, and the Poco X6 Neo, falling just short in the numbers as compared to the Moto G64 and the Realme P1 (which is more expensive).

AnTuTu scores comparing the iQOO Z9X 5G with the Moto G64 and Poco X6 Neo.
Geekbench scores comparing the iQOO Z9X 5G with the Moto G64 and Poco X6 Neo.

In GPU tests also, the iQOO Z9X 5G holds its own. The smartphone trumps most of the competing devices in GPU tests. While gaming also, the iQOO Z9X 5G showcased consistent performance and doesn’t heat up too much as well. The smartphone also showed no signs of throttling when I ran the CPU throttle test.

3D Mark Wildlife (GPU benchmark) scores comparing the iQOO Z9X 5G with the Moto G64 and Poco X6 Neo.

So performance-wise, this is a typical iQOO smartphone, showcasing superior performance in its budget and matching up with more expensive devices in the market.

While on performance, it is also important to mention the battery. This is the first time any iQOO smartphone is getting a 6,000mAh battery. But has it helped improve the backup? Definitely. The smartphone easily lasts more than 1.5 days on average use.

iQOO Z9X 5G review: Camera

We get a 50MP + 2MP dual rear camera setup with a 50-megapixel primary shooter and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. The camera performance on the iQOO Z9X 5G is just average. The images that come out of this camera are very similar in terms of quality as the elder sibling, the iQOO Z9.

The iQOO Z9X 5G comes with a 50MP + 2MP dual rear camera setup.

The images are decent for casual usage. You won’t be clicking a lot of photos with this camera, but if you do, the images are good enough to upload on social media platforms like Instagram. In ideal lighting, like pretty much all cameras in this range, the iQOO Z9X 5G is capable of taking some very good shots. However, in low light, the smartphone struggles a little. In low light, the images are hazy and don’t have a lot of sharp details.

Portraits are also decent and nothing special. The edge detection isn’t very accurate and at times, it seems a bit too harsh. However, if you try, you can get good portraits from this camera as well.

We also get a 2x in-sensor zoom with the 50MP primary shooter. In 2x, the shots are good and have sufficient details and sharpness. The 2x zoom is very good but the images still lose details while taking photos in 2x.

Overall, this is just a decent camera setup. If you are someone who only cares about the camera, this isn’t the best option but if camera isn’t the priority, this will do the job just right. Don’t get me wrong, taking a very good photo from this is possible, but to make that happen, the user needs a certain level of skill and knowledge.

iQOO Z9X 5G review: Verdict

So the iQOO Z9X 5G is a very ‘iQOO’ smartphone. It has a brilliant price-to-performance ratio, it looks the part, has great battery backup and charging speeds, and comes with a very good display for the price. The only place where I thought the smartphone struggles is the camera. But of course, people don’t buy iQOO smartphones for their cameras.

What people buy these smartphones is for the gaming and performance, fast charging, good battery backup, and a lightweight build so that gamers can hold the smartphone for longer hours to be able to get to the ‘chicken dinner.’

iQOO Z9X 5G Key Specs, Price and Launch Date

Release Date: 17 May, 2024
Market Status: Launched

Key Specifications

  • Specs

    Storage

    128 GB

  • Specs

    Battery capacity (mAh)

    6000

  • Specs

    Rear Camera Megapixel

    50 + 2

  • Specs

    Screen size (in inches)

    6.72

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