Breaking barriers, without breaking the budget

The IQOO 12 is a gorgeous, minimalistic, and overall good-looking device, and it’s the first phone to come equipped with the flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset. With its 6.78-inch LTPO AMOLED display, gorgeous and minimalistic design that was created in partnership with BMW, and beautiful photo capability, it’s one of the most exciting phones in 2024.


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I’ve used the IQOO 12 for about a month, and it’s time to take a closer look and evaluate the performance and how it is handled daily. Spoiler alert: it’s really good! Without any further ado, let’s take a deep dive and look at the specifications, overall performance, photo features and quality, and the insane battery life.

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IQOO 12

Editor’s Choice

The IQOO 12 is a gorgeous, minimalistic, and powerful device. It’s powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, plenty of RAM and up to 512GB of storage. It has an excellent triple camera setup, a battery that never runs out, and fast charging capability that lets you top up in less than 30 minutes.

Pros

  • Stunning design and great build quality
  • Bright, colorful, and responsive display
  • Powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 SoC
  • Long battery life and fast charging
  • Affordable price and 3 major OS & 4 years of security updates
Cons

  • Slippery back panel
  • No support for wireless charging
  • Unavailable in many regions

IQOO 12: Price & Availability

The IQOO 12 was officially unveiled on November 7, 2023, in China, and the phone was globally released on December 6, 2023. The device is available in many Asian countries, such as Thailand, India, Malaysia, and many more. It costs roughly $660, getting you all the top-notch specifications and the latest and most powerful hardware. Unfortunately, it remains a mystery whether Vivo will release the device globally in markets like the US and the UK.

What’s in the box

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IQOO 12, Pocketnow / Roland Udvarlaki

  • BMW M card
  • USB-C to USB-C cable
  • 120W power adapter
  • Transparent Silicone Case

The IQOO 12 arrived in a matte black box. The package contains everything you need to get started, including the device itself, a USB-C to USB-C cable, and even a 120W power adapter. Additionally, the phone also comes with a transparent silicone case and even a BMW M printed card. Of course, you also get all of the additional paperwork, as well as the SIM ejector tool.

Design

  • Ergonomic and comfortable to use
  • Beautiful design, albeit, very slippery
  • IP68 water and dust resistance

The IQOO 12 is easily one of the most beautiful smartphones I’ve ever used, and I love how this White (Legend Edition) looks. If you’re a fan of sleek and minimalistic devices, this is ought to catch your attention. The phone has a silver frame and a white glass panel that looks elegant and stylish. It’s glossy and reflective, but it’s smudge-resistant. That said, you’ll likely want to use a case as it’s quite slippery otherwise.

The IQOO 12 measures 163.2 x 75.9 x 8.1 mm and weighs 204 grams, which is roughly on par with most other smartphones of this size. In fact, the IQOO 12 is even lighter than some other competing devices, such as the titanium Galaxy S24 Ultra.

The phone has flat sides with slightly curved edges, making it feel comfortable in the hand. As someone who often struggles with large devices, this is fairly usable, and I got most things done with just one hand. Of course, your mileage may vary. The phone has the volume rocker and power button on the right side, and nothing on the left. The top features a speaker, an IR blaster, and a microphone, while the bottom only contains the USB-C port, another microphone, the SIM card slot, and the speaker.

Display

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IQOO 12, Pocketnow / Roland Udvarlaki

  • 6.78-inch LTPO AMOLED display
  • 144Hz variable refresh rate
  • 3,000 nits peak brightness

The display features a large 6.78-inch LTPO AMOLED panel with 1,260 x 2,800 resolution. It supports a 144Hz variable refresh rate with 2,160Hz pulse-width modulation. The refresh rate can go from 1Hz up to 144Hz, depending on the content you’re viewing, to conserve battery.

As for the rest of the specifications, it supports HDR10+, and the panel has a peak brightness of 3,000 nits. The IQOO 12’s display is bright, colorful, and accurate, thanks to the DCI-P3 color space.

I’ve had a great time using it in bright daylight outside, and in pitch black in dark rooms. The screen was responsive and enjoyable, whether I browsed the web, played demanding games, or watched videos and movies. HDR content looked excellent, and the colors were always spot on.

Specifications & Performance

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IQOO 12, Pocketnow / Roland Udvarlaki

  • Top-notch hardware and performance
  • 3 major OS and four years of security updates
  • There are lots of options to customize the experience

The IQOO 12 runs Funtouch 14 based on the latest Android 14 update, and I have received multiple patches since I started using the device. Most of these updates addressed smaller issues and general improvements. The device, at the time of writing this review, is updated to the latest January security update, which is good to see. Vivo also promises three major Android updates and four years of security patches, and the IQOO 12 certainly deserves a flying pass.

The Funtouch 14 OS is really fast, and I have never once experienced anything that would degrade the speedy behavior and snappy animations. The system is fully customizable, and if you’re a fan of changing the lockscreen, animation effects for the fingerprint sensor, how the phone unlocks, and many other aspects, you’ll likely appreciate the amount of freedom you get with the IQOO 12.

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IQOO 12, Pocketnow / Roland Udvarlaki

The only software quirk that I found frustrating is Jovi Home, which gives you a control center to enter the homepage. It lets you pin various services, such as the weather, themes, digital well-being, and more. This shows up in the top right corner of the notification shade, which is where you’d expect the settings to be. Additionally, the Lockscreen Poster is too easy to turn on, with a right swipe on the lockscreen, prompting you to turn it on. There are no methods to turn these off, so unless you can live with them, they’ll always pester you to enable them. I hope Vivo can work on deactivating these in the future, preventing users from accidentally enabling them.

When it comes to performance, the phone handled everything exceptionally well. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 is an excellent flagship chip, and Vivo has done a great job optimizing it for the IQOO 12. I have never experienced any stutters, and all graphics-intensive games were smooth and ran well. Multitasking was also blazing fast, and if you’re looking for a phone that has all the multitasking and essential gaming features built in, this is one of those all-in-one devices.

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IQOO 12, Pocketnow / Roland Udvarlaki

The IQOO 12 comes with a gaming mode that you can enable by swiping right in select games. This mode will allow you to put the device in “Battery Saver Mode”, “Balanced Mode”, or “Monster” mode. As the name implies, this will prioritize and boost the clock speeds, enhancing the experience for the most demanding titles. The rest of the features include the ability to change your voice, reject calls, enable motion control, tweak how games look with a variety of toggles, and more. There’s no aiming assist or anything of that sort, but these options will still provide plenty of additional features for gamers and casual players.

The IQOO 12 has a stereo speaker setup. The overall experience has been largely positive, and videos, TV shows, and movies were always enjoyable and entertaining. Games sound great, and everything is well-balanced. I wished for more bass, but the audio was more than enjoyable.

Camera

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IQOO 12, Pocketnow / Roland Udvarlaki

The IQOO 12 sports a triple camera setup on the back, consisting of a 50MP f/1.7 primary, a 50MP f/2.0 ultrawide with 119-degree FoV, and a 64MP f/2.6 periscope telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom. The front camera is housed in a punch-hole cutout on the top center of the display, housing a 16MP f/2.5 sensor.

The phone offers various options in a beautiful and easy-to-use user interface. Other manufacturers should take note of it, giving users an easy way to access and change the options. The phone offers three colors, vivid, textured, and natural. Given that I often lean towards natural and authentic views and colors, all photos are shot in the “Natural” setting.

Regarding the image quality in broad daylight, the phone takes excellent photos with plenty of details, sharpness, and outstanding dynamic range. The contrast was also on point, and the colors appear a little saturated, but still quite accurate. Processing doesn’t take a lot, and the user interface is also easy to use.

At night, the photos offer plenty of details with little noise and lots of colors. The dynamic range is great. I rarely had focusing issues, but taking a few additional images always ensured that I had plenty of options to choose from after capturing the images. Taking zoomed-in photos using the zoom lenses offered a great experience too, with photos providing enough detail and dynamic range, with high contrast. Sometimes, the details are lost and appear soft, but that’s to be expected in certain conditions.

The periscope camera is also excellent, and the quality of the photos is impressive. The 2x, 3x and 10x zooming options all provide a good amount of detail, color, and dynamic range. Some images have a bit of noise, and the sharpness can sometimes take a hit, but the general theme is that the pictures come out well-balanced.

The ultrawide photos are also great, although the sharpness, and the detail can sometimes take a hit. That said, the colors and contrast are usually good, and the dynamic range is balanced most of the time.

The quality of the front camera isn’t as impressive as the one on the back. The selfie shooter takes great portraits with realistic bokeh effects, accurate colors, and dynamic range. However, the quality is rather poor. The details aren’t great, the photos lack sharpness for the background, and the overall image is just lacking.

Battery

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IQOO 12, Pocketnow / Roland Udvarlaki

  • Unbeatable battery life
  • Remarkably fast charging speeds
  • Well-optimized software

The IQOO 12 packs a beefy 5,000 mAh battery, which is to be expected for a device of this size. The phone uses a graphite-enhanced cell that Vivo says should retain at least 80% of its capacity after 1,600 cycles. It’s a bold claim, and only time will tell how well devices with these types of batteries hold up. As things stand, that should be more than enough for 2-3 years, for the device’s lifetime, and possibly even more, even for power users.

During normal day-to-day use, I was unable to drain the device. I played graphics-intensive games, browsed the web, used social media apps, and even watched lots of videos, only to be able to drain the phone by 50%. I ended most days on 40-50% battery left in the tank, and it’s impressive what Vivo managed with the IQOO 12. It’s really well-optimized, and if you’re looking for a device that can last for more than a day, even for power users, this is one of those phones.

The IQOO 12 is really well-optimized, and if you’re looking for a device that can last for more than a day, even for power users, then this is it.

When it comes to charging, it’s a whole new world. The IQOO 12 supports 120W FlashCharge, and as we’ve seen from the unboxing, it comes with the 120W power adapter inside the box. Using the official charger and cable, I was able to get a full charge in less than 30 minutes. The phone was a bit warm to the touch by the end, but it was comfortably usable and not hotter than when you use the phone for multitasking.

It’s fair to say that charging is insanely fast, and this resulted in a change of behavior on my part. I’m one of those people who often plug in at night and leave it, but not with the IQOO 12. Whenever I ended the day, I made sure there was more than 40% left in the tank and went to bed. In the morning, I’d wake up, put the phone on charge, do my morning routine, and 20 minutes later get it off the charger completely charged.

Sadly, the one bad side is that the IQOO 12 lacks wireless charging, but it’s easy to forgive the company why it missed out on it, given the phone can charge up so quickly using a wired solution. That said, I’d still love to see the option to wirelessly charge the phone as its more convenient, even if that means it could only charge at the slow 15W speed.

IQOO 12: Should you buy it?

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IQOO 12, Pocketnow / Roland Udvarlaki

You should buy the IQOO 12 if…

  • You’re looking for an all-rounded, excellent flagship smartphone that costs less than most conventional premium devices
  • You’re after a large phone that feels ergonomic, comfortable, and can be used with just one hand.
  • You want a powerful device that can handle any tasks and demanding games with ease
  • You want beautiful photos
  • If battery life is crucial, and you want a full charge in less than 30 minutes

You shouldn’t buy the IQOO 12 if…

  • You’re not a fan of the software, and you’re overwhelmed by the customization options and the lack of the ability to turn off Jovi Home, and some other built-in features.
  • If you need wireless charging
  • If you like the look of stock Android with Material You interface

The IQOO 12 is an excellent smartphone with a gorgeous design, affordable price tag, and great features. The BMW M Motorsport collaboration is done well, and the phone sports the powerful, very efficient Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip with plenty of RAM and storage. It’s hands-down one of the best phones you can buy right now, especially if you live in a region that sells it; otherwise, you might have to look into other ways of getting your hands on it.

Generally speaking, I mostly have positive impressions from using the IQOO 12, and despite the slippery design and some software quirks, it remained an excellent smartphone that I loved using for the past month or so. The battery can easily last you more than a full day on a single charge, and even the photos taken with the rear shooters are generally pretty good– flagship quality.

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IQOO 12

Editor’s Choice

The IQOO 12 is a gorgeous, minimalistic, and powerful device. It’s powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, plenty of RAM and up to 512GB of storage. It has an excellent triple camera setup, a battery that never runs out, and fast charging capability that lets you top up in less than 30 minutes.

Of course, there are a few things that won’t be as good as on some other competing devices, and one of those is the bloatware. The IQOO 12 has many pre-installed apps and services, many of which can’t be uninstalled or disabled. The selfies are also not exactly sharp and high quality, but they do okay in decent lighting conditions. There’s also no wireless charging, but you might forgive Vivo for it, given that the 120W power adapter – which is also included in the box – can charge up the device in less than 30 minutes.

So, should you buy the IQOO 12? If you want to experience the latest and the greatest Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 on a well-optimized device that’s expected to receive a few more OS and plenty of security updates, and has dozens of useful and customizable features and animations, then yes. The IQOO 12 is an excellent smartphone with a few drawbacks.

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