iQOO Z7 hands-on review
iQOO unveiled the iQOO Z7 in India earlier this week and followed up with another Z7 in China, which has different specs. The Chinese Z7 is yet to go on sale, but the Indian Z7 is already available for purchase. It starts at INR18,999 ($230/€215) and has two color options – Norway Blue and Pacific Night. We spent some time with it and here are our impressions.
Let’s check the iQOO Z7’s retail box first, whose design is similar to the more premium iQOO number series’ packages, but has a smaller footprint. It includes a SIM ejector tool, a protective case, a USB-C cable, a 44W power adapter, and the usual paperwork.
The iQOO Z7 is built around a 6.38″ FullHD+ AMOLED screen with a 90Hz screen refresh rate and 1,300 nits peak brightness. The display is protected by Schott Xensation Glass and has a fingerprint scanner underneath, which we found to be fast and accurate in the short time we spent with the phone. Although we’d have liked it to be placed a tad higher for ease of reach.
While we appreciate iQOO for offering an in-display fingerprint reader on the Z7 instead of going with a side-mounted scanner like some other brands do despite their phones packing AMOLED panels, we are not as fond of the waterdrop notch for the 16MP selfie camera instead of a punch hole like its Chinese counterpart. This feels dated in 2023.
On the upside, the iQOO Z7’s display supports HDR10+ and the phone comes with Widevine L1 certification, enabling 1080p video streaming on OTT apps. Talking about the screen refresh rate, you get three options under the iQOO Z7’s Settings > Display & brightness > Screen refresh rates menu – 60Hz, 90Hz, and Smart Switch.
The first one keeps the screen refresh rate locked at 60Hz all the time, while the 90Hz mode bumps up the refresh rate to 90Hz in supported apps. The Smart Switch mode also increases the refresh rate to 90Hz, but it doesn’t bring it back to 60Hz when you aren’t interacting with the screen, which is weird since other iQOO phones lower the refresh rate after a few seconds of inactivity in this mode. This could be a bug, and we hope it will be fixed soon.
Some apps, including Google Photos, remain at 90Hz in the 90Hz mode but switch to 60Hz in Smart Switch mode regardless of whether you are interacting with the screen or not. Hence, we suggest you stick to the 90Hz mode for the smoothest scrolling experience possible.
Turn the iQOO Z7 around, and you see a rectangular two-step camera island covering slightly more than 50% of the panel’s width. The top plate has a glossy finish and houses the 64MP primary camera with OIS and 2MP depth sensor. The second one has a matte finish and sports an LED flash.
The Z7’s camera island causes it to wobble on flat surfaces, and the bundled case doesn’t fix it.
The iQOO Z7’s rear panel is made of plastic, but it hardly attracted any fingerprint smudges during our usage. The back cover of our Norway Blue version has a glittery pattern and reflects multiple colors at different angles, which looks pretty cool. However, the flat design may not be preferred by everyone, and we, too, would have the back with curved edges for a better handling and ergonomic experience. Regardless, the iQOO Z7’s Norway Blue model is a looker, and we like it.
The overall build of the iQOO Z7 is decent, with the volume rocker and power key being clicky enough.
Talking about the hardware, the Indian iQOO Z7 has the Dimensity 920 SoC under the hood with up to 8GB RAM and 128GB storage, expandable up to 1TB via a microSD card. The smartphone runs Android 13-based Funtouch OS out of the box with the February 2023 Android security patch. However, a software update requiring a download of about 320MB bumped it up to March 2023 level. iQOO has promised three years of security updates and two years of Android version upgrades, meaning the Z7 will receive Android 15 eventually.
Like most other iQOO smartphones, the Z7 also comes pre-installed with third-party apps, and fortunately, the majority of them can be uninstalled if you don’t want them.
Fueling the entire package is a 4,500 mAh battery charged through a USB-C port at up to 45W. It’s advertised to go from 1% to 50% in 25 minutes and 100% in 64 minutes. The rest of the iQOO Z7’s highlights include Motion Control, an IP54 rating, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and Wi-Fi 6.
The iQOO Z7’s 6GB/128GB model is priced at INR18,999 ($230/€215) and the 8GB/128GB version at INR19,999 ($240/€225). You can buy it from iQOO India’s official website and Amazon.in. Note that this Z7 will remain exclusive to India, and the Snapdragon 782G-powered variant, which is currently available in China, is expected to debut in Malaysia soon. You can head this way to check the detailed specs comparison of the Chinese and Indian iQOO Z7 models.