IQOO (I Quest On and On) is not a brand you hear of often in premium circles, but it happens to be a Vivo spin-off and a big favourite with power users and gamers. IQOO has more or less followed the OnePlus formula of offering surprisingly powerful hardware for an affordable price, and now the company has decided to end 2023 with the first phone in India and possibly globally using the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, the flagship chipset for 2024. In fact, this smartphone is about to compete with the upcoming OnePlus 12, which will also use the same chipset. 

The new IQOO 12 is neatly packaged in a chunky box complete with BMW Motorsport branding. Inside, the phone sits on top of a huge 120W charger, USB-C cable, a transparent case, and some literature. The glossy milky white of the phone is glass and doesn’t show up fingerprints. This is a big phone, but not too heavy at 207gms, and it’s slim and flat as well.  On the back, contrasting with the smooth white, is a large camera square with rounded edges. It’s slim enough to be easy to grip, but extremely slippery, so using that case is advisable.

The highlight of the IQOO 12 is really the fact that it’s high-end chipset. The processor powers new on-device AI experiences such as photo expansion and cross-device features through “Snapdragon Seamless.” It also uses iQOO's own QI chip. 

It yields sky-high results on performance benchmarks, getting very close if not beating the Apple A17 Pro chip. In the coming few months, all smartphones that want to offer flagship-level performance will be powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 but most are bound to cost more. 

With that high-powered chip, this device has either 12GB LPDDR5X RAM and 256GB UFS 4.0 storage at ₹52,999 or 16GB RAM with 512GB of storage at ₹57,999. This is a 5G phone and has a water resistance rating of IP64 - typically a premium feature. 

Other hardware includes a 6.78-inch quad-HD (1,260 x 2,800 pixels) LTPO AMOLED display with a 144Hz refresh rate and a 1,200Hz touch sampling rate. The device also has stereo speakers. In terms of battery, there's a 5,000mAh with really fast charging, able to top up fully in 30 minutes.

The phone runs on Android and OS upgrades for three years, with four years of security upgrades promised. On top of this is the FunTouch OS skin, borrowed from Vivo. It's a passable interface and not too tough to work with.  

A surprise on the IQOO 12 is the quality of the cameras. There are three cameras on the back: a 50MP primary camera with a 1/1.3-inch sensor and optical image stabilisation, a 64MP periscope telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom and a 50MP ultra-wide-angle with a 120-degree field-of-view. There's a 16MPl front camera.

The primary camera shoots images that are good with colours and details. Low-light scenes are lit up and noise-free. Portrait shots are quite good. 

While there are more premium brands around that will come with these hardware specs, but the IQOO 12 is available right now and is a well-rounded, powerful and affordable option. 

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