iQOO Neo 6 review: A no-fuss gaming phone that also offers great value

The iQOO Neo 6 is basically an iQOO 9 SE Lite in spirit. Like the iQOO 9 SE, the idea here is also, presumably, to give you a premium gaming experience at slightly more affordable prices.

You could probably look at the iQOO 7 if you’re looking for something like that. It sells for around the same price as the Neo 6 at the time of writing. But as brilliant as it is, it won’t be as long-lasting either in software (it will update to Android 13 tops) or 5G (it, infamously, only supports one band). We understand that some of you may agree with this, in which case the iQOO 7 should be the way to go.

The Neo 6 naturally runs the latest Funtouch OS 12 with Android 12 at the helm, and it will get two major operating systems and three years of monthly security updates, iQOO has confirmed. It also supports more 5G bands – four to be precise – which is always a good thing to have. There are a few other benefits. It has a bigger battery and can charge faster (80W vs. 66W). The design, too, is slightly refreshed. The same goes for the main camera.

But perhaps the biggest selling point is the asking price. The iQOO Neo 6 starts at just under Rs 30,000.

PERFORMANCE AND BATTERY LIFE

The iQOO Neo 6 with Snapdragon 870 is one of, if not the most powerful phone you can get in this segment. The chip may be a year old, but it’s easily among the best Qualcomm has ever made. It is fast, reliable and very efficient. Sticking to its guns, iQOO is – once again – pushing this hardware to its limits by exploiting virtually every ounce of SD870 performance in the process. And to keep things cool, it added a new “Cascade Cooling System” inside the phone, which includes an elaborate 5-layer 3D graphite cooling plate, among other things.

iQOO Neo 6 in Dark Nova. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

At a time when many brands are throttling the performance of their high-end phones, in part because nearly all of Qualcomm’s new flagship chips tend to run hot, iQOO does the opposite by giving you more performance per watt than probably any other. mark us. can think. That’s easier said than done in more affordable mid-range phones like the Neo 6 – than saying a top-end one like the iQOO 9 Pro (review) – because there you have the factor too cost to consider. Good thermals and good tuning are often overlooked in order to keep the price down. A phone like the iQOO Neo 6 also breaks with convention.

The choice of chipset, in our opinion, is essential here. iQOO could have opted for a Snapdragon 888 or a Dimensity 1200 for that matter, which would have – naturally – made the Neo 6 slightly more powerful than it is, with a Snapdragon 870, on paper and in benchmarks. But that would have come with its own set of challenges and perhaps the Neo 6 wouldn’t have proven to be so “value for money” in the end. It’s quite clear that iQOO was determined to price the phone in a certain way, which is probably why the Neo 6 launch in India is different from the version sold in China. There, the same phone is powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. But we digress.

iQOO Neo 6 reviews
You get a Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 inside. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

The Neo 6, with SD 870, does almost anything you throw at it with ease and barely a hiccup. He is more than capable of handling daily tasks. High refresh rate games are no problem for this phone either, except maybe for a few edge cases like Genshin Impact and Fortnite. (To be clear, you can play these games on the Neo 6 at medium graphics settings.)

The phone doesn’t keep slowing down giving you a consistently good and sustained performance as well. More importantly, it runs cool. The Neo 6 was able to complete the 20-minute 3DMark Wildlife stress test with an impressive 98.5% stability. We also ran the AnTuTu 45-minute stress test on this phone, as well as the 30-minute CPU throttling, and again the phone remained as calm and confident as ever.

iQOO Neo 6 reviews
The phone supports 80W fast charging. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

This all naturally bodes well for battery life. The 4700mAh battery inside the Neo 6 gets you through the day with ease. The phone lasted 13 hours and 28 minutes in our video loop test, which is a respectable figure. Plus, you get 80W fast charging. The compliant charger charges the phone from 0-100% in about 39 minutes.

DESIGN AND DISPLAY

The design of the Neo 6 is in familiar territory. You can tell this is a Vivo/iQOO phone quite easily. The colors, the gradients, the use of large amounts of plastic, the two-stage camera assembly, the overall sleekness are all instantly recognizable. As is usually the case, there are almost always new colorways accompanying a new launch like this. The Neo 6, too, gets its own “Dark Nova” finish which is a shade of green at heart but turns dark, almost black, when viewed from certain angles. It’s very stealthy, very high-end, very beautiful.

iQOO Neo 6 reviews
The phone is well built. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

The build quality is standard for an iQOO phone, which is to say, it’s good. The back has a soft, almost textured matte finish that gradually blends into the sides – these are flat. Ergonomics are decent but this is still a big phone so your mileage may vary. For what it’s worth, the weight distribution is pretty accurate. Plastic phones might end up feeling hollow and cheap. That’s not the case here. The Neo 6 is a well-built phone with a fair amount of heft and no detail. iQOO still does not offer any protection against infiltrations.

iQOO Neo 6 reviews
HDR10+ is supported. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

On the front, you get a 6.62-inch 1080p E4 AMOLED flat screen with 120Hz refresh rate and a punch-hole cutout, like the iQOO 9 SE and iQOO 7. You get up to 1200 Hz instantly (in supported games like Call of Duty) and 360Hz touch sampling rate and native HDR10+ playback support in apps like Netflix. The panel can peak at 1300 nits. It’s a good display with rich colors, plenty of brightness, and just about all the bells and whistles you’d normally expect from a phone in its class. Biometrics is managed by an optical fingerprint reader integrated into the screen. It’s fast and reliable.

CAMERAS AND SOFTWARE

For photography, the Neo 6 has a triple rear camera setup with a 64MP OIS main camera, 8MP ultrawide and another 2MP macro camera. Gaming phones generally have a reputation for having less than ideal cameras, but if you’ve gotten this far – and know a thing or two about iQOO – you’ll know that the Neo 6, or for that matter any iQOO phone, don’t want to be just another gaming phone, but an all-in-one.

We can’t vouch for its secondary and tertiary cameras, but we can confirm that the Neo 6’s primary sensor – which is a Samsung GW1 – has immense potential. It can capture good detail with a fairly wide dynamic range and natural, almost true-to-source colors, especially when plenty of light is available. The sensor works well indoors/man-made and in low light too, most of the time, but there is room for improvement. The ultrawide is a little disappointing. It takes smoother photos in any lighting. The 2MP macro is just spec filler and nothing fancy.

iQOO Neo 6 reviews
The phone has a 64 MP main camera. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

You can shoot video at up to [email protected], but stabilization is only available at [email protected] – it’s nice and crisp with natural tones and wide dynamic range.

The 16MP camera on the front is the same as the iQOO 9 SE and iQOO 7. It takes good selfies and nice portraits in good light. Low-light selfies could be better. Front-end video recording peaks at [email protected]

The software inside the iQOO Neo 6 is nice enough with an Android-like look and feel, but there are a few weird twists here and there. Google’s Android 12 Material You theme, for example, could be implemented a bit better. There’s a chance you won’t even notice it’s there in the first place. Our review unit is running the April 2022 security patch at the time of writing. We didn’t encounter any weird bugs or stutters during our testing. There’s bloatware, spam notifications in this phone as well, but we’ve seen worse.

IQOO NEO 6 | SHOULD YOU BUY IT?

The iQOO Neo 6 follows in the footsteps of the excellent iQOO 9 SE (and iQOO 7) and tries to bring some of its nicer features and functionality to a more accessible price. Purely on the performance front, iQOO has come out on top here. But there’s more to this phone than just speed.

The Neo 6 is well-built, has a good display, a decent-sounding pair of stereo speakers, nimble haptics, a competitive main camera, fabulous battery life, and a fast charging. It’s a versatile phone in every sense of the word.

And iQOO has assessed the price well. The Neo 6 starts at Rs 29,999 for a version with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. A version with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage will cost you Rs 33,999.

There’s plenty of competition at this price point but iQOO has its work cut out for it. Just like the iQOO 9 SE, the Neo 6 is yet another winner that it pulled out of its hat.

Advantages The inconvenients
Quick and smooth display No IP rating
Fast performance Ultra wide and macro cameras could be better
Competitive main camera No storage expansion
Good battery life, fast charging
Great value

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