March 25, 2023
iQOO unveiled the iQOO Z7 in India earlier this week and followed it up with another Z7 in China that has different specs. The Chinese Z7 has yet to go on sale, but the Indian Z7 is already available. It starts at INR 18,999 ($230/€215) and has two color options – Norway Blue and Pacific Night. We spent some time on it and here are our impressions.
First, let’s look at the iQOO Z7’s retail packaging, which is similar in design to the packages of the higher-end iQOO number series, but with a smaller footprint. It includes a SIM ejector tool, protective case, USB-C cable, 44W power adapter and the usual paperwork.
The iQOO Z7 is built around a 6.38-inch FullHD+ AMOLED screen with a 90Hz refresh rate and a peak brightness of 1,300 nits. The display is protected by Schott Xensation Glass and has a fingerprint scanner underneath, which in short we found to be fast and accurate for the time we spent with the phone, although we would have liked to have placed it a little higher for better reach.
While we do appreciate iQOO for offering an in-display fingerprint reader on the Z7, rather than going with a side-mounted scanner like some other brands do despite their phones packing AMOLED panels, we like the waterdrop notch for the 16 -Megapixel selfie camera not so much instead of a hole as in its Chinese counterpart. That feels dated in 2023.
On the other hand, the iQOO Z7’s display supports HDR10+ and the phone comes with Widevine L1 certification, which enables 1080p video streaming on OTT apps. When talking about the screen refresh rate, you get three options in the Settings > Display & Brightness > Screen refresh rates menu of the iQOO Z7 – 60Hz, 90Hz and Smart Switch.
The first keeps the screen refresh rate locked at 60Hz all the time, while the 90Hz mode boosts the refresh rate to 90Hz in supported apps. The Smart Switch mode also boosts the refresh rate to 90Hz, but doesn’t bring it back to 60Hz when you’re not interacting with the screen, which is strange 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, stay at 90Hz in 90Hz mode but switch to 60Hz in Smart Switch mode whether you’re interacting with the screen or not. Therefore, we recommend that you keep the 90Hz mode for the smoothest possible scrolling experience.
Turn the iQOO Z7 over and you’ll see a rectangular two-tiered camera island covering just over 50% of the panel’s width. The top plate has a glossy finish and houses the 64 MP main camera with OIS and 2 MP depth sensor. The second has a matte finish and is equipped with an LED flash.
The Z7’s camera island makes it shake on flat surfaces, and the included case doesn’t fix it.
The back of the iQOO Z7 is made of plastic, but hardly left any fingerprints during our use. The back of our Norwegian Blue version has a glittery pattern and reflects multiple colors from different angles, which looks pretty cool. However, the flat design might not be preferred by everyone, and we too would have the back with curved edges for better handling and an ergonomic experience. Regardless, the Norway Blue model of the iQOO Z7 is a head turner, and we like it.
The overall build of the iQOO Z7 is decent, with the volume rocker and power button being sufficiently clicky.
ports and controls
Speaking of hardware, the Indian iQOO Z7 has the Dimensity 920 SoC under the hood with up to 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, expandable up to 1TB via a microSD card. The smartphone runs the Android 13-based Funtouch operating system with the February 2023 Android security patch. However, a software update that required a download of around 320MB brought it up to the March 2023 level. iQOO has three years of security updates and promised two years of Android version upgrades, meaning the Z7 will eventually get Android 15.
Like most other iQOO smartphones, the Z7 comes pre-installed with third party apps and luckily most of them can be uninstalled if you don’t want them.
The whole package is powered by a 4,500mAh battery that charges up to 45W via a USB-C port. It is advertised as going from 1% to 50% in 25 minutes and 100% in 64 minutes. Other highlights of the iQOO Z7 include motion control, an IP54 rating, a 3.5mm headphone jack and Wi-Fi 6.
The 6GB/128GB model of the iQOO Z7 costs INR 18,999 ($230/€215) and the 8GB/128GB version costs INR 19,999 ($240/€225). You can buy it from iQOO India official website and Amazon.in. Note that this Z7 will remain exclusive to India and the Snapdragon 782G powered variant currently available in China is expected to debut in Malaysia soon. You can go here to check the detailed specification comparison of Chinese and Indian iQOO Z7 models.