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Phone Specifications

iQOO Neo9 Pro Review: Worthy successor to Neo7 Pro

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iQOO launched its Neo9 Pro smartphone in India last month as the successor to last year’s Neo7 Pro. This has a better LTPO display, faster SoC, better camera and a slightly better battery while retaining the 120W fast charging. Is this the best gaming phone in the market under Rs. 40,000? Let use dive into the review to find out.

Box Contents
Display, Hardware and Design
Camera
Software, UI and Apps
Fingerprint sensor and Face unlock
Music player and Multimedia
Dual SIM and Connectivity
Performance and Benchmarks
Battery Life
Conclusion
Box Contents

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  • iQOO Neo9 Pro 12GB + 256GB version in Fiery Red colour
  • Clear Silicon case
  • USB Type-C Cable
  • 120W Super FlashCharge wall adapter
  • SIM ejector tool
  • Quick start guide and Warranty information
Display, Hardware and Design

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The iQOO Neo9 Pro sports a 6.78-inch (2800 × 1260 pixels) 1.5K 20:9 aspect ratio LTPO AMOLED display with 144Hz refresh rate. The screen has up to 1400 nits brightness in HBM mode, up to 3000 nits peak brightness, so the sunlight legibility is good. The colour output good as well since it has 1.07 billion colors.

There is wet touch technology that utilizes AI models to recognize sweat characteristics, optimizes touch control in a targeted way, to improve the precision and accuracy. It also improves the accuracy of wet hands touching in daily life, says the company.

You can select between 1080p and 1.5K display options. The phone has 144Hz refresh rate, 300Hz touch sampling rate and 2000Hz instant touch sampling rate for a smooth user experience, especially when you are scrolling through the UI and when gaming.

You can select from standard (default), professional and bright screen colour modes. You can select smart switch or force it to 60Hz or 144Hz. Visual enhancement optimizes the color and contrast of some pictures for more vivid display effects, says the company. There is also MEMC and super resolution for improved frame rate and resolution in some apps like YouTube, Netflix and Prime video. It also has HDR 10+ support, which works for YouTube, and Netflix. There is always-on-display.

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The phone has a 16MP front camera inside the notch. There is an earpiece on the top edge which also works as a secondary speaker.

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You can also notice a small bezel below the screen. The haptic feedback is good as well, thanks to an X-Axis Linear Motor, with a size that is 25% bigger and a bandwidth that is over 100% higher compared to Neo7 Pro.

Coming to the button placements and ports, the power button is present on the right side along with the volume rockers. There is nothing on the left side.  The dual SIM slot, primary microphone, USB Type-C port and the loudspeaker grill are present on the bottom and the secondary microphone is present on the top along with the IR blaster.

Even though the phone looks attractive, it has a plastic frame that has a smooth matte finish that doesn’t attract fingerprints.

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The Fiery Red color that we have has a dual-tone finish that features a carbon fiber vegan leather on the white and skin-friendly lychee vegan leather on the red. It is just 0.32 mm in width, says the company.

iQOO Neo9 Pro

Even though the phone looks attractive, it doesn’t feel a lot premium in hands compared to the black version that Fluorite AG Glass that offers a silky hand feel. One good thing in the leather finish is that I have been using the phone without a case without the worry of cracking the back, and it is also easy to clean.

The red version is lighter at just 190 grams even though the phone packs a 5160mAh battery, and this is also just 7.99mm thick.  The phone has an IP54 rating for dust and splash resistance.

Camera

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  • 50MP camera with 1/ 1.49″ IMX920 VCS bionic, f/1.88 aperture, OIS
  • 8MP ultra-wide-angle camera, f/2.2 aperture
  • 16MP front-facing camera with f/2.45 aperture

The camera UI is the same as other phones running Funtouch OS. It includes several features such as AR stickers, Pro mode, long exposure, 50MP mode, supermoon, and more. Even though the phone has a 50MP rear camera, the final output is 12.5MP in size after pixel binning, and the front camera output is 16MP.

Coming to the camera quality, the daylight shots are good, and it is recommended to enable HDR option which automatically switches on HDR according to the shot, so that the dynamic range is good. The camera can focus quickly. The 8MP ultra-wide camera is a standard similar to other phones. It doesn’t have any other unnecessary 2MP cameras, which is a good thing.

Portrait mode has good edge detection. Low-light images has also improved, but there is noise when you zoom in. The night mode is useful, thanks to the optimization. There is also supermoon mode with up to 30x zoom, compared to 20x in the normal mode. The supermoon option is a good addition, but you can’t compare it to flagships.

The same old 16MP camera is good in daylight, and the front camera portrait is decent as well, but it is not the best when it comes to low-light.

Check out some camera samples below

It can record videos at 8k 30fps, and 4k resolution at up to 60 fps from the rear camera and the front camera supports 1080p 30 fps recording.  There is also night video option. It has standard and ultra stabilization, but the resolution is down to 1080p in ultra option since it crops the content. OIS does a good job in stabilization. It lacks HDR video recording.

Software, UI and Apps

Coming to the software, the phone runs on Android 14 with Funtouch OS 14 on top.  It has Android security patch for February 2024. The phone will get 3 years of Android OS updates and 4 years of security updates, for the first time in a iQOO Neo series phone, matching the iQOO flagship series.

Funtouch OS 14 brings Smooth Experience, Visual Smoothness, Enhanced Multitasking, improved Personalization, including custom Kinetic wallpapers, custom lock screen clock style with three layout styles and eight font styles.

Out of 12GB of LPDDR5X RAM about 11.03GB is usable, out of which 5GB is free when the default apps are running in the background. There is additional 12GB RAM expansion feature. Out of 256GB of UFS 4.0 storage, 223.8GB is free out of the box.

Since the phone has an IR blaster, it comes with a Smart Remote app. Apart from the usual set of utility and Google apps, it comes preloaded with a lot of apps such as Facebook, Amazon, LinkedIn, PhonePe, Netflix, Truecaller and Snapchat, and some games. These apps can be uninstalled, but they come back after reset.

Fingerprint sensor and Face unlock

The phone has an optical in-display fingerprint sensor which immediately unlocks the phone just by keeping your finger on the sensor. You can add up to 5 fingerprints. There are different animation styles that display when you unlock, which you can disable. The phone also has face unlock that can unlock the phone in seconds, but it is not as secure as fingerprint.

Music and Multimedia

The default Music Player also has equalizer and DeepField sound effects. It doesn’t have FM Radio support. There is audio super resolution, and super audio features. Audio through the stereo speakers is crisp and loud. Audio through the headphones is good as well.

This has Widevine L1 so that you can play HD content on Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and other streaming apps. It also supports HDR playback on Netflix and YouTube.

Dual SIM and Connectivity

It has the usual set of connectivity features such as 5G with support for n1/n3/n5/n8/n28A/n28B/n38/n40/n41/n77/n78) bands, and supports Airtel and Jio 5G out of the box. There is also dual 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 7 802.11be (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz and 6 GHz), Bluetooth 5.3, GPS + GLONASS, but lacks NFC support. We did not face any call drops and the earpiece volume is good.

The iQOO Neo9 Pro’s body SAR is 0.972W/Kg and head SAR is at 0.988/Kg which is less than the Neo7 Pro, and is way under the limit in India which is 1.6 W/kg (over 1 g).

Performance and Benchmarks

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

This is one of the few phones to launch in India with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform in the price range. It has new 1 + 4 + 3 microarchitecture that uses 1 x Kryo Prime Arm Cortex-X3-based CPU at up to 3.2GHz, 4 x Kryo Performance CPUs that has 2 x A710-based and 2 x A715-based CPUs at up to 2.8GHz and 4x Kryo Efficiency A510-based CPUs at up to 2GHz.

It is fabricated using the TSMC 4nm Process Technology, same as Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. The phone has 6K Canopy VC liquid cooling, with an area of ​​6043mm², accounting for 48.82% of the entire projection area. The heat dissipation system has also achieved upgrades in material and structural design: the entire body is made of 3D stainless steel stamped VC, says the company.

We did not face any issues or frame drops in the graphic-intensive games like COD, BGMI and Genshin Impact. It reached maximum 42º in our testing indoors in Wi-Fi, but this might vary outdoors in 5G.

For the gamers, it has game frame interpolation of 144FPS in games. Super Computing Q1 chip helps to achieve ultra low latency even with the high frame rate games.

iQOO Neo 9 Pro AnTuTu Benchmark 10

iQOO Neo 9 Pro Geekbench 6 Single Core

iQOO Neo 9 Pro Geekbench 6 Multi Core

As you can see, it is in the top 3 of the benchmark charts, and even beats the OnePlus 12R, which is its direct competitor.

Battery life

Coming to the battery life, the phone packs a 5160mAh (typical) battery, which is bigger than the 5000mAh battery in the Neo7 Pro. It can easily last for a day with heavy use, thanks to the optimization. This time, you can also see the battery capacity.

I got about 6 hours of screen on time with 1 and half days of use, mostly on Wi-Fi, and occasional 5G use with Smart refresh rate. This is more compared to iQOO Neo7 Pro.

Since the phone has support for 120W fast charging, it can charge from 0 to 50% in about 12 minutes and up to 100% in less than half an hour. You will have to enable fast charging option if you want to reduce the charging time, but the phone gets a bit hot. It doesn’t have wireless charging support.

Conclusion

At a starting price of Rs. 35,999, the iQOO Neo9 Pro is a good successor to the Neo7 Pro. It has several improvements in terms of performance, screen, camera and the battery life, and offers a good value. Wish the company had added NFC support and had gone with a metal frame, which are still missing in the iQOO Neo range.

Pricing and availability

The iQOO Neo9 Pro comes in Fiery Red and Conqueror Black colours and is priced at Rs. 35,999 for the 8GB + 128GB version, Rs. 37,999 for the 8GB + 256GB model and the 12GB + 256GB model costs Rs. 39,999. There are several launch offers including Rs. 2000 bank offer.

It is available from Amazon.in and iQOO online store. The 8GB + 128GB model will be available from March 21st.

Alternatives

The OnePlus 12R is a direct competitor in the price range that has NFC and a better build quality, but it uses UFS 3.1 storage, and is a bit costly.

Pros

  • 144Hz 1.5K AMOLED HDR display is brilliant
  • Smooth performance and good gaming performance
  • Good camera performance
  • Good battery life with 120W fast charging

Cons

  • Same old 16MP front camera with 1080p video recording
  • A lot of preloaded apps
  • No NFC support

Author: Naijaonpoint NG

Naijaonpoint NG is a Mobile Technology Enthusiast who is passionate about Mobile phones and Mobile apps. He uses the phones he reviews as his main phone. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram
View all posts by Naijaonpoint NG

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