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IQOO 12 review – Coolsmartphone


Snapdragon Ultra Core for more gaming power

Ever wondered who iQOO is? They are an independent sub-brand of vivo, a well-known smartphone manufacturer. If you’re unfamiliar with vivo, you’re not alone. They were once part of the BBK Electronics conglomerate, which also houses Oppo and OnePlus. Within this group, vivo operated as a separate entity. But now, vivo has achieved independence, and iQOO (pronounced eye-koo) is poised to become a prominent force in the smartphone market. Their focus is on producing high-performance devices that cater to both photography enthusiasts and hardcore gamers.

Irrespective of the legacy of these mobile phone brands, the iQOO 12 possesses a strong enough reputation to adorn the official BMW M Motorsport branding on its Legend edition. This collaboration demonstrates the iQOO 12’s exceptional performance and its ability to cater to the demanding standards of passionate motorsport enthusiasts.

Powered by Qualcomm’s latest third-generation Snapdragon 8 mobile platform, the iQOO 12 Pro boasts a cutting-edge 4nm TSMC process, a 1+5+2 64-bit architecture, and a Cortex-X4 ultra-core that can reach an astounding 3.3GHz clock speed. This powerful combination delivers a remarkable 30% performance boost over the previous generation Snapdragon 8, while also achieving a 20% improvement in energy efficiency. Additionally, the iQOO 12 Pro leverages LPDDR5X and UFS4.0 technologies to elevate its performance even further, forming a formidable “Iron Triangle of Performance” that sets new standards for mobile gaming and overall responsiveness.

In essence, the iQOO 12 Pro harnesses the full potential of the Snapdragon 8 mobile platform to deliver an unparalleled gaming experience, while also maintaining exceptional energy efficiency. This makes it the ideal choice for demanding mobile gamers who seek the ultimate in performance and power.

Key Features at a glance:

  • 50MP main wide-angle, f/1.68, OIS, 23mm equivalent (1/1.3inch sensor)
  • 50MP ultra-wide-angle, f/2.0, 15mm equivalent
  • 64MP telephoto, f/2.57, 3x/70mm equivalent, OIS
  • 16MP selfie camera, f/2.45, 27mm equivalent (video: 1080P only)
  • 8K 30p, 4K 60/30p, Full HD 240p
  • 6.78inch screen, AMOLED, 144Hz, up to 3000nits brightness
  • 5000mAh battery, 120W charging
  • 12/16GB RAM, 256/512GB storage options
  • Android 14
  • 163.2 x 75.9 x 8.1mm
  • 203.7g weight.


Good Points:-

  • Flat screen design.
  • Amazing battery life.
  • 120W Fast charger included in the box.
  • Deicated gaming mode.
  • Dual Stereo speakers.
  • IR Blaster.
  • Claimed 3 yrs of OS updates, and updates4 yrs of security updates.
  • 6.78 inch screen, 144Hz, with 517PPI

Bad Points:-

  • Quite a bit of bloat.
  • Very slippery without the case.
  • Annoying app notifications from the V App Store.
  • Camera bump seems larger than necessary.
  • Lots of recommended app pop ups.

Whats In The Box.

The phone, SIM tool, some BMW performance leaflets a Clear TPU case a 120w charging brick, and cable.


In terms of aesthetics, the iQOO 12 Pro embraces a range of captivating color schemes to suit diverse preferences. The classic “Legendary Edition” exudes a timeless elegance with its gleaming white enamel textured glass back. This premium finish not only enhances the phone’s aesthetic appeal but also provides a comfortable and secure grip. The iconic BMW M Motorsport branding has been subtly incorporated into the design, adding a touch of motorsport flair without compromising the phone’s sleekness.

The iQOO 12 Pro’s vibrant and immersive display takes center stage, featuring a groundbreaking 6.78-inch E7 AMOLED panel. This cutting-edge display boasts a stunning resolution of 3200 x 1440 pixels, translating to a pixel density of 517 PPI, ensuring exceptional clarity and detail. Whether you’re engrossed in an intense gaming session or captivated by a visually captivating movie, the iQOO 12 Pro’s display delivers an unparalleled visual experience. To further enhance the visual feast, the display supports a blazing-fast 144Hz refresh rate, ensuring smooth and fluid transitions between scenes, whether scrolling through web pages or navigating through demanding applications. This rapid refresh rate also elevates the gaming experience, eliminating stutters and tearing for a truly responsive and immersive gameplay experience.

The in-screen fingerprint reader works well, and the phone offers rapid charging at 120W. However, the lack of wireless charging is a little bit of a shame. There’s an always-on AMOLED display with a fast refresh rate of 144Hz; which will be great for the gamers out there. The phone has an IP64 rating, which should mean it’ll survive a light rain shower.

On the top of the device is one of the stereo speakers, the IR blaster and microphone, on the right is the volume rocker and power button, the left hand side is clear, and along the bottom is the sim tray, usb type-c port, second speaker and another microphone.

In Use.

Once unboxed and set up, a few things immediately struck me about the IQOO 12 Pro, the device does have a lot of bloat pre installed, like Hot apps folder, that has 12 recommended apps, Hot Games folder with 12 recommended games. Doubling up of apps was present as well eg 2 App Stores, 2 messaging apps, imanger the same as device care. That said they were all easily dealt with and removed.

The device is possibly one of the most slippery (est) phones I’ve ever used, those who remember the Nexus 5 ( a device that could slide off a perfectly flat table) well the IQOO 12 is right up there, thankfully the included TPU case deals with this, and keeps the devices aesthetics.

It was then on to setting up the face unlock and under screen fingerprint reader, the face unlock is not as secure as Apple’s offering, but the IQOO 12 Pro unlocks loads quicker than my iPhone, the face unlock was so quick that the device was unlocked before, I had even a chance to use the fingerprint unlock, on the point of fingerprint unlock again this was blistering fast.

Then it was on to the screen, the 6.78-inch 144Hz 1.5K flat panel display on the iQOO 12 is of excellent quality in terms of colour accuracy, brightness, and sharpness, featuring a 1.5K resolution screen, with a 517PPI compared the iPhone 15 pro at 460PPI and the S23 Ultra’s screen coming in at 500PPI, what does this mean, well the screen is gorgeous to look at and use with smooth and silky scrolling. The display, which supports HDR video streaming on platforms like Netflix and Prime Video. Additionally, it is a high refresh rate panel with up to a 144Hz refresh rate and support for LPTO technology, which can lower the screen refresh rate to as low as 1Hz to reduce power consumption—an advantageous feature for users who utilise always-on display.

Once i’d loaded up all the relevant Google accounts. It was on to using the device, The first thing I’ve got to say is this thing absolutely flies, with absolutely no lag at all. flicking between apps opening and closing processes, there is no stuttering, this will be down to the snapdragon Gen. 3 chip and the oodles of Ram available. Then I enabled what IQOO are dubbing Monster Mode which basically ramps everything up to 10

One thing I did notice, though, was that the developer options were already enabled, thus, meaning the device was slightly not as secure as others straight out of the box.

The IQOO 12 Pro runs Android 14 with Funtouch OS running over the top, it has 16GB of RAM which can be dynamically extended to by up to another 16GB, the device also comes with 512GB of storage.

In the first couple of days the device received 3 software updates, but the Android security update was sitting at the 1st November.

Despite the device having a very South East Asian influence it was pleasant suprise to see the Google Feed on the far left of the home screen.

There is a version of Samsung’s edge panel, ( something I use a lot on my S23 Ultra ) named smart side bar, but I found it more of a quick launch panel rather than the full edge panel experience that said I used it to give a more uncluttered home screen.

Gaming with the Q1 Chip.

As well as packing the very latest flagship-grade mobile processor, memory, and storage, iQOO debuts Supercomputing Chip Q1, a customized display chip that offers Game Super Resolution, Game Super Frame Rate and Game Display Enhancement – features that radically enhance the mobile gaming experience.

With one touch users can activate Game Super Resolution, boosting image contrast and overall clarity through enhanced edge sharpness of graphical characters. Users can enable Game Super Frame Rate to experience mobile gaming at incredible high frame rates of up to 144 FPS. While many mobile games cap frame rates at 60 FPS or 90 FPS, peaking at 120 FPS, Super Frame Rate uses frame interpolation to provide users with smooth 144 FPS gaming, matching the native 144Hz display refresh rate to reduce tearing and stuttering on even the most demanding games.

iQOO 12 uses an LTPO AMOLED display that can dynamically switch between high and low refresh rates. This lowers power consumption by reducing refresh rates when a static image is displayed, while allowing refresh rates to be pushed to the maximum to provide the ultimate viewing experience when watching movies or playing games.

To give gamers a physically immersive experience, iQOO 12 packs a Large X-Axis Linear Motor that produces accurate haptic feedback triggers during gameplay. In terms of audio, iQOO 12 uses a Symmetrical Dual Stereo Speaker design that gives gamers directional cues in first-person-shooter games, making gunshots and footsteps more pronounced and clearer during gameplay. During audio playback, users can enjoy incredible instrument separation, with a large 1.2cc speaker chamber providing improved bass frequencies.

To keep things calm during extended gaming sessions, iQOO 12 uses a Four-Zone Cooling System that ensures a comfortable in-hand experience in key contact areas. A 6K Vapor Chamber ensures rapid and effective heat dissipation from the CPU, with heat buildup further reduced with a Low temperature sensitivity design and a specialized Under-Display Graphite Cooling Film that mitigates hot spot

What does all this mean in the real world, firstly let me say I am by no means a full on mobile gamer, but that said I do have Call Of Duty Mobile installed in all my devices, so I had to install it on IQOO 12 Pro as well.

I had all the settings ramped up there max and the game played fluidly with no dropped frames, stutter or glitches, that said it certainly didn’t make me any better of a player.

The IQOO 12 Pro’s gaming mode gives you loads of settings, ranging from Battery Saver Mode, Balanced, and Monster Mode (ramp everything up to 10). You also have the options to enable motion control, gaming resolution, block notifications and reject calls., all to enhance the game play.


Flagship smartphones have become increasingly standardized in their triple camera setups, leading manufacturers to seek innovative ways to differentiate themselves. Samsung’s Galaxy S22 and S23 Ultra series stand out with a fourth telephoto camera featuring an impressive 10x optical zoom. Google, on the other hand, emphasizes computational photography and AI-powered features to simplify capturing specific shots.

The iQOO 12 deviates from the norm with a 50MP ultra-wide-angle camera, a 50MP main camera, and a unique 64MP 3x telephoto macro lens, similar to the one found on the Xiaomi 13 Pro. It also boasts an Astrography mode, which iQOO claims can capture the majestic Milky Way. While testing under clear skies has not been possible yet, the iQOO 12 offers a unique AR Planetarium feature that virtually overlays constellations onto your night sky photos, while preserving the original unedited image of the stars. This fusion of technology and creativity makes the iQOO 12 a standout in the smartphone camera landscape.

The problem with reviewing a camera in the UK in December is there isn’t always the best light, but the IQOO 12 Pro’s camera was still able to snap some decent shots.

A snap of the moon up there with the S23 Ultra.


Indoor night shot with flash.
Indoor night shot no flash
Frost on the trees.
Zoom in to the Teddy

The camera app is filled with different modes, ranging from the standard modes Night, Portrait, Video, Pro Mode etc. but then there is High Resolution, Pano, Ultra HD Document, Slow Mo, Time Lapse, Long Exposure, Super moon, Astro, Tilt Shift, and Fisheye.

                                                                                                                                      Long Exposure
                                                                                                                                                    Super moon

 Some Astro shots, where the Star map is overlayed the final picture.

Battery Life

The iQOO 12 Pro’s robust battery life is assured by its hefty 5100mAh power source, augmented by a revolutionary graphite stack reconfiguration technology that seamlessly blends high capacity with lightning-fast charging capabilities. This innovative approach surpasses its predecessor’s endurance, ensuring extended usage throughout your demanding days. Although the iQOO 12 Pro’s 120W flash charger may seem like a minor inconvenience, it delivers exceptional charging speeds that cater to everyday needs. Additionally, a 50W wireless flash charger provides flexibility for those who prefer wireless charging. With these versatile charging options, the iQOO 12 Pro caters to diverse charging preferences and ensures your device remains powered up when you need it most.

The IQOO 12 was easily lasting me a full day of heavy use, and with moderate use I was getting 2 days out of it. That said when plugged into the included 120W charger and cable the device went from 0 to 100% in a eye watering 31mins, although charging at those speeds everyday won’t be the best for battery longevity.


The iQOO 12 Pro doesn’t look like what we call a “gaming phone”. As the title says, it has a powerful performance but looks so elegant. It’s similar to the Xiaomi 14 Pro, with photography first, and performance second. Whereas the iQOO 12 Pro is all about gaming and then the photos are pretty good too. Which one to choose depends on whether you prefer photography or gaming

I absolutely loved my time with the IQOO 12, once I had sorted the extra apps and bloatware out, it was a joy to use, in fact in some aspects better than my S23 Ultra. The device did seem snappier and I would say that the camera was a good 90% of Samsung’s offering.

It’s a shame that this device may well get overlooked by the main players in the Android world, but this clearly should not be the case, if you want a change from the mainstream the IQOO 12 Pro is well worth considering. It’s currently available here in the UK from Wondamobile for £669


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