iQOO Neo 9 Pro review: Performance-focuses -

iQOO Neo 9 Pro review: Performance-focuses

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iQOO Neo 9 Pro review: Performance-focuses

iQOO is typically associated with performance-centric smartphones. This year, however, the Chinese smartphone brand is striving to bolster its portfolio with devices that emphasise imaging and design aspects as well. A prime example is the recently unveiled iQOO Neo 9 Pro, a midrange smartphone priced at Rs 35,999 onwards, featuring a unique dual-tone design with vegan leather on the back panel and a dual-camera system headlined by a 50-megapixel main sensor.


The iQOO Neo 9 Pro presents a striking appearance in its bold fiery red colourway (as reviewed). Adorned with a soft vegan leather coating on the back cover in a red and white colour scheme, the dual-tone design adds character, albeit with a noticeable plastic-like texture in the white area. Complementing the rear profile is a two-piece camera island with each unit bordered by a shiny metallic ring.
Beyond its aesthetic allure, the phone boasts a slim and lightweight build, facilitating ease of handling and comfort during usage. The vegan leather back instills confidence with its secure grip, although it is susceptible to colour deterioration and damage. Notably, the slightly protruding rear cameras cause the phone to wobble on flat surfaces.

Display and audio

The iQOO Neo 9 Pro features a 6.78-inch 1.5K AMOLED display with a 144Hz adaptive refresh rate. Delivering a bright and vivid panel with responsive touch capabilities, the display provides a smooth user experience, even though it tends to hover between 1Hz-120Hz in the default refresh rate mode, never quite reaching the peak 144Hz. This, however, does not significantly impact the overall smoothness of the user experience.
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iQOO has integrated several value-added features to enhance the display experience, including a visual enhancement tool, MEMC, and super resolution. These features, facilitated by the Supercomputing Q1 chip, enable smoother frame rates and enhanced graphics in select games and apps, notably YouTube and Netflix. Additionally, the phone delivers a satisfactory audio experience through its stereo speakers, albeit lacking fullness and balance.


The iQOO Neo 9 Pro has a dual-camera system on the rear, comprising a 50-megapixel main sensor (Sony IMX920) with optical image stabilisation and an 8MP ultra-wide-angle sensor. The iQOO Neo 9 Pro offers competent camera capabilities. While the primary sensor delivers consistent performance across various lighting conditions, capturing fine details and exhibiting decent dynamic range and contrast, the captured colours may appear washed out, although easily rectifiable with the built-in photo-editing tool.

The gaming performance of a smartphone is primarily defined by its processor, and most flagship smartphones excel in gaming due to their high-end chip. Last year, I got a phone with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC by paying over Rs 1,20,000, and now, in less than 12 months, we have the iQOO Neo 9 Pro with the same chip, available for less than half of that.

Also read | iQOO unveils Neo 9 Pro: Most affordable Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC in India

On paper, the iQOO Neo 9 Pro is currently one of the most powerful smartphones under Rs 40,000, and I have been testing the device for over three weeks as my primary device to check if that translates to real-world performance. Here are my findings.

In Short

  • The iQOO Neo 9 Pro has a lovely low-latency display which is great for both watching video content and playing games.
  • The smartphone offers the same Sony IMX 920 camera sensor as the flagship Vivo X100 Pro.
  • It has a little over 5,100 mAh battery that can easily get you through a day.

The iQOO Neo 7 Pro 5G was probably one of the most underrated mid-range smartphones of 2023, and I really hope the iQOO Neo 9 Pro 5G gets its due this year. The Neo 9 Pro 5G is a well-rounded smartphone with a playful red and white design, a good 144Hz display, some flagship-level cameras, and a hassle-free performance. For its pricing, it’s almost surprising how good the smartphone is. In fact, when I was writing this review, I had to give it a minute to figure out what I should put in the Cons column of the review widget that you see on top of this article. Having said that, do I think the iQOO Neo 9 Pro 5G is a perfect phone? NO. But when I say it comes quite close to being perfect, it is keeping in mind the cost and worth ratio of the device, and this phone gets it just right.

I spent a couple of weeks using the iQOO Neo 9 Pro 5G as my primary device and I have enjoyed the testing period thoroughly. And even though I am not big on taking pictures in my usual life, with the Neo 9 Pro, I found myself reaching for the phone a lot, because I loved how it surprised me with its camera performance every time. I realise I have built up my experience with the phone to a point I shouldn’t be beating around the bush anymore. So, let’s jump straight up into my detailed review of the iQOO Neo 9 Pro 5G.