iQOO 12 review

GSMArena Team, 6 December 2023.

Introduction

The iQOO 12 is the first Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 smartphone to enter our labs. It's not like we didn't tease it numerous times during the past week with camera samples, benchmarks, and software bits.

The iQOO 12 is an attractive-looking device - it has the design to impress, be it the Legend (BMW, White) or the Alpha (Black) version. The phone is IP64-rated for complete dust and heavy splash resistance.

The standard iQOO 12 has a brilliant 6.78-inch E7 AMOLED panel of 1280p resolution and dynamic 144Hz refresh rate. There is also support for 10-bit color depth, HDR10+ streaming and a peak brightness up to 3,000 nits!

iQOO advertises the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip as properly cooled with a large vapor chamber for excellent heat dissipation and sustained performance. We will see about that!

The iQOO 12 has an interesting camera of flagship origin at the back. There is a large 50MP primary with OIS, a 50MP ultrawide with autofocus, and a 64MP camera behind a periscopic lens with OIS for 3x optical zoom and up to 10x lossless zoom. Just like vivo's phones, this iQOO 12 camera supports Vivid and Natural color options for the cameras and introduces a new one - Cinematic.

iQOO 12 review

The iQOO 12 packs a graphite 5,000mAh battery with an allegedly enhanced lifespan of 1,600 cycles (before reaching 80% capacity) and 120W super-fast wired charging.

Finally, the iQOO 12 runs on Android 14 with Funtouch 14, a launcher that was optimized for performance and with almost no bloatware. The phone also comes with a promise of three major Android updates and four years of security patches.

vivo iQOO 12 specs at a glance:

  • Body: 163.2x75.9x8.1mm, 199g; glass front, glass back, aluminum frame; IP64 dustproof and water splashproof.
  • Display: 6.78" AMOLED, 1B colors, 144Hz, HDR10+, 1400 nits (HBM), 3000 nits (peak), 1260x2800px resolution, 20:9 aspect ratio, 453ppi.
  • Chipset: Qualcomm SM8650-AB Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 (4 nm): Octa-core (1x3.3 GHz Cortex-X4 & 5x3.2 GHz Cortex-A720 & 2x2.3 GHz Cortex-A520); Adreno 750.
  • Memory: 256GB 12GB RAM, 512GB 16GB RAM, 1TB 16GB RAM; UFS 4.0.
  • OS/Software: Android 14, Funtouch 14 (International), OriginOS 4 (China).
  • Rear camera: Wide (main): 50 MP, f/1.7, 23mm, 1/1.3", 1.2µm, PDAF, OIS; Telephoto: 64 MP, f/2.6, 70mm, 1/2.0", PDAF, OIS, 3x optical zoom. Ultra wide angle: 50 MP, f/2.0, 15mm, 119˚, AF.
  • Front camera: 16 MP, f/2.5, (wide).
  • Video capture: Rear camera: 8K@30fps, 4K@24/30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/120/240fps, gyro-EIS; Front camera: 1080p@30fps, gyro-EIS.
  • Battery: 5000mAh; 120W wired.
  • Connectivity: 5G; Dual SIM; Wi-Fi 7; BT 5.4, aptX HD, aptX Adaptive; NFC; Infrared port.
  • Misc: Fingerprint reader (under display, optical); stereo speakers.

There are two things leaving somewhat a bitter taste after reading this otherwise impressive specs sheet - the selfie camera and the not-so-complete water protection. We can bet this 16MP front imager is yet another Quad-Bayer camera that will produce low-quality photos. The IP64 rating is good enough for the occasional water sprays, but the phone is still unsuitable for water submersion.

Unboxing the iQOO 12

The white iQOO 12 arrives inside a black matte box containing a 120W power adapter and a 6A-rated USB-C-to-C cable.

iQOO 12 review

The retail bundle also includes a transparent silicone case and a double-sided BMW M printed card.

Reader comments

It uses SCHOTT Xensation Alpha (lithium-aluminosilicate glass) for protection, it's not quite Gorilla Glass Victus, but it's not completely without protection Apparently it's Gorilla Glass 5 or 6 level.

This is great hardware wasted. Critical camera app omissions: 1. 4K 60 front camera video. 2. Ability to switch between 4 lenses during video recording. (Right now 3 back lenses can be switched to during 4K30 video recording). I really do no...

this phone's camera looks better than oneplus 12's oh it also has a flat display, not-so-heavy 208g body and 3+4 years of software support. looks like I've found a favourite.