iQOO Neo9 Pro hands-on review

Sagar, 16 June 2024

iQOO launched the iQOO Neo9 and Neo9 Pro last year in China, but only one smartphone escaped the country - the iQOO Neo9, which was introduced as the Neo9 Pro in India. The most notable difference between the Chinese Neo9 - called Neo9 Pro globally - and the Chinese Neo9 Pro is in the chipset and camera departments.

The Neo9 Pro is powered by Dimensity 9300 SoC and features a 50MP ultrawide camera, while the Neo9 has the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip at the helm and sports an 8MP ultrawide camera. We used the Indian iQOO Neo9 Pro - sharing hardware with the Chinese Neo9 - for over a month, and here's what we found about it.

Design

The iQOO Neo9 Pro is built around a 6.78" 8T LTPO AMOLED display having a 3,000 nits peak brightness and 144Hz screen refresh rate. The screen also has a punch-hole for the 16MP selfie camera and a fingerprint scanner embedded for biometric authentication.

iQOO Neo9 Pro hands-on review

The fingerprint reader was fast and accurate, and we faced no issues while using it. However, it could've been placed slightly higher for ease of reach, facilitating a more convenient smartphone unlocking experience.

iQOO Neo9 Pro hands-on review

Turn the phone around, and you see an LED flash and two cameras - 50MP primary and 8MP ultrawide. The iQOO Neo9 Pro comes in Fiery Red and Conqueror Black colors, and it's the red version that we received for review.

iQOO Neo9 Pro hands-on review

The Conqueror Black version's back cover is made of fingerprint-resistant Fluorite AG Glass, while the Fiery Red model's rear panel flaunts a Dual-Tone Vegan Leather Design. iQOO says that it is carbon fiber vegan leather and skin-friendly lychee vegan leather "seamlessly integrated for an ultra-thin edge," resulting in a "unique and premium look and feel."

iQOO Neo9 Pro hands-on review

Well, the red model looks nice, and the faux leather - which is what it is - helps with the grip, but not as much as we'd have liked. It also doesn't feel as premium as the leather finish we have on the more affordable Realme 12 Pro series smartphones.

iQOO Neo9 Pro hands-on review

On the upside, the iQOO Neo9 Pro Fiery Red's vegan leather finish ensures it doesn't get smudged with fingerprints, which would require constant wiping to keep the phone in its pristine form if you don't use a protective case.

Regardless of which version you buy, the iQOO Neo9 Pro comes with flat frames and a back panel, with the latter having slightly curved edges like the iQOO 12, making the phone comfortable to hold despite flat frames. The smartphone is also light enough for prolonged usage. However, the protruding rear cameras make it wobble on flat surfaces and move when it vibrates upon receiving calls and notifications. That's not ideal since the phone could fall if kept near the edge of a flat surface.

iQOO Neo9 Pro hands-on review

The iQOO Neo9 Pro's right-side frame has a power button and volume rocker with decent feedback, and at the bottom is the USB-C port, flanked by a SIM card slot, primary microphone, and a speaker grille. Up top is another microphone, joined by an IR blaster.

Ports and controls Ports and controls Ports and controls
Ports and controls

The Neo9 Pro is IP54-rated, and we like its overall design.

Display

The iQOO Neo9 Pro packs a 6.78" 144Hz 8T LTPO Always-On AMOLED display of 2,800x1,260-pixel resolution and 452 ppi pixel density. It's protected by Schott Xensation Up and supports 1.07 billion colors. It also has HLG, HDR10, HDR10+, and Widevine L1 certifications.

iQOO went with an X-Axis Linear Motor for the Neo9 Pro, which provided great haptic feedback that made typing on the screen fun. It also provides 4D Game Vibration when gaming, which enhances the overall gaming experience.

The display was also plenty bright, which made it easy to watch media and read text under direct sunlight at max brightness.

iQOO Neo9 Pro hands-on review

The iQOO Neo9 Pro also comes with an independent display chip called Supercomputing Chip Q1, which, the brand says, helps achieve low latency with high frame rate games, lower power consumption at high frame rates and resolution, and lower temperature during heavy gaming sessions. The Game Super Resolution and Game Frame Interpolation features are enabled with the Chip Q1, with the latter advertised to help achieve a frame rate of 144 FPS in games.

That said, the iQOO Neo9 Pro has Smart Switch, Standard (60Hz), and High (144Hz) refresh rate options, with the screen supporting 10 refresh rates in total - 1Hz, 30Hz, 40Hz, 45Hz, 51Hz, 60Hz, 72Hz, 90Hz, 120Hz, and 144Hz. However, iQOO says 144Hz is only for gaming - which is a bummer - so the maximum refresh rate achievable during non-gaming usage is 120 FPS.

iQOO Neo9 Pro hands-on review

With the screen refresh rate set to High (144Hz), the refresh rate bumped up from 1Hz to 120Hz for the system menus and apps when interacting with the display. It remained at 10Hz when viewing an image in Google Photos and at 30/60Hz when watching videos on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google Photos, and YouTube.

The Standard (60Hz) mode was basically the High mode, except the refresh rate went up to 60Hz. In Smart Switch mode, the apps went up to 90 FPS when interacting with the screen, with only the homescreen, app drawer, app switcher, Settings app, and the Play Store having 120 FPS support. However, like the Standard and High Mode, the Smart Switch mode also switched to 10Hz when viewing an image and 30/60Hz when watching videos.

We tried Call of Duty Mobile, Dead Trigger 2, Real Racing 3, and Sky Force Reloaded on the iQOO Neo9 Pro, and only the last two games ran at 120 FPS - that too in High Mode - with others being capped at 60 FPS. COD is included in the list of games supporting 144 FPS gaming, but that wasn't the case during our usage, even with Game Frame Interpolation enabled.

To conclude, if you want the smoothest possible experience, the High refresh rate mode is your best option.

Software and Performance

The iQOO Neo9 Pro is powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC and comes with up to 12GB of LPDDR5X RAM and 256GB of UFS 4.0 storage. Ours is the top-end 12GB/256GB model, running Android 14-based Funtouch OS 14 out of the box.

iQOO Neo9 Pro hands-on review

The iQOO Neo9 Pro comes pre-loaded with third-party apps, but most can be uninstalled. The overall software experience is similar to that of the iQOO 12, so you might want to read our iQOO 12 review to learn more about Funtouch OS 14.

We had no performance issues with the iQOO Neo9 Pro since the smartphone was smooth and snappy in everyday usage. It also handled heavy games during long gaming sessions very well while remaining reasonably cool even in hot Indian summers. However, as we already mentioned, some games that iQOO advertised with 144 FPS support remained capped at 60 FPS.

GeekBench 6

  • Multi-core
  • Single-core
vivo iQOO Neo9 Pro vivo iQOO Neo9 Pro
5478
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 256GB, 12GB RAM
Poco X6 Pro Poco X6 Pro
4696
Dimensity 8300 Ultra 256GB, 8GB RAM
OnePlus 12R OnePlus 12R
4451
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 256GB, 16GB RAM
Poco F5 Poco F5
4348
Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 256GB, 8GB RAM
Nothing Phone (2) Nothing Phone (2)
4219
Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 256GB, 12GB RAM
OnePlus Nord 3 OnePlus Nord 3
3296
Dimensity 9000 256GB, 16GB RAM
Motorola Edge 50 Pro Motorola Edge 50 Pro
3083
Snapdragon 7 Gen 3 512GB, 12GB RAM
Redmi Note 13 Pro 5G Redmi Note 13 Pro 5G
2751
Snapdragon 7s Gen 2 512GB, 12GB RAM
Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G
2597
Dimensity 7200 Ultra 512GB, 12GB RAM
vivo iQOO Neo9 Pro vivo iQOO Neo9 Pro
2031
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 256GB, 12GB RAM
Nothing Phone (2) Nothing Phone (2)
1725
Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 256GB, 12GB RAM
Poco F5 Poco F5
1639
Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 256GB, 8GB RAM
OnePlus 12R OnePlus 12R
1581
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 256GB, 16GB RAM
Poco X6 Pro Poco X6 Pro
1498
Dimensity 8300 Ultra 256GB, 8GB RAM
Motorola Edge 50 Pro Motorola Edge 50 Pro
1143
Snapdragon 7 Gen 3 512GB, 12GB RAM
Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G
1098
Dimensity 7200 Ultra 512GB, 12GB RAM
OnePlus Nord 3 OnePlus Nord 3
1058
Dimensity 9000 256GB, 16GB RAM
Redmi Note 13 Pro 5G Redmi Note 13 Pro 5G
1019
Snapdragon 7s Gen 2 512GB, 12GB RAM

AnTuTu

  • v9
  • v10
vivo iQOO Neo9 Pro vivo iQOO Neo9 Pro
1246393
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 256GB, 12GB RAM 1260 x 2800 px
Poco F5 Poco F5
931174
Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 256GB, 8GB RAM 1080 x 2400 px
Nothing Phone (2) Nothing Phone (2)
895434
Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 256GB, 12GB RAM 1080 x 2412 px
OnePlus Nord 3 OnePlus Nord 3
844865
Dimensity 9000 256GB, 16GB RAM 1240 x 2772 px
Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G
683899
Dimensity 7200 Ultra 512GB, 12GB RAM 1220 x 2712 px
Redmi Note 13 Pro 5G Redmi Note 13 Pro 5G
523746
Snapdragon 7s Gen 2 512GB, 12GB RAM 1220 x 2712 px
vivo iQOO Neo9 Pro vivo iQOO Neo9 Pro
1598649
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 256GB, 12GB RAM 1260 x 2800 px
Poco X6 Pro Poco X6 Pro
1396547
Dimensity 8300 Ultra 256GB, 8GB RAM 1220 x 2712 px
OnePlus 12R OnePlus 12R
1329993
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 256GB, 16GB RAM 1264 x 2780 px
Nothing Phone (2) Nothing Phone (2)
972126
Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 256GB, 12GB RAM 1080 x 2412 px
OnePlus Nord 3 OnePlus Nord 3
916086
Dimensity 9000 256GB, 16GB RAM 1240 x 2772 px
Motorola Edge 50 Pro Motorola Edge 50 Pro
842798
Snapdragon 7 Gen 3 512GB, 12GB RAM 1080 x 2412 px
Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G
779812
Dimensity 7200 Ultra 512GB, 12GB RAM 1220 x 2712 px
Redmi Note 13 Pro 5G Redmi Note 13 Pro 5G
581979
Snapdragon 7s Gen 2 512GB, 12GB RAM 1220 x 2712 px

3DMark (offscreen)

  • Wild Life (1440p)
  • Wild Life Extreme (2160p)
  • Solar Bay (1440p)
OnePlus 12R OnePlus 12R
13220
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Adreno 740 1264 x 2780 px
vivo iQOO Neo9 Pro vivo iQOO Neo9 Pro
12975
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Adreno 740 1260 x 2800 px
Nothing Phone (2) Nothing Phone (2)
8809
Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 Adreno 730 1080 x 2412 px
Poco X6 Pro Poco X6 Pro
8352
Dimensity 8300 Ultra Mali G615-MC6 1220 x 2712 px
Poco F5 Poco F5
7524
Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 Adreno 725 1080 x 2400 px
OnePlus Nord 3 OnePlus Nord 3
7377
Dimensity 9000 Mali-G710 MC10 1240 x 2772 px
Motorola Edge 50 Pro Motorola Edge 50 Pro
5399
Snapdragon 7 Gen 3 Adreno 720 1080 x 2412 px
Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G
4341
Dimensity 7200 Ultra Mali-G610 MC4 1220 x 2712 px
Redmi Note 13 Pro 5G Redmi Note 13 Pro 5G
3107
Snapdragon 7s Gen 2 Adreno 710 1220 x 2712 px
OnePlus 12R OnePlus 12R
3640
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Adreno 740 1264 x 2780 px
vivo iQOO Neo9 Pro vivo iQOO Neo9 Pro
3343
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Adreno 740 1260 x 2800 px
Nothing Phone (2) Nothing Phone (2)
2449
Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 Adreno 730 1080 x 2412 px
OnePlus Nord 3 OnePlus Nord 3
2360
Dimensity 9000 Mali-G710 MC10 1240 x 2772 px
Poco F5 Poco F5
1961
Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 Adreno 725 1080 x 2400 px
Motorola Edge 50 Pro Motorola Edge 50 Pro
1477
Snapdragon 7 Gen 3 Adreno 720 1080 x 2412 px
Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G
1193
Dimensity 7200 Ultra Mali-G610 MC4 1220 x 2712 px
Redmi Note 13 Pro 5G Redmi Note 13 Pro 5G
792
Snapdragon 7s Gen 2 Adreno 710 1220 x 2712 px
OnePlus 12R OnePlus 12R
5375
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Adreno 740 1264 x 2780 px
vivo iQOO Neo9 Pro vivo iQOO Neo9 Pro
4883
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Adreno 740 1260 x 2800 px

Camera

The iQOO Neo9 Pro sports three cameras - one of the front and two on the rear. The selfie shooter on the front uses a 16MP Samsung ISOCELL S5K3P9SP04-FGX9 1/3.1" sensor. It has an f/2.45 aperture and can record videos in 1080p resolution at 30 FPS.

iQOO Neo9 Pro hands-on review

The dual camera setup on the rear comprises 50MP primary and 8MP ultrawide units. The primary camera uses the Sony IMX920 1/1.49" sensor with vivo Camera-Bionic Spectrum (VCS). It has OIS, f/1.88 aperture, and can record 1080p and 4K videos at 30 and 60 FPS, while 720p and 8K video recording is limited to 30 FPS.

The 8MP ultrawide unit uses the OmniVision OV08D10-GA5A-001A with an f/2.2 aperture and an FOV of 119˚.

iQOO Neo9 Pro hands-on review

The iQOO Neo9 Pro's primary and ultrawide cameras were quite quick to capture images, and we rarely saw any shutter lag in the default Photo mode. In the 50MP mode, the primary camera expectedly took a bit longer to click the pictures, while Night Mode took even longer in both the default and 50MP modes.

During the day, the iQOO Neo9 Pro's 50MP primary camera took good photos in the default Photo mode. However, sometimes, the pictures clicked with the primary camera in the Photo mode and 50MP mode had inconsistencies in colors.

Moreover, the colors in the pictures taken in Photo mode with the primary and ultrawide cameras looked similar but were different in the 50MP high-res mode.

The iQOO Neo9 Pro's 50MP primary camera clicked decent pictures at night as well, and in the 50MP high-res mode, it did a better job of retaining details in the shadows than the Photo mode. The colors were also closer to the source, especially the skies.

Photos taken with the 8MP ultrawide camera at night were softer than the ones captured with the primary camera, especially around the edges. The colors also looked a bit washed out at times. Also, regardless of whether you used the primary or ultrawide camera, many low-light pictures had lens flare.

However, it's worth mentioning that photos clicked with the iQOO Neo9 Pro in low light weren't as noisy and soft as those taken with the iQOO Neo7 Pro, which is appreciated.

You can check some pictures we took from the iQOO Neo9 Pro below.

Daylight Photos

Let's look at the daylight photos first, captured with the 50MP primary camera having an output of 12.6MP in Photo mode.

Primary camera, 12.6MP (23mm).

Primary camera, 12.6MP (23mm) Primary camera, 12.6MP (23mm) Primary camera, 12.6MP (23mm) Primary camera, 12.6MP (23mm)
Primary camera, 12.6MP (23mm)

Ultrawide camera, 8MP (16mm).

Ultrawide camera, 8MP (16mm) Ultrawide camera, 8MP (16mm) Ultrawide camera, 8MP (16mm)
Ultrawide camera, 8MP (16mm)

Primary camera, 50MP (High resolution, 23mm).

Primary camera, 50MP (High resolution, 23mm) Primary camera, 50MP (High resolution, 23mm) Primary camera, 50MP (High resolution, 23mm) Primary camera, 50MP (High resolution, 23mm)
Primary camera, 50MP (High resolution, 23mm)

Nighttime Photos

Now, let's take a look at some nighttime photos.

Primary camera, 12.6MP (23mm).

Primary camera, 12.6MP (23mm) Primary camera, 12.6MP (23mm) Primary camera, 12.6MP (23mm) Primary camera, 12.6MP (23mm)
Primary camera, 12.6MP (23mm)

Ultrawide camera, 8MP (16mm).

Ultrawide camera, 8MP (16mm) Ultrawide camera, 8MP (16mm) Ultrawide camera, 8MP (16mm)
Ultrawide camera, 8MP (16mm)

Primary camera, 50MP (High resolution, 23mm).

Primary camera, 50MP (High resolution, 23mm) Primary camera, 50MP (High resolution, 23mm) Primary camera, 50MP (High resolution, 23mm) Primary camera, 50MP (High resolution, 23mm)
Primary camera, 50MP (High resolution, 23mm)

Battery

The iQOO Neo9 Pro ships with a 5,160 mAh battery. We couldn't run our standard battery test on the iQOO Neo9 Pro, but anecdotally speaking, the smartphone should easily get most people through the day on a single charge. We got a screen-on time of over seven hours with a 120Hz refresh rate, always-on display, 5G mobile data, and Wi-Fi hotspot enabled the whole time. Our usage consisted of web browsing, using social media apps, and streaming YouTube videos. With about an hour of heavy gaming, our average screen-on time dropped to 4-5 hours.

iQOO Neo9 Pro hands-on review

Once the iQOO Neo9 Pro's battery is drained, you can fill it up with the bundled 120W power adapter. It's advertised to juice up the cell from 1% to 50% in 11 minutes, but in our testing, it charged 1% to 14% in 5 minutes, 32% in 10 minutes, 34% in 11 minutes, 43% in 15 minutes, 50% in 17 minutes, 56% in 20 minutes, 79% in 30 minutes, and 100% in 38 minutes.

These charging tests were run with the Always-On Display turned on, and your mileage will likely vary depending on your usage and ambient temperature when charging the phone.

Charging speed

  • in 15 min
  • in 30 min
  • Time to full charge (from 0%)
Motorola Edge 50 Pro Motorola Edge 50 Pro
91%
4500 mAh 125W TurboPower
OnePlus 12R OnePlus 12R
70%
5500 mAh 100W SuperVOOC
Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G
67%
5000 mAh 120W Xiaomi HyperCharge
OnePlus Nord 3 OnePlus Nord 3
61%
5000 mAh 80W SuperVOOC
Redmi Note 13 Pro 5G Redmi Note 13 Pro 5G
49%
5100 mAh 67W
Poco F5 Poco F5
48%
5000 mAh 67W
Poco X6 Pro Poco X6 Pro
47%
5000 mAh 67W
vivo iQOO Neo9 Pro vivo iQOO Neo9 Pro
43%
5160 mAh 120W FlashCharge
Nothing Phone (2) Nothing Phone (2)
32%
4700 mAh 45W PPS
Motorola Edge 50 Pro Motorola Edge 50 Pro
100%
4500 mAh 125W TurboPower
OnePlus 12R OnePlus 12R
100%
5500 mAh 100W SuperVOOC
Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G
100%
5000 mAh 120W Xiaomi HyperCharge
OnePlus Nord 3 OnePlus Nord 3
98%
5000 mAh 80W SuperVOOC
Poco F5 Poco F5
83%
5000 mAh 67W
Poco X6 Pro Poco X6 Pro
83%
5000 mAh 67W
Redmi Note 13 Pro 5G Redmi Note 13 Pro 5G
83%
5100 mAh 67W
vivo iQOO Neo9 Pro vivo iQOO Neo9 Pro
79%
5160 mAh 120W FlashCharge
Nothing Phone (2) Nothing Phone (2)
62%
4700 mAh 45W PPS
Motorola Edge 50 Pro Motorola Edge 50 Pro
0:18h
4500 mAh 125W TurboPower
OnePlus 12R OnePlus 12R
0:25h
5500 mAh 100W SuperVOOC
Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G
0:25h
5000 mAh 120W Xiaomi HyperCharge
OnePlus Nord 3 OnePlus Nord 3
0:32h
5000 mAh 80W SuperVOOC
vivo iQOO Neo9 Pro vivo iQOO Neo9 Pro
0:38h
5160 mAh 120W FlashCharge
Redmi Note 13 Pro 5G Redmi Note 13 Pro 5G
0:42h
5100 mAh 67W
Poco X6 Pro Poco X6 Pro
0:43h
5000 mAh 67W
Poco F5 Poco F5
0:47h
5000 mAh 67W
Nothing Phone (2) Nothing Phone (2)
1:04h
4700 mAh 45W PPS

Conclusion

The iQOO Neo9 Pro is one of the best mid-rangers you can buy in India right now. It has a snappy performance and handles games well. It features a 144Hz LTPO AMOLED panel with nice outdoor legibility. The battery life is also very good, which, when paired with 120W fast charging, makes for a perfect combination.

iQOO Neo9 Pro hands-on review

The iQOO Neo9 Pro's 50MP primary camera clicks decent pictures. They may not be the best in this range, but then again, the Neo9 Pro isn't a camera-centric smartphone and mainly focuses on performance. However, we'd like to see some software optimizations from iQOO for a more consistent camera performance from the Neo9 Pro.

The iQOO Neo9 Pro starts at INR34,999 ($420/€390) in India, and it is worth considering.


Related

Reader comments

Amazing phone, I would have bought it if I didin't get such a good deal on an IQOO 12 at the time!! I have no problems recommending it!

  • Cake
  • 25 Jun 2024
  • XMI

There’s no issues with a budget phone but phones from iQOO whether budget or flagship are all way below in terms of everything compared to various other brands.

They should optimize the camera for Indian/Chinese versions. Camera performance isnt up to the mark.

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