Review of iQoo 9 SE: A Good Value for Money

Review of iQoo 9 SE: A Good Value for Money ...

Three smartphones were announced by iQoo this year as part of its premium 9-series lineup. But we all anticipated a iQoo 9 Pro (Review), which comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor and a gimbal stabilized processor. Finally, the iQoo 9 SE is designed to compete with competition at the value end of the premium smartphone segment. I discovered that it isn''t perfect but still offers good value for money.

iQoo 9 SE price in India

The iQoo 9 SE is available in two versions and finishes. The 8GB RAM and 128GB storage option is priced at Rs. 33,990, while the 12GB RAM and 256GB storage variant is priced at Rs. 37,990. Both are available in Space Fusion and Sunset Sierra.

iQoo 9 SE design

The iQoo 9 SE in the Sunset Sierra finish looks premium, but the back panel and frame are constructed of polycarbonate, while the raised rear camera module is metal. This phone does not have an official IP rating, but it alleges that it has all the necessary seals around its ports and the SIM tray to meet the IP52 rating.

The back panel and frame of the iQoo 9 SE 5G are made of polycarbonate.

The iQoo 9 SE has a 6.62-inch full-HD+ Super AMOLED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate. The bezel is thin all around, and the hole for the front-facing camera isn''t distracting. The speaker and volume rocker are both on the right, with the Type-C USB port and the primary speaker at the bottom. The phone also has an in-display fingerprint reader which is quick and reliable.

iQoo 9 SE specifications and software

The 9 SE is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC, and iQoo claims to have developed its own Intelligent Display Chip (IDC), which it claims supports the integrated GPU with MEMC (Motion Estimation and Motion Compensation) and SDR-to-HDR video upscaling when necessary. There is no 3.5-mm headphone jack, but this phone also supports the dual-5G standby, but there''s no space for storage expansion.

Funtouch OS 12 is run by the iQoo 9 SE 5G, which is powered by Android 12.

Funtouch OS 12, based on Android 12, has been implemented, including the new Material You widgets, the permissions manager, and the privacy dashboard. Despite running Funtouch OS 12, iQoo has not included the theming engine that is available on the iQoo 9 Pro, so the colors of the keyboard and widgets do not automatically change to match the wallpaper you choose. There are a slew of preinstalled third-party applications that I''m glad can be uninstalled.

iQoo 9 SE performance

The 6.62-inch full-HD+ Super AMOLED display displays punchy colours at the default ''Standard'' setting. There''s also a ''Professional'' setting with more natural-looking colour tones. I had no difficulties with touch sensitivity with regular use.

The iQoo 9 SE 5G has a 6.62-inch 120Hz refresh rate full-HD+ Super AMOLED display.

The 120Hz refresh rate is adaptive, but only switches between 120Hz and 60Hz depending on content. I did enjoy watching supported content on Netflix and Amazon Prime in HDR. The dual stereo speakers sounded loud, clear and uniform when streaming video and playing games.

With no sign of lag or stuttering, day-to-day software performance felt smooth and fluid. Benchmark scores were not disappointing either and were on the same page with competition. AnTuTu scored 8,54,095, as well as 1,065, and 3,414 in Geekbench''s single and multi-core tests. These scores are comparable even to what even some Snapdragon 8 Gen 1-powered smartphones have produced.

The game was quite impressive and the graphics were excellent at the moment. Asphalt 9: Legends also ran smoothly with HDR graphics and the frame rate was set to Extreme. Call of Duty: Mobile seemed to have some optimisation issues. It didn''t work on the menus but even during gameplay. This could be addressed with future software updates.

The iQoo 9 SE 5G has a 4,500mAh battery.

The phone''s 4,500mAh battery lasted 20 hours, one minute in our HD video loop test, which is quite good. The smartphone''s 66W charger enables users to keep track of this phone from 0-76% in 30 minutes and completes the charge in 50 minutes.

iQoo 9 SE cameras

The iQoo 9 SE has three rear cameras and a single 16-megapixel front-facing camera. The camera interface is usually iQoo, with key buttons on the left side of the viewfinder. A hamburger menu provides access to camera parameters, an aspect ratio, and an on-screen overlay to assist you frame shots.

The iQoo 9 SE 5G has three rear-facing cameras.

Photos taken in daylight showed excellent detail with excellent dynamic range. Images shot using the Portrait mode with the rear camera showed clear textures and good edge detection. Macro shots came out with impressive detail since they were captured using the 13-megapixel sensor of the ultra-wide-angle camera. Photos taken using the front-facing camera also showed good detail.

Samples from the iQoo 9 SE daylight camera. Top to bottom: Ultra-wide-angle camera, primary camera, and macro mode

When using the auto mode, details in textures weren''t very clear. While there was some noise in dimly lit scenes, the overall quality was still good. However, the conversion to Night mode improved the pictures, while the quality improved. However, the ultra-wide-angle camera''s low-light performance was strictly average, and it captured visuals that remained strong. Edge detection was well in such situations.

Low-light cameras from the iQoo 9 SE. Top to bottom: Selfie camera, Auto mode, and Night mode

Videos captured in daylight were a bit saturated but with good dynamic range. Video looked excellent, but it wasn''t when I went beyond 4K 30fps. 4K 60fps clips were excellent in terms of quality, but they were quite shaky. In low light, 30fps footage (1080p or 4K) looked the best, with good stabilisation and noise under control.

The iQoo 9 SE is a strong contender in the sub-Rs. 40,000 smartphone segment because it is offering excellent value for money. However, this category in India currently has a few useful features, including a HDR-capable display, a selfie camera that works well in low light, and the ability to take spectacular macro shots.

And then, there''s the attractive price tag. Compared to Samsung''s recent Galaxy A53 5G (Review), the iQoo 9 SE looks quite enticing considering considering that it has an IP67 rating. Motorola''s Moto Edge 20 Pro is also a good choice.