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iQoo 9 SE Review: Good Value for Money

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iQoo announced three smartphones this year as a part of its premium 9-series lineup. We all expected an iQoo 9 to be launched, but iQoo surprised us with two new phones. The iQoo 9 Pro (Review), with its Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor and gimbal-stabilised camera is meant to compete with top-tier smartphones from Samsung and OnePlus. And then there’s the iQoo 9 SE, a smartphone designed to take on the competition at the value end of the premium smartphone segment. After testing iQoo 9 SE for a week, I discovered that it isn’t perfect but still offers good value for money. Here’s why.

iQoo 9 SE price in India

The iQoo 9 SE is available in two variants and finishes. The 8GB RAM and 128GB storage option is priced at Rs. 33,990, while the 12GB RAM and 256GB storage variant costs Rs. 37,990. Both are available in Space Fusion and Sunset Sierra. I received a Sunset Sierra unit with 12GB of RAM.

iQoo 9 SE design

The iQoo 9 SE in the Sunset Sierra finish looks premium. It has a slim overall profile. The back panel and frame are made of polycarbonate, while the raised rear camera module is metal. The iQoo 9 SE’s matte frame and back panel make it quite slippery but these surfaces are good at resisting fingerprints. This phone does not feature an official IP rating, but the company does claim that it has all the necessary seals around its ports and the SIM tray to meet an IP52 rating equivalent.

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iQoo 9 SE 5G back design2 ndtv iQoo9SE  iQoo

The iQoo 9 SE 5G’s back panel and frame 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 display’s screen is made of Panda glass and is good at rejecting fingerprints. The volume rocker and power button sit on the right, with the SIM tray, Type-C USB port and primary speaker at the bottom. The phone features an in-display fingerprint reader which is quick and reliable.

iQoo 9 SE specifications and software

The 9 SE has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC, and iQoo says it has also implemented its own Intelligent Display Chip (IDC), which it claims assists the integrated GPU with MEMC (Motion Estimation and Motion Compensation) and SDR-to-HDR video upscaling when needed. Communication standards include Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, and the usual satellite navigation systems. There’s no 3.5mm headphone jack, but iQoo does provide a Type-C to 3.5mm adapter in the box. There’s a dual-SIM tray and this phone supports dual-5G standby, but there’s no slot for storage expansion.

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The iQoo 9 SE 5G runs Funtouch OS 12 which is based on Android 12

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The phone runs Funtouch OS 12, based on Android 12. Android 12 features, including the new Material You widgets, the permissions manager, and the privacy dashboard have been implemented. Despite running Funtouch OS 12, iQoo has not included the theming engine that’s available on the iQoo 9 Pro, so the colours of the keyboard and widgets do not automatically change to match the wallpaper you choose. There are a lot of preinstalled third-party apps that I’m glad can be uninstalled.

iQoo 9 SE performance

The 6.62-inch full-HD+ Super AMOLED display shows punchy colours at the default ‘Standard’ setting. While many people will be happy with what they see, there’s also a ‘Professional’ setting with more natural-looking colour tones. Sunlight legibility is quite good, and I had no problems with touch sensitivity with regular use.

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

 

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The 120Hz refresh rate setting is adaptive but only switches between 120Hz and 60Hz depending on content. The display is HDR10+ certified, so I did enjoy watching supported content on Netflix and Amazon Prime in HDR. The dual stereo speakers sounded loud, clear and balanced when streaming video and playing games.

Day-to-day software performance felt smooth and fluid with no sign of lag or stuttering. Benchmark results did not disappoint either and were on par with the competition. The iQoo 9 SE managed a score of 8,54,095 in AnTuTu, 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.

Gaming performance was quite good overall. The phone did get a bit warm when playing games at the highest settings, but performance did not take a hit. Asphalt 9: Legends ran buttery smooth with the graphics set to High Quality (60 fps mode). Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) also ran smoothly with HDR graphics and the frame rate set to Extreme. Call of Duty: Mobile seemed to have some optimisation issues. This game stuttered and lagged from launch to the menus and even during gameplay. It did not run smoothly even at the lowest graphics settings. Hopefully, this can be addressed with future software updates.

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

 

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Battery life is quite good, and the phone lasted 20 hours, 1 minute in our HD video loop test, which is quite good. The smartphone’s 4,500mAh battery managed to last a day and a half with gaming and some camera usage. The iQoo 9 SE’s 66W charger takes 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 rear camera setup consists of a 48-megapixel (with OIS) primary, a 13-megapixel ultra-wide-angle, and a 2-megapixel mono camera for capturing depth data. The ultra-wide-angle camera also doubles up as a macro camera as it is capable of autofocus. The camera interface is typically iQoo, with important buttons on the left side of the viewfinder. A hamburger menu gives access to camera settings, aspect ratio, a countdown timer, and an on-screen overlay to help you frame shots. The main camera modes shown in the app (photo, video, portrait, and Night by default) can be replaced with others that you use more frequently.

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

 

Photos taken in daylight showed excellent detail with good dynamic range. Images shot using the Portrait mode with the rear camera came out sharp with detailed textures and good edge detection. The ultra-wide-angle camera shot decent photos but they appeared sharper in the centre and blurry towards the edges. Macro shots came out with impressive detail since they are captured using the 13-megapixel sensor of the ultra-wide-angle camera. Photos shot using the front-facing camera also came out clean and sharp with good dynamic range.

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

 

In low light, details in textures weren’t very clear when using the auto mode. There was some noise in dimly lit scenes, but the overall quality was still good. Switching to Night mode brightened up images and added a bit of sharpness, but the quality remained much the same. The ultra-wide-angle camera’s low-light performance was strictly average, and it captured images that looked soft. Selfies shot in low light came out well, with good detail and noise under control. Edge detection was average in such conditions, though.

iQoo 9 SE low light camera samples. Top to bottom: Selfie camera, Auto mode, Night mode

 

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

Verdict

The iQoo 9 SE is a solid contender in the sub-Rs. 40,000 smartphone segment as it offers excellent value for money. This category in India currently has a few attractive options from various manufacturers, but the iQoo 9 SE’s software and camera performance make it stand out. There are also other meaningful benefits that increase this phone’s appeal, such as an HDR-capable display, a selfie camera that works well in low light, and the ability to take impressive macro shots.

And then, there’s the attractive price tag. Available starting at Rs. 33,990 for the 8GB+128GB variant, the iQoo 9 SE seems quite enticing compared to the Realme GT 5G (Review), which has also been a good value offering. The iQoo 9 SE would also be a better choice than Samsung’s recently launched Galaxy A53 5G (Review) unless you are specifically looking for that IP67 rating. Those looking for a near-stock Android software experience can also look at Motorola’s Moto Edge 20 Pro (Review).


Can OnePlus 10 Pro beat iPhone 13 Pro and Galaxy S22 Ultra? We discuss this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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Tecno Camon 19 Pro 5G India Launch Date Set for August 10, Specifications Teased

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Tecno Camon 19 Pro 5G India launch date has been set for August 10, the Chinese company confirmed on Sunday through its official social media channel. It is teased to come with a triple rear camera unit, headlined by a 64-megapixel camera sensor. The company unveiled the Tecno Camon 19 Pro 5G in select global markets in June alongside the Tecno Camon 19 Pro. It is powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 810 SoC, paired with 8GB of RAM. Other key highlights of the phone include a display with a 120Hz refresh rate, a 16-megapixel selfie camera and a 5,000mAh battery.

The launch of the Tecno Camon 19 Pro 5G in India will take place on August 10, Tecno announced via a post on Twitter. Ahead of the launch, the Chinese vendor is actively teasing key specifications of the phone via social media channels. It is confirmed to offer a 64-megapixel camera sensor and 0.98mm thin bezels. However, the time of the launch event and India pricing details of the smartphone are yet to be announced.

To recall, the Tecno Camon 19 Pro 5G was unveiled in select global markets in June with a price tag of $320 (roughly Rs. 25,000) for the 8GB + 256GB storage model. The Indian variant can be expected to be priced in the same range.

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Tecno Camon 19 Pro 5G specifications (expected)

The Indian variant of the Tecno Camon 19 Pro 5G is likely to carry similar specifications as the global model. The handset launched earlier this year runs on Android 12 and features a 6.8-inch full-HD+ (1,080×2,460 pixels) display with 120Hz refresh rate. The display also has a hole-punch design. It is powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 810 SoC, along with 8GB of RAM.

As mentioned, the Tecno Camon 19 Pro 5G is equipped with a triple rear camera setup led by a 64-megapixel sensor paired with RGBW+G+P 1/1.6 aperture lens. The camera unit also includes two 2-megapixel cameras for macro shots and bokeh photos. For selfies, there is a 16-megapixel camera. The Tecno Camon 19 Pro 5G offers up to 256GB of inbuilt storage and is backed by a 5,000mAh battery with 33W Flash Charge support.


What should you make of Realme’s three new offerings? We discuss them on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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Realme C33 Colour Options, Storage Tipped; India Launch Expected Soon: All Details

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Realme C33 is reportedly going to launch in India soon. The smartphone has been tipped to launch in three colour options and in three storage configurations. The Realme C33 is expected to feature a water-drop style notch, as per the report. It could sport an IPS LCD display. It is said to be either a 6.5-ich or a 6.6-inch display. The report added that the phone could be powered by a Unisoc SoC. It is said to feature a triple rear camera setup as well.

Realme C33 price in India (rumoured)

Tipster Sudhanshu Ambhore (@Sudhanshu1414) has shared, in collaboration with Appuals, that the Realme C33 smartphone could launch in India soon. The tipster has also shared the colour options and storage configuration of the rumoured phone. As per the report, the Realme C33 is expected to launch in Sandy Gold, Aqua Blue, and Night Sea colour options. It is said to feature 3GB RAM + 32GB storage, 4GB RAM + 64GB storage, and 4GB RAM + 128GB storage variants.

The base variant of the Realme C33 with 3GB RAM + 32GB storage could be priced between Rs. 9,500 and Rs. 10,500, as per the report. Although, Realme is yet to announce the details regarding the rumoured phone, the company is said to release teasers in the company days.

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Realme C33 specifications (expected)

The Realme C33 has been tipped to feature either a 6.5-inch or a 6.6-inch IPS LCD display with a water-drop style notch. As per the report, it could be powered by a Unisoc SoC. The smartphone could sport a triple rear camera setup with a primary, a macro, and a depth sensor. Realme C33 is reportedly expected to run on Realme UI R Edition, and is said to pack a 5,000mAh battery.

To recall, the Realme C30 was launched in India in June. The smartphone features a 6.5-inch display with HD+ resolution and 20:9 aspect ratio. It is powered by the octa-core Unisoc T612 SoC, coupled with 3GB of RAM. It sports an 8-megapixel single rear camera setup with an LED flash. It packs a 5,000mAh battery.


What should you make of Realme’s three new offerings? We discuss them on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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Apple's Decision to Delay iPadOS 16 Release Could Cause Problems for Some Users, Developers: Mark Gurman

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Apple has reportedly delayed the release of iPadOS 16, the next major iPad software update, by about a month. While this postponement makes sense for the Cupertino company, it might become a problem for those who own both an iPhone and iPad. Customers with iOS 16 on their iPhone and iPadOS 15 on iPad are expected to face discrepancies in the functioning of some features which are poised to work seamlessly between iOS 16 and iPadOS 16. There could also be problems for developers who are making apps for both the devices.

Following up from his previous revelation that Apple was considering postponing the release of iPadOS 16 by a month, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman says that although the move might prove to be sensible for the Cupertino-based company, customers who are using both an iPhone and an iPad may have to deal with problems with the seamless working of apps.

“For instance, new iMessage features like message retraction and editing won’t work seamlessly between iOS 16 and iPadOS 15 devices. Other new features—such as the iCloud Shared Photo Library, more advanced collaboration tools and the ability to transfer FaceTime calls between the devices—likely won’t work for those users either,” Gurman noted.

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As far as the problems for developers are concerned, citing developer James Thompson Gurman says that those working for universal apps on both iPhone and iPad may have to ship something early that’s potentially broken on iPadOS. “It will be a case of not shipping anything until iPadOS ships,” he states.

Gurman says Apple might benefit from this change due to the company’s “quest to make the iPad more Mac-like.” Both the iPad and Mac are getting Stage Manager, which allows users to handle several tasks at the same time, resize windows and quickly bounce between different clusters of apps. Furthermore, Apple may also launch new iPad models in October and launching software as well as hardware in the same event makes more sense.


What should you make of Realme’s three new offerings? We discuss them on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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