The Best Gaming-Focused Phone Under Rs 30,000


iQOO Neo 7 5G is not a phone that tries to do everything; but it does one thing very well. That is, being a smartphone designed for gaming, iQOO Neo 7 delivers on many fronts, and makes a sensible trade-off—especially considering its affordable price.

Having used the phone for more than a month, I can say with confidence, if you want a gaming phone under Rs 30,000, with reliable performance and a functional design, the iQOO Neo 7 can be a worthy choice.

This is our review of the iQOO Neo 7 5G.

The back panel is quite resistant to fingerprints. (Image: Shaurya Sharma/News18)

Performance: Doesn’t Break a Sweat

iQOO Neo 7’s performance is its main selling point. With the Dimensity 8200 SoC and 12GB RAM, the phone is very fast. I never experienced a lag—whether gaming or doing regular tasks.

For gaming, especially, the phone is a great choice! You can enjoy a smooth 90fps in games like Call of Duty Mobile and the phone can handle heavy workloads for a long time. The longest I played COD Mobile was about 45 minutes at a time, and I did not notice many frame drops.

The iQOO Neo 7 performs well in synthetic benchmarks.

Dimensity 8200, which powers the device, is a 4nm chip, and based on my testing, it sits somewhere in-between the snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and the mighty 8 Gen 2 in terms of gaming.

Sure, it does warm up a bit, but what phone doesn’t, right?

Display, Speakers and Media Consumption

The iQOO Neo 7’s display may not be the best in its class, but it’s still good. With rich blacks thanks to the 120Hz AMOLED panel, and great viewing angles, the display is quite nice. The outdoor brightness, which the brand says is up to 1300 Nits, was enough for me to see the display in bright Rajasthan sun.  What I really appreciate are the slim bezels and the flat display. As a gaming-focused device, the flat display avoids the problem of accidental touches that some high-end flagships from a certain *Galaxy*, ahem, have.

iQOO Neo 7’s 6.78-inch AMOLED panel, for the price, is quite nice. (Image: Shaurya Sharma/ News18)

Speakers, however, need some improvement. Even though they have stereo speakers—one in the ear piece and another on the bottom, the stereo separation, mids and lows are not very good. The speakers are loud enough but lack crispness. For gaming, I did not mind the speakers much as I could hear the footsteps in games clearly. Call quality was also excellent. I could hear the other person well, and they said I sounded good too. So, no issues here.

Camera: Has Potential, but Could Be Better

The iQOO Neo 7 has a dual camera setup on the back—a 64MP main sensor and a secondary ‘bokeh’ sensor. Even though this setup has fewer lenses than the iQOO Neo 6 (which had both wide and ultrawide angle lenses), the image quality from the iQOO Neo 7’s main camera is good for the price.

iQOO Neo 7’s 64MP sensor captures good details in the shadows. (Image: Shaurya Sharma/News18)

The dynamic range in most cases is accurate, with balanced HDR, and highlight roll off is well done. I compared it with the Samsung Galaxy S23, which is a much more expensive device, and I was surprised that I could barely see a difference in terms of details.

In extreme low-light, the images can look slightly washed out. (Image: Shaurya Sharma/News18)

The photos in indoor artificial lighting also come out sharp. The 4k30 video is not very impressive though. It lacks detail, overexposes highlights and is quite shaky.

The front camera, which is a 16MP, will suit the casual selfie taker, but if you like natural shots, without the extra beautification and skin smoothening and restructuring, the iQOO Neo 7 is not the phone for you.

One can achieve shallow DoF thanks to the large sensor. Also, the selfies can look a bit over sharpened.

In Portrait mode, it adds an extra layer of sharpening, which is not very appealing. But considering that the average user does not mind skin smoothening, or even prefers it, I would say, the phone is fine for that.

Here are some more camera samples:

In tricky lighting, unless you tap to focus, the highlights can be blown out. (Image: Shaurya Sharma/News18)
Minimal lens flare is a good thing. (Image: Shaurya Sharma/News18)

Battery Life and the Charging Experience are top notch 

The iQOO Neo 7 did well in the battery department. The phone has a great standby time, and it also lasts a long time—almost a day and a half—for heavy users. And, the best part is—you can charge it very fast if you run low on battery using the 120W fast charger that comes with the phone.

The bundled 120W fast charger is a nice touch.

I could easily charge it from 10% to full in less than 30 minutes. As for the screen-on time, I got around 7.5 hours when off the charger for about a day and a half. I think, the way iQOO has optimized the Dimensity 8200 here plays a key role in ensuring good battery life.

Design: Plastic, but should You care?

The build is mostly plastic, and it does not feel very premium for a phone around Rs 30,000 but is that really important? I mean, if you are looking for a good gaming phone, that is functional, the design should not stop you from buying the device. But, if you prefer premium materials like glass and metal, avoid the iQOO Neo 7.

Image: Shaurya Sharma/News18

The plastic construction does not feel low quality, though, and it actually looks like glass, and resists fingerprints, thanks to the matte finish. Also, it does not get damaged easily. I did not see any deep scratches on the back, or even the display glass for that matter.

Software: A ‘Funtouch’ That Will Grow on You

As a Pixel user, I like my stock Android, and stock-like UIs from other OEMs like Motorola, and even though I may have started the review period with a bias against iQOO’s Funtouch OS, which is based on Android 13—my opinion has changed. I actually like the ‘fun’ touches that iQOO has added—especially the gaming features.

Features like the Ultra Game Mode, which allows things like Frame-rate priority, minimized disturbance, and others like various customization features where you can change touch screen animations, ambient light effects, and even charging animation—make the iQOO Neo 7—a dream for Android power users.

So yes, while I may not need all the features, I’m sure, enthusiasts will enjoy them.

However, one thing I hate about the software experience is the pre-installed apps, which include apps like Byjus, and so on. The hot apps are also annoying, personally. Thankfully, you can uninstall the apps if you want to, which you definitely should. iQOO, please remove these apps.

Verdict: A Reflection of Practicality 

The iQOO Neo 7 is a phone that focuses on gaming performance, and it does that very well. With a fast and reliable processor, a smooth and functional display, a decent main camera, and a long-lasting and quick-charging battery, the phone delivers on its promise. It may not have the most premium design or the best speakers or the most versatile camera setup, but it makes a sensible trade-off for its price. If you are looking for a gaming phone under Rs 30,000, the iQOO Neo 7 is a worthy choice.

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