From a bird's eye view, budget smartphones look homogeneous; offering more or less the same features and performance. Especially the sub-Rs. 15,000 segment - loaded with umpteen options, leaves a sense of confusion to choose the best amongst all. While adding an excitement factor to these boring phones, iQOO introduces its first 5G smartphone under Rs. 15,000 - the iQOO Z6 Lite. That’s not all, it is said to be the first phone to pack the new Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 chipset. What else? A 120Hz refresh rate display and 50MP Eye Autofocus primary camera at this price! On paper, it looks promising, but how does it fair out in reality? After using it for two weeks, here is what I have to say.
The iQOO Z6 Lite looks no different than its siblings, save for minimal changes. It has that same boxy design, two large camera humps, and a shimmery gradient look that iQOO Z6 5G flaunts. However, it gets a bluish-greenish tone under the sunlight. But we can’t avoid the fact that it comes under Rs. 15,000, and at this price, it looks more or less like any other mid-range smartphone these days. It has a plastic back which is smudge-phobic! Basically, you don’t have to worry about fingerprints and dust getting attracted to it.
Overall, the build quality is good and looks decent, except for its 194 grams weight and 8.25mm thickness, which makes it difficult to use it one-handedly.
In the era of punch-hole display (and, now dynamic Island!), the dew-drop display design along with thick bezels looks outdated. This has been the same case with other members of this Z6-series. This iQOO Z6 Lite 5G features a 6.58-inch full HD+ LCD panel with a 120Hz refresh rate and 240Hz touch sampling rate. The experience of AMOLED display is missing here but the display looks bright and offers decent contrast and colours. Legibility under the morning sunlight is also nice. It is the refresh rate which makes the animations smooth and keeps the response quick.
The first phone to get the new Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 chipset – the successor to the Snapdragon 480+ SoC, which we have seen in Motorola G51 5G – brings hope for budget smartphones to be better than before, if not the best. And it surely is! The iQOO Z6 Lite 5G runs smoothly with daily tasks, even with long hours of usage. Casual gaming is not an issue here, from basic games such as Subway Surfers to high-graphic demanding COD: Mobile, Apex Legends, and Asphalt 9, the iQOO Z6 Lite handles all very well; but that all on low-medium graphic settings. At max-ed settings, it starts to stutter in just 10-15 minutes of gaming.
The software experience here is no different than any other iQOO or Vivo smartphone, as it runs FunTouchOS 12 based on Android 12. As expected, it carries some pre-installed apps such as Josh, Moj, and its Browser app. We at HT Tech, have never been fans of this unpolished aesthetical mess that is FunTouchOS 12, especially compared to Xiaomi's MIUI and Realme's Realme UI. Don’t take it otherwise, you get enough customisation options and the sleek animations make the experience more lively. But it is high time Vivo does something about it.
It gets a solo speaker at the bottom, which is loud and decent in quality but doesn’t offer clear output at max volume. Luckily, iQOO manages to bring a 3.5mm audio jack. The phone is 5G enabled, but even in late 2022, I could only use my 4G Vodafone SIM. Nonetheless, the calling experience has been satisfactory.
Don’t get confused while looking at the camera array! That’s not triple, but a dual-camera setup headlined by a 50MP primary and a 2MP macro sensor, while ditching the wide-angle lens. The photos in daylight with a primary camera are decent to use - it maintains details and slightly enhanced colours, which makes the photos social-media ready. But the quality remains intact till there is enough light, as soon as low-light conditions occur, the camera starts faltering with the loss of details and stabilization. Night mode helps to some extent in maintaining and keeping the photos noise-free.
The 2MP macro shooter is not much of use. With its inability to keep the focus and snap decent macro shots, the usage of the macro lens goes in vain. I would have preferred a wide-angle lens in lieu of this. With an 8MP selfie lens, iQOO Z6 Lite brings selfies with softer and brighter skin in daylight. Again, the front camera too struggles at night with de-focused photos. The low-light photography could be better.
The iQOO Z6 Lite 5G packs a 5000mAh battery which impressively keeps the phone active for more than a day on a single full charge. Battery stamina is good to handle everyday routines with a smartphone including calls, social media, internet surfing, music, and some short videos on YouTube; even with heavy usage of gaming, it can easily survive a day. This comes with the support of an 18W charging but in an unpleasant surprise, the box doesn’t carry any charging adapter!
However, I tried to juice it up via a 20W charging adapter which took more than two hours from 0-100 percent. It feels extremely sluggish in front of the fast charging tech these days, I wish iQOO could at least provide a 33W charger in the box, or at least as an option.
This 5G budget phone by iQOO keeps its spirit alive with the promise of delivering performance at low prices. The new Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 chipset shows its best results in battery efficiency and handling mundane tasks with ease. As far your games are casual in nature, the iQOO Z6 Lite 5G stays a pleasant experience. The addition of a 120Hz refresh rate, build quality, and design are enough factors to make it look more charming at this price.
The primary camera performance is decent, but the lack of details in selfies and low-light situations leaves room for improvement. Additionally, a better charging solution could solve the turtle-speed-like charging speed. Despite some trivial missed points, iQOO Z6 Lite 5G makes an interesting option to get at Rs. 13,999. Currently, you can save 2500 bucks with the launch offer, which makes it one of the cheapest 5G smartphones.
But if you are not looking for a 5G phone, then Poco M4 Pro 4G comes as another option with an AMOLED display, MediaTek Helio G96 chipset, ultra-wide camera, and in-box 33W charger.
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