iQOO 7 Legend Review and Comparison vs OnePlus 9R, vivo X60 – the Underdog Triumphs

iQOO 7 Legend is the company's best phone till date and it looks very attractive too.

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There are times when a tech product comes out of the left field and manages to stun you. And, the iQOO 7 Legend does exactly that.

While iQOO is still finding its footing, it goes without saying that it has a lot of potential to upset the incumbents. This sub-brand of Vivo makes phones that are squarely aimed at gamers. But, I would humbly urge you not to dismiss it immediately, especially if you are not into games. Because, the iQOO 7 Legend is actually a very good all rounder. 

Design

I think the iQOO 7 Legend is quite the looker. Donning BMW Motorosport’s iconic tri-colour branding, this phone can definitely turn heads. What I particularly like about the design are: 

  1. Firstly, the matte White finish and feel. It reminds me of my favourite colourway on a phone – the OnePlus 6 Silk White.
  2. Secondly, and most importantly, the back curves gently into the matte aluminum mid-frame making it fantastic to grip. iQOO’s engineers have definitely nailed the in-hand feel of the phone. 

Moving on, I really dig the Blue accent on the power button, which along with the volume rocker, is also extremely tactile and clicky. You also get a dual speaker setup and a Type-C port with USB 2.0 spec, which is a bit of a letdown. Also, you don’t get a headphone jack. The camera module looks very similar to the vivo X60 series but since it is not as slim as those phones, the module doesn’t protrude too much from the rear. Also, it doesn’t wobble on a flat surface at all. Wow! Additionally, there is a metal plate with the iQOO branding that extends from the camera module, which also includes the Dual LED flash. Somehow, the design just flows. 

Also read: OnePlus 9R Review and Comparison vs Vivo X60 – How is This Rebranded 8T a Gaming Phone?

Now, in comparison to the OnePlus 9R and the vivo X60, the iQOO 7 is a bigger phone, thanks to the slightly bigger screen. It is slightly fatter at 8.7mm and much heavier at 209.5gm. But, the weight distribution is so good that you don’t really feel it, whether you are holding it horizontally or vertically. The OnePlus 9R has excellent ergonomics and a familiar design. And, the vivo X60 is a slimmer phone with a plastic frame that does bite into your palms, unfortunately. 

Overall, I’d pick the iQOO 7 as the phone with the better design and build among these three, followed by the OnePlus 9R and then the vivo X60. Also, this design win doesn’t come as a surprise considering 

Display and Multimedia Experience

The iQOO 7 Legend has a slightly larger 6.62-inch display but it is the same AMOLED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate. Plus, you get your basic support for Widevine L1 and HDR10 playback. But, in my testing, the iQOO 7 Legend didn’t play back HDR videos on Netflix. Whereas, the vivo X60 and the OnePlus 9R did. 

As far as the brightness goes, the OnePlus 9R has a bridger display for daily usage as it can achieve higher nits in HBM mode as you can tell here. But, it is not like the iQOO 7 Legend and the vivo X60 are not bright. All the three displays are pretty bright outdoors even under the harsh sun. Although, I did notice a slight colour shift at an angle on the iQOO 7 Legend. Now, HDR brightness is pretty high on all the three phones but the performance with respect to controlling the highlights and shadows, and offering the right colour science, is better on the OnePlus 9R. 

The optical in-display fingerprint scanner, also a part of the display, is great on all the three phones. As for the touch sampling rate, the iQOO 7 Legend offers a higher 300Hz sampling rate compared to 240Hz on the X60 and the OnePlus 9R. It definitely helps with gaming. Additionally, the haptics on the iQOO 7 Legend are mind blowing. It is leagues ahead of any phone in this price range. The OnePlus 9R is good enough but the vivo X60 is absolutely horrendous in comparison. And, there is a reason for it too, which I will explain in the performance and gaming section.

Closing out the multimedia experience are the speakers. The X60 is the worst of the lot with its tinny mono speaker performance. Between the OnePlus 9R and the iQOO 7 Legend, both of which have dual speakers, the 9R sounds slightly richer and fuller. But earphone performance through a passthrough USB Type-C dongle is great on the vivo X60 and the iQOO 7 legend compared to the OnePlus 9R.

Performance

I don’t even have to say it, the iQOO 7 Legend is the superior performer of the three phones here thanks to the Snapdragon 888 chip inside the phone as opposed to Snapdragon 870 inside the OnePlus 9R and the vivo X60. The AnTuTu, Geekbench, and 3DMark scores are all higher on SD888 toting iQOO 7 Legend. And the iQOO 7 Legend also offers sustained gaming performance as you can see from the 3DMark Wild Life Stress Test. 

What I noticed is the iQOO 7 Legend pushes the performance in gaming without worrying about getting hot. The cooling chamber is not too effective. That said, I will take the performance-oriented tuning. Here’s another thing to note, OnePlus touts the 9R to be a gaming phone and that’s a joke. The iQOO 7 Legend is the real gaming phone especially with the 3D Touch like implementation called Pressure Sensitive Screen. 

Essentially, you can configure certain commands to the pressure sensitive long press with haptics. I mapped the jump and crouch commands in Call of Duty Mobile to these buttons and it was super effective during gameplay. In fact, it definitely gave me a tactical advantage as well. 

Camera

The camera setup on the iQOO 7 Legend is identical to the vivo X60. The only difference is the X60 has the Zeiss-branded optics attached. While the OnePlus 9R has a quad camera setup, the 2x telephoto has been replaced by a macro and there’s an extra waste depth sensor. Anyway, I did a small comparison to see how they fare.

  1. Talking about sensor details, the IMX 589 inside the vivo X60 and the iQOO 7 Legend are slightly sharper than the 48MP IMX586 on the OnePlus 9R. Especially when you look at the colourful building on the right or the construction site. 
  2. When it comes to colours, the iQOO 7 Legend gets the reds, blues, and the greens looking close to natural with a slight bump in saturation to make it look attractive. The X60 has a super warm tone, which is a problem with the camera algorithm and the OnePlus 9R has a very bad colour science in general when shooting non-human subjects. It always looks heavily altered and artificial. Mhysa’s toy looks Pink here. Oh and by the way, if you look at a 100% crop of her toy, you will see once again that the iQOO and vivo offer sharper textures compared to the 9R. 
  3. I have two dynamic range testing samples here. One, where I’ve tortured the camera to look at the harsh afternoon sun and the other is a more temperate setting. Do I even have to spell it out here that the OnePlus 9R is absolutely horrendous when it comes to HDR pictures? I mean, what are these results? So yeah, it has been clearly established that the iQOO 7 Legend is the best camera for daylight shots among the three. The vivo X60 comes in second and loses out to the iQOO 7 Legend due to its super warm colour science. The 9R comes in last. 

  4. Moving on to the ultrawide images, the colour science consistency is good on all the three phones. Which indicates, once again, that the iQOO 7 Legend is closer to natural looking. But, the OnePlus 9R has the widest lens and that matters for ultrawide shots. The barrel distortion correction around edges is great on all the three phones. But, once again, the iQOO 7 Legend and the vivo X60 sensors offer sharper textures. Although, the difference is negligible. Between the three, I am still veering towards the iQOO 7 Legend and the vivo X60 for ultrawide shots. 
  5. As for the telephoto, you get 2x optical magnification on the X60 and the iQOO 7 Legend. The 9R has digital zoom. But you can’t really tell the difference between the digital zoom crop and optical zoom at such levels. 
  6. Although, the OnePlus 9R does get one thing spot on and that is pictures of human subjects using the main camera. The flesh tones are accurate and so is the colour of my t-shirt. You also get sharper details to boot. But yes, the details – when you pixel peep – are sharper on the iQOO and vivo. Moving on to portraits, again the flesh tones are more accurate on the 9R and the details on the other two phones. Although, the edge detection is slightly better on the iQOO 7 Legend and the vivo X60. Overall, I’d go with the OnePlus 9R for human shots and portraits. What about you guys? Have a different take?
  7. When it comes to macros, the dedicated 5MP shooter on the OnePlus 9R is no match for the macro mode on the X60 and the iQOO 7 Legend. The 9R cannot go as close to the subject as the other two phones and the picture doesn’t look as sharp here either.  Plus, you can see some loss of detail around the edges. Also, I am consistently taken aback by the colour temperature consistency of the iQOO 7 Legend here. The vivo X60 has just made it too warm. 
  8. Selfies, whether you are shooting in front of the light or against it, are the best on the vivo X60. The dynamic range performance of the OnePlus 9R’s selfie is really bad. And, even in low light the X60’s selfies are of better quality. So yeah, selfie fans can pick the X60 eyes closed.
  9. The low light sensitivity of the IMX586 sensor is no match for the IMX589 on the vivo X60 and the iQOO 7 Legend. With Night Mode on, the pictures look brighter, sharper and well exposed on the vivo and iQOO. Even the ultrawide low light and the telephoto low light shots are evidently better on the vivo X60 and the iQOO 7 Legend. In fact, between those two phones, you can’t really tell the difference. 
  10. Finally, coming to video recording. The three phones can shoot 4K 60fps videos but only the 9R offers stabilisation. The colours are the most accurate on the iQOO 7 Legend followed by the 9R and the warm-looking vivo X60. Dynamic range performance is again a let down on the OnePlus 9R. Sound recording, however, is better on the OnePlus 9R. But, in 4K 30fps videos, you do get stabilization and that’s where the iQOO 7 Legend gets a slight advantage with its colours, details and dynamic range performance.
  11. Front camera video recording is possible only at 1080p 30fps on all the three phones but the 9R offers stabilisation. But, it also crops a lot of the frame. Not very convenient because it is not like the stabilisation is way better or anything. Also, the facial tones, dynamic range, details, and colours are all better on the iQOO 7 Legend and the vivo X60. 

I went in with low expectations for the iQOO 7 Legend’s camera performance and came away pleasantly surprised. Overall, and I can’t believe I am saying this, I would actually pick the iQOO 7 Legend as the better tuned camera of the three, at least for photography. 

Software

With high end phones, the software experience is vital and that is where OnePlus edges ahead with its polished and refined Oxygen OS experience. FunTouch 11 based on Android 11, running on the iQOO 7 Legend and the vivo X60, is definitely improved. I like that it looks a lot like how Android should look and the fact that you get a ton of great features as well. The gaming mode on the iQOO 7 Legend is particularly more detailed than OnePlus’ Pro Gaming mode. 

That said, there’s still a lot of bloatware, which can be deleted thankfully. Also, the V-Apps Store keeps throwing notifications about app recommendations. But, you can switch that off too. Although, the customisation options are far better on Oxygen OS and, in general, it just feels more slick. Probably Origin OS can change that for vivo and iQOO. 

Battery

Battery life is slightly better on the OnePlus 9R and the vivo X60. You can eke out close to 7 hours of SoT from these phones, which indicates a little over a day’s worth of battery life. On the iQOO 7 Legend, you can expect 5 to 6 hours of SoT. While the iQOO 7 Legend doesn’t include the super fast 120W charger in the box in India, it does come with a 67W charger. And, that can charge the phone from 0 to 100 in under 25 minutes. The OnePlus 9R takes a little over 30 minutes. So yeah, these phones are some of the fastest charging phones around. The vivo X60 does lose out in that regard, unfortunately. 

Network Performance

When it comes to call quality or 4G network aggregation, all these phones are top notch. No complaints. However, the bigger question is: will these phones support all 5G bands in the future? Currently, the iQOO 7 Legend supports 5, which is the maximum. But, if vivo, iQOO, or OnePlus wants to, more bands can be added in the future, if need be, through a software update. Now, whether they do it or not, is something we’ll have to wait and watch.

Should You Buy the iQOO 7 Legend?

As a product, the iQOO 7 Legend is possibly the most well-rounded phone of these three. Although, you can go for the OnePlus 9R if you like a clean software experience. However, the vivo X60, squarely aimed at camera enthusiasts, is not as good as the iQOO 7 Legend. And, that was a shocker for me. Such good camera performance on a performance-oriented phone caught me entirely by surprise. ASUS should take notes from iQOO. 

All said and done, the iQOO 7 Legend’s value proposition here does not come with any major compromises worth highlighting. This phone is going to be my de facto recommendation now under Rs 40,000. 

But, there’s one question that I need to answer. What about the iQOO brand? Is it as trustworthy as vivo or OnePlus? Well, iQOO is now officially a vivo sub-brand in India. In fact, iQOO will also leverage some of vivo’s extensive service network as well. This is all pretty good news for the buyers. I am really excited to see iQOO making the right moves. Let’s hope the brand can sustain this. 

Also read: Asus ROG Phone 5 Review: A Hot-Headed Gaming Monster

What do you folks think of the iQOO 7 Legend? Let me know in the comments below.

iQOO 7 Legend

Rs 39,990
8.1

Design and Build

7.4/10

Display

7.2/10

Performance

8.1/10

Software

7.3/10

Battery Life

6.0/10

Camera Quality

7.8/10

Audio Performance

8.0/10

Day-to-Day Usage

10.0/10

Network Performance

9.0/10

Value For Money

10.0/10

What Is Good?

  • Attractive design
  • Blazing fast performance
  • Excellent haptics
  • Good still photography chops
  • Inexpensive

What Is Bad?

  • Heats up with extended use

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