iQoo Neo 9 Pro Review: The Premium Midrange ‘Flagship Killer’ to Beat

Smartphone companies face intense competition in the premium midrange segment in India, and any handset that debuts under the Rs. 40,000 mark needs to be a jack of all trades — with a powerful chipset, reliable cameras, and a modern design. iQoo has now launched the Neo 9 Pro, a handset that is equipped with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip and a 50-megapixel primary rear camera. This handset will compete with the OnePlus 12R, the Samsung Galaxy A54, Nothing Phone 2, and Oppo Reno 11 Pro.

iQoo Neo 9 Pro price in India


Images shot during the day have a lot of detail (tap to expand)


The company has equipped this smartphone with a fully featured camera application, complete with a Pro mode. You can swipe on the viewfinder to switch between modes, and some modes can be found by swiping to the More option on the far right. After clicking several images with the iQoo Neo 9 Pro, I found that I ended up using the primary camera the most, as it is the most reliable on the handset.

Images captured with the primary 50-megapixel camera are full of detail at both 1x as well as the inbuilt 2x in-sensor zoom. When outdoors, there’s a great deal of detail and colours are displayed accurately. You can pick from three effects — Vivid, Textured, and Natural. Selecting the first one will result in images with vibrant colours, while the Textured mode results in sharpened images with a slightly moody tone — in my experience, the Natural mode delivered the best results.

iQoo Neo 9 Pro auto mode and low light mode (tap to expand)


The ultra-wide-angle camera on this smartphone captures decent images, but you’ll miss out on a lot of detail compared to shots taken using the main camera. The colour accuracy is also a little off — compare the colour of the sky in the image samples above. That said, images captured with this camera are perfectly usable for posting on social media, especially when you can’t get too close to a particularly large subject.

Switching to the 2x in sensor zoom will make the phone capture 50-megapixel shots and then crop into the middle of the photo. You get clear and sharp images with this mode, especially if you’re close enough to the subject. If the subject is further away, you’ll start to see some of the details are softened when zooming into images captured at 2x zoom.

The 2x in-sensor zoom lets you take more detailed images (tap to expand)


The primary camera captures a great deal of detail with the built-in night mode. It takes a few seconds to capture the shot, so this works best for idle subjects and static scenarios. Even when you’re not using the dedicated night mode, the main camera takes slightly longer than usual to capture a slightly brighter photo that also captures ample detail, considering it’s faster than the night mode. I couldn’t find a way to disable this in the camera settings, so it’s worth keeping in mind when clicking images in low light scenarios.

You can also use the built-in portrait mode at 1x and 2x zoom for detailed portrait shots with a pleasant bokeh effect. You can adjust this in the camera app or use the Bokeh option in the Gallery app to adjust it after the image has been captured. There’s no visible halo or blurring around subjects and the 2x zoom mode delivers great portrait shots.

The iQoo Neo 9 Pro takes good portrait shots of humans and pets (tap to expand)


The iQoo Neo 9 Pro lets you capture video at up to 8K resolution at 30fps — this mode doesn’t have OIS enabled — while the 4K and 1080p resolution options offer 30fps and 60fps modes. I found the 4K/ 60fps mode offered the best quality, without any tearing and artefacts — unless you have an 8K display to play your recorded videos.

iQoo Neo 9 Pro: Verdict

Should you buy the iQoo Neo 9 Pro if you’re in the market for a new smartphone around Rs. 40,000? The handset is equipped with a capable processor — the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 — and a reliable primary camera that can handle most scenarios. It also offers fast 120W charging and comes with a charger in the box.

This phone’s biggest competitor in India is the OnePlus 12R, which is also equipped with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip, LTPO AMOLED screen, and runs on Android 14 out-of-the-box. However, it has UFS 3.1 storage and can be charged at 100W — both of these are slower than the Neo 9 Pro. The OnePlus 12R has a 2-megapixel macro camera, but you’re not missing out on much there.

There are other options in this price segment such as the Oppo Reno 11 Pro, Nothing Phone 2, and the Samsung Galaxy A54 5G. However, their processors are slower than the one inside the iQoo Neo 9 Pro. They are also equipped with slower internal storage and offer slower charging speeds than iQoo’s handset.

If you’re looking for a gaming-oriented smartphone with decent cameras and reliable battery life, then it’s easy to recommend the iQoo Neo 9 Pro for most users at its current price — the company’s ongoing sale offers can also lower the price by up to Rs. 3,000. Don’t forget to read our review of the OnePlus 12R that was launched in India last month before you make a decision.

Is the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 the best foldable phone you can buy in India right now? We discuss the company’s new clamshell-style foldable handset on the latest episode of 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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