While there used to be a clear gap between a flagship (read: expensive) phone and the more formal, cheaper options, the middle ground between the two is fertile ground for smaller manufacturers to experiment with finding a balance between functionality and price.
Vivo’s 2021 smartphone, the iQoo 7, wasn’t wacky, but its international variant is an impressively folded device. With a huge display, fast charging and a series of reliable cameras, there is something for everyone – for around £ 430 / $ 560 MSRP.
While aimed at gamers (and it looks like BMW fans), the iQoo 7 Legend is a great all-rounder with some minor flaws.
Design and build
Like it or not, the most attractive part of the iQoo 7 Legend’s design is its back panel. The matte glass makes it feel good to the touch, but its striped BMW theme isn’t for everyone.
It’s not as ostentatious as some of the brand’s crossovers we’ve seen, and thankfully falls short of the manufacturer’s badge on the device, but it’s a solid case for the case.
The iQoo branding is underneath the triple camera (more on that later), but the front is indeed a blank slate covered in a 6.62-inch display.
Its surrounding body (barely visible from the front) has a volume rocker and a power button on the right, as well as a SIM tray and USB-C charger at the bottom.
There are also two speakers for stereo output, as well as a punch-hole selfie camera and a fingerprint reader inside the display itself.
This display is not only large but also beautiful. The HDR10 + certified AMOLED panel offers a 120Hz refresh rate, making scrolling through social media, photos, or games not like touching the screen, but more like actually interacting with content on the screen.
The screen has a peak brightness of 1300 nits and operates at Full HD + 2040×1080 resolution. While iQoo 7 Legend is targeting the mobile gaming market, in some games this notch is a bit tricky to get around.
Granted, this isn’t such a problem in a more turn-based game like Legends of Runeterra, but when you’re playing something like Call of Duty Mobile, it’s easy to hide more of the screen than I’d like, especially in the midst of a tense firefight.
Specifications and performance
The IQoo 7 Legend comes with an impressive 8GB RAM and 128GB or storage, but my review unit actually arrived with 12GB and 256GB respectively. Whichever you choose, however, there is no microSD card slot here, which is a bit of a shame.
Everything is powered by the Snapdragon 888 processor, the same one found in Xiaomi’s impressive Mi 11.
Geekbench 5 and GFX scores are impressive enough to outperform the Samsung Galaxy S21 lineup as well as the Mi 11 and OnePlus 9 Pro. Again, this is the 12GB RAM version we’re testing here.
In terms of tests, it works the same way too, but real use is also delayed. Never once did the iQoo 7 Legend feel its best, even when multitasking light email and using the internet with more demanding games like League of Legends Wild Rift.
While playing Call of Duty Mobile, I was able to achieve a stable 60fps. However, the Smart Switch mode in the phone won’t let it go higher, but that could be an optimization issue on the part of Vivo (or Activision). However, it’s a shame that some games display a 120Hz frequency limit.
However, there is a unique feature of the iQoo 7 Legend that can add force feedback to mobile games using its vibration motor. While this seemed like a novelty at first, it may not be an ideal use of the 4000mAh battery.
The iQoo 7 Legend camera setup will be familiar to anyone using a higher-end Android phone in recent years.
There is a 48MP main shot, a 13MP telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom, and a 13MP ultra wide-angle camera. It’s an impressive trio for a phone in this price range, and while it doesn’t compete with the Xiaomi Mi 11’s almost comical 108MP sensor, it still offers plenty of room for your money.
The 7 Legend also supports portrait mode and in decent lighting conditions offers good performance with fast autofocus, and its ultra wide-angle camera also acts as a macro lens. There is no nonsense with 2MP macros here.
In low light conditions, the iQoo 7 Legend still does a great job. Night mode is a little less detailed here than in other phones, in fact, it tries to make photos brighter across the entire spectrum. It performs well, although not as impressively as something like the Google Pixel 5.
The iQoo 7 Legend hole-punch camera offers a 16MP sensor that works well in most lighting scenarios except really dark ones.
In terms of video, the iQoo 7 Legend can shoot 1080p at 30 and 60fps, as well as 4K. The stabilization is also reliable, which means it’s perfect for capturing scenes when you’re on the move.
Battery life and charging
One thing that weighs down on all this impressive technology? The battery, unfortunately. The IQoo 7 Legend is powered by a 4000mAh battery, which is lacking in a phone designed in many ways for gamers to push it to its limits.
Of course, it will last all day, but after that the charger will already itch. In our test, the PCMark Work 3.0 battery life lasted a decent 13 hours 21 minutes and the screen was on time.
The good news, however, is that the iQoo 7 Legend comes with a 66W charger. This power, coupled with the small battery, means it is actually fully charged in our typical 30-minute low battery charge test.
So while it doesn’t last long, it can be recharged quickly.
The IQoo 7 Legend runs Funtouch OS 11.1, which is based on Android 11. It’s not that far from stock Android, albeit with a visual style that is a little closer to iOS. Expect rounded buttons and a more neutral color palette, but with the usual Android customization.
As far as the shell for Android goes, it is one of the most attractive, but unfortunately it includes a fair amount of bells and whistles. Expect to spend some time cleaning up your home screen early on between the pre-installed social media and recommended apps.
Price and availability
IQoo 7 Legend is available worldwide, but deployment has been slow. It is difficult to find in many markets nowadays and Indian shoppers are lucky enough to buy it.
However, in the meantime, you can find two versions available in the iQoo – £ 44,990 for 8GB RAM / 128GB (around £ 450 / $ 590) or £ 48,990 for 12GB RAM / 256GB (about £ 490 / $ 645).
At the time of writing, the official iQoo store and Amazon India get up to £ 5,000 off this suggested retail price.
Check out our charts for the best mid-range phones and the best gaming phones for more options.
The IQoo 7 Legend is an impressively powerful device packed with some impressive features like incredibly fast charging and a 120Hz display at a decent price. The downside to this is that Vivo is still shipping the device globally and there is no US, UK, or European release date yet.
That said, if you’re looking for a powerful gaming device with a solid camera array and a great display, it’s hard to complain about the benefits here – just remember to take your charger with you.
Vivo iQoo 7 Legend: Specifications
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G Processor for Mobile Platform
RAM – 8 GB / 12 GB
Storage – 128GB / 256GB
Operating System – Funtouch OS 11.1 Global based on Android 11
Display 16.82 cm (6.62), 2400 x 1080, AMOLED
5G / 4G / 3G support
Two sim cards
Rear Cameras – Clarity 48MP + 13MP (50mm portrait / 2x optical zoom) + 13MP (wide / macro)
Front camera – 16MP
WIFI – 2.4G WiFi MIMO, 5G WiFi MIMO