Vivo’s gaming brand launched iQOO Legend 7 a few months ago. There are two variants to the iQOO 7 series. The iQOO Legend 7 BMW Edition is the Chinese iQOO 7 while the regular iQOO 7 global version is the Chinese iQOO Neo5.
Now that we have the baseline information of the difference in nomenclature out of the way let’s discuss the differences between the global iQOO Legend 7 and iQOO 7 smartphones. Also, let’s get the TLDR version of how these two smartphones compare to the Vivo X60 Pro series devices. Basically, the iQOO Legend 7 has the Vivo X60 Pro+ processor and Vivo X60 Pro cameras minus gimbal stabilization. The regular iQOO 7 loses the telephoto camera and gets a Snapdragon 870 processor.
So this review will focus mainly on the gaming smartphone iQOO Legend 7. But be sure to check out our Vivo X60 Pro review to see how the iQOO 7 will perform in real life for you.
Unboxing the iQOO Legend 7
The unboxing experience is not as exciting as the Vivo X60 Pro+ for sure. The box has the BMW M Motorsport logo and no other fancy markings. Inside we have the insert with a couple of fancy BMW motorcar postcards, paperwork, and SIM tool.
Underneath the insert is the iQOO Legend 7 in matte white with the familiar BMW M red, black and blue stripe. I am a big fan of how the phone looks. Definitely a unique look in my opinion. Close examination does reveal that the camera module is similar to that of the Vivo X60 Pro minus Zeiss branding and the flash is turned sideways.
We also have a polycarbonate slim shell case with again more BMW logos, a 67W fast charging brick, and a hefty USB-C cable. The phone has a factory-applied film screen protector. So basically you can start using the device without worrying about a case or a screen protector which is kinda nice.
Hardware design is understated but elegant
As I mentioned earlier, I am a big fan of the back cover on this device. The texture on the matte white surface provides some grip and hides fingerprints easily. The three stripes associated with BMW Motorsport M Division also are integrated quite well in my opinion. Another important distinction compared to the Vivo X60 series is the minimal camera bump protrusion which results in negligible wobble sans a case on tabletop surfaces.
The rest of the hardware design has clean lines, a matte finish on the metal frame, and exhibits great build quality. As you inspect the device all around you notice, small details executed well and tight tolerances on the various mating surfaces and ports/speaker grille.
Flat displays are better than curved ones especially for gaming
In the front, we get a flat 6.62 inch AMOLED display with the selfie camera punch hole in the middle. I am amazed that in that tiny top bezel there is a barely visible earpiece speaker slit, unlike some other devices that have a grille on the top of the frame. Overall in the front, the look is clean and minimalist yet premium with tiny bezels on all sides.
On the bottom of the frame left to right, we have the SIM tray slot, microphone, USB-C port, and speaker grille. The right-hand side frame has a textured blue color power button and a volume rocker above it. The buttons have an excellent tactile feel and are easy to locate without visual guidance. The left-hand side of the frame is clean with just the antenna band at the top.
One thing you will notice as you hold the device is that this is not very lightweight. Indeed the iQOO Legend 7 weighs a hefty 209.5 grams. Yet overall ergonomics for single-handed use are excellent thanks to a slight curve on the back and a flat screen in the front.
120Hz AMOLED Display with HDR10+ support has a couple of neat gaming tricks
As much as I like curved displays for better ergonomics, for a performance smartphone geared towards gaming a flat display makes more sense. And the iQOO Legend 7 has a gorgeous 6.62″ AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate. Now there are hardcore gaming-focused smartphones that offer higher refresh rates (for example Redmagic series) but 120Hz is pretty fast for most people. Especially since the Legend 7 looks like a regular smartphone that looks stylish and unique. Besides most folks today are happy as long as popular games like Genshin Impact can run 60fps consistently.
The display panel does support HDR10+, Widevine L1 so watching video content on the screen is quite pleasing to the eyes. I am also a fan of the fast and accurate fingerprint reader.
In-display Gaming Triggers
Now the display does have a gaming-related feature as well. iQOO calls it the In-Display Monster Touch feature. The AMOLED display panel has pressure-sensitive areas on the left and right (while holding the phone horizontally), instead of the physical shoulder triggers found on gaming smartphones.
You can assign controls and adjust the pressure of the zones in each game, via software. The phone has excellent haptic feedback so when you touch the pressure-sensitive areas on the screen, it almost feels like you are pressing a hardware button. Some folks will still prefer physical buttons but others might appreciate the in-display triggers. Since this is a unique feature for the iQOO Legend 7 the downside is that there are very few games that support the Monster Touch feature. Right now COD supports it along with a couple of other games.
Performance, Software, and Battery capacity are identical to what is on the Vivo X60 Pro+
Just look at the Geekbench scores side-by-side for the iQOO Legend 7 and Vivo X60 Pro+. I mean we are really splitting hairs here.
From a practical standpoint, there is virtually no difference between the two devices. So for further details, just check out the Vivo X60 Pro+ review for details on performance and software.
Cameras are a carryover from the Vivo X60 Pro
The iQOO Legend 7 features a triple-camera on its back with a 48MP primary, a 13MP portrait, and a 13MP ultrawide lens. There is optical image stabilization on the main camera but not sure if it has gimbal stabilization like the Vivo X60 Pro. The only difference between these two devices is that the double-LED for flash is turned sideways and there is no mention of the Zeiss coating or certification.
The main camera takes excellent pictures in daylight and nighttime. Unless it is exceptionally dark, you can continue using the main camera because it is able to capture a lot of light and tends to lose a little less detail compared to Night Mode. See the results and decide for yourself.
Audio on the iQOO Legend 7 is exceptionally good
One area where the hardware is different and better than that on the Vivo X60 series is audio. The iQOO Legend 7 sports dual stereo speaker and they sound great. The sound quality is loud and clear, especially for mid-tones and vocals. The bass is a bit lacking but other than that there isn’t any glaring downside.
There is no headphone jack which is kinda expected at this point in 2021 in high-end devices. And for some reason, there isn’t a USB-C dongle (like Vivo) nor USB-C headphones (like Oppo). I did test the audio using a Pixel USB-C dongle and USB-C headphones and the sound quality is great with either aftermarket option.
Of course, you can choose to just use Bluetooth earbuds and pair them via Bluetooth 5.1 onboard the Legend 7. I paired a couple of different TWS earbuds with the Legend 7 and the audio output was slightly less than the wired version in terms of volume. But cranking it up a couple of clicks resulted in comparable results while watching YouTube/Prime Video or listening to music via Spotify/Amazon Music apps.
The only knock I would have on audio is why didn’t iQOO bundle a headphone jack dongle within the box? I mean they do it for their Vivo X series devices. Other than that there are no complaints in the audio department.
Connectivity in the USA isn’t 5G out of the box
Just like the Vivo X60 series, I did not get a 5G signal out of the box on the iQOO Legend 7. But this isn’t likely to be an issue in the global markets where this device is supported by local carriers.
As soon as I put in my T-Mobile SIM card, I did get the correct APN settings for the internet and MMS via text from the carrier. Once the settings were installed, I got VoLTE 4G on my iQOO Legend 7. Download speeds are comparable to my Pixel 4a 5G despite not getting an official 5G symbol on the device. I chalk this up to the poor 5G signal from my carrier rather than blame the device.
Making calls in either handset or speakerphone mode was a non-issue. Texts, MMS, YouTube, or streaming music weren’t an issue while I was out and about.
The other connectivity options, NFC for contactless payments Nearby Share and iQOO Share are basically identical to the Vivo devices. Basically, the Legend 7 is chock full of options as far as connectivity is concerned.
Final Verdict on the iQOO Legend 7
Top-end specs, unique looks, and reasonable pricing make the iQOO Legend 7 a legitimate flagship contender.
There are a few downsides such as lack of official IP rating and wireless charging. Also, the software lacks polish and updates are few and not timely. But for the price of INR 39,990 or USD 540 you get absolutely top-shelf hardware including fairly decent main camera performance.
For people in Asia, the main market for iQOO, I think the iQOO 7 series should be at the top of their shopping list.