5G has been officially launched in India. As telecom operators rush to make 5G available across different parts of the country, smartphone brands are also introducing multiple devices, across multiple price points that support the next-generation network. Even before 5G rolled out in India, a plethora of smartphone options were available for consumers to choose from, especially under Rs. 20,000. One such recent option was the iQoo Z6 Lite 5G, which went on sale in early September. This smartphone is priced under Rs. 15,000 and it is the company’s most affordable 5G smartphone currently in India.

The iQoo Z6 Lite 5G is currently the only smartphone in India to feature the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 SoC, which is based on a 6nm process. iQoo claims that its 5G smartphone can outperform competitor devices. It also offers a 120Hz display, a dual-camera setup and a beefy battery in the hopes to offer a good all-round experience. With all that is on offer, is the iQoo Z6 Lite 5G the best smartphone under Rs.15,000 in India? More importantly, should you consider buying this one? We help you find out.

iQoo Z6 Lite 5G price in India

The iQoo Z6 Lite 5G has a starting price of Rs. 13,999 for the base variant with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. Our variant, which packs 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage, is priced at Rs. 15,499. There is support for 1TB storage expansion via a hybrid microSD card slot.

iQoo Z6 Lite 5G design

The iQoo Z6 Lite 5G comes in two colours. iQoo sent us the Stellar Green variant, which looks more blue than green in our opinion. The back panel has a gradient finish and shines when light falls on it. The colour scheme makes the iQoo Z6 Lite 5G look a lot more premium than it actually is. The back panel also does not attract fingerprints and smudges easily. For those who want a more classic colour, the phone comes in a Mystic Night colour as well.

​iQoo Z6 Lite 5G in its Stellar Green colour

The iQoo Z6 Lite 5G sports a flat frame design with a large rectangular camera module on the back, similar to the Vivo V25 series. The flat frame design makes the phone feel a lot lighter than its actual weight of 194g. The power and volume buttons on the right side, although clicky, are a bit too recessed for my liking. At the bottom is the USB Type-C port sandwiched between the 3.5mm headphone jack and the speaker grille.

On the front, the iQoo Z6 Lite 5G has a 6.58-inch IPS LCD display with a full-HD+ resolution. The bezels around the display are thin, except for the thick chin at the bottom. There is noticeable backlight bleeding around the edges of the screen.

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iQoo Z6 Lite 5G has a fairly thick chin bezel

I would have liked to see an AMOLED display for a brighter, more vibrant viewing experience but iQoo seems to have traded that for a 120Hz refresh rate. It is not the smoothest software experience I’ve had despite the high refresh rate, but I would not complain too much considering the price tag. The screen is fairly bright for outdoor use when you push the brightness bar to its limits. Like its older sibling, the iQoo Z6 5G, the iQoo Z6 Lite 5G also sports a water-drop notch at the top of the display, which unfortunately gives the phone a slightly dated look.

iQoo Z6 Lite 5G specifications and software

The iQoo Z6 Lite 5G is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 SoC, which is based on a 6nm process. The phone packs a 5000mAh battery and supports 18W fast charging. It is among the very few smartphones in this price segment to not have a charger in the box. Instead, iQoo has conveniently packed a note in the box, thanking customers for “contributing towards the planet by reducing carbon emission.” The device supports Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5.1, GPS, FM radio, etc.

In terms of software, the iQoo Z6 Lite 5G runs on the Android 12-based Funtouch OS 12. It comes with a few third-party apps preinstalled, which can be uninstalled if needed. While Funtouch OS 12 has come a long way, it still needs a lot of catching up to do with other skins out there. Some of the features include the ability to customise the interface such as personalising the animation effects, adding themes and wallpapers, etc. The new update also gives users the option to match the colour of the system and app UI colours with the wallpaper.

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iQoo Z6 Lite 5G comes preinstalled with quite a few third-party apps

That being said, the default Browser app pushes at least five notifications daily in my experience. The only way to disable the spam notifications is by opening the ‘App Info’ window and then disabling the toggle. This could have easily been a one-step process had iQoo allowed users to disable notifications directly from the notifications shade.

iQoo Z6 Lite 5G performance and battery life

The biggest highlight of the iQoo Z6 Lite 5G is its performance. The phone is perhaps among the best performers in the price segment. While day-to-day tasks caused no issues, the games I played on the iQoo Z6 Lite 5G also ran smoothly on most days. I played games such as Call of Duty: Mobile and Asphalt 9 Legends on the device. The former ran on ‘Max’ frame rate and ‘High’ graphic settings, which was quite impressive for a phone in this price range. I did not experience any major lag or stutter while playing, but I did notice minor stutters at times, which was acceptable from a phone priced at Rs. 15,499.

In AnTuTu, the iQoo Z6 Lite 5G scored 3,85,763 points, which is higher than the pricier Moto G72 (First look) with a MediaTek Hello G99 SoC and the similarly priced Redmi 11 Prime 5G (Review), which features the MediaTek Dimensity 700 SoC. The phone also did not get too warm when stressed, which could be credited to the four-component cooling system doing its job.

The bottom-firing single speaker is fairly loud. While there is a 3.5mm headphone jack, the company has not packed a pair of wired earphones in the box. The phone has a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, which is quick to authenticate and unlock the phone. You also get the less secure AI face recognition as an alternative. Lastly, the phone supports only two 5G bands — n77 and n78 — which is disappointing.

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The iQoo Z6 Lite 5G has a flat frame design

Battery life is not disappointing as the phone lasts easily for a full day on a single charge. On days when I played games and used the camera, the phone returned around nine hours of screen on time on a single charge. On other days with lighter use, the iQoo Z6 Lite 5G gave me over 10 hours of screen time. In our battery loop test, the iQOO Z6 Lite 5G ran for 15 hours and 2 minutes. Since the phone does not pack a charger in the box, we used the 22.5W fast charger shipped with the Redmi 11 Prime 5G to charge the iQoo Z6 Lite 5G. The device took about two hours to charge completely.

iQoo Z6 Lite 5G cameras

The iQoo Z6 Lite 5G has a dual-camera setup on the back, out of which only one is usable. There is a 50-megapixel primary camera and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. For selfies, there is an 8-megapixel front camera.

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iQoo Z6 Lite 5G features a 50-megapixel primary camera.

To my surprise, the primary camera does a good job. Photos have good details and the colours are slightly saturated. The post-processing algorithm also helps in improving the dynamic range of the final result. That being said, the white balance goes for a toss at times and colours are either on the cooler side or you see a cast of pink hue.

Shot using the standard Photo mode on the iQoo Z6 Lite 5G (tap to see full size)

Shot using the standard Photo mode on the iQoo Z6 Lite 5G(tap to see full size)

Night mode on the iQoo Z6 Lite 5G ensures that the sky looks black and grey (and not dark blue) but messes up the white balance by adding a pink cast. One major issue that I have with the phone is that it does not offer Night mode in the 4GB RAM variant. Considering there is support for up to 2GB of extended (virtual) RAM, iQoo should not have skipped this feature in the base model.

Night mode on the iQoo Z6 Lite 5G(tap to see full size)

 

Night mode on the iQoo Z6 Lite 5G(tap to see full size)

The front camera does a decent job with both colours and details. Portrait mode smoothens the skin way too much even when the beauty mode toggle is turned off. Selfies taken using the standard Photo mode, on the other hand, produce better skin tone and texture.

Front camera sample shot on the iQoo Z6 Lite 5G(tap to see full size)

The iQoo Z6 Lite 5G can shoot videos at up to 1080p 60fps using the rear camera. The front camera’s video recording is limited to 1080p at 30 fps. While the overall colours are decent, the dynamic range performance is not as good as some of the phones in this segment.

Verdict

The iQoo Z6 Lite 5G gets it right in most areas when it comes to a budget 5G smartphone, without compromising a lot. The 120Hz refresh rate display is one of the highest in the segment and the camera performance is also quite good for the price. I was particularly impressed with the phone’s gaming performance, which by far is the best in my experience in this segment. The battery life is also pretty solid and can last all day.

That being said, having no charger in the box is a bummer but one can take it as a trade-off for the better hardware and performance that the phone offers. What I did not like though was iQoo skipping some features such as Night mode in the base 4GB RAM variant. Lastly, while the phone does offer 5G, it only supports two bands, which will be supported across telcos in India However, it would have been nice had iQoo added support for some more bands in the Z6 Lite 5G.

We would recommend buying the 6GB RAM variant of the phone if you want basic 5G support without compromising on the overall performance. The iQoo Z6 Lite 5G also undercuts the Redmi 11 Prime 5G (Review) by Rs. 500 while offering better hardware, which makes it a good deal. It is also more affordable than the Realme 9i 5G 6GB RAM variant, which is available in India for Rs. 16,999.


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By Dipak

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