Meet another inexpensive smartphone, claiming the proud title of “top for your money.” It is called POCO M3 and is created under the wing of the former subsidiary brand of Xiaomi. Until recently, POCO was called a sub-brand of Xiaomi, but at the end of 2020, the company became strong and independent – in other words, POCO now exists separately from Xiaomi.
Understanding what Pocophone is – the new Xiaomi brand
In the middle of 2018, we talked about Pocophone, a young brand in the Xiaomi universe, and then we were looking for an alternative to the excellent Pocophone F1 phone with the top-end filling that time. Everyone who wanted the maximum set of characteristics for the minimum money immediately drew attention to the inexpensive flagship.
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Poco M3 Review: Something new
It’s not often that you can pick up an inexpensive phone and say: “Hurray, it doesn’t look like the others.” In the POCO M3, the design of the rear is interestingly played: on the plastic back. There is a large black glossy feel. A block of cameras is inscribed in it, and large letters of the brand look downright defiant on a smooth surface.
If you buy a black phone, then the design trick is unlikely to impress, but if you choose a blue or yellow device, then the contrasting style will be striking. I specifically asked for a phone in yellow. It looks perfect in this color – the black monotony is very boring.
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The body is made of matte plastic, stylized as leather. The material is excellent: no scratches, no scuffs, no marks, it does not slip in hand, and on the table too.
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Poco M3 Review: Design and Appearance
The POCO M3 dimensions are usual by the standards of 2021: the phone is not small, it weighs almost 200 grams, it is most convenient to operate it with just two hands. The result is a “classic shovel” with a large screen. In this regard, the smartphone does not stand out from the general background. However, given the battery of impressive capacity, this is more of a compliment than just a statement of fact.
The presence of a fingerprint scanner on the right side is not such a frequent occurrence. On the one hand, left-handed people are unlikely to like it. On the other hand, you can use the less reliable face unlock through the front camera instead. The scanner works well. There are no erroneous clicks. The reaction is quick and without too much thought.
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Poco M3 Review: Normal Display
I do not recommend removing the film pasted at the factory, save Gorilla Glass 3 from minor scratches that are inevitable during active use of the phone.
Everything is perfect in terms of the display itself’s characteristics: high-resolution Full HD + is not found in all classmate phones. The brightness margin is not very large: it is still tolerable on cloudy winter days, but in the summer, most likely, under direct sunlight, the data on the screen will be seen so-so.
You can choose between three color modes in the display settings, start a dark theme, and activate the reading mode. In this case, the image takes on a yellowish tint, commonly referred to as “night mode.”
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Poco M3 Review: Camera without Emotion
The phone has a triple camera: in addition to the main and universal module of 48 megapixels, there are also a couple of auxiliary ones of 2 megapixels each. One is responsible for the depth of field when shooting portraits. The second is for macro shots. There is no sense in the latter, the resolution is very low, and the “portrait” module, it seems to me, is also for show.
The main camera shoots well during the day. I advise you to turn off artificial intelligence. At times it freaks out with color rendition. Focusing is fast. You can use the night mode in the evenings when several frames are glued into one in seconds. The camera itself can be quickly launched by double-pressing the physical volume down key – this is convenient in winter when you don’t want to take off your gloves.
A few examples:
Poco M3 Review: Other Specs.
The POCO M3 filling is downright tasty: fresh Qualcomm Snapdragon 662, 4 GB of RAM, and 64 or 128 GB of internal memory. To store photos, videos, or music, you can use a memory card if you don’t like streaming services.
The shell surprised me that it worked with jams, and I updated the latest firmware version, but I still didn’t see absolute smoothness. Strange, but I’ll write it off as software glitches and a specific phone because this shouldn’t be in principle. After all, the performance is almost at the level of the well-known Snapdragon 665 – I hope that the phone sluggishness issues will be solved with updates.
The phone does not overheat under prolonged loads but suffers from throttling: losses are about 30%, so under prolonged loads, this can affect the sensations.
The phone runs Android 10. It has a MIUI12 shell, familiar with Xiaomi devices. POCO M3 comes with many pre-installed applications that you want to uninstall immediately after installation.
The phone has a universal tray: you can immediately add a couple of SIM cards and a microSD card, with no casualties. Other useful points include a 3.5 mm headphone jack, Bluetooth 5.0 support for wireless sound, and an IR sensor. It can be used to change channels on the TV or change the temperature of the air conditioner.
From inexpensive phones with stereo speakers, only OPPO A-series models come to mind, but now the choice has become wider. The POCO M3 also has stereo sound. The melodies sound loud: you won’t miss a call, and if you want, you can watch the video without headphones even on the street. The sound is tuned with an emphasis on volume, but not on quality: there is not enough bass, but given the price, it can be forgiven.
It would seem that everything is perfect, but there is a caveat: the smartphone does not have an NFC chip.
The phone came with many pre-installed applications, removed all sorts of strange games, and TikTok, a lot of junk was installed.
Poco M3 Review: Overall Experience
If top-end smartphone manufacturers are trying to make them thinner, sacrificing battery capacity, such experiments are not carried out with inexpensive devices. On the contrary, every self-respecting brand tries to add a bigger battery. About five years ago, the standard was a capacity of about 4000 mAh. A couple of years ago, devices with 5000 mAh batteries began to appear, and last year the evolution went further: how do you like the declared capacity of 6000 mAh?
Excellent autonomy is a nice feature of the POCO M3. On average, I got about 2-2.5 days of work with 7-7.5 hours of the active screen. In the background, the phone sits down slowly. It will be possible to discharge it completely in a day if you do not let go of it from morning to evening. And even then, depending on how you use it: for example, for an hour of play, it sits down by 12-15%.
The kit comes with a 22.5 W charger, but the phone itself does not digest more than 18 W. Therefore, it takes almost three hours to charge the phone fully. Not as fast as we would like, but given the very capacious battery, this can be survived. Just in case, I note that the cable is connected via the USB Type-C port.
Poco M3 Review: How much is it?
Poco M3 official prices are as follows: POCO M3 4/64 GB costs $149, and POCO M3 4/128 GB – $169.
With a budget of about $149, you can buy Xiaomi Redmi 9 with a MediaTek Helio G80 processor and a 5020 mAh battery. Before the POCO M3 appearance, it was the best deal in the class; the phone looks interesting because it has NFC.
Conclusion: Should you buy Poco M3?
POCO M3 definitely deserves attention among inexpensive smartphones: it has a nice design with original details, the phone works for a very long time. Perhaps the interesting appearance will not impress everyone, but many will definitely like the impressive autonomy.
I wouldn’t say I liked the camera of the phone. There were no special claims. It is clear that we are talking about an inexpensive device, but the quality is still low.
Simultaneously, the smartphone itself received raw software, the hardware is normal, but all this requires optimization. This can be seen both in synthetic tests and in the practical experience of using the phone.
As far as this is critical for you personally, please make your own decision here, but I would choose a more stable smartphone.
Poco M3: Complete Specifications
- OS: MIUI 12, Android 10;
- Display: IPS, 6.53 inches, 1080 × 2340 pixels, Gorilla Glass 3;
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 662;
- Memory: 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of built-in, microSD memory card up to 512 GB;
- Cameras: front 8 Mp (f / 2.1), main 48 Mp (f / 1.79), macro camera 2 Mp (f / 2.4), depth sensor 2 Mp (f / 2.4);
- Communication: Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0, IrDA, USB Type-C;
- Battery: 6000 mAh, 18 W charging included;
- Dimensions: 162.3 x 77.3 x 9.6 mm;
- Weight: 198 grams.
- Premium design and layout on the back.
- Dual speakers.
- Huge 6000mAh battery.
- Custom UI MIUI 12.
- Adequate prices.
- Type of storage UFS 2.2.
- Dedicated micro-sd card slot.
- Gorilla Glass 3 protection.
- USB On-The-Go is present.
- 18W fast charging.
- Plastic back.
- Bloatware is present.
- Ultrawide camera is missing
- Average performance with Snapdragon 662 chipset.
- The heating problem can appear during gaming and multi-tasking.
- Average camera performance in low light.