Poco entered the Indian smartphone market as Xiaomi’s sub-brand a few years ago with the launch of the game changer Poco F1. Last year, the company separated itself from Xiaomi to become an independent brand. Ever since then, the smartphone manufacturer introduced several new phone series including X, M, and C. The company aims to carry forward the same strategy this year as well and launch a range of new products across price segments. In fact, the company plans to bring truly wireless earphones for Indian consumers very soon.
Beginning this year, Poco teased something that consumers in India were waiting for a very long time. The Poco F2. The company via a teaser on Twitter revealed that the Poco F2 could be real very soon. Cut to, the Chinese smartphone manufacturer announced the launch of a new smartphone. Consumers got extremely excited but were soon left disappointed as the company announced to launch a new budget smartphone dubbed Poco M3 and not the Poco F2.
The Poco M3 arrived in India with a price starting at Rs 10,999 for the base 6GB RAM and 64GB storage model. Yes, a smartphone so aggressively priced offers a minimum of 6GB RAM and up to 128GB of internal storage. There’s also a microSD card support that can further expand the storage. This isn’t it. The budget smartphone offers a great package for the price it asks for. But how does the smartphone perform in real life? In this review, I will share my experience with the Poco M3 after using the budget smartphone for nearly a week.
The Poco M3 goes on sale for the first time on February 9 on Flipkart.com. Find out if you should spend Rs 10,999 on this one or go for the Xiaomi Redmi 9 Power, which comes at the same price.
Poco M3: What’s good
Poco M3 has more good than bad. First thing first, the design. The Poco phone comes in three colours including the unique yellow colour, black and blue. Like I said in the first impressions, the yellow colour option of the phone I’m using doesn’t look all that impressive to me. However, if you like your smartphone in funky colour then you may end up liking the Poco M3 yellow colour option. For me, the black or blue option works better. Colour is more of an individual choice, so it varies from person to person.
The design is somewhere the Poco M3 shines in my opinion. The phone, with the unique camera module design, stands out from the crowd. There are several options like the Xiaomi Redmi 9 Power, Realme C series phones, among others, available at this price segment. In my opinion, the Poco M3 is one of the best-looking smartphones in the under Rs 12000 price segment in India right now.
The phone comes with a compact form factor and fits perfectly in one hand. I was able to use the smartphone properly with one hand. The device feels sturdy despite being so aggressively priced. The rear panel of the Poco phone is made of plastic and feels cheap but that definitely shouldn’t be your concern if you are looking to buy a phone at this price.
Another good thing about the Poco M3 is its weight. Despite packing a massive 6000mAh battery, the phone doesn’t feel heavy in the hands. As I said, it‘s easy to use the phone with just one hand very easily. The battery is another area the Poco M3 shines.
I used the Poco phone for nearly a week and the device lasted for close to 1.5 days on a single charge. During my review period, I used the phone as my primary device, which means I took several calls all through the day, listened to music, watched videos on YouTube and movies on Netflix, played games and so on. The phone was able to handle all these tasks very easily all through the day. There’s fast charging support as well. The Poco M3 comes packed with 18W fast charging support out-of-the-box, which in my opinion is one of the selling aspects of the device. It took around one hour to charge fully from 0 to 100 percent, which is great for a phone in this price segment.
During the charging process, the phone sometimes heats up slightly and this could be due to the fast charging support. Thankfully, the Poco phone doesn’t miss out on basics including the 3.5mm headphone jack and USB Type C port.
The Poco M3 also offers decent overall performance, neither great nor too bad. The phone is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 processor paired with 6GB RAM and up to 128GB storage. I used the phone rigorously for nearly a week and it didn’t lag too much. Sometimes when too many apps were running in the background the phone slowed down slightly. I often had to clear the background activities for the phone to run smoothly.
It should be noted that Poco M3 is clearly not for heavy GPU games like Asphalt 9, among others. If you are like me, who mainly plays basic games like Temple Run 3, Subway surfer, the Poco M3 will offer good performance. I also played the recently launched made in India action game FAU-G and it ran smoothly in medium graphics.
The sound is what impressed me a lot in this Poco phone. The smartphone comes packed with stereo speakers. The phone was able to produce loud and clear sound with good bass. This is one of the key aspects that consumers consider before purchasing a smartphone at this time given how important sound is for gaming and binge-watching.
Poco M3: What’s bad
The good thing is that the Poco M3 doesn’t have too many bad aspects in it. The one area where I feel the phone could have been better than is the screen. The display is one of the most important things in a smartphone, and this is where this phone lags. The screen of the Poco M3 looks dull in all lighting situations. So, if you are a gamer or a movie buff, there are better options available in the market. The viewing angles are also not up to the mark. The screen appears way too reflective in both indoors as well as outdoors.
Whenever I stepped out I needed to toggle up the brightness level to 100 percent while in the indoor scenario around 50 percent brightness seemed decent enough to me. I didn’t enjoy watching YouTube videos or movies on Netflix or playing games on this phone, and that’s mainly due to the dull screen.
Another very important area where the Poco M3 lacks is the camera. The pictures shot with the Poco phone appear to be just decent in all lighting conditions. The photos captured with the main sensor turn out to be fine with details missing out most of the time. The colours also look dull in most scenarios. The low-light situation is where the phone lags drastically. Pictures shot under low light miss out on major details. Portrait mode offers decent performance in comparison. The depth sensor manages to click pictures with the background properly blurred out and look appealing to the eyes. The phone struggles to click decent macro shots.
Similar is the case with the front shooter as well. Selfies turn out to be hazy and miss out on details most of the time all lighting conditions. The portrait selfies look slighting appealing as the background looks properly blurred out and the edges turn out to be sharp. However, the phone misses out on colours.
Lastly, the MIUI 12 based on Android 10 running the Poco M3 looks way too cluttered to me. There are ads as well similar to any other budget Xiaomi device. The phone comes pre-loaded with bloatware but the good thing is they can be uninstalled when required. The company hasn’t confirmed whether the phone will get updated to the latest Android version or not. Probably it will, but we need to wait for the company to confirm that.
Should you buy the Poco M3?
Well, the Poco M3 looks promising for the price with some drawbacks here and there. One of the biggest problems of this budget phone is the substandard cameras. Although I don’t wish a phone at this price point to capture pictures as good as the Pixel or iPhone but given the competition, I feel the camera performance of the phone could have been slightly better. Another area where the Poco phone lacks is in the screen. The display of the phone is big, which is great, but pretty dull in all lighting conditions, which isn’t a good thing for gamers and movie lovers out there.
Besides the few disappointments, the Poco M3 gets most of it right. The phone looks unique and stands out from the crowded space, offers great battery life, and manages to handle day-to-day tasks like gaming, messaging, browsing and so on with ease.
There are several good options available under the price of Rs 12,000 in India including the Redmi 9 Power, among others. Poco M3, in my opinion, is also a pretty decent option to consider at this price point.
Poco M3 verdict