Poco X3 Pro review: A solid gaming brick
Poco X3 Pro fills the Poco F1's shoe with its class-leading processor, big battery, and a high-refresh-rate display, but does that make the device an all-rounder? We find out in our review.
Published:Sun, May 02, 2021 1:12pm
By Meghna Dutta
Poco F1, the company's former flagship phone managed to outvie some of the leading brands' premium devices back in 2018. Two years forward, the Xiaomi sub-brand made two back-to-back announcements (with a few months gap) showcasing the Poco X2 and Poco X3 smartphones. The devices offered good value for money, and Poco yet again seems to bank on the affordability factor with the new Poco X3 Pro. Like its predecessor, the new Poco X-series phone comes with major improvements including the high refresh rate display, and top-notch hardware, all for just under Rs 20,000. While the design aesthetics of the Poco X3 Pro is nothing fab, the Chinese brand seems to focus on offering a power-performer at a budget price but is that enough for the new Poco X-series phone to stand out in the competitive market, we check out in this review.
Poco X3 Pro Price in India:
6GB RAM/ 128GB variant- Rs 18,999
8GB RAM/ 128GB variant- Rs 20,999
Poco X3 Pro specs:
|Features||POCO X3 Pro|
|Price||Start from Rs 18,999|
|OS||MIUI 12 based on Android 11|
|Display||6.67 inch LCD FHD+|
|Rear Camera||48 MP + 8 MP + 2 MP + 2 MP|
The design of the Poco X3 Pro is nothing inspiring, in fact, it looks more of a replica of its older sibling, the Poco X3. Except for the heart transplant and tweak in the camera sensors, Poco didn't seem to have made much cosmetic change on the new Poco phone. The chunkiness is prominent from almost every corner. The phone is built out of plastic, and there's Gorilla Glass 5 protection on the front. The glossy frame gives a plasticky feel. The tapered plastic back cover has a matte finish with a distinct strip running at the centre. The big strip reflects the iridescent glow from every angle and houses the Poco logo that is inscribed in large letters at the bottom. The dial-shaped camera module sits at the centre, much like what we saw on the Poco X3.
The clicky volume keys sit on the right edge with the power button below it that triggers the fingerprint reader. The fingerprint scanner is very responsive, accurate, and unlike the in-display biometrics, it is easier to reach. The base accommodates the charging port, the audio jack, and the stereo speaker. There's a thin earpiece grille upfront on top that is as loud as the bottom-firing speakers. Speaking of the build quality, the phone feels solid, but I found a few issues while using the phone- the first being the protruded rear camera that causes hindrance while playing games in landscape mode.
The second being the smudges on the 'cool strip' that I often ended cleaning with my micro-fiber eyeglass cloth. Moreover, the phone is hefty, and I was often worried about the phone slipping off my hand and giving a bump to my forehead. On a lighter part, the phone's sturdy build kind of promises withstanding accidental drops and you get ingress protection (but don't get excited, it's just IP53 splashproof resistant).
The screen size and refresh rate are the same as those in the Poco X3. You get a 6.67-inch IPS LCD panel with 1,080 x 2,400-pixel resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. The display has a pixel density of 395ppi and touch sampling rate of 240Hz. There is a tiny punch hole at the centre to assist the front-facing camera.
The system software offers three colour profiles- Auto, Saturated, and Standard. The auto mode adjusts colour based on current lighting, while the saturated mode makes the colours appear more vibrant. The standard mode, on the other hand, is said to keep the contrast level intact. While testing the modes, I observed the Auto and Saturated color presets shifting the colour tone to a cool, bluish tone. The Saturated preset shifts it to a warmer shade.
That said, all three presets enable customization of colour temperature. All you need to do is tap on the Custom option at the bottom of the screen and hover around the white dot in the colour circle and adjust based as per your preference. Moving on, the screen supports an adaptive 120Hz refresh rate meaning, the display switches to a specific refresh rate mode depending on the content you are consuming. The display settings offer two refresh rate modes- High (120Hz) and Standard (60Hz). The 60Hz basically helps reducing battery consumption.
While the widescreen is good for content consumption, it isn't adequately bright for outdoor viewing and the viewing angles are just fine. I reviewed the Galaxy A52, and to say the Samsung phone has a better and vivid display as compared to the Poco phone.
Here is a sample of Poco X3 Pro (left) and Samsung Galaxy A52 (right) display
Even though the Poco X3 Pro comes with HDR 10 support, Netflix doesn't show an HDR option, while content on Amazon Prime is streamed at 90Hz. That aside, the wide panel offers a fairly delightful experience indoors, the touch sensitivity is on point, and the 120Hz refresh rate adds a cherry on top offering a smooth and fluid experience.
The Poco X3 Pro is the first phone to offer a premium mobile platform at an affordable price point. The phone is touted to be a gaming beast and it sure lives up to its promise. The Snapdragon 860 SoC handles almost everything with ease. The chipset, a rebadged version of the Snapdragon 855+ mobile platform, is paired with the powerful Adreno 640 GPU. This powerful CPU and GPU blend ensures that the phone doesn't run out of sweat, especially while throttling high-frame-rate games. I played Call of Duty: Mobile, Genshin Impact, Real Racing 3, and Shadow Legends. The phone managed to run these graphic-demanding games at max frame rate settings without any stutter.
Poco has implemented a liquid cooling system to prevent the device from overheating while running games for a longer duration. There's a Game Turbo app specifically designed for gaming that allows individually adjusting touch response, contrast level for each game. While the phone drop-ship solid performance across the board, I did observe minor heating (near the rear camera frame) while playing Genshin Impact and running the 3D Mark Wild-Life Stress Test.
Speaking of the benchmark tests, the Poco X3 Pro managed to score 9910 points in PC Mark Work 2.0 performance test. In Geekbench, the phone earned 757 single-core scores and 2642 multi-core score points. It scored a 98.7 percent stability score at 3D Mark Wild-Life Stress Test which is quite impressive for a phone under this budget.
Coming to the software part, the Poco X3 Pro wears Android 11-based MIUI 12 skin. The software comes with pre-installed bloatware, some of which you can't even uninstall. There's a system app called GetApps which is nothing but good in popping up spam notifications, but thankfully you can switch it off in the notification settings. Speaking of which, the iPhonesque notification shade is cleft into Notification Center and Control Center. However, you can disable the control center and switch to the regular notification pane.
The animations and transitions are visible across the board. Themes, the grandeur of MIUI offers a plethora of options to pick from, that not just modify system icons, but system fonts too. One good thing I liked about the custom MIUI skin is the apps consolidated in their respective categories which you can edit the order or delete entirely. That aside, the custom-ROM skin offers a security app that provides utilities like app locker and keeps a tab on battery consumption, and data usage. Overall, the MIUI 12 feels well-optimised and not cluttered like the previous iterations. I did observe minor stutters in between but that mostly seems to be a display issue.
Similar to its older brother, the Poco X3 Pro gets a quad-camera setup at the back. The only difference on the new Poco-X series model is that it now features a 48-megapixel camera instead of a 64-megapixel primary sensor. The primary Sony IMX582 Quad-Bayer sensor (saves 12-megapixel images by default) is assisted by an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, a 2-megapixel fixed-focus macro lens, and a 2-megapixel portrait lens. Upfront, there is a 20-megapixel f/2.2 lens for shooting selfies.
Talking about the performance, the results are nothing extraordinary, but the primary sensors are capable enough to pull out decent detail shots in daylight. The software tends to oversaturate the images, and turning off AI doesn't help much either, but you get good photos with balance dynamic range and low noise in well-lit conditions. The 8MP ultra-lens retain enough detail with good contrasts while shooting images in bright light. The 2MP fixed macro lens is just a gimmick but it does deliver decent output to some extent (provided there's ample light) unlike some premium devices (cough* OnePlus). Portraits turn out decent as well with nice edge detection, and you can adjust the blur intensity manually before clicking a subject.
As for the low light performance, the camera struggles to retain much detail. The shots are overly processed and even though the Night mode reduces noise level to an extent, the images lack clarity and tend to appear soft. The ultra-wide lens further degrades the image quality captured in low-lighting situations. The 20-megapixel selfie camera shoots decent photos with good contrast in daylight. There isn't skin enhancement, however, it misses out on highlights and tends to soften the edges. Portraits turn out bright enough under good lighting, but the edges appear kind of smeared. Low light samples mostly give an oil painting kind of feel, and the screen flash doesn't provide much help either.
Poco X3 Pro camera samples
The Poco X3 Pro packs a large 5,160mAh battery. It bundles a 33W fast charge adapter that takes over an hour (close to 92 minutes) to fully charge up the device. Speaking of performance, with heavy usage that included checking emails, replying to texts on WhatsApp, and aggressive gaming sessions in between, the phone comfortably lasted the day. As for moderate usage, you will easily get two days' worth of juice. In terms of the synthetic benchmark test, the phone managed a runtime of 14 hours 27 minutes on PC Mark Work 2.0.
The Poco X3 Pro has set yet another benchmark in the mid-range segment with its class-leading performance. The phone offers lag-free performance, which is what gaming aficionados mostly prefer. The vibrant stereo speakers and the high-refresh-rate display just adds to that fluid experience. But while the phone yields a power-packed performance, the cost-cutting factor is clearly visible in the display and camera segment. If you are looking for a complete package, then Poco X3 Pro's dull display, average camera, and bulky design might let you down. The flagship-grade performance and stellar battery life at a compelling price will no doubt attract many, but those who prefer a good camera and bright display over performance can opt for the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max or the Realme 8 Pro.