If you hear Poco, you will certainly associate Xiaomi. However, the brand is now on its own two feet and has recently presented the M3 smartphone. That budget device is available from 149 euros. You can check what you can expect for that price in our Poco M3 review.
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Poco M3 review
Are you looking for a smartphone for simple tasks, do you have a modest budget or are you looking for your first Android device? Many manufacturers offer affordable devices, but then you often deliver in different areas. The Poco M3 already attracted attention at the introduction due to the good ratio between price and quality.
However, that was on paper and we have now put the device to the test by having it in our pocket for more than two weeks. How this affordable smartphone performs, what the real pluses are and whether the device has any pitfalls? You can read that in our Poco M3 review.
Nice smooth appearance
The device is available in yellow, black and blue and the back is made of plastic. Poco does add a nice relief, so that the whole feels like (and resembles) leather. A nice extra, especially in this price range. On the back you will also find the immense camera module and the brand name that is pontifically in the picture.
The infrared sensor and headphone connection can be found at the top. The left side has space for the SIM card and micro SD card slot. You can store two SIM cards and a memory card in the Poco M3: that’s plenty. The right side features the volume rocker and power button. The fingerprint scanner can also be found there. It works quickly and almost every time you want to unlock the device.
You will find a USB-C port at the bottom, along with one of the speakers. The device has a relatively large screen of 6.53 inches and has rounded sides. As a result, the Poco M3 fits well in the hand, but you need both hands to operate it properly.
Screen with good resolution
In terms of screen, you have nothing to complain about for this price. An LCD panel with a resolution of 2340 by 1080 pixels was chosen and that looks fine. The brightness is sufficient, but don’t expect miracles. With a good sunny day, the display is more difficult to read. A small water drop notch has been placed at the top, in which the 8 megapixel selfie camera is incorporated.
In the MIUI software you will also find options to adjust the screen somewhat in terms of color temperature or profile. For example, you can choose to show more red or, for example, blue tones. The screen refreshes 60 times per second, which is more than fine for this price range. More expensive devices often have a higher refresh rate, which makes a screen and device feel even smoother.
Great package of hardware
Taking into account the suggested retail price of 149 euros, the performance of the Poco M3 can be called ‘just good’. There is 4GB of RAM onboard and 64GB (or 128GB) of expandable storage.
With that package of hardware under the hood, you can multitask just fine. Starting an app sometimes takes a fraction longer and playing heavy 3D games is also a bit too much. If you use the Poco M3 for chat apps, social media, some simple games and for web browsing, then it certainly stands its ground.
In terms of other hardware you also have nothing to complain about. As mentioned, an infrared sensor is present. This way you can control all kinds of devices via the pre-installed application.
There is also a headphone connection and the device contains stereo speakers. Don’t expect too much from the latter. It’s a great feature to show off in the marketing collateral, but its quality often leaves something to be desired. An NFC chip is not available, so wireless payment with this smartphone is not available.
Android 10 with MIUI 12 shell
Poco and Xiaomi are still linked and we see the well-known MIUI shell on the device, developed by Xiaomi. It is about version 12, which is overlaid on Android 10. Whether and when the smartphone can expect Android 11 is still unknown. That question has been with Xiaomi Netherlands for a while, but the answer has unfortunately not been forthcoming.
The software is and remains not a favorite on the Android Planeteditorial staff, although it is easy to work with. It does seem as if there are more and more bloatware is included. You can think of apps that are already on the device such as Amazon Shopping or Agoda. You can also find Netflix or LinkedIn on the Poco M3. In addition, Xiaomi supplies all kinds of its own apps, for example to play music or films.
This is unnecessary and unfortunate, but that certainly depresses the price of the device. Closing deals with such parties often involves large sums of money, so that a device can be marketed for a somewhat lower price. Advertisements are also often mentioned in combination with MIUI, but I have not seen them on the Poco M3. This is a matter of good practice set-up when you switch on the device for the first time.
Do you want to personalize the device? Then you can choose from all kinds of different themes. The last security patch available during the testing period was November 2020, which is fine. Here and there you can still find a crazy translation error if you use the device in Dutch, but that level is also getting better.
Cameras: rather focus on one camera
Selfies are shot in 8 megapixels, which makes for a great photo with good light. If the lighting conditions are less, a selfie quickly resembles a watercolor painting. The main camera also suffers from this, which has a resolution of 48 megapixels. You can take great pictures with it, but that is not a given.
Taking a photo at dusk? Then use the night mode, because it is certainly good for this device. See examples below of a normal photo and a snapshot taken with night mode.
In the pitch dark, you can take no more than vague snapshots with the Poco M3. By the way, photos are 16 megapixels in size by default, because four pixels are merged into one. This should ensure photos with more details, contrast and better colors.
You use the other two cameras for close-ups and to store depth information. Photos up close contain little detail due to the meager resolution of 2 megapixels, which is a shame.
Creating the depth of field effect with photos is a great feature and works well. In the gallery below you see a macro photo on the left and a photo taken in portrait mode on the right. How often you use that in practice, however, is the question. As far as we are concerned, a better performing primary camera would have been more than enough in this price range.
Battery life is the biggest plus
Poco supplies the M3 with a large battery of 6000mAh, which is great to have in your pocket. Thanks to the high capacity and reasonably energy-efficient hardware, you can easily get through two days with intensive use. For example, the device was taken here for two consecutive days on various hikes and bicycle tours.
A photo or video was regularly taken, the route was viewed via Google Maps and music was listened to. Also count on hours of screen time, because in the evenings they also watched Netflix or Videoland.
Charging is quite fast for the price, namely with a maximum of 18 watts. In the box you will find a fast charger with a maximum output of 22.5 Watt. After an hour the battery was about half charged. Charging the whole device takes just under three hours. That can of course be a lot faster, but then you are talking about a completely different price range.
Conclusion Poco M3 review
With the Poco M3, the brand stands on its own two feet and that is positive in our opinion. The device scores well in terms of general performance, offers an enormous battery life and looks fine and luxurious for its price. The screen is sufficient, the resolution is fine and the M3 feels great in the hand.
In addition, the device is quite complete, unless you want to pay wirelessly. If you also want to take pictures in any scenario, the Poco M3 is simply not your device. You can take a good snapshot with it, but then the light must be good.
The software is fine to work with. However, the shell is quite busy and therefore not for everyone. Finally, Poco would have been honored if they already announced during the presentation when and if the device will receive the Android 11 update ..
Buy Poco M3
For the time being, the Poco M3 is only for sale through the company’s own web store. Unfortunately, purchasing with a subscription is not yet available. If you buy the device separately, you can of course look at a sim-only subscription to combine with it.
→ Check out the Poco M3 on Xiaomi’s website
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