When my friends hear about Xiaomi, they associate the brand as producers of affordable but superb devices. And that’s what Poco is trying to be. It lives under Xiaomi’s umbrella, so it’s no surprise that they have a similar strategy and approach. Their newest phone to come out, the Poco X3 NFC, is a compelling entry in the midrange smartphone market that it’s being called the new king of its category and it certainly deserves the praise.
Side note: They really want to emphasize that it has NFC and it’s really part of its name. But, we can simply call it the Poco X3 in this review.
Smooth, fluid goodness
Design-wise, there’s not much to say — at least in the front. The whole front is occupied by the 6.67-inch IPS LCD. Colors and brightness levels are up to scratch, but they’re not the main feature of the display.
The main focus here is the ULTRA-SMOOTH 120Hz refresh rate. Finally, we have a midrange (even close to budget territory) that offers this. Plus, it’s paired with a 240Hz touch sampling rate. When it comes to smoothness and touch response, the Poco X3 gets a solid two thumbs up.
Mobile gamers will surely appreciate this high screen refresh rate feature and I put it to the test. Does it only benefit gamers? No, even “normal” phone users will see a difference in their day-to-day use. Scrolling, swiping, and everything on the Poco X3’s screen is just fluid. Also, there are stereo speakers and a powerful vibration motor for a more immersive gaming and binge watching.
The display has a hole on the top that houses the selfie camera. It’s in the top-middle portion, so it’s not that different from the familiar tiny notch of 2019. Is it distracting? No. Does it get in the way when playing games? Not really. Is it better than a notch? Nope, but it sure serves its purpose. 👌
New chipset promises speed and it delivers
Powering the Poco X3 is Qualcomm’s newest Snapdragon 732G chipset. Like the phone’s smooth display, the processor here is meant to be used for gaming. And to make gaming better, the phone has what Poco calls LiquidCool Technology 1.0 Plus that’s essentially an enlarged copper heat pipe with multiple layers of graphite to keep the phone cool. The phone still gets warm during gaming, but at least you’re assured that something is keeping the phone’s temperature in check.
The variant I have here has 6GB of memory and 64GB of storage. There’s another model available with 128GB of storage for those who need more space, but it still has the same amount of memory. 6GB is enough, although we’d love to have an 8GB option for those who might want (or need) it.
The phone is running Xiaomi’s MIUI 12 out of the box and it’s based on Android 10. It has tons of extra features over vanilla Android, however, it’s not exactly the best out there. Xiaomi has to REALLY fix the overpowering Dark Mode of MIUI 12. It doesn’t work well with most of the apps I use every day, especially Facebook Messenger. I have to manually and selectively turn off Dark Mode for each app that clashes with the system-wide Dark Mode.
Aside from that, I am generally happy with the latest version of MIUI. It runs smoothly and showcases the 120Hz refresh rate properly with its animations and effects.
Surprisingly okay cameras for the price
In the camera department, the Poco X3 doesn’t fall short with its four rear shooters. It’s got a main 64-megapixel camera, a 13-megapixel ultra-wide angle, and a pair of 2-megapixel sensors for macro and depth. Realistically, you’ll be using the main and wide-angle shooters the most, and the macro camera will be useful when you want to play with it. The depth sensor is just there, but it should be helpful when you decide to do portrait shots. Oh, the selfie camera in the screen’s hole is a 20-megapixel camera for unblemished selfies.
The pictures from the Poco X3 look great and it’s always nice to have a wide-angle lens. I personally prefer this over a zoom lens on a phone since I find it to be more practical. The photos are vibrant and will definitely look good for Facebook or Instagram. It’s better to see the pictures yourself.
Check out these few samples I was able to take:
And a couple of samples from the selfie camera:
Fills up quickly yet drains slowly
With a large 5160mAh battery, you can expect this phone to last all day or even two. If you’re a light user and will disable the high refresh rate, you can stretch it to three days. When it’s time to charge, it’ll only take 65 minutes for a full charge using the included charger. If you need a quick top up, you can get from zero to 36% in just 15 minutes.
A new midrange king indeed
The Poco X3 NFC ticks all the checkboxes and is worthy of the praises it gets from fans and new users alike. Xiaomi, through Poco, once again offered a true bang-for-the-buck device. It’s a phone for gaming, for the budget-conscious, and for those who are looking to experience new flagship features without the cost.
It’s not a perfect phone but if you take into consideration the asking price, you might say it is — at least for its category. The Poco X3 NFC retails for PhP 10,990 and PhP 12,990 in the Philippines, depending on your storage choice, and it’s already available at Authorized Mi Stores, Lazada, and Shopee. In other parts of the globe, like in Europe, the phone retails for EUR 229 and EUR 269.