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Poco F3 GT Review: The F-Series Phone You Were Waiting For?
The Poco F3 GT is our current go-to device for all things gaming. Once again Poco has rebranded a Redmi smartphone (K40 Gaming Edition); however, the decision only works in the brand's favor as the original device never made it to the Indian market.
And since the phone is launched in under Rs. 35,000, the K40 Edition's game-centric touches differentiate the F3 GT from the lot. Unlike most conventional value flagship phones, the F3 GT brings mechanical triggers and some discreet design elements.
- Good Value For Money
- Unique Design & Form-Factor
- Dedicated Mechanical Game Triggers
- Vibrant 120Hz 10-Bit OLED Display
- Long-Lasting Battery & 67W Fast-Charging
- Smooth Performance
- Average Camera Performance
- Some Bloatware
- Supports Limited 5G Bands
There's a 10-bit 120Hz OLED panel on board, and the device is fuelled by the MediaTek Dimensity 1200 chipset, which has become increasingly popular in the mid-range price category. The same SoC supplies power to the other two popular devices- Oppo Reno6 Pro and the OnePlus Nord 2 5G. These are just two of the many sub-35K handsets that offer plenty of value for your investment.
Where the F3 GT stands in this crowded market? Let's find out.
Poco F3 GT Design- Discreet Game Touches
The F3 GT breaks the design monotony in the sub-35K price bracket with its game-centric aesthetics; however, it doesn't go too loud with it. The focus here seems to be on the functionality with some subtle game-centric touches to keep the design interesting.
For instance, the discrete bottom-firing speaker cutout and the lightning flash module at the back panel look rather refreshing. The soft matte finish back panel has a few etched lines that aren't very profound but add a subtle visual flair to the overall appearance.
The thoughtfully placed RGB lighting in the camera module looks striking when you receive notifications and play games. You can also customize it from the ‘Special Features' section in the phone's settings menu.
First-Of-Its-Kind Mechanical Game Triggers
Moving on, the F3 GT is the first handset to feature mechanical game triggers. Positioned on the right spine, these GT-Switches aren't some touch capacitive buttons but dedicated physical triggers that come alive when needed. Poco has applied the principles of magnetism to design these mechanical triggers.
The Maglev triggers pop up with just a flick and recess back to their slots carved out on the side frame when they aren't being used, a pretty neat approach. If you are an avid gamer, you must already know the importance of dedicated game buttons.
The F3 GT lacks an in-screen fingerprint scanner and ships with a side-mounted physical biometric scanner that's pretty fast and reliable. You also get the signature IR blaster, dual-SIM card, stereo speakers, three microphones, and a Type-C charging port. The phone lacks a 3.5mm audio jack, but you do get a Type-C to 3.5mm dongle in the box.
Ergonomics, Handling & Durability
The F3 GT has a bit of a wide stance which makes it slightly difficult to hold and use with one hand (Portrait orientation). The phone is also on the heavier side (205g) but the weight distribution is pretty good. You won't find this device hefty even though there's a big battery inside running the show.
And that extra width comes in handy while playing games as you get a slightly wider display to enjoy those stunning graphics. Moreover, the phone is pretty comfortable to use in the landscape orientation, thanks to a distinctively designed aluminum frame that ensures a near-perfect landscape grip.
The phone's fit and finish are premium and the dual-tone matte finish back feels good to hold. The back panel has a layer of Corning's Gorilla Glass 5 and the handset is also IP53 certified, which means it can withstand water splashes and some dust ingress. We are testing the Predator Black color variant that comes with a matte black finish and looks very stealthy. The handset is also available in Gunmetal Silver color option that gives more of a game device feel.
Excellent OLED Display For Gaming & Multimedia Consumption
A good screen is a must for a gaming phone and it's good to see that Poco hasn't made any compromises on the display front. The panel used here is a 120Hz 10-bit Full HD+ OLED that ticks all the boxes of being a good screen for gaming, multimedia consumption, and day-to-day phone-related tasks. From the screen size to peak brightness level (1300 nits) and touch sampling rate, everything seems to be in order.
That said, playing graphics-intensive games like Asphalt 9, COD Mobile, etc. and streaming videos is a joyous experience on this device. The colors look super vivid, viewing angles are excellent and the adequate brightness makes it possible to enjoy outdoor gaming sessions. The handset also gets the WideVine L1 certification and HDR 10+ support that makes it an excellent video streaming device.
Fluid 120Hz Refresh Rate And Class-Leading 480Hz Touch Sampling Rate
Moving on, the 120Hz refresh rate makes the UI navigation buttery smooth and the class-leading 480Hz touch sampling rate ensures fast and responsive touch feedback during gaming. This display registers even the slightest touch, which is very crucial for a gaming handset. As far as durability is concerned, the display is protected by a layer of the Corning Gorilla Glass 5.
Overall, the F3 GT offers a class-leading display at a reasonable price. It cannot get better than this.
Excellent Haptic Feedback & Good Sounding Speakers
I have mentioned it in my first impressions and it will reiterate it, the F3 GT's haptic feedback can even give some flagship phones a run for their money. Every vibration produced by the built-in X Shockers is precise and effective.
Poco mentioned that the vibration motor can decode up to 200 different vibration effects that users will experience throughout the UI ecosystem. The haptics comes alive when you press the power button, scroll the menus to the bottom, type text and press the back button.
The F3 GT also gets a stereo speaker system with Dolby-Atmos support. These speakers deliver crisp and engaging sound that allows for an immersive gaming experience and video playback.
Poco F3 GT Performance
Let's talk business, i.e. the performance part. The F3 GT is powered by the 5G-enabled (5G SA+ NSA) MediaTek Dimensity 1200 chipset, which also supplies power to the Oppo Reno6 Pro (Rs. 39,990) and the Nord 2 5G.
The SoC is paired with 6GB and 8GB LPDDR4X RAM and 128GB/256GB UFS 3.1 storage options. In terms of software, the smartphone runs MUI 12.5 on top of Android 11 and comes loaded with a fair share of pre-installed apps including Prime Video, Netflix, Amazon, Google apps, and some unwanted ones such as GetApps, which keeps spamming with unwanted app download notifications.
Capable Gaming Device & A Powerful Daily Driver
True to its GT moniker, the phone feels blazingly fast and responsive. The handset can run the most demanding games and heavy games without any performance issues. Games like Battlegrounds Mobile India defaults to HD graphics and a high frame rate.
You must also toggle the graphics quality to the extreme in the ‘Enhanced Visuals' section from the Game Turbo app. Importantly, the phone's design ensures good handling while gaming, thanks to the concave beveling that eases up the in-hand grip ensuring a smooth gaming experience.
Immersive Gaming Experience
It is a sheer joy to play Asphalt 9 on the Poco F3 GT's 10-bit OLED panel. Graphics look stunning on the Full HD+ panel and the 480Hz refresh rate makes everything delightfully smooth and responsive. However, it is worth mentioning that the physical triggers might adversely affect your gaming experience in some scenarios and games.
For instance, pressing the triggers delayed the gun response in my case, which backfired in games like Battlegrounds Mobile. Touch capacitive buttons on gaming phones like the Asus ROG 3/5 offer faster response time in such cases. This might be different for different gamers and games you are playing.
As for thermals, I didn't notice any frame rate drops even with 40-50 minutes of continuous and intense gameplay. The phone did get warm but that doesn't affect the gaming performance by any margin. The multi-graphite layer thermal system keeps the performance in check. Overall, the Poco F3 GT is a capable gaming device and an excellent daily driver.
If there's any performance aspect where the F3 GT falls short of expectations, it is the camera response. The handset features a triple-lens camera setup comprising a 64MP primary sensor, an 8MP wide-angle lens, and a 2MP macro sensor.
For selfies, the smartphone boasts a 16MP front-facing camera. The F3 GT can record 4K 30 fps videos and the camera app offers the most required and popular modes and filters. While this is decent hardware for a handset (Minus the minuscule macro shooter) that primarily focuses on performance and gaming, the real-life performance is affected by average software tuning.
The pictures shot on the primary sensor reveal over-sharpening and some unwanted contrast. Colors tend to appear oversaturated, especially if you have enabled the AI mode. Skin tones aren't represented well and highlights are mostly blown with shadow areas appearing darker than usual. Needles to say, the F3 GT is marred by the usual software tuning issues, something we have experienced on almost all Xiaomi, Redmi, and Poco devices.
There's nothing much you can do to improve the image output. Try shooting with AI mode disabled and perform some post-processing to color correct the images and videos. In a nutshell, the Poco F3 GT's isn't our top recommended handset for photography enthusiasts in the sub-30K price-point.
Battery Life & Connectivity 5,065mAh Battery With 67W Fast-Charging Support
Poco devices have always set standards for battery lasting capacity and the F3 GT is no different. It is fuelled by a 5,065 mAh battery which holds pretty well for long gaming sessions and media consumption. Even with heavy usage, this device can last you a day.
If there's a day when you don't stream videos or play games, the handset would easily survive a day and a half. The phone ships with a speedy 67W fast-charger in the box, which was able to refuel the battery from flat to 100% in about 53 minutes. Overall, the Poco F3 GT will not disappoint you in the battery department.
As far as the connectivity is concerned, some cost-cutting has been done. The F3 GT only gets two 5G bands in India- n77/78, if that's a concern for you. The device does support Dual-5G standby and 5G carrier aggregation. Additionally, you get Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, and NFC.
Continuing the legacy of the Poco F1, the F3 GT focuses on delivering smooth performance with a touch of game-centric features. It is not just a capable gaming device, but also a good overall daily driver. It has an interesting design, powerful battery, stereo speakers, and a vibrant 120Hz OLED display. Add to it the dedicated physical triggers and you get a value for money gaming handset at a good price.
If you can compromise on-camera performance, the F3 GT is an excellent mid-range 5G-enabled smartphone. The smartphone is available exclusively on Flipkart.com in three configurations- 6GB/128GB, 8GB/128GB and 8GB/256GB at Rs. 26,999, Rs. 28,999 and Rs. 30,999 respectively.