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Poco X3 Pro Review: Highly Recommended For Price-Conscious Power Users
Three years since Poco introduced the legendary F1 smartphone and the brand is still trying to repeat history. The new Poco X3 Pro is the latest attempt to relive those glorious days, and to some extent, it might be the rightful successor of the mighty Poco F1. The X3 Pro brings top-of-the-line hardware to the sub-20K price-point. It is powered by the 8th gen. Snapdragon chipset (SD860) and flaunts a 120Hz IPS LCD, two features that promise to deliver flagship-grade performance at an aggressive price.
- Flagship Performance in Sub-20K (Snapdragon 860)
- 120Hz Fluid Display
- Long-lasting Battery
- Good Audio Performance
- Notification LED, 3.5mm Jack, IR Blaster
- Decent Camera Performance
- Big & Hefty
- IPS LCD Display Feels Less Lively Than An AMOLED
- Better Camera Phones Available In The Same Price
We tested the 8GB RAM variant of the handset running the latest MIUI 12.0.4. Here's how it performed in our review.
Poco X3 Pro Design- Big And Bulky But Functional
If you were expecting a new and fancy design with the X3 Pro, you will be slightly disappointed. The Pro variant uses the same big and bulky polycarbonate shell with the dual-tone plastic back and an oddly shaped camera module. Since the Poco X3 Pro uses a slightly smaller battery cell, it is 10g lighter and 0.6mm thinner than the Poco X3; however, this is still not a phone made for one-hand usage and would give a good workout to your little finger.
IP53 Rating, IR Blaster, Notification LED & 3.5mm Audio Jack
The bold ‘Poco' branding is still intact, and so is the side-mounted fingerprint scanner, which is very fast and accurate. Also, no compromise has been made on basics, as the phone offers a 3.5mm audio jack, Type-C port, an IR blaster, notification LED, a microSD slot, stereo speakers, and even the IP53 rating for some level of protection from dust and water. You can buy the Poco X3 Pro in three discrete-looking color variants- Phantom Black, Metal Bronze, and Frost Blue.
Poco X3 Pro Display- 120Hz IPS LCD Feels Fluid But Fails To Beat AMOLED Panels
Similar to the phone's design, Poco hasn't made any changes to the display. The X3 Pro also flaunts a big 6.67-inch full HD+ (1080 x 2400 resolution) IPS LCD panel with a 20:9 aspect ratio that works very well for gaming and video playback. General UI navigation and high-intensity gaming are smooth and fluid, thanks to the 120Hz refresh rate and 240Hz touch sampling rate. This is the highest refresh rate you can get at the sub-20K price-point.
The peak brightness (458 nits) is adequate for indoor use but the LCD panel feels slightly dull for outdoor use in harsh sunlight. What impressed me is the minimum brightness of the display. I could natively reduce the brightness to as low as 1 nit without installing any third-party apps like ‘Screen Filter.'
Decent Color Reproduction But Not AMOLED-Grade Vivid
Moving on, the IPS LCD is HDR10-enabled and also has the Widevine L1 DRM certification, allowing you to stream videos on OTT apps in Full HD resolution. The ‘Tales from the Loop' on Prime Video looked visually stunning on the Poco X3 Pro; however, I missed the vividness of an OLED panel. While the IPS LCD has impressive contrast levels and produces punchy colors, it still fails to match the liveliness of an AMOLED panel. The same content looked slightly more immersive on the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max due to better color reproduction and slightly deeper blacks.
If you want the absolute best-in-class display experience in the sub-20K price-point, the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max' 120Hz AMOLED panel is the answer. It offers a more immersive screen user experience than the PocoX3 Pro; however, you have to compromise a bit on the raw performance.
Poco X3 Pro Camera- Decent Performance But Not The Best In Sub-20K
I wasn't surprised to see a camera hardware downgrade on the X3 Pro since the brand has to make some compromises to fit in a flagship CPU at this price point. The Poco X3 Pro still features a quad-lens camera; however, instead of a 64MP primary sensor (Poco X3), the phone now uses a 48MP main sensor. The wide-angle sensor has also been downgraded from 13MP to 8MP.
The other two remaining sensors for macro photography and portraits remain unchanged, i.e. 2MP. Also, the Poco X3 Pro uses the same 20MP front-facing shooter to capture selfies.
Poco X3 Pro Camera Performance Overview
- The 48MP Sony IMX 582 sensor (1/2", 0.8µm pixels, f/1.8) captures 12MP pixel-binned pictures. The daylight images show vivid colors, adequate sharpness, and decent dynamic range but the resolved detail is not very impressive.
- Try clicking monochrome pictures on the Poco X3 Pro. The crisp images with good sharpness look very impressive.
- The main sensor could also use some exposure improvements as I often noticed crushed shadows with shots taken in complex lighting. I have seen smartphones performing better than the Poco X3 Pro in similar scenarios. The Redmi Note 10 Pro Max is one such example.
- The 2x digital zoom photos are just decent.
- The 8MP wide-angle sensor is a decent shooter and can give some good daylight results. The images show good contrast and a decent dynamic range.
- The macro shots fail to impress. The 2MP sensor's images lack details and fail to get the colors and contrast right.
- The Poco X3 Pro is a decent device for portrait photography. Despite featuring a 2MP depth sensor, the images show natural bokeh and the sensor also nails the colors and contrast. Interestingly, it is the same 48MP primary sensor and delivers better overall results when paired with the 2MP depth sensor.
- I am satisfied with the low-light capabilities of the Poco X3 Pro. The 48MP main sensor captures well-lit shots even when you are not shooting with the dedicated night mode. There's hardly any difference in 1x shots captured with and without the night mode if there's some artificial lighting in the frame. With difficult lighting and night mode enabled, the pictures show slightly better details and a wider dynamic range.
- Interestingly, the Poco X3 Pro can also pull up very much usable low-light wide-angle shots. The 8MP wide-angle sensor supports the dedicated night mode and delivers far better results than most of the competition devices.
- The Poco X3 Pro is a decent mid-range videography device. You can shoot crisp 4k 30fps and 1080p 60fps videos. The phone also records decent 1080p 30fps wide-angle videos that add a good perspective to your videos. EIS is available and works pretty well with all frame rates.
Poco X3 Pro Hardware & Software Performance
This is where things get interesting. The Poco X3 Pro can be easily named the most powerful sub-20K smartphone, thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 860 SoC. The 7nm chipset is essentially the 2019's SD 855 with improved camera and RAM support. Despite being almost a 2-generation old chipset, the SD860's Kryo architecture delivers top-shelf performance. You can buy the handset in two configurations- 6GB + 128GB and 8GB + 128GB (LPDDR4x, UFS 3.1). While the 8GB RAM could have made more sense with 256GB storage, the 128GB with microSD support also seems fine.
We tested the 8GB RAM variant of the handset running the latest MIUI 12.0.4. The phone impressed us with its swift and lag-free performance. The haptic feedback is excellent and the fluid display adds to the fluid user experience. The phone runs smoothly, even with more than 15 apps in the background, and does not heat up much even with long video playback and continuous gaming sessions. The performance is as good as a 40K smartphone and it cannot get better than this at this price point. Even the new Redmi 10-series phones, OnePlus Nord, and most of the sub-30K phones cannot match the raw performance of the Poco X3 Pro.
Indeed The Most Powerful Sub-20K Smartphone
And while we could tell the flagship-grade performance, we did run some benchmarks to put things in perspective. The Poco X3 Pro scored 760 and 2745 in the Geekbench's single-core and multi-core CPU test, maxed out in 3D Mark's Slingshot Extreme, 3459 in 3D Mark's Wild Life test, and recorded 10276 in PC Mark's Work 2.0 test. These are impressive numbers and put the X3 Pro ahead of the competition in the sub-20k price bracket.
Poco X3 Pro Gaming And Audio Performance
If you are in the market for a sub-20k gaming phone, the Poco X3 Pro is a good option. Despite using a two-generation old GPU, the smartphone handles even the most graphics-intensive games without any major performance issues. You can enjoy COD Mobile sessions, Asphalt 9, and other heavy games at max settings without any frame drop issues. I also did not encounter any alarming heating issues on the X3 Pro. The phone warms up from the back panel after 30-40 minutes of continuous gaming which is normal.
You must enable the Game Turbo mode to play games on the X3 Pro. It offers in-game shortcuts and special settings (Touch response, customizable touch-sensitive area controls, etc.) for individual games under ‘Additional settings' to further improve the gameplay experience.
Poco X3 Pro Battery Life, Charging & Connectivity
The Poco X3 Pro's battery power gets a noticeable cut as compared to its predecessor but it still packs one of the biggest battery cells on a smartphone. The 5,160 mAh easily lasted for more than a day on my usage pattern, which mostly includes lots of camera use, Twitter, 60-90 min music playback (Speakers & Bluetooth combined), an hour of calls, video playback, and some gameplay. The battery life will vary depending upon your usage type; however, you must know that this phone can take a beating. You can use it for long gaming sessions and it should last a day without any troubles.
The company is offering a 33W Type-C charger that took about 70 minutes to refuel the big battery from flat to 100%. It is worth mentioning that the Poco X3 Pro also supports USB PD charge at 26W, the fastest PD support in its segment.
The Poco X3 Pro lives up to its promise of delivering a top-shelf performance at a pocket-friendly price. It's indeed the most powerful smartphone in the sub-20k price-point and also makes for an excellent all-rounder, with some compromises in the display and camera department. If you don't want to compromise on the camera and screen user experience, the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max will serve you better. The Poco X3 Pro comes at a starting price of Rs. 18,999 and can be purchased on Flipkart.com.