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Poco X3 review:  Not long ago, Poco appeared to be the next disruptor in the Indian smartphone market with the Poco F1 emerging as the new threat to affordable-premium and premium smartphones. Instead of building on the success of the first Poco smartphone, the company took a long break, before returning to the scene with an all new market strategy. Initially, Poco seemed like Xiaomi’s answer to OnePlus. Now, it is challenging Realme, at best.  

The company has unveiled three smartphones this year – Poco X2, Poco M2 and Poco X3 – all positioned in budget and mid-range segments. And, that’s not only with the price but also in terms of specs on offer. Recently, there has been a major change in company leadership and it will be interesting to see if that also leads to a change in market strategy.  

For now, we have the Poco X3, launched in September. Priced at Rs 16,999, the smartphone is world’s first to be powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 732G SoC, where G obviously stands for better gaming performance. There are a few things to admire about this smartphone while others leave you a bit confused. Let’s run through all of them in our review of the Poco X3.  

Poco X3 review: Design  

This is one of the few smartphones that is likely to trigger a lot of arguments around its design. To call Poco X3 bulky would be an understatement. Let’s just say, if dumbbells are out of stock, you can opt for the Poco X3 instead! The smartphone measures over 10mm and weighs around 225 grams. You can feel the weight while holding the phone and using it on a daily basis.  

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Those accustomed to using more compact smartphones are likely to have a tough time adjusting to the Poco X3. On the flip side, the extra weight and bulkier body makes the smartphone sturdier. It should also add to the longevity of the phone even with rough usage. 

The back panel is made up of polycarbonate and has a thick etched strip in the middle. There is a massive Poco branding at the bottom, which could have been smaller. The cameras are placed in a new circular camera module – something similar to what we had seen on the OnePlus 7T last year. 

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The volume and power buttons are on the right. The second also doubles up as the fingerprint scanner. At the bottom, you get the 3.5mm headphone jack, Type-C USB port and a speaker grill. On the top are the IR blaster and a large earpiece grille.  

The back panel is a bit slippery, which forced me to use the Poco X3 mostly with a case.  

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As I said before, this design will be received differently by different users. Those who want a refreshing look, are likely to appreciate it. The more traditional users, will feel polarized. And, those who prefer compact devices, will surely look at other options.  

Poco X3 review: Display 

Poco continues to bet big on the display. The smartphone comes with a 120Hz panel which we also saw on the Poco X2. It is one of the few smartphones to offer this refresh rate in this segment. However, how useful is higher refresh rate on a mid-range smartphone remains debatable. 

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The Poco X3 features a big 6.67-inch LCD panel with full HD+ resolution. The screen size is apt for streaming content or gaming. It delivers a smooth transition between apps and pages. The higher frame rates are also visible while gaming. Poco has also used a 240Hz touch response on the phone which again makes a difference in your day-to-day usage.  

The colour reproduction of the display is pretty good as well. The screen is vibrant, sharp and feels almost as good as an OLED display. There is also an option to customise the colour scheme to lower saturation levels or different temperature. 

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The only issue here is with the peak brightness of 450 nits. Even inside the house, you can feel that the display isn’t too bright at highest level and it becomes a problem under direct sunlight.  

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At the center of the display, you get a single hole punch selfie shooter unlike the dual camera setup on the Poco X2. The hole is not big but not too small either. There are times when it can interfere with your viewing experience.  

Poco X3 review: Performance  

As mentioned before, the smartphone is powered by Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 732G chipset. The 8nm octa-core chipset claims a frequency up to 2.3GHz and is paired with an Adreno 618 GPU. The chipset makes its debut with the Poco X3 and as per Qualcomm offers “an additional 15% graphics boost over Snapdragon 730 for a more powerful gaming experience.” 

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The performance is as good as you can expect in this segment. The smartphone is really smooth, be it daily tasks like making calls, sending emails, exchanging messages or running high-end gaming titles. 

Gaming on Poco X3 was fun. You can play heavy-titles like Call of Duty: Mobile or Top Speed on high frame rates, without worrying about frequent drops. The gaming experience is also enhanced by the stereo speakers that produce good audio output.  

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The smartphone is available in three variants. The base variant is priced at Rs 16,999 and has 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. The 6GB + 128GB variant is priced at Rs 18,499 while the top variant with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage will set you back by Rs 19,999. 

My only concern here is that despite all the great things, the Poco X3 doesn’t feel as disruptive as the Poco F1 which gave a tough competition to most premium smartphones of that time. On that front, Poco could have done better.  

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The Poco X3 runs on Poco Launcher based on MIUI 12 atop Android 10. It will feel familiar if you have used a Poco or Xiaomi smartphone in the past. There are plenty of options to customize the user experience. Also, there are several pre-installed apps, most of which you may want to remove.  

Poco X3 review: Camera  

The camera specs are very similar to the Poco X2, with a change in the ultra-wide-angle lens. The Poco X3 uses a 64-megapixel sensor with f/1.9 lens, a 13-megapixel ultra-wide sensor with f/2.2 lens, a 2-megapixel macro lens and a 2-megapixel depth camera.  

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The combination helps you cover most aspects of smartphone photography with good results. The primary camera tries to preserve most details in good light conditions. The images are sharp and crisp. The saturation, however, is on the higher side.  

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The dynamic range was also pretty good, on the main camera as well as the ultra-wide-angle lens.  

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The macro lens, as always, will need super steady hands and great photography skills to make the best use of. The portrait mode is very efficient as well.  

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For videos, you have support for 1080p shooting at 60fps, and 4K videos at 30fps. The front camera is of 20-megapixels which lets you capture decent selfies. 

Poco X3 review: Battery  

One of the reasons for the bulkier body of the Poco X3 is the massive 6000 mAh battery it packs. There are a few Samsung smartphones in the same range which pack the same brick and easily run for 30 to 36 hours. With Poco X3, the things are a slightly different. A combination of higher refresh rate and new chipset drains the phone faster. Yet, you can expect the Poco X3 to last around a day.  

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Out of the box, it supports 33W MMT charging. It takes about 100 to 120 minutes to charge the phone from 0 to 100 per cent.  

Poco X3 review: Should you buy? 

Unlike the Poco F1, this one isn’t a clear winner. Yes, the phone excels in several departments like a smooth display, big battery and decent performance. But, there are several other smartphones in the segment that are equally good. At this price, the Poco X3 competes against the Samsung Galaxy M31s, Realme 7 Pro, Narzo 20 Pro, Redmi Note 9 Pro Max and even the Poco X2. The only major advantage here is the 120Hz display.  

The things you seriously need to consider are the weight and size of the smartphone. Overall, the Poco X3 is a typical mid-range with something to offer in most departments but nothing exceptional in any. 

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