I had heard of Xiaomi before. Especially because I’m from Pakistan and it’s a big deal there. The company has successfully managed to penetrate the market quickly and subtly. However, I hadn’t heard of Poco, an independent brand born in 2018 out of Xiaomi Corporation, until we got our hands on their latest phones last month. Seeing the gorgeous phones that they were manufacturing, my interest in the company deepened and I got the privilege of reviewing their X3 Pro which launched in late March. What seemed like a pretty average phone at first turned out to be one of the best phones I have used to date.
The X3 Pro, depending on the version you go for, comes loaded with a 6GB or 8GB RAM coupled with a 128GB or 256GB ROM respectively. I got the former so my insanely good experience is with the lesser RAM. If you get the latter, of course, your experience will only get better. It hosts the Qualcomm Snapdragon 860 and runs the Android 11 with MIUI 12, that is Xiaomi’s latest Android skin which succeeds MIUI 11 and brings a number of UI and visual improvements to eligible Xiaomi phones.
The X3 Pro’s CPU specs include the Qualcomm Kryo 485 octa-core processor with a clock speed of 2.96GHz. It hosts the Qualcomm Adreno 640 as its GPU. The most important tech specs for a blazing fast mobile phone that allows low-latency gaming is the CPU and the GPU. In theory, the combination of the Qualcomm Kryo 485 and the Adreno 640 sounds fantastic. I used the X3 Pro for around a week to see if it lives up to its specs sheet.
Coincidentally, I didn’t have my primary phone for as long as I was testing the X3 Pro. Hence, this Poco phone became my personal phone for roughly seven days. I played Android games on it, multitasked , attended Zoom meetings, sent emails, and watched a ton of YouTube. I don’t remember the last time a $300 phone impressed me this much.
The X3 Pro performed surprisingly well during my all-time favorite, GTA: San Andreas. I almost wasn’t ready for such an economical device to give me the kind of satisfaction it did in an action-packed game like GTA. I tested the phone’s endurance with a couple of other heavy games such as Final Fantasy IV, Titan Quest and Heroism. Throughout my gaming experience, I experienced zero lag or stutter.
I also used the X3 Pro for work needs. It was fit for all my video conferencing and email requirements and did the job well. Since most of my time is spent on Instagram and YouTube, I would keep switching between the two apps and not even once did I experience a delay of any kind. I got immensely used to its smooth interface and lag-free performance, so much so, that going back to my phone was a let-down.
This is one of the two features of the X3 Pro that I wish were improved. Weighing 215g, the X3 Pro is a fairly heavy phone that is 165mm tall and 76.8mm wide. It has the Corning Gorilla Glass 6 coating – chemically strengthened glass developed and manufactured by Corning. Its back sports two strips of matte and glossy glass-looking plastic. The strip in the middle has the brand name emblazoned in a quite large font and there’s a large rectangle at the top for a quad-lens camera.
On the underside, there’s a 3.5mm hole, a USB-C charging port and the speaker grilles. The right side of the X3 Pro hosts an unlock button that doubles as a fingerprint scanner and a volume rocker above it. The phone’s left features a slot for the sim card.
Sporting minimal controls, Poco’s machine is fairly simple to navigate. However, it could’ve been a lot better if it was lighter. Even though its body is all-plastic, it is considerably heavy and tired my hands after a while. I noticed that I simply couldn’t use it in bed while it was raised above my head. I’m aware it’s been a while since I’ve done arm workout but it’s the phone’s fault too.
A Display Designed for Gamers
The X3 Pro hosts a 6.67’’ IPS LCD display with a 1080 x 2400 resolution. Most phones that you’ll find in the market today have OLED displays. Usually, OLED based displays produce more accurate results, while LCD displays result in a slight blue tint. The lack of a backlight and filtering layers also weighs quite heavily in favor of OLED over LCD. However, on the X3 Pro, you’ll barely notice the difference. It offers sharp and bold colors that are highly accurate. It does this by featuring a DotDisplay, which means it uses Quantum Dots to ensure the range of colors and their accuracy is maintained even at peak brightness.
The X3 Pro has an aspect ratio of 20:9. The most common ratio for phones is 16:9, so this is fairly bigger. The large screen size on this phone gives you great space to game on. It makes it feel like the phone is meant to be for gamers. I thoroughly enjoyed the amount of agency I had in terms of space during my gaming sessions.
Pretty Sufficient Brightness
Clocking in at 450 nits, the X3 Pro is a very generous phone when it comes to screen brightness. Technically, a device starts counting as “sunlight-readable” when it hits at least 1,000 nits, but very few mobile displays go that high. As a general rule, anything above 400 to 500 nits will do pretty well on a sunny day, but at 200 nits, you might have to find some shade to answer texts.
The higher the number, the more frames per second the screen can display, and the smoother content will look. If you spend a lot of time looking at your phone screen, higher refresh rates can make your eyes feel a lot less tired. Even the gaming experience becomes sleeker. The X3 Pro has a refresh rate of 120Hz. But what also matters to gamers is the touch sampling rate, or touch refresh rate, which is the speed at which the screen becomes aware of the touch. The X3 Pro has a 240Hz touch sampling rate which is pretty impressive to the 120Hz on the new iPhone 12 Pro.
Like a cherry on top, the X3 Pro’s amazing display also leverages a Reading mode with a light sensor that automatically adjusts to sun. It changes the screen to warmer colors and adds a paper like texture to it.
The X3 Pro has unbelievably long stamina. Its 5160mAh high-capacity battery support 33W fast charging. I’d call myself a heavy user and the battery still lasted around two full days for me. I was also able to charge it to a 100% in just an hour. I can not recommend the X3 Pro’s battery life enough. It was one of its best features with its blindingly fast performance being the first. You won’t ever have to worry about being tethered to a socket, or carrying a power bank with this phone.
Inaccurate Camera Results
Apart from the X3 Pro’s weighty body, its camera was a major let down. On paper, it is a 48MP camera that sounds brilliant. There’s also a basic 8MP ultra-wide, and two 2MP macro and depth cameras. However, its results were highly disappointing. It gave everything the beauty filters you see on Instagram these days. It smudged the detail on my face so much that you could no longer see my dark circles and my forehead breakout. And that is not what you should expect from a camera. It also made my skin tone much lighter. Eurocentric beauty standards much? I wish the camera on the X3 Pro would have been less detail-eradicating. Noise reduction is one thing, but quite literally erasing details from my face is pushing it too far.
The Poco X3 Pro has quite good security features. The fingerprint scanner that was briefly talked about previously is great. During my testing, it didn’t fail once. I later changed the unlock method to face unlock. That was good too, but didn’t work well enough in low light so I’d deduct a point for that.
The X3 Pro has basic water resistance of IP53 so you know it can handle light splashes. It also has fairly good-sounding stereo speakers with sufficiently good mid-range and pretty cool bass. All in all, this phone is a complete package. It takes a hit in its camera and weight but considering its price, it’s still a steal.
Is It Hardcore?
The Poco X3 Pro could’ve benefitted from a better camera and a lighter body. However, its mind-blowing performance and an insane battery life easily overshadows that. It also has simple navigation and a crisp display.