Best budget smartphone Xiaomi Poco M3: review Automatic translate
The Poco M3 is officially available starting at € 150 ($ 181). For that amount, you get a 6.53-inch smartphone with 4GB RAM / 64GB internal storage, Android 10, a 2340 x 1080 px IPS display, and a Snapdragon 662 as the CPU. While this does not turn the Poco M3 smartphone into a rocket, its performance should be sufficient for everyday use. And given the massive capacity of the battery, you can easily use it for much longer.
This single hardware characteristic makes the Poco M3 especially interesting: the Xiaomi smartphone with its 6000 mAh battery has more capacity than most other smartphones.
Don’t expect shiny body designs, fancy glass and metal surfaces, or IP certification from a € 150 smartphone. While the Poco M3 is no exception, it still does a lot of things right in terms of looks.
Weighing just 198 grams, the affordable Xiaomi smartphone is comfortably light, even if it is one of the rather large smartphones with a 6.53 inch form factor. And although it is necessary to place an XXL battery under the "hood", at 9.6 mm thickness it is almost as thin as its competitors.
Featuring a matte, slightly rubberized back that resembles leather in surface structure, the Poco M3 is comfortable to grip. At the same time, it looks solid and reliable enough that you don’t have to put your smartphone in the included protective case.
A matte plastic bezel connects the back cover with prominent ’Poco’ lettering to the display, which is protected by a layer of Gorilla Glass 3. The not-so-thin display bezels and selfie camera notch are a design compromise due to the low price. The fingerprint sensor is built into the power button.
Xiaomi offers the Poco M3 in three body colors. Our test device comes in Power Black, with optional colors in Poco Yellow and Cool Blue.
The Poco M3 has 4 GB of LPDDR4X RAM and optional 64 or 128 GB of internal storage (150 or 170 euros respectively; 181 or 205 dollars). But, since Xiaomi smartphone is currently difficult to find in online stores, both of these prices could be significantly higher. An interesting detail is the fact that the 64GB version uses UFS-2 storage. 1, and the 128GB uses UFS-2 storage. 2. But in terms of performance, they are very close, so you shouldn’t notice any difference in speed between both storage versions.
Internal storage can be expanded with a microSD card. Supported by volume up to 512 GB. However, it cannot store any applications, only multimedia files. On the other hand, the card tray can hold two SIM cards at the same time in addition to a microSD card.
The OTG compatible USB-C port on the Poco M3 transmits data at USB-2 speeds. 0. The equipment also includes an IR transmitter and FM radio. Widevine L1 DRM is also supported, allowing streaming in HD quality.
The Poco M3 uses Xiaomi’s Android 10 and MIUI 12 user interface. At the time of our testing, the Android security patches were at the December 2020 level. Xiaomi usually provides new security updates for its current smartphones every three months, so there should be a new update soon.
Of its 128GB of storage, nearly 108GB was available to the user of our test unit as shipped. In addition to Google and Xiaomi tools, there are only a few third-party apps like Amazon, Facebook, eBay and TikTok that can be removed.
Communication and GPS
The model under test can support 4G connections and covers a significant number of frequencies with LTE bands 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/20/28/38/40 and 41. Its low emission values are also positive (head SAR 0, 597 W / kg, SAR body 0, 807 W / kg).
Xiaomi does not support mobile payments as it lacks an NFC chip. On the other hand, the communications hardware includes Bluetooth 5.0 and WiFi 5. However, the Poco M3 left a mixed impression in the WLAN test.
With a maximum of 301 Mbps receiving and 284 Mbps sending, the Wi-Fi transfer rate is in the middle of our device comparison field, so these are perfectly acceptable values. However, the transfer rate is not very stable because the WLAN speed drops continuously for short periods of time. While these drops are not very significant, other competitors such as the Samsung Galaxy M21, whose WLAN speed is almost the same, can manage more stable data transfers.
Poco M3 determines its current location using the satellite navigation systems Beidou, GPS, GLONASS and Galileo. In our test, this was achieved with an accuracy of 4 meters indoors and up to 3 meters outdoors. While driving, GPS accuracy is not as high, but still sufficient for everyday tasks.
On our bike tour of about 12 km, where we also take a professional navigation device for direct comparison, the Poco M3 shows significantly true, but also sometimes places us next to the trail. Overall, however, these deviations remain limited.
Phone features and voice quality
Poco M3 supports 4G connections for two SIM cards at the same time. VoLTE and WLAN calls are also supported if the network provider allows it. In the test, Xiaomi showed good voice quality, and in the hands-free mode, the voices are still transmitted clearly and easily for understanding.
The Xiaomi smartphone is equipped with a triple camera system, the main element of which is a 48 MPX (f / 1.79) lens with autofocus. By default, it merges 4 adjacent pixels into one, taking 12 MPX images. Optionally, you can also go to the "48M" menu in the camera settings, which will allow you to use the full resolution. The camera records video at a maximum resolution of 1080p and 30 frames per second. On the other hand, there is no image stabilization, so you need a steady hand.
Unfortunately, the trio’s add-on modules don’t include a wide-angle or telephoto lens, but a macro camera and a depth sensor, both of which have 2 MPX resolution and f / 2.4 aperture. But the depth sensor still produces useful bokeh effects for portraits. The 8-megapixel selfie camera is not bad either, it also provides good service during video calls, but doesn’t offer autofocus.
In daylight, you can get good pictures from the main camera, including many details that appear to be quite bright. However, when the camera’s AI is activated, some colors appear too intense.
All criticism notwithstanding: With a purchase price of around € 150 (~ $ 181), the camera does offer some value. If you limit yourself to standard photographs in bright surroundings, then you will almost always get decent pictures.
Input devices and operation
The performance of the Snapdragon 662 is sufficient for everyday tasks, but it is slow in some places. Menu navigation is smooth, but launching applications is almost always accompanied by time to think. The same goes for taking photos or switching between apps and even closing apps.
Finally, everything works as it should, but for the impatient user or those accustomed to the smooth operation of 90Hz displays and / or mid-range smartphones, the Poco M3 is a little slow. Only unlocking with face recognition or fingerprint sensor works smoothly and without lag. It happens just as quickly and reliably as we are used to more expensive Xiaomi smartphones.
Xiaomi has equipped the Poco M3 with an IPS display with a resolution of 2340 × 1080 px (FHD +). This gives a form factor of 19.5: 9 and a px density of 395 PPI. The IPS display is protected by Gorilla Glass 3 and offers a 60 Hz refresh rate.
The budget smartphone with a pure white background has an average brightness of 428 cd / m², which does not make it particularly bright even in the price range below 200 euros. When we repeat the measurement with evenly spaced light and dark areas of the image (APL50), the maximum is 437 cd / m². Without a brightness sensor, Xiaomi reaches 411 cd / m2.
While the Poco M3 still uses PWM for brightness control, it is only used when the display brightness is set to 3% or less, which is almost never the case in practice. In addition, the PWM flicker has a very high frequency of 892.2Hz, so it shouldn’t bother even sensitive users.
The Xiaomi smartphone offers better color reproduction if you change the default color scheme "Automatic" to "Standard". With a maximum Delta-E of 3.5, not only the color and grayscale values, but also the color temperature and gamma value are reasonably accurate.
On the street, the Poco M3 convinces only to a limited extent. Due to the not very large margin of brightness, it is sometimes difficult to easily recognize the content. However, Xiaomi faced a very difficult outdoor scenario in the test: a combination of direct sun, snow cover, and resulting light reflections.
In terms of viewing angle stability, the IPS display does not come close to more expensive smartphones. The content of the image already appears to be noticeably darker when looking at the screen from the side a little. Although this effect is not very noticeable on test screens, in practice the opposite is true. On the other hand, color reproduction remains neutral even at very steep viewing angles.
With an octa-core Snapdragon 662 processor and an Adreno 610 graphics chip, the Poco M3’s performance is in the lower midrange. It’s not quite as fast as the Exynos 9611 used in the Samsung Galaxy M21 or the Mediatek Helio G95 in the Realme 7. However, the performance is sufficient for everyday tasks, even if some things don’t go as fast as downloading apps. However, our tests show that the SoC is still suitable for some games.
Thanks to UFS-2 storage. 2 Poco M3 offers good read and write speeds, but overall it is not much faster than those using UFS-2 storage. 1, such as the Samsung Galaxy M21. The microSD performance is okay too.
The Poco M3 may well be suitable for gaming. Xiaomi has stereo speakers positioned on two short sides, so they provide a good sound image in landscape format. Of course, performance reserves are limited due to the Snapdragon 662, but they are still enough to play graphically simpler ones, such as, for example, "Armajet".
Sometimes you will need to reduce the graphics detail in games with more equipment intensive use in order to maintain the enjoyment of the game. PUBG Mobile does it on its own: in the popular shooter, the maximum graphics detail available is Balanced, which is the second lowest value. Even so, "PUBG Mobile" also won’t run completely smoothly, but it still plays easily at an average of 25 frames per second.
With an average temperature of 32.4 C, the Xiaomi Poco M3 does not heat up even under load, so it never gets too hot in your hand. Inside, the smartphone handles temperatures well as well.
As tests show, Snapdragon 662 can always make full use of its maximum performance and there is no throttling due to heat issues. This is shown, for example, in the GFXBench battery test scenarios, where the Poco M3 renders test scenes 30 times in a row without dropping the frame rate. In the 3DMark stress test, the stability score is almost perfect at 99.5%.
Stereo speakers are something special in the sub-€ 200 ($ 242) price class, and the Xiaomi Poco M3 boasts that. The speakers are located on both short sides of the smartphone and produce surprisingly good sound, the only drawback of which is the low frequency range. You can also connect the headset to your smartphone via 3.5mm audio port or Bluetooth 5.0.
While the Poco M3 supports charging up to 18W, there is a 22.5W charger in the box. In our test, it is able to fully charge the Xiaomi in 2 hours 40 minutes, which is a pretty good figure considering the large 6000 mAh battery.
Although the smartphone does not support wireless charging, it does support reverse wired charging. This means that you can also use your smartphone as a power bank to charge other devices. However, the appropriate cable for this is not included.
With its combination of low power consumption and XXL size battery, the Xiaomi Poco M3 offers excellent battery life. In simulated web surfing, it lasts almost 21 hours, and when playing video - almost 19.5 hours. With regular use, the Xiaomi Poco M3 should last at least two, if not three days without recharging. Among our comparison devices, only the Samsung Galaxy M21 can match it as it also has a 6000mAh battery.
At a price of 150 euros (181 dollars) for the 64 GB version of the Xiaomi Poco M3, it is very, very good. But with 4GB of RAM and Snapdragon 662, the budget smartphone is not a performance champion and can be sluggish at times. But the performance is still enough for everyday tasks, and even allows you to sometimes play this or that game. On the other hand, we would have liked a slightly brighter IPS screen, as the display, which is otherwise good, quickly pushes its limits outdoors.
Otherwise, the Poco M3’s equipment is surprisingly extensive. There’s a triple camera system capable of taking acceptable pictures in daylight, true dual SIM connectivity, and even stereo speakers, which is a really rare feature in this price class. But the obvious highlight of the hardware is the large 6000mAh battery that gives Xiaomi an impressive battery life. The battery can be fully charged in less than 3 hours.
Overall, the Poco M3 delivers good performance but is not a budget smartphone champion.
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