POCO has been making some excellent budget smartphones since its inception in 2018 with the POCO F1. The latest smartphone from the brand is no different from its predecessors. The POCO M3 is also released at the budget price point like it has been releasing consistently for the past years. With a price of Dhs. 599, POCO M3 offers an unbeatable price to performance ratio.
Lets directly get into the POCO M3 review to see whether the device truly live up to all the praises it received since it was first released worldwide in November 2020.
Design & Build
The POCO M3 is a big phone with the 6.53″ display with a yellow plastic frame rounded on the phone and a faux leather finish on the back to have a nice grip on the phone and it also delivers a unique look to the phone rather than using cheap plastic feel. The phone has an almost edge to edge display with a teardrop camera featured in the middle of the phone for selfies.
At the rear, the M3 features a triple camera module in a large black rectangle with a POCO branding placed horizontally. This huge branding can catch people’s eyes making the phone recognize even from a good distance.
At the top, the device features a 3.5mm headphone jack which is not so familiar to see in 2021. A microphone and a secondary speaker for sound output. On the right side, there is a nice clicky volume rocker and a multi-featured power and side-mounted fingerprint scanner for security. On the left, the M3 features a dual SIM tray and a micro SD card slot.
At the bottom, the device features a speaker grill, a microphone and a USB Type-C 2.0 port for charging. POCO has kept the device very balanced and it seems their engineers have made quite an effort to make the device feel lighter despite it has a huge 6000mAh battery inside the device with a weight of 198g. As for a budget smartphone, the POCO M3 clearly outperforms in the spec sheet than the other devices in its class.
The M3 features a huge 6.53″ IPS LCD with a resolution of 1080×2340 pixels with a pixel density of a decent 395 pixels per inch. POCO has maintained the modern smartphone elements like keeping the aspect ration of 19.5:9 with an 83.4% screen-to-body ratio. To protect the accidental scratches, POCO M3 features a Gorilla Glass 3. We are glad that POCO did not make the trade-off on the screen protection.
The display has an output of 400 nits of brightness which is quite decent in this price point. The LCD that POCO has added to the phone is quite decent, the outdoor visibility is good and we did not face any issue in bright sunny days. Easily, one of the smartphone with a good display in this price segment.
The POCO M3 features a triple camera module at the rear with 48MP primary camera with f1.79 aperture, 2MP macro camera with f2.0 and 2MP depth sensor with f2.4 aperture.
POCO has added plenty of photo features as well like, Document Mode, Night mode, AI scene detection, Google Lens, AI Beautify, Portrait mode, Movie frame, Portrait mode background blur adjustment, Panorama and Raw mode. For video camera, the device allows time-lapse, 1080p and 720p video recording at 30fps on both front and rear cameras.
In the front, POCO has added an 8MP f2.05 aperture lens with few features like Timed selfie, Movie frame, AI Beautify, Filters, Palm Shutter, AI portrait mode and Panorama selfie mode.
The POCO M3 is powered with Qualcomm’s entry-level processor Snapdragon 662 Octa-core processor. The CPU cluster 1 contains 4×2.0 GHz Kryo 260 Gold and cluster 2 4×1.8GHz Kryo 260 Silver Cores with Adreno 610 GPU for graphics tasks. The device features a 4GB LPDDR4X RAM with multiple storage options of 64 GB and 128 GB onboard. The 64 GB storage variant comes with UFS 2.1 whereas the 128 GB storage variant has a faster UFS 2.2 speed.
In Geek bench performance benchmarks score, M3 has put an output result of 288 in single-core and 1332 in multi-core benchmark score. However, in performing day to day tasks these numbers don’t matter because it doesn’t give the full picture from a performance standpoint.
The POCO M3 is a budget phone and you cannot expect the device to fly while playing games. But, it manages to run normal games like Subway Surfer. However, graphics intense games like Asphalt 9 Legends and Dream League Soccer 2021 were able to play with frame drops at times. We are not surprised at all, As this is expected with a 600 dhs smartphone. With the game turbo feature turned on while gaming, it optimizes the performance to deliver the best experience. During the extensive gameplay hours, we did not face any excessive heat generated from the phone which is definitely a good sign for the buyers. The M3 features a 3.5mm headphone jack which is a rare thing we see this generation of smartphones. Also, the stereo speakers on the phone make this device complete as a full package for the buyers.
POCO has done an exceptional job in creating the M3 matching its value for money for the end users. We must say that this phone has exceeded our expectations from an AED 600 smartphone.
The POCO M3 unit we received for testing were running Android 10 and MIUI 12.0.3 running on top of it. During our review period, the Android security patch level was in November 2020 which is 2 months old. The MIUI skin from Xiaomi is a hit or miss for most users. It is evident that the MIUI is heavily loaded with the customization and plenty of bloatware apps pre-installed. Thankfully, POCO allows the users to remove the apps from the phone.
The MIUI 12 has quite interesting animations built-in to the launcher. I found its un-installation animation pretty interesting. The review unit we received was 128GB storage variant. Out of which, around 20 GB were consumed with few pre-installed apps and the OS.
The call recorder app that was integrated with the MIUI 12 we found it very useful since Android 10 does not allow third party launchers to run in the background and record the voice. Xiaomi has done a decent job in avoiding the multiple apps on the phone. They have pre-loaded the Google Phone App, Messages and contacts on the phone.
Network, Connectivity and Battery
POCO M3 supports 4G LTE connectivity and have a wide range of bands supported including the bands 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/20/28/38/40 and 41. The device supports VoLTE (Voice over LTE) on the Etisalat network we tested during our review period. The M3 does not support Google Pay or any sort of NFC Payments, as it lacks the NFC Chip. The smartphone also features Bluetooth 5.0 and Dual-band WiFi 5.
During the period of 2 weeks of testing, the calls were clear for both parties. The voice was clear and audible. However, we did face few accidental touches which mute the mic while calling as the sensors are placed on the extreme top right side of the screen. The device supports dual Nano-SIM cards and a MicroSD card which supports up to 512GB.
The POCO M3 supports the charging up to 18W, however the device comes with a 22.5W charger inside the box. The device took just above 2.5 hours to fully charge the 6000mAh battery which is a decent time considering its battery capacity. The M3 can be charged using the USB Type-C cable which comes inside the box. While the POCO smartphone does not support wireless charging. But it supports reverse wireless charging, which will be handy at times when you run out of juice and your POCO M3 Smartphone can be used as a power bank.
With the combination of low power consumption of the CPU with Snapdragon 662 processor and huge battery, the M3 delivers great battery life. With the mixed usage of browsing, calling, YouTube, Spotify music and using as a WiFi hotspot, the device easily got us through 2 days of usage.
With a budget of AED 600 for the 64 GB storage variant and AED 700 for 128 GB variant, the M3 is priced very affordably. The device performs sufficiently to perform daily tasks. With the 4GB RAM and Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 SoC under the hood, this budget smartphone won’t perform like a powerhouse.
The triple camera module can take some decent outdoor shots in daylight and dual-sim support with the stereo speakers along with the fingerprint scanner integration is a rare combination which can be found on an entry-level smartphone. The winner from the spec sheet is definitely its beefier 6000mAh Li-Ion battery which will give you off the charger for 2 days with moderate usage.
As a budget smartphone, the device offers overall good performance. POCO offers the M3 in 3 different colours like POCO Yellow, Cool Blue and Power Black with 2 storage variants. It also packs Soft case and high-speed charger of 22.5W inside the box which makes the deal even sweeter. With M3, POCO has set the bar very high for the entry-level smartphones in the overall specification to its bold looks. With the extensive testing of 3 weeks, we can easily recommend the M3 for anyone who wants to taste the sweetness of using a smartphone.