Google Play services powers many key features on Android devices that might not be obvious to end users, and Google is now offering an explanation directly on your phone as part of a new approach.
If you go to Settings > Apps > See all > Google Play services, you’ll see a new “All Services” item as the first thing in the App info list underneath Disable and Force stop. Tapping lets you “See details about the services used on your device.” Google’s high-level explanation of Play services follows:
Google Play services helps to make your device more secure and reliable. It’s an important part of many of the features on your device, and it’s different from the Play Store app.
Keep in mind that turning off services can impact the way your device works.
The last line makes explicit reference to how some people disable it. Google specifically highlights 17 capabilities. Tapping takes you to settings pages, while the Info button next to things takes you to various support/help articles.
Of the devices we checked today, this is only appearing on Android 13 Pixel phones. The capability that lets Play services add this “All services” page to App info requires the latest version of the OS.
Account management: Used for secure sign-in and better control of your Google Account
Links to settings for: Device phone number and Google Account
Ads: Used to control ad preferences and prevent ad spam
Lets you: Reset advertising ID, Delete advertising ID, or Enable debug logging for ads
Also shows device advertising ID
Autofill with Google: Used to fill in your info, such as passwords and payment methods
Shows settings to enable/disable Autofill with Google
Links to your saved Personal information, Addresses, Payment methods, and Passwords, as well as Preferences
Contacts: Used to sync your contacts with your Google Account and other devices
Links to settings for: Google Contacts sync and Restore contacts
Data backup and transfer: Used to back up and restore your data, app settings, and account info
Links to settings for: Settings > System > Backup
Developer features: Used for features that app developers can include to make their apps better and more reliable
Google is preparing to shut down the dedicated Street View app on Android, keeping the feature in Google Maps.
About APK Insight: In this “APK Insight” post, we’ve decompiled the latest version of an application that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we’re able to see various lines of code within that hint at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ever ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. We’ll try to enable those that are closer to being finished, however, to show you how they’ll look in case that they do ship. With that in mind, read on.
Google’s Street View is an easy way to get a 360° look at almost any given street on the planet, perfect for getting a sense of your next travel destination or simply exploring the world from the comfort of home. While the Google Maps app has long offered an easy way to hop into Street View, there has also been a dedicated Street View app on Android and iOS.
This standalone app served two distinct groups of people – those who wanted to deeply browse Street View and those who wanted to contribute their own 360° imagery. Considering the more popular Google Maps app has Street View support and Google offers a “Street View Studio” web app for contributors, it should be no surprise to learn that the company is now preparing to shut down the Street View app.
In the latest update, version 220.127.116.114371618, Google has prepared a handful of deprecation/shutdown notices for the Street View app. These notices are not yet visible in the app today, but our team managed to enable them.
In the notice, Google confirms that the Street View app is set to shut down on March 31, 2023, encouraging users to switch to either Google Maps or Street View Studio.
Street View App is going away
The app is going away and support will end March 21, 2023.
To publish your own 360 video, switch to Street View Studio. To view Street View and add Photo Spheres, use Google Maps.
However, one feature that is being fully shut down with the Street View app’s demise is that of “Photo Paths.” First launched last year, Photo Paths were intended as a way to let nearly anyone with a smartphone contribute simple 2D photos of a road or path that had not yet been documented by Street View. Unlike every other feature of the Street View app, there is no replacement for Photo Paths on the web app or Google Maps app.
Google’s Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro are important phones for a few reasons, but one of the biggest is how they support apps. As it turns out, the Pixel 7 series delivers the first Android phones that block support for apps that aren’t 64-bit. What does that mean for you? Let’s discuss.
It’s been no secret that Google has been working toward a future where Android is a 64-bit operating system, as opposed to one that still supports 32-bit software. What’s the difference between the two? In short, a 64-bit operating system can access drastically more memory addresses, which leads to improvements on both performance and security. Google boasted speed improvements to Chrome for Android, for instance, when it moved to a 64-bit build.
Android made the move to support 64-bit apps in 2011 with the launch of Android 5.0, but the platform has always supported 32-bit apps in the years since. It was in 2019 that Google moved to make 64-bit support a requirement for all apps distributed through the Google Play Store, Android’s primary source of apps, with the Play Store later ending serving apps that either didn’t support 64-bit or didn’t have a 64-bit version.
Now, Google is taking the next step by releasing the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro with 64-bit only support for apps, but not through a firm block.
As Mishaal Rahman confirmed, the Pixel 7 series only supports 64-bit apps. The devices are not running on a 64-bit only version of Android, though, instead only blocking the installation of 32-bit apps with a message “app not installed as app isn’t compatible with your phone” appearing when a user attempts to install a 32-bit app.
What does this mean for you?
In theory, Google’s change to supporting exclusively 64-bit apps on the Pixel 7 series should have no noticeable impact on your experience.
This is largely because of the groundwork Google has laid out over the past decade on building up support for 64-bit in Android. One of the only apps that comes to mind as a 32-bit only app is the flash-in-the-pan hit Flappy Bird, which hasn’t been updated since the game’s monumental success and still-shocking closure. Rahman also points out that a version of the Pebble smartwatch app doesn’t support 64-bit, which means that the older smartwatches, which are technically still functional, though unsupported, can’t be paired to Google’s latest Pixel phones.
Notably too, there’s also a potential positive from this. Rahman claims that benchmarks for power efficiency and performance on devices with more than 4GB of RAM jump by 5-10%.
Meanwhile, Google’s Pixel Tablet is expected to be the first Android device that is truly 64-bit only, as Android 14 may make that move further for other devices.
Meta has issued a Facebook security warning to around one million users that their login credentials may have been stolen by scam apps.
While most of the apps were Android ones, 47 of them were iOS apps found in Apple’s App Store …
Many apps and websites offer third-party login options, with the most common ones being:
Login with Facebook
Login with Google
Login with Apple
The intention behind these login methods is to make it quicker and easier to start using an app, by skipping the need to register an account. However, a bad actor can also use this approach to steal your credentials.
Engadget reports that this is what a whole bunch of scam apps have done with the “Login with Facebook” option.
Meta is warning 1 million Facebook users that their account information may have been compromised by third-party apps from Apple or Google’s stores. In a new report, the company’s security researchers say that in the last year they’ve identified more than 400 scammy apps designed to hijack users’ Facebook account credentials.
According to the company, the apps are disguised as “fun or useful” services, like photo editors, camera apps, VPN services, horoscope apps, and fitness tracking tools. The apps often require users to “Log In with Facebook” before they can access the promised features. But these login features are merely a means of stealing Facebook users’ account info. And Meta’s Director of Threat Disruption, David Agranovich, noted that many of the apps Meta identified were barely functional.
Facebook security warning
If you have used one of the known scam apps, Meta will push a message to you in the Facebook app:
A security notice from Meta
You may have logged into Facebook from a malicious app designed to steal your Facebook account information.
To protect your information we recommend you secure your account immediately.
The site says that the iOS apps identified mostly appeared to be targeting business users, with names like Meta Business, FB Analytic, and so on.
Meta has provided the full list of apps to both Apple and Google, so that they can be removed from their respective app stores.
Apple of course argues that its app review process keeps users safe from scams, and this is why it shouldn’t be obliged by antitrust concerns to allow third-party app stores or sideloading of iOS apps.
This latest revelation could be said to provide ammunition to both sides of the debate. On the one hand, dozens of scam apps made it through app review despite the fact that (a) they were stealing credentials and (b) scarcely worked. On the other, there were far fewer of these apps in the App Store than in Google’s Play Store.
The Moto G series has become a staple of the affordable phone market, and Motorola has managed to make an even cheaper than normal base device for 2020 in the form of the Moto G8.
It doesn’t have as much of a specs jump as new numbered models usually do (and in some ways it’s even a step down), but instead the company is aiming to give you the most bang for your buck in the Moto G8, and it mostly achieves that.
You shouldn’t expect a handset that is going to amaze you, but considering how low the price is you shouldn’t be disappointed by what’s on offer either.
The Moto G8’s design feels premium for the type of device we’re talking about, and it has a big display (although the resolution isn’t as good as we’d like).
The battery meanwhile will last you for a full day even with extensive usage, and if you’re not going to be using the phone much each day you should find that it can last even longer. It’s slow to charge, but the 4,000mAh cell performs well.
The camera can hold its own too. There are three elements – a 16MP main shooter, an 8MP ultra-wide one, and a 2MP macro one, with the former two allowing you to take some impressive shots considering the price of the device.
And that’s what it all comes down to; the price of the Moto G8 is – as noted above – even cheaper than the last few generations of Moto G phones. That in itself is impressive, and while you may be missing a few specs that some will be desperate for, this is a perfect cheap phone for others.
The Moto G8’s release has been complicated as the company unveiled a variety of handsets in the range at different times. The standard Moto G8 was unveiled in March 2020, and it went on sale in Europe soon after that.
The phone costs £179.99 / AU$329 (about $220) but it isn’t coming to the US (though you can buy the Moto G Power and Moto G Stylus there, both of which are part of the same range). Exactly why Motorola chose not to bring the G8 to this market is currently unclear.
There’s only one variant of the Moto G8 that you can buy, and it comes with 64GB of space and 4GB of RAM. It’s remarkably cheaper than the Moto G7 that launched at $299 / £239 / AU$399 but it’s important to note that the spec is a little lower here in some regards.
For example, the screen tech on the Moto G8 is a little weaker when compared to the Moto G7.
This is an affordable phone, and if you consider that when handling it then you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised with how the Moto G8 feels in the hand.
It has a plastic frame and rear, so it isn’t going to feel as svelte in your hands as a modern day flagship phone like the Motorola Edge Plus does.
If you’ve got smaller hands, you may not appreciate how large this phone is. It comes with dimensions of 161.3 x 75.8 x 9mm, making it a larger device than a lot of other cheap phones, which could make it a struggle for some to hold.
That said, we enjoyed the size of the device as it allows for a substantial screen (which we’ll dive into more in a moment) as well as a large battery inside.
Buy it if…
You need a cheap phone
For the price, the Moto G8 is a fantastic choice. You will miss out on a few features that you get on the Moto G8 Plus and some other budget phones, but some won’t mind missing these considering the Moto G8 is less than £200 / AU$350.
You want long battery life
The Moto G8 Power is the phone that will impress you when it comes to battery life, but this device is also capable of lasting for two days with light usage and should certainly last you a full day even if you’re using your phone a lot.
You want a 3.5mm headphone jack
A lot of top-end devices like the Samsung Galaxy S20 and iPhone 11 series have dropped this legacy technology. Having a 3.5mm headphone jack means you’re still able to listen to music on a wired headset with ease on the Moto G8.
Don’t buy it if…
You want a beautiful display
The 720 x 1560 display on the Moto G8 is noticeably lacking when compared to rival devices that tend to have Full HD panels. If you’re looking for a phone that will display videos in all their glory, this isn’t going to be it.
You need a powerful rear camera
This isn’t going to blow your mind with its camera, but it’s suitable for the average person that is looking for an affordable phone. Just don’t expect this to take beautiful photos that floor your friends and family when they’re uploaded to Instagram.
You want to be able to make mobile payments
As we’ve said, the Moto G8 lacks NFC so it isn’t capable of using Google Pay. That isn’t a feature that everyone needs, but it’s something worth noting if you’re considering the Moto G8 for your next smartphone.
Just like Google’s Pixel phones, Samsung has equipped Galaxy devices with a special tool for emergency situations. The Samsung mode on Galaxy phones is called “Lockdown,” and it makes unlocking the device even more difficult if you don’t know the PIN or passcode. Here’s how it works.
Lockdown mode is one of those features that we recommend familiarizing yourself with, even though you might never need to use it. The feature sits up there with Emergency SOS as far as importance is concerned.
In essence, Lockdown Mode does a couple of things for your Samsung device. When initiated, the feature will immediately lock your phone. After the Galaxy phone is locked, it will turn off both face recognition and the fingerprint sensor, leaving a PIN or passcode as the only unlock option.
This can come in handy for a variety of reasons – all pretty malicious. There may be circumstances where your fingerprint or face could be used to unlock the device without consent. To combat this, Lockdown mode ensures that any unlock is by intent.
How to enable Lockdown mode on Samsung Galaxy phones
There are a couple of ways you can initiate Lockdown mode on your Samsung phone. Before activating it though, you need to change a couple of settings. By default, Lockdown mode isn’t an option in the Power menu and needs to be turned on.
Here’s how to add Lockdown mode to the Power menu:
On your Samsung phone, head to the settings by swiping down from the homescreen and tapping the settings cog.
From the settings, find and tap Lock screen.
Tap Secure lock settings.
Enter your PIN or passcode.
Toggle Show lockdown option on.
This process adds Lockdown mode to your Power menu, making it very easy to access in most circumstances. Here’s how to find Lockdown mode on your Samsung phone:
From your homescreen, swipe down twice.
Tap the power icon.
As mentioned, your phone will instantly lock itself. If you try to open it back up, you’ll find your fingerprint won’t work nor will face unlock. The only way to gain access again is through your PIN or passcode. Once you unlock with your PIN, your Samsung device will deactivate Lockdown and things will go back to normal.
Accessing the Power menu via the side key
By default, the only way to access the Power menu is through the Quick Setting page above your notifications. You can change this by adjusting what the Side key – or power button – does when held down. Samsung defaults this button’s action to waking Bixby, though it can be used to quickly access the Power menu.
Here’s how to change the side key’s function:
Head to settings by swiping down once from the home screen and tapping the settings cog.
From there, scroll down and tap Advanced settings.
Hit Side key.
Under Press and hold, tap Power off menu.
Once changed, the Power menu will appear when the power button is held down. This makes it a little easier to access the Lockdown option on Samsung phones.
How is Samsung’s Lockdown different from iOS Lockdown Mode?
With iOS 16, Apple introduced a new feature for the company called Lockdown Mode as well. While the name is similar to what Samsung offers for its devices, the feature is a little more robust for iOS. Lockdown Mode for iOS initiates a systemwide security upgrade that focuses on protecting from “sophisticated cyber attacks.” Apps, websites, and other features will function differently with a focus on security rather than performance.
Apple’s Lockdown Mode is much more focused on cybersecurity rather than the physical security that Lockdown for Pixel and Samsung Galaxy devices are.
While we hope Lockdown is never needed in a real circumstance for your Android device, it’s a feature that should be familiar. Samsung’s Lockdown is a great way to protect yourself and your vital data in the case of an emergency, especially since it’s so easy to activate. This feature works great on any Samsung phone, including the Z Fold 4 and Z Flip 4, which both make use of fingerprint sensors and face unlock.
Google is preparing to expand Pixel’s support for showing At A Glance notifications from smart doorbells to also include alerts from Ring products.
About APK Insight: In this “APK Insight” post, we’ve decompiled the latest version of an application that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we’re able to see various lines of code within that hint at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ever ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. We’ll try to enable those that are closer to being finished, however, to show you how they’ll look in the case that they do ship. With that in mind, read on.
Over the course of this year, Google has put a significant amount of effort into the expansion of the At A Glance widget that is ever present on the homescreen and lock screen of Pixel devices. What originally started as useful reminders from Assistant and Calendar has become an all-in-one hub for things your phone thinks you might want to know immediately.
One such recent improvement was the addition of support for alerts from Nest Doorbells, indicating that someone is at the door and (if recognized by Familiar Faces) who it is. Now it seems Google is preparing to expand At A Glance’s support for smart doorbells to include third-party options.
As spotted in the latest release of Android System Intelligence — “T.5” which is notably the first non-beta update to the app’s Android 13 variant — the At A Glance widget is picking up support for doorbells from Ring. Since 2018, Ring has been owned by Amazon, but the company has been no stranger to Google’s ecosystem, offering full Google Assistant integration.
“Show who’s at the door when your Nest or Ring doorbell rings”
Where the existing integration with Nest is easily possible as the Google Home app is installed by default on Pixel phones, the upcoming Ring doorbell support will require that you have Ring’s app installed. Given the feature has so far only appeared in Android 13 builds of Android System Intelligence, it’s likely this particular integration won’t be launching until much later this year.
At A Glance has steadily expanded over the past year
The new tidbit comes as part of a broader movement by Google to integrate At A Glance with third-party apps and services. In recent weeks, we’ve seen preparation for the widget to support delivery notifications from services like Doordash and ETA alerts from ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft.
Google Maps is preparing to expand its fuel-efficient routing options by specifically tailoring to electric vehicles, hybrids, and more.
Last year, Google Maps began offering an alternative way to navigate your car from one place to another. Where typically a navigation app optimizes for the shortest travel time, Google Maps started offering routes that would be more fuel-efficient and eco-friendly, even defaulting to that route if the ETA is similar.
However, not all vehicles behave the same way or can optimize fuel efficiency with the same methods. While gas-powered vehicles are still all too common in the United States, there’s a growing number of hybrids and electric vehicles on the road, and quite a few diesel-powered ones as well. Suffice it to say the most efficient route for a traditional ICE car will not be the same as one for an electric.
To that end, the latest beta update to Google Maps, version 11.39, includes preparations to specify the engine type of the vehicle you’re currently driving. This selection — with options for gas, diesel, electric, and hybrid — will be used by Google Maps to “tailor” your navigation to find what will “save you the most fuel or energy.”
New! Get fuel-efficient routes tailored to your vehicle’s engine type.
Save more fuel by choosing your engine type
This info helps Maps find the route that will save you the most fuel or energy.
It doesn’t seem like you’ll be required to select a particular type of engine, even once this feature launches. Additionally, there will be an option in the app’s settings to switch to a different engine type, if needed.
Choose engine type
Change engine type
The change makes a great deal of sense for Google Maps given the company’s environmental consciousness, and it implies the success they may have had so far with automatically choosing the energy-efficient route. As the functionality is only just beginning to appear in beta testing, drivers of electric and hybrid vehicles will likely still have to wait a few more weeks to experience the tweaks Google Maps will make to their drive.
Google Maps begins rolling out estimated toll prices for planned routes
Estimated toll prices for planned routes now appear to be rolling out for Google Maps users on both Android and iOS after being announced earlier this year.
Having already been announced earlier this year, it has taken a little longer than expected for toll prices to arrive in Google Maps. First reported by Android Police, the feature rollout has since been confirmed by the official Google Maps help page post(and Twitter) with 2,000 toll roads in the US, India, Indonesia, and Japan being accounted for.
Google previously stated that more countries will see the feature “soon” but did not specify just what regions will be first in line once the expansion starts. Toll price estimates is a feature that has existed in Waze for some time, but given the ubiquity of Google Maps, this is a solid option for those in regions where toll roads are a common occurrence. This is in tandem with the existing feature that allows you to avoid toll roads entirely when route planning.
For the planner friend: this new feature is for you. 🙏
Now when you’re planning trips big and small, you can check estimated toll prices before you pick a route—and spend what you save on road snacks. pic.twitter.com/Lfy8s2TXQU
You’ll see the estimated toll price to your destination before you start navigating thanks to trusted information from local tolling authorities. We look at factors like having a toll pass or not, what the day of the week it is, along with how much the toll is expected to cost at the specific time you’ll be crossing it.
The pricing data is directly sourced from local tolling authorities. Maps then factors in the outright cost of using a toll pass, specific payment method charges, daily toll rates, along with how much the toll is expected to cost at the specific arrival time to give you an estimate when mapping out a potential route.
You will have the option within settings to show toll prices with or without having a toll pass–as in many geographies the price changes based on the payment method you use. You will also still have the option to avoid routes crossing toll roads entirely, if possible, by selecting ‘Avoid tolls’ within settings.
While this is a great move, it’s worth noting that Google Maps is not yet capable of showing individual toll road prices. Instead, you’ll only get a “full” estimate for a complete route. There are also no options to select things such as vehicle type nor add-in discount passes if they exist for certain transit methods. Either way, this is a great step in the right direction, and it would be great to see Google develop it further with more fine controls and pricing data.
For a patch, Android 13 Beta 3.2 contains many more changes than expected and we’re diving into everything new as a result.
Over the coming hours, we’ll dive into all of Android 13 Beta 3.2’s new features and every single change. (The newest updates will be at the top of this list. Be sure to check back often and tell us what you find in the comments below.) Beta 3.1 screenshots appear on the left and Beta 3.2 at the right.
Prep towards new Easter Egg
Tweaked Pixel Tips layout: More prominent highlights
Tweaks to Clipboard
Sharing is now done via the bottom-left corner overlay.
The share button is no longer in the full-screen editor. After making any edits and tapping “Done,” you’re taken back to the previous screen with the corner overlay still visible.
Pixel Launcher: ‘Always show keyboard’ in app drawer
Updated Google Lens icon
Google rolls out Android 13 Beta 3.2 to Pixel with several bug fixes
Following a patch last Friday, Google is back with Android 13 Beta 3.2 today to fix more issues on Pixel phones.
Google usually does not release more than one patch in-between major previews, but Beta 3.1 was required as a more pressing fix — coming only two days after Beta 3 — given the unavailability of the Beta Feedback app for new users.
At a high-level, Beta 3.2 includes the “latest bug fixes and improvements to stability and performance.” Five Android 13 issues are specifically addressed with this update:
Fixed an issue where the back gesture wasn’t working in some apps.
Fixed an issue where the At a glance settings page would collapse inconsistently when scrolling.
Fixed an issue where some apps would crash instantly on opening.
Fixed an issue where the microphone would turn on and off unexpectedly during unrelated use of the device.
Fixed an issue where the Google Photos app would crash frequently.
These problems are particularly application and user-facing, though we have not seen widespread reports of them.
Factory images for Android 13 Beta 3.2 build TPB3.220610.004 (versus TPB3.220513.017.B1 previously) are available now. On a Pixel 4a, the OTA comes in at 238MB.
After the main release and two patches, Google is now asking for feedback on Android 13 Beta 3 in a survey that’s slightly different from past versions by focusing on the search experience.
For starters, the survey is hosted on Qualtrics instead of Google Forms and asks for demographic information (age and occupation). It opened today and ends on June 28 at 5 p.m. PT.
This survey should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete. Please keep in mind that all questions and content within this survey are confidential and should not be shared with anyone.
This Android 13 Beta 3 survey is not limited to Pixel with various OEMs, including those that have not announced preview programs yet, listed:
Realme, Momo, Oppo, Samsung, Microsoft, Google Pixel, OnePlus, Motorola, Sony, and Nokia
After specifying the current build on your device, Google asks which “search box did you primarily use since using your device on Android 13”: Search widget on the home screen or All Apps Drawer search box. You’re able to select “Both.” Google wants to know whether Android 13 has changed your usage compared to Android 12. Listed capabilities include:
Apps not yet installed (i.e. Google Play store apps)
Apps (installed on your phone)
Content within Apps
Quick app actions (i.e. shortcuts)
Web content (e.g. websites, Google search results page)
There’s then a question about “how easy or difficult was it to find what you were searching for in the search box” with the ability to expand further via written responses; Google then asks you to compare the two search fields.
Likely to help improve the process of registering your fingerprint on devices with in-display readers, Android 13 Beta 3 has gained a new enrolment UI.
Of course, with the Pixel 6a and Pixel 7 series yet to be officially available, that means the new UI is currently limited to the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. If you update a device which already has pre-registered biometric data, you may never actually see this new UI. However, when enrolling a fingerprint or thumbprint, during the latter stages of this process in Android 13 Beta 3, you will see a new animation and guides to help you get a better reading of your finger.
Given the bad press that the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro in-display fingerprint scanners have received, it’s likely that this new guidance and improved UI have been added to ensure better registration processes for all users. We do know that the upcoming Pixel 6a will utilize a different in-display scanner, but it remains to be seen if this new change will help alleviate the Pixel 6 series issues.
By adding a new fingerprint enrolment UI within Android 13, it makes it more obvious just when to begin adjusting your finger and add the extremities or edges. In Android 12, a text prompt alongside guide brackets are currently used, which are actually not entirely visible when pressing your finger on-screen.
Making this change to the fingerprint enrollment section within Android 13 could have major benefits for the upcoming Pixel 7 series, but could also help those with problems with their existing Pixel 6 series handset and ensure better unlock times when using the new unlock method.
The Pocophone brand is often associated with performance on the cheap, and that’s probably the apt description for the latest phone we have for review – the Poco F3. It’s more than that, though – it’s like a flagship on the cheap, or as this other company would have called it – a flagship killer.
The Poco F3 is jam-packed with top-notch features starting with its beautiful glass body with a sturdy plastic frame. The F3 has a 6.67″ AMOLED screen with 120Hz refresh, one of the fastest platforms available today – the Snapdragon 870 5G chip, loud stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos, a versatile triple-camera setup, and a large battery with fast charging.
The rear camera is your typical budget arrangement, and that’s probably the biggest cost-cutting decision to happen on the F3. There is a 48MP primary, an 8MP ultrawide shooter, and a 5MP macro enhanced with autofocus. The punch-hole at the front contains a 20MP selfie shooter. Sure, it’s no real flagship, but hey, it’s not too shabby either.
The Poco F3 is among the first phones to employ the enhanced version of last year’s Snapdragon 865. That’s the new Snapdragon 870, which should be about 10% faster. Paired with that 1080p screen, the hardware should also be doing a fabulous job in graphics-intensive tasks, too.
The Poco F3 isn’t a massive upgrade over the F2 Pro, though. It sure packs a better 120Hz AMOLED and stereo speakers than its predecessor, but we expect the processing performance to be similar. The F2 Pro even had higher-resolution main and ultra-wide cameras. But there is a big case to be made here – the Poco F3 price at launch is almost half the Poco F2’s, and that’s a big deal.
Indeed, the Poco F3 seems to be packing a lot of unexpectedly good specs. Let’s scroll through those now.
Xiaomi Poco F3 specs at a glance:
Body: 163.7×76.4×7.8mm, 196g; Glass front (Gorilla Glass 5), glass back (Gorilla Glass 5), plastic frame.
We appreciate the stereo speakers and the fast charging, but we can’t but miss the microSD slot and the 3.5mm jack. The writing has been on the wall for a couple of years now, sure, but still. Poco users usually expect these features to be present, and they are not on the F3. There is no FM radio on the Poco F3, if you were wondering.
Enough with the introductions, it’s time we unbox it.
Unboxing the Poco F3
The Poco F3 ships within a big black box with the usual yellow Poco insignia. The retail bundle is your typical Xiaomi treatment – there is a fast 33W power adapter, a 3A-rated USB-A-to-C cable, and a transparent silicone case. That case has a small protective cover for the USB port, which boosts the ingress protection, but gets annoying fast when you need to charge the phone or plug a wired headset.
And speaking about headsets, the Poco F3 doesn’t offer a 3.5mm jack, and that’s why the maker is also offering a 3.5mm-to-USB-C adapter as part of the bundle. Nice!
Finally, if you are an avid Poco fan, you’ll also be happy to find a bunch of Poco stickers, which you can put on your favorite gadgets, PCs, or maybe your car bumper?
The Poco F3 comes with this very thin screen protector that was applied in the factory, but it was so cheap and hard to keep to clean from smudges that we got rid of it quickly.
The Poco F3 is one capable smartphone with a great design, an impressive screen, a powerful chipset and a large battery. It’s not a water-resistant phone, and its camera experience is rather average, but with a price of €350, or even €300, it’s a killer deal.
Xiaomi is having a blast these couple of weeks – it has launched a couple of devices jam-packed with high-end features devices and incredibly low prices.
Take the €50 cheaper Poco X3 Pro, for example. It shares many specs with the Poco F3, but there are a few notable differences, too. The Poco X3 Pro is IP53-rated for splash resistance, and it packs a similar screen with an LCD panel instead of an AMOLED. The X3 Pro runs on the slightly inferior Snapdragon 860 chip with 4G connectivity, which is still a beast, all things considered. The rest is the same – speakers, cameras, software. It’s an excellent alternative to the F3, cheaper at that.
Then there is the even cheaper €280 Redmi Note 10 Pro. This Redmi also has a lot in common with the Poco F3 – similar glass design, the same 120Hz AMOLED screen, the secondary cameras are a match. The Redmi Note 10 Pro uses the mid-range Snapdragon 732G chip – it may not be a flagship, but it handles games well, but it really shines with the flagship-grade 108MP primary camera.
You should also consider the €50 more expensive Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G. This one has a 90Hz AMOLED, but it supports 10-bit color and can show more than 1 billion colors (compared to 16 million on the F3). The Snapdragon 780 5G chip is a particularly good alternative to the SD870, so no complaints here. And the camera experience seems to be on par, if not better, as the main camera is now 64MP.
Xiaomi Poco X3 Pro • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro • Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G
There are also many alternatives outside Xiaomi‘s backyard fighting for a change in this price bracket. The €300 Realme 8 Pro impressed us with its 108MP primary camera and its 3x lossless zoom. It does pack an AMOLED screen, but it’s limited to 60Hz. Then the chipset isn’t impressive either – it’s the mid-range Snapdragon 720G. Oh, and there is just one speaker on the Realme.
The €350 Samsung Galaxy A52 sounds like one very reasonable offer. It has an IP67-rated body and packs a 90Hz Super AMOLED screen. The camera quality is better on the A52, even if the setup is similar. It does feature stereo speakers, too, but can’t offer the same performance – the A52 runs on the SD720G.
The OnePlus Nord price has dropped down to about €370, and it’s a phone to consider if you are after the smoothest software experience thanks to the 90Hz Fluid AMOLED and the Oxygen OS. The Nord isn’t as fast, but it will make up for that with better photo quality and a second ultrawide selfie camera.
Finally, the €500 Moto G100 is powered by the same Snapdragon 870 chip, and while more expensive, it has its nice quirks. The Moto offers a water-repellent design and a 90Hz LCD screen. It has better cameras on both sides (there are two selfies), and the “Ready For” PC-like experience did turn out pretty good.
Realme 8 Pro • Samsung Galaxy A52 • OnePlus Nord • Motorola Moto G100
The Poco F3 is a great smartphone that offers unbeatable performance at a bargain price. This, coupled with the great HRR AMOLED screen, earns it an immediate recommendation. But there is more, too.
We appreciate that the maker has taken the extra step and has provided some value-adding features like stereo speakers, fast charging on the large battery, and even a premium-looking design. The Poco F3 isn’t perfect, of course. Only the main camera offers good results, and there is no 3.5mm jack, or a microSD slot, or an official IP rating either.
Yet, at €300-€350 price, the Poco F3 is still tough to match, let alone beat in most aspects, and without a doubt, it will become the first choice for many potential buyers. And if they can live with the mediocre camera, they’ll love the F3 as we did.
Stunning design with a premium build.
Excellent AMOLED screen, 120Hz refresh rate.
Outstanding battery life, fast to charge, too.
Class-leading performance, 5G connectivity.
Good stereo speakers.
Good daylight photo and video quality.
Latest Android and MIUI.
No 3.5.mm jack, no microSD, no FM radio.
Ultra-wide camera is mediocre in both photos and videos.