Forget iPhones, Galaxies, Redmis, and whatnot. Meet the hottest phone of the season – the Poco M3. Everyone’s talking about this model by the Xiaomi-backed brand, and rightfully so. It has everything needed to become a bestseller – good looks, a nice screen, excellent battery, stereo speakers, and a nice camera setup. And all these goodies come with a cheap price tag!
Poco is now an independent brand from Xiaomi though Xiaomi still manufactures everything that Poco designs. Even down to the software Poco phones run or the chargers they use – it all comes from Xiaomi, so the two brands’ independence isn’t as obvious, at least for now.
But Xiaomi or not, the Poco M3 has the typical bang for the buck spirit we’ve seen from many Xiaomi and Poco phones before. The first thing you’ll notice about the new M3 is the not-so-typical looks, and we do appreciate the grippy leather-like plastic and the unique elements like the large POCO-marked glass at the back.
We would have expected specs to be watered down a bit at this price point, but the Poco M3 seems to tick all the boxes. It has a sizeable 1080p screen with a small notch, a good chipset, all sorts of connectivity, stereo speakers, and an impressive battery with 6,000mAh capacity and fast charging. Oh, and the fast charger is included in the box.
The triple-camera on the back is probably the only feature that took a hit to keep the price this low – while it’s headlined by a high-res 48MP sensor, it omits an ultrawide cam and instead offers macro and depth shooters. There is no 4K video either, just 1080p. Then again, look at the phone’s price! We’d say this setup is still overqualified for the money you’d be paying.
Finally, the Poco M3 runs on Android 10 with MIUI 12 for Poco. There aren’t many differences from the standard MIUI12, and the phone is expected to receive the usual MIUI update treatment for the years to come.
Xiaomi Poco M3 specs at a glance:
- Body: 162.3×77.3×9.6mm, 198g; Glass front (Gorilla Glass 3), plastic back, plastic frame.
- Display: 6.53″ IPS LCD, 400 nits (typ), 1080x2340px resolution, 19.5:9 aspect ratio, 395ppi.
- Chipset: Qualcomm SM6115 Snapdragon 662 (11 nm): Octa-core (4×2.0 GHz Kryo 260 Gold & 4×1.8 GHz Kryo 260 Silver); Adreno 610.
- Memory: 64GB 4GB RAM, 128GB 4GB RAM; UFS 2.1 – 64GB 4GB RAM, UFS 2.2 – 128GB 4GB RAM; microSDXC (dedicated slot).
- OS/Software: Android 10, MIUI 12.
- Rear camera: Wide (main): 48 MP, f/1.8, 1/2.0″, 0.8µm, PDAF; Wide (main): 48 MP, f/1.8, 1/2.0″, 0.8µm, PDAF; Wide (main): 48 MP, f/1.8, 1/2.0″, 0.8µm, PDAF.
- Front camera: 8 MP, f/2.1, (wide), 1/4.0″, 1.12µm.
- Video capture: Rear camera: 1080p@30fps; Front camera: 1080p@30fps.
- Battery: 6000mAh; Fast charging 18W, Reverse charging.
- Misc: Fingerprint reader (side-mounted); FM radio; Infrared port; stereo speakers; 3.5mm jack.
The ultrawide camera and some basic water protection are the only things missing off that spec sheet. Yet, we are talking about a quite affordable smartphone that’s jam-packed with features, and something had to give. But the Poco M3 seems to come close, really close to that.
Unboxing the Poco M3
The Poco M3 comes packed within a dark yellow box, and it’s full of goodies. The phone is inside, of course, packed with a USB cable and a 22.5W QC3 charger by Xiaomi. The Poco M3 supports 18W fast charging, so its 22.5W adapter is a bit overqualified for the job.
The paper compartment contains the SIM ejection tool, a transparent silicone case, and a screen protector. Nice!
But wait, there is more! There is one final compartment at the bottom, where you’d find three Poco bracelets – one braided and two silicone bracelets done in the Poco’s signature yellow and black hues.
The Poco M3 offers a lot of mid-range features at an entry-level price. The M3 packs a high-res screen and camera, impressive stereo speakers, a good chipset, and a massive battery with reasonably fast charging. And all these goodies are priced between €150 and €170 depending on your region and current promotions.
There are four phones that should be considered if shopping for the best bang-for-the-buck entry-level offer. And naturally, two of those are Xiaomi-made.
The Redmi 9 and Redmi Note 9 are some excellent offers with equally large screens, similar performance, some impressive batteries and power autonomy, and quad-camera setups on their backs.
The Redmi 9 is the cheapest fella, with the 3GB+32GB going for as low as €120 or less, though its 4GB+64GB model costs about as much as the Poco M3 4/64 version. It trumps the Poco M3 with an additional ultrawide camera and wireless FM radio but can’t offer Night Mode and stereo speakers.
The Redmi Note 9 has a better main camera than the Redmi 9 – 48MP vs. 13MP – and also offers an ultrawide camera over the Poco M3. This Note does offer Night Mode, but it still cannot match the stereo speakers and the extraordinary battery life of the Poco M3. On the other hand, its 3GB/64GB version costs just the same as the Poco M3.
Then there are two Realme phones you should consider – the Realme 7i and Realme 7. Those two have a bit spotty availability, but if sold in your country – you should check them out before making a decision.
The Realme 7i has a 90Hz 720p screen and runs on the same Snapdragon 662 chipset. It has a 64MP primary camera and an additional 8MP ultrawide shooter. The 7i employs a 5,000mAh battery with 18W fast charging and costs as much as the Poco M3. Because of its lower-res 720p screen, the Realme 7i UI is not only lag-free but thanks to the 90Hz refresh rate – it feels much smoother. It cannot offer stereo speakers and, as we said, its availability is regionally limited.
If you can’t find the Realme 7i on your market, there’s at least the Realme 7. At €179, it’s a rather tempting offer, too. It’s got the same size 1080p LCD as the Poco M3 but with a 90Hz refresh rate plus 4K video recording, an ultra-wide camera, a 5,000mAh battery, and a gaming-capable chipset (Helio G95T).
The Poco M3 is not a perfect phone, and it can’t be, not at €149/$149. While it omits NFC, an ultrawide camera, and its UI stutters occasionally, the Poco M3 impresses with a high-res screen, a hard-to-match battery life, remarkable stereo speakers, and its main camera does not disappoint.
The Poco M3 can do even for gaming, provided you lower the game resolution and graphics quality. Yes, you can play modern games like PUBG smoothly if you tone down the settings.
The Poco M3 is a great all-rounder. The constant competition between Realme and Xiaomi (and by extension Poco) has been pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in the entry-level segment. We now have a few great, no-compromise phones between €100 and €150 that well deserve your attention with large screens, capable cameras, and great battery life, and the Poco M3 takes a well-deserved place in this select group of devices, earning our full recommendation.
- Large 6.53″ screen with 1080p resolution, great contrast
- Unique design
- Outstanding battery life
- True stereo speakers, excellent audio output
- Good photo quality, good portraits
- MIUI 12 is easy to use
- It can do well in gaming under 720p resolution and low graphics quality
- 3.5mm jack, standalone microSD, IR port, FM radio
- No NFC
- Not that fast to charge
- Occasional UI lag
- No ultrawide camera
- So-so macro camera
- The selfies are odd
- Mediocre video capturing