POCO M3 Review — Drawing The Line For Entry-Level
Featuring a Snapdragon 662 chipset, the POCO M3 is targeted for the entry-level smartphone segment. It comes with several features that's not common in that market such as a 48MP camera, a big 6000mAh battery, and even dual speakers.
+ Not your average looking smartphone
+ Dual speakers at this price range is not common
+ Camera performance is decent
+ Leather-like texture at the back is nice
- Not the smoothest UI experience
- Would perform better with more RAM
- Battery efficiency could be better
- Display is rather dim
We take a look at POCO’s latest entry-level smartphone in this POCO M3 review. Seeing how well they did with both the POCO X3 NFC and POCO F2 Pro, will the M3 offer a similar, attractive value? Let’s find out.
From the box, you can expect the following to be included:
- The POCO M3
- USB-C cable
- 22.5W charging brick
- TPU case
- Screen protector
- SIM ejector
On the front of the device, the POCO M3 comes with a 6.53-inch FHD+ (1080 x 2340) IPS panel display. As you can see, there are slight bezels on the sides and it comes with a DotDrop notch which houses the 8MP front camera.
Taking a look at the bottom, you’ll find the microphone, USB-C port, and also the phone’s speaker.
You’ll only find the SIM tray on the left side of the POCO M3.
On the opposite side of the device is the fingerprint scanner which doubles as the power button. As you’d expect, you can find the volume rockers on this side as well.
On the top, you can find its secondary mic as well as secondary speaker, which is an interesting offering for its price segment. It is then completed with the POCO M3’s 3.5mm headphone jack.
Turning to the back, you can clearly see the big POCO branding on the top right. In case you’re wondering, the material that houses the cameras is made out of plastic. Other than that, the rest of the back is also plastic but it offers a leather-like feel.
POCO M3 Specifications
|CPU:||Snapdragon 662 Octa-core (4 x 2.0GHz Kryo 260 Gold + 4 x 1.8GHz Kryo 260 Silver) 11nm|
|Display:||6.53″ FHD+ (2340 x 1080) IPS, 19:5:9 ratio|
|Storage:||UFS 2.1 64GB/ UFS 2.2 128GB|
48MP f/1.8 PDAF
2MP f/2.4 macro
2MP f/2.4 depth
LED, HDR, Panorama, Night Mode
HDR, AI, Portrait
|OS:||MIUI 12 based on Android 10|
|Connectivity:||LTE Band 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/20/28/38/40/41
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz)
|Battery:||Li-Po 6000mAh (non-removable)
18W fast charging
22.5W charger (included in box)
|Dimensions:||162,3 x 77.3 x 9.6mm|
The POCO M3 uses a Snapdragon 662 SoC inside. We’ve tested one before in the form of the OPPO A73 and seeing the test here on Antutu v8, the POCO M3 managed to score higher.
Here, we see a similar result, with the POCO M3 coming in with a slightly higher single-core score than the OPPO A73. Surprisingly, it even manage to perform better than the realme 5i, which uses a higher Snapdragon 665 chipset.
Again, the POCO M3 sits just above both the OPPO A73 and realme 5i in 3DMark. It scored better in both Ice Storm Unlimited and Sling Shot Extreme compared to the OPPO A73 but it falls a little short to the latter in the Sling Shot test.
On the other hand, the POCO M3 scored the lowest when it comes to PCMark’s Work 2.0 benchmark.
In all honesty, I expected the POCO M3 to offer long battery life considering that it packs a chunky 6000mAh capacity. PCMark’s battery benchmark doesn’t showcase that however as we found that it managed to last just 11 hours and 2 minutes. This shows that it’s not the best when it comes to power efficiency.
For my personal day-to-day use, the result is similar. It can last up to 2-days for me but when that time comes, it would be around 15 to 30%. I wouldn’t consider myself a heavy user as the list of app I used consists only of Gmail, WhatsApp, Facebook, Messenger, and Telegram.
While the brick that they’ve provided is a 22.5W fast charger, the phone only supports up to 18W charging. In a 30-minute charging period, I found that it manage to charge from 8% to 28%, which definitely is far from fast but understandable given the large capacity.
The first thing that I noticed about the POCO M3 is that the display is rather dim. Even with the auto brightness turned on, the brightness was still low. In the end, I had to manually adjust it which didn’t give me the best of experiences.
With the smartphone coming with dual speakers, it definitely made videos more enjoyable. It’s not common for a smartphone at this price point to offer that feature and for that, I give my hats off to POCO.
Weight and comfort-wise, the phone is not the most lightweight of smartphones and this is probably because of the big 6000mAh battery that’s fitted inside. With that being said, we’ve tested smartphones that are heavier than this one so it’s perfectly fine.
One thing that I like about the device is the design on the back. Yes, it is plastic but POCO has designed it to offer a leather-like texture. It offers a nice grip on the hands and I’d take designs like this over those glossy ones that attract fingerprints or stains.
While the POCO M3 wasn’t made to be a gaming smartphone, I decided to take it out for a spin and in this case, Call of Duty Mobile. While the game is able to run on the highest graphic settings, I felt that the phone warmed up rather quickly. Take it down to medium and it was much more of comfortable experience. I was able to play normally without any issues but it does show some signs of lag when you’re at the menu.
Continuing on the topic of lag, it offers a similar experience when it comes to the overall UI experience. I feel that the skin used is a bit heavy and it definitely needs more than the 4GB RAM that’s provided with the device. I understand that the POCO M3 is a device aimed for the entry-level market, but if you’re coming from a higher end device, you will definitely notice the slow performance.
With my usual use of apps including Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, Gmail, and Telegram, it definitely couldn’t handle the workload. If you want a smoother experience, you certainly need to close some of the background processes.
If you have used Xiaomi devices before, the camera UI for the POCO M3 is similar. You got the basics displayed on the home screen and if you’re looking to add more there, you can easily tweak it to fit your needs.
In proper lighting conditions, the POCO M3 does a decent job in shots. Due to the lack of image stabilization, you will need to keep your hands steady in low light environments. This doesn’t help given that it takes some time to process images once you’ve taken your picture. I would’ve liked it if this smartphone offers an ultra-wide or telephoto camera but then again, considering it’s price, maybe I’m asking too much.
Check out the full-sized images right here.
All in all, the POCO M3 does seem to perform well for the entry-level market. For just the price of RM499, you’re getting what you pay for. I can see this device being used by the younger generation or as a secondary smartphone.
It definitely could use some improvements here and there, but that would probably increase the price tag for the device. If you’re someone who wants something basic in a smartphone, the POCO M3 would be a good option.
We would like to thank POCO/Xiaomi Malaysia for providing the POCO M3 that was used in this review.