Poco M3 Review: A Dollop of Style and Substance for Rs 10,999!
The Poco M2 was one of the surprise hits of 2020, going past a million units in sales on its solid value for money positioning – it was after all marketed as the most affordable phone with 6 GB RAM at the time of its launch. Well, Poco has clearly decided not to fiddle much in spec terms with that winning formula. The Poco M3 retains that 6 GB of RAM in both its variants (6/64 and 6/128) and then adds some more to it, even while starting at the same price point as its predecessor was launched at.
Great specs for that price
The result: Rs 10,999 for the base Poco M3 variant gets you a whole lot more than most of the competition can summon up. You get a very decent 6.53-inch full HD+ display (we have brands still doing HD+ displays at higher price points as India’s Poco head rather bitingly pointed out at the launch), a Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 processor, 6 GB RAM, 64 GB of storage (UFS 2.1, 2.2 if you go for the 128GB variant, both expandable to 512 GB using a microSD card), a triple camera arrangement with a 48-megapixel main sensor and two 2-megapixel depth and macro sensors, a large 6000 mAh battery with support for fast charging and an 18W charger in the box as well, and 4G support, all topped off with stereo speakers, a 3.5 mm audio jack and an infrared port.
Great performance too (for that price!)
And it all works very well indeed. Unless you are looking for high-end gaming performance, you will not see any lags from the M3 in most day to day tasks, be it keeping tabs on social networks, browsing the Web, messaging away merrily, or even running multiple apps. The display handles colors well and is reasonably visible in bright sunlight too, making it good for viewing both images and text.
Yes, the Snapdragon 662 is not designed to run heavy-duty games at maxed-out settings but the large display and the very good sound (about the best we have heard at this price point) makes the Poco M3 a formidable multimedia companion. We do not know whether to credit the processor or the 6 GB RAM for the multi-tasking performance, but we were able to run a number of apps without encountering any lags quite easily on the device. Unless you start getting into stuff like hefty editing of videos or images, the M3 will sail through most of your tasks with ease.
And it will keep sailing for quite a while too. That 6000 mAh battery lets you get through close to two days of usage, and with the 18W charger gets charged in a tad over two hours. What’s more, as it comes with the Poco UI on top of MIUI (although still on Android 10), there are no ads at all to clutter the experience, even though MIUI itself has cut down on these.
Yellow, yellow, eye-catching fellow
All of this comes in a surprisingly striking package. We got the Poco Yellow variant of the M3 and well, it has been a while since we have seen a phone with this price tag make people go bananas over it. Yes, some will hem and haw about the plastic build, but we think it looks smashing, feels very solid and the bright yellow on the back provides a delightful contrast to the jet black camera unit on the top of the back. Also, Realme should really be taking some lessons from Poco in using its logo in large fonts on devices – placing it in vertical form across the cameras gives it a striking appearance without being too loud. You can read a more detailed take on the design here, but in sum: WE LIKES! The other variants in blue and black look nice too, but the yellow one…stands out!
Megapixels, yes! Mega-photography? Er…
Mind you, it is not all roses. The Poco M3 stumbles a little in the camera department. Its 48-megapixel main sensor can deliver good shots in good lighting conditions, but colors start fading with too much or too little light. You will still get detail but get ready to be in editing mode. The macro and depth sensors do not add much to the experience, and the selfie camera is again more steady than spectacular (8 megapixels seems rather modest these days). There are a number of shooting and editing modes, so you can coax out great snaps with a little patience. Video is a little limited though and is at best good enough for social networks. We have been told that a few software updates will improve matters in this department, although we must confess that our photography expectations are limited at this price point.
[Click here for full resolution pictures and additional samples]
Best phone for Rs 10,999? Look out, Redmi 9 Power
So should you be investing in the Poco M3? Well, it is certainly formidable for its starting price of Rs 10,999 for 6 GB/ 64 GB and another Rs 1,000 will get you double the storage (also USF 2,2). In fact, the only phone that could challenge it is the Redmi 9 Power which comes with a similar display, chip, speakers and battery, but adds an 8-megapixel ultrawide camera to the mix. However, the Redmi 9 Power is available only in 4 GB RAM variants, which gives the 6 GB-laden Poco M3 a clear edge. Unless you are very keen on an extra camera, we would say that the Poco M3 is easily the best phone less than Rs 11,000 can buy in the market right now. That display, those speakers, that design, and the overall performance put it in a zone of its own!
Buy Poco M3
- Eye-catching design
- Steady performance
- Great sound
- Very good battery life
- Not the greatest cameras
- Not meant for heavy-duty gaming
- Android 10
|Build & design|
In terms of sheer performance, the Poco M3 is perhaps the best phone available in the Indian market for around Rs 11,000. Its most obvious rival is its own brother from the same mother, the Redmi 9 Power. Here is our review.