The Poco M3 is a 149 euro smartphone with specifications that fit a more expensive device. In addition, he has a huge battery. In this Poco M3 review we test whether the budget smartphone is a bull’s eye.
MSRP € 149, –
Colors Black, yellow and blue
OS Android 10 (MIUI shell)
Screen 6.53 inch LCD (2340 x 1080, 60 Hz)
Processor 2 GHz octacore (Snapdragon 662)
RAM 4 GB
Storage 64 or 128 GB (expandable)
Battery 6,000 mAh
Camera 48, 2 and 2 megapixels (rear), 8 megapixels (front)
Connectivity 4G (LTE), Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi b / g / n / ac, GPS
Format 16.2 x 7.7 x 0.96 cm
Weight 198 grams
Other Headphone port, fingerprint scanner, infrared port
Website www.mi.com/en/ 9 Score 90
- Design and screen
- Battery life
- Value for money
- Software and update policy
- Useful extra camera lenses
Poco was a subsidiary brand of Xiaomi and has released the Poco F2 Pro and Poco X3 NFC in recent months. Poco now claims to stand on its own two feet and to work with Xiaomi for production and software. I think it is not a convincing story and I suspect that Xiaomi still has a solid finger in the pie in the development and sale of Poco devices. The latest Poco M3 is in any case the first ‘own’ smartphone and in this review you can read what the advantages and disadvantages of the device are.
The appearance of the Poco M3 is striking. Not only because Poco sells the smartphone in the cool colors blue and yellow (there is also a black model available), but also because the plastic back comes across as leather. It looks and feels quite like that too, which I like because the finish doesn’t show fingerprints. However, the material is a bit slippery. The huge camera island with the Poco logo shouldn’t have been necessary for me, but it doesn’t bother me either.
More importantly, I think that the smartphone feels sturdy, fits comfortably in the hand and is equipped with a USB-C port and infrared sensor. With the latter function you can operate your television. Poco therefore also installs a remote control app on the smartphone. Furthermore, the Poco M3 has narrow edges around the screen, a fairly large notch for the (excellent) selfie camera and the fingerprint scanner is located in the on and off button on the right side. The scanner is fast and accurate and a nice extra on such an affordable phone.
The screen of the smartphone is on the large side at 6.53 inches and can therefore hardly be operated with one hand. I do not mind. The large size also means that you can see a lot and can type more comfortably with two hands. Screen quality is beyond expectations for such a cheap phone. The Poco M3 uses a full HD display that looks nice and sharp. The color reproduction is also fine, the screen responds well to touch and can be bright enough on a sunny winter day.
The Poco M3 runs on a Snapdragon 662 processor, which is also in many competing budget smartphones. Poco adds 4 GB of RAM and 64 or 128 GB of storage memory, which is above average. The device runs popular apps smoothly enough and can also handle simpler games. Of course, the Poco M3 isn’t as fast as more expensive smartphones, but given the price, I have nothing to complain about.
It is also nice that the device swallows two SIM cards and a micro-SD card and can handle the faster WiFi 802.11ac on the 5 GHz frequency. Many cheap smartphones cut back on this and therefore deliver slower internet speeds. The Poco M3 – like many competitors – does cut back on its cameras. On the back you will find a 48-megapixel main camera, supplemented with a 2-megapixel macro lens and a 2-megapixel depth sensor.
The main camera takes great pictures during the day and in the dark. Night mode certainly helps. All in all, a nice camera in such a cheap smartphone, but the use of the depth sensor and macro lens is very limited. Poco seems to understand that too, because the macro mode has been carefully concealed in the camera app. Portrait mode can be switched on quickly, but it is not accurate enough to really enhance your photos.
Poco M3 battery: the best battery life
The main selling point of the Poco M3 is its battery life. The device is equipped with a 6000 mAh battery, which is much larger than usual (4000 to 5000 mAh) for this type of smartphone. In any case, there are hardly any smartphones with a 6000 mAh battery. In practice, the giant battery provides a battery life of two to four days, depending on how intensively you use the Poco M3. The excellent battery life is noteworthy because the Poco M3 is one of the cheapest smartphones at the moment. A large battery does not have to be expensive.
Charging that huge battery takes a few hours. Not surprising and not disturbing if you ask me. After all, charging is fine once at night. Poco neatly supplies a charger that charges the smartphone with 18 Watts.
Software and update policy
At its release, the Poco M3 runs on Android 10, the 2019 version. An Android 11 update will follow, but it is not clear when. Android 11 is the 2020 version and in my opinion should have been installed on the smartphone as standard. It is a pity that Poco does not communicate any further update policy. So it is not clear whether the Poco M3 will receive an Android 12 update and for how long and with what frequency security updates will be available.
The software dispute is also worth mentioning. Poco uses Xiaomi’s MIUI shell, which is visually and under the hood quite different from the standard Android software. Poco would like you to automatically send diagnostic data, participate in the user program and put the checkmark on personalized ads by default. I would turn all of this off. After installation, it appears that quite a few commercial apps have been installed, including from Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and LinkedIn. Fortunately, you can delete those apps if you don’t need them.
Conclusion: buy a Poco M3?
The Poco M3 is a 189 euro smartphone that in my opinion offers incredible value for money. From a solid design and sharp screen to complete hardware and great battery life: this device scores well on all points and comes with excellent software. The MIUI shell is a bit drastic and comes with no clear update policy, but given the price, I can live with that. Bottom line, the Poco M3 impresses with its price-quality ratio and is a good choice if you want to spend less than 199 euros on a smartphone. If you are looking for a cheaper model with the best battery life, then you cannot ignore the Poco M3.