Poco X3 NFC review: best budget smartphone right now?


The Poco X3 NFC is a budget smartphone with very impressive specifications on paper. Is the price-quality ratio really that good or is there a catch? Techzle tested the device extensively and catch up in this Poco X3 NFC review.

Poco X3 NFC

MSRP € 229, –
Colors Black, blue
OS Android 10 (MIUI)
Screen 6.67 inch LCD (2400 x 1080, 120 Hz)
Processor 2.3 Ghz octacore (Snapdragon 732G)
RAM 6 GB
Storage 64 or 128 GB (expandable)
Battery 5,160 mAh
Camera 64, 13, 2 and 2 megapixels (rear), 20 megapixels (front)
Connectivity 4G (LTE), Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi, GPS, NFC
Format 16.5 x 7.7 x 0.94 cm
Weight 215 grams
Other Fingerprint scanner in the on and off button
Website www.mi.com/en 9 Score 90 Score: 90

  • Pros
  • 120 Hz screen
  • Powerful and complete hardware
  • Three years of updates
  • Long battery life and fast charging
  • Negatives
  • Unclear update policy
  • Major MIUI shell with advertising

Poco is a subsidiary brand of Xiaomi and sells the Poco F2 Pro in the Netherlands, which we have already tested. The Poco X3 NFC recently appeared for 229 euros (6 GB RAM and 64 GB storage memory). You can buy a model with 128 GB of storage space for 269 euros.

Design

The Poco X3 NFC is made of plastic and therefore feels less premium than a device made of glass or metal. However, the smartphone is sturdy and well finished. The weight is on the high side at 215 grams, which is due to the large battery and the large size of the device. It is therefore difficult to operate the smartphone with one hand. The Poco X3 NFC is fully equipped with an infrared sensor (to operate your television), 3.5mm headphone port, excellent speakers and USB-C port. The fingerprint scanner is located in the on and off button, on the right side.

I think the Poco X3 NFC looks modern and nice, especially in blue. I tested the black version, which is a bit more business-like and attracts fingerprints and dust. The large Poco logo is colored by the light. One will like that, while the other will find it too flashy.

A 120 Hz screen

The screen of the Poco X3 NFC measures 6.67 inches, which is large, also compared to other smartphones. The large screen makes the phone ideal for gaming, two-handed typing and enjoying photos, movies and other media. Thanks to the full HD resolution, the image looks sharp and the LCD panel shows excellent colors.

Most striking is the refresh rate of the display, which is higher than usual (60 or 90 Hz) at 120 times per second (120 Hz). The image therefore looks smoother. Patches of text read more smoothly, optimized games are faster, and animations from the Android operating system are smoother. The smartphone therefore comes across faster. A 120 Hz screen is currently mainly found in expensive phones such as the OnePlus 8 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S20. The Poco X3 NFC proves that the technology is also ready for budget smartphones.

The 20 megapixel selfie camera, in a hole in the screen, takes sharp selfies. At least, with enough light. Like many selfie cameras, the quality deteriorates when you are in a dark environment.

Powerful hardware

Not only the exterior of the smartphone is impressive. The inside may also be there. The Poco X3 NFC runs on a Snapdragon 732G processor with 6 GB of RAM and is therefore nice and fast. Popular apps and games run smoothly, aided by the 120 Hz display. The storage memory of 64 or 128 GB is large enough and can be expanded with a micro-SD card. An NFC chip allows you to pay contactless in shops. And thanks to the generous 5160 mAh battery, the device will last a long day without any worries, even with intensive use. Charging is via usb-c with a maximum of 33 watts. Poco puts the required fast charger in the box. The battery charges very quickly, even compared to much more expensive smartphones. For example, the Samsung Galaxy S20 uses a 25 Watt charger and the Apple iPhone 12 comes with a 20 Watt charger.

A quad camera is placed on the back of the smartphone. Of course, most attention goes to the 64-megapixel main camera, which takes 16-megapixel photos as standard and shoots sharp and colorful pictures, especially in sufficient daylight. In the dark, the camera does well enough given the price. The 13 megapixel wide-angle lens is qualitatively less good, but with sufficient light more than enough to capture fine wide images. The device also has a macro camera, which is less usable due to the low resolution (2 megapixels). A 2 megapixel depth sensor blurs the background if you want, so that the person or object in the front of the screen stands out more.

1x zoom
Wide angle
2x zoom

Software

Poco installs Android 10 on the Poco X3 NFC, which was the latest version when the smartphone came out. Shortly after, Google released Android 11. Poco promises that the phone will receive Android 11. In total, the device will receive three years of updates. The manufacturer cannot provide details on how many version updates the Poco X3 NFC will receive when requested.

On the Poco X3 NFC is the MIUI shell over Android. MIUI is the shell of parent company Xiaomi and changes Android significantly. Own apps and games are included, visually it all looks a bit different and you can use and adjust more functions. Think of a – fine – one-handed mode or a (too) aggressive battery saving mode.

What is also striking is that the software occasionally shows advertisements. This is not a mistake but part of Poco’s revenue model. By serving you advertisements, the manufacturer can offer its smartphones a little cheaper. You benefit from that, but you do look at advertisements. We miss the option to buy off the ads once. Tip: when setting up the smartphone, you can indicate whether or not you want to see personalized advertisements. Switching on means that after a while the advertisements better meet your wishes, but also that Poco gets to know you better. We prefer to remain more anonymous.

Conclusion: Want to buy a Poco X3 NFC?

The Poco X3 NFC proves that a ‘just good’ smartphone really doesn’t have to be expensive. For 299 euros you get a solid device with a nice 120 Hz screen, complete specifications and excellent software with three years of updates. We can live with the compromises, although it would have been nice if you could buy off the advertisements once if desired. Bottom line, the Poco X3 NFC is without a doubt one of the best budget smartphones of 2020 and early 2021.

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