POCO M3 - is it really a possible hit? Let's check!
POCO, a good price and quite rich equipment sound like an obvious hit on the market. POCO M3 promises to be admirably good - but is it really good, what it looks like?
|Vivo X51 - videoreview
video: GSMchoice.com via YouTube
Table of Contents
- Design, kit, build quality
- Display, security
- Communication, sound, interface
- Performance, battery
- Photography and video
- Summary. Pros and cons
Design, kit, build quality
I start with the price - in the case of this model, this is the key factor determining the purchase. POCO M3 costs 150 or 170 euro, depending on the memory version we choose. This is a good price, considering that in return we can count on a phone with a Snapdragon 662 processor, 48 Mpx camera, 6000 mAh battery, stereo speakers and a Full HD+ screen. The equipment is good - but nothing is for free, we have to feel the savings somewhere. Where will we feel them and what will they be?
One component that has certainly been spared from is the housing. It is made of plastic, which in the case of a cheap phone is hardly a disadvantage. Especially that the POCO M3 housing is painfully practical. The back is covered with a pattern imitating leather - but not by force. It feels like plastic - but the material is nice, warm to the touch. What's more, the surface of the back is scratch-resistant, and even if they do, they won't be noticeable.
In addition, the phone is not slippery, it lies securely in the hand and does not slide on the table. This is important, because for the buyer of a budget model, breaking it is a painful loss. Here - releasing the device from your hand and bruising the back is unlikely to be a threat. The housing has rounded sides, which further increase the chance of the device surviving a fall. The smartphone is not overly heavy or thick, although it has a large battery.
M3 is distinguished by a rectangular shiny plastic insert at the top of the rear panel. It includes a camera and a rather large logo. In the black colour version, this detail "disappears" a bit, but if we choose an eye-catching blue or yellow housing, this element will give the device some character. Ultimately - the rear of M3 even looks nice. On the front of the phone we find a screen with a diagonal of 6.53 inches, surrounded by a relatively narrow frame with a droplet notch for a selfie camera, protected by the proven Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The housing is not waterproof, but at the above prices - I do not require it.
Finally, a tour around the housing. The volume keys and the switch connected to the fingerprint reader are on the right side, while on the left side there is a triple tray for cards. At the top we have a loudspeaker, a minijack, a microphone and an IR transmitter, and at the bottom there is another speaker, a microphone and a USB-C port. Ergonomics for A. The kit that comes with the device makes sense.
It includes a silicone cover, a USB cable and a 22.5 W power supply. There is, of course, a needle to open the card slot, a manual - but there are no headphones. The phone has a minijack so I forgive them. The packaging exudes simplicity and modesty, but you won't miss it on the shelf: it's yellow.
The POCO M3 display - as I mentioned - has a size of 6.53 inches, a resolution of 2340x1080 pixels and an aspect ratio of 19.5: 9. This screen is not the most outstanding I have seen, but again - when referring to the price of the phone, they find it very good. In this price segment, there are still displays with a lower resolution and a wider frame. The one in POCO M3 surpasses many competitors and offers a good picture.
It is true that the weather has not been good recently, so I did not manage to try the screen on a super sunny day - but it looks great in normal lighting, in artificial light or at night it will also work great. Of course, you can complain about average readability angles or grayish, not deep blacks - but still, it is one of the better screens you can have on a phone for 180 euro.
The manufacturer did not forget about the option of eye protection, the possibility of adjusting the intensity of colours and the dark interface. We have it all in POCO M3, which additionally boasts a TUV certificate for eye protection. The display works correctly with polarized glasses - which is not always obvious in the case of LCD matrices. The touch panel works properly and the GG3 glass provides a good resistance to damage.
POCO M3 shows that an inexpensive smartphone can have an excellent fingerprint reader. Not only has it been placed in a handy place (in the power button), it also works perfectly. Certainty of reading and speed of operation are on the level of much more expensive models.
True, the reader is not as effective as the sub-screen - but in this case it's not about gadgets, but about action. It’s wonderful. I will assess the facial recognition system in a similar way. Although it is based only on the image from the front webcam - it also works well. However, I would like to remind you that this option does not provide as reliable access protection as a fingerprint.
In terms of the equipment with communication interfaces, it is good - but not perfect. In a cheap smartphone, I do not expect 5G, but the lack of NFC rules out this device in my eyes. This lack is, in my opinion, probably the most serious drawback of the phone and spoils its assessment. As a consolation - POCO M3 also has a big advantage in the form of a triple card slot. Thanks to it, we can use two SIM cards and a memory card at the same time. I also have no objections to the quality of voice calls and the operation of communication systems. Everything works fine, although the GPS could read the position a bit faster after starting the navigation application.
As I mentioned, POCO M3 has stereo speakers that sound quite good, but when playing or watching movies, we can easily cover them with our hand. The audio served by the minijack is correct. It is worth appreciating the fact that the smartphone has an FM radio, as well as an infrared transmitter, which, combined with the application pre-installed by the manufacturer, can replace most remote controls for home devices.
Google applications are entrusted with the handling of phone and text calls, so it's hard to criticise or praise anything - the standard. Complained a bit about the operation of the proximity sensor. Sometimes it does not work as it should and does not lock the screen when we hold the phone to our face.
An interesting feature is the loudspeaker cleaning function by means of the emission of sounds with appropriate modulation. You may find it useful ...
POCO M3 works under the control of Android 10 with the proprietary MIUI 12 interface. It is a comfortable and refined overlay, with many advantages, but also with an annoying ailment in the form of advertisements.
Fortunately, we only see them in some preinstalled apps, and they're not too bothersome. The interface has a classic form, with the ability to change themes or icons, as well as dark mode or navigation using gestures. A nice bonus is the floating key as well as the option to show the most used apps at the top of the tray list.
Xiaomi adds some pre-installed apps but without the usual junk. So many of us download Facebook or LinkedIn and - but if we don't want them - we can uninstall them without any problems. A large part of the additional apps offered by the manufacturer will prove to be useful - such as the system maintenance application. The Xiaomi overlay is friendly and it should not cause problems for even less experienced users. It is a pity that the phone does not have a notification LED or AoD.
Snapdragon 662, the Adreno 610 graphics chip and 4 GB of LPDDR4x RAM herald that POCO M3 should not irritate the user with too slow performance. It does not promise to be a speed demon, but a device that should perform at least well in everyday tasks. How is it really? Unfortunately, a bit less colourful.
The smartphone from the very beginning "scared" me with delicate - but clearly noticeable cuts in the interface animation. Occasionally - there were moments of reflection when I could watch a dark screen for a few seconds. This especially happened when switching applications. The most painful drops in performance occurred when starting the camera or when switching directly from the camera to the gallery.
I also noticed the clipping while playing the movies recorded with POCO M3 - although after "downloading" them to the computer the image turned out to be smooth. Interestingly, the phone coped well with most games - as far as you can say in the case of a smartphone for less than 180 euro. During the tests, the smartphone received an update - but it brought only a partial improvement. In fact, I was expecting a bit more - maybe RAM is the bottleneck? 4 GB is - in my opinion - the absolute minimum in a smartphone for 2020/21.
As a consolation, we will have a decent amount of space for data - we can enlarge the built-in memory with a card - let me remind you - without giving up Dual SIM. If I had a hint - it is definitely worth adding 30 euro to 128 GB memory, which in this model is not only larger than the basic one - but also faster: UFS 2.2 instead of the standard 2.1, as in the 64 GB model.
The battery is a huge asset in POCO M3. Cells with a capacity of 6000 mAh are able to keep the phone alive for up to 3 days. The operating time with the display on easily reaches 10 hours, which can also be considered a great result.
The charging time looks a bit worse - we can count on a maximum of 18 W - although the charger included in the set is more powerful. Charging a completely empty battery will take over 3 hours, more precisely - 3 h 10 m. It is worth noting that the large battery did not drastically affect the thickness and weight of the phone. The lack of wireless charging at this price is forgivable.
POCO M3 has a nice photo kit for its price segment. We have an 8-megapixel selfie camera in it, as well as a 48+2+2 Mpx rear camera. Of course, 2-megapixel cameras have been added so that the device does not look too modest, and their usefulness on a daily basis is debatable. Nevertheless - we can be satisfied with the photos taken with POCO M3. Of course, the greatest merit is the main matrix with a lens with f/1.79.
Daytime photos are just correct, with well-reproduced colors and details. By default, the camera records photos by combining pixels, up to a resolution of 12 Mpx. We can force a full resolution of 48 Mpx - but what for? To print billboards or to fill up memory faster ...? 12 Mpx photos are of good enough quality to capture even important moments with this camera. If the light is good - although it is also good for a phone at this price.
There will already be a clear noise in night photos, which - in the dark parts of the frame - will further aggravate the use of the night mode. This one - I recommend it for city photos, where there is a combination of dark and bright elements in the frame. Portrait photos with the use of an additional, 2-megapixel eyelet also work well, the software "gets lost" only in the case of really complex cuts - for example, when separating wind-blown hair from bushes in the background. It is surprisingly good, the camera exceeded my expectations.
I will evaluate the macro photos a bit worse - but again - in this price segment I have seen much worse. About selfies one can say briefly - correct. Without a revelation, but also without any serious shortcomings that could be justified by the low price of the phone. In this case - I only complain about the effects of blurring the background.
There are no miracles, the software itself and one lens cannot give too stunning effects. I will evaluate video recordings similarly. They are correct and that's it. We can only record in Full HD, at 30 fps. The videos are relatively clear and smooth, the sound - average, and the night recordings - even slightly better than you might expect. There is no stabilization whatsoever, but in this segment it is not surprising.
|POCO M3 - sample videos
video: GSMchoice.com via YouTube
The POCO M3 camera has received a meaningful interface. I must praise it for the ability to arrange the modes on the main desktop and in the tray according to the order we want, while I will rebuke for the macro switch hidden in the submenu, next to the options regarding the aspect ratio or the self-timer. The function described as "Background blur" can also be a bit confusing. It's not the same as portrait mode. To be honest, I would rather call it "fogging" ... Overall - I would rate POCO M3 positively, despite some shortcomings. With a price of a maximum of 150 euro - the camera meets the expectations and even better than some more expensive competitors.
POCO M3 is - in my opinion - a first-choice phone for 150-170 euro. If you asked me for a recommendation - I will answer that, yes, I recommend it - but with reservations. A serious shortcoming of the device is the lack of NFC, and the disruptions of work flow - although typical for cheap smartphones - are also not the advantages.
Yes, I feel them more, because I use flagships on a daily basis, but I think they should not appear at all. And these are only drawbacks of this device. The rest - compared to the price - is a cluster of advantages.
POCO M3 even has a not bad and above all practical housing and two good speakers. In addition, it will offer us a Full HD+ display, while most competitors only have HD+. The camera will not give you outstanding photos, but it will not bring any criticism either. The battery will prove to be another advantage - although it could fill up a bit faster.
The fingerprint reader is excellent and convenient, I will also appreciate the presence of the minijack, IR remote and triple card slot. I do not require waterproofing and inductive charging in this price segment. To sum up - it's an almost perfect budget manager. "Almost" - because without NFC and with performance disturbances. If you do not pay contactless by phone - you probably will not buy a better one at this price.
- Value for money
- Stereo speakers
- Infrared transmitter
- Practical housing
- Meaningful interface
- Fast and error-free fingerprint reader
- Large battery
- Cover included
- Minijack and radio
- Triple card slot
- Decent photo quality
- Full HD+ display
- Only 4 GB of RAM
- No headphones included
- No wireless charging
- Not waterproof
- No NFC
- Performance disturbances
- No notification LED
- No video stabilization
- Weak proximity sensor