Xiaomi Poco F3 Review
The Pocophone brand has long been associated with high performance at a relatively low price. This also applies to the new smartphone Xiaomi Poco F3, which can be called a “flagship killer”. In the Poco F3, we get a glass body, a large AMOLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate, and one of the best processors – the Snapdragon 870 5G. The stereo speakers have support for Dolby Atmos technology when battery life is still high. This new smartphone from Poco is good at everything.
Externally, the Poco F3 smartphone in many ways resembles the Mi 11 – the new flagship from Xiaomi. The body on both sides is covered with Gorilla Glass 5, and the side frames are rounded.
The camera module on the back also repeats the Mi 11 and looks attractive. Protection against water and dust – no, unlike the Poco X3 Pro and X3, in any case, Xiaomi did not mention it anywhere. But, you can hardly expect from a smartphone for $400 full protection, for example, according to the IP standard.
We have three body colors to choose from Arctic White, Night Black, and Deep Ocean Blue. You won’t see any gradients or strange reflections. However, the first two colors have a glossy finish, which leaves a lot of fingerprints on them. If this is critical for you, I advise you to take the blue version.
The bezels around the F3’s screen are not very large, while the opening for the front camera is one of the smallest among the competitors. It’s located at the top of the panel, right in the middle.
The fingerprint scanner is located on the side, and the earpiece is hidden by a thin grill at the top, which forms a stereo pair with the main transducer. There is no notification LED, although in the settings you can enable a special screen backlight option.
There is nothing on the left side, while the volume and power keys are located on the right. The power button has a built-in fingerprint scanner, it also activates the always-on mode. At the bottom, you can find a USB-C connector, a dual SIM slot, and a microphone.
The dimensions of the device are acceptable, being 163.7 x 76.4 x 7.8 mm, which is approximately equal to the Redmi Note 10 Pro. The Poco smartphone weighs 196 grams, which is 20 grams less than the Poco F2 Pro and X3 Pro.
Xiaomi Poco F3 Review: Smooth AMOLED Screen
The Poco F3’s screen is perhaps the biggest update to the F2 Pro. While it is the same 6.67-inch AMOLED panel with 1080p resolution, it now supports a 120Hz refresh rate and a 360Hz touch layer polling rate.
There is support for HDR10 + and Widevine L1 DRM, which means you can enable the highest quality available on streaming video services. The refresh rate of the display is dynamic, it will automatically switch between 60, 90, and 120 Hz, depending on what is happening on the screen.
You can also select the static 60Hz mode, which will save battery power. When showing videos, the refresh rate drops to 60 Hz, just like when browsing websites. It only increases with full interaction with the display.
The maximum automatic brightness reaches 900 nits, and when watching HDR video – 1300 nits. It can be manually raised to about 500 nits, which should be enough for most situations. However, the settings slider itself is not implemented very well here, the first 200 nits are stretched by 80–85%, while the remaining 300 nits are stretched by 15–20% of the slider length. The minimum brightness is 2.1 nits, which is a very good result.
Xiaomi Poco F3 Review: Camera Features
In the new Poco F3 phone, we get three main cameras on the back. The kit is similar to the X3 Pro, but instead of a depth sensor, it has a macro lens with autofocus. The front selfie camera shoots at a maximum resolution of 20MP.
The Poco camera app is standard from MIUI. There is a 2x digital zoom option when Pro mode works for all three cameras. Available to us and the ability to shoot photos with a resolution of 48-MP. The main camera also has shutter speed settings of up to 30 seconds, and ISO up to 6400.
The main lens is a 48MP Sony IMX582 sensor with a Quad Bayer filter. The Sony IM355 8MP ultra-wide-angle lens and the 5MP autofocus macro lens working at a distance of 3 to 7 cm are aided. By default, the F3 main sensor shoots at 12MP resolution. The quality is quite normal for the mid-range segment, but, with the Redmi Note 10 Pro and its 108MP camera, it cannot be compared. However, the device is not inferior to other competitive models with a cost of up to $400.
The photos are detailed, although on closer inspection you will see blurred objects such as grass or distant text. At the same time, the contrast is excellent here, and the shades are close to nature.
Although a macro lens shoots at 5MP, it takes a lot of light and a steady hand to get good autofocus. Otherwise, the final results will be blurry and soft, but to get a high-quality picture, I advise you to take 5-6 frames.
- Poco F3 macro camera
The Xiaomi Poco F3 does not have a depth sensor, so the separation of the subject and the background in Portrait mode is inferior to the X3 Pro or Note 10 Pro. However, an important advantage of the main camera is that it shoots great in low light. Saturation and contrast are high and hues are balanced. Alas, saving photos while Night mode is active still takes a few seconds of your time.
- Poco F3 night mode
Another new smartphone Poco can shoot 4K / 30 fps video from the main camera. 1080p modes with 30 fps or 60 fps are also available to us. Ultra wide-angle and macro cameras are limited to 1080p / 30 fps recording.
- Poco F3 photo quality
There is good electronic stabilization available, for any resolution, although the SuperSteady mode was not available on the F3. Three microphones record 360-degree surround sound when shooting. They also eliminate background noise and can even sort of getting closer to the subject when the cameras are zoomed.
Xiaomi Poco F3 Review: Software
Poco F3 runs on Android 11 OS with a Poco version of the MIUI 12 shell. Unlike the standard MIUI version, the themes and icons have been slightly changed here, although they can be easily changed.
The smartphone supports the always-on display option, for which you can set the desired schedule or theme. Equipped with a mode and a backlight function for notifications – the rounded sides will glow in different colors.
Unlike the X3 Pro and Note 10 Pro, the F3 supports Super Wallpaper. This is not the most important function, but the wallpaper looks very nice and has three types: Home (Earth), Red Planet (Mars), and Geometry. Appeared in MIUI 12 and the app drawer, unlike Redmi phones, it cannot be disabled here. The apps in the drawer are automatically grouped into categories, or they can be edited and turned off altogether.
The notification panel is divided into Notification Center and Control Center. As on the iPhone, to show them, you need to swipe down from the left or right. If you don’t like this approach, you can return to the familiar panel.
The task manager has hardly changed; it shows all open applications in two columns. Hold any of them to switch to split-screen mode, swipe left or right will close the program. At the top, there is now a button to enable Floating Windows, a new MIUI 12 feature. Alas, only one application can be made floating at a time.
We also worked on security at Xiaomi. When transferring photos or videos from Xiaomi Poco F3, you can remove your location and other metadata. The Security application scans the gadget for viruses, gives us control over the blacklist, frees up RAM, and performs other tasks. Through it, you can also manage the issued permissions and rights for the software.
Yes, there are some adverts here too, in the form of recommendations that are easy to turn off. How to disable ads in Poco F3? While scanning applications, click on the gear icon, where you can remove advertising banners.
Xiaomi Poco F3 Review: Performance
Poco’s F3 uses one of the fastest processors in its class, the Snapdragon 870 5G as of today. This is an update to last year’s flagship-grade SD865 chipset. The clock speed of the cores has become even higher – it reaches 3.2 GHz. At the same time, the graphics processor has changed, now it’s Adreno 650.
There are two Poco F3 configurations: 6/128 GB and 8/256 GB, while both have LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 internal storage.
The results in the performance test AnTuTu 8 are simply amazing, the smartphone is gaining 632 thousand points. It is far ahead of absolutely all competitors, the closest pursuer of the Moto G100 on Snapdragon 870, which has 556 thousand points.
In general, the hardware here is incredibly powerful, of course, there are no lags or delays during use. Even heavy games work very quickly, there is almost no heating, so there is no throttling. Results with prolonged use under load are reduced by a maximum of 7-8%, while the case becomes only slightly warm.
Xiaomi Poco F3 Review: Sound Quality
Xiaomi Poco F3 boasts hybrid stereo speakers, which means that the spoken one serves as a second converter if necessary. But, in terms of volume and power, they do not reach the Note 10 Pro or X3 Pro.
The top speaker has a forward and upward grille. The first one passes mostly high frequencies, the second one should provide the best bass. Although the sub speaker is quieter than the main speaker, it does a good job of handling high frequencies.
Yes, the main speaker is louder and delivers decent bass with mids when the high is not its strongest point. In general, the volume of this mobile stereo system is quite high, and there is almost no muffling or distortion – the quality is pleasant.
Xiaomi Poco F3 Review: Battery
Inside the Poco F3 is a rather large 4520 mAh battery. This is less than the F2 and Note 10 Pro, but enough for high battery life. You can count on 19 hours of video watching and 16 hours of surfing the web.
Like many of the latest models from Xiaomi, the F3 supports the 33W Mi Fast that comes in the box. In half an hour, battery power is restored to about 65%, and a full charge takes only 55 minutes.
Xiaomi Poco F3 Pros and Cons
- Attractive price
- Good quality cameras
- Decent stereo speakers
- Premium Build Design
- Latest versions of Android OS and MIUI
- Autonomy with fast charging 33 W
- AMOLED screen with 120 Hz refresh rate
- Best-in-class performance and 5G support
- No IP rating protection
- No 3.5 mm jack and microSD
- An ultra-wide camera is not good enough
Xiaomi Poco F3 Review: Conclusion
Poco F3 is a great smartphone with incredible performance for the mid-range segment. Besides, we get a Snapdragon 870 processor and a high-quality AMOLED screen. This is already enough to safely recommend the F3 for purchase. But, the manufacturer has added stereo speakers, fast charging, and a battery with long battery life. Even in design and build quality, this smartphone resembles premium models.
Of course, you can find some minor flaws here. Only the main camera shoots really well, there is no 3.5mm headphone jack, microSD card slot, or IP protection. But, in the segment up to $400, this is perhaps the best smartphone today.