Poco X3 first impressions – big, brawny, & boisterous 

The Poco X3 is here and I am sure a lot of you were waiting for content around it. Finally, we can talk about the phone now and to be honest, I have mixed feelings. Because compared to the Poco X2, the changes while good in certain areas, are also questionable in others. What you see on your screen are the key differences. I’ll talk about them in the due course of my video. But you get the gist. 

I am Ershad from Mr. Phone. Let’s talk a little about the newly launched Poco X3. 

Design

The moment I took the X3 out of that weird packaging, I was taken aback at the size of the phone. This is a chunky boy at 10.1mm. And, it weighs a whopping 225g, which is almost in the ROG Phone 3 territory. I am sorry, but that is uncomfortable to use. And, it was for the little time that I used it. My fairly large hand started paining slightly if I held it in one hand for more than 30 mins at a stretch. But yes, it comes with a larger 6000mAh battery but in context the Galaxy M51 has a larger 7000mAh battery, and yet it is only 9.5mm and weighs 215g. Heck, the Poco X3 NFC variant that you get in Europe is slimmer and lighter.

So yeah, first impressions of the in-hand feel is not very positive.

Let’s talk about the build. The X3 now uses plastic instead of glass but that didn’t reduce the weight of the phone. However, replacing the plastic frame for an aluminium one and adding IP53 splash resistance are welcome additions no doubt. So build quality wise, there is not much to complain except for this weirdly hollow plastic sound that the phone makes when you tap its back. 

As for the design, I tried really hard to like the strip along the centre and the weirdly-shaped camera module but couldn’t. Also, that massive Poco logo looks pretty odd too. Although, you could feel differently about it. 

An original design doesn’t always translate to a good design. The Poco F1 was not a very good looking phone either, if you remember. I am genuinely okay if Poco borrows Industrial Design from Redmi. Not even kidding. Because the Poco M2 Pro and the Poco M2 do look good. 

As for the rest of the design, you now get a set of stereo speakers and it is supremely loud. But, the back does vibrate at full volume. However, I didn’t care about it much since it sounded pretty good. The fingerprint scanner on the right is super fast. The volume rocker is comfortable to use. You get an infrared scanner on the top. And finally, there is a Type-C port at the bottom with a 3.5mm jack. All of this is great. Only if Poco had found some workaround and reduced the size. 

Display

Before I talk about the display, I must say the pre-attached screen protector is not aligned properly plus it leaves around a lot of fingerprints as you use the phone. I removed it.

Anyway, you get the same massive 6.67-inch IPS LCD panel with a 120Hz refresh rate. The brightness has dropped down to 450nits from 500nits but I didn’t notice too much of a difference. But yes, the AMOLED display on the Realme 7 Pro looks attractive.  

By the way, the IPS LCD panel on the X3 is an HDR-ready display but it can playback HDR videos only in the YouTube app. But thankfully, Netflix plays back in Full HD, so there is support for Widevine L1 obviously. While I am supremely glad that the pill notch has been replaced with a punch hole on, it’d have been nice if Poco had moved it to the top left corner. Anyway, the centre placement is not too bad either. Also, I noticed that the chin is smaller now.

There are two distinctive advantages in the display of the Poco X3 over the X2. 

  1. The touch sampling rate has been bumped up from 120Hz to 240Hz now. This means you get a phenomenally good touchscreen response. It is immediately visible. Your fingers glide on the display and it feels stunning to use. 
  2. The haptic feedback with the Z-shocker motor is the best I’ve used on a phone under 20k. This elevates the whole experience and makes the phone feel premium while using it. It feels precise and tight  

Camera

As for the cameras, you get a 64MP Sony IMX682 sensor instead of an IMX686. The only difference between the two is you can’t shoot 4K 60fps videos. Plus, Poco has now replaced the 8MP ultrawide for a higher resolution 13MP one. Then there are two waste cameras – a 2MP Macro and a 2MP Depth sensor. The front camera is now a single 20MP unit. 

POCO X3 – Camera Samples – 20
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I didn’t get the time to shoot too many samples but here are a few initial ones for you to see. What I noticed is the white balance is slightly off. The selfies look nice. Night mode shots and ultrawide looks detailed. Although, I’d suggest that you wait for our full comparisons and reviews because our unit was running pre-production software at the time of shooting this video. An update should’ve come by the time, this video goes live. 

Performance & software

The new addition to the Poco X3 is a slightly overclocked SD732 SoC. As per my benchmark tests, there’s literally no difference between the SD732G, SD730G, and the SD720G. All are the same. But the X3 felt fluid because of the refresh rate and the touch sampling rate more than anything else. However, the software optimisation needs some work. For example, when you want to get into the multitasking carousel, there is a bit of a jerk in animation. It feels damn odd to use. I played a little bit of COD and that worked exceptionally well. Had a lot of fun on the phone. This is the only time the extra weight felt good because in landscape mode it sticks to your hand well. 

As for the software, you get Poco Launcher based on MIUI 12. I didn’t get too much time to run through the new features but I noticed the really cool live wallpaper is missing. And, the phone is filled with so much bloat. It is super annoying. Thankfully, I didn’t notice any ads as promised by Poco. So, that’s a good thing. 

Poco had to contend with some users complaining about battery life on the X2. Therefore, it has increased the battery size from a 4500mAh one to a 6000mAh one. However, I’ve had no time to use it extensively to log the battery life. I did manage to charge the unit from 0 to 100 using the bundled 33W charger in 2hrs and 5mins with screen on, which is not too bad for a big battery. Hope it can last two days of usage on a single charge, though. 

Closing thoughts

See, the Poco X3 is an upgrade over the Poco X2 when you consider the display, haptic feedback, stereo speakers, or the bigger battery and faster charging. But, the bigger battery means the phone is way too big for regular use. I am definitely not a fan. Also, the SD732 is not like a massive upgrade or anything. Ergo, the mixed feelings that I mentioned at the start. 

However, when you look at the Rs 16,999 price tag, you can forgive every flaw. Poco knows how to shock you. 

Anyhoo, stay tuned for the full review but what do you guys think of the X3? Do you like it? Let me know in the comments section below. Until next time, this is Ershad from Mr. Phone signing off. Goodbye and Godspeed my friends.

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Ershad Kaleebullah
ershad.kaleebullah@u2opiamobile.com

When Ershad isn't writing, he spends time killing virtual zombies on his PS4. Having worked with a slew of renowned publications like PCWorld, Channelworld, CIO, NDTV Gadgets (now Gadgets360), MySmartPrice, The Inquistr, and 91Mobiles, Ershad brings a whole world of experience to Mr. Phone. He is trying hard to convert all the team members into Apple fans but is facing a lot of resistance. Is anyone willing to help?