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    Reviewed: Xiaomi Poco X3

    Xiaomi’s Poco sub-brand of devices has always been about superb value. From the first hit in the F1, they’ve managed to create phones that deliver what users want, while managing to keep the price reasonable. In an increasingly value-oriented market, have they managed to make another hit in the X3?

    DESIGN: 4/5

    The X3 is solid. The front is home to the large 6.67-inch IPS display, with a small punch-hole camera at the 12 o’clock position. The screen is flat, to maximize the viewing area and minimize cost, but melts nicely into a thin bezel, and rounded sides. The right edge of the phone is where all the buttons are located, with the raised volume controls conveniently positioned above the recessed power button and its integrated fingerprint scanner. The opposite side houses the SIM card tray, while the bottom edge has the 3.5mm jack, USB-C port, and speaker. There’s also a speaker grille hidden discreetly above the top bezel of the device.

    The back is mirror-smooth to the touch, but visually textured in a soft blue-gray. There’s also an iridescent POCO logo at the bottom, inside what could be called a racing stripe that runs along the center length of the rear. At the top is the camera module that sits in a raised rounded rectangular bump that gives it a vaguely sci-fi feel, which I actually really like. It’s a very prominent bump though, so you might want to use the included plastic case to keep it safe.

    HARDWARE: 4/5

    The star of the show is that large, gorgeous screen. At 6.6 inches, this IPS LCD affair is a lot to work with. Being skewed towards gaming, on top of being large, having a tight 395 ppi pixel density, and vivid colors, the screen also features a 120Hz refresh rate for supported apps. It’s also protected by Gorilla Glass 5, just in case.

    In charge of running the show is the excellent Snapdragon 732G with an octa-core processor running at a max speed of 23GHz, and the Adreno 618 GPU, which together with 6GB of RAM delivers very compelling performance in its class. The phone comes with 64GB of expandable storage, though if you want to use a microSD card, you’ll have to give up the second SIM slot, as it’s shared.

    The main camera module located on the back features 64-, 13-, and 2 2-MP sensors for all your imaging needs. The front snapper has a single 20-MP, wide-angle sensor at the top center of the phone.

    USER EXPERIENCE: 4/5

    The Poco X3 is a phone that I’d been excited about for a while because of the value it brings to the table. I was eager to see what it was capable of, particularly faced with rather stiff competition from other value-oriented brands. Once it was in my hands, I was impressed with how the device looks. It’s understated, but has enough personality to it to avoid looking like every other smartphone there, thanks to that interesting camera module, and what I will now call a racing stripe down the center back. The shimmery Poco logo might be a little much for some, but for the most part, it stays quite subdued, really only visible when the phone is moved around to catch the light.

    After admiring the phone for a good few minutes (they went by pretty fast, to be honest) I decided to get to the meat of it. After booting, loading my programs, and getting my biometrics in, it was time to put the phone through its paces. The fingerprint scanner integrated into the power button was pleasantly quick, with only an almost imperceptible beat between my thumb touching the sensor, and the device unlocking.

    The next thing I loved about the phone was the screen. It’s properly huge. I watch a lot of videos on my phone, and it’s hard not to get spoilt by this. The sharp 395PPI doesn’t hurt either. It also has stereo speakers on the front, so if you have the luxury of listening without headphones, these will gladly oblige. A quick thing to note though, is that since the bottom speaker fires from the bottom edge of the phone, holding the phone in landscape mode can cause it to get covered by your hand. Not a super big deal, but it’s something to consider.

    On to gaming. I loaded the ever-reliable Call of Duty Mobile. Bumped up to the maximum frame rate of 60FPS, the second to the highest graphics quality (you can’t max both out at this point), and the game ran smooth as butter. The top of the phone, where the camera is, did get a little warm after two matches, but it stated at that level throughout the rest of my playing, well below a point I would call uncomfortable. The phone does get perilously slippery though, and without a case to provide a little extra grip, you run the risk of dropping quite a nice-looking phone if the action picks up.

    VALUE: 4.5/5

    This is among the phones with the best value you can get your hands on this year. With sticker price of PHP 10,990 for the 64GB model, you’re going to be hard-pressed to find a device that offers this performance (and a 120Hz screen!) in its class.

    Specifications:

    • Dimensions: 6.51 x 3.02 x 0.37 in
    • Connectivity: WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot
    • Bluetooth: 5.1, A2DP, LE, GSM / HSPA / LTE
    • Display: 6.67 inches, 1080 x 2400 pixels, 120Hz refresh rate
    • Chipset: Qualcomm SM7150-AC Snapdragon 732G
    • CPU: Octa-core (2×2.3GHz Kryo 470 Gold & 6×1.GHz Kryo 470 Silver)
    • GPU: Adreno 618
    • Card slot: microSDXC (uses shared SIM slot)
    • Internal : 64GB 6GB RAM, 128GB 6GB RAM
    • Cameras: 64MP, f/1.9, (wide), 1/1.73”, 0.8µm, PDAF, 13MP, f/2.2, 119˚ (ultrawide), 1.0µm, 2MP, f/2.4, (macro), 2MP, f/2.4, (depth); Front: 20MP, f/2.2, (wide), 1/3.4”, 0.8µm
    • Battery: 5160 mAh

    What’s Hot:

    • Tremendous value
    • 120Hz display
    • Eye-catching design

    What’s Not:

    • Camera bump might get in the way

    Bottomline

    Looking for a gaming phone that isn’t going to sap you dry? This might just be it.

    Reviewed by Ren Alcantara
    Also publised in Gadgets Magazine October 2020 Issue

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