Poco M3 Pro5G Review: Poco M3 Pro and Realme 8 5G trade blows to claim the title of India’s cheapest 5G smartphone. Is it worth all the compromises?
What is your need for 5G? Poco wants to push the M3 Pro into your face if your answer includes words such as “very” and “impatiently”. The Poco M3 Pro starts at Rs 13,999 and is the most affordable 5G smartphone available in India. Poco doesn’t skimp on the price, but it is clear that they aren’t cutting corners to get there. Also read – The cheapest 5G smartphones available in India right now: Poco M3 Pro and Realme 8 5G.
The design is another important aspect. The Poco M3 Pro 5G, which is less than Rs 15,000, has the most innovative design. This phone will be a hit, regardless of whether you choose the bright yellow or reflective black colour variants. But, are 5G and a striking design enough to make this phone a worthy alternative to 4G all-rounders? Also, read: Affordable 5G Smartphones: Should you buy them now or look for 4G alternatives?
For the past 10 days, I’ve been using a Power Black Poco M3 Pro and have made some interesting discoveries. Also read – Poco M3 Pro5G first look in photos: Flamboyant design and 5G.
Poco M3 Pro 5G Design
The Poco M3 Pro in the right colors (read Poco Yellow), is sure to attract attention from the spacewalking astronauts on the ISS. Although the Power Black version that I have will not do this, in a crowd of people, it can be seen under the sun if you don’t get it smudged.
Yes, glossy plastic in dark colours is open to smudges and grime. Jaya Bacchan waits for Shah Rukh Khan’s “aarti-thaali” Sorry for the dramatic exaggeration, but it’s really hard to keep the Poco M3 Pro clean, even after washing your hands. The glossy plastic can be scratched easily, so you will need to protect it. Poco’s plastic unibody shell weighs in at 190g. However, the build quality is excellent. Motorola should learn how to make the power and volume buttons tactile.
With its thin bezels, disproportionate chin and slim bezels, the front looks a lot like the Redmi Note 9 Pro. There is no waterdrop notch. Poco deserves credit for applying a protective plastic screen protector despite the Gorilla Glass protection. The Poco M3 Pro is a striking looking machine, with its Jack Sparrow-esque patch at the rear cameras and its elegant colour choices. If you choose to get it in darker colours, keep your hands clean.
Poco M3 Pro 5G Display
5G at such low prices means compromises, and a large one can be seen in the display. The M3 Pro has an IPS LCD screen with Full HD+ resolution, and a variable refresh rate system of up to 90Hz. It sounds great on paper. It would look great in person for most buyers. The LCD display is not the brightest I’ve seen on a smartphone this expensive. Although photos and videos are nice, they lack the vivid colours of the Moto G40 Fusion’s LCD display.
The variable refresh rate of 90Hz adapts well to video-watching apps and games. The 180Hz sampling rate also makes touch responsiveness excellent. Gaming on this display is possible, provided that you do not encounter the annoying auto-brightness sensor which dims the display when you are against a tube lamp source. Outdoors in the daylight and the screen will not dim if the light source is too bright.
Poco M3 Pro 5G Performance
The Poco M3 Pro’s performance is unbeatable. With the MediaTek Dimensity 700 chip onboard, this phone can keep up with a Redmi Note 10 Pro. This means that you will get the same midrange performance as Redmi or Realme phones but with 5G support. The Poco M3 Pro delivered as expected with 6GB RAM.
The Dimensity 700 is able to run a slow and inefficient MIUI 12. The daily performance is flawless with no long waiting times for apps or annoying jitters when scrolling. As a normal person, I had to juggle calls, WhatsApp, social networking browsing, and light gaming during the busiest days. This Poco didn’t give up.
As most young gamers, I spent weekends and weeknights playing Battlegrounds Mobile India (yeah finally), Call of Duty Mobile, and Shadow Arena 4. The Poco M3 Pro didn’t heat up or drop frames during my often one-hour gaming sessions. Games such as BGMI or COD Mobile must be played at Medium graphics and high frame rates. Shadow Arena 4 ran at Ultra without any excuses. Gaming performance was on par with the rest.
It’s the same MIUI we’ve grown to love over the years. Lots of visual charm and hundreds of customization options. Poco devices come with the Poco Launcher, which allows you to access the app drawer automatically. Although the default wallpapers and icon packs of Poco are not to my taste, I was able quickly to modify them to my liking.
System ads were not visible in the interface. This is a huge relief for a Xiaomi-based smartphone. The May security patch and Android 11 are a relief, but Poco has not yet clarified their plans for future updates. This phone has good performance and I’m eager to see the MIUI 12.5 updates.
There’s also the matter of 5G. This is a generic name on the box, and it’s not an option in Network Settings. The Poco M3 Pro users will be able to breathe a sigh of relief when 5G arrives. Supported 5G bands include the n1, n3, n40 and n77 (SA and NSA). This is more than the Rs 50,000 OnePlus 9 supports (cue meme music).
Although network performance is good, I experienced frequent drop calls on Jio’s 4G VoLTE network. The phone delivered decent network performance with carrier aggregation. If you need to make hands-free calls in quiet rooms with running ceiling fans, the loudspeaker volume won’t be sufficient. Earphones are your only option.
Poco M3 Pro 5G Cams
These numbers are impressive, but the results are sub-par. The Poco M3 Pro’s weakest component is its camera system. This puts it in a tough spot against Redmi Note 10 and Moto G40 Fusion. The phone only has one usable camera, while the rest are useless placeholders that no photographer would dare use.
The main 48-megapixel camera is capable of holding its own in daylight. The main camera can capture close portraits and landscapes for a sub-Rs 15,000 price. Photos from the Redmi Note 10 appear washed out and poorly exposed. Photos lose details and grain when exposed to low light (evenings or cloudy days). The sunset photo is an example of a photo with unrealistic colours and blurred trees. The Night mode does not produce the halo effect, but it will add off-colours and over-sharpening.
Night mode helps the main camera get decent results at night. Although you won’t get extraordinary details, the results are good enough to share on social media. Portrait mode makes use of depth sensors to create sharp subject separation. It overexposes the subject and brightens the background.
As long as the sun is your primary source of light, you can use the 2-megapixel macro camera. The photo looks soft and lacks details. We have been spoilt by the 5-megapixel macro cameras on the Redmi Note 10 Pro Series.
It is only enough to take 8-megapixel selfies. The camera lacks the dynamic range of Redmi Note devices, and it struggles to expose in difficult lighting. It does however have good portrait mode results that allow for subject separation and decent exposure management.
The Poco M3 Pro can record 1080p videos at 30 frames per second. This is a great feature in this age of vlogging. Video quality is poor, with a lack of sharpness and colours. It also messes up exposures.
Battery This phone’s 5000mAh battery can last for up to a day and a bit with moderate usage (calling and browsing, texting and streaming music wirelessly and occasional video calls). Thanks to an optimized MIUI and variable refresh rate display, the phone’s battery can be charged up to a full day.
This phone can only last for one day if you play games for over an hour, or watch YouTube videos. It takes close to 1.5 hours to charge the 18W adapter. I wish Poco had figured out how to fit the 33W fast charger from Xiaomi.
Poco M3 Pro5G Verdict
The Poco M3 Pro 5G, for what it costs is a remarkable achievement by the company and a good news story for consumers. A 5G smartphone that supports multiple 5G bands is available at Rs 14,000, which in this highly competitive smartphone market of 2021 is quite a deal. The deal includes a smart high refresh display, a rich user experience and a striking design. The Poco M3 Pro is a great deal for early adopters if 5G is available.
There’s a catch. “Had 5G been available?” It seems 5G is still at least three to four years away from a practical and commercial rollout. This is despite telecom operators just beginning to test 5G. The 4G phones will still make sense until then. The 5G-supported Poco M3 Pro will be out of date.
The phone makes it seem absurd that there is no 5G available. The Moto G40 Fusion is comparable in price and offers a superior display experience, better battery life, superior camera performance, faster performance, and equal speed. The Redmi Note 10S and Redmi Note 10S, both from Xiaomi, offer a brighter AMOLED display, better cameras, and a greater value.
The Poco M3 Pro 5G is a similar purchase to the Realme 8 5G. The 5G connectivity compromises affect daily user experience, particularly with the cameras. This phone is too advanced for its time, and it’s smartly packaged.