Poco was clearly not done with its smartphone line this year. After the Poco F2 Pro and the Poco X3 NFC, here is the latest addition to the family: the Poco M3. Coming at a really tempting price (its basic version costs less than 160 euros), this smartphone has more than one advantage up its sleeve, starting with its substantial battery life and its back that does not go unnoticed. So here is our full test of the Poco M3, go on the road!
During this end of year holiday season, and at a time when no one was expecting anything new in smartphones, Poco decides to release a new smartphone, the perfect Christmas present, the Poco M3. With technical specifications close to a mid-range, but at an unbeatable price, the Poco M3 is available for less than 160 € in its standard version. A price tour de force, but what is a phone worth at this price? We were able to get our hands on this new device from the brand with the yellow and black banner, and offer you our complete test.
Prices and availability
The Poco M3 is available at all Xiaomi / Poco resellers and on E-commerce sites in two versions. The first, sold for € 159.99, is provided with 4 GB RAM and 64 GB of storage space. The second, equipped with 4 GB RAM and of 128 GB of storage, is marketed € 179.90. These two editions are available in three colors: Poco Yellow, Intense Blue and Intense Black.
Our complete test of the Poco M3 in video
As always, this is a more than complete package that Poco provides here. While some play economy by removing AC adapters, here you will have everything you need to make the most of your smartphone right out of the box. In addition to the Poco M3, you will find the end-to-end USB-C charging cable, the power adapter fast charge in 22.5 W and headphones you will get something much more useful, the famous soft plastic case offered as usual to protect your smartphone right out of the box. If we emphasize this regularly enough, it’s because we think it should be a standard.
The Poco M3 measures 16.23cm in height and 7.73cm in width. In terms of thickness, it is 0.96 cm, while its weight is 198 grams. A beautiful baby then. The front of the Poco is not surprising: you will find there a large 6.53-inch FHD + IPS panel, with thin edges measuring 3 mm on the sides and on the upper edge. The chin is slightly thicker by 6 mm. There is also the presence at the top, in the middle of the screen, of an integrated “water drop” style selfie sensor.
On the left edge of the smartphone we will find the SIM card cart in 2 + 1 format which will accommodate, as its name suggests two Nano-SIM cards and one Micro SD card to expand its memory, the device supporting Micro SD up to 512 GB. On the other hand, you can find the two volume control buttons (plus and minus), as well asan unlock button also integrating the fingerprint sensor. Nothing to say about the latter, which is very responsive, like current standards.
Below the device, it is the USB-C charging port which is housed on the central part. To its left, there is a microphone, and to its right, a loudspeaker. Note that the latter will complete the top speaker for deliver stereo sound on which we will come back in the dedicated part. Finally, on the upper edge of the device, we take advantage of a 3.5mm mini-jack, as well as an infrared sensor, and a second microphone for noise reduction during telephone conversations.
It is especially at the rear that the design of the Poco M3 asserts itself. At this budget, the set is plastic, which remains of excellent quality despite everything and incorporates a leather-style relief. The brand took the side ofa solid color, the back being composed of a huge black rectangle on the upper part incorporating the name Poco on the right and a triple photo module on the left. Some will like it, others not, but the design is very modern. Despite the width of the black insert, the whole thing strangely inspires something very sober and refined. Usually, sensors are expected to be as discreet as possible, us first. And yet, we remain seduced by the look of this Poco M3. As for the colors, three choices are available to you: Poco Yellow, Intense Blue, Intense Black (more classic). This is the model we have available during this test.
Side grip, this Poco M3 is a real surprise. The plastic is of good quality, and the raised effect allows, in addition to preventing the smartphone from slipping from the hands, limit the visibility of fingerprints. The release button is conveniently placed and falls perfectly under the thumb. The plus and minus volume buttons are also an inch away, something nice and rare enough to notice.
In absolute, the smartphone is very pleasant to use. However, it will still be difficult to reach the top of the screen with one hand to access the Control and Notification Center, as is usual with such large screens.
The screen, let’s talk about it. As said previously we are here facing a 6.53-inch Full HD + IPS panel offering a definition of 2340 x 1080 pixels and a density of 395 pixels per inch. This is something that is interesting to note when we see that, from some manufacturers, smartphones offering a definition of only 1600 x 720 pixels are sometimes offered at a higher price. The whole thing is displayed in 19.5: 9 aspect ratio and has a refresh rate of 60Hz. No 120 Hz as on the Poco X3 NFC therefore, which is sold for 70 € more.
IPS LCD panel requires, we will therefore only have a contrast ratio of 1500: 1. Exit the very deep blacks on the paper. On paper only, since in practice, the screen is relatively efficient. We are certainly not on the QuadHD + in Amoled but the whole remains clean, with crisp, precise details and vibrant colors. The screen is pleasant to use, especially asit emits very little blue light (TÜV Rheinland certification).
However, the panel seems very dim, even at maximum. A quick tour of the settings to activate the “sunlight mode” function can boost the maximum brightness a little and make use more pleasant.
The whole is covered by glass Corning Gorilla Glass 3. Far from being the latest version, it is still very reliable, although we recommend that you purchase additional protection to improve the longevity of your Poco M3.
Rather rare on smartphones at this price point, it is stereo sound which will be delivered by the Poco M3. The two speakers on either side of the smartphone are relatively powerful and well balanced. If these are not monsters in the low frequencies, the whole is still pleasant to listen to, even at full volume, and the distortion seems under control.
You can also use the 3.5mm mini-jack port to plug in your headphones or earphones. It goes without saying, you will also have the means to take advantage of the connectivity in Bluetooth 5.0 to synchronize a pair of earphones or a wireless on-ear headphones. Nothing special to note more about audio, the Poco M3 does what is asked of it without hassle.
Hardware and performance
On the hardware side, Poco equipped its M3 with an entry-level processor dating from earlier this year. You can therefore find an internal SoC Snapdragon 662 combining 8 Kryo 260 cores clocked at 2.0 GHz and an Adreno 610 GPU, all signed by Qualcomm. This SOC is assisted by 4 GB of RAM in LPDDR4X and offers, depending on the versions chosen, UFS memory in version 2.1 for models offering 64 GB of storage, and in version 2.2 for versions offering 128 GB of storage.
Obviously, this does not take into account the space taken up by the operating system: count 110 GB of really usable on the 128 GB version, and around fifty GB available on the 64 GB version.
When it comes to performance, the Poco M3 is doing well … No more, no less! Even so, we are here facing an entry-level smartphone that offers performance almost similar to that of a mid-range. If it remains commendable and works without worries for the less demanding, it is clear that great slowness and frame-rate drops are felt on the most demanding games. The device scores only 372 points on 3Dmark’s WildLife, which puts it at the bottom of the scale in terms of power. Same thing when it comes to SlingShot Extreme, still under 3D Mark: with 1183 points, that puts it in the bottom third of smartphones.
As you can see, we are far from the performance standards imposed by the manufacturers’ flagships, but this is completely normal. Simply, do not orientate yourself on this smartphone if your intention is to play big games. At the same time, this is neither the goal nor the target of the Poco M3. If we remain in a standard use of the smartphone, that whether it is consulting social networks, web browsing, or even the use of SVoD services, the M3 does it without worries. As soon as you start to think outside the box, the Poco M3 leans.
Battery and Quick Recharge
The Poco M3 is equipped with a gigantic 6000 mAh battery who will have nothing to worry about even for the most power-users among you. During the tests, it took two days to overcome it, with intensive use mixing video games, SVoD, calls, social networks, photography and all that follows. With more moderate use, the device will give you two and a half days, or even three days for the most economical, without batting an eyelid.
Strangely, the charger supplied can deliver 22.5W when the Poco M3 can only accommodate a fast charge of 18W. You will have to take your time to recharge this immense accumulator. Allow almost two hours for a full charge. However, this remains acceptable when you take into account the enormous autonomy proposed here by Poco. However, we must limit ourselves to a wired charge since the Poco M3 is not compatible with wireless charging.
Connectivity and network
Obviously, for less than 200 € you will not yet have access to the new 5G network. It will therefore be necessary to limit oneself to 4G LTE connectivity. However, you can count on Bluetooth connectivity in 5.0 as mentioned above, but also on the Wifi present here in version 5 (802.11 ac). We will pass on the absence of an NFC chip or Wifi 6.
Linked to Xiaomi, Poco offers us here an M3 under Android 10 equipped with the MIUI 12 overlay. Nothing new then. This interface, far from what makes Android Stock so charming, remains pleasant to use and very easy to learn. It all works very smoothly and hassle free.
Photography and video
On the back of the device, in its large black rectangle, we enjoy a photo module including 3 sensors. The first sensor, the main one is a 48Mpx wide-angle opening at f / 1.79. The last two sensors are both 2 Mpx sensors opening at f / 2.4, one will allow you to take macro shots, when the second will be used only in portrait mode to calculate the depth of field (Time Of Flight). We are very far from the usual standards generally offering, at least an ultra-wide-angle in addition to the above-mentioned configuration.
In absolute, the main sensor is doing well, colors are vivid, detail and sharpness are present when the light conditions are good. In night or HDR mode, the noise will be omnipresent and the loss of quality glaring, especially in the darkest areas. The big weakness of these sensors does not come so much from the sensors themselves, but especially from the software and AI processing part which tends to want to smooth the images, which makes the pictures “blurry” and makes them lose their cachet.
The macro sensor is it, really disappointing. If at first glance everything remains correct, the colors really seem duller than with the main sensor and a simple small crop will directly affect the quality since this sensor is only 2 MP. It would almost be wiser touse the main sensor coupled to the AI for once, and crop the image to get closer to a macro result.
Side selfie, the Poco M3 offers a 8 MP who will do very well in the exercise of the self-portrait. As usual, portrait mode cropping with a single camera will be software-only and therefore subject to some precision concerns, but the Poco M3 is doing relatively well overall. As usual, it is advisable to deactivate the beauty filter which tends to smooth the skin and make the photo appear less sharp.
Regarding the video, the M3 is capable of shoot up to 1920 x 1080Pixels at 30 frames per second at most, and also offers a Slow motion mode which will allow it to capture, still in 1080P, 120 images per second.
You would have understood it, the Poco M3 shines more with its performance in autonomy than in photography. However, it has the merit of offering a relatively correct triple photo module and offering all of the most used features. In view of its price, it remains commendable.