Poco F3 Review

The Poco F3 lays out Poco as an awe-inspiring phenomenon among mid-range phones. However several deficiencies keep it from being an easy decision.

If a phone is primarily bought as a second or third phone. The Poco F3 would still be worth your while. That said, it does have many limitations on its software and battery life, which can make it harder to recommend. You may want to consider the Poco X3 Pro instead for around £100/€100 less.

Poco F3

The Poco F3 is the first in a brand-new product line for the Xiaomi sub-brand. It’s described as ‘The Beast’ by the company and positioned at a premium alternative to the Poco X3 Pro that launched alongside it. Despite breaking the $200 barrier. The pricing for this device has not changed and can easily compete with other high-performing devices on the market.

When comparing the specifications of the Mi Mix 3 to those of similarly priced phones. It becomes evident that Xiaomi has created a status symbol here. This is all thanks to its Snapdragon 870 chipset, AMOLED display and all-glass design.

But does Xiaomi cut any corners to get there, and how well does it stack up to real-world usage? I spent about a month with the device and found out.

Design and build

It looks like a phone that’s more than twice its price and feels like it too. The glass design is one of the key differences in comparison to the Poco X3 Pro.

The iKamper Mirror is reflective, so you can easily use it as a personal mirror. It comes in black, blue & white models at various price points if you don’t like the silver one I tested. Not using a case wasn’t really an issue since Gorilla Glass 5 provided a secure grip that I was comfortable with- something I think you would agree is important to someone who relies on their phone as much as they do.

I’d still recommend throwing one on, though – the rear camera module protrudes significantly from the back of the phone. Making it difficult to use face up on a table otherwise. The silicone one included in the box does a good job of making this flush. Even if it takes away from the attractive design to some extent.

I was surprised to learn that the X3 Pro doesn’t have a rear camera to report on. I’m glad it has the largest, most discreet logo of any recent Sony model, though.

However, you probably won’t be looking at the back of the phone much. Flipping it over reveals a stunning 6.65in AMOLED display, another big upgrade over the X3 Pro. It’s still limits to Full HD (1080×2400), but more than makes up for it with rich, vibrant colours and an excellent level of detail.

It also supports refresh rates up to 120Hz, making for a buttery-smooth experience. You can only choose between this and 60Hz in Settings. But the display can dynamically adjust according to what you’re doing. This should help regulate battery life, something that gives negatively affects when selecting 120Hz.

Poco F3 has a sharp, vibrant, and colorful screen that provides gamers with the same level of quality they would get on dedicated gaming smartphones like the Red Magic 6.

The OnePlus 6 has an incredible 80.6% screen-to-body ratio and a focus on cameras. The 20Mp selfie camera that is at the top of the phone makes it easy to unlock your device with face recognition, which activate by a small slit in the middle of the screen.

this feature used on more smartphones. I prefer the side-mounted fingerprint scanner, as it’s fast and reliable. I’ve had some issues with the quick response time of under-display sensors, although it’s gradually improved over time.

Dual speakers, single downward-firing grille, volume rocker on the left side. The F3 provides a stereo-sound experience. Its audio quality is unrivaled at this price point and it delivers optimal crispness.

The only other design feature of note is the SIM card tray. There’s only one slot to install a single card here, as well as no room to add more storage on-device via memory expansion. It also means you’ll have to go without a 3.5mm headphone jack

Hardware and performance

The Poco F3 has an attractive design and does outperform other competing Android models. It’s power by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 870 processor which allows for exceptionally fast performance as well as more power than most smartphones. It’s not quite the top-of-the-line Snapdragon 888, but acts as an overclocked version of 2020’s flagship 865+. Due to the fact that this phone retails for under £350/US$350, I really can’t have any complaints

The model I tested comes with an Adreno 650 GPU and 8GB of RAM which, combined with its performance, makes everything seem effortless. It can handle anything thrown at it, without even a hiccup.

With the F3 getting pulled off its extra-heavy workload. It ran smoothly and without much hesitation, proving itself to be a capable gaming device as well. That’s despite its small size. Games have been around for a long time and have always had the need to provide a smooth frame rate. Most high-end competitive games support 120Hz refresh rates to provide the best competitive experience possible.

However, the Poco F3 has a really good performance and is on par with other similar price handsets.

Snapdragon 870 is one of the first chips to include 5G. Which enables blazing speeds and effects while still running on 4G. The chip also runs on Wi-Fi 6 & Bluetooth 5 – which helps it be fast at home and in memory.

On-device storage is a slightly more complicated part of purchasing the new model, but you can always be sure that the higher storage capacity model will be available. You just want to make sure you’re comfortable with how much space you’ll have.

Software and features

When buying a new phone, irrespective of brand, an Android system will always be installed. This is no exception for Poco F3 as we take Xiaomi’s MIUI 12 in it when purchased. A 9th update to the launcher is out for this phone that should soon arrive with updates to the operating system operating on top of it.

MIUI is a greatly different Android experience than what you’ll find on the Google Pixel. That said, it has become much more intuitive as time passed and remains one of the best choices for customization.

Poco F3

One of the many changes that you’re likely to notice is the redesigned app drawer. With smoother edges and a more clean layout, it’s designe with your apps more in mind. The first thing I noticed when using the app was that everything seemed to be in a vertical list. It took some time getting used to this layout, but then I found the search bar near the bottom of the screen, which felt more natural on a device of this size.

Poco’s Settings menu, notification shade and themes reflect the changes it has undergone over time. From its launch through a facelift in May last year this device also bears some bloatware – much of what people consider to be useless package apps one.

Still, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The range of dynamic wallpapers are impressive, while familiar features like Digital Wellbeing and the Google Discover feed are retained.


Recently launched Poco phones offer a more capable camera for people in this price range. The photo quality is slightly less than the competition, but still highly convincing and suitable for video chat.

On the face of it, the F3’s cameras are much the same as the more affordable X3 Pro. Both share the same 48Mp main sensor and 8Mp ultrawide, but the Poco F3 bumps the macro camera from 2Mp to 5Mp and ditches the depth sensor altogether. This feels like a wise move – those low-resolution sensors rarely add much to the camera experience.

With its impressive photos capabilities and natural daylight performance, the Poco F3 performs seriously well with landscapes. The long-exposure exposure times also ensure a lot of light will reach your photo sensors, which is particularly useful for low-light shots.

Poco F3

A new depth sensor-enabled portrait mode for the Galaxy S10 created a big splash last week, instead of requiring the usual dedicated sensor. It still struggled with edge detection at times, but exposure and color accuracy were very good.

The macro lens might have a higher resolution than the Poco X3 Pro, but it’s still the weak point here. I found it difficult to get the camera to focus when close to a subject, although you can probably get some nice shots if you’re willing to be patient.

Night mode does a good job of making dark scenes more usable—it’s useful if you need to work late.

Having a high-quality front-facing camera is a real plus if you regularly take selfies, and the Poco F3’s 20Mp sensor is one of the best I’ve seen. Shots are typical details and well-exposed, even if the ‘Smooth’ beauty mode turns on by default.

The slideshow below includes images from all four camera lenses on the Poco F3.

On the video side, the phone can record up to 4K at 30fps. There is no optical image stabilization, but an electronic equivalent does a good job of keeping footage steady while walking.

Battery life

In my review of the Poco F3 so far, I’ve found the device to have some really great features. The design is beautiful and the screen is clear. But one of its major drawbacks for me has been battery life – it feels like a significant step down in capacity when compared to the Poco X3 and X3 Pro.

The device is OK when you only use it moderately. I ran into the issue of needing to recharge twice.

Unfortunately, the battery in the Poco F3 just doesn’t hold up for prolonged battery intensive tasks, like gaming. Even at 60Hz, high brightness and GPS was too much for it as I found out.

Poco F3

PM-200 spends an average of 14 hours and 24 minutes on a single charge. That’s better than the Poco X3 and the X3 Pro, which have battery life in the range of 14 hours 10 min – 15 hours.

If you do find yourself reaching for the charger more often, you won’t need to have it connected for long. The 33W adapter included in the box can get you 72% in just 30 minutes, and it was fully charged again within an hour. There’s no wireless charging, but this is a worthy alternative.

Price and value for money

So you can support any business and have the capability of taking your content to the next level with a device that should be wildly popular. The Mi Mix 2S features great features for a reasonable price. Your device comes with 6GB RAM and 128GB of storage at the start. If you’re interested, you can buy it as an 8GB/256GB device in some ways online. On Amazon, the 8GB/256G variant is currently priced at $422.99. The device is currently not available for sale here in North America. However, you can import it from around the world and pay a lower price!

Poco F3

Regardless of which model you opt for, the options are really impressive and they’re certainly worth a closer look. The Google Pixel 4a and Oppo Find X3 Lite are the obvious alternatives but 2020’s OnePlus O-Walker could be worth taking a look at too.

Those options might provide a more compelling software experience, but from a pure hardware perspective the Poco F3 is hard to beat.


The Poco F3 is a great option for those looking for a smartphone in the middle range. It’s fitted with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 870 processor enabled with 5G that deliver excellent performance across the board.

That extends to gaming, where the 120Hz OLED display comes into its own. However, that high refresh rate does hit battery life, especially when you’re working with a smaller capacity than the Poco X3 Pro. The software is also still an acquired taste, despite big steps forward for MIUI in recent years.

A premium design and solid set of cameras make for an excellent smartphone experience, but the strength of the competition makes it more difficult to recommend.

Many people will find everything they’re looking for in the Poco X3 Pro, a device that retails for around £100/€100 less than the Poco F3. Unless you value an OLED display, slightly better cameras or a glass back, the cheaper phone might be a better bet.

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