POCO X3 Pro review: Flagship features for an affordable price

POCO X3 Pro review: Flagship features for an affordable price

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POCO, Xiaomi’s former sub-brand, has been known to push the envelope when it comes to offering high-end hardware and features for affordable prices. And just a few months back, the company introduced its X3 Pro that offers exactly just that.

With a 120Hz refresh rate for its display and a Snapdragon 860 CPU running under the hood, it claims smooth and lag-free gaming sessions for under PhP 13K.

Design

With a display bigger than 6 inches, the POCO X3 Pro is not only tall and wide but also a bit on the thick side due to its battery capacity.

It comes with a solid chassis and a plastic back that follows the round edges of its general form factor. The volume rocker is on the right side as commonly seen on phones with the power button right below it.

This power and lock button also doubles as a fingerprint sensor for a layer of security instead of going for an in-display approach. There’s not much difference between the two apart from the fact that you can accidentally unlock the phone just by holding the phone normally and resting your thumb on the button.

On the opposite side is the tray for its SIM and microSD cards with a hybrid setup.

Down below we have a 3.5mm audio jack, USB Type-C port, and one of two speaker grilles with the other one found at its loudspeaker. The top houses its IR blaster along with microphones for noise cancelation.

Finally, turn it around and we’re greeted with the back panel and its unique design. It has this matte finish on the sides with a glossy strip running down the center. And if you look closely, there’s a POCO branding printed in there that shines in rainbow colors. Pretty trippy.

The POCO X3 Pro is available in various colors namely Phantom Black, Frost Blue, and Metal Bronze.

Display and multimedia

With a large 6.67-inch display at Full HD+, you easily get to enjoy consuming content whether it’s browsing on social media platforms, watching videos on YouTube, or streaming movies and TV shows on Netflix.

Colors are vibrant and details are sharp thanks to its 2400 x 1080 resolution. Its screen is also bright which makes watching all the more immersive especially streaming ultra-high-resolution videos.

Its almost full-screen display is just slightly obstructed by a single punch-hole for the selfie camera but it’s not too distracting even while streaming videos on full screen. The display is also reinforced by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 6 that should protect it from scratches and drops.

In terms of display technology, it features a refresh rate of 120Hz for fluid motion while gaming or browsing as well as support for 240Hz touch sampling rate for more responsive input while gaming. This made browsing a bit easier on the eyes but the real difference in experience comes in gaming.

Movements and effects while gaming simply look better on high refresh rates and result in a more natural and enjoyable experience.

As mentioned earlier, the X3 Pro features dual speakers with certified hi-res audio. True enough, sound quality is clear for mids and highs while lows are decent. It’s even capable of producing virtual surround sound as long as you’re watching close to the screen since volume could sometimes leave you wanting more.

Cameras

Sporting a quad-camera setup, the phone shoots with a 48-megapixel main sensor that boasts large pixels to achieve brighter images. This is then supported by an 8-megapixel ultra-wide for landscape shots, 2-megapixel macro, and another 2-megapixel for depth.

Images produced are indeed bright and clear and are able to maintain details even when the subject is against the light. Colors are not that vibrant and lively but I personally don’t mind as it keeps things looking natural. And if I wanted to have more saturated colors, I could easily push them using photo editing apps.

Its ultra-wide sensor could also produce vivid colors but has a tendency to be overly sharp at times. Details for its Macro mode are not great but not that bad either. Although to be fair to the phone, I personally haven’t seen macro shots from smartphones good enough to make me replace a dedicated macro lens.

On the flip side, it sports a 20-megapixel selfie camera that shoots decent selfies. I just noticed that skin tone tends to be a bit warm and reddish under sunlight.

What I really enjoyed are the built-in photo effects that add drama to your images. These are not the cutesy or low-res effects that you overlay on photos. Some apply nicely tweaked filters, while you also have choices of patterns or swirls that spice up your shots.

Performance

Underneath the hood is a Snaprdragon 860 CPU with a choice of either 6GB or 8GB of RAM and storage options of 128GB and 256GB. Together with its Adreno 640 GPU, this tandem alone is capable of churning out processing power enough for tasks and performances done on a daily basis like switching between social media apps and playing today’s top titles.

The phone is also equipped with UFS 3.1 that enables it to perform fast read and write speeds for transferring bulk files or apps into the phone.

Its built-in NFC and IR blaster also offered welcome additions to its connectivity. With NFC, instant pairing with other devices is possible, and even controlling supported appliances can be done using its infrared sensor.

In addition to its fingerprint scanner, the front camera functions as a face scanner for added security. Unlocking performance is spot on and works fast, but with face masks on, you’d still be relying on its fingerprint scanner most of the time.

The X3 Pro also runs on MIUI 12 for POCO which is based on Android 11 and as such, you get to enjoy all its features like enhanced security and privacy in addition to those made to make navigating its UI easier and more user-centric.

We mentioned running the latest game titles on it and the phone did well doing so. But unlike other phones we’ve reviewed that easily heat up especially when rendering resource-intensive games, the X3 Pro kept its cool while running on a steady 47fps on Genshin Impact.

This is mostly thanks to its LiquidCool Technology that helps dissipate heat and ensure smooth running performance when you need it most.

Battery 

For its battery, it carries a 5160mAh pack that boasts support for its included 33W fast charger. With it, we were able to top up the device in about 1 hour and 20 minutes from empty which doesn’t line up to the 1-hour claim made by the company.

For our battery test involving streaming a 4K video at 50% brightness and no volume, we were able to achieve a standard 13 hours of continuous playback. Real-life usage averages around 8 hours of social media browsing and gaming.

Creature Feature

As always, in our reviews, The Modern Creatures aims to find special features in devices that make them worth having — a Creature Feature if you will. For the POCO X3 Pro, it would have to be its Snapdragon 860 processor that’s able to perform reliably whether you’re simply browsing or playing games.

Combining that with an affordable price makes the X3 Pro a very capable mobile device.

Price and final thoughts

With a price tag of PhP 12,990 for the 6GB/128GB variant and PhP 15,990 for the 8GB/256GB model, the POCO X3 Pro is not only an affordable gaming device, but it’s also a decent shooter thanks to its quad-camera setup. You get different shooting modes to choose from and works perfectly as a point-and-shoot camera.

You also get an immersive 120Hz display with decent resolution and dual speakers to make content consumption more enjoyable.