The POCO X3 NFC is currently one of the most sought after smartphones as far as the second half of 2020 goes. Apart from having a very affordable price point, it has also quickly earned the title of being the latest mid-range smartphone killer. Well, we’ve had this device for a while now, and here is our full review.
Table of Contents
Design & Construction
It’s nice to see that POCO doesn’t stray away far from the designs of its predecessors, keeping that simple yet eye-catching aesthetic. We have a generous display size of 6.67-inches, a thickness of 9.4mm, and comes in at a weight of 215 grams. It holds a reasonable amount of heft and is undoubtedly a very robust phone to hold, but some people might prefer that more since that chunkiness does give a slightly better sense of security. It’s also nice to see we have a pre-installed screen protector, which should keep your phone nice and clean.
Focusing on the front, we do get some slim bezels similar to the previous POCO X2, but what’s different here is the front camera setup as the POCO X3 now uses a center-mounted punch hole camera as opposed to the dual cameras of its predecessor that can be found at the top right corner. We get some pretty thin bezels with the chin being just a bit thicker than the rest of the sides which shouldn’t matter anyway with a display size this big. At the top sits your earpiece speaker, and behind the grills we have a white LED notification light, which is handy for those situations where you don’t really want to open up your phone but still need to know if you missed any calls or messages. Our unit comes in the darker Shadow Gray color variant, but there is also a Cobalt Blue version if you want a more refreshing looking color.
We’ve got a nice polycarbonate panel at the back with a glossy finish, which is housed in a solid aluminum frame. We get some POCO branding at the bottom and of course an interesting take on the main rear camera setup, wherein we still have the circular design found on the X2, but this time isn’t vertically aligned. We have everything mounted at the center in an unusual form, including the LED flash that sits at the top left corner of the module. Now there’s still going to be a slight bump jutting out of the panel, but slapping on the included clear jelly case will make the phone sit flush, help protect not only the camera module but the rest of the phone as well when it comes to scratches and moderate drops.
On the left is Hybrid dual sim card slot, which can hold either a secondary SIM or a microSD card of up to 256GB, while on the right we have your volume rocker keys and your power button that doubles as a fingerprint scanner.
At the top, we have your secondary noise-canceling microphone, your signature IR blaster, and a top firing speaker, while at the bottom is your Type C charging slot, your primary mic, bottom-firing speakers, and a 3.5mm audio jack that’s always nice to have.
Display & Multimedia
As mentioned earlier, the POCO X3 NFC sports a massive 6.67-inch display with a FHD+ resolution, a 20:9 screen aspect ratio, a maximum brightness of 450 nits, and the icing on the cake, a 140Hz refresh rate with a touch sampling rate of 240Hz for all that smooth gaming, which we’ll get to in a bit.
When it comes to watching multimedia content, this device is going to give you a premium experience, especially with those dual stereo speakers that I mentioned, located at the top and bottom of this device which is quite loud. Although speakers that fire from the sides can help bounce back sound waves when placing the phone on a flat surface, do take note that you could potentially cover these up with your fingers when watching something horizontally. But upon taking a closer look though, two outputs are coming from this side; one at the top and one by the earpiece, so in a sense, you still get one front-firing speaker if you accidentally cover the ones on the side. Nice!
Heading over to one of the main segments of the show, the POCO X3 NFC is equipped with a quad-camera shooter with a 64MP Sony IMX 682 sensor at the top right, a 2MP Macro lens on the bottom left, another 2MP for depth sensing on the lower right, a 13MP ultrawide camera right smack in the center of the whole module and the Dual-LED flash on the top left.
Shots in default mode look very detailed with colors being not too overblown, although if you do want a pop of color, AI mode can also do that for you. We’ve also got some decent dynamic range, especially when turning HDR mode on, capturing better detail from bright and dark areas in your shot.
Having an IMX 682 sensor also means it makes full use of all those 64 million pixels, getting all that sweet detail even when it comes to far distance shooting; Not to mention sporting quad array technology which helps improve low-light shots which you can see in our sample photos.
The ultra-wide camera also provides very clear shots with a viewing angle of 119 degrees. It’s good to see that the image quality doesn’t stay that far from the main camera in terms of detail and viewability, so this is very useful for whenever you find your shot to be a little too tight.
Macro shots work pretty great as well, but since this is a fixed focus camera, you’re going to have to get around 4cm close to get the best shots. Sometimes it can be a hit or miss, but once you do get the hang of getting really near the subject, everything works out more than fine and passes with flying colors; especially under bright environments.
The front camera boasts a generous 20MP camera, which can easily capture all the hairs and blemishes on your face, which is great if we’re talking about detail, but of course, we also have those beauty filters as well if you prefer that more. Portrait mode also works great with very good subject background separation for that dramatic depth effect.
As for video recording, the POCO X3 NFC’s main camera can handle 4k up to 30fps, 1080p up to 120fps, and comes with electronic image stabilization for smooth shooting. Certainly not as stable as higher flagship models, but is still nothing short of impressive. As for the front camera, we get 1080p up to 30fps and makes for a very decent vlogging device. Check out our sample video below:
OS, UI, APPS
The POCO X3 NFC runs on Android 10 skinned with MIUI 12, which I’m sure you’ve heard before is one of my top custom firmwares to have right out of the box. Fortunately, things are much cleaner, with not much bloatware apart from a mix of Google and Xiaomi apps, and as far as I’ve used the phone, there haven’t been any unnecessary ads popping out unexpectedly, although there is still an option to turn it off in the settings just in case.
Overall, MIUI 12 holds a bunch of small aesthetically pleasing tweaks that make using it as a whole a lot more engaging compared to the previous version. We now have an option to choose different lock screen styles, the default camera app gets an upgraded interface, we get a refreshing new take on the settings page, a slight overhaul on some icons and animations. But, probably the most notable part of it all is the new “Control Center” which replaces the old Notification tab when you swipe down from the top.
Now you’re probably wondering how this set up looks oddly familiar to Apple’s iOS, but at least it still gets a little bit of its own touch so let’s just leave it at that. We still get the classic MIUI notification menu out of the box though, so if you want that new look you’re going to have to enable them in the settings manually.
Things like system-wide dark mode, Game Turbo, Mi Share, and second-space are all still there, of course, the Mi Remote app for controlling your home appliances and finally, just like the name says, the Poco X3 also comes with Near Field Communication so that’s going to be an added convenience especially when it comes to ‘tap to pay’ scenarios.
Another notable feature is its ability to change the way the sky looks with just a tap of a button. It uses Xiaomi’s ‘AI Skyscaping’ technology which made a debut on the Redmi K20, and we’re quite surprised at how well it works.
You have a bunch of presets to choose to make the sky look anywhere from a bright sunny day to a dramatic moody evening. And, probably the coolest one we have here are the Dynamic Skyscape presets which animate your images with some music to bring things to life. Our unit has a storage capacity of 128GB, although there is a more affordable 64GB variant as well. If that’s not enough, you can always expand your storage space up to 256GB through a MicroSD card.
As for biometrics, the side-mounted fingerprint scanner works very well and takes less than a second to unlock the device. What actually might be faster though is if you use Face Unlock as this is works just as quick, if not faster.
Performance and Benchmarks
Moving onto performance, the POCO X3 NFC is the first to be equipped with a Snapdragon 732G CPU, which has a slightly higher clock speed (2.3GHz versus 2.2GHz) and gets a 15% improvement for the Adreno 618 Elite Gaming GPU, which is specially dedicated to render relatively better graphics (Vulkan 1.1), smoother gameplay, better wireless audio and more. It’s also got liquid cool technology to keep your phone nice and bearable when running intensive tasks. As for memory, we get 6GB of RAM, which is a good enough amount for a lot of multitasking and heavy use, so juggling through different apps is going to be a breeze on this one.
When it comes to gaming, this is where the POCO X3 takes the crown as almost every game I tested ran very smoothly with little to no hiccups. By default Call of Duty Mobile runs on medium graphics quality with the frame rate set too high, although these can easily be maxed out to the highest settings if you want the best experience. As for PubG, we get HD graphics settings as well as a high frame rate, which are the highest settings this phone is capable of doing, and of course Mobile Legends which undoubtedly also runs very well.
As for benchmark scores, the POCO X3 NFC gets an Antutu score of 282,225 which sits comfortably at 49th place right above the Redmi Note 9 Pro and scores slightly below the Samsung Galaxy S9. If you want to know more about benchmark scores, we’ll flash them over right now.
• AnTuTu V8 – 282,225
• Geekbench 5 – 567 (single-core) 1,766 (multi-core)
• PC Mark – 8,167 (Work 2.0 Performance)
• 3D Mark – 2,710 (OpenGL) 2,501 (Vulcan)
• AndroBench – 500.05 MB/s (Seq. Read) 259.99 MB/s (Req. Write)
Connectivity and Battery Life
We get all the usual connectivity features such as Dual-SIM, 4G, WiFi, and Bluetooth and as mentioned earlier, NFC support as well.
One of the final highlights of the POCO X3 NFC is that it has a large battery capacity of 5,160 mAh which is a big jump from the X2’s 4,500 mAh capacity. It’s coupled with 33W fast charging that is capable of juicing up your phone from 0-100% in just 65 minutes.
Putting it under our standard video loop test, the POCO X3 was able to last 20 hours and 38 minutes of continuous playback, which essentially means this device is perfectly capable of lasting you the whole day under moderate usage.
The POCO X3’s simple yet solid design is an excellent choice for those who really want to squeeze in all that raw power in exchange for something that isn’t going to make a huge dent in your wallet.
Packed with some very respectable hardware specs, great cameras, and a very reliable battery life, it’s not difficult to say that this could well be the best bang for your buck phone currently out there today. The POCO X3 NFC is priced at PHP 10,990 for the 6+64GB variant, while the 6+128GB version will run you PHP 12,990. Catch their promo on Lazada to get a discounted price. See the listing here.
POCO X3 NFC specs:
6.67-inch FHD+ (2400 x 1080) LCD DotDisplay, 395ppi
120Hz refresh rate, 240Hz touch sampling rate
HDR10, Widevine L1 certified
Corning Gorilla Glass 5
Qualcomm Snapdragon 732G octa-core CPU
Adreno 618 GPU w/ Elite Gaming
6GB LPDDR4X RAM
64GB, 128GB UFS 2.1
MicroSD up to 256GB (hybrid slot)
• 64MP Sony IMX682 F1.89 (primary)
• 13MP F2.2 (ultra-wide)
• 2MP F2.4 (macro)
• 2MP F2.4 (depth)
20MP F2.2 front camera
GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
3.5mm headphone jack
Fingerprint scanner (side)
MIUI 12 for POCO (Android 10)
5,160mAh battery w/ 33W fast charging (33W charger included)
LiquidCool Technology 1.0 Plus (Copper heat pipe + graphite)
165.3 x 76.8 x 9.4 mm (dimensions)
215 grams (weight)
Shadow Gray, Cobalt Blue