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POCO C3 review: a VFM entry-level phone with clean software

On: October 20, 2020

POCO has built a reputation for itself in India as a brand that offers affordable smartphones with premium features. The POCO X-series smartphones are known for being the most affordable 120Hz devices, while the POCO M-series offers budget phones with a commendable spec sheet. Recently, the brand introduced an all-new series with the launch of the POCO C3 in India.

Also read: POCO C3 vs Redmi 9 vs Realme C12: price in India, specifications and features compared

The latest smartphone is an entry-level device and the most affordable offering from the brand to date. The POCO C3 features 6.53-inch HD+ display, triple rear cameras, and a 5000mAh battery as its highlights. I have been using the device for some time now and here’s my review.

Design and display

  • 164.9 x 77.1 x 9mm, 194g
  • 6.53-inch HD+, Panda Glass screen protection


The POCO C3 is a plastic-clad device as is expected of an entry-level offering. The back panel has a square-shaped triple camera module with POCO branding below it and a two-tone finish. POCO is offering the handset in Arctic Blue, Lime Green and Matte Black colours. I received the Matte Black unit and while it looks classy, it also attracts scratches and smudges like there’s no tomorrow. There’s no fingerprint scanner, and the smartphone relies on 2D face unlock or conventional unlock (pin, pattern and password) for security.

Coming to the display, POCO has equipped the C3 with a 6.53-inch IPS LCD panel with a waterdrop notch on top and 20:9 aspect ratio. The screen comes with a resolution of 1,600 x 720 pixels and a peak brightness of 400 nits. While the screen is pretty bright indoors, you need to crank the brightness to the maximum when outside. On the bright side, the IPS LCD panel produces vibrant colours and sharp text. By default, the screen leans towards warmer hues and if that’s not something you like, the colours and temperature can be tweaked from settings.

Cameras

  • 13MP primary camera, 2MP macro lens, 2MP depth sensor
  • 5MP front camera

The primary 13-megapixel rear camera of POCO C3 captures sharp images with good details. The pictures taken in daylight have a noticeable saturation boost, which will appeal to many. The AI scene recognition is also able to detect the frame accurately. Coming to the dedicated macro lens, it lets you get closer to the object but closeup shots are completely unusable with fuzzy details all over. The depth sensor, on the other hand, does a decent job of detecting the edges and click aesthetically pleasing portrait shots.

Coming to the selfie camera, the 5-megapixel snapper captures sharp selfies with a slightly reddish tint. The portrait mode does a good job of detecting the edges and captures a decent portrait shot. Both front and rear camera suffer from high noise and fuzzy details after the sun goes down.

Performance and software

  • Android 10-based MIUI 12 with POCO Launcher
  • MediaTek Helio G35
  • 3GB + 32GB, 4GB + 64GB variants
  • 5,000mAh battery, 10W charging

The POCO M2 handles day-to-day usage and multitasking quite smoothly thanks to the entry-level gaming-centric processor, Helio G35. Surprisingly, the smartphone opens PUBG Mobile in Balanced graphics and Medium frame rate by default. The gameplay is not that smooth and if you are looking for a serious gaming device, POCO C3 shouldn’t be your first pick. More casual games like Subway Surfer and Stick Cricket play great on the POCO C3.

Coming to the software, the MIUI 12 with POCO Launcher on top is visually appealing and has a minimal amount of bloatware including Mi Pay, Mi Credit, Amazon Shopping, and Facebook, among others. Except for Mi Pay, all the other bloatware can be uninstalled from the phone. The software comes with features like animated UI elements, Digital Wellbeing & parental controls, and app drawer with automatic app categorisation, to name a few.

The POCO C3 is equipped with a 5,000mAh battery equipped with 10W standard charging. The device takes around 2 hours to charge fully and easily lasts a day and a half on a single charge. During our gaming test, the battery dropped from 100 percent to 91 percent in 40 minutes of PUBG gaming, which is decent.

Bottomline

The POCO C3 has been priced at Rs 7,499 for the base model and Rs 8,999 for the top-end variant. For the price, the handset offers a stylish design, an immersive display, decent battery and clean software. The smartphone competes with the Redmi 9 and Realme C12 (review) in India. Both these devices have similar specifications but the former features a 13MP dual camera, whereas the Realme C12 has a bigger 6,000mAh battery. In case you are looking for a more performance-oriented device, the Realme Narzo 20A with Snapdragon 665 SoC is a good option starting at Rs 8,499.

Pricebaba’s rating: 7 / 10

What works:

  • Smart design
  • Immersive display
  • Decent battery backup
  • Clean software

What doesn’t:

  • Average cameras
  • Not great for intensive gaming
  • No fast charging
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Abhiman Biswas

Abhiman is obsessed with all things tech. His hobbies include reading on his Kindle and clicking random pictures on his phone. His secret superpowers happen to be mixing great cocktails and lip reading. In his spare time, you are likely to find him cleaning his aquascape, researching new species of aquatic fishes and planning which aquatic plants to buy next.