Back in 2018, Xiaomi disrupted the Indian smartphone market with the launch of its sub-brand POCO and its debut device POCO F1. The Snapdragon 845-powered smartphone was priced around Rs 20,000 and even beat the OnePlus 6 (OnePlus’ 2018 flagship) in terms of sales. POCO then went underground only to return in 2020 as a standalone brand with the POCO X2 (first impressions). At the time of launch, the X2 was the only smartphone under Rs 20,000 to offer a 120Hz display.
A little over six months later, and POCO has launched the successor to the X2 in the form of the POCO X3. The new smartphone retains the 120Hz display from its predecessor and brings other commendable upgrades across the board. I have been using the smartphone for a short while and here’s my first impressions of the POCO X3.
The POCO X3 comes in a standard yellow POCO box but with a black lid. Lifting up the lid, you will find a cardboard sheath with a transparent case, documentation and a SIM ejector tool. Underneath, there’s the POCO X3 lying atop the USB Type-C cable and wall charger.
POCO is offering the POCO X3 in Shadow Grey and Cobalt Blue colours. I received the latter and I must admit it looks super stylish. The back panel is super glossy with thick diagonal stripes running across the middle. The strip also houses bold ‘POCO’ branding, a first for the smartphone maker. However, the main attraction on the back is the quirky camera module with four lenses and an LED flash arranged in an ‘X’ pattern.
The right edge of the smartphone houses the volume and power buttons, with the latter embedded with a fingerprint scanner. The initial setup of the fingerprint module takes a little effort because of the narrow form factor but once done, the sensor is extremely fast and accurate. On the left, you will find the hybrid SIM card tray. At the bottom, there’s the 3.5mm audio jack, USB Type-C port, microphone and loudspeaker grill. On the top, you’ll find the IR blaster and a noise-cancelling mic.
The POCO X3 features the same 6.67-inch IPS LCD display panel as its predecessor, with a 120Hz refresh rate and 240Hz touch sampling rate. The screen is protected by a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass and POCO has also pre-applied a screen protector, which is a plus. However, instead of the dual punch-hole cutout, the POCO X3 features a single 3.8mm centred punch-hole cutout for the selfie camera. The display is vivid and sharp with good brightness levels. I also found the touch response to be super smooth.
Complementing the display is the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 732G chipset, which makes its debut on the POCO X3. This is an 8nm octa-core processor backed by Adreno 618 graphics, up to 8GB RAM and 128GB storage. I received the 6GB + 128GB storage variant of the device and it handled the multi-tasking with ease. POCO has also equipped the new launch with LiquidCool Technology 1.0 and a 70 percent larger heat pipe.
Out of the box, the smartphone boots the Android 10-based MIUI 12 with the POCO Launcher on top. POCO has announced that the smartphone will receive three major OS updates, which is a huge plus. The software has a fair bit of bloatware including Mi apps, Themes and Security, which cannot be removed. On the bright side, you get features like Game Turbo, animated UI elements, Digital Wellbeing & parental controls, video toolbox and second space, to name a few. The phone is powered by a 6,000mAh battery with support for 33W fast charging.
POCO has equipped the smartphone with a quad-camera setup on the back with a 64MP primary Sony IMX682 sensor, a 13MP ultra-wide lens, 2MP depth sensor and a 2MP macro unit. The single punch-hole cutout on the front houses a 20MP selfie camera. POCO has loaded the camera app with features such as AI scene recognition, live filters, beauty features, macro, pro colour, movie frame, vlog mode, clone, 64MP and more. The initial pictures from both rear and front cameras were detailed with natural colours. The camera also supports up to 4K video recording at 30fps.
The POCO X3 starts at Rs 16,999 and for the price, it offers a powerful gaming processor, 120Hz display, 64MP quad-cameras, and a 6,000mAh battery with fast charging. Stay tuned for my review where I’ll gauge whether it can compete against heavyweights like the Realme 7 Pro and Redmi Note 9 Pro Max.