Nice {hardware} let down by sub-par software program

Patrick

The Poco F3 launched on March 22, 2021, alongside its cheaper cousin, the Poco X3 Professional. Though the Poco model has pushed out quite a few telephones because the Pocophone F1 (or Poco F1 in some markets) grew to become a smash hit in 2018, the Poco F3 might be the closest we’ve been to a real follow-up to that debut gadget. It has just a few of the high-end specs customers need with a low value that the Poco F2 Professional might by no means have matched.

The issue Poco has confronted over the previous three years, although, is its reliance on Xiaomi. Though Poco says it’s a totally impartial model now, most of its units are rebrands of different telephones below the Xiaomi umbrella, which incorporates this Poco F3.

Finally, that reliance on Xiaomi — and Xiaomi’s Android pores and skin generally known as MIUI — is holding this telephone again from assembly its true potential. Discover out why in Android Authority‘s Poco F3 assessment.

About this Poco F3 assessment: I used the Poco F3 for 5 days operating MIUI International 12.0.1 primarily based on Android 11 with the February 2021 safety patch. The Poco F3 assessment unit was offered to Android Authority by Poco for the assessment.

What it’s worthwhile to know in regards to the Poco F3

Poco F3 Review Hero Shot

Credit score: C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

  • Poco F3 (6GB/128GB): £329/€349
  • Poco F3 (8GB/256GB): £349/€399

The Poco F3 is a rebranded model of the Redmi K40 (each corporations are subsidiaries of Xiaomi). Whatever the title or the guise during which it initially appeared, the telephone exists for typically one objective: providing just a few higher-end specs whereas slicing out most others to maintain the worth low. Poco describes it fairly nicely with its slogan: “Every thing you want, nothing you don’t.”

With that in thoughts, the Poco F3 has some notable options that set it other than different telephones in its value vary. Its FHD+ show with a 120Hz refresh price is an enormous one, as is its Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 chipset. A pretty big battery, 5G help, and a good-enough digicam setup are among the many different options Poco desires you to note.

Associated: The perfect finances telephones you possibly can at the moment purchase

After all, it’s lacking plenty of options that Xiaomi thinks you don’t want. These embody wi-fi charging, an IP ranking, an in-display fingerprint sensor, and a headphone jack. Nonetheless, at an introductory value of €349 (~$413), it’s arduous to complain about most of these lacking specs.

The Poco F3 is confirmed for launch in the UK and Europe. It’s anticipated to go on sale in April 2021. Poco has but to substantiate whether or not the Poco F3 will probably be launched in India. For this assessment, we examined the Evening Black model with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. It additionally is available in Arctic White and Deep Ocean Blue colorways.

How is the brand new design?

Poco F3 Review Back of Phone Portrait Orientation

Credit score: C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

At first blush, the Poco F3 doesn’t look or really feel like a $400 smartphone. It has glass masking the back and front. The railing surrounding the telephone’s edges is fabricated from a really high-quality plastic that feels similar to metallic. The centered show cutout is fairly tiny — noticeably smaller than what you’ll discover on even a Samsung Galaxy S21. There’s rather a lot in regards to the telephone’s development that’s undoubtedly premium.

There’s rather a lot in regards to the Poco F3’s design that feels premium.

After all, individuals who know rather a lot in regards to the smartphone trade will be capable of spot how Poco lower corners. The Gorilla Glass 5 masking the back and front, for instance, is a five-year-old product. The bezels surrounding the flat show are fairly thick. The capacitive side-mounted fingerprint sensor that doubles as an influence button can be a lifeless giveaway that this telephone is not any premium flagship.

Nonetheless, I fairly just like the design of the Poco F3. It’s not tremendous flashy however it’s sufficient of a design assertion that it has some persona.

The one actual concern I’ve is that the again glass has a mirror end — and it’s a fingerprint magnet. Regardless of how usually you clear it, the second you contact it there will probably be fingerprints. Fortunately, the clear case included within the field would assist resolve this concern if it’s an enormous drawback for you.

What in regards to the show?

Poco F3 Review Refresh Rate Choices

Credit score: C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

Unquestionably, the show on the Poco F3 is likely one of the highlights. At 6.67-inches, the display screen is very large. It will get a lot vibrant at 1,300 nits peak, in keeping with Poco. You’ll in all probability see one thing nearer to 900 nits throughout common use, although. Moreover, the colour saturation is kind of good.

Nevertheless, the celebs of the present are the 120Hz refresh price and 360Hz contact sampling price. Mixed, these options create a terrifically clean expertise as you swipe round. That prime sampling price would even be a boon to players, because it helps pace up the response out of your display screen touches.

See additionally: Refresh price defined: What does 60Hz, 90Hz, or 120Hz imply?

Do notice that Poco solely offers you two choices for the refresh price: 60Hz or 120Hz. You may’t break up the distinction and go along with a 90Hz price as you possibly can with another telephones. Additionally, the Poco F3 show will not be able to an adaptive refresh price, so when you go 120Hz, it’ll attempt to push 120Hz on a regular basis, no matter display screen content material. This negatively impacts battery life.

As talked about earlier, the show cutout on the prime heart of the display screen is surprisingly small. Sadly, it does have a silver ring round it which makes it stand out a bit greater than it will if it had been surrounded with black glass, as most different cutouts are nowadays.

How does the Poco F3 digicam carry out?

Poco F3 Review Rear Camera

Credit score: C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

In a nutshell, the Poco F3 digicam capabilities about in addition to you’d anticipate for a sub-$400 telephone. It’s not nice however it’s not horrible, both. Underneath the most effective of circumstances, you’ll get good outcomes. Underneath less-than-ideal circumstances, you’ll see poor outcomes.

See additionally: The perfect finances digicam telephones you should buy

Let’s try some examples, beginning with this photograph of my cat Lexi exterior with loads of solar. This was taken utilizing the primary 48MP shooter (you possibly can see unedited and uncompressed variations of all images right here).

Poco F3 Camera Standard

Credit score: C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

At full-frame the picture seems to be detailed sufficient, however when you zoom in a bit, you’ll discover that the fur on her face begins to get fairly mushy. Nevertheless, that is to be anticipated at this value level. Total, although, the photograph seems to be tremendous. It’s one thing I’d haven’t any qualms about sharing on social media.

Talking of social media, right here’s a selfie instance. I used to be sitting close to a window on a cloudy day. This pic seems to be tremendous sufficient for an Instagram publish. I recognize that there’s not an excessive amount of magnificence filter nonsense occurring and the colours are pretty correct.

Poco F3 Selfie

Credit score: C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

Transferring again to the digicam on the rear, the module encompasses a “telemacro” lens. This subsequent photograph reveals off a macro shot with that sensor:

Poco F3 Macro

Credit score: C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

The extent of element right here is definitely fairly superior. Granted, this was with the solar at my again giving me preferrred lighting circumstances. It’s nonetheless a bit gimmicky and the telemacro sensor’s decrease decision is noticeable, however it’s a pleasant outcome contemplating how throwaway macro cameras normally are on this value vary.

Transferring on to the wide-angle lens, listed below are three pictures at completely different zoom ranges. The primary is 2x, the second is 1x, and the third is 0.6x, which is the place the wide-angle lens takes over:

Sadly, the colour accuracy of the wide-angle lens seems to be a bit inferior to the primary lens. These images had been every taken seconds aside however look how the steering wheel is a totally completely different coloration within the 0.6x shot. Nonetheless, the wide-angle photograph by itself isn’t unhealthy in any respect.

Now, let’s try the bokeh, aka portrait mode. Listed here are two pictures in contrast with bokeh off and bokeh on:

Poco F3 Bokeh OnPoco F3 Bokeh Off Poco F3 Bokeh On

Poco F3 Bokeh Off

These outcomes aren’t unhealthy, however Lexi has a little bit of a halo round her the place you possibly can clearly inform the bokeh impact stops. As soon as once more, it is a tremendous shot general, however you possibly can see the restrictions of the digicam fairly simply.

Lastly, let’s look at night time mode. That is the place the digicam fully crumbles below the stress. First, right here’s an evening shot within the automotive with minimal road lighting:

Poco F3 Night Mode OnPoco F3 Evening Mode Off Poco F3 Evening Mode On

Poco F3 Night Mode Off

The distinction between the night time mode shot and the traditional shot are delicate, which suggests the night time mode didn’t actually do a lot work. To place it to a very robust take a look at, right here’s one other instance shot taken in a really darkish room:

Poco F3 Night Mode OnPoco F3 Evening Mode Off Poco F3 Evening Mode On

Poco F3 Night Mode Off

As you possibly can see, the outcomes listed below are very poor. You shouldn’t plan on utilizing this digicam in darkish conditions.

Total, although, this digicam will not be horrible. So long as you don’t put it into any difficult conditions, you’ll get first rate sufficient outcomes.

How is the battery life? What about charging?

Poco F3 Review with Charger and Cable

Credit score: C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

It in all probability is unsurprising to listen to that the 4,520mAh battery within the Poco F3 will get you thru a day of heavy use and not using a drawback. Nevertheless, getting via a second day is unlikely.

In my time with the telephone, I noticed about 5 hours of screen-on-time, which is completely cheap. That obtained me via a full day after which about half of the following. That was with 120Hz on on a regular basis, by the best way.

Associated: The perfect telephone charging equipment

I’m sure that if I switched to 60Hz and had a pair of sunshine days so far as utilization goes, I might get a full two days out of this telephone. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t need to sacrifice 120Hz to attain that. Finally, the Poco F3’s battery life is first rate, however there are telephones on this value bracket that may push two days with out breaking a sweat.

Should you do run out of juice, there’s a 33W charger within the field with the Poco F3. Our assessment unit got here with a European-style plug and I stay within the US, so I couldn’t attempt it out with out utilizing an adapter. Nevertheless, 33W of pace is sufficient to cost a battery of this capability from zero to full in round an hour.

Sadly, there’s no wi-fi charging on this telephone. However at this value level, that’s to be anticipated.

How {powerful} is the Poco F3?

Poco F3 Review Poco Logo with 5G Emblem

Credit score: C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 chipset contained in the Poco F3 is sort of the most effective Qualcomm mannequin available on the market at present, second solely to the mighty Snapdragon 888. In day-to-day use, there gained’t be a lot noticeable distinction between the 2. Positive, benchmarks would show in any other case, however the Snapdragon 870 delivers greater than sufficient energy to satiate any type of person. It additionally comes with 5G help (no mmWave, however that’s not a consider Europe) and as much as 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage, though there’s no microSD slot.

Sadly, all that energy will get kneecapped by the software program included with this telephone, Xiaomi’s MIUI 12. To be blunt, the software program on the Poco F3 wants some critical work. I noticed all method of issues together with random reboots, disappearing/reappearing notifications, and even an unsolicited swap from a 120Hz refresh price to 60Hz. Moreover, the brightness drops dramatically because the telephone will get heavy use, which is actually annoying.

Once you add that to the in-system commercials in addition to the subjectively unappealing iOS-like stylings overlaid on prime of Android, you get a poor software program expertise.

All the Poco F3’s uncooked energy will get kneecapped by the buggy, messy software program.

What’s so annoying about MIUI is its inconsistency. On some units, such because the Mi 11, the software program is terrific. On others, akin to this Poco mannequin, it’s the other of terrific. This heightens the attraction of competitor manufacturers that provide a software program expertise that’s the identical throughout all fashions. This isn’t even a flagship vs finances telephone concern, both — we discovered the Poco M3‘s software program expertise to be removed from excellent, however it was a leap above what’s on supply right here.

The underside line is that the Poco F3 is {powerful} solely on paper. In precise use, the software program holds it again from reaching its true potential.

Anything?

Poco F3 Review Retail Box

Credit score: C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

  • Bluetooth: I noticed terrific Bluetooth audio efficiency with the Poco F3. I used to be in a position to stroll round my condo whereas leaving my telephone on my desk and barely heard a lot as a skip.
  • Audio system: There are two speaker grilles: one on prime and one on the underside. This allows a loud audio expertise with true stereo sound. The audio might use a bass enhance, however that’s nearly at all times an issue with smartphone audio system. All in all, although, the audio from this gadget is nice.
  • Within the field: Contained in the field of a Poco F3, you’ll discover a clear case, a 33W charger, a USB-C cable, and a 3.5mm dongle. That final merchandise is a pleasant contact.
  • Fingerprint reader: The capacitive fingerprint sensor that doubles as an influence button is astoundingly quick. Just about each time I touched it, the telephone would immediately activate. I used to be very impressed.
  • Video: Capturing video with the Poco F3 is about pretty much as good as capturing pictures: tremendous below preferrred circumstances, poor below something difficult. You may select between 720p/30fps, 1080p/30fps, 1080p/60fps, or 4K/30fps. The default is 1080p/30fps. You may movie utilizing any of the three lenses and there are some cool settings like audio zoom and an anamorphic crop. Nevertheless, watch out with the way you maintain the telephone, as the underside microphone is tremendous delicate and each brush of your palm creates heavy noise.
  • Adverts: I did see advertisements whereas utilizing the telephone. More often than not, they would seem after putting in a brand new app. I additionally noticed just a few Poco/Xiaomi advertisements pop up in my notifications. These had been annoying however not as obtrusive as I anticipated and didn’t present up elsewhere within the UI in contrast to some equal Redmi units.
  • MIUI design: I don’t know if they’re bugs or options, however I confronted many usability points with MIUI. For instance, when getting a Google reminder in my notification drawer, the “Executed” button on the notification was small and hard-left-aligned. Due to this, I used to be solely in a position to hit it precisely 50% of the time. The opposite 50% would open up the notification inside Google Calendar. This was actually annoying. There have been numerous little annoyances like that in my time testing the telephone.
  • Bloatware: There are a ton of pre-installed apps on this telephone. Amazon, LinkedIn, Netflix, PUBG Cellular, and on and on. Moreover, there are plenty of Xiaomi/Poco apps. Fortunately, plenty of these might be uninstalled.

Poco F3 specs

  Poco F3
Show 6.67-inch AMOLED
FHD+ (2,400 x 1,080)
120Hz refresh price
360Hz contact sampling price
HDR10+
Gorilla Glass 5
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 870
GPU Adreno 650
RAM Min: 6GB LPDDR5
Max: 8GB LPDDR5
Storage Min: 128GB UFS 3.1
Min: 256GB UFS 3.1
No microSD card help
Energy 4,520mAh battery
33W quick wired charging
In-box 33W charger
No wi-fi charging
Cameras Rear:
1) 48MP important
1/2-inch sensor, 1.6μm, ƒ/1.79
Auto-focus

2) 8MP ultra-wide
119-degree FoV, ƒ/2.2

3) 5MP “telemacro”
Auto-focus (3cm – 7cm), ƒ/2.4

Entrance:
1) 20MP, ƒ/2.45

Audio Twin audio system
Dolby Atmos
No headphone jack
Connectivity USB-C
Twin-SIM
Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.1
NFC help
IR blaster
Bands 2G: GSM: 850, 900, 1,800, 1,900MHz
3G: WCDMA: 1/2/4/5/8
4G: LTE FDD: 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/17/20/28/66
4G: LTE TDD: 38/40/41
5G: n1, n3, n5, n7, n8, n20, n28, n38, n41, n77, n78
Safety Facet-mounted fingerprint sensor
Face unlock (insecure)
No IP ranking
Software program Android 11
MIUI 12 for POCO
Dimensions and weight 163.7 x 76.4 x 7.8mm
196g
Colours Arctic White, Evening Black, Deep Ocean Blue

Worth and competitors

Poco F3 A rebadged Redmi K40

The Poco F3 would possibly look acquainted to some, and that is as a result of it is a rebranded Redmi K40. Meaning you are getting a Snapdragon 870 chipset, 120Hz OLED display screen, and a 4,520mAh battery with 33W charging. Different notable specs embody a 48MP rear digicam and side-mounted fingerprint scanner.

As with the unique Poco F1, the worth of the Poco F3 is one in every of its standout options. Merely put, you’re getting some unimaginable {hardware} for little or no money.

Finally, the general worth of this telephone will rely upon what’s most necessary to you. The Poco F3 provides a high-end processor, a terrific show, and a very good construct. It lacks a stable software program expertise, an incredible digicam, and super-long battery life, although. Should you worth these final three objects, there are different telephones on the market at an analogous value level that may ship.

See additionally: The perfect telephones below £500 within the UK

On the identical entry value because the Poco F3, you could have the just-launched Samsung Galaxy A52. It could supply a greater software program expertise with extra frequent updates and assurance of three years of Android upgrades. It additionally provides an IP67 ranking, expandable storage, and a headphone jack. Nevertheless, it solely has a 90Hz show refresh price and lacks 5G entry, to not point out that Snapdragon 870 chipset.

Should you’re keen to spend a bit extra, the Google Pixel 4a 5G provides 5G help (naturally) in addition to the good Pixel UI software program. It would obtain years of Android upgrades and has a few of the finest digicam software program accessible on any telephone. As soon as once more, although, you’ll miss out on the quick processor and excessive refresh price show.

Poco F3 assessment: The decision

Poco F3 Review Home Screen

Credit score: C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

On paper, the Poco F3 appears too good to be true. A brilliant-fast chipset paired with an unimaginable show wrapped in a premium-feeling chassis for €349? How is that even attainable?

Sadly, you discover out which corners obtained lower as quickly as you’re launched to the telephone’s software program, which is buggy and messy. Granted, software program updates might repair lots of the issues I found. However Poco doesn’t have the most effective monitor report in relation to preserving its telephones up-to-date.

The Poco F3 has an superior show and a strong chipset. However they do not imply something with out good software program.

Our verdict right here is that this telephone can be nice for individuals who prize processing energy and show high quality over anything. Particularly, that might imply players and heavy multitaskers. For individuals who don’t match these classes, we’d counsel skipping this telephone. As an alternative, seize a equally priced less-powerful telephone from producers with higher software program and higher monitor data for addressing points inside that software program. Meaning Samsung, Google, and even OnePlus when you’re in a market the place the OnePlus Nord is out there.

That each one being mentioned, this telephone reveals the promise of Poco. If the corporate might actually break free from Xiaomi and create its personal distinctive software program expertise, it might change into a titan within the mid-range market. Because it stands now, although, the corporate is relying an excessive amount of on specs and never sufficient on delivering a high quality general expertise.

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