Xiaomi Poco X3 review: 120 Hz mode or autonomy, why choose?


Xiaomi Poco X3

The Xiaomi Poco X3 is a mid-range smartphone with a positioning oriented around the quality/price ratio.

It is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 732G SoC supported by 6 GB of RAM, a 6.67-inch full HD + LCD screen, a 5160 mAh battery, and a quadruple photosensor with ultra-wide-angle.

Intro

The Xiaomi Poco X3 has attracted a lot of attention with its aggressive price for a smartphone whose screen benefits from a 120 Hz refresh. What is it worth on a daily basis? Here is our full test to find out.

We are going to take a look at the Xiaomi Poco X3. After a long time without news of this range, it came back in force in 2020 with two models unveiled just a few months apart.
This new smartphone offers an offer that is fairly quick to identify: enjoy a 120 Hz screen at an attractive price. We tested it to see if it deserved your preference.

Classic design / ugly photo module

Xiaomi clearly did not attempt to revolutionize its world with the Poco X3. We have here a flat-screen and drilled at the top center to house the front photosensor. All around, the borders are quite thick, especially at the chin.

For handling, we are dealing with a fairly heavy smartphone with its 215 grams. This weight, however, does not shock in use, the device is rather well balanced. I was more marked by the width of the product: 76.8 mm, a little more than on the big Galaxy S20 Ultra.

The Poco X3 has a plastic back that mimics the effect of glass in a more or less convincing way. We especially notice that it hangs a lot in fingerprints. Moreover, speaking of the back of the phone, we meet the element that bothered me the most: the photo module, because it is quite ugly.

Xiaomi has integrated four sensors and an LED flash that protrude in relief – which is already a bit annoying -, but here we have a rather rectangular photo module with rounded edges that overhangs a round pattern. It really isn’t very pretty.

Beyond this detail, we will also notice the vertical striped band in the middle and the Poco logo printed on top. Said wordmark is also very large, impossible to miss. You will understand, this phone does not have finesse.

The fingerprint reader is on the right, in a kind of small recess, and also serves as a release button. The volume keys are positioned just above and perhaps a little too high: increasing the sound may require an uncomfortable movement with the thumb.

The drawer housing nano-SIM and microSD are on the left while the USB-C port and jack are installed at the bottom.

120 HZ for cheap

The 120 Hz mode is one of the main arguments of this Poco X3 which here tries to make people forget the fact that the Poco F2 Pro, however, positioned on a higher price segment, does not benefit from such an option.

In fact, the fluidity that emerges is felt perfectly, it is a real plus for the comfort of use. Let us just point out that Xiaomi is inspired by Samsung on this feature: the 120 Hz is not constant, the number of images per second decreases depending on the content displayed.

However, great fluidity is not enough to make a beautiful screen and we must push our analysis further. Here, the panel offers an LCD display, a diagonal of 6.67 inches with a 20: 9 ratio, and a definition of 2400 x 1080 pixels.

The rectangle in front of our eyes doesn’t offer a breathtaking viewing experience, but it is still able to ensure good quality, at least satisfactory for a device at this price.

For example, the screen of the Poco X3 does not shine brightly, but with a maximum brightness of 448 cd / m², it can offer very good readability in a good number of cases. If the sun or a strong lamp comes to dart its rays on the slab, you may however encounter some difficulties at this level.

We obviously subjected the phone to our colorimetric probe associated with Calman software from Portrait Displays. The opportunity to measure the contrast of 1331: 1 very satisfactory for the LCD (a contrast of 1000: 1 being considered a little too tight, too soft).

Then, know that the Poco X3 offers some settings to adjust the quality of the display to your liking. Basically, the smartphone is in an automatic mode that adapts the tones according to the ambient light. However, there are also two other options.

First of all, we have a saturated mode, the name of which does not leave much room for doubt. This one aims to sublimate the colors even if they are very far from reality. Unsurprisingly, the average temperature soars to almost 8000 K which betrays a large dominant of blue – the ideal is rather at 6500 K.

In this configuration, the Poco X3 manages to offer a fairly wide range of colors while covering 123% of the sRGB space (easy to manage) and 83% of the DCI-P3 (larger and therefore more complex).

These are not extraordinary results, but let’s say that it is still very suitable. As we said, color fidelity is not the priority of saturated mode. Thus, the average Delta E observed on the DCI-P3 is 5.88 when we prefer to see this index approaching 3. With this profile, the Poco X3 especially has trouble with cyan blue (100%) and on shades of gray.

Standard mode tends a lot towards true-to-life tones, but the phone then loses a lot of color plurality. The sRGB space is barely covered in its entirety when the DCI-P3 is rather poorly managed.

Finally, we recommend that you instead turn to the adaptive default setting or choose saturated mode while incorporating a little more red via the cursor on the palette on the screen.

Software

We find on this smartphone the home interface of Xiaomi: MIUI 12 under Android 10. It is adorned on the one hand for its abundant customizations allowing to refine almost every aspect of the user experience. However, it is also very criticized for its appearance a little clutter, and its philosophy very far from Android as imagined by Google.

Dark mode and gesture navigation are part of the game as is the app drawer which, on the Poco Launcher, cannot be deactivated. However, you can get rid of the sorting of applications by tabs which is offered by default.

However, let us dwell on the fact that the Poco X3 benefits from version 12 of MIUI which is relatively recent. One of the big novelties of this interface is the control center very inspired by what we find on iOS. By default, this is not activated and you will therefore access your notifications and your shortcuts in a classic way for an Android smartphone. However, take a look at the display settings.

There you will find a section “Control Center & Notification Panel”. Inside, the option “Use the new Control Center” therefore allows you to take advantage of the experience recently offered by Xiaomi.

With a swipe of your thumb down on the home screen, you’ll only see your notifications. However, if you start this gesture from the right of the punch – really at the very top – then you will see the Control Center appear, the design of which really has nothing to do with what Android usually offers.

Here you will have access to all the quick settings with very big icons. Four pieces of information are highlighted more than the others via large tiles at the top: mobile data, Wi-Fi connection, Bluetooth, and a flashlight. The experience is interesting and differs a bit from the competition… but not much from the iPhone.

Small frustration: the interface never explains the method to lower the control center, it’s up to you how to do it. Also, it’s quite a shame that you can only lower said Control Center from such a specific part of the screen, but I’m not sure how to get around this restriction.

MIUI 12 also brings the possibility of taking advantage of floating windows. On the Poco X3, the option does exist, but I was not able to activate it at all by following the method indicated by the phone. In my case, I had to show all the open apps, hold down one of them, and hope that the button dedicated to the feature was available.

By doing so, I could then display the gallery or Google Chrome as a floating window… The option is aptly named here.

Apart from that, it’s no longer a surprise, Xiaomi, despite an MIUI interface that deviates from the vision of the Mountain View giant, puts Google in the spotlight by adopting many of its applications out of the factory. The default Telephone and Messages applications are in particular those of the colossus with four colors and we find on the box of the Poco X3 the mention “with easy access to the Google apps you use the most”. ” With easy access to the Google apps you use the most, ” Molière would have said without anachronism, none.

There is also some usual confusion, unfortunately. To open the camera from the locked screen, the phone indicates to “carry” the icon instead of dragging it. Also, in the settings, it is easy to confuse the options “Full-Screen Mode” and “Full-Screen Display”. Counter-intuitively, the first allows applications to be extended while the second activates navigation by gestures. Reading the option “Application drawer” rather than “Application drawer” also makes me cringe a bit.

However, MIUI remains annoying mainly on two points. On the one hand, the antivirus displaying advertising and which is triggered each time an application is downloaded, even from the Play Store. We don’t want anymore! Fortunately, this option can be disabled. On the other hand, some third-party services are pre-installed without it necessarily being very relevant for the user like eBay or LinkedIn.

As the full name of the device indicates very explicitly, “Xiaomi Poco X3 NFC”, this smartphone takes advantage of near-field communication (NFC), convenient for your mobile payments or to validate transport tickets in urban networks that allow it. On SVoD services like Netflix, HD quality for your videos is normally there since the smartphone benefits from the Widevine L1 DRM (this is the maximum level of security).

Powerful sound

The Xiaomi Poco X3 offers good stereo audio quality with its speakers. Enough to benefit from a good spatialization of the sound, but it is also pleasant to see that the listening experience is not really disturbed if, by mistake, you block one of the grilles.

On the other hand, be careful, by pushing the volume up, you are almost guaranteed to suffer from some saturation on the treble sounds. Beyond that, the restitution remains rather complete and balanced, even if we never reach an incredible quality. Concretely, the Poco X3 can be used as an extra speaker provided it is not too audiophile.

Two satisfactory photosensors, two more useless

On many of its smartphones, Xiaomi persists and signs with a quadruple rear photo module, and the Poco X3 is entitled to the same care. The manufacturer is fully participating in the race to increase the number of sensors. Here is the configuration that awaits us here:

  • 64-megapixel Sony IMX682 main sensor (f / 1.89);
  • 13-megapixel ultra-wide-angle, 119 degrees (f / 2.2);
  • 2 megapixel depth sensor (f / 2.4);
  • sensor with a 2-megapixel macro lens (f / 2.4).
  • Recall that the Poco X3’s camera resumes the annoying habit of Xiaomi smartphones of inserting a
  • watermark by default at the bottom left of the images. Remember to deactivate this option.

You know the song: when the right light conditions are there, you can enjoy beautiful, well-detailed photos with a fairly well-managed dynamic. It must be said that today’s smartphones, even at relatively low prices, no longer encounter a lot of problems producing beautiful images in broad daylight.

We will note all the same that the Poco X3 shows a certain tendency to incorporate red on the pictures, making them a little warmer.

At night, the Poco X3 is not extraordinary, but it delivers quality decent enough to satisfy in this price range. The images are fairly well-rendered so as not to betray the atmosphere that emanated from the immortalized scene. However, we obviously lose a lot of sharpness especially on distant elements, but we must admit that the device does an honorable job, but nothing more.

Strong light sources can cause lens flare effects, but again, you can be a little forgiving because it doesn’t really bother you very much.

A night mode is available to you and allows you to light up the scene a little. However, it will not do a miracle unlike what can be seen on some high-end smartphones, sometimes nyctalopic.

The main sensor of the Poco X3 also allows you to activate a 64-megapixel mode to enjoy larger and better-defined images. As long as you have good light, this feature produces shots that are much richer in detail. Be careful of the space these photos take on your storage space. In the example below, we go from a 12 MB file to 35 MB.

The ultra-wide-angle of the Xiaomi Poco X3 isn’t bad in the middle of the day, but it lacks a bit of color consistency with normal shooting and often results in a bit paler images in comparison. It fizzles less to the eye and in certain situations, it creates a kind of pastel veil. At night, this shooting mode is very limited in terms of sharpness and brightness.

The portrait mode of the Xiaomi Poco X3 is not always very convincing in the sense that the depth sensor does not bring a big added value. Despite its presence, the demarcation between the person in the foreground and the background remains quite random and strands of hair are found almost systematically blurred by mistake.

It also happens that a large area around the subject you are photographing remains in focus when it should be out of focus. It should be noted above all that outdoor photos are much better managed by this mode, under natural light.

A portrait mode is a little capricious in short, and whose photos weigh strangely very heavy around 38 MB. The images below have thus been compressed to be able to be uploaded on the site.

The macro mode is not very relevant. Even if it actually allows you to take pictures of objects very closely, the definition of the images remains too low to be really usable. This gadget can also quite easily be replaced by a photo with the classic sensor in which you will zoom a little.

On selfies, the Poco X3 relies on a 20-megapixel front photosensor (f / 2.2) which produces good photos, quite detailed, but lacks a little energy to handle the strong contrasts in a scene. The backlight is not his friend.

A perfect smartphone to play games

The Xiaomi Poco X3 is powered by a Snapdragon 732G, a Qualcomm chip aimed at smartphones at the crossroads of entry and mid-range. No particular concern to note in terms of performance, the SoC does not offer more than what is expected of it, but certainly not less either. No disappointment and no surprise.

On Fortnite, the graphics are set to a medium level by default and you won’t be able to go beyond that. Not surprisingly, the game is also limited to 30 fps on this smartphone. At least, that’s what the parameters indicate because during a game we are rather capped at 25 fps. Only a particularly seasoned eye will be able to really realize that said.

What even neophytes will manage to observe, however, is that on very lively stages, it sometimes happens that the Poco X3 weakens a tad to drop to 18 or 20 fps. This happens mostly at the beginning when you have to jump off the flying bus, but it’s still quite rare.

Call of Duty Mobile, a game better optimized for smartphones, you will be able to activate the graphics in their maximum configuration as well as the frame rate displayed per second. Under these conditions, the Poco X3 is doing really well even if, it is true, some very small slowdowns can be felt.

Nothing bad enough to justify a loss, unless you are really playing at a very professional level. With a little more modest parameters, the phone has absolutely no problems.
Be careful that said, the Xiaomi Poco X3 can heat up quite quickly when you use it very actively.

So watch out for sweaty hands – I wasn’t burned though. In addition, note the presence of 8 GB of LPPDR4X RAM and expandable internal storage space that varies from 64 to 128 GB.

A durable smartphone

The Poco X3 is equipped with a large 5160 mAh battery. The objective of this massive accumulator is clearly to be able to withstand the horrors of the 120 Hz mode, which is necessarily very energy-intensive. In fact, the mission is quite successful. Certainly, with all its software optimizations and its rather aggressive management of RAM, Xiaomi has already accustomed us to smartphones with endurance monsters, but these did not have the same screen fluidity.

Indeed, here we have a smartphone that manages to keep pace with a full and active day with ease, the impact of 120 Hz is not that big. If you’ve been really keen on playing and watching Netflix series on it for several hours, then yes maybe you’ll fall to levels a little too low to be serene until bedtime.

But extreme cases aside, even with extensive use during which you chain several diverse and varied applications, you will not have to worry and you can even start with confidence the next day.

Unfortunately, the Poco X3 could not lend itself to our custom ViSer test protocol due to a software problem. However, to give some indications: part of Fortnite – so with 120 Hz well active throughout – a 15-minute game consumes between 7 and 8% of battery. It’s not stunning proof of endurance, but it’s pretty honorable. On YouTube, an hour-long video typically consumes 8%.

A 33W fast charger comes with the phone.

XIAOMI POCO X3 network and communication

The Poco X3 loaned by Xiaomi for this test encountered major network problems. The connection did not want to be done despite the fact that the bar was clearly indicating “4G +”. Fortunately, another model in the writing allowed me to realize that it was concern concerning only our copy. Thus, with a model operating normally, no particular problem to report on the Orange network, except perhaps in certain metro corridors.

Geolocation also works well, smoothly. For calls, we can greet the good frustration of noises around you if you are on a large Parisian boulevard. However, on the other end of the line, the other person will perceive your voice in a very compressed way, to the point that it becomes almost unpleasant at times.

XIAOMI POCO X3 price and availability

Two versions of the Poco X3 are available for sale in France. The model with 64 GB of internal storage sells for 229.90 euros when the one with 128 GB sees its official price rise to 269.90 euros.

If you are interested in the Xiaomi Poco X3, you will have to choose between two colors: blue and gray.

Design

A bit heavy and equipped with a not very pretty photo module, the Poco X3 is not the most attractive device on the market. Its grip remains quite comfortable, however, without it really standing out in one way or another. It’s just a phone with a hole in the screen.

Screen

The IPS panel deserves a few tweaks here and there for a balanced display experience with good contrast and decent maximum brightness. The Poco X3 impresses above all with its 120 Hz mode which is quite new for such an affordable price segment. The fluidity allowed by this functionality is becoming more democratic. The screen could still expand the color palette it can display.

Software

MIUI 12 brings an atypical element for Android (but inspired by iOS) with its control center which should be practical for several users who want a good separation between shortcuts and notifications.

Camera

The main sensor of the Poco X3 does its job pretty well without impressing too much either. Much the same can be said of ultra-wide-angle. However, the other two sensors for portrait mode and especially for macro are not very relevant given their very modest contribution.

Autonomy

The Poco X3 has a very large battery allowing it to easily last a whole day while it offers a 120 Hz mode. A great benefit that makes this smartphone a very good companion for consumers hungry for autonomy.



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