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Poco M3 Pro 5G – 90Hz and 5G offer at P8,990, Beast at its Price?

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Lately, Xiaomi has released the Redmi Note 10 series and it gathers good impressions as it offers remarkable specs over its price. As we thought that the Redmi Note 10 5G will be the best budget 5G Xiaomi has to offer, the POCO M3 Pro 5G is more affordable and a budget-friendly 5G device. And as expected, Poco smartphones nearly surpassed expectations “again” in terms of specs and value.  But in every situation, there’s always a compromise in specs. I wonder what does the Poco M3 Pro 5G lack to achieve a 5G capability. So here’s our take.

Pros

  • 90Hz Dynamic Refresh Rate
  • 5G capable
  • Power-saving chipset
  • Creative design
  • Vibrant IPS display

Cons

  • Bloatware here and there
  • No Pro Mode in camera
  • 18W charging

READ: Up to 25% off on Xiaomi devices, including the Redmi Note 10S at the Lazada 7.7 Sale

Design

Starting with the overall design, the Poco M3 Pro 5G gave us a unique and premium look despite its price. However, the back is still made out of glass-looking plastic with a glossy finish which is prone to fingerprint smudges and scratches. It feels like real glass thanks to its solid built with a thickness of 8.9mm. Unlike the vanilla version which looks sus as it looks like a character in the “Among Us” game, the elements on the Poco M3 Pro including the black bar accent are all on the left side which looks creative and clean.

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There’s a large Poco logo with “Designed by Poco” text and at the bottom part are the manufacturer info, recyclable logo, and a text indicating that it is a 5G capable device. Holding it feels great in the hand thanks to the 3d curved back but we cannot deny the somehow heftiness due to the large battery.

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The frame or sides of the Poco M3 Pro has a smooth matte finish and on the right side, it has a very clicky power button that also acts as a fingerprint scanner along with a volume rocker that is not too far to reach by my fingers. On the left is the simtray with a hybrid dual nano sim slot and MicroSD slot which means you can only put one nano sim card plus sd card or two nano sim cards only. The bottom part only has a speaker grille, USB Type-C port, and main microphone. The 3.5mm jack sits on the top part along with a clean IR blaster and secondary microphone. The overall look of its frame for me looks clean and well placed.

READ: Redmi Note 10 5G Review – Is this the best affordable 5G phone today?

Display

Switching to the front, Poco M3 Pro 5G boasts a 6.5″ FHD+ IPS LCD along with a 90Hz refresh rate. It has a 20:9 aspect ratio and protected by a Gorilla Glass 3. If you compare the device to the Redmi Note 10 5G there’s quite similar in specs. The punch hole cutout located in the top middle still feels distracting due to its large diameter.

The 90hz display doesn’t seem to have an auto mode as you can only cycle between 60Hz and 90Hz in the settings menu. But Xiaomi says that it has a DynamicSwitch feature to auto-switch from 30Hz up to 90Hz depending on what’s happening to the screen. And it truly works, we tried to open the “show refresh rate” option in the developer’s setting and the display show 90Hz when browsing while launching the game it turns to 60Hz. Scrolling through the UI and browsing feels smoother and quite power-saving as well.

READ: Oppo A54 Review – budget camera phone?

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Having a smoother panel looks fluid, however, we used to see a better display on a budget since the release of Poco X3 NFC. But after AMOLED becomes Xiaomi’s standard offering of entry-level to mid-range devices, the quality of the display in the Poco M3 Pro 5G is still great on its price. The colors are quite accurate thanks to the IPS panel, sharpness is on point too while the contrast is just okay. I can say that viewing angle and blacks are quite better among phones within the price range and you may enjoy streaming on this device as well.

But still, we think one of the reasons why they didn’t settle for an AMOLED panel is to give an affordable 5G phone.

Camera

Heading to its cameras, the protruding camera module feels like a smaller version of the phone’s body architecture. It has a rectangular shape with a triple camera setup–48MP f/1.8 on the main cam, and 2MP for both macro and depth. The ambient sensor and LED flash also sit inside the module.

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The 48MP main cam delivers good quality outputs and it showed similar results to the Redmi Note 10 5G. Outdoor photos, however, tend to be in a drastic warm tone but the dynamic range is pretty high with a little burst in highlights. When HDR mode is turned on highlights are reduced but the shadows didn’t do much improvement. Despite the inconsistency, the color reproduction is great indoors and natural-looking outdoors.

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With the night mode, outputs are very acceptable but when capturing at very lowlight scenario, there’s not much improvement from normal shot to night mode. But when we captured with more than one light source the images are bright, sharp, and detailed.

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Its portrait mode has good subject to background separation but with 97% accuracy. The hardness of the edges is visible which makes it very unnatural when the accuracy is low, and natural when it nails the separation. Overall the color reproduction is just fine as it uses the main camera to capture a portrait photo.

There’s no ultrawide here as the Poco M3 Pro 5G only consists of a triple camera setup, and this is pretty much one of the reasons to target the Sub P9K price range.

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As for the 8MP selfie, I really like the sharpness of its selfie even it only has an 8MP selfie camera. But sometimes images have a warm tone depending on the scenery, sometimes it has inconsistent skintone but the blacks and highlights doesn’t have exagerated results. Details are still preserve.

READ: Redmi Note 10 Pro vs Realme 7 – Upgrading to AMOLED, is it worth it?

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As for video recording, it can shoot up to 1080p at 30fps but the Poco M3 Pro 5G offers pro mode in video mode which makes it versatile in shooting still images and video clips. Speaking of pro mode, it has a pro in photography with 30 second shutter and up to 6400ISO. It can also shoot macro video, night mode, 48MP Hi-rez photo, and slow motion.

The camera performance is okay especially at this price point. Nothing too fancy but we got the reliable features worth the price.

Performance

Just like the Redmi Note 10 5G, the Poco M3 Pro 5G is equipped with an impressive 7nm chipsetMediaTek Dimensity 700 5G. The review unit we have comes with 6GB of ram and 128GB of storage but the lower variant only has a 4GB/64GB configuration.

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The software runs on Android 11 with MIUI 12 on top. The device still has bloatware here and there but the UI is smooth and interactive and it has every feature including NFC, and Dual-Band Wi-Fi.

READ: Infinix Hot 10s Review – A sub P6,000 with 90Hz | An entry-level game changer?

The fingerprint scanner works fast like a charm, it has a fingerprint recognition method that allows you to choose if the sensor will recognize your prints with soft touch or with a hard touch. Face unlock works fine and accurate as well but in the dark scenery with low brightness, it’s a downer.

Gaming Test

Gaming on Poco M3 Pro 5G is quite remarkable, it comes with Xiaomi Game turbo that optimizes and boosts the gaming experience as well as optimizing the performance and signal strength. We tested its gaming capability by trying the usual, popular games on our list. If you want to watch our gaming review video click here.

Starting with Call of Duty Mobile, the default setting is set to medium graphics and medium frame rates. Almost all entry-level gaming smartphones that we have tested are set to these options. Meanwhile, the gameplay at high framerates was uninterruptable as well as for battle royale mode. For multiplayer mode, it outputs 54 to 56 fps with 98% stability while on the battle royale mode it showed 48 to 53 fps with 98% stability.

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Next is PUBG Mobile, default settings are set to HD graphics and high frame rates. While Ultra framerates are available to both balance and smooth graphics quality. As for the gameplay experience, the gameplay is smooth with no visible frame drops and stuttering. Even running up and down on the terrain and shooting guns, the gameplay showed us satisfaction. For the recommended settings it has 25 to 27 fps with 98% stability, and on balanced plus ultra frame rates it shows 35 to 37 fps with 98% stability.

League of legends Wildrift is set very playable in the Poco M3 Pro 5G. But even the phone offers a 90Hz display, the 90fps option is still unavailable. The gameplay is smooth with no frame drops or stuttering during clashes. Even there are multiple skill animations flashing on the screen, we didn’t encounter any visible lags. With its bump-up settings, it has 58 to 60 fps with 99% stability.

Mobile Legends, by default, everything is already turned on including HFR mode, and the quality of our graphic is already set to ultra. Just Like Wildrift, we didn’t encounter any frame drops or stuttering even at clashes. It is very much likely to be overkill in the Poco M3 Pro 5G. So at maxed out settings, it shows 60fps with 100% stability.

In Honkai Impact 3, the default setting is set to number 3 with 30fps. The gameplay is quite remarkable but 30fps felt unwanting, so we did bump it up to 60. The gameplay became smooth but there were visible frame drops here and there. Not too drastic though and it is still playable on the Poco M3 Pro 5G. So overall Honkai Impact 3 with the bump-up settings we get 47 to 53 fps with 97% stability.

Next, is Genshin Impact, the quality is set to lowest and after we entered the game, there are some noticeable frame drops and stuttering. Even if just roaming around the map, there are hiccups everywhere. But if you can tolerate the stuttering the game will be playable to you. Meanwhile, we set the frames to 60fps and we thought it uses the full capacity of the GPU or it may be unoptimized but it is more stable and has more framerates. For its default settings, we get 24 to 26 fps with 98% stability while on the lowest plus 60frames we get 45 to 50 fps with 96% stability.

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Battery

Another aspect of this device that has been compromised is the charging capacity. Poco M3 Pro 5G is backed by a large 5000mAh battery which is paired with an 18W quick charge. An 18W charging fully charged the device in about 2 hours and 13 minutes which is not bad for its price. While draining the battery from 100%-0% lasts about 7hrs or so, it’s fair enough considering it has a 7nm power-efficient chipset and adaptive refresh rate.

Verdict

Overall, the asking price for the 6GB/128GB configuration is P11,990 pesos but it offers a lower unit at P8,990 for 4GB/64GB. It is a 5G ready smartphone that costs less than a thousand bucks compared to the Redmi Note 10 5G. If you lack the budget you will sacrifice some storage space and ram and get the Poco M3 Pro rather than opting for the Redmi phone.

Poco M3 Pro 5G is the best bang for the buck and affordable 5G device Xiaomi has to offer with a 90hz refresh rate on FHD+ resolution and a 7nm chipset. These features are great to have especially in the entry-level category as it kills what other competitors have today. But still, make sure to choose your preference.

READ: Redmi Note 10 vs realme 7 Comparison – It’s A Close One

POCO M3 Pro 5G specs, price, availability in the Philippines

  • Display: 6.5-inch Adaptive 90Hz IPS LCD, 500 nits peak, Gorilla Glass 3
  • Design: all-polycarbonate
  • Dimensions: 161.81mm × 75.34mm × 8.92mm, 190g
  • Chipset: MediaTek Dimensity 700
  • CPU: Octa-core CPU, up to 2.2GHz
  • GPU: Arm Mail-G57 MC2 GPU,
  • RAM: 4/6GB LPDDR4X
  • Storage: 64GB/128GB UFS 2.2 expandable via dedicated microSD slot
  • Main Camera: 48MP f1.79 6P lens.
    2 MP, f2.4 macro
    2 MP, f/2.4, depth 
    | up to [email protected] video recording
  • Selfie Camera: 8MP f2.0 wide | video up to [email protected]
  • Connectivity & Ports: dual-5G, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi ac, GPS, USB-C, NFC, audio jack, IR blaster
  • Security: face unlock, side-mounted fingerprint scanner
  • Battery: 5000mAh battery (18W)
  • Audio: loudspeaker
  • OS: Android 11, MIUI 12
  • Colors: Power Black, Cool Blue, and POCO Yellow
  • Price: ₱8,990 and ₱11,990
  • Release date: May 2021 (Global), June 2021 (Philippines)
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