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POCO X3 NFC Review: The New Budget King Smartphone

POCO X3 NFC Review

The POCO X3 NFC took us by surprise when they announced the official prices during launch day. For a 120Hz refresh rate screen, a large 6.67-inch display, a 64MP main camera with a huge 5,160mAh battery, all you need is to fork out a mere RM1,099. It has almost every feature you’d want from a smartphone with a pretty insane price, but is it any good? In short, there’s more to love than to hate. Read on for our take on the POCO X3 NFC.

POCO X3 NFC – Specifications


POCO X3 NFC
Display6.67” FHD+ LCD DotDisplay
20:9, 2400×1080, 395ppi
240Hz touch sampling rate
120Hz refresh rate
Color gamut: NTSC 84% (typ)
Contrast ratio: 1,500:1(typ)
Brightness: 450 nits (typ) / 380 nits (min)
TÜV Rheinland Low Blue Light certification
HDR10 + Widevine L1 certified
ColorShadow Gray, Cobalt Blue
Dimensions165.3mm x 76.8mm x 9.4mm, 215g
Network SupportDual SIM standby
Wi-Fi 5
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 732G
Kyro 470 octa-core CPU
Adreno 618 GPU with select Elite Gaming features
StorageLPDDR4X RAM, UFS 2.1 storage
Cooling SystemLiquidCool Technology 1.0 Plus – Enlarged copper heat pipe + multiple layers of graphite, up to 6°C CPU temperature reduction
Rear Camera 64MP main wide sensor
Sony IMX682, 1/1.73“ sensor, ƒ/1.89, 1.6μm 4-in-1 Super Pixel, 6P lens, PDAF

13MP ultra-wide angle sensor, 119° FoV, ƒ/2.2, 1.0μm

2MP macro sensor, ƒ/2.4, 1.75μm, 4cm

2MP depth sensor, ƒ/2.4, 1.75μm

Up to 4K 30fps, video recording, AI Skyscaping 3.0, Night Mode, ShootSteady video, Vlog mode
Front Camera20MP in-display front camera
ƒ/2.2, 1.6μm 4-in-1 Super Pixel
ConnectionMultifunctional NFC, IR blaster
SecuritySide-mounted fingerprint sensor
Battery & Charging5,160mAh (typ) high-capacity battery
33W fast charging
33W in-box charger
USB Type-C
AudioDual Stereo Speakers
4cc-equivalent 1012 upper speaker, open cavity
1cc-equivalent 1216 lower speaker
Maximum speaker vibration amplitude: 0.5mm
Hi-Res audio certification
3.5mm headphone jack
MotorZ-axis linear vibration motor
SystemMIUI 12 based on Android 10
Storage Variants6GB + 64GB
6GB + 128GB

What’s In The Box?

  • POCO X3 NFC
  • Transparent TPU Casing
  • Quick Guide and Manuals
  • SIM Pin Ejector
  • USB Type-C Cable
  • 27W Travel Adapter

Within the box, you’ll find the full range of accessories you’ll need to get started. But you’ll most probably go straight for the smartphone and forego the manuals anyways.

Design

POCO X3 NFC Review

The POCO X3 NFC presents itself as a very chonky smartphone. It’s thick and heavy at 215g, and for its price, you can’t expect POCO to include all those features and still make thin and light, right? I’d say its dimension and weight is something you could easily accept and get used to. For my rather big hands, the device sits nicely in my palms. But for someone with smaller hands, you might need to start dual-wielding.

The phone’s polycarbonate back and aluminium rails on the sides have a nice grip to it, and I’m all up for that as long as the phone doesn’t slip away from my hands. It provides a greater gaming experience too. There’s also this patterned strip on the back that kind of looks like a starting line to me, maybe to signify how fast it’s going to go?

POCO X3 NFC Review

As if the phone itself wasn’t think enough, the camera bump on the POCO X3 NFC is made to be think too. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, because it’s placed dead center of the back of the phone and it’s quite wide, it can lay on a table or surface nicely and doesn’t wobble.

On the top, there is the IR blaster and the microphone. On the left, you’ll find the SIM tray, and on the right, is where the volume buttons and side-mounted fingerprint sensor (in the power button) are. Down at the bottom, is where the USB Type-C port, speaker grille, and 3.5mm audio jack can be found.

Display

POCO X3 NFC Review

The POCO X3 NFC’s huge 6.67-inch display is really satisfying to look at. Knowing I spent just a tad bit more than RM1K for this, just sends good vibes down my bones. Like I said before, the whole smartphone experience can be made different with the inclusion of a 120Hz refresh rate screen.

But one thing that has to be point out, is that the panel is an LCD instead of an OLED. Now, you can’t expect an OLED panel to be put in here right? Would be even crazier if it did. The LCD isn’t that, it has a wide colour space so the colours are really nice and vivid. There is support for HDR10 onboard, but the phone’s peak brightness doesn’t seem enough to truly show the HDR10’s capabilities. The auto-brightness can sometimes get quite aggressive too, but nothing a firmware update can’t fix.

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POCO X3 NFC Review: The New Budget King Smartphone 15

Nonetheless, the POCO X3 NFC’s screen still has so much screen real estate and smoothness to love, despite of the minor shortcomings. And because it has Wildvine L1 certification, you can enjoy all HD content on video streaming apps like Netflix.

User Experience

POCO X3 NFC Review

I’ve been using the POCO X3 NFC for about a week now, and I have to say there’s a lot to love about this phone. Moving past the weight and size, you’ll come to love everything else it has to offer.

You know the specs and they’re great, but let’s talk about what the phone is lacking. It runs on MIUI 12, but it doesn’t come with full-screen gestures. Meaning, you’re stuck with having the navigation bar at the bottom and you can’t just swipe in to go back or swipe up to go to the home screen. I thought with the 120Hz refresh rate onboard, having the full-screen navigation gestures would’ve been a better way to truly allow customers to experience the higher refresh rate. After all, the refresh rate is the phone’s unique selling point that sets it apart from its competitors in this price range.

POCO X3 NFC Review

I haven’t been a fan of side-mounted fingerprint sensors, but that’s just me. It’s a weird position, because you can mostly only unlock the phone when you hold it in your hands. That being said, it was probably cheaper to do it this way than to have it embedded under the display itself. It’s something I can live with, and I’m sure you can too.

Also, because of how wide the POCO X3 NFC is, the phone’s connectivity ports are spaced out too. So when you hold the phone with it resting on your pinky finger at the bottom, the edges of the USB Type-C port doesn’t cut/scratch into your finger. That’s been one of the things that has bothered me for the longest time, and I’m glad the POCO X3 NFC doesn’t do that.

Another thing I wanted to highlight is the vibrators. Yes, the vibrators. It’s not at all strong and buzzy, but has a more subtle gentle nudge to it. It feels very crisp when it vibrates and it doesn’t feel like it’s violating your pockets too much when a phone call or message comes in.

Performance

POCO X3 NFC Review

When it comes to performance, the POCO X3 NFC does perform fast with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 732G onboard, almost on par with the Snapdragon 765G actually. Paired with 6GB of RAM, navigation is smooth with the 240Hz touch sampling rate, but the device can sometimes still lag a little.

However, apart from that, the phone does an amazing job at app handling and gaming. The Snapdragon 732G paired with 6GB of RAM and 5,160mAh battery just keeps on giving. I’ve played Genshin Impact on the phone for 5 hours straight, and that’s when the 20% low battery notification came in. That means, I could still play on for another hour or so if I wanted.

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POCO X3 NFC Review: The New Budget King Smartphone 15

Not only that, the phone also has the LiquidCool Technology 1.0 Plus. This keeps the phone cool even during long gaming sessions, and it shows, because the back of the phone only got slightly when I played on it for 5 hours straight.

When it comes to connectivity, there is no 5G (it’s not available yet anyways), but it does have Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.1, an IR blaster, NFC, and even a 3.5mm audio jack!

Here’s the benchmarks we ran for the POCO X3 NFC on Geekbench 5 and 3DMark:

Camera

POCO X3 NFC Review

In the camera department, you’re getting a quad camera system which is headlined by the 64MP Sony IMX682 main sensor. The camera takes adequate photos with the right amount of lighting and very vivid colours (almost too saturated). Details can be a hit and miss, depending on the time of day. Night mode really helps brighten up poorly lit environments. In general, photos are nice, so check them out for yourself below. You’ll also get the 13MP sensor for ultra wide angle shots, a 2MP macro sensor, and a 2MP sensor for depth sensing.

As for video, the recorded footage is decent but it’s mostly Instagram quality at best. Not to say it can’t take short films or stuff like that, but you’d need a lot of assistance in post production. Although, stabilization in video was surprisingly good.

Since we’re in CMCO, we can’t really go anywhere, so here are just some of the photo samples taken with the POCO X3 NFC, to show you roughly what the camera quality is like. And we must say, it’s actually not bad.

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Audio

POCO X3 NFC Review

Stereo is definitely the way to go, and I’m really glad POCO packed in two speakers for the POCO X3 NFC. Okay, so the second speaker doesn’t have a dedicated speaker grille, but being embedded within the earpiece, it still provides a great stereo effect when it comes to music, watching videos and playing games.

That being said, the phone’s speakers are quite soft. Even at 50%, it’s still quite soft when I’m holding it right in front me. I’d have to bump it up to about 80% for it to be satisfyingly audible. But when you increase the volume above the 70% mark, you can start to feel the back of the phone vibrating, especially the area right under the camera. So, try to keep the phone’s volume to about 60% then you’re good, because that’s like the sweet spot where you get good volume and little shaking on the back.

Quality wise, the POCO X3 NFC provides really crisp and clear highs, and the mids offer great dialogue and speech. As for the lows, it’s actually pretty good that you can actually hear some bass coming through. Overall, the speakers are good with great soundstage, it’s just that they’re a little too soft at lower volume levels.

Battery

POCO X3 NFC Review

The 5,160mAh battery in the POCO X3 NFC can definitely last for two days with casual use. Even when you’re using it hardcore for the entire day, you can still end the day with about 25% battery left. Want the device to last even longer? Dial down the refresh rate to 60Hz, and watch it attempt a 3-day battery life. Again, with casual use though. Don’t expect 2-day battery life if you’re gaming on 120Hz all day.

To charge it back up, the phone just keeps getting better as it comes with 33W fast charger. A 30-minute charge got me about 58%, and a 100% charge took about an hour.

Conclusion

POCO X3 NFC Review

The POCO X3 NFC really makes you wonder, “How does Xiaomi fit all that within this price range?” For RM1,099, the POCO X3 NFC offers hardware specs that are unique in its price range, and you can’t really complain much about its other shortcomings. There’s even a 64GB storage variant for just RM899, which is priced even lower for the exact same specs. Early birds even got the 64GB and 128GB variants priced at RM799 and RM999 respectively. And get this, with free gifts.

MIUI 12 is new and has certainly improved over the years, but I still feel it’s a love hate kind of thing. It’s either you like it or not, so at the end of the day, it comes down to preference. The POCO X3 NFC is mainly for those who want high-end hardware specs, but don’t want to break the bank getting them.

The Snapdragon 732G performs really well, the 6.67-inch screen with 120Hz refresh rate is absolutely a pleasure to navigate on, and you get a battery that just keeps going and going, and going (with the 33W charging). Whenever someone asks me about recommendations for a phone that’s under RM1K, this is the phone that’s on top of my list.

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POCO X3 NFC Review: The New Budget King Smartphone 15

Written By

Chief Content Developer at The AXO

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