Test: Poco F3 – not really top model

Xiaomi debuted its Poco 2018 brand with the extremely pure cheap top mobile Pocophone F1. Yes, I would even go so far as to claim that everything on it except performance was bad. Since then, it was quiet for a while before a larger number of cheaper Poco models began to arrive last year.

Xiaomi would like to pretend that Poco is its own mobile brand (and this also applies to their brand Redmi), but in that case it is not entirely easy to see what distinguishes Poco from Xiaomi. Xiaomi itself denies that Poco would be about cheap top models or low-price models in general, but claims that Poco is a brand for the adventurous. What that would mean is unclear, but it could possibly be reflected in designs that take the turns a little more. The Poco F3, on the other hand, is not only similar to other mobiles in the Xiaomi’s Mi 11 series, it is literally identical in appearance to the Xiaomi’s Mi 11i. Dimensions and weight are identical, as is the camera island on the back and the location of the buttons. The differences that actually exist, because the two mobiles are not identical, exist only under the hood. The Poco F3 has a simpler main camera than the Mi 11i and the Snapdragon 870 chipset instead of the 888. The model sold in Sweden also has less storage space. In return, they have peeled off SEK 2,500 on the price tag. Is the Poco F3 for SEK 4,500, only SEK 500 more than the original F1, the truly affordable top model you have been waiting for?

The answer is perhaps. At least I think it succeeds much better than the original Pocophone F1 in finding a relevant balance between performance and other features.

The Snapdragon 870 chipset is a tuned variant of last year’s top chipset Snapdragon 865. This means that it does not quite hold the same class in performance as this year’s top models, but it’s not like we thought last year’s top mobiles were slow, and the speed is still a bit over Qualcomm’s mid-range 700 Series chips.

Compared to the other mobile with this chipset we tested, the Moto G100, for some reason underperforms the Poco F3 in performance tests. In practice, I think the phone responds as quickly to my sweeps as possible and it is only when content needs to be loaded on the web that it can hack a bit.

The screen contributes

One thing that helps the phone feel fast is the screen. It is flat with a visible plastic edge around, but is in return a really good OLED screen with full HD resolution. The strengths of the screen also include that it has a really increased maximum brightness which means that it works well even in full daylight, and partly the refresh rate of 120 Hz. It helps the phone feel fast when the screen is sharp even when scrolling fast.

If you want a fast mobile with a really good screen, then the Poco F3 is fantastically affordable. That’s when it gets trickier.

As with the mobiles in the Mi 11 series, there is no memory card slot in the Poco F3. It is the built-in memory that counts, and if you like to have many movies loaded in the memory and save all your photos locally and not just in the cloud, it will feel too crowded.

The clearest compromise compared to the Mi 11 series concerns the cameras. All models in the Mi 11 series have ambitious cameras for their price tag in different ways. It does not have the Poco F3, not even taking into account the price tag. The main camera is 48 megapixels, with an auxiliary camera of 8 megapixels for wide angle and one of 5 megapixels for macro photography. The megapixel figure does not say much about the level of ambition, nor the number of cameras. Macro camera is something the manufacturers seem to throw away because it is simple and cheap and here as everywhere else, there are few pictures that are better if you take them with the macro camera instead of the main camera. The wide-angle camera is comparatively low-resolution, lacks autofocus and impresses with neither sharpness nor color reproduction. As for the main camera, you can now find 48-megapixel cameras in mobiles for SEK 2,000, and it is these cameras in the Poco F3 that can be compared with. On a sunny summer day, the image result can be excellent, better than my two-year-old S10, but in poorer light conditions such as backlight or overcast, the result will be uneven. sometimes good, sometimes bad. In the dark, the camera drops quickly and becomes immediately bad.

It is in the telephone system that the illusion that Poco is its own mobile brand becomes the thinnest. The system is Android 11 with Xiaomi’s MIUI 12.5, and the only Poco-specific customization I can see is that some presets, such as applause and icon design, are different compared to Xiaomi’s Mi phones, but if you change the settings you can see them exactly likadana ut.

Not because this is automatically something negative. Xiaomi changes with MIUI 12.5.1 quite a lot in Android, and you may not do it as well thought out as Samsung, but you do it at least nicely. There are many attractive system animations here and I especially like the so-called super background on the lock screen and home screen. They have when I start testing the mobile landscape on Mars but change for some reason when I do a system update out towards the Matterhorn. In any case, both are stylish and are based on the principle that a landscape view is zoomed out on the lock screen and in when you wake up the phone, and switch between day and night and when you scroll between the screens.

Unnecessary additions

If you do not like duplication of system apps and pre-installed apps, you will dislike the system in Poco F3. Here and there, advertising also pops up in the system, most noticeably when you install apps, but you can turn it off with a little hand-laying.

The battery life of the Poco F3 is surprisingly good considering the relationship between the large bright screen and the not huge battery. This is probably due to a combination of low – power screen technology and the fact that the system keeps apps in the background tight. You may need to go into the app settings and change for some apps to work properly in the background.

Poco F3 does not help to clarify in what way the Poco brand differs from Xiaomi in addition to “cheaper and with a worse camera”, but if you want a really fast mobile with an excellent screen and a camera that is suitable for basic use needs, Poco F3 is really affordable, maybe the most affordable mobile phone you can get.

Questions and answers

Is the phone fast charging? Yes, though not as fast as Xiaomi’s fastest. The 33-watt charger provides 25 percent battery life in 12 minutes and 50 percent in 24 minutes.

Does the phone have a headset socket? No, but adapter included.

How is the speaker sound? Loud, with stereo speakers, but a bit harsh.

An alternative

Almost top model: If you want good performance for less than SEK 5,000, the Moto G100 is an alternative with the same chipset, and a slightly faster system version.

Test image

In good light, the camera is sometimes excellent as here, sometimes worse than the average.


Source: Mobil by www.mobil.se.

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