Poco F3 review

GSMArena Team, 02 April 2021.

Superb 6.67" AMOLED with 120Hz refresh rate

The Poco F3's display is probably the biggest upgrade since the F2 Pro and the most noticeable one. It is still a 6.67" AMOLED of extended 1080p resolution, but now it supports 120Hz refresh rate and 360Hz touch sampling.

The screen resolution is the typical 1,080 x 2,400 pixels or 395ppi. There is a tiny punch-hole cutout for the selfie camera, but unlike on the Redmi Note 10 Pro, here the camera has been positioned much better inside.

Poco F3 review

So, the display features Gorilla Glass 5 protection. Like other Xiaomi phones, this one also comes with a thin protective film already applied on the screen, but it's quite cheap and a massive fingerprint magnet, so we peeled it off in the first hour. If you really need a screen protector over, you'd be better off buying a better quality aftermarket one.

The Poco F3 screen supports 60Hz (static) and 120Hz (adaptive) refresh rate.

There is also HDR10+ certification and combined with the Widevine L1 DRM support, you can squeeze the maximum quality of any video streaming service. We tried various HDR-capable streaming services like Netflix, Prime, YouTube - and they all offered us Full HD HDR quality.

Just like on the Redmi Note 10 Pro and the Poco X3 Pro you can choose between 60Hz and 120Hz screen refresh rates called Standard and High. The High 120Hz option works dynamically - in our experience, it can switch automatically between 60Hz, 90Hz and 120Hz depending on the content you are currently displaying. Xiaomi claims the screen can go as low as 30Hz but we couldn't confirm that with Android's built-in refresh rate indicator.

The Poco F3 screen is always showing 120Hz throughout the UI and all system apps, but it reverts to 60Hz when the picture is static for battery-saving reasons - that's a typical behavior across most of the HRR phones out there. In places such as the Task Switcher or when using Picture-in-Picture mode, it would do 90Hz instead.

The screen is working at 120Hz for supported apps and games (like Dead Trigger 2), and 60Hz in Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video, the default Mi Video player, and some games.

Poco F3 review

Poco is promising the F3 screen can achieve a maximum auto-brightness of 900 nits (typical) and 1300nits (peak/local) when watching HDR video content.

And we can confirm the 700nits auto brightness - 711 nits to be specific. It is achievable when the screen is set to Auto-Brightness or when you turn the Sunlight Boost in Manual Brightness Mode. Otherwise, the maximum brightness at the end of the brightness slider is 511 nits - which, admittedly, is still plenty enough.

One thing we didn't like is the brightness scrubber levels - for example, 200 nits are achieved at about 85% of the slider, and the other 300+ nits are represented by the last 15% of the slider movement. That's some poor control design, and it annoyed us a lot, especially when we wanted to get a brighter but NOT THAT bright screen.

We measured the minimum brightness at point white, and it is just 2.1 nits, which is commendable.

Display test 100% brightness
Black,cd/m2 White,cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Poco F3 0 511
Poco F3 (Max Auto) 0 716
Xiaomi Poco F2 Pro 0 516
Xiaomi Poco F2 Pro (Max Auto) 0 854
Xiaomi Pocophone F1 0.314 461 1468:1
Realme X3 SuperZoom 0.332 437 1316:1
Xiaomi Poco X3 NFC 0.354 460 1299:1
Xiaomi Poco X3 NFC (Max Auto) 0.515 631 1225:1
Poco X3 Pro 0.327 458 1401:1
Poco X3 Pro (Max Auto) 0.4 534 1335:1
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro 0 457
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro (Max Auto) 0 725
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 0 475
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 (Max Auto) 0 682
Realme 8 Pro 0 454
Realme 8 Pro (Max Auto) 0 627
Realme 7 Pro 0 459
Realme 7 Pro (Max Auto) 0 585
Realme 7 5G 0.376 484 1287:1
Realme 7 5G (Max Auto) 0.667 571 856:1
Motorola Moto G100 0.349 498 1427:1
Motorola Moto G100 (Max Auto) 0.434 613 1412:1
Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Pro 0.355 456 1285:1
Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Pro (Max Auto) 0.487 616 1265:1
Samsung Galaxy A52 0 386
Samsung Galaxy A52 (Max Auto) 0 794

The Poco F3 offers AI Image Engine that can do two things (both disabled by default). The first is convert SDR media to HDR on the go. The second one is MEMC - motion interpolation from low frame rate footage to high frame rate. The latter leads to a soap opera-like effect for some movies/TV shows, so if you feel something is wrong, say too fast or too real, just don't use MEMC.

There are three predefined Color presets - Auto, Saturated, Standard - each representing a specific color space.

Color options - Poco F3 review Color options - Poco F3 review Color options - Poco F3 review
Color options

The Auto option is tuned to reproduce Wide Color Gamut content faithfully, but it also adjusts the colors to correspond to your current lighting (like Apple's True Tone). We saw some very good calibration in our office's normal daylight conditions, even if with some bluish tinge of the white and gray hues.

The Standard setting corresponds to sRGB, and the screen shows an excellent calibration.

Finally, the Saturated mode makes the colors pop, and they are no longer as accurate to DCI-P3.

Battery life

The Poco F3 is powered by a rather large 4,520mAh battery - nearly 200mAh smaller than the F2's and 500mAh less than the Redmi Note 10 Pro and Poco X3 Pro. It still seems enough for such a smartphone, so we expect some good numbers on our battery life test.

And indeed, the Poco F3 scored some impressive times! The phone posted an outstanding battery endurance rating of 114 hours! It did lovely on the screen-on tests, and you can do calls for a full day.

The phone always shows videos at 60Hz, and it drops the refresh when reading websites to 60Hz, too, with the exceptions being when you touch the screen. Meaning these times are also representative of when the display is set to a static 60Hz refresh rate.

Poco F3 review

Our battery tests were automated thanks to SmartViser, using its viSerDevice app. The endurance rating denotes how long the battery charge will last you if you use the device for an hour of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily. More details can be found here.

All test results shown are achieved under the highest screen refresh rate mode. You can adjust the endurance rating formula manually so it matches better your own usage in our all-time battery test results chart where you can also find all phones we've tested.

Charging speed

Just like the Redmi Note 10 Pro and Poco X3 Pro, among other Xiaomi phones, the Poco F3 battery supports 33W Mi Fast charging and the phone ships with a 33W adapter and a 3A-rated cable.

Poco F3 review

The bundled charger refills 67% of the F3's dead battery in 30 minutes.

30min charging test (from 0%)

  • Realme 7 Pro
    94%
  • Realme 8 Pro
    88%
  • Poco F3
    67%
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    65%
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Pro
    63%
  • Xiaomi Poco F2 Pro
    60%
  • Realme 7
    58%
  • Realme 7 5G
    57%
  • Poco X3 NFC
    55%
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 (25W)
    52%
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
    50%
  • Poco X3 Pro
    50%
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro
    39%
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S
    37%
  • Pocophone F1
    35%
  • Samsung Galaxy A52
    34%

A full charge requires 56 minutes - a truly impressive time for this class!

Time to full charge (from 0%)

  • Realme 7 Pro
    0:37h
  • Realme 8 Pro
    0:38h
  • Poco F3
    0:56h
  • Xiaomi Poco F2 Pro
    1:05h
  • Realme 7
    1:05h
  • Realme 7 5G
    1:06h
  • Poco X3 Pro
    1:08h
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Pro
    1:11h
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    1:13h
  • Poco X3 NFC
    1:15h
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
    1:21h
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 (25W)
    1:30h
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 9S
    1:45h
  • Samsung Galaxy A52
    2:03h

Speakers

The Poco F3 features a hybrid stereo speaker setup, where the earpiece also doubles as a speaker. While the configurations we've experienced on the Redmi Note 10 Pro and the X3 Pro seemed to have equally loud and powerful speakers, that is not the case on the Poco F3.

The top speaker has two grilles - one front-facing and another one at the top of the phone, on the frame. The front hole is letting high notes through, while the top grille provides for some bass. This speaker seems to be a bit quieter than the bottom-firing one and suited for mostly high frequencies.

Poco F3 review

Then there is the bottom speaker, which is louder and provides good bass and excellent mid-tones. And you've probably guessed that right - the high tones aren't its strong suit.

And it's good news from here. The F3 setup scored a Very Good overall loudness on our test and showed us good balance when neither speaker is muffled. We liked the sound quality too; there is some good representation across bass, mid and high tones.

Use the Playback controls to listen to the phone sample recordings (best use headphones). We measure the average loudness of the speakers in LUFS. A lower absolute value means a louder sound. A look at the frequency response chart will tell you how far off the ideal "0db" flat line is the reproduction of the bass, treble, and mid frequencies. You can add more phones to compare how they differ. The scores and ratings are not comparable with our older loudspeaker test. Learn more about how we test here.

Reader comments

  • MrX

yes, after the latest update, battery life very2 improve, mine 120hz always, playing games n socmed, SOT still got 8hrs above, which is very impresive n long lasting, almost forgot where i put my chrger...haahhaha...

Changing it from 120hz to 60hz will definitely reduce the battery consumption, but by how much? That depends. There are apps that stay at 60hz even with 120hz turned on(youtube, netflix), meanwhile there are some that stay at 120hz like the system ap...

Oneplus 8T of course, those two phones aren't even in the same price range, so the more expensive phone is the better, but if you're talking value for the price then it's the poco F3 for sure.