Poco M3 review

GSMArena Team, 14 December 2020.

Android 10 and MIUI 12

The Poco M3 boots MIUI 12 out of the box. The launcher is based on Android 10 and has a streamlined interface with cool animations, new privacy options, floating windows, a dedicated Control Center, Super Wallpapers, and a brand-new app drawer, among other features.

Poco M3 review

Overall, MIUI 12 is not a massive overhaul over MIUI 11, but more of a refresh with new looks here and there, new cooler animations, and a couple of new features though it's up to you whether you'll use them or not.

You unlock the screen via the fast side-mounted fingerprint scanner. The reader is easy to set up, fast, and superbly accurate - it is on par with the best in business. One issue with side-mounted fingerprint scanners is that you often get misreadings when you are fidgeting with the phone or when reaching for it in your pocket because your fingers or palm are almost always in contact with the side frame. Xiaomi has an easy fix for that - you can choose between Touch or Press recognition method. By choosing Press the fingerprint scanner will start reading only if you press the power button.

2D Face Unlock is available, too, but it is far less secure than the fingerprint option.

Security options - Poco M3 review Security options - Poco M3 review Security options - Poco M3 review Security options - Poco M3 review Security options - Poco M3 review
Security options

The homescreens are business as usual - they are populated with shortcuts, folders, and widgets. The leftmost pane, if enabled, is called Google Feed.

Homescreens - Poco M3 review Homescreens - Poco M3 review Homescreens - Poco M3 review Homescreens - Poco M3 review
Homescreens

MIUI 12 offers an app drawer by default, and it automatically organizes your apps into categories. The first is All, meaning it contains all apps. Then follow Communication, Entertainment, Photography, Tools, New, and Business. You can edit these categories or even disable them altogether. You can't disable the App Drawer, at least not in the MIUI version made for Poco.

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App drawer

An interesting feature introduced with MIUI 12 is the Notification shade split - a swipe downwards opens either the Notifications or the Quick Toggles. Similarly to how the iPhones do, you open them in the same fashion - pull down from the left part of the screen for the Notifications, or pull down from the right for the Control Center.

Poco M3 review

If you are not fond of this new split - you can disable the Control Centre for a more stock Android experience.

Notification Center - Poco M3 review Control Center - Poco M3 review Control Center - Poco M3 review The old Notification Shade - Poco M3 review
Notification Center • Control Center • Control Center • The old Notification Shade

The task switcher has not changed much. It shows all of your recent apps in two columns. Tap and hold on a card for the split-screen/floating shortcut, or just swipe it left or right to close it. There is a new Floating Windows button next to the Split Screen, an option introduced by MIUI 12. You can put some apps in a floating state above everything else. You can only have one floating window at a time, though.

Task Switcher - Poco M3 review Floating Windows - Poco M3 review Floating app - Poco M3 review Split screen - Poco M3 review
Task Switcher • Floating Windows • Floating app • Split screen

Themes are a huge part of MIUI, and they are available on MIUI 12, too. You can download new ones from the Themes store, and they can change wallpapers, ringtones, system icons, system fonts, and even the always-on display style.

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Themes

Xiaomi enhanced MIUI 12 with a couple of additional privacy options. When sharing stuff, like photos and videos, you can opt to remove the embedded location and/or other metadata (incl. device info) and thus protect your privacy better. Neat.

Gallery - Poco M3 review Privacy Settings - Poco M3 review
Gallery • Privacy Settings

MIUI also offers a Security app. It can scan your phone for malware, manage your blacklist, manage or restrict your data usage, configure battery behavior, and free up some RAM. It can also manage your installed apps' permissions and allow you to define the battery behavior of selected apps and apply restrictions only to the apps you choose.

MIUI 12 packs proprietary apps for Gallery, Music, and Video player. In some regions, the music and video apps include paid streaming options. Mi Remote for the IR blaster is available, too. In China, a new Mi AI assistant is part of MIUI 12, replacing the Google Assistant.

MIUI 12 also enhances the Notes app with even more Task checklists and subtask options.

FM radio app is available, too.

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Security • Security • Music • Video • Mi Remote • FM radio

MIUI 12 supports Dark Mode, too, and you can even force it on wallpapers or restrict its application on incompatible individual apps.

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Dark Mode

Ads are baked into some system apps - this is usually done to lower the phone's cost. We saw ads most often in the Security and Themes app, as well as part of the embedded virus scanner which pops up every time you install an app.

Performance and benchmarks

The Poco M3 is powered by the 2020's Snapdragon 662 chipset based on the 11nm manufacturing process. The SoC employs an octa-core CPU consisting of 4x Kryo 260 Gold cores clocked at 2.0 GHz and 4x Kryo 260 Silver cores running at 1.8 GHz. The Gold cores are based on the Cortex-A73 design, while the Silver derivatives are based on the energy-efficient Cortex-A53 cores.

The GPU inside this Snapdragon 662 is Adreno 610.

The SoC holds 4GB of RAM and 64GB UFC 2.0 internal storage. There is also version with 4GB RAM and 128GB UFS 2.1 storage. Both models offer microSD expansion.

Poco M3 review

And here is how the Poco M3 stacks against competing handsets with different SoCs.

The multi-core processor performance is up to par for this class.

GeekBench 5 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Realme 7 Pro
    1811
  • Realme 7 5G
    1794
  • Redmi Note 9S
    1785
  • Realme 7
    1681
  • Sony Xperia 10 II
    1413
  • Motorola Moto G9 Play
    1402
  • Poco M3
    1398
  • Xiaomi Redmi 9 (Prime)
    1325
  • Realme 7i
    1318
  • Redmi Note 9
    1292
  • Samsung Galaxy A21s
    1100

Unfortunately, the single-core CPU performance is quite sluggish. And you can feel that when using the Android OS for mundane tasks like scrolling homescreens or switching between apps - there is a noticeable lag, the phone does stutter here and there.

GeekBench 5 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Realme 7 5G
    598
  • Realme 7 Pro
    576
  • Redmi Note 9S
    570
  • Realme 7
    536
  • Xiaomi Redmi 9 (Prime)
    362
  • Redmi Note 9
    361
  • Sony Xperia 10 II
    315
  • Motorola Moto G9 Play
    314
  • Realme 7i
    312
  • Poco M3
    308
  • Samsung Galaxy A21s
    184

The high screen resolution sure sounds like a premium feature for this class, but it takes a toll on gaming. In fact, if you can't lower a game's resolution down to 720p, it will be impossible to have a smooth experience. We aren't saying gaming is a no-go; you just need to adjust your expectation and game settings accordingly.

GFX Manhattan ES 3.1 (offscreen 1080p)

Higher is better

  • Realme 7 5G
    35
  • Realme 7
    34
  • Realme 7 Pro
    30
  • Redmi Note 9S
    30
  • Poco M3
    13
  • Realme 7i
    13
  • Sony Xperia 10 II
    13
  • Motorola Moto G9 Play
    13
  • Samsung Galaxy A21s
    9.4

GFX Car Chase ES 3.1 (offscreen 1080p)

Higher is better

  • Realme 7
    20
  • Realme 7 5G
    20
  • Realme 7 Pro
    18
  • Redmi Note 9S
    18
  • Poco M3
    7.2
  • Sony Xperia 10 II
    7.1
  • Realme 7i
    7
  • Motorola Moto G9 Play
    7
  • Samsung Galaxy A21s
    6

The onscreen benchmarks show the superiority of phones with 720p screens like the Realme 7i, Galaxy A21s, and Moto G9 Play over the Poco M3.

GFX Manhattan ES 3.1 (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Realme 7 5G
    31
  • Realme 7
    28
  • Redmi Note 9S
    26
  • Motorola Moto G9 Play
    26
  • Realme 7i
    25
  • Realme 7 Pro
    25
  • Samsung Galaxy A21s
    19
  • Poco M3
    11
  • Sony Xperia 10 II
    10

GFX Car Chase ES 3.1 (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Realme 7
    17
  • Realme 7 5G
    17
  • Redmi Note 9S
    15
  • Realme 7 Pro
    14
  • Realme 7i
    13
  • Motorola Moto G9 Play
    13
  • Samsung Galaxy A21s
    11
  • Poco M3
    5.9
  • Sony Xperia 10 II
    5.6

Finally, let's look at the AnTuTu combined score. It's not bad at all, all things considered.

AnTuTu 8

Higher is better

  • Realme 7 5G
    318535
  • Realme 7
    292828
  • Realme 7 Pro
    278414
  • Redmi Note 9S
    254000
  • Xiaomi Redmi 9 (Prime)
    201829
  • Redmi Note 9
    200414
  • Sony Xperia 10 II
    196545
  • Poco M3
    177904
  • Realme 7i
    172933
  • Motorola Moto G9 Play
    170064
  • Samsung Galaxy A21s
    107157

The Poco M3 is not the fastest of phones; this should be obvious. It is no slouch either as it is up to the task, be it an office app of gaming, provided you've adjusted the graphics settings and your expectations for speed.

You can see the phone lag and stutter here and there, but it's not a deal-breaker (like Cyberpunk 2077 on a vanilla Xbox One). You are buying a €140 phone with a high-res screen, and such things are to be expected and something you've accepted at the time of purchase.

The good news is that the phone does not get hot under load, and it won't drop its performance further when you are playing a game or using it with demanding apps. It always gives its maximum. It's just not a mid-range-smooth experience, but the Poco M3 isn't a mid-range phone, is it?

Reader comments

  • Anonymous
  • 30 Oct 2022
  • uv1

Ir blaster is missing

  • osimsee
  • 13 Oct 2022
  • Dru

How can the bricked phone of poco m3 be fixed?, mine has gone comatose

  • Anonymous
  • 04 Oct 2022
  • sBS

It can be fixed now