Poco M3 Pro : test / review
Published on: 23-05-2021 / Modified: 13-12-2021
Poco returned to the forefront in 2020 and since then the brand has been relentlessly launching new models to flood the market with performance smartphones at the lowest price. After the immense success of the Poco M3 at the end of 2020, it was to be expected that Poco would launch a "PRO" version of their entry-level phone. So this new Poco M3 Pro was predictable but I was surprised by the specs of the phone. The performance has almost doubled compared to the M3 but the M3 Pro offers very wide coverage of 5G frequencies, making it the most affordable 5G phone on the market.
Poco has a habit of neglecting Amazon for the launch of new products but it is not the case this time, the Poco M3 Pro is available on Amazon for 159 € (offer of launch), it is the same price as on Aliexpress but with two years warranty. At this price you have a more powerful phone than the Redmi Note 10 for an equivalent price!
I sometimes have the impression that Xiaomi is run by people who compete with each other because Xiaomi's biggest competitor is Xiaomi, they end up treading on each other. feet with all the models they throw.
Manufacturer web site:
Site where I have bought the Poco M3 Pro: https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_AOMBs3
Structure of my testsI test the phones according to a pre-established structure (see below) to provide you with as much information as possible. Unfortunately, this takes a long time. Some tests like network performance tests take several days and for photo tests I sometimes have to wait until the weather is suitable to take pictures in good conditions. I am therefore obliged to publish the tests step by step, so I invite you to come back if the test is not complete at the time of your visit.
Price Poco M3 ProThe list below shows the prices for the Poco M3 Pro from more than 50 sites around the world. If you are not satisfied with any price, you can subscribe to a price alert to be the first to be notified when the price drops.
The above links are affiliate links from companies such as Amazon, Gearbest, Aliexpress,... If you appreciate my work, I would be grateful if you could purchase these products through these links. It costs you absolutely nothing but I get a small commission that allows me to buy the material I test. Thank you very much!
Timeline05/21/2021 purchase of the Poco M3 Pro on Aliexpress, it was not yet available on Amazon but two later, Amazon launched it at the same price as AliExpress. I couldn't cancel on Aliexpress anymore so I will probably receive it after those who bought it from Amazon.
06/11/2021 I expected it, I should have ordered on Amazon, the delivery took 3 weeks from Aliexpress but hey, too bad, I can now start the test
Why this phone?Price is a big factor in choosing which phones I review and I imagine you are as well. The price is also Poco's strong point and so far I have never been disappointed, I have bought absolutely all of the Poco models that came out in 2020 and 2021. With each new model, Poco manages to lower the price by offering more performance and this performance is not only useful for gamers, the performance also brings daily gain for those who do not play. Poco had started its road with a range of phones for gamers, today Poco phones are opening up to a much wider audience.
This race for performance and price has the advantage of making good smartphones more accessible and putting pressure on brands like Samsung. I even came to wonder why I would buy a Samsung again because at the same price, I have nothing really interesting about them and yet Samsung continues to sell millions of phones. The brand is very powerful and even though the phones offer a much higher price / performance ratio, a large majority of buyers continue to buy Samsung.
UnpackingSince the Poco brand returned to the forefront in 2020, the brand has come back with a much more pronounced identity and yellow is part of its visual identity. The boxes are therefore all yellow or black with yellow, we cannot miss them. The box contains the phone, a pouch containing Poco stickers, a soft silicone protector, a charger and a USB cable. The boxes at Xiaomi / Poco are very standardized, they contain the bare essentials.
First configurationThe configuration of the Poco M3 Pro follows exactly the same path as the other Poco under MIUI 12. The configuration is very easy but you have to fill in the screens to register for the Xiaomi cloud (not mandatory) as well as two screens to confirm the configuration general. The Poco obviously has a few imposed applications on board, but that never gave me any problems, the most annoying elements can be deactivated.
FinishI think Poco has yet to find the ideal format for their phones because with each iteration they make some pretty big changes, they probably haven't found the perfect model yet. The Poco M3 was characterized by a big black stripe on the back and this black stripe was made of a different material. The Poco M3 Pro takes the concept of the black band, but this time it is oriented vertically and uses the same material as the back of the phone (plastic). The Poco M3 Pro uses a reflective material with gradients on the back a bit like the Redmi Note 10 but with a slightly different coloring.
The photo unit at the back protrudes slightly from the back of the device, this optical unit is composed of a main sensor, a depth sensor and a portrait sensor. Although this format may not yet be ideal, I find that the Poco M3 Pro is making progress over the Poco M3. After that it's also a matter of taste and it's very subjective, we must not forget that this is an entry-level phone and for this price range, I find that the Poco M3 Pro is quite successful. I see a lot of comments about fingerprints, yes it's true but I have never tested a phone that can avoid fingerprints before.
The screen is protected by plastic film, so you don't have to buy protection and then get upset every time bubbles appear. The listening speaker is not used for music, so the Poco M3 only plays sound through its bottom speaker.
The Poco M3 Pro has a classic configuration with its volume buttons on the right (a single large button), its ignition button with fingerprint sensor on the right also , its sim drawer on the left can accommodate a sim card and a memory card, a USB port at the bottom and a jack connector at the top. The Poco M3 Pro is also equipped with an infrared port on the top of the phone.
I find this entry-level design to be quite successful, it is quite close to the Redmi Note 10 with a few keys specific to the Poco brand.
The screen occupies 83% of the available space, the borders are of sizes quite comparable to what we find on other phones in the same price range and the screen is only interrupted by a punch for the selfie sensor. This punch is quite visible and affects the brightness of the screen around the sensor a little, but it never gave me any problems.
The information below comes from the Device Info HW application. The application provides detailed technical information about the tested phone. By consulting the technical sheet of the Poco M3 Pro I thought I would find more similarities with other phones of the brand such as the Redmi Note 10. In reality, the phone mainly uses different components and not just for the CPU / GPU. Everything is different like for example the screen, the fingerprint sensor, the wifi chipset, the motherboard, the photo sensors, ... I thought that this Poco M3 Pro was going to be a recycled version of a Redmi or another Poco but it's not.
CPU / GPU Performance
The Poco M3 Pro is based on a MediaTek Dimensity 700 CPU, it is not a very common processor but it is also found in the Redmi Note 10 version 5G. The Poco M3 Pro and the Redmi Note 10 5G have a lot in common, Xiaomi shares a lot of components between these different models and could almost be twin brothers. This CPU is a mid-range CPU that offers good performance for this price range.
For the graphics part, the Poco M3 Pro is based on the Arm Mali-G57 GPU and as for the CPU, it is the same GPU as the Redmi Note 10 5G or the Redmi Note 9T but the Poco is the cheapest every time.
This combination of CPU / GPU offers a sufficient level of performance for gamers who don't want to break the bank but also for a very large audience looking for a responsive phone at an affordable price.
Benchmark Antutu/3DMarkThe Poco brand has so far managed to rise to the top of the price / performance ratio, each model occupying the first place in its price bracket. Is this still the case with this Poco M3 Pro? Yes it is again. The Poco M3 Pro is marketed at a price similar to the Redmi Note 10 but obtains a score of 271,000 points on Antutu where a Redmi Note 10 is rather around 220,000 points.
I saw on other sites that the score was even higher than that, the Poco M3 Pro offers performance close to the Poco X3.
Despite these good performances, I still find that the Poco M3 Pro lacks a bit of fluidity, I have often noticed small latency in use, nothing really disabling but I don't haven't noticed any latency on the Poco X3.
To test the performance in game, I download the mobile PUBG game and evaluate the in-game experience, graphics level and depth of vision. This game is quite demanding and should help you evaluating the performance of a phone. The Poco M3 Pro is able to run PUBG Mobile in HD mode without issues. The number of FPS in the video is unfortunately determined by the video capture application used, so fluidity is better in reality. The experience is good and the screen is responsive. For games like Fortnite, however, it will be necessary to reduce the level of graphics because this type of game is much more demanding.
Network performance5G is not yet available everywhere and it is sometimes a little difficult to navigate. Which phone should you choose if you don't yet know which frequencies will be used in your country? Some 5G phones available in the market today only cover a few frequencies, so you run the risk of buying a phone that won't work in 5G in your country. The Poco M3 Pro will reduce this risk as it supports 13 5G frequencies. It is therefore not only the cheapest 5G phone, but it is among those that offer one of the best frequency coverage. Unfortunately, I won't be able to test the signal quality because I don't have 5G in Belgium.
Signal 4G (before december 2020)
The ability to pick up the network correctly is an essential element for a phone but it is only very rarely measured. To measure a phone's ability to pick up the network, I perform a large number of measurements on the same cells to be able to compare phones under similar conditions. The signal is measured in dBm, a value of -90dBm indicates a worse signal than -70dBm. These measurements are therefore taken under real conditions and not in a laboratory, they are not scientific but give a good indication of performance.
Signal 4G (from December 2020)
I decided to change the methodology for measuring the network because I noticed that the configuration of the mobile network changes over time. This makes it more difficult to compare phones because the conditions are no longer exactly the same.
To overcome this problem, I set up a device that captures 24 hours a day about ten parameters from the mobile network (ex: cell id, rssi, rsrq, snr, frequency,...). I then place the phone next to the device for 24 to 48 hours taking the same measurements so that I can compare them.
Overview of the phones tested with this methodology
I carried out 1247 measurements in 4G to obtain an average score of -102.97 dBm with the Poco M3 Pro where I obtained an average of -91.76 dBm with my measuring device. The difference is very important, Poco had nevertheless improved its radio interface since the Poco X3 but with the Poco M3 Pro, the radio sensitivity in 4G is seriously losing ground. The Poco M3 Pro uses the Dimensity 700 modem which is also used in the following phones: Realme 8 5G, Redmi Note 10 5G, Realme Narzo. The network performance of these phones should therefore also be worse.
The graph below shows how far the Poco M3 Pro is from the reference on all the measurements
To test the download speed, I have identified some 4G cells offering good performance where I test all my devices several times to see what download and upload speed they can achieve.
Wifi performanceTo test a phone's ability to receive the network properly, I take measurements near my router and then remotely (and always at the same place). This gives me an average in dBm where a value of -90 dBm indicates poorer performance than a value at -30 dBm.
The Poco M3 Pro uses a wifi chipset which I haven't seen on other models I've tested recently and that may be a good thing because I find the wifi performance not as good as the other Poco I have tested. I measured a signal of -21 dBm near the router, it is not a bad score but if I switch to 2.4Ghz the signal drops to -38 dBm at the same place and that on the other hand, it is not very good. I have seen the same kind of performance at a distance, so the wifi sensitivity of the Poco M3 Pro is not very good. If you have good wifi coverage you probably won't see anything but if your wifi is poor this phone may not be for you.
To test the speed in Wifi, I connect to my router in 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz (if available) and use the Ookla application to measure the speed.
To test the quality of the GPS signal I use the Offline Maps application and I make the same train trip in pedestrian mode. Why? In pedestrian mode, the GPS does not artificially correct the signal to stick to the road, it has no markings, so you can see the actual position. I then use an application to measure the accuracy of the signal. The Poco M3 Pro is equipped with a Mediatek CPU and this brand of CPU generally offers better performance at the GPS level. This is verified once again because I obtained a level of precision at 2 meters outdoors and 3 meters indoors behind glass.
Battery rangeIt took me 131 minutes to charge the Poco M3 Pro from 0 to 100%, it's very fast. The Poco M3 Pro should have 18W fast charge but I think it's more in reality as the charging speed is close to the measurements I made on phones with 33W fast charge. After 20 minutes of charging, I reach 20% of the battery. The battery charge is almost linear. The battery life varies greatly depending on the brightness of the screen because with a screen at 50% I get a battery life 2.5x greater than with the screen at 100%. The 5000 mAh battery allows the Poco M3 Pro to offer good battery life that will allow you to last 2 to 3 days in normal use and with the screen between 50 and 70%.
Photo camera testTo test the quality of photos produced by a phone, I do a technical test (resolution, sharpness, chromatic aberration,...) in studio (identical conditions) to evaluate the technical part objectively. From the second half of 2020, I built my own laboratory to take completely objective technical measurements. I then take pictures in real conditions to see how the camera performs. I then evaluate these photos according to my criteria but I publish the photos so that you can evaluate the result according to your criteria.
HardwareI thought the Poco M3 Pro was going to reuse the Sony IMX 582 as the main sensor but this is not the case, Poco decided to use an Omnivision sensor like on the Redmi Note 10s. I've never tested this sensor, so I'm curious to see what it's worth. I had tested a good sensor from this brand on the Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite, I hope the result will be also good for the Poco.
The Poco M3 Pro does not have an ultra wide angle sensor, this is the first time that Xiaomi has overlooked this sensor. I do not think that this will pose a problem for a large majority of buyers, but I nevertheless found that the quality of this type of sensor had nevertheless improved a lot and that we had reached a completely correct level of quality. Too bad, the Poco M3 Pro will continue its journey without an ultra wide-angle sensor, it will be necessary to be satisfied with a macro sensor and another for portraits.
The default photo application of Poco M3 Pro is the same as that used on other phones of this brand. Since the Poco M3 Pro only has a main sensor and a portrait sensor, the options are more limited. I noticed a little latency between the different screens, I find that a little surprising for a phone with this level of performance.
Photo test / studio
I haven't had a chance to test the Omnivision OV48B photo sensor yet, I was quite curious to see what it was capable of. Like most phones I test in the studio, I got a slightly underexposed photo but still found the result to be pretty decent. The sharpness is not extraordinary, for example we cannot clearly distinguish the grille at the front of the car but the graduations or the texts are correctly readable. We can clearly see a difference in sharpness between the center and the periphery, this is also the case for most smartphones. In terms of colorimetry, I will do a more in-depth analysis later but the colors seem to me to present a slight shift with a lack of saturation and a color temperature a little too cold. I tested the AI, HRD, manual and night modes which you can find in the following gallery.
Photo test / sunny
The Poco M3 Pro only has a wide-angle photo sensor, so this will make it easier for me to do my test. Poco has chosen to equip this model with a 48 million pixel Omnivision sensor and unfortunately I do not have a very good experience with the sensors of this brand. I find, however, that the result is not as bad as I had imagined especially after testing a disappointing Omnivision sensor in the Redmi Note 10s. The colors are quite pleasant, they could have been a little more saturated but the result is correct. The sharpness is good without being forced, I see a smoothing and and there but nothing very dramatic. The dynamic range is not very wide, the sky should be quite blue and the clouds should be drawn better, but again it is not dramatic. In the same price range, the Redmi Note 10 does better but offers significantly less performance.
I took the following photos under the same conditions sometimes using AI or HDR to see if it could improve the photos. AI tends to make photos a bit supernatural, but I imagine some people will like this kind of photo.
Photo test / cloudy
Not yet available / tested
Test photo / night
Not yet available / tested
When I test a phone below 200 € I don't expect the video stabilization to be good, the Poco M3 Pro does offer good video stabilization. Why? It's very simple, the resolution has been limited to 1080p and the power of the Poco M3 Pro stabilizes this level of resolution. I just briefly see a recalculation of the pixels after some shocks but apart from that, the stabilization is good.
Video normale conditions
The day I made these different videos, I was testing the Redmi Note 10s at the same time as the Poco M3 Pro. The Redmi Note 10s also uses an Omnivision sensor and I had been quite disappointed with the result, so I didn't expect a miracle for the Poco and yet the Poco manages to do better than the Redmi. The default photo app doesn't allow editing beyond 1080p and that might not be a bad thing as the video is really smooth, I don't see the exposure jumps like on the Redmi. The colors in good weather are close to reality and the sharpness is correct. I prefer the Redmi Note 10 again (not the model with the S at the end) but it's a different type of phone so probably another target audience as well.
Video low light
Not yet available / tested
Audio qualityTo test the quality of the phone's audio output, I connect the device's audio output to a measuring tool, then play sounds on all frequencies and measure the differences between the original sound and the sound produced by the phone. In this way I measure the phone's ability to correctly reproduce all sounds.
This test is intended to test the device's ability to correctly reproduce all frequencies. The white line in the middle of the graph is the ideal situation and the other colors come from tests on different phones. A deviation from the reference line indicates a deviation from the ideal situation. To see good sound at all frequencies, it is therefore necessary to get as close as possible to the reference line. I have compared the Poco M3 Pro with the Poco X3 and see that the Poco M3 Pro offers similar frequency coverage in low tones but picks up faster in high tones. The Poco M3 Pro therefore lacks a bit of finesse in terms of sound but it offers a result quite similar to other phones in this price range. The Poco X3 wins the duel on frequency coverage.
This test is designed to test a phone's ability to play sounds at different volume levels. Here too, the phones must be as close as possible to the reference. The Poco M3 Pro produces a slightly more powerful sound than the Poco X3 and the gap is more noticeable in the bass sounds while the difference fades in the treble sounds. For power, the Poco M3 Pro wins the duel with the Poco X3.
This test aims to identify if the device under test is able to reproduce sounds without too much noise. A high score indicates a low parasite rate, a lower score indicates a higher presence of parasites. I did not see any parasitate problems with the Poco M3 Pro, the measurements again show that it does better on low frequencies but overall the performance is good.
The Poco M3 Pro is an entry-level phone, so it's not a phone for audiophiles but that doesn't mean it doesn't sound good. The sound lacks a bit of finesse in the highs and it is very likely that this level of quality will be sufficient for the average consumer.
Screen qualityTo test the screen, I use a colorimetric probe that measures the color accuracy of a screen, as well as other parameters to see if a screen is able to correctly reproduce an image. I also test the brightness level to determine if the screen will be able to display an image in full sunlight.
The screen of the Poco M3 Pro is fairly well calibrated for a phone in this price range, I got a dE of 1.82 in standard mode (the default mode has poorer colorimetry). The differences are more present on green and blue but these differences should be invisible to the naked eye. White is very close to pure white which is often what is missing for entry level phones but this is not the case with this Poco.
Brightness / Contrast
I got a brightness of 446 cd / m² with the sun mode which adapts the brightness of the screen when exposed to strong light. It's a good score but the Redmi Note 10 does much better with 726 cd / m². I consider that it is necessary to be above 500 cd / m² to be able to use the screen in all conditions, the Poco is not very far from it and you can use it under the sun with sometimes the need to adapt angle to avoid the mirror effect of the screen.
The contrast is also quite good, I got 1: 657 with maximum brightness, the contrast should stabilize around 1: 1400 with normal brightness. These values are good enough for this type of screen.
BiometryXiaomi / Poco has tested all kinds of fingerprint scanners over the past 12 months and the sensor combined with the ignition button seems to be winning the battle. Most of the Xiaomi / Poco I tested this year were equipped with this kind of sensor and I find that rather positive because these sensors work quite well. I still prefer the speed of the fingerprint reader on the back of the phone, but this sensor on the side works much better than the on-screen sensors.
Not yet available / tested
Encoutered bugsNot yet available / tested
Accessories Poco M3 Pro
Compare Poco M3 Pro with the others
Test / Review conclusion
By purchasing the Poco M3 Pro, I thought to myself that I would find similarities with the Poco M3 but in reality it is a completely different phone and other than the name there is not much in common. The Poco M3 Pro uses another architecture (Mediatek vs Snapdragon), another screen, an Omnivision sensor instead of a Samsung and the Poco M3 Pro is 5G compatible. The comparison between these two phones is therefore completely useless they are so different.
The M range at Poco represents the entry level and at Poco, the entry level plays the performance card. This Poco M3 Pro offers equivalent performance to the Redmi Note 10 Pro and greatly exceeds a Samsung Galaxy A52 which costs twice as much. For each new Poco I say the same thing, the Poco comes first in the price / performance ratio.
Performance is one thing, other features of the phone still have to live up to their promises. Here on the other hand, the Poco ranks a little more in the average with scores very similar to what we find at Xiaomi in this price range. The battery life is good, the screen is of good quality, the finishes are good, the sensitivity to GPS is good but these are things that can also be found in phones like for example the Redmi Note 10. 5G will do. may be the difference for those looking for a phone compatible with this type of frequency because in this price range there are not many 5G compatible phones yet.
The biggest weakness of this phone is the sensitivity of the network (in 4G, I do not have access to 5G) because Poco takes a step backwards with a performance in recoil. If you live in a good network coverage area this may not be a problem for you, but if your coverage is poor this phone is not for you.
The Poco M3 Pro therefore brings together all kinds of good ingredients also present in other phones but comes to stand out by offering more performance and 5G at a very affordable price, this phone will so no doubt to have a good commercial success as had been the case with the Poco M3.
- price / performance
- battery life
- 5G compatible
- good battery life
- good screen colorimetry
- good GPS sensitivity
- 4G network sensitivity
- screen brightness
- wifi performance
Alternatives to this product
If performance is not your main criterion of choice, you can go for the Redmi Note 10 which produces better photos and is equipped with an Amoled screen.