The Poco F3 offers plenty of power and a superb display in an attractive, glass-covered body. Firstly, it uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 5G chip, a rebranded 865+ chip that is only a step down from the flagship Snapdragon 888. In addition, its 6.67-inch AMOLED screen is bright and vibrant, with a snappy 120Hz refresh rate. Of course, there are some downsides. But that is to be expected of a smartphone that starts from just S$549.
- 6.67-inch AMOLED screen, 120Hz refresh rate
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 5G chip with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage
- Triple cameras: 48MP (main), 8MP (ultrawide) and 5MP (macro)
- 4,520mAh battery
The F3 feels responsive and snappy. Scrolling Web pages and swiping between screens are fluid and smooth, thanks to the 120Hz refresh rate. Apps open promptly, while games run fairly cool. Backing up my impression is the F3's Geekbench 5 score of 942 (single-core), which is between the Snapdragon 865 (881) and the Snapdragon 888 (1,040). Battery life is decent — it will comfortably last a day with the screen set to 120Hz, but not more than that. In a video-loop test at maximum brightness, the F3 lasted 13hr 22mins.
I found it a bit jarring that the F3 has ditched mid-range smartphone staples like the microSD card slot and the 3.5mm headphone jack. On the bright side, the audio is pretty loud, thanks to dual speaker grilles at the top and bottom. I'm also a fan of the F3's side-mounted fingerprint sensor. It is more accurate than the middling in-display fingerprint sensor you'd usually find at this price point. However, its triple-camera system is mid-tier at best. When the conditions are perfect, the photos look good with accurate colours. But the main camera falters in more tricky conditions — low-light shots turn out smeary and noisy.
While Poco has been spun off from Xiaomi as an independent brand, the F3 is still made by Xiaomi (aka the Redmi K40 in some markets). This means the F3 runs Xiaomi's MIUI 12 interface (based on Android 11), but with its own Poco launcher. I'm not the biggest fan of MIUI, but the latest version is tolerable, albeit bloated with third-party apps. I liked that the F3 uses some Google apps by default, like Gboard for keyboard input. Swiping right from Home also brings up the Google Discover feed.
The Poco F3 starts at S$549 for the 6GB/128GB model while my 8GB/256GB review set costs S$599. This puts the F3 squarely against the Samsung Galaxy A52 (from S$548). While the F3 has a faster processor and a brighter screen, the A52 has better cameras. The Samsung also offers IP67 water and dust resistance, a headphone jack and expandable storage. My thoughts: go for the F3 if you're into gaming and multimedia, while the A52 is a good pick for everyone else. Grab the F3 at Shopee and Lazada.
Note: Review unit provided by Poco.
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