[First Cut] Poco X3 Pro: The body of the X3, the soul of the F1?

Is this the best phone below Rs 20,000?

by: - Last updated on: April 5th, 2021

Key Takeaways

  • The Poco X3 Pro is the only device in the sub-Rs 20,000 price segment to come with a new Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 series processor.
  • The phone comes with a design that is very similar to the Poco X3.
  • At its starting price of Rs 18,999, the Poco faces competition from the likes of the Realme 8 Pro, the Redmi Note 10 Pro and Pro Max, the Realme X7, and the Mi 10i.

At first glance, the Poco X3 Pro looks exactly like it sounds – a variation of the Poco X3. It is almost the same size as the Poco X3 and follows the same design pattern. But peep beneath that familiar-looking hood, and you might find another device lurking there. The device that started the whole Poco phenomenon.

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Seen from a distance, the Poco X3 Pro can be mistaken for its Pro-less predecessor, the Poco X3. It has the same height (165.3 mm) and the same width (76.8 mm). The front has the same 6.67-inch display with a punch-hole notch in the top center, but this time with Gorilla Glass 6 protection. The back is still plastic, is still dual tone with a vertical band in the center with the large Poco brandname aligned vertically, and still has a rectangular-shaped camera unit with rounded edges, which juts out (and collects dust).

But the Poco logo now shines like a disco ball, reflecting different colors depending on the angle at which light falls on it. In fact, a closer look at the back will show a very different finish from the more glossy Poco X3 – the band in the middle containing the logo is glossy, but the sides are subtly shiny. We got the Graphite Black variant and it seemed to reflect shades of dark blue and purple at times. Definitely not your regular phone back. And the plastic will pick up smudges and dust (there’s a transparent case in the box) but looks just fine. Pick up the phone and the differences with the X3 become more apparent. The phone is slightly slimmer and lighter than the X3 – not massively so, though. It comes with splash resistance as well, which is always welcome.

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There is no doubt that the phone will attract attention with that dual-tone back and that massive logo, but whether you like it or not will depend on your own preferences – some might find it too blingy. It is an unabashedly big phone and has a good, solid feel to it.

Comes with mostly X3-type, mid-range specs…

In terms of specs, the Poco X3 Pro ticks off all the mid-segment boxes. The large 6.67-inch display is a Full HD+ one, and while it is not AMOLED, it comes with a 120 Hz refresh rate which can vary as per the content being displayed on it, and seems impressively bright. It comes with a quad-camera arrangement at the back spearheaded by a 48-megapixel main sensor (down from the 64-megapixel one on the X3), with the others being an 8 megapixel ultrawide (again down from the 13-megapixel one on the Poco X3), and a pair of 2-megapixel cameras, one apiece for depth and macro. There is also a 20-megapixel camera in front for selfies.

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The battery is a large 5160 mAh one. It is smaller than the 6000 mAh one on the X3 (perhaps that accounts for the lighter and slimmer body?), but comes with a 33W fast charger. In terms of connectivity, you get 4G, GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and an infra-red sport. The 3.5 mm audio jack is very much present, and you also get stereo speakers. This being a Poco device, you get the ad-free Poco UI on top of MIUI 12, which itself runs on Android 11 out of the box. And we are cheering for the fingerprint scanner on the right side of the phone, doubling up as the power/display button.

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These are very good specifications, but nothing that will really raise eyebrows. Indeed, some might even mutter about the absence of an AMOLED display or even faster charging, and some others might ask about the absence of 5G (irrespective of its general absence in the nation!).

…and a F1-type processor!

What WILL raise eyebrows is the processor in the device. The Poco X3 Pro becomes the first phone in the country to run the Qualcomm Snapdragon 860 processor. Indeed, it becomes the first phone in the country to be launched at below Rs 20,000 with a Snapdragon 800 series chip. This comes allied with 6 GB or 8 GB of LPDDR4X RAM and 128 GB of UFS 3.1 storage, expandable up to 1 TB using the micro SD card slot (which is a hybrid one, so you will have to give up one of the two SIM card slots to use it).

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The Snapdragon 860 is supposed to be an improved version of the Snapdragon 855, and considering how powerful that chip was, that makes the Poco X3 Pro a formidable proposition. A telling presentation slide during its launch highlighted how the Snapdragon 845 chip found inside the Poco F1 was STILL beating the likes of the Snapdragon 765. This is a chip that is well ahead of that one. On paper, the Poco X3 Pro has flagship innards. The kind that runs high-end games at maxed-out settings.

THE phone to get in the sub-Rs 20,000 segment?

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Those very good specs, aligned with that processor, and a beginning price of Rs 18,999 (6 GB/ 128 GB, with Rs 20,999 for 8 GB/ 128 GB) make the Poco X3 Pro easily the most powerful phone in the sub-Rs 20,000 segment. That is saying something when you consider just how competitive that price point is, with the likes of the Realme 8 Pro, the Realme X7, the Redmi Note 10 Pro and Pro Max lurking inside it, and the Mi 10i just outside it. But while all those worthies can take on the X3 Pro in most departments and even beat it in some on paper (most notably in cameras and fast charging), none of them really have that sort of processor muscle to boast of. Just how much a difference that processor makes and whether it makes the Poco X3 Pro THE phone to get in the sub-Rs 20,000 price segment will be revealed in our detailed review. As of now, all we can say is that it combines the body of the X3 with the soul of the Poco F1. At a price that will be a headache not just for its rivals, but also its siblings.

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