Poco F3 GT Review: Game on, and Not Just in Gaming

Don't get triggered by those triggers - this ain't only a gaming phone

by: - Last updated on: July 27th, 2021
Key Takeaways
  • With its edgy design, Maglev pop-up triggers, and gaming optimizations, the Poco F3 GT is being seen by many as a “gaming phone.”
  • The truth, however, is that even without the gaming garnishing, the Poco F3 GT is a formidable phone.
  • It comes with a superb display, great sound, a very good processor, a clean UI, and a big battery that chargers super fast, and that makes it a contender in the sub-Rs 30,000 segment. Even if you do not use those triggers.

There is a story about a cricket player. He was mainly seen as a spin bowler and was so good at it that he was selected to play for his country. His main job was bowling spin, but when people saw him play, they realized he could bat reasonably too. So they promoted him to a higher position, and he started batting more. He began batting so well that he became one of the best batsmen in the world. Meanwhile, his bowling kept on improving too, and apart from spin, he could bowl pace as well. At the end of it all, many called him the greatest cricket player of all time.

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But for a long time, right from the beginning till the time he actually started playing for his country (a period of almost fifteen years, a period in which he could have been groomed in other aspects), he was perceived mainly as a bowler. And that too, a spin bowler. He could bat brilliantly and bowl fast too. But people did not realize it for years. They were too busy seeing him as a spin bowler. Hey, that is what people said he was.

Perceptions can be deceptive. They make you miss the obvious and, in many cases, ignore your own eyes and mind.

The Poco F3 GT is a gaming phone, right?

And it is actually the perception that the Poco F3 GT is going to have to deal with in the Indian market. The second phone in the Poco F series to be released in India (I guess we will never know what happened to the Poco F2) is saddled with the perception of being a gaming phone from the get-go.

It is not a random perception, though. The GT suffix to the name (“Grand Tourer”) is taken by many as a gaming indicator, and one of the most noticeable features of the phone is its pop-up triggers on the right-hand side, which can be used only in gaming. Add to this a rather funky design replete with engravings (we have talked about it in almost loving detail here) which is very different from other phones in this segment, and it is hardly surprising that so many see the Poco F3 GT as a gaming phone. Hey, it has special features for gaming, special triggers, and a very stand-out design – gaming phone, right?

Right. And well, not right.

Super gamer, but is it trapped by those triggers?

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For, even if you actually ignore those physical triggers (they actually lie almost flat with the surface when recessed) and those software gaming touches – and a number of phones now come with special gaming modes anyway, such is the popularity of mobile gaming – the Poco F3 GT actually is a pretty formidable device for anyone who wants a phone under Rs 30,000. We would go so far as to say that the Maglev triggers actually trap the F3 GT into a gaming zone, a bit like the cricketer in our intro got trapped into the role of a spinner.

Now, there is no doubt that the Poco F3 GT does a very good job in gaming. Powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 1200 (which is close to the Snapdragon 870 in terms of performance) and 6 GB / 8 GB of RAM (depending on the variant you choose), it can handle Call of Duty, Asphalt, and other titles at high settings and its large 6.67-inch full HD+ Turbo AMOLED display with 120 Hz refresh rate and dual speakers are best multimedia handling combination we have seen in the sub-Rs 30,000 segment. That display is bright and handles colors well without getting too crazy about making colors pop, and the speakers deliver very good sound indeed. The phone does not get too heated up and is very comfortable to use.

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The triggers themselves take some getting used to – they work smoothly, but those used to “touch” triggers such as on the ROG phones and the iQOO devices might find the “clickiness” of these a little different. We just wish there was a better way of making the triggers rise apart from pushing two sliders on the side – there are basically five buttons on the right-hand side (two sliders, two triggers, and one power/display button, which is also a fingerprint scanner) and we hardly end up using four of them. That’s quite a crowd of under-utilized buttons, really. Being able to customize the triggers – say for the cameras – would have been a nice touch. Their current avatars are handy in gameplay but saddle the phone with a “gaming” tag.

Much, much more than a gaming phone

We would, however, advise looking at the Poco F3 GT as more than just a gaming phone. That design will turn heads anywhere and is one of the few in the segment to come with glass on the front and back and metal in the middle. And while it is a tall phone, it is also impressively slim at 8.3 mm and, while a little on the tall size, is not too overweight at a touch over 200 grams.

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That wonderful display and speakers are equally adept at displaying and playing other content, be it TV shows, websites, or just streaming audio. And while the camera set up on the back (64-megapixel main sensor, 8-megapixel ultrawide, and 2-megapixel macro) is not the greatest we have seen in the segment, it is a very steady performer in good light conditions. You will get some rather bright colors and more than adequate details, and decent video, too, although performance deteriorates as the light fades. The 16-megapixel selfie camera is also a very decent performer, although we would advise turning down the beauty options.

The processor is more than able to handle routine tasks with a degree of ease, and multitasking is smooth. In terms of general performance, the phone is pretty close to a flagship. And well, it comes with MIUI 12.5 and the Poco interface running on top of it, so you get a much cleaner interface without any ads.

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Good design, great display, great speakers, powerful processor, decent cameras, good UI…now that does sound like a good phone, does it not? Add to it a 5065 mAh battery that can easily get past a day and a bit more even at 120 Hz refresh rate and gets recharged by a 67W charger (in the box) in about 45 minutes using a rather innovatively designed yellow cable. You have perhaps one of the best phones you can get at its price point. Even without that gaming angle. Even if you do not switch on those triggers. (it does support 5G, too, although we are not too sure that is a factor at this stage, with the network not available in India).

Game for getting it? Even if you are not into gaming?

So should you be going for the Poco F3 GT? Well, its current pricing can be a little confusing, increasing gradually over the first few weeks of its availability, but it offers staggering value for money. The 6 GB/ 128 GB variant starts at Rs 25,999 and ends up at Rs 26,999; the 8 GB / 128 GB variant starts at Rs 27,999 and ends up at Rs 28,999, while the 8 GB/ 256 GB variant starts at Rs 29,999 and finishes at Rs 30,999. There is no expandable memory card slot, but a starting storage of 128 GB should suffice for most users. Even if you consider the higher prices, given its design and performance, there’s no denying that the Poco F3 GT is one of the best phones out there for under Rs 30,000.

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Mind you that does not mean it does not have any competition. There is the Mi 11X which comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 processor at Rs 29,999, the Realme X7 Max, which also has a Dimensity 1200 and comes at a price of Rs 26,500. And well, the gaming crowd would love another phone that is known for gaming but is a very good performer even in “regular” usage – the very formidable iQOO 7 that packs in a Snapdragon 870 chip and has a very decent rear camera too. And well, there is also the little – make that “massive” – matter of the OnePlus Nord 2, which starts at Rs 27,999, has a similar processor and brings its own Never Settling flavor to the battle (a detailed comparison of these two as they resume an old rivalry is incoming, rest assured).

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But to revert to the original query – should you be investing in the Poco F3 GT? Well, if you are looking at a terrific phone below Rs 30,000, we definitely think it should make your shortlist and actually come close to topping it even if you are not interested in gaming. While it might have significant gaming features – most notably those pop-up triggers – but to consider it to be only a gaming phone would be like calling the Taj Mahal a nifty tomb. Beneath that sleek and heavily engraved gaming exterior lies a very capable smartphone.

Perceptions can be deceptive.

Just ask Garfield Sobers. The cricketer who started out as a “spinner.”

Pros
  • Stand out design
  • Smooth performance
  • Great display
  • Terrific battery with fast charging
Cons
  • Triggers cannot be used outside gaming
  • Cameras could have been better
  • Too many buttons on the right side
Review Overview
Build & design
Software
Camera
Performance
Price
SUMMARY

Poco F3 GT comes with a superb display, great sound, a very good processor, a clean UI, and a big battery that chargers super fast, and that makes it a contender in the sub-Rs 30,000 segment. Even if you do not use those triggers.

4.1

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  1. This smartphone is an all-rounder at the low cost and has some really good specs like the Dimensity 1200 chipset. Wish it gets launched in USA as well.