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POCO X3 GT Review: A Solid Mid-ranger at a Budget Price

POCO, the fast-growing spin-off brand of Xiaomi, recently reached a tremendous milestone, shipping more than 25 million smartphones globally ahead of the company’s third anniversary.

Sticking to it’s founding philosophy ”Everything you need, nothing you don’t”, the company continues to impress with it’s line of no-frills devices that focus on everything that matter most to smartphone users, while cutting back on other non-essential aspects.

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This allows the company to price it’s smartphones way more competitively than any of it’s rival, offering smartphones that brings great value to the consumers. The POCO X3 GT which was recently announced in Singapore is no exception.

Priced at S$429 (US$317), the POCO X3 GT shapes up to be a serious competitor to some of the more notable 5G mid-ranger phones in the market, including the new Sony Xperia 10 III.

However, does the phone really fits the bill as your next smartphone, or does it have any shortcomings that would limit your experience? Let’s find out in our POCO X3 GT review!

Design & Build

The Stargaze Black variant of the POCO X3 GT is a head-turner on the outside, with it’s super reflective mirror-like finish (on the rear side) that kind of reminds me of the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro (Review) which I’d reviewed last year.

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Though I’m usually not a fan of smartphones with these glossy back panel, but I chose to make an exception with the Stargaze Black POCO X3 GT as it looks really astonishing and attractive. It’s nothing like those typical iridescent or solid colors that we saw among most of the phones we currently have.

The downside of this which I believe most of you might have already expected, is that the back of the phone is an actual fingerprint magnet. But that’s really an issue so long you spend some effort to keep the phone clean, or protect it with transparent casing that accompanies the phone.

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Around the upper-left corner, there’s a fairly huge rectangular camera island which flaunts a dual-tone design made up of solid black and silver colors. It brings along a triple-cam setup (more on this later) and a dual-LED flash to help with low-light photography.

POCO X3 GT Image -1

Handling-wise, the POCO X3 GT feels premium and sturdy on hand despite sporting a plastic back. It’s not a small phone for sure, but it still managed to fit amicably on the palm and works well for single-handed use.

Certified with an IP53 rating, the POCO X3 GT is able to survive light drizzle, so you wouldn’t have to worry about the phone when it starts to drizzle while you jog.

Display

Coming to the frontside, we’ll be greeted by a 6.6” IPS LCD display which comes with a central hole-punch to accommodate it’s selfie camera. Like the rest of the POCO smartphones, the new POCO X3 GT continues to adopt a flat panel that’s flanked by slim bezels around the display.

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Sitting above the front display is a layer of Gorilla Glass Victus that protects the screen against accidental drop or scratches, and is therefore an exceptionally important feature for those with butterfingers.

While it’s not surprising for smartphones at this price range to be equipped with third to sixth generation’s Gorilla Glass, but it’s applaudable how POCO managed to bring in the ”flagship-exclusive” Gorilla Glass Victus aboard the POCO X3 GT.

Diving into the specifics, you get a FHD+ screen resolution on it’s front display which renders images with plenty of sharpness, and offers high-res graphics for your entertainment contents. On top of that, the phone also comes with wide DCI-P3 color gamut coverage and HDR10 support for a true-to-life entertainment experience.

POCO X3 GT Image -7

The key highlight of it’s front display however, lies in it’s super smooth 120Hz DynamicSwitch refresh rate which automatically adapts the refresh rate according to onscreen content.

This basically means a high refresh rate will be used only when the onscreen content has an equivalent frame rate as the phone’s refresh rate, and is one of the most intuitive way for a phone to prolong it’s battery life.

With a peak brightness (typical) of around 450 nits, the POCO X3 GT can get decently bright whenever necessary to keep the screen visible even under a harsh sunlight.

Performance

Sitting at the heart of the phone is none other than the octa-core MediaTek Dimensity 1100 chipset which offers comparable performance as last year’s flagship Snapdragon 865 chipset.

Therefore, you can expect to get a really speedy performance on the POCO X3 GT in all aspects, so much so that it occasionally felt like an overkill in day-to-day usage. Swiping and scrolling feels buttery smooth, and app launches almost instantaneously when you tap on it.

Even when dealing with more resource intensive workloads like multi-taskings or gaming, the phone seems to handle without fuss – delivering a top-notch performance that you probably wouldn’t expect to experience on a phone of it’s price.

For a smooth and consistent performance on the phone, the POCO X3 GT is also equipped with a highly-capable ”LiquidCool Technology 2.0” cooling system which is able to reduce core temperature by up to 11 degrees Celsius, thereby minimizing the risk of thermal throttling.

Moving on to it’s memory department, there’s also an ample 8GB LPDDRX4 RAM along with an option between 128GB or 256GB worth of blazing-fast UFS 3.1 storage, which are probably more than sufficient for most mainstream users.

Cameras

Despite it’s low-price, the POCO X3 GT still comes with a really decent triple-cam setup comprising of a 64MP (f/1.79 aperture) main camera, 8MP (f/2.2 aperture) ultra-wide lens with 120 degrees FoV, as well as a 2MP (f/2.4 aperture) macro camera.

Photos taken by it’s main camera is quite close (or perhaps slightly better) than what we get from the POCO F3 (Review), though details looks more resolved thanks to the adoption of a higher-res sensor (64MP vs 48MP on POCO F3).

POCO X3 GT Main Camera Sample -1
Daylight Sample
POCO X3 GT Main Camera Sample -2
Indoor Camera Sample
POCO X3 GT Main Camera Sample -3
High Contrast Sample

Dynamic range is generally wide enough with good contrasts, but colors do occasionally appears more saturated than what it’s supposed to be when shot under the AI/ HDR modes. However, that doesn’t means photos taken with the AI/ HDR modes are not good.

The popping colors certainly help to make some scene looks more visually pleasing, but it may not be to the liking of those who prefer a more natural-looking color profile. So if you belongs to the latter group of users, then you may prefer shooting without the AI/ HDR modes.

POCO X3 GT Night Mode Sample -1
Night Mode
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Night Mode

For low-light shooting, the POCO X3 GT continues to impress with it’s dedicated night mode, just like any of it’s POCO counterparts. Dimmer scenes are proficiently brightened, resulting in a natural-looking output with good exposure and highlight.

POCO X3 GT Ultra-wide Sample
Ultra-wide

Coming to it’s ultra-wide shots, you still get usable photos with good color reproduction and details under good lighting. Most importantly, edge distortion for it’s ultra-wide lens is pretty well corrected too.

POCO X3 GT Macro Sample -1 (2)
2x Optical Zoom
POCO X3 GT Macro Sample -1
2x Optical Zoom

As for taking super close-up images, you do have an option to shoot using it’s dedicated 2MP macro camera or 2x digital zoom via it’s main camera. Personally, I prefer using the latter for close-up shots as the photos are surprisingly good – with great sharpness and well-preserved details, on top of a pleasing background bokeh.

Battery & Charging

To power every day’s usage, the POCO X3 GT relies on a respectable 5,000mAh battery which can easily last for 1.5 days under normal usage, and perhaps up to two days with battery saver on.

Even when you use the phone extensively though the day, it hardly gets below the 15% battery mark, so it’s a real rarity to get those annoying ”low bat” notification on the POCO F3 GT.

Furthermore, the POCO X3 GT is also supplemented by a super-fast 67W wired charging that’s capable filling up a flat battery from 0 to 50% in around 20 minutes, and a full charge in a short span of just 50 minutes.

In fact, it’s really impressive how young brands like POCO and Realme managed to squeeze in such advanced charging solution into smartphones that sits below the S$500 mark, considering that we are still having so flagship phones with mediocre charging speed despite costing twice or more.

As I mentioned before, charging speed is probably one of the most underrated smartphone feature which can really come handy in day-to-day usage, especially if you’re one of those who frequently forgets to charge your phone overnight. It’s therefore a pleasant sign to see up-and-coming brands like POCO to lead the pack in this aspect.

Verdict

The POCO X3 GT is yet another testament to POCO’s ability in producing ultra-value smartphones for consumers, putting forward some of the hottest technologies that offer near-flagship experience for it’s users without bursting the bank.

It’s definitely a phone to consider for those who’re looking for a reliable and yet affordable gaming smartphone as it offers not just the smoothest display within the segment, but also the most powerful chipset which loads the phone with plenty of firepower to tear though pretty much any graphic intensive game titles.

For those who’re interested, the POCO X3 GT is up for grabs in Singapore via POCO Official Global Store on Lazada at a bargain-basement price of just S$429.

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