Just a few years ago, the 5G technology rollout was focused on enterprise and industrial use cases. One of the reasons given was that there was an insufficient number of 5G-enabled devices to cater to the consumer market. Fast forward to 2021, almost in succession manufacturers are launching 5G smartphones that promise speed, agility, and exceptional graphics.
One of the 5G smartphones that stand out is the POCO M3 Pro 5G mainly because of its affordability.
Display and Design
We got the Power Black, which, of course, I am thrilled about because it looks neat, clean, and business-like. The glossy and smooth back cover gives a premium feel. It is not boring though, because the 3D curved back adds flair to the glistening rear design. It could get smudgy without the clear jelly case but it’s manageable.
POCO M3 Pro 5G is a teeny weeny bit bigger than the previous smartphone I reviewed but the advantage of a 6.5-inch FHD+ LCD DotDisplay and with 91% screen-to-body ratio and Corning Gorilla Glass 3, is it is perfect for games and streaming videos. While large for my liking, holding it felt easy, and not bulky. It may be on a bit of a heavier side (190g) compared to other smartphones in the market right now, but it wasn’t a bother when used for a prolonged period.
The refresh rate is at 90Hz so it was a breeze to scroll. The updated Reading Mode 3.0 with paper texture mode helped my already tired eyes avoid strain and thanks also to the dual ambient sensors on both the front and rear which ensured a 360° light detection, it naturally adjusts the brightness, especially at night.
The 3.5mm audio jack is built on the top and a little to the right is the IR blaster. At the bottom are the USB-C and the speakers and the volume control and fingerprint scanner are on the right side.
With the primary 48-megapixel camera, the POCO M3 Pro 5G churned out some really decent photos for an affordable 5G phone. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to check the 8MP front camera because I don’t take selfies. But I enjoyed playing with the 2MP macro lens which yielded some vibrant-colored photos. Morning shots are the best when good lighting is at its peak.
Portrait Mode is used for taking people shots but as with the previous review, I used it on cats. POCO M3 Pro 5G quickly blurs the background which is a welcome feature when taking photos of cats who are constantly moving.
When using cameraphones, I usually just limit using the shooting modes because I like taking landscape shots. And I’m quite easy to please. As long as it gives me the natural colors, which POCO M3 Pro 5G did, and the refresh rate is good for street photography, then we’re friends. That said, this 5G phone can be a reliable companion for outdoor shoots.
The POCO M3 Pro 5G video feature record up to 1080p at 30fps which I got to use on our newly adopted kitten. The playful one enjoyed the limelight and his orange fur came out just as it is. There was no lag and it did capture some details on our little feline.
It is pretty standard to check out the staying power of a smartphone by playing Mobile Legends. And we did. It helped that the internet at our place is steady that we got to enjoy the games without fear of lags, especially during crucial moments.
With powerhouse MediaTek Dimensity 700 octa-core processor and built-in 5G modem, we were confident that it would deliver. And it did. Using the highest graphic settings the games would allow, it didn’t lag one bit. Not even once. For a smartphone that is being marketed as an affordable device, its gaming performance is at par with other premium phones.
This is the first POCO phone built with MediaTek Dimensity technology and it was evident from its performance especially during times of heavy use — video streaming and mobile games — thanks to its octa-core CPU that operates at up to 2.2GHz and UFS 2.2 storage.
Could be better
There are just two things I would love to see affordable smartphones could improve.
For POCO M3 Pro 5G, the sound quality may need a little more tweaking. The sound wasn’t as solid as I would have preferred especially when streaming videos and when playing mobile games.
Another is 5,000mAh (typ) battery charging. POCO M3 Pro 5G comes with a 22.5-watt charger with a fast-charging feature. On normal days, that is when it is not the main device for streaming and games, it can really last up to two days. But of course, battery life always depends on how long and how often it is used and that is not only for POCO M3 Pro G. I just hope that the next generation of this device could speed up the charging time even for a bit because at least two hours could be long especially when traveling becomes normal again.
People automatically manage their expectations when brands attach “affordable” to devices. The POCO M3 Pro 5G pulled some surprises, though: performance, graphics, and refresh rate, among others. But a 5G phone with that price tag? I can deal with the limitations. I’m all for brands that bring premium technology to a more reasonable cost so everyone can get a piece of the pie.