Little M3 review: is it really a best-buy?

Who I am
Aina Prat Blasi
Author and references

Poco M3 is the new low-end smartphone that came out of the Xiaomi wing. The attention around this device is a lot and the reason is mainly one: the price. It comes in starting from 159 euros for the 4/64 Gigabyte version up to 179 euros for the model with 128 Gigabytes of internal memory. This is in fact the selling price, beyond what were the launch promotions. And it is with this price in mind that the newcomer must be judged and analyzed.

The smartphone offers an interesting technical data sheet, at least on paper. The positioning chosen is strategic as Poco M3 occupies a price range often overlooked by smartphone manufacturers. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find affordable products that can perform well. Xiaomi and Poco (a brand that has now become independent) have intercepted this need from consumers and made their proposal. For this reason, perhaps, it will become one of the best-selling smartphones in this holiday season. However, don't be fooled. There are limits. We will tackle this review by asking ourselves if Poco M3 is really the new best-buy.

Design and display

Little M3 has a recognizable design, at least as far as the rear panel is concerned. The shell is particular, different. It is made in rough plastic with a leather-like effect. The touch sensation is obviously far from that offered by real leather or glass, but it is still pleasant. In the black color in our possession, the fingerprints are very visible which - considering the particularity of the material - do not even come off easily. It is also available in the more captivating Blue and Yellow color variants.

A glossy plate positioned on the upper part of the back cover houses the photographic compartment consisting of three cameras and LED Flash and the flashy writing "POCO". The contrast between the matte part and the glossy part of the body is really interesting. Too bad for the logo which represents - in my opinion - a discordant note. Here, however, we are on a purely subjective level. The same peculiarity was appreciated, for example, by other MobileLabs colleagues.

Following the trends of the moment, the dimensions are not contained but it can still be handled without particular problems. The right edge houses the volume rocker and the recessed power button which also houses the biometric sensor for fingerprint recognition. In this regard, I must admit that the system was not always accurate and fast forcing me in some cases to enter the password to unlock the smartphone. Face recognition is also present with an average functioning.

On the left, we find the trolley that can simultaneously accommodate two SIMs and a micro-SD for memory expansion. Below, there are the Type-C port, the microphone and the speaker that works in conjunction with the ear capsule for a stereo effect (more unique than rare in this price range). The quality is average. Finally, on the upper edge there is the 3,5 mm audio jack.

Little M3 integrates a IPS LCD display from 6,53 in with Full-HD + resolution. The panel is bright enough. Auto brightness tends to be a bit lazy going towards lower values ​​than necessary. In practice, very often I had to manually adjust the brightness, increasing it. The screen quality is decent with sufficient viewing angles. Furthermore, the oleophobic treatment is almost non-existent. The front and back panels get dirty with incredible speed. In short, consistent with the price range of belonging if we consider devices around or below 150 euros but subdued if instead we think of smartphones around 179 euros.

In this segment, even a few tens of euros of difference can change the judgment on the general quality of a product. During the days of testing, I found myself several times thinking that Poco M3 could probably be considered a best-buy in the 4/64 GB version, but not in the more expensive one. In fact, at 179 euros it is possible to find smartphones with a better overall performance. I think of Realme 7, OPPO A72, Redmi Note 9S or even Redmi Note 8 Pro.

Performance, autonomy and camera

The beating heart of Poco M3 is Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 with 4 Gigabytes of RAM and an internal memory of 64 Gigabyte (UFS 2.1) or 128 Gigabyte (UFS 2.2) always expandable (the latter is the version in our possession). If on the one hand, considering the price range, I didn't expect it to be lightning; on the other hand, considering the type of processor and the optimization that smartphones born under the wing of Xiaomi usually enjoy, I expected more in terms of performance. There were slowdowns and some too many lag, in addition to the lack of reactivity in some moments.

It should be noted that within a few days Two updates have been released which, in both cases, aimed to increase system stability and reduce delay. In short, it is not excluded that performance can improve through software updates. Our review judges the performance as we test the device. We will make updates if we find improvements.

The connectivity is quite complete, which also includes FM radio and infrared port. Too bad for the absence of the NFC chip that - also considering the growth of digital payments - would have been welcome. What created me a lot of problems was the proximity sensor malfunctioning. This means that during a call the audio is unintentionally mute, the call is put on hold, the keypad buttons are typed with the cheek or inadvertently switches to hands-free mode. Analogous speech for the audio of WhatsApp.

Excellent autonomy guaranteed by a large battery from 6.000 mAh which - with my usual use - allowed me to stay away from the electrical outlet for two consecutive days compared to 5 hours of active display. Fast charging is 18W but in the package we find a 22W charger.

Finally, we come to the photographic sector which - on the back - consists of three cameras. The main sensor is 48 Megapixel (1.8) it is combined with two 2 Megapixel sensors (f / 2.4) for macro shots and for portrait mode shots (blurred background). The feeling is that these last two cameras only serve to make up numbers. They have no real use and are not even surprising. You will almost always find yourself using the main sensor. A wide angle would have been much more useful.

Again, I expected more from the 48 Megapixel camera. In most cases, the images are very poorly defined and digital noise is also visible in daylight photos, resulting in a grainy effect. Performance worsens at night, where not even the special mode can change the results much.

definitely undertone the 8 Megapixel front camera where digital noise is too much present even in good lighting conditions. In short, a photographic sector that has not convinced me at all even considering the price range. Again, we hope the situation will improve with future software updates. In this regard, on board we find Android 10 customized with the MIUI 12 graphic interface, with all the functions and customizations that we have come to know over the years.

Conclusions: who should buy it?

At the end of the review, you will surely have guessed what my answer to the question in the title is. Is Little M3 Really a Best-Buy? As previously written, it could be considered such probably only in the 4/64 Gigabyte version where the only real alternative is OPPO A52 sold for the same amount. Or even if it drops to the same figures as the introductory offers. The 128 Gigabyte version has a list price of 179 euros, a figure that leads it to collide with products that can do better: Realme 7, Redmi Note 9S or Redmi Note 8 Pro, just to name a few.

Poco M3 is however the ideal product to give to your parent who would carry out simple daily operations or to your very young relative who is about to receive the first smartphone. It is not a very demanding product and we cannot even have them in this price range. Better system responsiveness and better photo quality would have made the newcomer a recommended product for other categories of users as well. At present and perhaps waiting for future updates, it remains an economic product that does what it should.

add a comment of Little M3 review: is it really a best-buy?
Comment sent successfully! We will review it in the next few hours.