The Poco X3 is here, and it delivers perhaps the best performance-per-pound you’ll find in a budget phone right now. How? By accepting that you probably don’t need 5G.

While the likes of Oppo and Realme have been aggressive in trying to launch the cheapest 5G phones in the UK market, Poco has instead opted to use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 732G, a new chipset that promises solid performance perks but at the cost of omitting a 5G modem.

It’s probably a smart tradeoff to make. 5G take up is still limited, and even in the UK – which is relatively far ahead on 5G infrastructure – coverage is middling at best, even in London. Budget phone buyers especially are unlikely to prioritise download speeds over making sure they get a phone that runs smoothly, lasts all day, and looks more expensive than it is - three areas Poco has tried to deliver.

Poco X3 blue rear

Sticking to 4G will likely help battery life, and with a substantial 5,160mAh cell squeezed into the Poco X3 NFC – to give it its full name – this is likely to be one of the phone’s core strengths, with 33W fast charging to round it out.

On the front, a 20Mp selfie lens sits inside a 6.67in LCD panel. That might not sound remarkable, but with 120Hz refresh rate and a really impressive 87% DCI-P3 colour gamut, this should actually be one of – if not the – best displays at the lower end of the market.

The rear cameras are perhaps less likely to excel. A quad camera setup might sound like a lot, but it’s par for the course even in budget phones these days. And since two of those rear lenses are 2Mp depth and macro sensors, for most people this will fundamentally be a dual lens device, with the 13Mp ultra-wide and 64Mp main camera leading the way.

As for software, it will run Android 10 out of the box, using a version of Xiaomi's MIUI12 customised for Poco. The company has also promised three years of updates for the phone, a pitch that's becoming increasingly common across the Android market as consumers hang onto their phones for longer and longer before upgrading.

The Poco X3 launches in the UK on 17 September, and will be available in two colours: Shadow Grey and Cobalt Blue. There’ll also be two configurations available, with a 6GB RAM + 64GB storage option for £199, and a 128GB storage model for a little more at £249 - reduced to £229 if you grab it before 8 October.

Pre-order the Poco X3 now from Xiaomi or Amazon, or see where you can buy one right now if you’re tempted. 

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