Xiaomi Poco F3 GT full review
A successor to the Poco F1 has been due for quite some time and the F3 GT was revealed for the India market. The phone was previously launched by Xiaomi in China as the Redmi K40 Gaming Edition.
On one side, you have exclusive phones like the Asus ROG gaming phone which command a premium price tag. Then there is this massive market opportunity for a more affordable gaming smartphone without many compromises.
The stage is set for the Poco F3 GT which aims to build on the legacy of the Poco F1 and grab a share of the growing gaming smartphone market in India. The GT tag highlights the performance focus, and the GT branding is subtle unlike Realme which went all out. At the time of this review, the device is available only in India.
Design & Build
The phone weighs 205g and is about 8.3mm thick - similar to the Pixel 6 - but due to the even weight distribution and rounded edges, it feels comfortable to hold despite it being a large screen device. While this review was done on the Gunmetal Silver variant there is a Predator Black colour as well.
The silver colour looks very elegant and the minute details around the device pop out. The build quality is excellent and the back glass doesn’t attract fingerprints easily. The phone only is IP53 rated for splashes which is a minor short-coming.
The fingerprint sensor is mounted on the power button and works well in terms of usability over a rear-mounted or in-display fingerprint scanner. You can even configure the scanner to respond to a touch or press action which is neat.
The gaming triggers are certainly innovative but require some effort to setup and don't work out of the box. They sit flush on the device when not in use and you can easily pop them out using the slider buttons.
The RGB glow light around the camera is innovative but does not have much utility value. One nice touch is the inclusion of an IR led which is common across Xiaomi phones. This lets you control household appliances such as TVs and air-conditioners directly from your phone.
The SIM tray is at the bottom and lets you use up to 2 nano-SIM cards. The omission of a 3.5mm headphone jack is disappointing but the brand does include a Type-C to 3.5mm headphone adapter in the box to make up for it.
Overall, the design is refreshing and breaks the monotony associated with smartphones currently in the market.
Screen & Audio
The Poco F3 GT packs a 6.67-inch Full HD+ 10-bit AMOLED 120Hz display. The panel supports touch sampling rate of up to 480Hz which is very evident during gaming. The refresh rate can be manually configured to 60- or 120Hz and there is no auto-switch option which would have been nice to have.
The viewing experience is excellent and there are extensive options in the settings to configure the display to your needs. The display is bright at 500nits and supports HDR10+ content which takes the brightness even higher to 1300 nits. The F3 GT is one of the first phones from Poco to sport an AMOLED panel and has Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection.
Always-on display can be enabled for those who like to check their notifications without having to turn on the screen. While it might impact battery life according to the on-device guide, considering this is an AMOLED panel, the impact should be minimal.
There are tiny bezels around the display and a 16Mp punch-hole selfie camera is built-in, which does not get in the way of the viewing experience in my experience.
The phone shines in the sound department with dual stereo speakers along with support for Dolby Atmos and can get quite loud without distortion. That lack of a headphone jack is a downside, though.
Specs & Performance
The phone is powered by an Octa-Core MediaTek Dimensity 1200 processor and is paired with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage or 8/256GB.
There is also a variant with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage which was tested for this review. There was no noticeable lag during regular usage or intensive activities like gaming.
While the device is powered by MediaTek’s flagship processor, it would have been good to have a higher-end variant sporting a Snapdragon 888 processor and 12GB of RAM - the Poco F1 was powered by a Qualcomm flagship Snapdragon 845 at the time. At least a 12GB RAM variant would make the deal more enticing.
Poco claims to be using vapour chamber cooling and an 8-layered graphite Aerospace grade white graphene layer for improved thermal performance. The phone did get moderately warm to the touch while running intensive games but that’s about it.
The phone uses UFS 3.1 storage and offers impressive read/write speeds. There is support for WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 which is welcome.
Most games such as Asphalt 9, Call of Duty, Dead Trigger, Battlegrounds Mobile India (local PUBG version) work as expected and there were no stutters or lag. There is a Game Turbo feature that needs to be enabled per game to use the maglev triggers.
Even after quite a bit of gaming, the phone just gets warm and doesn’t get uncomfortably hot. The programmable dedicated keys which work with any game is one of the best features of the phone. The tactile feedback is good and there is no delay in registering the key presses while gaming.
The main camera is a 64Mp sensor with f/1.6 aperture and images are shot at 16Mp by default. Photos taken in daylight or under good lighting conditions come out well and not much to complain about here.
Low-light shots suffer from a lot of noise and detail is lost. There is a night mode which works well at times so results are a mixed bag. The Macro camera does take some good close-up photos, but the details are lost. Strangely 2x zoom on the main camera gives better details for close-up shots.
The front-facing 16Mp camera does take decent selfies and portraits when the lighting conditions are good.
The camera was not the strongest area of the Poco F1 and unfortunately, the F3 GT also shares the same shortcoming.
Battery Life & Charging
In terms of battery life, the 5065mAh built-in battery can last a full day even with heavy usage with 120Hz refresh rate enabled and can go longer if with moderate usage. Some software optimizations under the hood do help with battery management.
There are a couple of battery saver modes – Battery Saver and Ultra battery saver which extend the battery life even further by turning down several features to conserve power.
In the PCMark Work 3.0 battery test, it lasted 13 hours 32 mins which is a sterling effort. The 67W fast charger is one of my favourite features and charges the phone to 50% in just 15 mins and 100% in 45 mins.
The charger is bulky considering the higher wattage, but the good thing is that it is included in the retail package which is becoming increasingly rare. The charger pin uses an L-shape design to prevent damage and allows you to continue using the phone while charging the device.
Wireless Charging is not available, but the wickedly fast wired charging makes up for it.
The phone runs MIUI 12.5 which is based on Android 11 and the overall interface is smooth and devoid of ads for the most part.
The interface is snappy and fast, but it comes pre-loaded with a few apps such as Amazon Shopping, Facebook, Amazon Prime Video, LinkedIn, Netflix and GetApps. You need to be careful to skip the additional app installation prompt during setup and also opt-out of personalized ads.
Notifications from GetApps and some other apps were the most annoying, hampering the otherwise clean experience. While most pre-loaded apps can be uninstalled some apps such as GetApps cannot be uninstalled.
The Poco F3 GT was introduced is available in Silver and Black in the following models. It's not available in the UK or US.
- 6/128GB - ₹32,999 (approx £320/US$440)
- 8/128GB - ₹34,999 (approx £340/US$465)
- 8/256GB - ₹36,999 (approx £360/US$490)
It offers a great set of features and value for that price especially if you are looking for a smartphone for gaming and content consumption. It is currently available in India through Flipkart at lower prices compared to the RRPs above.
The F3 GT might not be a true successor to the Poco F1 but it is another performance-focused, feature-packed device from Poco.
The device packs a lot of gamer-centric features such as physical gaming triggers, a 120Hz AMOLED display, good thermal performance, stereo speakers and 67W fast charging. The camera is the Achilles heel of the Poco F3 GT which shines in all other departments.
MIUI 12.5 is a lot cleaner but still prone to a few annoyances from pre-installed apps. The OnePlus Nord 2 might be a better option for those who prefer a better camera experience and don't need things like gaming triggers.
Xiaomi Poco F3 GT: Specs
- MIUI 12.5 for Poco based on Android 11
- 6.67in Full HD+ (2400x1080) 20:9 Turbo AMOLED, 120Hz, HDR10+, 500 nits
- MediaTek Dimensity 1200 octa-core processor
- Mali-G77 MC9 GPU
- 6/8GB RAM
- 128/256GB UFS 3.1 internal storage
- 64Mp f/1.65 rear camera
- 8Mp f/2/2 ultrawide
- 2Mp f2.4 macro
- 16Mp selfie camera
- Side-mounted fingerprint sensor/power button
- Dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax
- Bluetooth 5.1
- USB-C to 3.5mm Headphone Adapter
- 5065mAh non-removable battery
- 67W SonicCharge 3.0
- IP53 Splash-proof Protection
- Predator Black, Gunmetal Silver