Poco has been an independent brand for a year now, and has launched several models across multiple series. The M series sits in the popular sub-Rs. 15,000 segment in India, and in order to stay successful, Poco has just brought in the new Poco M3. As its name suggests, the Poco M3 is the successor of the Poco M2. Its price starts at Rs. 10,999 for the base 64GB variant while the 128GB variant is priced at Rs. 11,999 in India. I got my hands on the Poco M3, and here are my first impressions.
The Poco M3 comes in a bright yellow box, just like most other Poco smartphones. In fact, this is also a colour option on the Poco M3. It's called Poco Yellow, and that's the colour of my unit. I like this bright finish on the Poco M3, but it might not be appealing to everyone, and so Poco also offers Cool Blue and Power Black colour options.
The display size of the Poco M3 is unchanged compared to the Poco M2; it is a 6.53-inch panel with a dewdrop notch at the top. It has a full-HD+ resolution which isn't very common in this price range. I found the bezels to be thick but acceptable given the price range of the device. The teardrop notch houses an 8-megapixel selfie shooter.
Poco has packed in a big 6,000mAh battery, and as a result the phone tips the scales at 197g. However, Poco has managed the weight distribution quite well, and this phone does not feel too heavy to use comfortably. The sides are curved as well, which makes it easy to grip. Sticking with current trends, the Poco M3 offers a side-mounted fingerprint scanner integrated into the power button on the right. The buttons are finished in the same colour as the body of the smartphone, and the placement is quite good. The SIM tray is on the left side of the frame and has three slots, two for Nano-SIMs and a dedicated one for a microSD card.
The Poco M3 has a plastic back with a fine texture on it which helps it avoid picking up fingerprints. Poco has added a big design element around the camera module that is finished in glossy black, which makes this phone look quite premium. The colours contrast quite well on the Poco Yellow unit I have, but this might not pop as much on the Power Black version. The camera module itself is very slightly raised. The Poco M3 has a triple camera setup consisting of a 48-megapixel primary camera and 2-megapixel depth and macro cameras.
You get stereo speakers on the Poco M3, which aren't very common on a smartphone at this price. I will report on the video playback and gaming experience in my full review. This phone also has a 3.5mm headphone jack at the top along with an IR emitter, which is a common sight on Poco and Xiaomi smartphones. There's a USB Type C port at the bottom along with the primary microphone. Poco has bundled a 22.5W charger with the M3, but it is only capable of charging at 18W.
Poco has picked the Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 processor for the M3, and it is paired with 6GB of LPDDR4X RAM. This processor is common in this price segment and is also powering competitors such as the Redmi 9 Power (Review) and the Moto G9 Power. With the Poco M3, you get two storage options: 64GB and 128GB. There is a slight difference here as the 64GB variant uses UFS 2.1 storage while the 128GB variant has UFS 2.2 storage which might result in a slight speed difference. The two variants are priced at Rs. 10,999 and Rs. 11,999 respectively. There are bank offers on the Poco M3 which can potentially drive the price down by Rs. 1,000. The pricing is aggressive and it'll be interesting to see how the Poco M3 performs in our review.
On the software front, the Poco M3 ships with Xiaomi's latest MIUI 12 skin running on top of Android 10. You get the Poco launcher and a large number of preinstalled apps. Poco claims to have kept ads in check for the M3, and I did not notice any in the short time I was using it. If the ad situation is in check, the Poco M3 is already a step ahead of its Redmi cousins.
The Poco M3 offers a new design, a capable processor, and a big battery at an affordable price. It does seem capable of matching or outperforming a few smartphones currently on our list of the best smartphones to buy for less than Rs. 15,000. How well will all this translate from paper to real-world usage? Do check out our full review of the Poco M3, coming up soon, in which we'll put it through a series of gaming, battery life, and camera tests.