The Poco M3 Pro 5G is a more powerful version of the Poco M3 (Review), and offers better features and performance at a slightly higher price. It boasts of a new design, a big battery, and a high-refresh-rate display. This is now Poco's most affordable 5G smartphone, and it goes head-on against the Realme 8 5G. I've just got my hands on this phone, and while there's a lot of testing to be done, here are my initial impressions of it.
Poco offers two variants of the M3 Pro 5G in India, in three colours. I have the top-end 6GB RAM and 128GB storage variant in the Cool Blue trim. This is priced at Rs. 15,999. There's a lower priced base variant too with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage which starts at Rs. 13,999. Internal storage is expandable using a microSD card in the hybrid dual-SIM slot. The other colour options are the more subtle Power Black, and the distinctive Poco Yellow.
Poco has tried its best to mask the thickness of the M3 Pro 5G with rounded edges for the frame and back panel. The top and bottom of the frame are flattened, which adds to the interesting aesthetics. You get a headphone jack and IR emitter on the top, and a USB Type-C port and speaker at the bottom. The Poco M3 Pro isn't too heavy and has a nice in-hand feel.
The recessed power button on the right also houses the fingerprint sensor, which works well with either a press or a tap, depending on how you set it up. The 6.5-inch full-HD+ LCD panel manages sharp visuals, decent brightness, and vivid colours. I had to manually set the refresh rate to 90Hz, after which animations and scrolling through menus felt a lot smoother.
The Poco M3 Pro uses the MediaTek Dimensity 700 SoC, just like the Realme 8 5G. On paper, the 7nm SoC seems fairly powerful for a phone in this price segment, so gaming and general multitasking shouldn't be an issue. We'll know for sure how it copes with heavy loads once we are done testing it. 5G is of course the big draw here, but this feature is not of much use at the moment since 5G networks are a long way from being a reality in India.
The Poco M3 Pro 5G runs on MIUI 12.0.2 based on Android 11. In the short time that I've been using this phone, MIUI's infamously spammy apps such as GetApps have been behaving themselves, and I hope this continues throughout the review period. Poco has reduced the battery size to 5,000mAh, compared to the 6,000mAh one in the Poco M3. This is still a pretty high capacity though, and should easily deliver more than a day's worth of runtime. You get an 18W fast charger in the box.
Before we wrap this up, we should talk about the cameras, which seem a little disappointing based on specifications. The primary 48-megapixel camera seems useful enough, but Poco has left out an ultra-wide camera, which is baffling considering the price. Instead, you get two 2-megapixel sensors for macros and depth, which are not the most useful, in my opinion. The front camera has an 8-megapixel sensor. We'll bring you the full camera performance report along with plenty of sample photos in the final review.
The Poco M3 Pro 5G doesn't seem to be a segment disruptor like the Poco X3 Pro (Review), which in my mind, is a little disappointing considering all the hype around it. In fact, if you leave 5G out of the equation for a moment, phones such as Xiaomi's Redmi Note 10S and Redmi Note 10 Pro seem like much better value offerings for about the same price as the top-end Poco M3 Pro. I'll reserve my final verdict till I've finished testing the phone so stay tuned to Gadgets 360 for the full review coming soon.