Xiaomi poco X3 pro review: The most powerful smartphone you can buy for less than £250 Register for free to continue reading

Xiaomi poco X3 pro review: The most powerful smartphone you can buy for less than £250 Register for free to continue reading

The X3 pro looks as standard a budget smartphone as you could imagine. It has a large screen, has definite weight to it and looks bulky. And compared to other Xiaomi phones, it leaves a little to be desired looks-wise.

Xiaomi also needs to realise that having the phone’s name emblazoned on the back of the device isn’t a good way of attracting buyers. Granted, it gives other passengers on public transport the chance to see what phone you’re using, but the approach detracts hugely from the overall design. People now know that Xiaomi makes good phones – maybe make the font a few points smaller?

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The X3 pro is rated IP53, meaning you have a decent level of water and dust resistance, especially for a budget phone and with a headphone jack included. Just don’t think you can use it poolside.

Besides the general heft of the thing, the three colourways all look attractive, and for a plastic back, it doesn’t feel too cheap. However, compared to other devices – from rivals and Xiaomi itself – it’s not winning any beauty contests.

Things improve when you actually switch on the X3 pro. The clunky-sized display (covered in Gorilla Glass 6, bonus points) offers a bright, colourful LCD FHD+ panel, decent enough at this level, and is almost tailor-made for gaming performance, with a potential 120Hz refresh rate and 240Hz touch response rate.

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Sound is just as impressive as the display, with stereo speakers when in landscape, perfect for video and games. There’s none of the tell-tale budget muffling that you get in many devices – audio is impressively clear, and of a similar quality as phones twice its price.

Xiaomi poco X3 pro review: The most powerful smartphone you can buy for less than £250 Register for free to continue reading

The X3 pro is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 860 chipset, and you can tell from the off. It’s an improved version of a previously flagship chipset, and still performs at a level lightyears ahead of contemporary budget processors. As the name Snapdragon suggests, this phone is snappier than any we’ve tried at this level, and is a sure-fire winner for any gamers looking for a cheap way of enjoying their favourite titles. This model also includes some impressive cooling tech – we never felt like the phone was overheating during heavy use.

It’s incredible that Xiaomi has been able to put this chipset together and offer the phone at this price. We don’t think there’s a more powerful phone on the market at this budget.

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There’s no 5G capability inside, which is a shame, as its similarly-priced cousin the redmi note 9T (£245.69, Amazon.co.uk) offers access to the superfast network. However, for many users, this is a small price to pay for a good few years of fantastic processing power in a phone that you can replace when 5G becomes ubiquitous, without having to take out a mortgage.

There are rumours that the X3 pro is on the list to benefit from the imminent global rollout of Xiaomi’s in-house Android skin, MIUI 13, meaning owners will be able to enjoy Xiaomi’s most up-to-date software for a good while yet.

The camera, like the design, is pretty standard for a budget phone. That being said, it still takes decent shots. The 48MP main camera does a good job in fair lighting, and showcases a good amount of colour perception. It begins to struggle in darker settings, not managing to brighten up a scene by much, but if you’re looking for a decent camera with which to take the odd shot while out and about, the X3 pro will do the work.

Read more: 12 best compact cameras for the perfect shot every time

The selfie camera is much of the same. It performs nicely, bringing out plenty of detail in good lighting, but starts to struggle when you veer away from that. Video is, again, enough for many users, with 4K potential from the rear cameras. Good enough for social media, not quite for professional broadcasting.

The verdict: Xiaomi poco X3 pro

When you open the Poco X3 pro’s box, you’re greeted with the tagline “Everything you need, nothing you don’t”. It’s exactly right. This is simply a high-performing smartphone for a price that really should be much higher.

Marketing for the X3 pro is mainly focused on the gaming potential of the phone, but many of its features extend to making the phone a very impressive device for general use. Moving between apps is frictionless, the Snapdragon 860 chip ensures lagless gameplay, the cooling technology protects against your phone overheating during demanding media sessions and the display produces rich, bright colours with a welcome clarity.

The look might be a little simplistic and clunky for some, but it feels strong in your hands, and the camera performs at an acceptable level. The screen is a good size and offers 120Hz refresh rates, keeping everything smooth as silk, and the battery will give you around 18-hours of non-stop video. It all comes together to make a phone that performs at a much higher level than the price you pay.

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George Washington

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