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POCO M3 Pro 5G Review Philippines: Best Budget 5G Phone

by John Nieves  June 16, 2021

Review verdict: Despite some understandable compromises, the POCO M3 Pro 5G is currently the best phone you can get in the Philippines if you’re looking to jump onto 5G without breaking the bank.

Pros:

  • 5G for less than Php 10K
  • Fast 90Hz refresh rate on the display
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Plastic build
  • Two cameras are simply spec stuffers

POCO M3 Pro 5G Specs:

  • MediaTek MT6833 Dimensity 700 5G processor
  • 4GB/6GB LPDDR4X RAM
  • 64GB/128GB UFS 2.2 storage
  • 6.5-inch Full HD+ IPS Display, 90hz refresh rate
  • 48-megapixel f/1.8 main camera with PDAF, 2-megapixel f/2.4 macro camera, 2-megapixel f/2.4 depth sensor
  • 8-megapixel selfie camera
  • 4G, 5G
  • WiFi, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC, side-mounted fingerprint scanner
  • 5000mAh battery
  • 18w fast charging
  • Android 11, MIUI 12

Not satisfied with disrupting the high-end, mid-range, and entry-level market with their bang-for-the-buck offerings, POCO is now setting its sights on the burgeoning 5G market too. The new POCO M3 Pro 5G is the most affordable 5G-capable smartphone around right now, giving the masses a way to jump on the 5G train for not a lot of money. But does the brand’s 5G disruptor deliver the goods, or should you pick something else? Let’s find out in our review:

Design

Making budget phones look more expensive than they actually come naturally to POCO, and the M3 Pro 5G is no exception to this. Our review unit comes in a glossy, mirror-like Power Black colorway (that looks more like gunmetal silver than black) with a glossy black accent that contains the company’s branding, alongside a rectangular camera module set on the upper left side of the device.

While the phone’s back approximates the look of glass (it sure as hell picks up smudges and fingerprints like it) it’s made of plastic, much like the frame. The camera module protrudes a few mm away from the body which makes the module a little vulnerable to scratches when placed when the screen facing up unless you use the silicon case.

The right side of the phone holds the power button plus a volume rocker, while the left side holds the hybrid SIM tray. The phone has a 3.5mm jack on the top plus a Type-C port on the bottom, which is typical of the phones offered by POCO in this price range.

Overall the phone feels pretty good in the hands, though the illusion of premium-ness disappears as soon as you start handling the phone. The phone doesn’t feel cheap per se, though it’s obvious as soon as you start handling it that it’s mostly made from more affordable materials like plastic rather than premium stuff like metal and glass.

Display and audio

The phone rocks a 6.5-inch, full HD+ resolution (1080 x 2400) IPS LCD display that has a 90Hz refresh rate that’s protected by Gorilla Glass 3.

There’s a punch-hole notch at the top of the display that houses an 8-megapixel selfie camera that has an f/2.0 aperture lens.

Overall display quality is ok, though it could be a bit better, it’s in no way a terrible-looking display. Scrolling through social media and the phone’s UI is sufficiently smooth though we’d have preferred a better screen (or an AMOLED) one VS a higher refresh rate for the phone. Because the device doesn’t have an AMOLED screen, biometric unlocks are done through the power button which acts as the device’s fingerprint scanner.

The phone just has one downward-firing speaker, located on the bottom of the phone. It’s decently loud and has pretty good sound quality, which we honestly didn’t expect from something this affordable.

Camera

The POCO M3 Pro 5G has the typical set of snappers you’d find in a device in its price range – a 48-megapixel main camera with PDAF and an f/1.8 aperture lens, a 2-megapixel f/2.4 macro lens as well as a 2-megapixel f/2.4 depth sensor.

Honestly, we’d have preferred if POCO ditched the 2-megapixel cameras in favor of an 8-megapixel wide-angle shooter since those snappers have continued to be useless in almost every smartphone we see them on.

Anyway, the main 48-megapixel shooter on the POCO M3 Pro 5G is pretty good by budget phone standards. It takes great photos in daylight with the photos sporting plenty of detail. There are no focus issues, all images are relatively sharp, and the phone has fairly good dynamic range, which isn’t always the case with devices that are priced the way the POCO M3 Pro 5G is.

 

Performance, software, battery life

The POCO M3 Pro 5G uses MediaTek’s Dimensity 700 chipset and is available in two configurations: 4GB/64GB and 6GB/128GB.¬†Interestingly, it’s the same chipset that Xiaomi’s own Redmi Note 10 5G uses which coincidentally is the phone that’s closest to the POCO M3 Pro 5G in terms of pricing.

Performance-wise there’s really nothing to complain about the Dimensity 700 – it’s able to run most Android apps well, though it stumbles a bit in more GPU-intensive applications because of its Arm Mali-G57 MC2 GPU. You’ll be able to play games like Genshin Impact on medium, but higher graphical settings may prove a challenge for the chipset.

The POCO M3 Pro 5G uses Xiaomi’s MIUI 12 interface baked over Android 11. The UI looks cleaner than previous iterations which is good, and by default gives you an app drawer to more closely mimic the stock Android experience.

One thing that we didn’t like with the UI is the amount of bloat that comes with it. There are still too many things that are pre-installed in the phone, which takes up a lot of space – not really too much of a problem on the 128GB variant, but is a bigger deal on the smaller 64GB variant.

As far as 5G speeds are concerned, the POCO M3 Pro 5G delivers speeds similar to the other 5G phones we’ve used previously, though take note that we’ve only tested it via Smart’s 5G network. 5G speeds will obviously depend on your location and your provider, but it’s nice to see that the POCO M3 Pro 5G delivers the goods in that regard.

The phone packs a 5000mAh battery, and POCO throws in 18W fast charging in an attempt to quicken the device’s charging times. As for battery life, the POCO M3 Pro 5G recorded a time of 13 hours and 11 minutes on our battery drain test, which translates to about a day’s worth of juice, with a little leftover before you turn in for the night.

Wrap-up and verdict

The POCO M3 Pro 5G is currently the most affordable 5G phone you can buy in the Philippines, and despite its affordable price tag, it’s a pretty well-rounded phone in its own right. POCO didn’t compromise on the core features of the phone, which results in a device that’s really hard to beat.

Our POCO M3 Pro 5G Review Philippines shows that it’s the phone you need to buy if you want to jump on the 5G bandwagon without breaking the bank.

POCO M3 Pro 5G Review Philippines Price:

The 4GB/64GB model of the POCO M3 Pro 5G will retail for Php 8,990, while the 6GB/128GB model will retail for Php 11,990.

You can get the phone via Lazada or Shopee.

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