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 Poco C3

Poco C3 Review

         The entry-level smartphone market may not be as exciting as the mainstream or mid-level segment, but it is amazing to find such features today at relatively low prices. Today we will test Poco C3, which is Poco's first under Rs 10,000 smartphone in India.

With prices starting at Rs 7,499, the Poco C3 boasts a larger display and battery, triple rear cameras and a gaming-oriented SoC. Its main rivals include Redmi 9A and Realme C11. Does Poco C3 provide better value for your money than the competition? Time to find out.

Poco C3 Design

Poco C3 is a very big phone. It measures 9 mm in thickness and is quite heavy at 194g. I definitely struggled to use it comfortably with one hand. However, the build quality is decent. The back and side frames are made of plastic and you get round edges on each side. Poco claims that the C3 has a P2I coating, which should help protect it from an accidental splash of water. I have a Lime Green color, which honestly, looks more blue than anything. It is also available in matte black and arctic blue. Most of the back panel has a textured pattern, which helps to hold the phone better and also prevents it from picking up fingerprints easily.

The buttons have good response, and have a headphone jack as well as a micro-USB port. I'm not too thrilled with the lack of a USB Type-C port, but that's what you can expect in this segment. The SIM tray can have two nano-SIMs and a microSD card. There is no fingerprint sensor on this phone, which again, is not guaranteed on the phone in this budget. You get face recognition, which is slow, but it also works with face masks.

Poco offers a larger display, but naturally, only with HD + resolution (1600x720). It is a 6.53-inch LCD panel with Panda Glass for scratch protection. The display is not very lively and the brightness is indoors enough. However, the screen was washing out very badly, making it difficult to use under sunlight. There are thick borders around the display, especially the bottom. The selfie camera has a dewdrop notch.

Box contents are very standard. You get a charging cable, a 10W charger, a SIM eject tool and some documentation. There is no case or headset. Overall, the Poco C3 seems like a well-built phone for the price, even if it is a bit heavy and cumbersome for one-handed use.

Poco C3 OS and Software

The Poco C3 runs MIUI 12, but unlike the Redmi phones running on MIUI, Poco claims that its version has been tweaked to show no advertising or promotional material. So far, the company seems to be following that promise. I did not see any advertisements or unsolicited alerts closing the notification shed during the review period. I received occasional alerts from GetApps, which is Xiaomi's own curated app store, but these were usually to alert me to updates of installed apps.

In addition, the experience of MIUI 12 was familiar. You still get a bunch of apps such as Zili and smaller games preinstalled, but they can be uninstalled.

Poco C3 Specification and Performance

The Poco C3 uses the MediaTek Helio G35 SoC, which is found in many phones in this segment, including the Realme C11 (review). The base variant of the C3 has 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, and is priced at Rs 7,499, while the higher one has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage for Rs 8,999. Other features include Dual-4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi N, Bluetooth 5, GPS and FM radio.

I have a 4GB version so I was expecting a relatively smooth experience, but sadly it did not. It's not just Poco C3; Every smartphone I have based on the Helio G35 SoC, such as Redmi 9 at Rs. 8,999, Realme C11, Realme C12 Rs 8,999, and Realme C15, has shown sluggish performance despite the amount of RAM. Everything from UI animations to multitasking is contained. The MIUI is still very usable, but the experience is not as smooth as you would get on a phone with a more powerful processor, which would cost a few thousand rupees more. In a way, this is the story of most Android phones priced around Rs 7,000, for now.

The game ran decently well, but you need to overcome your expectations. For example, games like Call of Duty Mobile were well enhanced on Poco C3 and gameplay, but the graphics quality was significantly lacking. However, titles such as CarX Drift Racing 2 struggled to keep up at a consistent frame rate. The single speaker near the micro-USB port gets decently loud. Videos do not look their best due to the monotonous performance, so watching anything is not a great experience.

One area where the Poco C3 is really excellent is battery life. The Poco C3 has a 5,000mAh battery which lasts easily for two days, with moderate to light usage. With a lot of gaming, I was still able to get around a day and half, which is great. My only hold for a long time is to charge the battery. With the bundled adapter, the C3's battery charged just 37 percent an hour, and took about three hours to fully charge.

Poco C3  Camera

The Poco C3 has been claimed to have three rear cameras, which is not something we often see in this segment. You will get a 13-megapixel primary camera, a 2-megapixel depth camera, and a 2-megapixel macro camera. For the selfie, there is a 5-megapixel front camera. The camera app has common basic shooting modes, auto HDR and AI scene recognition. There is no dedicated low-light shooting mode.

The shots taken during the day were good, with quite good details and colors. However, HDR was not always handled very well, with highlights often overspeed. There was a good extension of close-ups as long as there was enough light, but once again the highlights were blown out while shooting in sunlight. The macro camera has a lot of shutter lag, due to which most photos usually end up with a little blurring, unless you are very stable. Portrait mode does a good job, but there is no way to adjust the level of blur during shooting.

Photographs shot in low light had weak details and exposure was usually poor unless there was enough light around. This result was expected given the narrow f / 2.2 aperture and entry level position of the Poco C3. The phone can shoot video at 1080p 30fps, but without stabilization. Video shot during the day was a strict average in quality, and was very weak when shot in low light.

Finally, the selfie camera captures usable shots during the day, but the quality is significantly reduced in low light.

Should you upgrade it or not?

The base variant of the Poco C3 is a great pick for Rs 7,499 if you want it to be a solid Android smartphone with strong battery life. The performance is a bit sluggish, the performance is not very good, and the cameras are only serviceable. The 4GB version does not offer a very good price, because for Rs 8,999, you can get better phones like Realme Narzo 20A Rs 8,499 and Moto E7 Plus.

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