Believe it or not, much of Poco’s reputation is built by the enthusiast community, the ones with tight pockets of course. The folks that love to tinker, tweak and push their smartphones to squeeze every drop of performance. That’s not to say that Poco doesn’t whet that appetite. In fact, the F-series smartphones usually pave the way for the brand to garner some much-needed separation from the Mi family and the F3 GT does exactly that, it ditches everything that the Xiaomi mothership has to offer and spawns a gaming smartphone through and through.
There are playful subtleties that are littered all over the smartphone but we’ll start with our most loved aspect of the design — the velvety back. The Poco F3 GT is a delight to hold in the hand because it feels so nice to touch. It reminds us of the old OnePlus smartphones with a smooth finish at the back. Albeit, it wouldn’t be a gaming smartphone without some random lines running across in the back. It has a fair share of those as well but it still manages to look discrete. The terms Speediest and Freezing are written on the metal ring around the camera lens. It’s the only place where the aesthetics start to show their budget nature. Even the camera flash is shaped like a flash logo. Honestly, Poco might as well use the camera module for this sort of marketing gobbledygook since the camera quality isn’t worth the cash.
Everything else though is brimming with explosive power and no, not the Samsung kind of explosive. It’s the smooth refresh rate, fast innards, great screen and rapid charging speeds that keep Poco F3 GT on top of its budget game. Speaking of games, let’s talk about the Maglev mechanical triggers that pop right out when you need extra triggers for gaming.
To be honest we expected this kind of sorcery from Asus ROG smartphones but the folks at Asus are honing the AirTriggers. The triggers on Poco are quite different. Mechanical, in fact! There are two sliders on the right side of the smartphone that pop out clickity buttons. You can use them by mapping any touch command on the screen and then start clicking away to glory. They really transform the gaming experience on the Poco F3 GT and if you’re heavily into mobile gaming then the Poco F3 GT is probably the perfect fit for you. Everything else around the trigger is built with gaming in mind. The stereo speakers are pushed upwards when you hold the smartphone in landscape mode. This allows them to not get blocked by your hand while playing. There are additional mics around the smartphone as well that may come in handy when you find yourself without headphones. There’s no headphone jack here but with the amount of TWS we’ve reviewed recently, we’d be surprised if you don’t own one already. The audio quality from the speakers is great for gaming and YouTube content for this budget range.
Once in the confines of YouTube, the 120Hz AMOLED display works all kinds of magic to keep you hooked. Venture ahead to Netflix and Disney+ Hotstar and you’ll be greeted with a pleasant viewing experience. The punchy contrast and inky blacks also put the Poco F3 GT closer to the Samsung budget smartphones in terms of viewing pleasure. It’s smooth too. Hella smooth actually but like all 120Hz panels, this one is a battery sapper. Make sure to gauge your use or let the phone dictate the refresh rate according to the content on the screen.
Even then, if you find yourself running out of juice, the 67W charger is faster than most laptop chargers. It’s not necessary to have such powerful charging bricks for a smartphone but it just goes to show that if you have a smartphone dedicated to performance-intensive tasks, you might as well refuel quickly to avoid unnecessary delays for the chicken dinner. We wouldn’t recommend charging and gaming at the same time. Although the charging pin is flush with the phone when it’s in landscape mode (like the Microsoft Surface Laptops) so as to not intrude on your gaming grip, it still doesn’t change the fact that the Poco F3 GT can get really hot while charging. We went from 0 to 49% in roughly 10mins or so. It’s a bit scary sometimes.
There’s also a nice camera RGB LED that acts as a notification indicator. Pretty much everything we have said about the camera so far sounds like a salad dressing to hide what’s under and that’s true. The 64MP primary camera, the 8MP ultra-wide-angle camera, the 2MP macro camera and the 16MP selfie camera, all feel like they’ve been ripped out of a ₹10K smartphone and plonked in the Poco F3 GT. It’s quite embarrassing but we actually saw this coming. None of the gaming smartphones have managed to take a decent photo. Even the ones that demand half a lakh don’t really justify the price tag when it comes to camera smarts. The F3 GT is no different, it’s fast, but not a smartphone for camera users. The hazy and detail-less shots are best ignored. My advice? Use your eyes and eat plenty of almonds to hone your memory. They’re the best cameras you have. Okay, jokes and beer aside, don’t buy it for the camera. Everything else is top-notch!
The Mediatek Dimensity 1200 (cool name) is quite the hotshot in the budget segment. It’s fast, performance-centric and doesn’t dent your wallet. It’s also quite efficient at keeping unnecessary tasks at bay. We still prefer Snapdragon because of its better low power efficiency to keep the battery from draining. The Poco lasted us an entire day of extensive use. The 5065mAh is great, although the added bulk might annoy some.
Poco F3 GT is quite the king in its budget space but only when it comes to performance. The shoddy camera quality is strictly meant to be ignored. Whereas, the great display, performance, battery life and build quality make the Poco F3 GT a gamer’s best pal. The Maglev mechanical triggers are borrowed from Black Shark smartphones but those don’t ever make it to India so the Poco F3 GT feels like a true contender against gaming brands here.
The OnePlus Nord 2 still feels like a champion when it comes to ticking the right boxes, albeit it doesn’t have gaming triggers.