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The POCO X3 makes a big trade-off in India, but is it for the best?

Would you swap NFC for a bigger battery?

Published onSeptember 30, 2020

It’s taken POCO two years since the launch of the original POCO F1 to come up with a fresh new design. Amidst widespread criticism for cribbing Xiaomi designs for the POCO X2 and the POCO M2 Pro, the sub-brand has finally come up with a smartphone that is uniquely POCO — the POCO X3.

The POCO X3 was announced earlier this month and is available in Europe as the POCO X3 NFC. India, however, gets a variation on the global model with some notable changes under the hood.

Curious about how it differs? Let’s take a look in Android Authority’s impressions of the POCO X3 India edition.

POCO X3 India vs POCO X3 NFC: What’s the difference?

POCO X3 India display and apps
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Right off the bat, if you’re after camera samples or performance figures you can read our in-depth thoughts on the POCO X3 NFC model in our full written review or by watching the video at the top of the page. For the most part, differences between the Indian and European edition of the POCO X3 are limited to two key areas — NFC and battery capacity.

To start with the Indian POCO X3 does not include NFC. This might seem like a glaring omission, but with digital payments in India bypassing tap-to-pay and moving straight to QR code based transactions, it makes for an obvious cost-saving measure. Still, NFC makes it easy to quickly connect to Bluetooth speakers and headphones, and I found myself missing the feature.

POCO X3 India back
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

However, the loss of one feature has let POCO add in a major upgrade to the battery capacity. The POCO X3 in India packs a 6,000mAh cell which is a significant step-up over the 5,160mAh battery in the NFC edition.

The 6,000mAh battery is a significant step-up over the 5,160mAh cell in the POCO X3 NFC edition.

In our review, we found that the POCO X3 could easily power through two days of use on a single charge. Paired up with the efficient chipset, my experience with the Indian variant suggests that even three days wouldn’t be entirely out of reach. Charging speeds remain the same 33W across the two devices.

Switching over to the software, while the POCO X3 ships with a fair few pre-loaded applications, most of them can be uninstalled. Additionally, I haven’t noticed any ads in the interface so far. While my colleague, Ryan, understandably pointed this out as a major flaw in his review, it appears that POCO is sticking to its promise of not including ads in India.

There's a price to be paid for that large battery.

On the design side of things, there are subtle differences in weight and thickness. The Indian variant of the POCO X3 measures 10.1mm compared to the 9.4mm thickness of the global version. This might seem like a small difference, but it makes the X3 positively chubby.

The larger battery also tacks on an extra ten grams of weight. The 225g weight makes the POCO X3 a particularly hefty device to hold and this becomes very evident when holding up the phone for hours on end.

Should you buy the POCO X3 in India?

Xiaomi POCO X3 NFC held to take a photo showing off the rear side and POCO branding
Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

The POCO X3 is priced starting Rs. 16,999 ($231) for the 64GB variant, and goes all the way to Rs. 19,999 (~$271) for the top-tier variant with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage.

The POCO X3 goes up against alternatives like the realme 7 that sports a 90Hz panel and a 5,000mAh battery, compared to the 120Hz display and 6,000mAh cell on the X3, at about the same price.

Meanwhile, the Redmi Note 9 Pro also has a smaller battery and not as fast chipset making the POCO X3 a better overall package for most users.

Polarising design aside, the POCO X3 is a return to form for the company. Between the packed spec sheet, 120Hz display, and tremendous battery life, POCO has managed to create a device that can go head to head with tough competition. However, the real trump card here is the lack of ads. Competing options from stablemate Xiaomi and competitors like realme have opted for interstitial ads to help offset costs, the lack of these in the POCO X3 in India goes a long way towards making the POCO X3 an even better buy.

POCO X3 India in hand
A ton of phone for the price
The POCO X3 NFC brings a lot to the table for Rs. 16,990. You've got a Snapdragon 732G chipset, 6.67-inch 120Hz LCD screen, and a huge 6,000mAh battery. Toss in 33W charging, IP53 splash resistance, and solid camera credentials and you have a full-featured budget device.

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