Poco C3 review and features
The entry-level smartphone market may not be as exciting as the mainstream or mid-tier segments, but it’s still surprising to see the kind of features you can get today at relatively low prices. Today we will test the Little C3, which is Poco’s first sub-R. 10,000 smartphones in India.
With prices starting from Rs. 7,499, the Poco C3 features a large screen and battery, triple rear cameras, and a gaming-oriented SoC. Its main rivals include the Redmi 9A and Realme C11. Does the Poco C3 offer better value for money than the competition? Time to find out.
Poco C3 design
The Poco C3 is a pretty big phone. It measures 9mm thick and is also quite heavy at 194g. I definitely struggled to use it comfortably with one hand. However, the build quality is decent. The rear and side frame are made of plastic and have rounded edges on all sides. Poco claims that the C3 has a P2i coating, which should help protect against accidental splashes of water. I have the color lime green, which honestly looks bluer than anything else. It is also available in Matte Black and Arctic Blue. Most of the back panel has a textured pattern, which helps to better hold the phone and also prevents it from picking up fingerprints easily.
The buttons are responsive and there is a headphone jack and a Micro-USB port. I’m not too excited about the lack of a USB Type-C port, but here’s what to expect in this segment. The SIM tray can hold two nano-SIMs and one microSD card. There is no fingerprint sensor on this phone, which, again, is not guaranteed on phones on this budget. You get facial recognition, which is slow, but it works even with a mask.
Little offers a large screen, but naturally, only in HD + resolution (1600×720). It is a 6.53 inch LCD panel with Panda Glass for scratch protection. The screen is not very vibrant and the brightness is adequate indoors. However, the screen washes quite poorly, making it difficult to use in sunlight. The screen also has thick edges around it, especially at the bottom. There is a dewdrop notch for the selfie camera.thee Poco C3 has a Micro-USB port and a single bottom-firing speaker
The contents of the box are pretty standard. You get a charging cable, a 10W charger, a SIM eject tool, and some documentation. There is no case or headphones. Overall, the Poco C3 looks like a well-built phone for the price, though it’s a bit too heavy and unwieldy for one-handed use.
Poco C3 Software
The Poco C3 runs MIUI 12, but unlike Redmi phones that run MIUI, Poco claims that its version has been modified so that it does not display advertisements or promotional content. So far, the company appears to be delivering on that promise. I didn’t see any unsolicited announcements or alerts obstructing the notification tone during the review period. I got the occasional alert from GetApps, which is Xiaomi’s own curated app store, but these were generally to alert me to updates to installed apps.
Other than this, the MIUI 12 experience felt familiar. You still get a ton of apps like Zili and small games pre-installed, but these can be uninstalled.
Poco C3 specifications and performance
The Poco C3 uses the MediaTek Helio G35 SoC, which is found in many phones in this segment, including the Realme C11. The basic variant of the C3 has 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, and is priced at Rs. 7,499, while the highest 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.
The Poco C3’s screen is a bit dull and washes away easily in sunlight
I have the 4GB version so I was expecting a relatively smooth experience, but sadly that was not the case. However, it is not just the Poco C3; all the smartphones I have come across based on the Helio G35 SoC, such as the Redmi 9Realme C11 Realme C12 and Realme C15 have shown slow performance regardless of how much RAM they had. There is an inherent lag in almost everything from UI animations to multitasking. MIUI is still very useful, but the experience is not as smooth as what you would get on phones with more powerful processors priced a few thousand rupees more. In a way, this is the story of most Android phones around Rs. 7,000 price points, for now.
The games worked decently well, but you should moderate your expectations. For example, games like Call of Duty Mobile scaled well on the Poco C3 and the game was relatively smooth, but with very poor graphics quality. However, titles like CarX Drift Racing 2 had trouble running at consistent frame rates. The single speaker near the Micro-USB port sounds decent. Videos don’t look their best due to the dull screen, so watching anything is not a great experience.
The only area in which the Poco C3 really excels is battery life. The Poco C3 has a 5,000 mAh battery that easily lasted for around two full days, with medium to light use. Even with a lot of games, I was still able to get through a day and a half, which is very good. My only complaint is the time it takes to charge the battery. With the included adapter, the C3’s battery charged to 37 percent in an hour and took almost three hours to fully charge.
Poco C3 cameras
The Poco C3 prides itself on having three rear cameras, which is not something we see too often in this segment. You get a 13-megapixel main camera, a 2-megapixel depth camera, and a 2-megapixel macro camera. For selfies, there is a 5-megapixel front camera. The camera app has the usual basic shooting modes, auto HDR, and AI scene recognition. There is no dedicated low-light shooting mode.
Photos taken during the day were decent, with pretty good details and colors. However, HDR was not always handled very well as highlights are often overexposed. Close-ups had good detail as long as there was a lot of light, but again, reflections tended to fade when shooting in sunlight. The macro camera has a lot of shutter lag, as most images generally end up with a slight blur unless you stand very still. Portrait mode does a decent job too, but there’s no way to adjust the blur level while shooting.
Photos taken in low light had weak details and exposure was generally poor unless there was enough light around. This result was expected given the narrow f / 2.2 aperture and the entry-level positioning of the Poco C3. The phone can record video up to 1080p at 30fps, but without stabilization. Video recorded during the day was strictly average quality and very weak when shot in low light.
Finally, the selfie camera captures usable shots during the day, but the quality drops quite a bit in low light.
The base variant of the Little C3 It is a decent choice at Rs. 7,499 if all you want is a basic Android smartphone with great battery life. The screen is a bit dull, the performance isn’t great, and the cameras are practically useful. The 4GB version doesn’t offer very good value, as at Rs. 8,999, you can get better phones like Realme Narzo 20A and Moto E7 Plus.