About five years ago (in 2016), gaming on a mobile phone was pretty much the poor cousin of the “real” thing. If you wanted to play “real” games, you either got yourself a proper gaming PC complete with a fancy graphics card and all, or you went and bought a console from Sony, Nintendo or Microsoft and plugged it to your television. Gaming on phones was mostly on the basic side – no snazzy graphics, no great sound effects and so on.
You want to play (games), you got to pay
And then a couple of years ago, it all changed. Thanks to titles like PUBG, Call of Duty and the Asphalt series, gaming on the mobile phone took on a whole new dimension. Suddenly we had console class graphics, Dolby surround sound, complicated storylines and endless online rivalries. The problem was that just as you needed a very powerful PC or console to get the best gaming experience, the same applied to phones. For a great gaming phone, you needed a great processor, lots of RAM, good cooling capacity, battery life and so on.
And all that translated into two words: Big Price. You want to play high quality games on a phone? You will need to shell out at least Rs 30,000 (more than USD 400) or more to get a proper gaming phone (such as the Asus ROG or the iQOO 7 series) or a flagship phone like the OnePlus 9 or the Xiaomi Mi 11 series. Anything less than that will simply result in lags and frustration.
Well, not always!
There is one massive exception to this “you gotta play, you gotta pay” rule – the Poco X3 Pro.
The Poco X3 Pro comes from Xiaomi’s sub-brand, Poco. It starts at Rs 18,999 (about USD 260), which is well below all gaming phones and budget flagships. And yet it is a gaming phone, through and through. The main reason for this is the fact that it runs on the very powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 860 processor, which is actually an upgrade of the Snapdragon 855 which we saw on premium flagships in 2019. And that was quite a powerful processor in its own right.
Now combine that with lots of RAM and storage – the variants are 6 GB/ 128 GB and 8 GB/ 128 GB – and what you get is a phone that is extremely capable of handling every game you can throw at it. You can play Call of Duty at maxed out settings quite comfortably on this phone, without any lags at all. You also get a large 6.67 inch full HD+ display with a 120 Hz refresh rate and stereo speakers, so this is a terrific phone for playing games and watching content, whether it is a casual video or a Netflix series. It can also keep running for a fair amount of time – it comes with a large 5160 mAh battery which generally gets through a day and a half of heavy usage and also comes with 33W fast charging.
No 5G, no AMOLED, but lots of super gaming
No, it is not perfect. Some might find the phone a little too large (that display takes up space) and others might frown at the plastic (carbonate) body. There are still others who might not find the performance of the 48 megapixel main camera on the back to be as good as on other devices in its price range, some of which even have 108 megapixel cameras. For the record, we have no problem with its LCD display, notwithstanding those who love AMOLED displays. This is a bright, colourful display with a lot of detail, which is what really matters. As for 5G, no, it is not on the phone. But then, neither is it in India.
But what makes the Poco X3 Pro special in our book is that combination of flagship processor, RAM, display and sound. All of which make the Poco X3 Pro that very rare creature – a super gaming phone below Rs 20,000.