Poco F3 GT First Impressions: The Good, the Bad & The X-Factor

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        | Published: Friday, July 23, 2021, 16:07 [IST] The idea of budget gaming handsets is working fairly well for smartphone makers, considering how popular smartphone gaming has become in the last few years. Poco, a brand known for performance-oriented budget and mid-range smartphones, has always emphasized gaming with its sub-20K offerings.…

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The idea of budget gaming handsets is working fairly well for smartphone makers, considering how popular smartphone gaming has become in the last few years. Poco, a brand known for performance-oriented budget and mid-range smartphones, has always emphasized gaming with its sub-20K offerings. Now, the brand has launched a pretty interesting handset in the form of ‘F3 GT’. As the name suggests, the new game-centric handset comes from the popular F-series portfolio and could be the most attractive affordable gaming handset.

Launched at a starting price of Rs. 25,999, the F3 GT brings physical game triggers (first-in-its-category), a 120Hz 10-bit OLED panel, stereo speakers, and a big battery with industry-leading 67W fast-charging support. The smartphone is powered by the recently announced MediaTek Dimensity 1200 SoC and flaunts a 64MP triple-lens camera.

The well-rounded specs-sheet can give some serious competition to various sub-30K smartphones from BBK Electronics, including the likes of the OnePlus Nord 2, Oppo Reno 6, iQOO 7, etc. That said, we started testing the Poco F3 GT to bring our first impressions of the game-centric smartphone.

The X-Factor

Distinctive Design With Interesting Elements

The F3 GT’s X-Factor lies in its design and craftsmanship. The new ‘Slipstream’ design philosophy seems very effective and focuses on durability, styling, and handling. Various distinctive design elements make the F3 GT a unique game-centric device. The dual-tone matte finish back, RGB camera accent lights, distinctively cut speakers layout, etc. create a very stylish appearance.

Mechanical Game Triggers

Our favorite is the GT-Switches, which are called- Maglev mechanical triggers. Designed on the principles of magnetism, these physical buttons pop up with just a flick and recess back to their tiny housings on the frame when you aren’t gaming on the handset. The smartly designed magnetic triggers offer good tactile feedback. We played some Battlegrounds India sessions and liked the triggers feedback during intense gaming sessions.

Good Handling Dynamics For Gaming

We were able to game longer on the F3 GT without any discomfort, thanks to a distinctively designed aluminum frame that ensures a near-perfect landscape grip. The F3 GT sits comfortably in the palm, thanks to the radial and square bevel frame.

Even the corners have a new kind of concave beveling that further eases up the in-hand grip ensuring a smooth gaming experience. Moreover, unlike most gaming devices, the F3 GT doesn’t feel too bulky and heavy. It hits the sweet spot of a perfectly designed gaming phone on a decent budget.

The Good

Vibrant 10-Bit AMOLED Display (480Hz Touch Sampling Rate)

There’s a long list of features that are very impressive and performance-driven. For starters, the 6.67-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display with 100% DCI-P3 color gamut is excellent for gaming and multimedia consumption. It’s a 10-bit OLED with DC dimming ensuring impressive color reproduction and vibrancy.

There’s a 120Hz refresh rate too for fluid UI navigation, and lastly, the class-leading 480Hz touch sampling rate ensures fast and responsive touch feedback during gaming. It is easily the best screen on a sub-30K smartphone.

Excellent Haptic Feedback & Good Sounding Speakers

The F3 GT’s haptic feedback can even give some flagship phones a run for their money. The device comes equipped with X shockers that, as per Poco, can decode up to 200 different vibrations effects. For instance, there’s a precise vibration when you press the power button to lock the screen. Similarly, you will get to experience different forms of haptic feedbacks throughout the UI and functions that enhance the overall user experience of the device.

Moving on, the F3 GT also brings one of the best sounding speakers in its respective price point. The high-fidelity stereo speakers with Dolby-Atmos support produce a crisp and engaging sound that allows for an immersive gaming experience and video playback.

Durable Design & Smooth Performance

The stylish-looking Poco F3 GT also ensures good durability. The metal-glass construction feels durable and long-lasting. The front and back of the handset are protected by the Corning Gorilla Glass 5 layer and the frame has been made out of aerospace-grade aluminum metal, which feels solid to hold. The phone also gets an IP53 rating for protection against accidental splashes.

I liked how the camera module is almost flushed to the base and prevents any unwanted wobbling on the flat surface. We are testing the Predator Black color variant which comes with a matte black finish and looks very stealthy. You can also buy the handset in Gunmetal Silver color option.

The F3 GT smoothly handles gaming and heavy apps. The smartphone is powered by the 5G-enabled (5G SA+ NSA) MediaTek Dimensity 1200 chipset, which also supplies power to the Oppo Reno6 Pro (Rs. 39,990). The SoC is paired with 6GB and 8GB RAM with 128GB and 256GB UFS 3.1 storage options.

5,065mAh Battery With 67W Fast-Charging Support

The 5,065 mAh battery holds pretty well for gaming sessions and media consumption. With moderate usage, the big battery can easily last for more than a day. Moreover, the phone ship with a 67W fast-charger in the box, which can refuel the battery from flat to 100% in less than 35 minutes.

The Bad

The F3 GT’s camera setup (64MP + 8MP + 2MP) is marred by the usual software tuning issues. Pictures reveal excessive processing leading to unnatural sharpness. The AI mode delivers highly saturated results and should be disabled if you prefer natural-looking results.

We will spend some more time evaluating the phone’s camera performance. Moving on, we would have preferred a 3.5mm audio jack on the F3 GT, since the wired earphones would have done better justice to the gaming experience.

Lastly, the F3 GT only gets two 5G bands in India- n77/78, which can be a deal-breaker as the competition, including the newly launched OnePlus Nord 2 supports six 5G bands. Does this bother you? Let us know in the comments.

Should You Consider Buying The Poco F3 GT?

While the Poco F3 GT is a true gamers’ delight, it also comes across as a good overall handset in the sub-30K price bracket. From design to display to the underlying hardware, everything has been designed by keeping in mind the requirements of avid gamers and today’s power users. The smartphone will be available in three configurations with a rather unique pricing strategy. The launch price of the handset is Rs. 25,999 (6GB/128GB), Rs. 27,999 (8GB/128GB) and Rs. 29,999 (8GB/256GB).

This pricing is only valid till August 2, 11:59 AM. Poco will increase the price in the second week, taking the prices to Rs. 26,499, Rs. 28,499 and Rs. 30,499, respectively till August 9, 11:59 AM. In the third week, the new prices will be further increased to Rs. 26,999, Rs. 28,999 and Rs. 30,999 respectively. The smartphone will be available exclusively on Flipkart.com.

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Story first published: Friday, July 23, 2021, 16:07 [IST]

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