Last update : 26/1/2023
The Poco X3 NFC - the last Xiaomi / Poco device I'll probably want to take, if I'm not counting the X3P (which I already obtained).
Summary : X3P without the performance to fully utilize its 120hz display in games.
The X3N is a bulky & thicc device (compared to most device I've used) with the best grip a big-handed being like me could ever ask - with or without a case (mostly without a case).
- On the top section, there's the secondary mic, an IR blaster, & what appears to be a hole for the top speaker.
- USB-C charging port, speaker, headphone jack, & primary mic on the bottom corner, with the headphone jack at bottom-left corner. The jack's position isn't the best, but at least it's there.
- Left section contains only the hybrid dual SIM tray.
- Right section is home to the volume & power buttons. The power button doubles as a fingerprint scanner.
- Front side is reserved for the 6.67' 20:9 LCD, earpiece, & a front camera in the top-center section of the display. The earpiece grill also hides a notification LED.
- The back holds the rear cameras. My issue with the back panel is that there are some flexing when pressed at some areas, which unfortunately cheapens the already cheap (but kinda good) feel. Said issue can always be mitigated with a case, which you will normally get if you get the X3N as a brand-new device.
- For materials, gorilla glass 5 out front (plus a free pre-installed screen protector if you got it brand-new), with aluminium-ish plastic sides & glass-ish plastic back. I'm giving them an "ish" since they look the part, but don't feel like those aforementioned aluminium & glass - this doesn't feel cold like those 2.
- The X3N may also use screen protectors from of Poco X2 / Redmi K30 (this includes the "Pro" variant / Poco F2 "Pro").
- As an additional note (and/or a side effect of compartmentalization on the X3), the X3N can use some of the X3P's parts without issues & vice versa (see the 24/8/2021 blogpost for more details).
- For the buttons, the X3N (and X3P by extension) feels fine & soft, though a minor wobble can be expected. On the other hand, the fingerprint sensor embedded on the X3N's (but not the X3P with its superior sensor, though both can be swapped with each other) power button is pretty finicky, occasionally not reading my finger. I believe this side-mounted scanner is more sensitive to dirt than the rear-mounted scanners of the F1 & V30, which provides a wider area to scan your fingerprint.
The X3N has a bottom loudspeaker + earpiece / top speaker stereo combo & a headphone jack.
The speaker quality is very good - the top speaker competes with the top speaker well enough that it doesn't feel drowned out, but it'll also vibrate the back, which you'll feel the most when the X3N's not covered with a case.
The headphone jack quality is passable. Loudness wise, it squarely falls into "average" territory.
The 6.67 inch 20:9 120hz LCD with a centered punch hole is pretty good, even though it's barely usable out in the sunlight at max brightness. Sure, that centered hole sucks, but that smooth 120hz screen somewhat makes up for it - no amount of smoothness will make up for a hole in the middle of the screen, unfortunately. But still, it's a nice panel, with decently uniform backlighting aside from the shadow caused by the camera hole.
One thing to note about the X3N's display is that it lacks adaptive refresh rate by default, which means it won't randomly adjust the refresh rate on usage unless the feature is added into the ROM you're running.
No changes from the F1 (except for wait time), so it's still the worst bootloader unlock protocol, no questions asked. You need a Xiaomi account, have to submit your phone number to Xiaomi servers, and use a proprietary Windows-only application to unlock its bootloader. That, combined with 168 real-world hours (maybe even more, up to 2 weeks at worst - and yes, it's longer than the F1, as far as I can remember) of wait time (which gets triggered somewhere around the unlocker app as far as I remember), makes it the worst.
munchy's bootloader unlock video for Poco F1
Repair difficulty on the X3N is in line with most glass-backed devices (except the back is plastic, reducing the risk of it breaking as it's opened up), even though the camera lens aren't stuck to the back panel. The screws used for the external plastics are all similar, allowing you to get away with not remembering which screw hole a screw would belong to.
Once the panel's heated up & removed, it feels somewhat like the F1, except that 3 of the 4 rear cameras are stuck on the lens & the USB-C port is on the same board as the headphone jack (at least neither are soldered on the main board), forcing a replacement of both if either stops working.
PBKreviews' teardown video
Custom ROM & Kernel Availability (as of 9/1/2023)
In terms of custom ROMs, the X3N is less than ideal, with support for Lineage, LMODroid (if it counts), & crDroid (and some unofficial ROMs mostly from one buildbot dev, though it's mostly the ones I don't care about).
For flashable custom kernels, there's only Deluxe Kernel (GitHub source) at this point. Everything else is no longer developed.
Generally, there's not much problems with the X3N, aside from:
- The shit bootloader unlocking protocol & EDL recovery issues inherent in most Xiaomi phones, including the F1 & X3P.
- Pointlessly oversized camera lens that's not even a full circle (but tries to look like one), complete with 2 useless camera sensors, a somewhat useful ultrawide, & an overspecced one (IMO). It's likely that you'll only use the last one, since the Gcam Go prebuilt on basically all custom ROMs for the X3N does it. As for ANX, I'm not sure, but I don't really want, let alone feel a need to try it out.
- Also adding in some stuttering caused by the fact that Snapdragon 732G is just a somewhat upscaled Snapdragon 730 - an upper midrange SoC. It's random & you may not detect it sometimes (unless you're on MIUI where it happens often). Let's just say you do not want to duel the swordmasters in Shimousa, farm / speedrun in any GPU-intensive areas (Camelot's Holy City Districts immediately comes to mind since I noticed the framerate went down hard there, only returning to normal whenever a Servant does their NPs), deploy and/or fight a Servant with GPU-intensive NP, or some combo (or all of them) of the mentioned things if you're playing Fate/GO using the X3N.
- The reality of a dynamic-partitioned device - you can't edit anything in /product, /vendor, & /system by TWRP without mounting them as rw. However, this issue has been mostly negated by brigudav's TWRP (which mounts them as rw by default, and also provides a script to remount them as rw just in case).
- Random hard-bricking due to shitty QC allowing defective X3s to be released.
- The existence of the X3P that makes it nothing more than the X3P's "spare" parts (except for the motherboard, that would be a downgrade).
- Xiaomi's firmware is averse to some background tasks, such as music listening (it prevents headset commands from being recognized if the device does not play music for some time). This flaw persists even in custom ROMs.
As for avoidable problems, we got :
- A crappy inbuilt screen protector - sure, free protection is good, but it's not properly centered right off the box. You can (and should) get a better screen protector.
The X3N is basically a F1 that trades performance for better build, display, battery, & audio (and add NFC if you don't get the Indian variant). That's it. In my opinion, the Indian X3 (karna) is probably (ignoring the random bricking potential) better since it has a bigger battery capacity, even though you pay for it with an even thicker body (by 0.7mm) & removed NFC.
That said, the X3N has nothing to offer against X3P under direct comparison. Sure, brigudav's TWRP allows mounting partitions as rw (by default and/or inbuilt script), but the X3P can do that too, though with terminal commands. Development does not compare favorably, putting even less reason for me to recommend the X3N. Combined with the hard-bricking issue present on both, I don't recommend getting the X3N.
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