POCO M3 vs Redmi 9 Power: a real-life comparison

Here's how the two stack up against each other based on real-life usage

They are brothers (or sisters) from the same brand mother. They both come with the promise of very impressive specs and performance. They both have very eye-catching designs. And near similar spec sheets. And they even have the same starting price: Rs 10,999. So which of the two – the newly-launched POCO M3 or the slightly older but bestselling Redmi 9 Power – delivers the best value for your Rs 10,999. Let’s try and figure out.

Looks: Flashy customers both

Both phones have exactly the same proportions and weight – 162.3 x 77.3 x 9.6mm, and both tip the scales at 198g. But beyond this precision, the similarity ends. Although both phones come with plastic backs and side-mounted fingerprint scanners, there is no way you could confuse one with the other. The Redmi 9 Power (above) has a more flashy design with ray-like patterns emerging from the camera unit on the back and has a large “Redmi” written vertically on the back. The M3, on the other hand, has a single colour on the back but its yellow variant (pictured below) is very striking, and the back also has a more textured feel to it.

The camera unit expands to form a dark rectangle that extends to the opposite side, with the Poco branding in large letters vertically on it, giving the back a two-toned look. If you prefer a blingy, shiny look, then the Redmi 9 Power is perhaps the phone for you, but I personally would go for the M3. It oozes a little more class.

Winner: POCO M3

Specs: Same to same…mostly!

In terms of hardware, both phones are close to carbon copies of each other. Both feature a 6.53-inch full HD display, with a drop notch housing an 8-megapixel selfie camera. Both also are powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 chip and have storage options of 64GB (UFS 2.1) and 128GB (UFS 2.2), expandable using a memory card (there is a dedicated slot) to 512GB. The amount of RAM, however, is different with the M3 having 6GB RAM in both variants while the Redmi 9 Power is at 4GB. But if this gives the M3 an edge, the 9 Power gets back into the game by having a quad-camera arrangement at the back as compared to a triple camera arrangement on the M3 – both phones have a 48-megapixel main sensor, a 2-megapixel depth sensor, and a 2-megapixel macro sensor.

Redmi 9 Power launched in India: price, specs
The Redmi 9 Power however also packs an 8-megapixel ultrawide sensor. The batteries of both phones are at 6,000mAh with support for 18W charging, and both phones sport stereo speakers and a 3.5 audio jack and come with 4G support and an infrared port. It is close – the Redmi 9 Power has the camera edge, the M3 more RAM. Call this one a tie.

Winner: Tie

Software: MIUI at the core, but the POCO UI scores

Both phones come with MIUI 12 running on top of Android 10 (a pity, really, given that the OS is now more than a year old, but well…that’s another story), but the interfaces of both devices are different. That’s mainly because the POCO M3 comes with the slightly more bare POCO UI on top of MIUI (talk of being multi-layered). Now, MIUI is no longer as ad-heavy as it used to be, but the POCO UI prides itself on having no ads at all. Which gets it the vote in my book, although most consumers do not seem to mind ads that much.

Winner: POCO M3

Camera performance: The Redmi gets an ultra-wide edge

Redmi 9 Power camera review
Perhaps the biggest difference in spec terms between the two devices is the fact that the Redmi 9 Power (above) has four cameras at the back as compared to the three on the POCO M3 (below). But both have a similar 48-megapixel main sensor and two 2 megapixel sensors for depth and macros. Where the Redmi 9 Power gets a spec edge is in terms of an 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera. Does it make a difference? Well, in actual performance terms, the two phones take very similar pictures, but we felt that while neither delivers punchy colours, the 9 Power had slightly better colour handling.

The M3 tended to deliver slightly washed-out shots if the light was not right. The ultra-wide also adds a bit of variety to the 9 Power. Neither of the phones is great at low-light photography but will deliver good results and ample detail in good light conditions. Selfies are not the strongest suit of either of the phones too, with very similar 8-megapixel snappers. I ended up getting slightly dull, though thankfully not over the top beautified vanity shots. In videos too, the Redmi 9 Power seems to enjoy a very slight edge because of its better colour handling. This and the extra camera – and it is an 8-megapixel one, not the largely ornamental depth and macro snappers – gives the Redmi 9 Power the camera round easily.

Winner: Redmi 9 Power

Gaming, multitasking and multimedia: RAM-ming the point home

Both phones come with the rather rare (at this price point) combination of full HD+ displays and stereo speakers. The viewing and hearing experience on both devices is broadly similar – the Redmi 9 Power’s display at times seemed to be just a little more visible in bright sunlight, but the difference was extremely marginal. In terms of gaming, both phones come with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 processor, which is not exactly meant for high-end gaming but will handle casual titles easily, and even the odd spell of Call of Duty and Asphalt as long as you keep the settings moderate. But it was here that perhaps the additional RAM on the POCO M3 (pictured above) seemed to make a difference. Games just seemed to run a little smoother on the M3, and switching tasks was a significantly more seamless experience on the phone, whereas the Redmi 9 Power sometimes just seemed to lag a little.

Winner: POCO M3

Battery life: Similar batteries, but different lives

On paper, both phones sport 6,000mAh batteries and come with support for 18W fast charging, although the Redmi 9 Power has a 22.5W charger in the box while the Poco has an 18W one. As both phones will charge at 18W, I do not see the 22.5W charger giving the 9 Power an edge here. But in terms of battery life, the POCO M3, whether it is because of the cleaner UI or the greater RAM leading to better app management, clearly lasts longer than the Redmi 9 Power. The Redmi 9 Power got me through a little more than a day and a half on a single charge. The POCO M3, however, delivered close to two days. Both phones get charged in a little
over two hours but the better battery life wins this round for the POCO M3.

Winner: POCO M3

General performance: Largely Even Steven

When it comes to routine day-to-day tasks like handling social networks, browsing the Web, messaging and well, making and receiving calls, both phones were absolutely neck and neck. Yes, as I pointed out before, if you are the type that runs a number of apps at the same, the POCO M3’s extra RAM does seem to make a difference and provide a smoother experience, but
by and large, there is no real difference in routine performance. You have two very steady, solid performers with good displays, very good sound and superb battery life.

Winner: Tie

Price: Same tag, slightly different specs

In terms of price, both the Redmi 9 Power (above) and the POCO M3 have a base (64GB storage) variant at Rs 10,999 and a higher storage (128GB) variant at Rs 11,999. There is a difference though – while both Redmi 9 Power variants come with 4GB RAM, the ones of the POCO M3 come with 6GB RAM. Mind you, the Redmi 9 Power does give you an additional camera, as I pointed out. But in terms of sheer performance, I think the additional RAM makes a bigger difference than the additional camera. Which is why this round too goes to the POCO M3, unless you REALLY love ultra-wide landscape snaps!

Winner: POCO M3

Which is the one for you?

It is rare to see two devices this closely matched. But as a glance above will show, the POCO M3 just edges out the Redmi 9 Power in most departments. Except one. And for some that might make a difference – the cameras. Those who value better camera performance will be better off with the Redmi 9 Power, whose additional ultra-wide sensor gives it a slight edge in this department. But if the camera is not a massive part of your phone plans, then the POCO M3 has a lot going for it. The M3 comes with 6GB RAM, which makes a clear difference when one is multitasking or running heavier tasks. Add to that its slightly cleaner interface and better battery life, and well, my vote right now goes to the POCO M3. It is perhaps the best phone Rs 10,999 can buy.