POCO X3 Pro vs Realme X7 Max 5G vs iQOO 7 performance test: best gaming phone under Rs 30K?

Looking for the mid-range best gaming phone? Read this

2021 has been a great year for mobile gamers. For one, the popular battle royale title PUBG has been relaunched under the guise of BGMI, or BattleGrounds Mobile India. What’s more, the market is ripe with excellent, high-performance phones touting capable chipsets from Qualcomm and MediaTek’s stables. Case in point, the POCO X3 Pro (review), the iQOO 7 (review), and the Realme X7 Max (review) which make use of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 860, Snapdragon 870, and MediaTek’s Dimensity 1200 SoCs respectively. 

Suffice it to say, the aforementioned devices are the fastest phones under Rs 30K at the moment, which begs the question – which processor offers the most bang for the buck performance for mobile gamers? To find out, we pit the three phones against each other in a series of tests. So, without any further ado, let’s take a closer look at our contenders’ performance. 

Benchmarks

The empirical data stemming from a benchmark can be quite confusing and at times, misleading too. That being said, a lot of users rely on synthetic tests to get a number on a phone’s performance. So, let’s kick things off by talking about the devices’ Antutu scores. Starting with the Snapdragon 870-toting iQOO 7, the phone secured 7,12,686 points, which is the highest we’ve seen on any sub-Rs 30K phone. That said, the Realme X7 Max’s Dimensity 1200 wasn’t too far behind and managed to output 6,98,414 points, which once again, is a fantastic number. The POCO X3 Pro, on the other hand, secured 5,54,461 points. Now, bear in mind that the X3 Pro is the most affordable phone of the lot and everything considered, the handset’s Antutu score is still quite good. 


Moving on, let’s take a look at the storage speeds. Now, for the uninitiated, a smartphone’s read and write speeds directly impact the app loading and closing times. So, a phone with slower storage speeds will take longer to load a game or an app. Thankfully, the trio of handsets we’re testing today offer UFS 3.1 storage and consequently, output blazing fast sequential read and write speeds. Interestingly, the Realme X7 Max yielded the fastest speeds, followed by the iQOO 7 and then the POCO X3 Pro. That being said, all three phones felt equally snappy during our testing. 

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Finally, let’s take a look at our contender’s GeekBench scores. Here, the iQOO 7 yielded the highest single-core score by securing 998 points, though the Realme X7 Max’s Dimensity 1200 SoC managed to output the best multi-core score at 3,207 points. The POCO X3 Pro, on the other hand, outputted a modest 786 points in the single-core tests, and 2,531 points in multi-core tests.

So, going by the benchmarks, we can say that the Snapdragon 870 SoC toting iQOO 7 is the quickest phone of the lot, with the Realme X7 Max hot on its tail. The POCO X3 Pro is performing reasonably well too, especially when you factor in that it is almost Rs 10K cheaper than the competing offerings. However, as prefaced at the beginning of the section, benchmarks scores rarely ever tell the complete story. Here’s why.

BGMI and Call of Duty tests 

Synthetic benchmarks aside, let’s take a look at how these phones fare in terms of gaming. Starting with the Realme X7 Max, the smartphone managed to run BGMI at HDR graphics and the Ultra frame rate preset. You can drop the graphics settings down to HD, or Smooth in order to get the Extreme frame rate preset. Now, for the uninitiated, Ultra preset caps the game’s frame rate at 40fps, whereas the Extreme preset allows gamers to play the title at 60fps. 

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We tested the performance via GameBench and here, the Realme X7 Max managed to consistently output 40fps for the duration of a game and netted 100 percent fps stability too. I should point out that the FPS variability index (measures the average shift in FPS from one second to the next) was the lowest at 0.66 FPS as well. Coming to Call of Duty Mobile, the Realme X7 Max was able to push the graphics in the PvP mode to the ‘Very High’ preset and that is with anti-aliasing enabled. Correspondingly, we were able to run the game at the ‘Very High’ FPS preset.

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On the flip side, the POCO X3 Pro could run BGMI at the frame rate preset (60fps) with the graphics set to the HDR preset. What’s more, we could even download the UltraHD graphics pack that comprises more realistic in-game textures on the phone. Turn the page over to Call of Duty Mobile and here, the Snapdragon 860-toting X3 Pro could run the game at Very High Graphics and Max Frame Rate presets.


Poco X3 Pro 

Realme X7 Max 

iQOO 7 

Processor 

Qualcomm
Snapdragon 860

MediaTek
Dimensity 1200

Qualcomm
Snapdragon 870

Antutu score

5,54,461

6,98,414

7,12,686

BGMI settings

HDR + Extreme 

HDR + Ultra

HDR + Extreme

BGMI UltraHD 4K texture pack

Available 

Not Available 

Available 

Call of Duty Mobile Settings

Very High + Max

Very High + Very High

Very High + Max

Price 

From Rs 18,999

From Rs 26,999

From Rs 31,990


Ipso facto, despite scoring less than the Realme X7 Max in synthetic benchmarks, the POCO X3 Pro managed to outclass the handset in terms of gaming. Not only could we run the games at higher FPS, but we could leverage better graphics too. Clearly, MediaTek Dimensity 1200’s Mali-G77 MC9 GPU can’t hold a candle to its Adreno counterparts.


That said, the FPS stability was a tad lower on the POCO X3 Pro at 99 percent and the FPS variable index was higher (1.26 FPS) on the phone too. Regardless, the X3 Pro was able to run the game at 56-60fps, which is still higher than what we achieved with the Realme X7 Max. 

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Moving on, let’s take a look at the iQOO 7’s gaming performance. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the Gamebench utility to run on the phone. That being said, the smartphone’s gaming performance didn’t leave us wanting for more horsepower and the device could run BGMI at HDR graphics and Extreme frame rate preset. Moreover, much like the POCO X3 Pro, we could download the UltraHD 4K texture pack on the iQOO 7 too.

CPU Throttling

It’s important to see how well our contenders perform under sustained loads as well, which is why we decided to run the CPU Throttle test utility for a period of 15 minutes on all three phones. Starting with the Realme X7 Max, the smartphone throttled to 82 percent of its peak performance.

The iQOO 7, on the other hand, plateaued at 2,51,726 GIPS, thereby throttling to 80 percent of its peak performance. As for the POCO X3 Pro, the handset exhibited the worst performance spikes of the lot and throttled to 76 percent of its max performance. The same was evident from our BGMI tests too wherein, the device showed the most FPS variability.

Verdict

So, where does that leave us? Well, while all three phones perform admirably, it’s clear that the Realme X7 Max’s Dimensity 1200 SoC could do with a better GPU. Therefore, if you can stretch your budget by a bit, then we’d recommend you go for the iQOO 7 as it offers the best performance of the lot. Furthermore, the device also offers a good-enough headroom over the Snapdragon 860-toting POCO X3 Pro and consequently, should stand the test of time too.

On the flip side, buyers willing to spend less than Rs 20K should look no further than the POCO X3 Pro – it is the best performing handset in its price range and as is evident by this comparison, can even go toe-to-toe with pricier offerings.